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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   1501. JE (Jason) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4722498)
More on Tess McGill Hillary Clinton:
Now it’s true that the Clintons, despite Bill’s $200,000 salary, were saddled with big legal bills during the Whitewater/Monica investigations. But it’s equally true that a former president and first lady know full well that they are highly marketable commodities. Without giving a single speech, they each made a killing on their autobiographies, with Hillary’s fetching $8 million. What’s more, former presidents, upon leaving office, get Uncle Sam to pick up much of their postage, phone and office rental expenses.

That’s not quite the same as being “dead broke,” in debt and not knowing where your next dollar is coming from.

What Hillary is doing, of course, is trying to strike a bond with middle-class folks who are worried about the future. It’s an age-old political tactic of signaling to voters that you share their concerns and were not always a rich and famous person. But it sounds rather tin-eared to me, especially for a woman who didn’t just “leave” the White House but had just been elected a United States senator. ...

As for Hillary’s lament of having been “broke,” there’s a long tradition of politicians poor-mouthing their history--a modern-day log cabin strategy. In the last campaign, Mitt Romney told an audience that “I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re gonna get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.” Romney is the son of a former head of American Motors who became Michigan’s governor.

Ann Romney said that when they got married they “ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish” in a basement apartment with a desk that was “a door propped up on sawhorses.” But there was little question that the Romneys, even before Bain, had a wealthy future ahead of them.

Hillary Clinton didn’t grow up rich or marry into a rich family. But she was hardly in danger of poverty after eight years in the White House, a place she would clearly like to live again.
   1502. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4722499)
In fairness, I have to wonder how many regulars in this thread have direct experience with the working (or for that matter non-working, as in unemployed/unemployable) class. Certainly quite a few do; I suspect quite a few don't.

How are you defining "working class"?

If construction workers, clerks, garment workers, and factory workers are working class, everyone in my family in grandparents generation was working class, though some rose out of it.

My father-in-law was a stone mason. Is that working class? He eventually had his own business and did fairly well, but still spent his days laying brick and stone with his own hands until he retired.
   1503. GregD Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4722500)
Retirement benefits (SS and Medicare) are already on an unsustainable trajectory.
This is virtually all Medicare, not SS. And this tax would put more money into SS than it adds on, so it would make the finances of that program sustainable over an even longer period of time.

A much better use would be to fund a non-refundable payroll tax credit for working families with children.
Why only a non-refundable? Isn't EITC seen as one of the most-effective programs for helping working people with children precisely because it does allow for the refund? Why would you want to exclude people who are working but not making enough to owe taxes from a program? Isn't it the single-best way to actually aid working people in the bottom quintiles?
   1504. Mefisto Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4722501)
I don't know if wealth redistribution is a core belief among liberals generally, but it's certainly one of mine. We absolutely should tax the rich more, and by that I mean a LOT more. An income tax which graduates to roughly 70% and includes capital gains income would be a good start. A confiscatory estate tax above a relatively low level would be better (combined with eliminating foundations, etc.).

There are lots of good ways to use that money, too. More and better public transportation; a new electrical grid; infrastructure repairs; increase Social Security; fund a Medicare for all system; invest in education, particularly pre-school; prepare for the consequences of global warming. Etc.
   1505. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4722502)
Excellent article using the VA as an example.

When something goes wrong, whether it’s an offshore oil rig blowing up, veterans waiting too long for medical care, or falsified metrics about how long veterans are waiting for medical care, asking who’s at fault means making two false assumptions.
...

But really, it’s much more useful to ask what went wrong. When you do you’ll learn what you need to change to make sure the same thing doesn’t go wrong over and over again.


It is short, read it (or you know, not).
   1506. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4722503)
Why only a non-refundable? Isn't EITC seen as one of the most-effective programs for helping working people with children precisely because it does allow for the refund? Why would you want to exclude people who are working but not making enough to owe taxes from a program? Isn't it the single-best way to actually aid working people in the bottom quintiles?

Because Social Security is a pension system, not a welfare benefit. If you want to expand the EITC, that's a different discussion.
   1507. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4722505)
I don't know if wealth redistribution is a core belief among liberals generally, but it's certainly one of mine.


Me too, but not for reasons of punishment or whatever random thing Ray imagines.
   1508. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4722506)
1502 -- Yeah, it's not a particularly clear-cut category these days, but I'd say that the blue-collar grandparents & such you're describing were definitely working class. Not sure that having to go back two generations to dredge up examples translates as "direct experience," but in any event it's not like I'm working on some sort of census-type exercise here; I'm just thinking out loud because of Sam's retort to Ray, or I suppose more apropos thinking in keystrokes.
   1509. Ron J2 Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4722508)
As the Sterling saga turns: He's now vowed to fight the sale and has filed a $1 billion suit against the NBA.

Supposedly this latest change is because the NBA would not rescind the fine or the lifetime ban against Sterling. Dunno, I get the impression he's enjoying the whole process.

Quoting from the USA Today story: he lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

I don't like his odds of prevailing on the first part. The recording may have been illegal, but it was also in the public domain. But I don't think the antitrust argument is DOA (even if I think he's likely to lose, I think he can likely tie things up for quite some time)
   1510. GregD Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4722509)
In fairness, I have to wonder how many regulars in this thread have direct experience with the working (or for that matter non-working, as in unemployed/unemployable) class. Certainly quite a few do; I suspect quite a few don't.
I would guess many people here have family connections to the working-class or for that matter to poverty. Government programs lifted lots of people from the mid-30s to the mid-60s out of the working-class; it would be surprising if a cross-section of educated, reasonably affluent people today didn't have family members among those cohorts. (Whether the same will be true 50 years from now is a different question.)

Like other people here, I was partly raised by grandparents--one who graduated high school one who didn't--who were a night-time security and a counter cashier at a drugstore who also worked as a school lunch lady. My grandmother had a 600-square-foot house where she raised first her kids then a couple of her grandkids. Vietnam veterans' benefits put my uncle to college and he has become quite wealthy (though no supporter of the benefits he received!) One of my aunts has been poor most of her life, sometimes homeless, worked as an orderly lifting old people into wheelchairs and stretchers at an old folks home, and survives on disability. My direct family is a mixed-bag for complex reasons I've talked about before on the board and don't need to repeat now. For those reasons we had periods of poverty--moving from couch to couch, getting an apartment finally but having no refrigerator--and also periods of real luxury and affluence.

The mix surely differs, but I would guess most people on the board 1) have family experience with working class life and poverty and 2) are not working-class or impoverished today. But I could be wrong!

Ed to add: As I have written here, other lines of my family, whom I did not know for much of my childhood, were quite well to do, and their intervention in my life in my older childhood years had a huge impact on our well-being and on my college and life trajectory. My cousins who had different lines in their family and no such luck work a variety of honest but much-less-well-paying jobs at chicken processing plants and riverboat casinos and town government.
   1511. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4722510)
Because Social Security is a pension system, not a welfare benefit.


It is a welfare benefit often sold as a pension. When it was first started plenty of people got money out that didn't really put any money in, and with disability that is still happening.

The whole program essentially extracts money from the young (and often poor) and gives it to the old (who are, I was told earlier, are often wealthy). It does this even more explicitly than ACA, which I was told is immoral. <Shrug>

Of course in reality SSI has done a wonderful job of reducing poverty among the elderly and is extremely popular, for good reason.
   1512. GregD Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4722511)
Because Social Security is a pension system, not a welfare benefit. If you want to expand the EITC, that's a different discussion.
You said you preferred to use the money from the tax for a non-SS purpose, which is reasonable. Since you were starting from scratch--I think correct me if I'm wrong--why would you come up with a non-refundable credit when the refundable credits are the ones that have done the most for the working poor?
   1513. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4722516)
Probably you're right, Greg. I grew up as part of what I've come to think of as "genteel poverty" in the rural South, in that we weren't stereotypical toothless rednecks & owned our own house (inherited from my schoolteacher great-aunt), & my mother had a college degree. Her mental illness & resultant inability to work after my 5th-grade (IIRC) year dictated the poverty part, though, especially when my dad's inability to work (PTSD) & early death were added to the equation. Otherwise, we'd have been lower middle class, I guess, like most of my friends; teachers just made crap wages back then, at least in one of the poorest counties in one of the poorest states. (Not that anyone was getting rich there, except apparently -- considering the fact that he had a big house & a swimming pool -- the owner of the funeral homes [one for whites, one for blacks ... of course], which makes sense.)

As for where I am today ... probably lower middle-class, mainly because of some personal & professional reversals about 12 years ago for which I was at least partly to blame. It happens.
   1514. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4722518)
You said you preferred to use the money from the tax for a non-SS purpose, which is reasonable. Since you were starting from scratch--I think correct me if I'm wrong--why would you come up with a non-refundable credit when the refundable credits are the ones that have done the most for the working poor?

No, it's a SS purpose, reducing the SS tax burden on families with children.

I want it non-refundable, because my target isn't the working poor. It's the broad middle class.

Our whole society would benefit greatly (especially the entitlement system) if the middle class would have more children, and I want to subsidize the middle class having and raising children.

Besides, a working poor family with a $30K combined income would still get more than a $2,000 tax break. It would help them too.
   1515. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4722521)
I want it non-refundable, because my target isn't the working poor. It's the broad middle class.

Our whole society would benefit greatly (especially the entitlement system) if the middle class would have more children, and I want to subsidize the middle class having and raising children.


The working poor need our help more and have even less pull than the middle class (though both need the help more and have less pull than the rich).

Immigration can help with your entitlement sustainability problem (cue JoeK and a rant on how I must hate the working class for the increase in supply of labor ...).
   1516. GregD Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4722522)
Our whole society would benefit greatly (especially the entitlement system) if the middle class would have more children, and I want to subsidize the middle class having and raising children.
But the two aren't incompatible. Since you can help the middle class and also the working poor with children, you seem to be prioritizing making sure that the working poor aren't receiving any assistance. That's fine but seems incompatible with your stated beliefs on the importance of rewarding work, at least as I understand them.
   1517. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4722526)
Because Social Security is a pension system, not a welfare benefit.


It is a welfare benefit often sold as a pension.


Oh, but telling some seniors that is a good way to get shot. Those Seniors who want to cut welfare and reduce school taxes (after all they have no school age kids any more) have such a massive psycho/emotional interest in believing that Soc Sec. is a pension/insurance plan that they bought and paid for- that I think the cognitive dissonance involved in even contemplating the idea that it has always been a welfare scheme in practice- would kill most of them...

   1518. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4722527)
But the two aren't incompatible. Since you can help the middle class and also the working poor with children, you seem to be prioritizing making sure that the working poor aren't receiving any assistance. That's fine but seems incompatible with your stated beliefs on the importance of rewarding work, at least as I understand them.

No, the working poor get assistance up to the full refund of all the social security tax they pay. Which is virtually all their tax burden.

There are far more other programs that help subsidize the working poor with children (EITC, CHIP, etc.). In general, I think the working poor probably have as many children as they can handle.

The middle class on average can probably handle more kids than they currently have (they certainly used to), and receive very little subsidy for raising those future taxpayers, vs. say the 1950's, when the child dependent deductions were far more generous.

Immigration can help with your entitlement sustainability problem (cue JoeK and a rant on how I must hate the working class for the increase in supply of labor ...).

But that exacerbates the labor/capital imbalance, and makes things worse for the working class, and better for the rich. The exact opposite of what we're trying to achieve here.
   1519. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4722528)
1502 -- Yeah, it's not a particularly clear-cut category these days, but I'd say that the blue-collar grandparents & such you're describing were definitely working class. Not sure that having to go back two generations to dredge up examples translates as "direct experience," but in any event it's not like I'm working on some sort of census-type exercise here; I'm just thinking out loud because of Sam's retort to Ray, or I suppose more apropos thinking in keystrokes.


My grandparents were subsistence farmers. Share croppers, in point of fact. If we extend the bubble back to grandparents, pretty much everyone can likely find some blue collars in the family tree. Few of us are Vanderbilts. That's not really what I'm pointing at here, though. I'm talking about day to day, lived experience with actual working class folks today. I have a tight, if peripheral relationship to actual working class people today. My immediate family are mostly poor and rural (those folks SBB likes to tell me I can't stand hanging around because of my "modern liberalness".) They work manual labor jobs for minimum wage, and that's considered a boon for many. I have numerous family members who are long term unemployed, and a couple who are simply out of the field altogether. I see them and interact with them every time I "go home" to visit, or call, or email, or text.

That said, I consider my day to day relationship with the working classes to be peripheral. Because I don't work manual labor for a living, and neither do many of my day to day companions. I work professional services. I'm white collar. Significantly removed from the 1%, but probably over the line for 10%. My point being, that I have a hard time taking seriously anyone's critique or comments on "working class" Americans if they spend the vast majority of their lived lives on the Upper West Side.
   1520. GregD Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4722529)
The middle class on average can probably handle more kids than they currently have (they certainly used to), and receive very little subsidy for raising those future taxpayers, vs. say the 1950's, when the child dependent deductions were far more generous.
I think maternity leave is a far more effective way to promote middle-class multiple children, if that's your goal. The tax code matters but the impact is very small compared to the lifetime change in family earning power that people calculate when they choose to have additional kids now, under our current laws. And that judgment is rational since women in other countries return to the work force and suffer far less long-term economic consequences for pregnancies than US women.
   1521. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4722536)
I think maternity leave is a far more effective way to promote middle-class multiple children, if that's your goal.


Yes. I have no idea why you'd want to set a goal for "more hairless apes in the world" but if that's your goal, actually giving parents time off to raise their spawn would be a better start.
   1522. zenbitz Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4722537)
I am just going to say, that as an employee of Stanford Medical School... I totally think this research is bogus:

Forbidden Soda
   1523. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4722538)
. My point being, that I have a hard time taking seriously anyone's critique or comments on "working class" Americans if they spend the vast majority of their lived lives on the Upper West Side.


Very understandable, though IIRC Ray has mentioned having some relative who basically subsists by scamming the welfare system. Which I guess would make the person in question sub-working class.
   1524. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4722539)
I think maternity leave is a far more effective way to promote middle-class multiple children, if that's your goal. The tax code matters but the impact is very small compared to the lifetime change in family earning power that people calculate when they choose to have additional kids now, under our current laws. And that judgment is rational since women in other countries return to the work force and suffer far less long-term economic consequences for pregnancies than US women.

I agree with that too. I'd favor mandatory 6 month maternity leave.

My favorite stupid benefit is the companies that give mothers only 12 weeks paid, but give fathers the same 12 weeks. No you dumbasses, give all 24 to the mother, give the father 1 week.
   1525. bunyon Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4722541)

Very understandable, though IIRC Ray has mentioned having some relative who basically subsists by scamming the welfare system. Which I guess would make the person in question sub-working class.


I'm not sure if that is true or not. But it fits with something I've observed: you find a lot of liberals who don't have any contact with the working poor by virtue of where they live. Yet, in many small towns across America, you find conservatives ready to end welfare completely. My thought is that, while there aren't a lot of moochers, they are there. And if you live in a small town, as I did, they stick out. Just about everyone is busting their ass just trying to make it and the family next door - the one with the sullen troublemaking kids - doesn't work and lives about as well as you. That may not be representative and cutting them off may not be sound policy but I guarantee you it will be how you react to it.

So, to come clean: I am a long way from working poor. Both parents with advanced degrees, never unemployed in my lifetime. Grandfather was a school teacher and then college prof. Other grandparents much poorer but dead long before I was born. But I lived next to and went to school with a lot of kids on public assistance and with parents who couldn't hold a job. As an adult, yes, I realize that even with the assistance we had a much better life and home. But, at the time, it, and they, were aggravating as all hell.
   1526. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4722542)
Oh, but telling some seniors that is a good way to get shot. Those Seniors who want to cut welfare and reduce school taxes (after all they have no school age kids any more) have such a massive psycho/emotional interest in believing that Soc Sec. is a pension/insurance plan that they bought and paid for-

Well, where'd they get that idea?

From Dems, since the earliest days of the program.

***
Immigration can help with your entitlement sustainability problem (cue JoeK and a rant on how I must hate the working class for the increase in supply of labor ...).

A U.S. high school degree is all but worthless and more and more college grads can't find work, but when illiterate Juan from Oaxaca sneaks across the border — BAM! — a great new job is created. It's unbelievable how that works.
   1527. GregD Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4722543)
My favorite stupid benefit is the companies that give mothers only 12 weeks paid, but give fathers the same 12 weeks. No you dumbasses, give all 24 to the mother, give the father 1 week.
Or give control of it all to the mother--as Canada and some other countries do--and allow her to allocate the portions she wants to the father and the portion she wants for herself.
   1528. Publius Publicola Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4722548)
When wealth (or the illusion of wealth created by excessive credit and leverage), was abundant, a lot of people in this country invested it stupidly. That's why we had a housing bubble; too many of us fell for the "Flip this House" okeydoke.


The housing bubble was the way it started. But when a true economic contraction occurs, it is always due to deep and multifactorial structural problems that have been accumulating for decades and need a major correction. the major one today is the unhealthy concentration of wealth that has the dual pernicious effects of sequestration and ineffectual investment.
   1529. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4722550)
Or give control of it all to the mother--as Canada and some other countries do--and allow her to allocate the portions she wants to the father and the portion she wants for herself.

That would be fine too.
   1530. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4722552)
1525 -- Makes me wonder what percentage of my hometown is on some type of assistance these days; certainly it's considerably higher than it was when I was growing up, since the population has dropped by something like 40 percent (presumably those leaving were, by definition, pretty much those who could afford to do so) & the one halfway-major employer lit out for an even more employer-friendly part of the South about 11 years ago.
   1531. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4722553)
And it terrifies me that more people will follow Wade’s lead and use the reality of genetic variation and natural selection in humans to justify to themselves and others whatever it is they want to believe about humanity

And thus the gibbering and frothing. You can address the consequences of a truth without insisting on living in denial of that truth.

Nicholas Wade gives a good, if understandably exasperated, defense of himself. (He knew it was coming, but one can't help feeling hurt as people run true to form, especially when one goes makes great efforts to precisely and painstakingly parse one's explications.)

[/url]Nicholas Wade refutes his critics.

My belief is that opposition to racism should be based on principle, not on science. If I oppose racism and discrimination as a matter of principle, I don't care what the science may say because I'll never change my position. As it happens, however, the genome gives no support to racism, although it does clearly show that race has a biological basis, just as common sense might suggest.

Many social scientists, on the other hand, have long based their opposition to racism on the assertion that there is no biological basis to race. I doubt they personally believe this and suspect that they oppose racism on principle, just as I do. But they believe that other people, less enlightened and intelligent than they, will not abandon racism unless told that everyone is identical beneath the skin. So whenever someone points out that race is obviously biological, defenders of the social science position respond with attacks of whatever vehemence is necessary to get the inconvenient truth-teller to shut up.

For many years this tactic has been surprisingly effective. It takes only a few vigilantes to cow the whole campus. Academic researchers won't touch the subject of human race for fear that their careers will be ruined. Only the most courageous will publicly declare that race has a biological basis. I witnessed the effects of this intimidation during the 10 years I was writing about the human genome for The New York Times. The understanding of recent human evolution has been seriously impeded, in my view, because if you can't study the genetics of race (a subject of no special interest in itself), you cannot explore the independent evolutionary histories of Africans, East Asians and Europeans.

The attacks on my book come from authors who espouse the social science position that there is no biological basis to race. It is because they are defending an ideological position with a counterfactual scientific basis that their language is so excessive.


Exactly. Specifically:

[i[Let's start with Raff, who asserts, "Wade claims that the latest genomic findings actually support dividing humans into discrete races." In fact, I say the exact opposite, that the races are not and cannot be discrete or they would be different species, but it's easier to attack an invented statement.

The human genome points to the overriding unity of humankind. Everyone has the same set of genes, so far as is known. Genes come in the alternative versions known as alleles, so one might expect next that races would be demarcated by alleles. But even this is not the case. In fact, the races are not demarcated at all. They differ only in relative allele frequency, meaning that a given allele may be more common in one race than in another. ****

Because of these characteristic differences in allele frequency, geneticists can analyze the genome of someone of mixed race -- an African American, say -- and assign each segment to an African or European ancestor, an exercise that would be impossible if races did not exist. Also because of differences in allele frequency, researchers analyzing human genetics around the world have found in surveys dating back to 1994 that people cluster in groups that coincide with their continent of origin.

People are making more of this than he is claiming. They’re firing shots at phantoms.

He then deals with the Rosenberg survey. Then with another critic’s objections:

The chief point extractable from Fuentes' review is that since I don't say exactly many races there are, races can't exist. This is a misunderstanding of the nature of continuous variation. People may disagree on the number of colors there are, but that doesn't mean colors don't exist. Humans cluster into five continental groups or races, and within each race there are further subclusters. So the number of human races depends on the number of clusters one wishes to recognize. Contrary to Fuentes' belief, this has no bearing on whether or not races exist.

The wider issue arising from these three reviews is that the social science position on race that they represent is obscurantist, counterfactual and outdated. As I show in my book, understanding the nature of human racial variation lends no support to racism. But such understanding is essential for the simple reason that there is not one story of recent human evolution but at least five different stories, given that the populations on each continent have evolved largely independently of one another since the dispersal from Africa some 50,000 years ago.

By denying the existence of race, social scientists are intimidating biologists from pursuing this path.


What he's saying is easy to follow, if you take the time to read what he writes.


   1532. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4722559)
The best, most comprehensive review of Wade's book is at the journal Evolutionary Psychology. It mostly corroborates what Wade claims about genetics substantiating the diea of races. Indeed, most all people who know something about this, like James Watson, E.O. Wilson, Steven Pinker, and others agree with him on that. Even those who disapprove of his reading of what this means as to sociocultural effect, like Orr and Coyne, agree also that there are biological groups and sub-groups, what can be called races.

I've linked it before, and like before, I'm sure it will simply just fly past the eyes of the usual suspects here.
   1533. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4722563)
Since those early days, when I learned from Napoleon Chagnon, it's seemed to me that CULTURE is a 7-letter word for GOD. Good people—some of the best, and intelligent people—some of the smartest, have found meaning in religion: they have faith that something supernatural guides what we do. Other good, intelligent people have found meaning in culture: they believe that something superzoological shapes the course of human events. Their voices are often beautiful; and it's wonderful to be part of a chorus. But in the end, I don't get it. For me, the laws that apply to animals apply to us.



What scientific idea is ready for retirement? CULTURE! What is it good for--absolutely nothing!
   1534. bunyon Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4722568)
1525 -- Makes me wonder what percentage of my hometown is on some type of assistance these days; certainly it's considerably higher than it was when I was growing up, since the population has dropped by something like 40 percent (presumably those leaving were, by definition, pretty much those who could afford to do so) & the one halfway-major employer lit out for an even more employer-friendly part of the South about 11 years ago.

If you count farming subsidies, my hometown is probably >60% public assistance.
   1535. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4722574)
1531:

The italics after the block quote should be closed at the end of the 3rd parag., after the word "origin".
   1536. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4722576)
I've linked it before, and like before, I'm sure it will simply just fly past the eyes of the usual suspects here.


The nut graf from Morty's link here is this:

Since those early days, when I learned from Napoleon Chagnon, it's seemed to me that CULTURE is a 7-letter word for GOD. Good people—some of the best, and intelligent people—some of the smartest, have found meaning in religion: they have faith that something supernatural guides what we do. Other good, intelligent people have found meaning in culture: they believe that something superzoological shapes the course of human events. Their voices are often beautiful; and it's wonderful to be part of a chorus. But in the end, I don't get it. For me, the laws that apply to animals apply to us.


I really have no idea how this supports his idea of race as something other than sociological construct. It would seem the logical path from "CULTURE is a seven letter word for GOD" is to acknowledge that RACE is the four letter variant of that same nimbus for others.
   1537. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4722583)
Stick with that: you have no idea, and you will have no idea because you do not deign to read, much less address, what Wade actually is writing about, although that does not instill in you a sense of a becoming modesty when it comes to passing overarching judgments.
   1538. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4722584)
I've linked it before, and like before, I'm sure it will simply just fly past the eyes of the usual suspects here.

Your points and posts have been answered repeatedly on this particular issue. You've been told about 100 times that disagreeing with you is the same as not ignoring you.
   1539. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4722587)
Stick with that: you have no idea, and you will have no idea because you do not deign to read, much less address, what Wade actually is writing about, although that does not instill in you a sense of modesty when it comes to pass overarching judgments.


Is this directed at me? Because I haven't made a single argument about the Wade book, chief. It's squarely in the realm of \"#### I don't plan on caring enough to read." If his science is right or wrong is the equivalent of angels on the head of a pin. The only relevant question about the deified notion of "RACE" is what those who deify it mean to do with it to the polity.
   1540. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4722592)
Your points and posts have been answered repeatedly on this particular issue. You've been told about 100 times that disagreeing with you is the same as not ignoring you.

Well, that typo was stupid.

Anyhow. You're more just disagreed with than anything else. Why you think this means you're being ignored is beyond me. You disagree with others, they don't think you're ignoring them.
   1541. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4722605)
In fairness, I have to wonder how many regulars in this thread have direct experience with the working (or for that matter non-working, as in unemployed/unemployable) class. Certainly quite a few do; I suspect quite a few don't.

My parents were married in 1931, and I've got three boxes of letters that they wrote to each other throughout the 1930's when my father was hitchhiking up and down the mid-Atlantic seaboard looking for work. They're painful to read. Pearl Harbor hit the day after he turned 38, and he wound up getting his first real work in years as a short wave broadcaster to the Norwegian underground. He was slated for a good job with the USIS after the war, but was blackballed because he and my mother had (very) briefly been CP members in the mid-30's. So until I was six, my father was more or less reduced to part time work until the Norwegian Embassy gave him an newspaper editorship that lasted until his death. The State Department tried to get him fired from that job, but the Norwegians basically told the State Department to go #### themselves.

Oh, and people who know their Depression era history would recognize this: My mother got secretarial jobs while my father was out of work, but had to lie about her marital status in order to keep them. The rationale was that married women didn't need to work because their husbands were supporting them.

After my father finally got permanent work, we then entered the great middle class, aided in great part by the fact that three of the four basics---housing, health care, and education---were dirt cheap in real dollar terms compared to today. There's not a snowball's chance in Hell that a young couple with their jobs today would be able to afford even the relatively modest middle class life style that they were able to.

Since I got out of college, I've almost exclusively worked for myself, sometimes seven days a week and sometimes only about five or six months a year, during which I made enough for the other six or seven months. Most of my close friends and acquaintances have been either marginal middle class, working class, or people of indeterminate status.** I've been on friendship terms with a number of fairly well know Big Time people before they were Big Time, but once they got to be Big Time we just drifted apart due to their breakneck schedules. No big deal, and whenever I see a new book of theirs appear I always feel a redoubled admiration for people who had a life plan and stuck to it.

**The many hundreds of pool room people I've know have run the gamut from successful businessmen to stereotyped hustlers, and even a couple of first degree murderers, but I've yet to meet a single one who was on welfare. Most of all, though, they're just individuals with individual stories. If I've learned anything in life, it's that there's seldom anything more superficial than trying to judge people by how they make a living, without knowing anything more about them.
   1542. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4722608)
Anyhow. You're more just disagreed with than anything else. Why you think this means you're being ignored is beyond me. You disagree with others, they don't think you're ignoring them.

It's my turn to say I don't know whom you're addressing. My posts are about Wade's claims and contentions, which are not addressed on actual point, although his critics seem to ultimately agree with him, but hate themselves for it, then express a grudge for having to admit he's mostly right.
   1543. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4722610)
It's my turn to say I don't know whom you're addressing. My posts are about Wade's claims and contentions, which are not addressed on actual point, although his critics seem to ultimately agree with him, but hate themselves for it, then express a grudge for having to admit he's mostly right.


If you read all of your opposition wrongly then yes, you can conclude that they all secretly agree with you. It would be more intellectually honest to read your opposition truthfully, though.
   1544. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4722613)
What did I just say in that post you quote? I cited, linked, and quoted Wade. Why do you insist on making it me that is making the claims, claims that aren't addressed as made.
   1545. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4722618)
And, by the by, Rickey!, how would you know, since you pride yourself on loudly proclaiming that it would be beneath you to actually steep yourself in Wade's book?
   1546. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4722626)
And, by the by, Rickey!, how would you know, since you pride yourself on loudly proclaiming that it would be beneath you to actually steep yourself in Wade's book?


I don't have the time or energy to read every wackadoodle book that comes out, Morty. I suspect you fail to keep up on issues less dear to your heart than iconoclastic race-realism that lets you lord your strong intellectual superiority to mere sheep who fear the Truth.

You quote Wade. Others quote folks who disagree with Wade. The disagreement posts strong science in rebuttal, and you dismiss it by posting more Wade. You aren't reading their critiques honestly, Morty. You're writing them off before they're even posted.
   1547. The Good Face Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4722630)
I think maternity leave is a far more effective way to promote middle-class multiple children, if that's your goal. The tax code matters but the impact is very small compared to the lifetime change in family earning power that people calculate when they choose to have additional kids now, under our current laws. And that judgment is rational since women in other countries return to the work force and suffer far less long-term economic consequences for pregnancies than US women.

I agree with that too. I'd favor mandatory 6 month maternity leave.


It doesn't seem to have done much in Europe WRT increasing birthrates. I don't have any ideological opposition to long term maternity leave, but there's little evidence that it actually works.
   1548. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4722632)
Not a surprise to those who were paying attention - Voters Regret ObamaCare, Say Country Worse Off:
Less than a third of voters believes that the government will do a better job with ObamaCare than the VA did managing care for vets (31 percent). Over half believe it won’t (55 percent). Meanwhile, a majority regrets ObamaCare ever passed, and more voters than not say the country is worse off under the law.

By a 55-38 percent margin, people wish the Affordable Care Act had never passed and the 2009 system were still in place. That includes a quarter of Democrats (25 percent), a majority of independents (58 percent) and most Republicans (85 percent).

Over half of voters under age 35 (53 percent) along with a majority of those ages 65 and over (58 percent) regret ObamaCare passed. In addition, by a double-digit margin, more voters say the country is worse off under the new health care law: 44 percent worse off vs. 29 percent better off. Another one voter in four says ObamaCare hasn’t made much of a difference either way (24 percent).

I'm sure someone will be along shortly to explain that the views of the American people simply don't matter, they are stuck with the law because a bad initial decision can't be changed.
   1549. zenbitz Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4722634)
But, again, my original point was not: what kind of scientist should you be to make lots of money? but, rather, if you want to make lots of money, don't be a scientist (or a teacher, or a doctor, etc.). By claiming certain areas as "public" goods, those areas are shut off from money-making and, therefore, lots of bright kids go to other areas.


But what are you going to do? If these are private sector jobs than their salaries will be set by the market rate. And as you already said - it's not like private sector scientists get paid more than the sales guys. The sales guys get paid more because they bring in more revenue. The biggest salaries in ANY industry are in executive management (with the possible exception of Entertainment), and some the biggest are CEOs of biotech/drug companies because they require everything that a regular CEO has and an PHD or MD degree and strong background in the science.

I actually don't think people motivated by money make very good scientists - or probably teachers or doctors, either. Now, teachers are very badly underpaid, but I don't think doctors are, nor do I think they would be underpaid if they were State employees. You could lock their pay to some scale if you wanted to (top 10%?). Grad students and post docs are extremely underpaid, but they are also free to do pretty much whatever they want. They are a lot like Artists in that regard. And if they don't want to continue in academia, they can make a fine living in industry - typically 6 figures.

One of things I like about capitalism is that it's unbiased (theoretically!) in how much money you make. You make what ever you can make. If you want more money, you have to go out and do something that more people pay more for. Is it "right" that Javascript ninjas or Scala programmers get paid 50-100% more than people with more common enginneering skills?

Really the only way (out side of inheritance) to crack the top 1% (maybe 0.5%) is by being an excutive, an entertainer or starting your own company. And we've all already agreed to take away all that excess cash.
   1550. formerly dp Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4722635)
You're more just disagreed with than anything else. Why you think this means you're being ignored is beyond me.
Yeah, but acknowledging that would interrupt the persecution narrative he's trying to craft.
   1551. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4722637)
It doesn't seem to have done much in Europe WRT increasing birthrates. I don't have any ideological opposition to long term maternity leave, but there's little evidence that it actually works.


As income and education go up birth rates tend to go down. As it happens I don't think it is the end of the world if they keep going down. In fact I think our population is likely too high to be long term sustainable as it is, so lower birth rates (and higher income and education rates) sounds good.

We can deal with any problems we hit with that regarding Social Security in 20 years or so.
   1552. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4722638)
You quote Wade. Others quote folks who disagree with Wade. The disagreement posts strong science in rebuttal, and you dismiss it by posting more Wade. You aren't reading their critiques honestly, Morty. You're writing them off before they're even posted.

I deny this. I've read everything that's been posted here, on that roundup of replies and comments linked at Occam's Razor, positive and negative, as well as all the comments at Amazon.
   1553. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4722639)
It doesn't seem to have done much in Europe WRT increasing birthrates. I don't have any ideological opposition to long term maternity leave, but there's little evidence that it actually works.

Well, the countries with very generous maternity programs (France, Norway) do have much higher birthrates than other European countries (Germany, Italy, Spain).
   1554. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4722641)
I'm sure someone will be along shorty to explain that the views of the American people simply don't matter, they are stuck with the law because a bad initial decision can't be changed.


Of course their opinion matters. Just like popular opinion matters regarding gun control, tax rates, subsidies to multi-billion dollar companies and many other things.

But do you think ACA will be repealed in the next two years? I sure don't. Come 2016 it could happen, but I really doubt it.
   1555. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4722642)
I deny this. I've read everything that's been posted here, on that roundup of replies and comments linked at Occam's Razor, positive and negative, as well as all the comments at Amazon.


And if this is true - I have no reason to call you a liar on the brute facts - you read them with the express purpose of supporting your preferred position (Wade) and with the express purpose of denying any rebuttal. So while you may have read them, you did not read them honestly and apply their possible truth values equally. You have a position to protect, and you read in order to protect that position.
   1556. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4722644)
I'm sure someone will be along shorty


Way to display heightism at Bitter Mouse's expense.
   1557. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4722645)
1555:

That's why we have an argument. You can call me on facts and claims, and I can do the same to you. I do not have to not have a position on the matter in contention. But an opponent that doesn't address the argument, merely reasserts that which has been refuted, and that is the gravamen here, is the one not being honest. It's not enough that we just shout past each other.

However, you argue while claiming to know nothing about the book, and to have no interest learning. Others here are just getting their information and views from a filtered, bias source.
   1558. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4722648)
From the polled linked. Favorability:


Bill Clinton (61%)
Hillary Clinton (54%)
Barack Obama (45%)
Chris Christie (33%)
Jeb Bush (33%)
John Boehner (21%)


Maybe ACA is looking safer 2016 and beyond.
   1559. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4722650)
Now, teachers are very badly underpaid

This is no longer true for public school teachers, when you account for the work year, and especially the benefits (great medical insurance with almost no employee contribution, DB pension plan with little employee contribution, post-retirement health care).

It was true a generation ago, but real teacher compensation has gone up a lot.
   1560. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4722651)
That's why we have an argument. You can call me on facts and claims, and I can do the same to you. I do not have to not have a position on the matter in contention. But an opponent that doesn't address the argument, merely reasserts that which has been refuted, and that is the gravamen here, is the one not being honest. It's not enough that we just shout past each other.

However, you argue while claiming to know nothing about the book, and to have no interest learning. Others here are just getting there information and views from a filtered, bias source.


To my knowledge, you've never answered my objection about finding the source for the differential evolutionary pressure on intelligence. Or, even acknowledged that different groups wouldn't evolve different levels of intelligence absent an environment that selected differentially.
   1561. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4722655)
I'm sure someone will be along shorty to explain that the views of the American people simply don't matter, they are stuck with the law because a bad initial decision can't be changed.

Your entire history here seems to suggest that we be governed on the basis of whatever the latest opinion polls say. Why not take it to the next step and have government by plebiscite? Maybe we can start by letting the voters decide how much the rich should be taxed.

Anyway, short term polls are driven by headlines and sound bites. The more significant polls are the ones that will be held this November** and in November of 2016***. Are you planning on dying or something before those two events occur?

**When 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans are up for Senate re-election.

***When 23 Republican seats and only 10 Democratic seats will be up for grabs, when the ACA has had a chance to affect people for more than a few months, and the odds are that it'll be Hillary vs a Tea Party vetted ideologue in the presidential race.
   1562. The Good Face Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4722656)
Well, the countries with very generous maternity programs (France, Norway) do have much higher birthrates than other European countries (Germany, Italy, Spain).


All still below replacement though; in any event, worse than the USA. I agree that incentivizing the middle classes to have more children is a good and worthy government aim, but if we're going to spend money to pursue a goal, I'd like to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck.
   1563. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4722658)
I don't know if wealth redistribution is a core belief among liberals generally,


I do.
   1564. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4722659)
All still below replacement though; in any event, worse than the USA. I agree that incentivizing the middle classes to have more children is a good and worthy government aim, but if we're going to spend money to pursue a goal, I'd like to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck.

France is actually slightly higher than the US in the latest data I could find.
   1565. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4722660)
There is a report from Bleacher Report that Bob Welch has passed away.

   1566. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4722661)
Bill Clinton (61%)
Hillary Clinton (54%)
Barack Obama (45%)
Chris Christie (33%)
Jeb Bush (33%)
John Boehner (21%)


Democrats shouldn't get cocky. If Chris Christie eats Jeb Bush, that makes 66%.
   1567. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4722663)
So "I wonder how many working class people you know" is apparently the new "I wonder how many gay people you know" or "I wonder how many black people you know."

I guess this passes for argument in liberal circle( jerk)s. The standard is not high.
   1568. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4722664)
   1569. zenbitz Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4722666)
What's the financial incentive for the government pharma researchers vs. the incentives for those employed by Big Pharma? Who takes home the most money at the end of the year?


"Line" Scientists in Pharma companies and professors in academia earn about the same. They do get stock options, and bonuses. I would guess University Administration tracks somewhat with middle management in pharma/biotech. Trainees get paid nothing in academia (ca. 40-50K/year for people WITH PhDs) but pharma companies won't hire them as anything other than lab techs without a post doc. You basically cannot advance into management in pharma without a PhD or MD. Managers (Directors, VPs, etc.) get paid much more than Scientists, because doing science is cool and fun and doing management sucks. Just like Deans get paid more than Professors.


And when the government group comes up with a breakthrough drug, what's the retail price of the drug, compared to the retail price of a drug developed by Merck or Pfizer? I know it will vary, but I'm talking about averages and tendencies.


Typically government/academic groups don't have the resources for production or to fund clinical trials, so if they have a good candidate they license it to a big company. Or sometimes start their own small company and hope to get bought).

There are some academic groups that try to develop therapies from libraries of compounds that are ALREADY FDA approved.

I think the question you want to ask is: If the Government did away with patents on medicines, would drugs still get made? Obviously the industry and financial sector have a strong opinion about that.

I actually think that developing specific targeted compounds to fight diseases aka "wonder drugs" is probably at it's zenith. It's like trying to improve urban traffic flow by randomly adding and subtracting traffic lights from intersections.

A real "Manhattan Project" for health will come from a more fundamental understanding of cellular processes and how to manipulate them developmentally. If you can turn any cell back into a stem cell you can solve a lot of medical problems all at once. If you can regrow new organs then you solve most cancers (not brain cancer, for obvious reasons)

   1570. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4722667)
Democrats shouldn't get cocky. If Chris Christie eats Jeb Bush, that makes 66%.

And then if he then pulls a Nelson Rockefeller** on Sarah Palin, the three of them could repeal Obamacare via a Constitutional amendment.

(**Preferred joke: "How did Nelson Rockefeller die? Low blood pressure: 70 over 25.")
   1571. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4722669)
To my knowledge, you've never answered my objection about finding the source for the differential evolutionary pressure on intelligence. Or, even acknowledged that different groups wouldn't evolve different levels of intelligence absent an environment that selected differentially.

You abdicated from the argument back then. But I most certainly did address that, to the extent I understood you, which you have here re-characterized. And I specifically asked you questions, which you never responded to. You are another who has not read the book, refuses to read it, or to read summaries of it, and takes pride in pretending ignorance doesn't matter. That does not instill in me a sense of obligation. I am not your research clerical, who exists to respond to every pettifogging objection you can think of. The answer to your query exists. Not only that, my reply to the way you worded your query back then also exists. Why don't you search for it? And inform yourself generally about Wade's book.
   1572. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4722670)
USA Today Poll - Obama Erred on Bergdahl Release:
Forty-three percent believe the Obama administration made a mistake by trading five high-ranking Taliban commanders held at the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility for Bergdahl, while 34 percent believe it was the right thing to do. The remaining 23 percent had no opinion.

The disapproval margin among veterans was much larger. Of the 128 veterans surveyed, nearly seven of 10 believe the president made the wrong decision; just 16 percent said it was the right move. One-third of veterans say they are angry with Bergdahl, while only 6 percent sympathized with him.

The trade was a tough call that reasonable people may differ on; Obama's big mistake was attempting to mislead the American people on the nature of the deal, not mentioning Bergdahl's desertion and pretending he served with "honor and distinction" while posing with Taliban Dad*.

* I'm reluctant to criticize a parent's efforts to help a child in difficult circumstances, even if the child's own actions created the difficulty, but tens of thousands of Americans were taken prisoner in WWII - how many of their parents learned Japanese or German and adopted the trappings of Nazism? BTW, has that guy shaved yet, or is he still showing solidarity?
   1573. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4722674)
You abdicated from the argument back then. But I most certainly did address that, to the extent I understood you, which you have here re-characterized. And I specifically asked you questions, which you never responded to. You are another who has not read the book, refuses to read it, or to read summaries of it, and takes pride in pretending ignorance doesn't matter. That does not instill in me a sense of obligation. I am not your research clerical, who exists to respond to every pettifogging objection you can think of. The answer to your query exists. Not only that, my reply to the way you worded your query back then also exists. Why don't you search for it? And inform yourself generally about Wade's book.

Yeah, that's what I thought.
   1574. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4722675)
Glad to be of service.
   1575. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4722676)
Your entire history here seems to suggest that we be governed on the basis of whatever the latest opinion polls say. Why not take it to the next step and have government by plebiscite?

I'm only citing polls as an indication of how the next election may turn out. It's the other side that has insisted for about 9 months now that "No One Cares" & "It Doesn't Matter", insisting that ObamaCare is here to stay regardless of public opinion. I beg to differ.
   1576. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4722677)
Top story on the Drudge Report today: someone snapped a cell phone photo of Hillary Clinton's new book being sold at a store at 40% below list price.
   1577. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4722679)
I bought the new Stephen King for 40 percent below list price.

His campaign is doomed, I guess.
   1578. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4722680)
As income and education go up birth rates tend to go down. As it happens I don't think it is the end of the world if they keep going down. In fact I think our population is likely too high to be long term sustainable as it is, so lower birth rates (and higher income and education rates) sounds good.


Oooh, I don't know about that. The problem is that it leads to inequality. As the birthrate for the upper middle class and upper class drops below 2.0 (and I think its well below that now), and as women increasingly are working, wealth tends to concentrate in each successive generation as long as each generation averages below 2 kids. I'm the son of (de facto) two only children, and I had three great aunts/uncles, two of whome died childless. The net result is that after three generations, there is a lot of money left over even though none of these folks were more than middle class. That money ended up buying my parents their apartment, all-cash, which then has apprecated with a CAGR of 10%+ over their adult lifetimes, ignoring the value of their implied rent . . . basically, that money alone would've made them wealthy, ignoring their earned income.

If that money had been spread out over 2-3 children in each generation, it doesn't concentrate and you end up with several secure, well-raised, well-educated individuals (all of whom are likely to be significant net generators of wealth) rather than one independently wealthy person (who almost inherently can't generate as much well as 5-8 college grads who would've inhabited the same generation). This effect grows exponentially with each generation, of course; we're just seeing the first wave of folks out of a time of sub-2 birthrates.

You may argue that confiscatory estate taxes solve for this problem. Well, sort of, but they're far from perfect. Wealth redistribution is woefully inefficient, and one of the advantages of having wealthy folks raise as many kids as possible is that upper middle class folks tend to be educated, well adjusted, and tend to raise more productive children (put differently, productive parents tend to teach their children the tools to be, in turn, another generation of productive adults).

So I've always thought the best solution would be a estate tax with credits for children. Say that you start out with a 75% estate tax for folks with only children. With two kids, that would drop to 50%. Three kids, 25%. Four kids, 0%. In this way, the concentration of wealth has been prevented, but you've incentivized folks who can reasonably anticipate having material residual wealth to have more children (up to a point).
   1579. bunyon Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4722681)

I'm only citing polls as an indication of how the next election may turn out. It's the other side that has insisted for about 9 months now that "No One Cares" & "It Doesn't Matter", insisting that ObamaCare is here to stay regardless of public opinion. I beg to differ.


I've yet to see anyone suggesting the next election is going to be anything but a disaster for the Democrats.

As for ObamaCare, for repeal you need a veto proof majority in the House and Senate. Do your polls suggest you'll get that? If not, it can't be repealed until January 20, 2017. For that to happen, again, you either need a veto proof majority in Congress or a majority along with a Republican president. Current polls have no way to predict the outcome of the 2016 election. Getting something that large repealed that far down the line requires it to be either overwhelmingly unpopular or a president and Congress that don't care. Either could happen, but we're all spitting in the wind in trying to predict it.
   1580. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4722683)
And inform yourself generally about Wade's book.


I don't care about the subject, so don't care about the book or the author, but given how near-hysterically you seem to cling to this thing, I'm assuming the goddamned volume is your ####### Bible. Do you go door-to-door proslytizing, a la Jehovah's Witnesses? Or is the author part of your family?

   1581. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4722684)
I bought the new Stephen King for 40 percent below list price.

His campaign is doomed, I guess.


He would have come up with a much more creative and gory way of murdering Vince Foster.
   1582. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4722685)
And when the government group comes up with a breakthrough drug, what's the retail price of the drug, compared to the retail price of a drug developed by Merck or Pfizer? I know it will vary, but I'm talking about averages and tendencies.

Typically government/academic groups don't have the resources for production or to fund clinical trials, so if they have a good candidate they license it to a big company. Or sometimes start their own small company and hope to get bought).


My question is what the effect would be if such government groups were fully funded.

There are some academic groups that try to develop therapies from libraries of compounds that are ALREADY FDA approved.

I think the question you want to ask is: If the Government did away with patents on medicines, would drugs still get made? Obviously the industry and financial sector have a strong opinion about that.


Not quite, though I can see where you'd have thought that's what I meant. It's what would happen if Merck and Pfizer had to compete with the resources of a committed federal government, which would then set the prices for the drugs they developed with a priority of affordability.
   1583. The Good Face Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4722686)
All still below replacement though; in any event, worse than the USA. I agree that incentivizing the middle classes to have more children is a good and worthy government aim, but if we're going to spend money to pursue a goal, I'd like to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck.

France is actually slightly higher than the US in the latest data I could find.


Even if that's true, we're looking at a bunch of countries that do worse, despite providing better benefits, and one country that might be doing a tiny bit better despite providing much, much better benefits. That's pretty strong evidence that providing extended maternity doesn't really move the dial, or at least has relatively weak effects.
   1584. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4722687)
1580:

My first post today on the subject was the third post today on the subject. Afterwards, I've only written in reply to someone.

And if you don't like it....
   1585. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4722688)
As the Sterling saga turns: He's now vowed to fight the sale and has filed a $1 billion suit against the NBA.

Supposedly this latest change is because the NBA would not rescind the fine or the lifetime ban against Sterling. Dunno, I get the impression he's enjoying the whole process.

Quoting from the USA Today story: he lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

I don't like his odds of prevailing on the first part. The recording may have been illegal, but it was also in the public domain. But I don't think the antitrust argument is DOA (even if I think he's likely to lose, I think he can likely tie things up for quite some time)


Yeah, as I said the first time it looked like he was settling, I'll believe it when I see it. Although the crazy $1.8 or $2 billion price tag, if that reporting is real, would probably offset the tax losses.

But I simply don't believe the $2 billion reporting. Forbes in January thought the franchise was worth $575 million. So why in the world would Ballmer's group pay upwards of $2 billion? It makes no sense. (Granted I know someone high up at Microsoft who wasn't at all impressed with Ballmer's acumen.)

Again from Forbes:

"$1.8 Billion For The L.A. Clippers? That's 3.27 Times More Than Any Other NBA Team, And 120 Times The Team's Operating Income"


Something simply does not add up.

As to Sterling's various legal options, some have merit and some don't, as discussed. I think he has grounds to challenge the forced sale but not the fine/ban. Though I doubt his "they violated my Constitutional rights" argument will go very far. At least, not the capital-C constitution. But his argument that they violated the small-c league's constitution is definitely an argument that has merit for him, even if ultimately the NBA may have the upper hand there.

But it doesn't help that he has to win a legal case against his wife (on the grounds of competency, etc.) on top of prevailing against the NBA. No matter how strong his argument is there (and I don't know), the fact that he has to jump through that hurdle as well lessens his overall chances.
   1586. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4722689)
Your entire history here seems to suggest that we be governed on the basis of whatever the latest opinion polls say. Why not take it to the next step and have government by plebiscite?

I'm only citing polls as an indication of how the next election may turn out. It's the other side that has insisted for about 9 months now that "No One Cares" & "It Doesn't Matter", insisting that ObamaCare is here to stay regardless of public opinion. I beg to differ.


Obviously if what you seem to take for permanent public opinion exerts itself over the next two election cycles, Obamacare might well be repealed.

Care to make a wager on the likelihood of that outcome? For this one we don't even have to wait for Hillary to declare her candidacy. You can even give yourself till the end of 2019 if you wish.
   1587. zenbitz Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4722691)
Like I said before - Wades' problem isn't his science which is OK. It's where he deviates into pure speculation to sell books. Which is essentially the critique posted above - you don't get to be a scientist when it's convenient for your argument. That's thinking like a lawyer or journalist... oh.
   1588. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4722694)
Top story on the Drudge Report today: someone snapped a cell phone photo of Hillary Clinton's new book being sold at a store at 40% below list price.

Same price as on Amazon, where you can also buy used copies of George Bush's memoirs for a penny.
   1589. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4722698)
Yeah, that's what I thought.


I once tried for nearly a week to get him to answer a simple direct question. He is allergic to doing so.

But no he never addressed your central point about the evolution of intelligence, which I thought quite good, actually.
   1590. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4722699)
All still below replacement though; in any event, worse than the USA. I agree that incentivizing the middle classes to have more children is a good and worthy government aim, but if we're going to spend money to pursue a goal, I'd like to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck.


Why is more people the goal we are trying to accomplish? I am not against kids, I have two, but why are we trying to increase the numbers beyond what they are currently?

If we are, then I agree I would like to do it in a sensible fashion. But I am not sure why we want to.
   1591. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4722700)
Why would anyone choose to buy Wade's book when Hillary's book is being given away at 40% off?
   1592. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4722701)
Why is more people the goal we are trying to accomplish? I am not against kids, I have two, but why are we trying to increase the numbers beyond what they are currently?

If we are, then I agree I would like to do it in a sensible fashion. But I am not sure why we want to.


We have a ton of room in this country, far more food and water than we could ever use, and population growth spurs economic growth.
   1593. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4722703)
We have a ton of room in this country, far more food and water than we could ever use, and population growth spurs economic growth.


The first two are more "we could" not "we should" (and the water part is doubtful for large chunks of the country, especially in the midwest and west). And economic growth is spurred many ways (including increased immigration).

I am not asking to be a problem, I am really interested in the why, just like we discussed the why behind a safety net.

EDIT: Plus there are resources other than land and water, including clean air, fuel, biodiversity and so on. World wide overpopulation is a real problem IMO.
   1594. zenbitz Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4722704)
Not quite, though I can see where you'd have thought that's what I meant. It's what would happen if Merck and Pfizer had to compete with the resources of a committed federal government, which would then set the prices for the drugs they developed with a priority of affordability.


It doesn't really seem to make sense. Should the Army try to out compete General Dynamics? I guess the USG could outsource the manufacturing and the administration... but at some point, all you are doing is price fixing, so why not cut out the middle man and price fix? It's all a circular scam anyway -since MOST people don't pay a dime out of pocket for these drugs, they pay for insurance who pays for the drugs.

Pfizer has an R&D budget of about $8B and Revenues of about $13B. Merck has higher revenues but they make a lot more than drugs.
They churn out these days, what, 1 blockbluster ($1B revenue drug) every 2-4 years now? With a lead time of 10-15 years?

The NIH has a budget of $50B. So, yeah, I guess you could totally increase the budget 20% instead of invading 1% of Iraq or whatever. I doubt it would really get you lots of drugs, cheaper. Even socialists countries don't do this.
   1595. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4722705)
Like I said before - Wades' problem isn't his science which is OK. It's where he deviates into pure speculation to sell books. Which is essentially the critique posted above - you don't get to be a scientist when it's convenient for your argument. That's thinking like a lawyer or journalist... oh.

And that's pretty much the consensus. He's got the science down. His speculations as to what that leads to when it comes to traits and features that result in social behavior that results in social institutions is where the objections are, for the most part. And I sympathize with those qualifications. I don't, when it comes to denying the science. However, in his defense, he clearly labels speculations as speculations, just as he warns about the misuses of data to promote racism, but as others have noted, he could have speculated in other areas much more deeply.

   1596. The Good Face Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4722706)
Why is more people the goal we are trying to accomplish? I am not against kids, I have two, but why are we trying to increase the numbers beyond what they are currently?


Because babies, how many your society produces and who is having them, determine your population and your demographics. Population is politics, and demographics is destiny, so attempting to guide the size and composition of a given society's populace is within the reasonable purview of government.
   1597. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4722709)
so attempting to guide the size and composition of a given society's populace is within the reasonable purview of government


So why is more babies the goal? More than replacement level. Including (or excluding) immigration? Replacement for what ages? Do we care whose babies (because snapper seems focused on children of the middle class)?
   1598. Morty Causa Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4722712)
I once tried for nearly a week to get him to answer a simple direct question. He is allergic to doing so.

But no he never addressed your central point about the evolution of intelligence, which I thought quite good, actually.


No. I did answer, except to the extent where I asked for clarification through my own questions. Moreover, if you read the literature online in response to Wade's book, and Wade's book and responses to those responses, you might find your questions answered. However, link to the conversation if you don't believe what I say.
   1599. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4722718)
The first two are more "we could" not "we should" (and the water part is doubtful for large chunks of the country, especially in the midwest and west). And economic growth is spurred many ways (including increased immigration).

I am not asking to be a problem, I am really interested in the why, just like we discussed the why behind a safety net.

EDIT: Plus there are resources other than land and water, including clean air, fuel, biodiversity and so on. World wide overpopulation is a real problem IMO.


Worldwide, sure. But not in this country. We have a huge surplus of surface water in the midwest, southeast, and east, and acres upon acres of farmland lying fallow. We could easily support two or three times the population we currently do. (Though, you're correct, water resources in the west are a special case that limits the population growth there.) Clean air is not materially affected by population growth with proper policies. "Peak oil" is a myth. Biodiversity is a wishy-washy bullshit thing.

Worldwide overpopulation, a huge issue. But the western hemisphere is quite different.
   1600. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4722722)
So why is more babies the goal? More than replacement level. Including (or excluding) immigration? Replacement for what ages? Do we care whose babies (because snapper seems focused on children of the middle class)?

Because a growing population spurs growth, and makes sustaining the welfare state possible. A collapsing population (like Japan) leads to economic stagnation, and stresses gov't finances immensely.
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