Tinkerbell Effect

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This is a term which describes things that are thought to exist only because people believe in them. One of the areas where is it used fairly widely is with money. Money has no intrinsic value. It only works because everyone using it believes that it will continue to work for the foreseeable future.

Populism at its core is built on the Tinkerbell Effect. Populists believe that “crowds” are self-validating. Whatever the crowd believes must be fact because everyone in the crowd shares the same belief.

Science, while it studies the “wisdom of crowds”, has never accepted the claim that belief should replace proof regardless of how popular any particular belief might be.

The modern era began with the introduction of the scientific method in the 17th century. That method requires all assumptions to pass a series of rigorous tests in order to gain credibility. The scientific method created the concept of objective truth. It freed reality from being narrowly defined by popes or potentates. Instead it handed the responsibility of understanding the world to a select group of highly decentralized critical thinkers around the world – experts in their particular fields. These groups are self-selecting based on their areas of interest. Anyone can join, regardless of race, color, creed, or nationality. They simply have to prove through their publications that they have sufficient understanding of the subject matter to be taken seriously by their peers.

When Galileo improved the Lippershey telescope to provide ultimately 30x magnification, he was able to confirm the Copernican helio-centric theory of the solar system. This was a direct challenge to the Biblical claim supported by the Catholic Church that the universe revolved around the earth.

Galileo championed the idea that all of the laws of nature are mathematical. That meant that natural outcomes should not only be predictable, but also repeatable by anyone with a comparable understanding of the underlying mathematics. In other words, you didn’t have to be Galileo to see the moons of Jupiter transit across the face of the planet. You only had to have the same telescope that Galileo had and understand what those dots moving across the image of Jupiter actually represented.

This ushered in a new age where scientists could reliably explain all natural phenomena. Reality was no longer dependent on opinion or dogma. Instead there was (and is) an unbiased group of experts who could not only separate fact from fiction, but were eager to test new ideas even if they questioned accepted theories. This group almost by definition is constantly pushing the boundaries of understanding while simultaneously strengthening those theories that survive rigorous testing.

This group earns the right to test all theories about reality through the professional credentials they acquire, the reputation they have with their peers, and their own success in producing original work that can be duplicated by other experts in the field.

By definition, these experts also know more about their subject than any random crowd regardless of its size.

Therein lies the rub.

Populist movements, including the one in this country, strive to take back the right to determine what is fact and what is fiction. They reject any and all outside groups who suggest that any but their own trusted group can dictate their beliefs.

Here’s why all of this is important.

Trump’s lying is not a character flaw or pathology. It is not a “salesman” characteristic. It IS a deliberate strategy to weaken our collective ability to distinguish truth from falsehood. Steve Bannon summarized this strategy when he said, “The way to deal with [the media] is to flood the zone with s**t.”

Trump’s singular success as a politician has been his ability to create an alternate reality in which he and his supporters live. He has been successful because he is exploiting a weakness in our democracy. That weakness is the power that we invest in the chief executive. An untrustworthy chief executive in our system can acquire a lot of power very quickly. The only checks to that power are congress, the courts, and voters. A free and independent press is supposed to inform the voters so that their choices are fact based.

Trump’s strategy is to delegitimize the press, create an alternate reality where he is the only arbiter of truth, and demonize all those who oppose him. Because he is the President, he has the power to accomplish that. Facts are no longer relevant in this discussion because Trump’s supporters reject experts as biased elites and the press as “the enemy of the people”. Democrats are “traitors” and “evil people”. All those who oppose Trump, in the minds of his supporters, should be “locked up”. The Republican Party has long since abdicated any role in checking the President’s power. Those who might provide leadership have either died or been drummed out of the party. The courts are slowly being bent to Trump’s will too as his appointments flood positions that a Republican Senate majority had kept open during the Obama administration.

The only reliable check that remains is voters. That fact isn’t lost on Trump and Republican either. Trump has already built the narrative that any vote that doesn’t go his way must be the result of a rigged system or voter fraud. Republicans have stepped up their efforts at every level of government to suppress the vote from those who generally vote for Democrats.

This brings us to the current crossroad.

Our country appears to be split.

We have conservatives who vote based on a set of ideological beliefs that they share regarding government, taxes, the free market, and personal responsibility. Whether smaller government actually increases human freedom is never questioned. If tax cuts and deregulation don’t result in faster economic growth, at least they are giving individuals more control over their own property – which seems to be good enough. Conservatives believe that people choose to be poor and that any attempt to mitigate the circumstances surrounding poverty discourages people from putting in the work that would improve their condition. There is no data to support this view either, but put that hasn’t stopped Trump from blaming the poor, immigrants, and people of color for the country’s problems.

Republicans were concerned about debt and deficits when a Democrat was in the White House. Now that Republicans control all branches of government, they are running up deficits and increasing the debt at an historic rate.

Liberals on the other hand are focused these days on achieving a pragmatic balance between the market and the state. They view government as tool to constrain corporate excess. Decisions on each specific issue of government involvement are the result of extensive evidence-based study and a good faith attempt to produce outcomes which benefit the most people. If liberals have a religion it is the belief that science will always produce the best answer. One of the potential outcome of this philosophy is a technocracy where all power as well decision-making is concentrated in a small group of supposed experts. China claims that this is their form of government, but it looks a lot more like an oligopoly because the Chinese “experts” who have the power are also personally benefiting from their decisions. While that isn’t the case in this country, there is a deep suspicion among conservatives that those who are making decisions based on their academic credentials MUST somehow also be benefiting personally from the positions that they are taking. There is no proof to support that claim, but conservatives still insist that “experts” can’t be trusted. This leaves conservatives free to insist that their beliefs are more credible because they are based in “common sense”.

From an ideological perspective, however, modern liberalism in this country may not be well equipped to deal with the anti-state anti-intellectual radicalism that has become the Republican Party. The pragmatic Clintonian Democrats come off as passionless technocrats rather than true believers. This more than anything else explains the rise of the Bernie Socialists. Democratic Socialism is on the rise because it brings a new vision of the expanded role of the state that can match the populist fervor that swept Trump into office. Both the Democratic Socialists and the populists share a deep distrust of what they view as the establishment. They both want to tear it down and build something new.

The populist challenge is they have failed to dislodge the Republican establishment. Instead the Republican establishment has figured out how to ride this populist wave. The result is that the power of establishment has increased. The only difference is that this establishment is speaking in populist terms rather than traditional conservatism. The policies, however, are the same as they have always been.

All indications are that the Democrats will regain control of the House and make significant gains at the state level.

What will that mean for the next two years?

If past is prologue, the path forward is pretty obvious.

Regardless of the election outcome, Trump will double down on his authoritarian tactics. He will try to end the Mueller investigation. He will increase attempts to suppress the 2020 vote. He will refuse to comply with court orders limiting his power. He will refuse to cooperate with congressional investigations. The resulting constitutional crisis will have to be resolved in a Supreme Court where Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote. Whatever the Supreme Court decides will only increase divisions between those who believe in their own views and those who seek the objective reality.

He will crack down on protests and try to further weaken the influence of the press. He may cause an international crisis in an effort to boost his status as a “war” president. He will almost certainly continue his misguided trade war.

Finally, the recession that we have all been waiting for will arrive. Trump will fumble the response and deepen the crisis rather than resolve it. Trump will use the crisis to impose even more draconian immigration enforcement in an effort to blame the failure on Muslims, Hispanics, and the poor. Violence against all of those groups will increase.

Next up a different take on this whole picture.

31 Responses to “Tinkerbell Effect”

  1. Keith says:

    First and formost 3.5%, thoughts? I needn’t remind you of what the progressives and the previous administration said we should get use to?

    I can’t relate one bit to your comments about conservatives above. I know no one whom that applies to.

    Choice Hillary and liberals or trump and two great judges and +3% gdp so far.

  2. Keith says:

    Employment Situation – United States: 250,000

    The labor market rebounded from the hit from Hurricane Florence with more verve than expected. According to the BLS, Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in the payroll survey week, did not depress payrolls in a meaningful way. Payrolls increased by 250,000 while the unemployment rate remained at 3.7%. September’s gains were revised down to 118,000 while August’s strong pace received a further boost to 286,000. Most significantly, wage growth finally crested the 3% mark in October with a year-over-year increase of 3.14%.

  3. Keith says:

    ………and yes the debt is a concern.

    Glad he’s tackling trade with EVERYONE, especially China. We’ll see where that ends up.

    Bigger question is what the Dems do after retaking the house which is likely. If they only go after trump then it will be not well done on their part.

    Hope your well sir. Enjoy the robust economic only. (Obama could have and should have done as much.)

  4. Keith says:

    A Nation in Turmoil Prepares to Deliver a Verdict on Trump – The New York Times

    Some headline huh?

    Can you imagine such a head line and narrative in the article about a democrat?

  5. Keith says:

    At Trump Rallies, Women See a Hero Protecting a Way of Life – The New York Times

    In this article the two female writers simple don’t report what they’ve found but frame it with their thoughts and selected facts. Its all part of the narrative. Maybe the times have written a glowing article about trumps magnificent handling of the economy and reduction of unemployment. I may have missed it. Do you think they wrote one on judge Kavanaugh confirmation and what a great thing it is? I may not have seen it.

  6. Keith says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/01/with-racist-ad-trump-sinks-to-a-new-low/?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_with_top_mostshared_1_na-amp

    See the lead? The ad is “racist.” Nice narritive. Any ad ever call President Obama racist.”

    By the way did you read or hear the comments from the Jews folks in Pittsburg who actually met trump?

  7. Keith says:

    *Jewish people.

  8. Keith says:

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.miamiherald.com/news/business/article221068210.html

    How could ANYONE write this article??? AP by the way.

    Elections are tomorrow. The media, and you, had us believe there was a blue wave coming. There very well maybe but I can tell you as of yesterday’s talk shows NO ONE is calling a blue wave.

    Can we agree on this? Republicans should not lose the senate because the landscape is so much in their favor. If they do I may be calling nauseated a blue wave. If the democrats gain 30 or 40 seats that’s keeping with history of the midterms elections, except for GW and not a blue wave. If the Dems gain only 20-30 then that’s a red wave? 🤔

    Happy voting

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/01/with-racist-ad-trump-sinks-to-a-new-low/?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_with_top_mostshared_1_na-amp

    See the lead? The ad is “racist.” Nice narritive. Any ad ever call President Obama racist.”

    Did you read the top line right next to the bolded PLUM LINE? It says OPINION. This is not news. It is the opinion Paul Waldman. But before we get to what the ad said, let’s deal with your second comment regarding Obama. That comment is an example of the “Whataboutism” that is rampant among Trump supporters.

    The ad is racist because of its content. It doesn’t become any less racist or any less objectionable if Obama or some other person who is not a supporter of Trump did some other terrible thing at some point in the past. There is NOTHING that someone could have done in the past that justifies THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN releasing this add now.

    Trump has said that he supports a revenge culture. If someone hits him, he hits them back harder. This is a brutal primitive largely immoral code of behavior. His supporters including you seem to have adopted this culture. That is sad to see.

    First the facts. Luis Bracamontes is the man in the ad. He is a murderer of two police officers. He is currently facing a death sentence in San Quentin for those murders. He was deported and returned multiple times during years when democrats and republicans were in the white house. He was arrested for the murders in 2014 during the Obama administration.

    Now the lies. Trump’s ad blames Democrats for letting Bracamontes into the country. The last time he crossed the border illegally was during the Bush II administration. There is no evidence that Democrats allowed him to stay. He was deported by both Democrats and Republicans. Even Sheriff Joe in Arizona had him in custody at one point.

    Politifact Rates Trump’s claims as Pants on Fire

    Now the racism.

    Trump’s ad suggests that the migrant caravan of mostly women and children seeking asylum pose the same threat to the country as Luis Bracamontes. The ONLY thing that those in the caravan and Bracamontes have in common is their Latin American heritage. If that point was lost for the casual viewer, a unnamed individual says that they are coming to america to seek a pardon for murder. Then another message splashes across the screen asking who else will the Democrats let in. This is pure and simple race baiting and fear mongering. It is appropriate for people to hold the Trump campaign accountable for creating this disgusting piece of propaganda. It is also appropriate that numerous broadcast channels including FOX declined to run it.

    According to CNN, here’s the motivation for the ad.

    A source close to the White House told CNN’s Jim Acosta that the web ad was produced by Jamestown Associates for the Trump campaign for the midterms and was designed to fit into Trump’s broader immigration push and to change the argument from “family unification to invasion.”

    “It’s clearly working. We are all talking about it and not health care,” the source said.

    That pretty much sums up the problem. In Trump’s world, all is fair game as long as it delivers results.

    By the way did you read or hear the comments from the Jews folks in Pittsburg who actually met trump?

    I honestly don’t care.

    The guy that shot up the place claims to have been motivated by the conspiracy theory that Trump CONTINUES to spread suggesting the George Soros is financing the migrant caravan from Honduras.

    BTW, it’s “Jewish folks” not “Jews folks”.

  10. Jeff Beamsley says:

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.miamiherald.com/news/business/article221068210.html

    How could ANYONE write this article??? AP by the way.

    What’s wrong with this article? Trump is rallying his base. His base is whiter, older, more male, and less educated than the average american. Those are the facts.

    Elections are tomorrow. The media, and you, had us believe there was a blue wave coming. There very well maybe but I can tell you as of yesterday’s talk shows NO ONE is calling a blue wave.

    Can we agree on this? Republicans should not lose the senate because the landscape is so much in their favor. If they do I may be calling nauseated a blue wave. If the democrats gain 30 or 40 seats that’s keeping with history of the midterms elections, except for GW and not a blue wave. If the Dems gain only 20-30 then that’s a red wave? 🤔

    I really don’t care. All that is important to me is that the Democrats gain a majority in the House. That will slow the bleeding until the country has a chance to choose another president. If the Democrats make gains in the Senate, that’s gravy. It will prevent Trump from confirming another SCOTUS judge. Otherwise, there aren’t votes in the Senate to impeach Trump, so the House will serve as a sufficient check on his power to keep him out of trouble.

    I’m actually more interested in the gains that the Democrats will make at the state level. Unraveling the gerrymandering that has been going on will continue to tilt the balance of power back into the hands of the majority. Same goes for rolling back rules republicans have put in place to suppress the vote. That will also bear fruit in 2020.

    Happy voting

    Already voted absentee several weeks ago. I will be doing my duty as a poll watcher tomorrow.

  11. Keith says:

    YS)Trump has said that he supports a revenge culture. If someone hits him, he hits them back harder. This is a brutal primitive largely immoral code of behavior. His supporters including you seem to have adopted t

    MR) President Obama said “if they bring a knife, you bring a gun” amount other things.

    You like to group people now calling me a “whataboitism” that trump supporters embrace…….. Jeff I’m merely pointing out media bias. Most of what I’m posting recently is merely that.

    If you haven’t seen it in this election cycle you never will. Everything all reporting is from the perspective of the Democrats being the “home team”

    Only on Fox is it the other way. There is NO objective reporting anywhere. All are using facts to fix their narrative…

    NBC pulled the ad. I may have missed it but I haven’t seen the announcement where NBC pulled SNL for making a joke about the republican candidate who lost his eye in combat. Have you seen it?

  12. Keith says:

    Look about I cleaned up the Jewish folds. iPhone auto fill gets me way more often then I care to admit…

  13. Keith says:

    YS)
    I really don’t care. All that is important to me is that the Democrats gain a majority in the House. That will slow the bleeding until the country has a chance to choose another president. If the Democrats make gains in the Senate, that’s gravy. It will prevent Trump from confirming another SCOTUS judge. Otherwise, there aren’t votes in the Senate to impeach Trump, so the House will serve as a sufficient check on his power to keep him out of tro

    MR) well that’s no fun. Half of my intrigue of you if how often you predict what will happen. My favorite was, I believe just after 2008 election, “this country will never again put republicans in charge and their party will fade into a minority party soon.” Paraphrasing of course. From that moment on for the next eight years republicans won everything, including dog catcher in every town in the USA, except President Obama won again.

    Personally everyone I know are sick of the far right and the far left. I believe a third party will come up from somewhere if there right person comes forward.

  14. Keith says:

    And sure you care…..😄

    You’ve made many many comments about what would happen the first time voters had the chance to vote against republicans. You may be right. Gotta wait until tomorrow.

    By the way, your comment if made by trump would have had the nightly news re-reading all your comments and end up calling you, in disbelief, a liar.
    So, lighten up on Trump. Watch what he does not what he says.

  15. Jeff Beamsley says:

    MR) President Obama said “if they bring a knife, you bring a gun” amount other things.

    President Obama did not say that. Senator Obama is reputed to have said this at a meeting in Philadelphia. The context was that Phili has the reputation of being a tough city. He was suggesting that the McCain campaign was going to try to use Obama’s race to scare people. He was saying that he would not back down from a discussion on whether or not a black man could be President. That is NOT a revenge culture. A revenge culture is that you strike out at anyone to criticizes you and you hit them back harder than they hit you.

    You like to group people now calling me a “whataboitism” that trump supporters embrace…….. Jeff I’m merely pointing out media bias. Most of what I’m posting recently is merely that.

    You were trying to rationalize Trump’s racist ad by blaming the media for bias by not holding Obama to a similar standard. That is “whataboutism”. This ad is racist because of its content. You don’t need any other context.

    If you haven’t seen it in this election cycle you never will. Everything all reporting is from the perspective of the Democrats being the “home team”

    Sorry this is your own bias. Trump is lying at a prodigious rate. It is the media’s responsibility to hold him accountable for his lies. There is only so much air space out there. If Trump chooses to fill it with lies, there isn’t going to be a lot of space for anything else. Whether or you willing to accept this our not, Trump and his campaign use this as a strategy. I provided a quote to that very affect. How do you change the conversation from the difficult subject of health care on which the Republicans were getting hammered? Invent a national emergency. Release a racist ad. Send troops to intercept a caravan that may never arrive at the border. Threaten to revoke the 14th amendment with an executive order. BINGO – no one is talking about healthcare. The added benefit is that folks like you think that it is all media bias. You are being manipulated by your own bias.

    Only on Fox is it the other way. There is NO objective reporting anywhere. All are using facts to fix their narrative…

    You are wrong here too, but you won’t admit it. It is not a ONE way or the OTHER way. There are news outlets that report the facts. Then there are news outlets that serve as a propaganda arm for the White House. Hannity appeared on stage at a Trump rally for goodness sake. How much more blatant do you need this to be?

    NBC pulled the ad. I may have missed it but I haven’t seen the announcement where NBC pulled SNL for making a joke about the republican candidate who lost his eye in combat. Have you seen it?

    Have I seen an article about the SNL incident? Yes.

  16. Keith says:

    First let me clean up the “if you haven’t seen the bias in this cycle comment.” It’s not about trump and it’s not about my bias. Last night on CNN and MSNBS, the most outwardly liberal of the liberal, each had commentators frustrated with the polls. They said “again the polls under represented republican candidates in big races outside the margin of error.” They also said it’s not often it goes the other way. And Jeff the polls even tightened at the end just like they seem to do often. So the Mainstream media follows those races and talks up the dem candidate and brings national attention to them.

  17. Keith says:

    Things I hear last night.

    David Axelrod – trump and the republicans have been greatly benefited by John McCains late night thumps down. “Can you imagine them defending why the took the ACA apart while running for office?”

    Carl Rove after Nancy Polosi speech. “most of those that flipped rublican seats in the house we’re moderates who promised not to vote for Nancy Polosi for Speaker. Now the first thing they’re going to do is go to Washington and break their promise.

    Can Jones was leading cheers about the diversity that was elected. Rick Santorum said “Of all the biggest races where media darling progressives ran they lost.” The two in FLA, the Governor race in Georgia and Beto in Texas. He went on to say single payer and calling names “racist, islamaphobe homophobia won’t get it.

    I think I called the election fairly well. Trump performed a bit better then a normal mid term President certainly better then President Obama. Anything can happen going forward. Who knows? Certainly not me. Meanwhile the trump economy is rocked and they keep the senate and will confirm many more judges!

    Note – why aren’t the voters of Michigan being called resist for not voting for the black gentleman in Michigan running for the senate or in Maryland the black female in Maryland by 150,000 votes? They’re racist and sexist. I don’t hear the media saying that. In fact where was the media in those races leading up to the election in those races? He would have made history by being the first black senator from Michigan if I’m not mistaken. Why no love for them? Do you see any clearer how media bias can work? Look no farther then in senate race in Michigan Jeff.

  18. Keith says:

    As to transactional – if the New Democrat senators who promised not to support Nancy P come to Washington and VOTE for her, that would be transactional. Yes?

  19. Jeff Beamsley says:

    First let me clean up the “if you haven’t seen the bias in this cycle comment.” It’s not about trump and it’s not about my bias. Last night on CNN and MSNBS, the most outwardly liberal of the liberal, each had commentators frustrated with the polls. They said “again the polls under represented republican candidates in big races outside the margin of error.” They also said it’s not often it goes the other way. And Jeff the polls even tightened at the end just like they seem to do often. So the Mainstream media follows those races and talks up the dem candidate and brings national attention to them.

    Not going to make any attempt to defend broadcast media (with the exception of PBS).

    These are all opinions.

    If you have evidence where NYT, Wash Post, or Christian Science Monitor displays behavior that you feel reflects what you call mainstream media bias, please post and we can discuss.

    BTW Fox IS part of the mainstream if only because of their audience size. CLEARLY they have a pro-Trump bias. So that example alone should call into question your premise.

    Now for a moment to the other end of the spectrum.

    The White House appears to have posted an altered video that first appeared on Infowars to support their claim that Jim Acosta had “put his hands on” a White House intern. IMHO this is a very troubling development. These days it is very easy to alter photos and videos. One of the reasons why Infowars has been barred from sites like Youtube and Twitter is because they post altered content as genuine. When this sort of stuff starts to come from the White House, we have taken another step toward authoritarianism. Not only is Trump saying that he is the only one who can be trusted (I can provide the quotes if you need them). His White House is now creating its own content to support their narratives. NO MAINSTREAM MEDIA SITE DOES THIS. Why should the White House get a pass?

    https://www.businessinsider.com/jim-acosta-video-white-house-appears-from-infowars-2018-11

  20. Jeff Beamsley says:

    As to transactional – if the New Democrat senators who promised not to support Nancy P come to Washington and VOTE for her, that would be transactional. Yes?

    Maybe.

    IMHO, that’s just lying on the part of the elected official.

    What IS transactional is if the voters in that particular elected officials district or state continue to support the representative that lied about their opposition to Pelosi because that representative was effective in some other way that the voters considered more important.

  21. Jeff Beamsley says:

    David Axelrod – trump and the republicans have been greatly benefited by John McCains late night thumps down. “Can you imagine them defending why the took the ACA apart while running for office?”

    Sort of a backhanded way of looking at it. What I saw was a remarkable level of outright lying from Republican candidates who had previously promised to repeal the ACA and replace it with something better. Trump’s response was to fabricate a border crisis. As a result, his base turned out to vote too. But it is clear that Healthcare WAS on the ballot and Republicans had no answer. The result is that the House will start passing legislation to strengthen the ACA. That will force Republicans into clear votes that will be very difficult for them to defend in 2020. It will be very interesting to see how Trump will respond if any of that legislation passes.

    Carl Rove after Nancy Polosi speech. “most of those that flipped rublican seats in the house we’re moderates who promised not to vote for Nancy Polosi for Speaker. Now the first thing they’re going to do is go to Washington and break their promise.

    Can Jones was leading cheers about the diversity that was elected. Rick Santorum said “Of all the biggest races where media darling progressives ran they lost.” The two in FLA, the Governor race in Georgia and Beto in Texas. He went on to say single payer and calling names “racist, islamaphobe homophobia won’t get it.

    Just noise. Not interested.

    BTW, the races in Georgia (massive voter suppression) and Florida are still not over. If the Dems win, does that change your view?

    BTW BTW, Beto has been criticized for promoting a progressive agenda even though a more centrist agenda might have made a difference in Texas. There is a lot of discussion about what sort of a campaign should be run against Trump. Beto’s campaign was a dry run of how a charismatic young person can mobilize a generation with a progressive agenda. He’s the real deal. The only question is whether or not the baby boomer generation is ready to hand power over to the next generation. If so, 2020 would be a change election. The issue would not be Trump. It would be that it is time to put younger people in charge. It would be a campaign of hope against a campaign of fear. By 2020, millennial voters will finally outnumber baby boomers.

    I think I called the election fairly well. Trump performed a bit better then a normal mid term President certainly better then President Obama. Anything can happen going forward. Who knows? Certainly not me. Meanwhile the trump economy is rocked and they keep the senate and will confirm many more judges!

    You may want to read a little more on what happened. Trump mostly did well in states where he won big in 2016. I don’t recall that he had any significant victories in swing states. Democrats, on the other hand, moved the needle nationally about 10% in their direction. In swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and PA, that was sufficient to flip a lot of seats locally and nationally. It was about half the shift that occurred in 2010, but democrats also had the headwinds of gerrymandering to deal with. So a 10 point shift and retaking the house was a good outcome and a resounding rejection of Trump. NYT has a good interactive graphic that tells the story.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/07/us/politics/how-democrats-took-the-house.html

    As far as the economy and judges, I’ll post something in more detail in the future. The quick summary from my perspective is as follows. Trump made this election about himself. It was not about the economy. It was not about the judges that have been confirmed. It was not about healthcare, though the democrats tried to make that the issue. This was a referendum on Trump because that’s how he wanted it. The democrats proved that they could turn out their voters, but Trump’s referendum strategy turned out his voters too. The result was good for democracy to the extent that there were a lot of people voting. It will be harder for Trump to win these sorts of elections going forward because as more democrats gain control in the swing states that decided the election the last time, there will be fewer opportunities to suppress the vote. Also demographics are turning more states purple, so the 2020 map will be more challenging than the 2016 map. All that said, Trump has proven that he can win close elections when the election is about him. He will continue to rely on that strategy until it stops working for him. Democrats have to figure out how to pick some issues that will peal away from of Trump’s support while at the same time preserving their own base. That’s why they are going to focus on healthcare and infrastructure for the next two years. It will also be interesting to see what happens when the economy slows (inevitable).

    Note – why aren’t the voters of Michigan being called resist for not voting for the black gentleman in Michigan running for the senate or in Maryland the black female in Maryland by 150,000 votes? They’re racist and sexist. I don’t hear the media saying that. In fact where was the media in those races leading up to the election in those races? He would have made history by being the first black senator from Michigan if I’m not mistaken. Why no love for them? Do you see any clearer how media bias can work? Look no farther then in senate race in Michigan Jeff.

    Race and gender weren’t issues in the Senate race. James could have been white/female and would have suffered the same fate. Stabenow does a great job of bringing home the bacon, particularly for farmers. As a result, she got 52% of the vote while Whitmer’s 50.5% of the vote reflected more the basic democratic majority in the state. Those “extra” votes came from Republicans who voted for Shuette for governor but voted against James for senate. You could say that it was Republicans who didn’t want to vote for a black guy, but I think it was testimony to the fact that Stabenow does a good job for her constituencies.

    Sorry no sale on the media bias. You keep trying to beat that drum but you are missing the mark.

  22. Keith says:

    You missed my point of the want to be black senator candidate from Michigan. WHERE was ANC NBC CBS CNN MSNBC prior to the election championing the guy and celebrating diversity???? Answer because he’s GOP. See the bias? They really aren’t interested in diversity, only Dems. In fact and I don’t know the answer and I’m only guessing Wash Post? NYT?

    And your reasoning for his defeat is probably correct.

  23. Keith says:

    Trump’s insults toward African Americans echo ‘historic playbooks,’ critics say – The Washington Post

    That’s the headline.

    All true, he said them all. But who says race has anything to do with it? He calls everyone a name. But see the w-post narrative? It’s call framing.
    And you know this. One day everyone will stand on there own and race will have nothing to do with it. Obviously that day isnt today for the w-post

  24. Jeff Beamsley says:

    You missed my point of the want to be black senator candidate from Michigan. WHERE was ANC NBC CBS CNN MSNBC prior to the election championing the guy and celebrating diversity???? Answer because he’s GOP. See the bias? They really aren’t interested in diversity, only Dems. In fact and I don’t know the answer and I’m only guessing Wash Post? NYT?

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/20/john-james-black-republican-trump-us-senate-michigan

  25. Jeff Beamsley says:

    First and formost 3.5%, thoughts? I needn’t remind you of what the progressives and the previous administration said we should get use to?

    The massive tax cut has stimulated the consumer economy. It did so at a great cost to our long term financial health. It was pretty much like living on energy drinks. For a while you do great. But eventually all of that sugar and caffeine burns up your stores of energy and you crash.

    While there has been a little wage growth, many more companies used the money to buy back their stock rather than raise wages.

    Even more troubling is that there has been very little NEW business investment. Little in expansion. Little in modernization. Little in R&D. Instead we are seeing a lot of acquisition activity. While that might be nice for the owners of the acquired companies, it usually results in a net loss of jobs as duplicate functions (usually accounting) are eliminated.

    As a result, once the effects of this tax cut wear off, we will return to the fundamental underlying growth rate of 2% – 2.5% that we had prior to the stimulus. That’s because there is NOTHING going on right now to indicate that companies are making the sort of investments that would support the sort of higher productivity required to grow at a faster rate AND the increase in interest rates combined with the slow growth in wages is going to make it difficult for consumer spending to sustain these higher growth rates. We are already dealing with very high consumer debt, so that alone could cause consumers to slow down if there is any hint that the economy is cooling.

    Wash Post summarized it well.

    The big picture, though, is how little Trump has done to change our long-term economic outlook. His tax cut certainly seems to have juiced growth this past year, but since it wasn’t paid for, it has also made the Federal Reserve raise rates enough that its net effect should be pretty close to zero by the end of the next year or so. Unless, of course, companies do start investing far, far more than they are right now.

    I also wanted to address your suggestion that Trump was some sort of economic genius because he was able to create this level of growth while others including Democrats were predicting something far more modest.

    IMHO, what Trump and the Republicans did was hugely irresponsible. We won’t know how irresponsible until the next recession.

    We are in effect eating our seed corn by increasing our debt at a time of economic expansion. We should instead be using this time to increase taxes, invest in infrastructure, and reduce our debt by running deficits that are less than the rate of GDP growth. That’s what Obama did in his last four years. That is the plan that the Democrats were proposing.

    Trump blew all of that up. We’ll see how foolhardy that is when the next recession hits. If it is even close to the severity of the last one, we may find it difficult to borrow the money we need to stimulate the economy which puts us at risk of the recession turning into a full blown depression.

    When that happens, I hope you will have the character to admit that this stimulus was foolhardy.

  26. Keith says:

    YS)We are in effect eating our seed corn by increasing our debt at a time of economic expansion. We should instead be using this time to increase taxes, invest in infrastructure, and reduce our debt by running deficits that are less than the rate of GDP growth. That’s what Obama did in his last four years. That is the plan that the Democrats were proposing.

    Mr)I’m not following. You e suggested many time when the economy is slow we should cut taxes and in good time raise them. Ok. So President Obama’s in slow times, most of his 8 years he RAISED taxes. Absolutely the opposite of what you e suggested. So trump took over less then two years ago with an economy we were told would never had good growth rate again, raised taxes, as you’ve suggested we should do in slow times which did produce an expanding economy. Tell what I’ve missed. Trump has done what you e suggested and Obama didn’t.

    As an aside I saw steve Bannon interviewed by Bill Mahr. Really good. He said trump wanted to raise to top rate to 44% in income over $5 or $8 million bit was told no go by the republicans. What trump wanted more then anything was the lower Corp rate to make us more competitive with China and Germany. Trade trade trade!!!!

  27. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Mr)I’m not following. You e suggested many time when the economy is slow we should cut taxes and in good time raise them. Ok. So President Obama’s in slow times, most of his 8 years he RAISED taxes. Absolutely the opposite of what you e suggested. So trump took over less then two years ago with an economy we were told would never had good growth rate again, raised taxes, as you’ve suggested we should do in slow times which did produce an expanding economy. Tell what I’ve missed. Trump has done what you e suggested and Obama didn’t.

    First a quick clarification. By focusing on taxes by way of comparison, I perhaps offered too narrow a scope of actions.

    IMHO, the appropriate actions of the government are to stimulate the economy during times of economic downturn and slow the economy (raising taxes, increasing interest rates, paying down the debt, etc.) during times of expansion.

    Second, your claim that Obama raised taxes throughout his term is inaccurate. Politifact did a good review of that in 2016.

    Figures from the CBO and the Tax Policy Center show that average tax rates have risen under Obama, but part of the reason is that Obama also allowed some special tax cuts enacted during the recession to expire. If you go back to CBO figures before the recession and compare them with figures after it ended, the average household tax rate was about the same in 2006 as it was in 2013.

    He did cut taxes as part of the initial stimulus package. He did raise taxes on those earning more that $400K a year as the economy was recovering.

    Third, your comment is another example of “whataboutism”. Even if Obama failed to follow prudent fiscal policy (which he didn’t), that still wouldn’t be any excuse for Trump to follow the reckless plan that Republicans passed. Our debt is increasing faster than even conservative estimates have predicted. Trump has basically said that he doesn’t care because by the time this becomes a crisis, he will be out of office. I think that he is right, but not in the ways that he meant. This is going to be a problem in 2020 and, if he survives until the end of his first term, I don’t believe that he will be re-elected.

    Finally, it doesn’t matter what Trump may have tried to do. It didn’t happen. Obama had much more ambitious plans with regard to jobs and infrastructure that likely would have addressed the slow wage growth that you hold him accountable for. The Republican Congress was opposed to everything that he proposed regardless of its affect on the american people. In politics, there is no try, only do.

  28. Keith says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Nee Year Jeff. I hope your new permanate home in the north will be a blesss to you and your family.

    Easy in your response and read carefully what I said. Obama inherited an economy that was in free fall. Your concept would have had him lower taxes. He didn’t in any measure fashion. At no point in his 8 years would it be said he had any consistent strength. Again your concept would have him lower taxes, he raised them. Trump inherited a slow economy and he followed YOUR advice and LOWERED taxes. My comment was intended to be a “wharaboutism” as you’ve suggested but rather your lack of calling out President Obama in the same harsh fashion you’ve called out Trump. My comments are rarely directed at anyone but you.

    It will be interesting to see if at the end of Trumps 4 or 8 years if he’s increased debt is similar in measure to Obama’s and GE’s, who each doubles roughly the size of the debt. That would mean Trump would get $19 trillion or so of new debt to be equal to theirs.

    I still have one honest question, if the money flowing to the treasury is a record how can the deficit be exploding at the rate it is? I really don’t know where to get those numbers. That must mean spending is exploding. Again I don’t know where to find those numbers.

  29. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Nee Year Jeff. I hope your new permanate home in the north will be a blesss to you and your family.

    Thanks and best holiday wishes to your and yours.

    Easy in your response and read carefully what I said. Obama inherited an economy that was in free fall. Your concept would have had him lower taxes. He didn’t in any measure fashion.

    I posted a Politifact article which documented the middle class tax cuts that Obama passed. If you didn’t like that one, here’s another one with more detail.

    https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/sep/07/barack-obama/barack-obama-said-hes-cut-taxes-middle-class-famil/

    Obama has raised some taxes during his presidency, but he’s also pursued broad-based tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses. We particularly give weight here to the tax cuts that were part of the stimulus and the payroll tax holiday, which reduced taxes for broad swaths of the workforce.

    At no point in his 8 years would it be said he had any consistent strength.

    Your bias is showing again, but I’m curious what you would consider “consistent strength” and what presidents do you feel did display it.

    Less than a month after exiting the White House, Obama received high marks from presidential historians for his pursuit of “equal justice for all” and for his commanding “moral authority,” ranking third and seventh among all former presidents in each respective category. The 44th president also cracked a top 10 ranking for his “economic management” and public persuasion.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/all-time-best-president-united-states-rankings-235149

    By comparison, Bush II is 33, Clinton is 15, and Bush I is 20. Though he isn’t listed on this survey the two polls of historians that DO include Trump rank him as the worst president in history.

    Again your concept would have him lower taxes, he raised them.

    He did raise taxes once the economy started to grow again.

    Trump inherited a slow economy and he followed YOUR advice and LOWERED taxes.

    Nope, this is revisionist history. Trump inherited an economy with record low unemployment that was growing.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/25/for-the-last-time-trump-inherited-a-good-economy-and-he-hasnt-made-it-better/?utm_term=.17a4b4478304

    Which brings us to the point at hand: In the past 45 years, only one president has inherited a better economy than Trump did. That was George W. Bush, who took office at the tail end of the tech bubble, when unemployment was a mere 4.2 percent. Trump has been luckier, though, in that his term didn’t begin just as an economic expansion was ending. On the contrary, the slow and steady recovery that President Barack Obama kick-started with the stimulus has continued under Trump — just a little slower and a little steadier than before. Indeed, as you can see below, the economy added almost 3.5 million jobs in Obama’s last 16 months in office, compared with just under 3 million jobs in Trump’s first 16 months.

    My comment was intended to be a “wharaboutism” as you’ve suggested but rather your lack of calling out President Obama in the same harsh fashion you’ve called out Trump. My comments are rarely directed at anyone but you.

    That may be your intent, but they are two different arguments. My claim is that Trump has behaved irresponsibly with regard to the economy. Your only defense is that Obama behaved irresponsibly as well. That’s “whataboutism”.

    It will be interesting to see if at the end of Trumps 4 or 8 years if he’s increased debt is similar in measure to Obama’s and GE’s, who each doubles roughly the size of the debt. That would mean Trump would get $19 trillion or so of new debt to be equal to theirs.

    If you mean GB rather than GE, then yes it will be interesting. Doubling, BTW, is the wrong metric. The metric is the percentage of the debt as it relates to the GDP. If you recall, in the last couple years of the Obama administration debt as a percentage of GDP went down because taxes went up and spending went down. That’s widely regarded as the best economic policy in a growing economy.

    I still have one honest question, if the money flowing to the treasury is a record how can the deficit be exploding at the rate it is? I really don’t know where to get those numbers. That must mean spending is exploding. Again I don’t know where to find those numbers.

    You have been spending too much time in the conservative information bubble. Individual income tax receipts did go up, as a result of population growth and low unemployment. But that increase was BEFORE Trump’s tax cuts took effect. After the cuts took affect, individual receipts were down and corporate tax receipts went WAY down. Here’s the politifact details.

    https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/aug/17/patriot-news-alerts/did-us-have-record-tax-haul-after-trump-tax-cuts-s/

    For the three months of fiscal 2018 prior to the tax cut, individual income tax collections rose by 10.8 percent over the equivalent period from 2017. But the rise for the seven months after the tax cut was 6.7 percent.

    And if you look at total tax collections from every category, rather than just individual income taxes, the picture is even worse. During the seven-month period after the tax bill passed, total receipts actually fell slightly compared to the equivalent period in 2017, by about a tenth of a percentage point.

    Perhaps the most revealing comparison takes in the May-to-July period, because it excludes the spike in payments in April, when most Americans pay taxes on income generated in 2017, before the tax law was passed. During that period, individual income tax collections fell by about 1 percent compared to 2017.

    The bottom line is that this was another example of the failure of supply side economics. Now that the short term effects of that tax cut are wearing off, the future is look far less rosy.

    https://www.ft.com/content/4b20cad6-021f-11e9-99df-6183d3002ee1

    “We have had a big fiscal push — a big increase in spending, and a big increase in the deficit due to tax cuts,” said Alan Auerbach, an economics professor at University of California, Berkeley. Despite the current strength of the economy, the prognosis down the road was less encouraging. “We are on a very unstable fiscal path”.

  30. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I still have one honest question, if the money flowing to the treasury is a record how can the deficit be exploding at the rate it is? I really don’t know where to get those numbers. That must mean spending is exploding. Again I don’t know where to find those numbers.

    Here’s a more detailed explanation.

    The federal deficit spiked $92 billion in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, a 41-percent increase over the same period of 2018, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

    The GOP tax plan slashed revenues relative to spending, which increased as part of a bipartisan spending deal. Total receipts rose by less than 1 percent, shrinking as an overall share of the economy. Corporate taxes, in particular, plunged $9 billion, or 15 percent.

    Outlays, in the meantime, spiked $93 billion, or 9 percent.

    Mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were also major contributors to the deficit, accounting for a combined $17 billion of the increased spending.

    According to CBO, the level of the deficit spike is somewhat overstated because payments were not made at the same time because the last fiscal year started on a weekend. If the payment dates had been aligned, spending would have been $49 billion lower, and the deficit would have risen $47 billion, or 21 percent.

    That spike remains significant. CBO has projected that the nation’s debt load will hit 96 percent by 2028 if there are no policy changes.

    Notably, interest payments to service the existing debt surpassed $100 billion. The price tag increased by 19 percent over the same period last year in part because interest rates were higher, but also because the overall debt had risen.

    The White House estimates that the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion this fiscal year, which runs through September 30.

    In summary, Trump and Republicans passed a big corporate tax cut and followed that up with a spending bill (which Democrats also voted for) that didn’t cut spending. Revenues increased 1% (more people working). Spending increased $93B (9%). Medicare, SS, and Medicaid were responsible for $17B of that increase (which is significiant). But the majority of the increase was discretionary spending (looking at you defense department).

    The specific $93B number is inflated because income tax payments were delayed this year until April 17th (I think). But that additional income will show up this quarter. The bottom line is that we are spending more than we are receiving in taxes. The big corporate tax cut is NOT paying for itself, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

  31. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Just another bit of data on the tax cut from a detailed article in the NYT

    Data released this week by the budget office provides the first complete picture of federal revenues for the 2018 calendar year, when the tax cuts were in full effect. (The government’s 2018 fiscal year included three months from the end of 2017, when most of the tax cuts were not in effect.)

    In the inaugural year of the tax cuts — with economic growth accelerating and the jobless rate falling to an 18-year low — federal revenues from corporate, payroll and personal income taxes actually fell.

    That’s true whether you adjust revenues and growth for inflation — or not.

    After adjusting, it looks even worse. Revenues fell by 2.7 percent — or $83 billion — from 2017. Contrast that with the last time economic growth approached 3 percent, back in 2015. The economy grew by 2.9 percent after adjusting for inflation that year — and tax revenues grew by 7 percent.

    The way most economists “score” a tax proposal is to ask how it would change revenue levels compared to what you would expect the government to collect if the tax cut had not passed — what economists call a “baseline.”

    In the summer of 2017, for example, the budget office projected that the economy would grow by 2 percent in the 2018 fiscal year, and that personal, corporate and payroll taxes would add up to $3.24 trillion. Then the tax cuts passed, growth accelerated and, for the 2018 fiscal year, tax revenues fell $183 billion — or 5.6 percent — short of that projection.

    In other words, the tax cut made revenues 5.6% worse than they would have been if nothing was done.

    Hopefully that answers your honest question of why this is a problem.

    BTW, I already answered your question regarding record collections. That was a cherry picked number that biased news organizations used to suggest that data coming from government sources couldn’t be trusted.

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