Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Derp Is A Decision

In his on-going discussion of derp in economics, Paul Krugman said:
Events and data may have made nonsense of claims that the Fed’s policies would inevitably produce runaway inflation, and made those insisting on such claims look like fools; but there’s a large audience of people who, pulled in by affinity fraud, live in a bubble where they never hear about such evidence. Truly, we live in a world in which people feel entitled not just to their own opinions but their own facts.
A lot of people in that bubble do hear about the facts and complain endlessly that they can't avoid them. Many of derpdom's denizens want to learn about the enemy's sins, real and imagined, and seek out more information to win the water cooler discussion or Thanksgiving dinner. They are the reason Megan McArdle is paid so much money to disseminate propaganda; the right needs ammunition in their eternal war, even if it's complete bullshit. The right often fights as hard as it can to deny reality and facts. They're derps not dupes.

Let's take a look at a couple of comments from a post by Barry Ritholtz about some economic zombie lies:
chains & shackles • a day ago 
Mr. Ritholtz studied eloquence can probably make most of his readers believe Marx and Mao and their central planning, social engineering redistribution ideology works stunningly well. Sometimes journalist cream rises to the top; sometimes it's not cream, you tell me what it is. That we are regularly exposed by Bloomberg to bias illogical journalism where it believes that since it controls the stage it should control the argument is despotic and deleterious.  
Ritholzt's lead point that we do not have inflation and a currency collapse is right; however he is right for the wrong reasons. The discussion presented by Ritholz, Bloomberg et al, does not tread near the reality that endless QE has actually stifled the economy, that entrepreneurs who understand economics can't be fooled, that we can't print trillions and have zero ramifications. Fed-Keynesian-leftist policies have slowed the flow of money (multiplier) so much that there can not be inflation. Lack of money velocity slows the economy and this in turn slows commodity demand and in turn pressures the dollar upward. No inflation and a strong dollar yes; but right for the wrong reasons.  
Ritholtz ponzi advocation is sad. It is remarkable that he uses this as an example of those who have been wrong and have failed to admit it. The Bloomberg editorial staff, journalists and commentators crawl over each other to see who can tout statist and 1920's flapper irresponsible policies the loudest. This is a cancer not enlightenment. Economic logic states the artificial dance can not continue despite such high and brilliant pontificating  
Neutral Observer > chains & shackles • 5 hours ago   
I would call you an idiot, but that would not be fair to the rest of the idiots globally.

Farcaster • a day ago  
Glad to see this sort of article! It's about time folks on the conservative side admit they are simply wrong on their entire budget and economic agenda, mainly because they ignore Keynes: "The Boom, not the Bust, is the right time for Austerity at the Treasury."  
The conservative myth list continues to grow:  
1. Tax cuts increase revenues. 
2. We have a spending problem not a revenue problem.  
3. Climate change is neither risky nor man-influenced.  
4. Fannie & Freddie / government housing policy were a primary cause of the crisis.  
5. Austerity in a downturn helps confidence/can kickstart growth.  
6. Fiscal stimulus doesn't help create jobs or boost gdp.  
7. The free market will self-regulate.  
8. Income inequality doesn't matter to economic growth.  
9. QE/Fed stimulus will create runaway inflation.  
10. Our debt problem is severe enough to merit a government shutdown.  
I mean, how wrong does an ideology have to be before it loses all credibility and is excluded from government? And when will the middle class and poor elements of the conservative electorate realize they are voting against their own interests, helping enrich those at the top? Do they really think Koch & Co. is in their corner, while Obama fights for a hike in the minimum wage and infrastructure stimulus? Yes, low taxes and small government sounds great, until you realize the rich get 23% of the income versus the 10% they got from 1950-1970. Effective government is there to prevent the rich from sticking it to the poor.  
Teddy Roosevelt, where are ya?  
Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame > Farcaster • a day ago  
1. Tax cuts increase revenues. True, with a few caveats.  
1) Obviously, the length of timeline matters. Within the first fiscal cycle, revenues will decrease, but over the long term, revenue increases with lower taxes because there is an increased incentive to work harder and produce more.  
2) Even with the added incentive to work harder, the Law of Diminishing Returns does apply, because 0% taxes won't being in more revenue that 1% taxes.  
3) What is certainly true, and constantly reproven, is that the US is unfortunately on the upper side of the Laffer curve: we are above the optimum point of tax revenue return, and so cutting taxes from the current rate will inevitably result in higher revenue...just as it obviously did with the Bush tax cuts. It is axiomatic that revenue will always be higher if taxes are lower than where Progressives/Democrats want them. Which is why Progressives/Democrats are always reduced to sputtering about Economic Patriotism on the occasions when they get their way: their tax policies invariably undermine tax collection. (see: inversion)  
2. We have a spending problem not a revenue problem. This absolutely true. There is simply no way to honestly or seriously say we have a revenue problem. Just look at the numbers. We spend more and get worse government performance in any metric you care to point out. The Progressive answer is always to spend more, but we never get better performance, no matter how much Progressives spend. The only spending that is effective is when tax revenues go to line the pockets of Progressives, which is why they think we don't have a spending problem.  
3. Climate change is neither risky nor man-influenced. There has never been a time the climate has been static. It might be risky, but it has only been "proven" by those paid to produce exactly that result, in violation of the scientific process. Which makes the advocates just as questionable as the advocation. Man's influence might be more than a rounding error in light of natural effects (although physicists rightfully point out man is part of a closed system whose only energetic input is the Sun), or it might not...again, the only people who have "proven" anything differently are those who are benefiting from "proving" it.  
4. Fannie & Freddie / government housing policy were a primary cause of the crisis. They were. There is not even the slightest indication the financial crisis was precipitated by anything but the result of Progressives not understanding the results of their "social justice" fantasies. Reynolds' Law. Google it.  
5. Austerity in a downturn helps confidence/can kickstart growth. It absolutely does. See: Germany, 2009  
6. Fiscal stimulus doesn't help create jobs or boost gdp. It doesn't. There is no proof it helped. The only scoring that claimed the Stimulus created jobs was one that assumed that for every n amount of dollars spent, v job would be created, so since xn amount of $ were spent, it must have created xv jobs. If Stimulus had created jobs, why are we at the lowest labor participation in decades? Why is GDP still in the doldrums? Never trust anyone who says: this is a different time, and the old rules don't apply.  
7. The free market will self-regulate. It is absolutely true that the free-market generally self-regulates on a fine scale more effectively than the government can. So government can and should establish the broad parameters of the free market: "Within this space, and within these limits, do as thou wilt". You aren't going to be able to fix a large crane with an eyeglass screwdriver...but you aren't going to be able to fix your glasses with a sledgehammer or monkey-wrench. No one has ever said, "Get rid of government and let the market do everything." That is a strawman argument Progressives like to trot out, though. But many people have correctly observed that the more government regulates, the less effective it is, the more injustice it creates, and the more opportunity for graft is created. The last one is why Progressives like ever-increasing government regulation, maybe? The biggest Democrat names over the last 2 decades have also been the best shake-down artists and/or top players in the government-dependent crony system.  
8. Income inequality doesn't matter to economic growth. Some people prefer that everyone's amount of pie gets larger, even if their own slice gets smaller, because the pie is expanding exponentially. These are Conservatives. Some people would prefer to have a larger piece of a smaller pie. These are Progressives. Some people see standard of living in absolute terms: i.e, is my life better now than 40 years ago because I have 2 HD flat-screen TVs, a reliable car, safe housing, A/C, internet, etc, even if I have moved to a lower economic quintile? These are conservatives. Some people are motivated by envy and jealousy. They might be perfectly happy with their car, house, televisions, A/C...until they see someone else with a bigger car, bigger house, bigger TV, etc. They don't care what they have, they only focus on people who have more, especially if those people with more don't have the "correct" ideology. These people yearn to put everyone in the correct place, according to their own personal value system, which (of course!) puts that individual on the very top of comfort. These people are Progressives. Notice one thing: "income" inequality. Why is it "income" inequality rather than "wealth" inequality? Because "wealth" inequality would hurt too many Progressives.  
9. QE/Fed stimulus will create runaway inflation. Strawman. QE/Fed stimulus has created inflation. That's undeniable to anyone who shops for food. Runaway? Admittedly not yet, but that was never the argument. The argument was that the QE/Fed Stimulus would cause harmful inflation, and it already has done that...the Federal govt changed the way it measures inflation to exclude food and as long as you don't eat or use any energy at all, you won't experience inflation. In the real world, however, inflation is a reality. The only reason it hasn't been more harmful is that interest rates have been kept artificially low for almost a decade now. So at this point, all we've done is delay the inevitable. That can go on quite a while, but all it means is you've shifted the consequences, not eliminated them.  
10. Our debt problem is severe enough to merit a government shutdown. Meh. It is always possible to kick the can down the road. At some point you have to say "enough!" The real issue of the govt shutdown was that the GOP wanted Obama to keep his promises, and he refused. Obama was so determined to betray his own promises that he was willing to shut the govt down over it. But since 95% of the news media voted for him and is committed to his agenda, the GOP gets blamed for trying to help Obama keep his word. It is telling that you aren't even self-aware enough to care that Obama made a mockery of your support for him.
These commenters have assembled elaborate pseudo-scientific justifications for greed, racism, and/or vanity. They know the facts, they just don't care.

It's not about facts or reality; it never was. It's about having enough power to force everyone else to live in your reality.


Anonymous said...

I hate to ask but what does it mean for our future? If the information is there but a large percentage of the population chooses to be this stupid, what hope is there for a better country? It's not that they have not consulted the latest research on a topic, it's that the research just does not matter unless it's from the Heritage Foundation. How do you fix this problem? More facts, research, and knowledge does not shrink the stupidity bubble.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's be a whole lot easier to fight off Derpdom if "our" side would do a better jerb for us.

But they don't. Most people haven't made out like the banksters since the banksters broke our economy.

And that makes it easier for the derpsters to succeed.

And succeed they will, just like in 2010. I expect I will be blamed for being an emoproggie and purity troll. But heck, I'm used to it.

Susan of Texas said...

Our side needs to fight back and some people are actually doing it. For all his faults, Paul Krugman is telling people to call liars liars, to mock those who think they can browbeat us into letting them lie us to death.

We do have some options. The right has a weak point: the billionaires don't want to give the tea party what it wants any more than the Democratic party wants to give progressives what they want. Depending on deliberate stupidity can backfire.

We can't be stronger than them but maybe we can weaken them at pivotal points.

Eventually however we'll have to convince the billionaires that we'll kill them if they don't share the wealth. A couple of high-profile assassinations, some mansion-looting, and a few chaos events (threats of random death) should do it.

cynic said...

Everyone has a pet theory. So do i. We suffer from too much information. Everyone has access to everything so everyone is free to interpret it any which way they want and sound legit doing it.

Kill the Internet.

NonyNony said...

cynic -

If you're right and too much information is a problem the democracy is fundamentally flawed and so is any kind of market-based economy no matter how much regulation and intervention you apply.

I think you're wrong, personally. I think lack of education and lack of empathy are the problem and both are being slowly tackled. And things are much better now than they were 100 years ago and will be much better in 100 years than they are now. But it's a tough slog for someone who only gets the hundred year span between and has to deal with the two-steps-forward, one-step-back nature of progress.

Susan of Texas said...

The right has its pivotal moment of indignation--the hippie era. We have ours--Reagan's "greed is good" era. Followers obey and if their leaders were forced to pretend to modest about wealth, once a conservatives quality, the followers would follow.

Wealth shaming, to fight their poverty shaming.

KWillow said...

Not "TMI" but too many lies, propaganda, crazed hate-driven philosophies. Very poor 'noise-to-information ratio'.

A lot of it started when Regan killed the "fairness doctrine". Conservatives hate fairness.

One problem is that so very many people LOVE being lied to, prefer the yummy junk-food info to healthy fruits & veges facts. I recall back in the 1970s wondering why politicians were such sickening liars, and then realizing: People (even some liberals) WANT lies.

Thats why Arglebargle and Loadpants and Douchehat and David Brooks are doing so well, never mind the Fox stable of rabid skunks.

Lurking Canadian said...

First, and most important, Susan I am delighted to see you back in the game. Sorry it took me until now to notice.

Second, the post by "Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame" is so awful and so in need of supporting evidence, that it almost moved me to wade into the swamp. It took me about five minutes to think of solid rebuttals to each of the claims he made, and I just literally spent my entire drive to work trying to solve some exponential growth problems in my head so I could demonstrate just how ridiculous the "tax cuts increase revenue" claim was.

Megs is not good for very much, but if her objective is to raise my blood pressure, she's a frickin genius.