It’s Just Rhetoric!

Recoiling from fusillades directed by Hilary Clinton’s campaign and those media pundits with a keen bullshit-o-meter, Barack Obama’s campaign began backpedaling as fast as it could.   Now that Texas and Ohio’s primaries have been handily conquered by Clinton’s campaign, it seems Barack didn’t backpedal fast enough.

It has been widely reported that Obama’s chief economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, reassured Canadian diplomats the comment in Obama’s recent speech before the Texas and Ohio primaries concerning NAFTA was just rhetoric and political posturing , not to be confused with actual policy change prognostications.

Well daaaaa!   When a car salesman lies to you, he’s just selling , when a lawyer lies to you, he’s just fighting for his client , and when a politician lies to you it’s just rhetoric.

Not so well schooled or educated of the proper etiquette to label such white-collar transgressions, I just call these guys liars.   I guess that’s why I work in a machine shop instead of an office!

Since Democratic politicians can only advance their agendas by subjugating measured analysis of societal concerns and promote the emotional and hyperbolic sort of rhetoric that makes people’s blood boil, I thought it might be interesting to learn more about Obama’s chief economic adviser.

Economics is the science of understanding why people act the way they do, and how political policies effect people’s actions and hence affect the movement of goods and services throughout an economy.

Austan Goolsbee is an economist by training, and has excellent credentials with a degree from Yale and a Doctorate from MIT.   He certainly knows his science shows it is difficult to reconcile most Democratic ideas with successful economic policy.   So how can he be a Democrat?

Among his notable accomplishments, Goolsbee is a prolific columnist and has opined on health care, Michael Moore, taxes, and Milton Friedman among other subjects.

Some of his writings are informative, but some are clearly flavored by the Democratic rhetoric he must undoubtedly endure to keep his post as the most liberal presidential candidate’s chief economic advisor.

Two reports by Goolsbee screamed at me with propaganda:

What Happens When You Tax the Rich?   Evidence From Executive Compensation

For the Super-Rich, Too Much Is Never Enough – New York Times

The first report is thirty pages long and right up front acknowledges the Executives studied make up a small sample, but that this sample can account for as much as 20% of the aggregate change of wage and salary income.   That still leaves 80%.

Furthermore, the study is no prognosticator of how that other 80% is going to react to tax increases, making the whole exercise unimportant if the idea is to suggest we can raise taxes without hurting the economy.

Executives of large corporations, unlike the owners of small businesses, do not have the versatility in their policy initiatives to make broad and sweeping strategy changes just to affect their personal income.   Therefore, any conclusions the report draws are erroneous.

For the Super-Rich, Too Much Is Never Enough is clearly a propaganda piece which makes ridiculous assertions and antagonizes the class-warfare debate with dishonest argument.

The piece makes this preposterous statement:

Mr. Ellison’s net worth last year was around $16 billion. And it will probably be much bigger when the list comes out in a few weeks. With $16 billion and a 10 percent rate of return, Mr. Ellison would need to spend more than $30 million a week simply to keep from accumulating more money than he already has, to say nothing of trying to spend down the $16 billion itself.

For a well educated economist to make such a hyperbolic statement can be viewed only as disingenuous.   For starters, just try to get a guaranteed rate of return of ten percent on any amount of money, let alone $16 billion.   It involves risk.

Ellison’s net worth is held mostly in stock, it may pay dividends, but it cannot earn interest unless it is converted to cash (of which the government will take taxes), deposited in a bank and loaned out.   FDIC only insures accounts for $100,000.00, so keeping that kind of cash in a bank could be far riskier than keeping the asset as stock.

Goolsbee goes on to lament Ellison’s expenditure of 100 million dollars on a private residence, adding in the negative and dishonest comment that it only takes three weeks to earn that money on interest paid on his fortune.

In 1999 Forbes Magazine rated Bill Gates net worth at 90 billion.   At ten percent annual return, Mr. Gates should preside over a fortune of 212 billion dollars today, but it is only 56 billion.

The theme of Goolsbee’s New York Times piece is that wealthy people are greedy hoarders, as if to suggest there is some point where  businessmen should cease to make good monetary decisions and squander their fortunes.

Just the title, For the Super-Rich, Too Much Is Never Enough, says something nefarious about Goolsbee’s intention, and that it was published in the New York Times ought to say something about his political agenda.

For someone making 200k a year, why do they want to make 300k a year?   For someone making 50k, why do they want 100K?   When you amass a million dollars in savings, somehow you shouldn’t endeavor to amass two million?!?

Goolsbee never explores or seems to anticipate any positive side effect which takes place upon the creation and accumulation of wealth in the form of job creation, development of new technologies, or more tax revenue, etc.   He lauds Warren Buffet’s donation of his fortune to charity suggesting that others who don’t do the same are somehow malevolent.   (I had a few words about Buffet’s donation to charity myself Dear Mr Buffet,)

Goolsbee finishes the piece with the weak and disappointing conclusion it isn’t for the reasons that everyone else saves money… and the ridiculous a bit like having enough nuclear weapons to blow up the world reaffirming there are clandestine and wicked aspirations possessed by rich people.

Goolsbee’s reasoning is absurd and the piece is sophomoric at best.   What should we expect from a man with a graduate degree from Yale and a PHD from MIT; I guess if he is Barack Obama’s chief economic advisor, not much.

Recognizing Goolsbee is not a complete idiot, we can only conclude this piece is just political posturing and Goolsbee has subjugated his analytical skills to stay in good grace with that most liberal presidential candidate.

Perhaps Mr. Goolsbee has not betrayed his science, perhaps he really does know things like preventing free trade will hurt our nation wholly, and perhaps his little article about the super rich isn’t his accurate and sincere analysis of wealthy people, It’s just rhetoric.

 

 

Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo

56 thoughts on “It’s Just Rhetoric!

  1. Psychology and anthropology are studies of why people act the way they do. Economics is a study of trade.

    Bill Gates donates an enormous amount of money through the Gill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a $38.7 billion endowment, and yet is still somehow super wealthy.

    It seems to me than when a middle-class shopworker argues with an Ivy League-educated PhD in Economics over… economics, the man who has dedicated years to the explicit, in-depth study of economic systems will be right. But no, when the PhD uses his vast knowledge to disagree with the middle-class worker, it is because of a LIBERAL CONSPIRACY

  2. Economics is a social science that studies the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Not to be confused with psychology or sociology which study what you describe. If you can’t get the simple facts right, perhaps you should remain in your “machine shop”, and stop wasting your time pooping on the blogosphere!

  3. John and Crumb,

    What do you think causes goods, services, and money to move around in the economy?

    You guys need to read a book.  Any good definition of economics always includes the word behavior, either of firms or individuals.

    Economics could just as well be called the study of human nature.

    I’m going to have to install an idiot meter to keep you children from commenting.

  4. From answers.com:

    Anthropology—The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans.
    In other words, study from an historical perspective.

    Sociology—The study of human social behavior, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society.

    Psychology—Subtle tactical action or argument used to manipulate or influence another: He used poor psychology on his employer when trying to make the point.

    Similar to economics in terms of human study, but more concerned with the interactions between individuals and relationships than individuals and economic outcomes.

    You lazy bastards can’t even do a simple internet search before disparaging my work?

  5. John and Crumb,

    It’s no wonder Republicans have a tough time winning elections when guys like you are allowed to vote.

    I want both of you to get your mommy’s permission before commenting on this site again.

    This forum is for adults and you both need parental supervision.

  6. My sentiments exactly Jim.

    Those two employ the typical liberal style of argument. Don’t debate the facts, just come back with personal attacks and/or question your intelligence.

    I know many “well educated” people that have a complete lack of common sense and lack the ability to apply all that education in any meaningful or productive way in the real world. I call it “book smart – world stupid”. Goolsbee seems to me to be a perfect example of that.

  7. psy·chol·o·gy /saɪˈkÉ’lÉ™dÊ’i/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[sahy-kol-uh-jee] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun, plural -gies.
    1. the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.
    2. the science of human and animal behavior.
    3. the sum or characteristics of the mental states and processes of a person or class of persons, or of the mental states and processes involved in a field of activity: the psychology of a soldier; the psychology of politics.
    4. mental ploys or strategy: He used psychology on his parents to get a larger allowance.
    [Origin: 1675–85;

  8. JeffT,

    You are so right about being “book smart – world stupid”. But in some cases they are even book stupid and rely on 10 second emotional pitches made to them from Move On adds and Michael Moore propaganda. I’ll give you an example.

    I was a military officer for a few years before I left and went to graduate school. It was one of those “Ivy” league schools but since I was getting my MBA I was at the business school so I wasn’t surrounded by total Marxists. Anyway I was around some of the smartest people I ever met in my life but one of my exchanges at a social function went like this:
    “what did you do before you came here?”

    “Oh I was a US military officer”

    pause, studying me for character errors or nervous twitches…

    “but you seem so nice.”

    “what do you mean?”

    and in all seriousness she said “I just don’t she how you could kill innocent people”

    “you’re a f**cking idiot, goodbye”

    Ok, the last sentence was just uttered in my mind but I just couldn’t believe the ignorance of so many of the “smart” people I was around.

    sigh….I fear for our great Republic.

  9. This is a sad testament to the nature of public discourse today. Instead of debating the issue in a collegial manner, people default to name calling to support their position. The only thing name calling accomplishes is to further inflame the discussion and distract from the central issue. Unfortunately, it is representative of the downward direction our country has slid. It seems that we cannot interact on any level or in any public setting without reverting to personal attacks and demeaning language. There was a time when I enjoyed engaging in such debate when people could support their arguments with actual facts and sound reasoned thought. Those days are long gone and I now find myself avoiding such debate due to the risk of being labeled or being personally attacked simply because my position may be different than someone else. I don’t expect this situation to change any time soon so I have lowered my expectations for “change” and can only hope that some event will lead us all to an enlightened climate of constructive debate and a healthy respect for each other as human beings.

  10. Robert, your observation on civil discourse is acurate. And I too, had in the past refrained from entering public discussions. Although, I can no longer stand by and allow things to go unanswered or unchallenged. I’ve made up my mind that political correctness can not be a one way street, and anyone that has any type of discussion or urgument with most of those on the left knows exactly what I’m talking about. Never had much use for political correctness to begin with. One the simple rules that I live by: “Say what you mean, and mean what you say”. I that hurts people’s feelings, so be it.

    With that said, I understand Jim’s frustration in dealing with some of the posts on this site.

    Case in point: Crumb’s arguments on psychology actually help prove Jim’s observatins on the study economics.
    From Crumbs last post: “3. the sum or characteristics of the mental states and processes of a person or class of persons, or of the mental states and processes involved in a field of activity: the psychology of a soldier; the psychology of politics.” – I believe the study of economics could be inserted in to the definition.
    Unfortunaltey, for some reason Crumb and John don’t, or won’t recognize that.

    The point being, to excel at any profession you have to be abe to understand and deal with human nature, either singularly or as a whole, therefore their “psycology”.

    Jim’s argument that Goolsbee is either a well educated idiot (my words), or is politically posturing is right on.

  11. Need to add to my last post.

    In agreeing with Jim’s assesment of Goolsbee, I need to add that people like Gollsbee are dangerous, even more so when they are advising what could be, god forbid, the future president of our nation.

    In reading my last post I noticed some garmatical and typing errors. For that I appologize. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m an engineer, not an english major. Sorry.

  12. Nice piece, Jim. Well researched and astutely presented. I especially liked your analogy of the salesman, lawyer, and politician.

    Reminds me of a logic progression I read years ago : I am stubborn, they are obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool…I guess it just depends on your perspective.

    As an aside, what are your thought re McCain’s Veep..? Rice, Lieberman, Romney, Pawlenty, Steele ( my pick ), Crist, or none of the above..?

  13. Back on topic, since nobody knows what Psychology is, this is still not a convincing article. The entire thing says that Goolsbee is wrong without ever saying why, and calling him a “democratic propagandist” because he is saying something that you disagree with but did not prove false.

    “Austan Goolsbee is an economist by training, and has excellent credentials with a degree from Yale and a Doctorate from MIT. He certainly knows his science shows it is difficult to reconcile most Democratic ideas with successful economic policy. So how can he be a Democrat?”

    “Some of his writings are informative, but some are clearly flavored by the Democratic rhetoric he must undoubtedly endure to keep his post as the most liberal presidential candidate’s chief economic advisor.

    Two reports by Goolsbee screamed at me with propaganda:”

    There are different schools of thought in economics, not that it’s an exact science anyway. Just because one highly educated and regarded economist disagrees with a middle-class Reaganomist does not make him an evil co-conspirator in the plot to destroy America. You have to PROVE that he is a lying propagandist and PROVE that the ENTIRE Democratic Party stands for an economic policy that has been PROVEN beyond a doubt destructive before this article moves beyond empty rhetoric.

    • Beatty, What Has Happened To Obama’s Dream Team? Right on, . . . when guys like Goolsbee, capable or not, brain dead or not, jump ship well berfoe they should and in the middle of a recession sliding into a full blown depression, it is a very telling sign that there are serious problems inside the Administration. The problems and confusion are probably more dire than have ever echoed within the walls of the Oval Office since it was built. We can look forward to some hair raising stories once some of these people get the guts to write about what they found once inside the circle of incompetence.This ship jumping is also a very obvious tell tale of a defective leader, . . . ask any CEO or any thinking human with a modicum of common sense.Reply

  14. and FYI

    ec·o·nom·ics /ˌɛkəˈnÉ’mɪks, ËŒikÉ™-/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[ek-uh-nom-iks, ee-kuh-] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun
    1. (used with a singular verb) the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind.
    2. (used with a plural verb) financial considerations; economically significant aspects: What are the economics of such a project?
    [Origin: 1785–95; see economic, -ics]

  15. How can something that involves humans and their infinitely complex and unpredictable actions ever be considered a ‘science’ in any proper definition of the word? The very premises that mainstream (that is to say, neoliberal) economics start from are fundamentally misconceived.

    Psychology is the study of the human mind and how it works. Neoliberal economics is the extrapolation of a certain school of Psychology – the rational thought school (a very disputed school it must be said) – into a wider social context to claim that groups of humans will all act in the same way as an individual might. This assumption, while good for creating theoretical frameworks, is demonstrably fallacious when it comes to empirical reality.

    Clearly Jim has only ever read his Economics 101 textbook and treats it in a similar way to how he treats the Bible or the American constitution – as a holy text that is not to be analysed but to be followed slavishly word for word based on a particular reading of it regardless of context.

    P.S. jetff: Isn’t ignoring your opponents’ arguments and asserting that they are idiots in need of ‘parental supervision’ “just com(ing) back with personal attacks and/or question(ing) (your opponent’s) intelligence” as well?

  16. Matt and Crumbunist,

    It seems to me this article does a pretty good job showing Goolsbee is in fact a “disingenuous propagandist” trying to suggest the rich are evil and greedy.

    “The piece makes this preposterous statement:
    Mr. Ellison’s net worth last year was around $16 billion. And it will probably be much bigger when the list comes out in a few weeks. With $16 billion and a 10 percent rate of return, Mr. Ellison would need to spend more than $30 million a week simply to keep from accumulating more money than he already has, to say nothing of trying to spend down the $16 billion itself.”
    Followed by:

    “For a well educated economist to make such a hyperbolic statement can be viewed only as disingenuous. For starters, just try to get a guaranteed rate of return of ten percent on any amount of money, let alone $16 billion. It involves risk.”
    And then this:

    “In 1999 Forbes Magazine rated Bill Gates net worth at 90 billion. At ten percent annual return, Mr. Gates should preside over a fortune of 212 billion dollars today, but it is only 56 billion.”
    Finally:

    “The theme of Goolsbee’s New York Times piece is that wealthy people are greedy hoarders, as if to suggest there is some point where businessmen should cease to make good monetary decisions and squander their fortunes.”
    These all seem to be pretty sensible statements that make Jim’s point that Goolsbee is using his degrees to promote a political agenda and suggest “the rich” have some nefarious purposes.

    But then again, what do I know, I’m just a degreed economist from a not so impressive, not east coast university?

  17. Ignoring that the rich are so very rich because they are very good at taking the right risks [Warren Buffet comes to mind], I have already pointed out that Bill Gates spends an enormous amount of money through philanthropy, and has probably lost a lot as Microsoft has entered expensive businesses [HD DVD, video games] It is not unreasonable to believe that the wealthy will, yes, become more wealthy, nor to believe that they may do so at an average rate of 10% a year.

    And if Economics cannot predict a mere +/-10% change in wealth, if “risk” is so great and wild that Economics becomes a simpering wuss before it, then it can hardly be considered an accurate science, can it? Not even as accurate as the much-reviled Meteorology.

    And there’s always the chance that wealth can increase by 20%, or 50% [A wise investor who chose Google would fit in here].

  18. Jim, I read your comments about university education and wonder if you have ever been. Do you have a degree? You can say that degrees don’t matter, and in some cases they don’t, but by and large they do. I am a music major, and although I learned a lot by myself, I have learned so much more from my professors. I can only imagine that while a self-educated economist can accumulate lots of knowledge, they could not attain as much as someone who spends their life studying economics. Think about it. While you’re working hard at your business, that economist is studying the economy. He simply has more time and resources to devote to his education than you. So, that being said, how can you know more than he?

    • Obama doesn’t want to be SEEN working with Republicans .but atnprepaly Obama IS working secretely with Republicans on at least one TAX BREAK.Obama is considering a temporary cut in payroll taxes that employers pay on wages.Obama did admit that working with the Republicans in Dec. 2010 resulted in policies that worked!OBAMA: Some of the steps that we took during the lame duck session — the payroll tax, the tax breaks for business investment in plants and equipment — all those things have helped. Reply

  19. Crumb,

    You certainly seem to be hell bent on degrading the finances of the rich through excesive taxation.

    There are a couple of topics that haven’t shown up on this thread.

    Like, what do you have to say about those that are powerful in our great country but find it either necessary or prudent to hide their wealth off shore? Hienz-Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and George Soros (just to name a few) come to mind.
    And yes, I’m sure there are some on the republican side of the isle that do it as well, but they are not calling for massive taxation to “the rich”.

    Then there is the 80-20 rule. I’m a firm believer that if you take all of the wealth and distribute it evenly, within a relatively short period of time the 20 percent will end up with most of the wealth again. Just a fact of life buddy. Get used to it.

    And please let me know who decides what “their fare share” is? I see different percentages thrown around, but it should be quite obvious that the “rich”, any where from the top 20 on up, pay the majority of the income tax already. Just when is enough, enough?

  20. Thanks for the strawman, but I’m not actually arguing any of those points. I’m arguing that this article is not written with “superior wisdom and logic” but is an appeal to emotion, or, at worst, propaganda.

    Another thing I just noticed: “this sample can account for as much as 20% of the aggregate change of wage and salary income. That still leaves 80%.

    Furthermore, the study is no prognosticator of how that other 80% is going to react to tax increases, making the whole exercise unimportant if the idea is to suggest we can raise taxes without hurting the economy. ”

    If you believe that, then you can’t believe any statistics you see anywhere except a complete census of the population. Almost all statistics are done with a sample. For all you know, there are only four American CEOs who hide their wealth offshore. If you aren’t going to believe the methodology of statistics, then you can’t prove that X percent of the population would hide their money from higher taxes. For all you know, the unsurveyed population would have a social conscience and pay the taxes they owe.

    Statistics [and economics] cannot predict human behavior, only trends of behavior, based on samples. Most national surveys, for example, will only survey a tiny percent of the national population, but because they’re selected from different demographic backgrounds, the sample can accurately represent the national trend. Having 20% of salary change accounted for seems like a pretty decent sample to me.

  21. Crumb,

    You are retarded.

    This article doesn’t include the words “superior wisdom and logic” and the study this article refutes takes a very specific group (corporate CEO’s) and suggests their actions will mirror that of anyone with high income, which I explained in this piece, it will not.

    You have left dozens of responses on this site and I cannot recall one time in which you directly have engaged an argument or theme about which I have written.

    You seem to know how to read words, but don’t understand the meaning of sentences made up of words.

  22. You must have missed all the times I was disputing your arguments and themes. see: #62, #61, #60 etc etc etc

  23. You also must have missed where the abstract said that those wealthy persons without stock options did not react strongly to tax rate hikes.

  24. Crumbunist, you are the man! I enjoy watching you wreck the faulty logic of these ignorant people. Keep it up! Don’t let them get you down!

  25. David,

    The fact that you learned so much from your professors shows in your arguments.

    The old axiom is–those who can’t do, teach.

    Additionally, I never said I know more than the economist. As a matter of fact, that is what makes this piece powerful. I have a rudimentary knowledge of economics and can still pick apart the error in this economist’s arguments, and demonstrate such by asking questions neither you nor Crumb will engage.

    The sum of your retort comprises, “He has a degree and you don’t, so he must be right.”

    I’m sure you did great on the debating team.

  26. The simple fact of the matter is that you have NOT proved that you are right and Goolsbee is wrong, but simply stating that you are right and he is wrong. Whereas Goolsbee has produced a structured scientific study, you have only asserted your own truth as THE truth.

  27. Crumb,

    Get off the whacky weed.

    How do you know Goolsbee’s study is scientific?

    I’ve made simple observations which show Goolsbee’s observations questionable.

    Why isn’t Gate’s worth 212 billion if anyone can get 10% interest?

    You’re a typical lib. If I say white, you say black, if I say good, you say bad.

    You have no standards and I’m an off my rocker to continue arguing with someone who has no intellectual integrity.

    I’m out of breath…

  28. Jim,

    sigh…….You missed the point completely. My professors HAVE DONE AND CAN DO! They started teaching AFTER BEING SUCCESSFUL IN THE REAL WORLD! Google Roland Carter. He’s one of my teachers. A piece he composed is the wake up call for our astronauts this year! Every spiritual you have ever heard has been influenced by him. As for my voice teacher, I TOLD YOU that he had leading roles in major operas in America and Europe for 30 years! They have done. My point is, have you?

  29. Oh and answer the question. Did you GO to college? Cause at the end of the day if you didn’t you don’t know what you’re talking about!

  30. P.S.

    I don’t rely on “old axioms” to form the basis of my opinions. I only rely on facts. Pure facts.

  31. And yes by the way, if someone who didn’t have a degree in economics argued with someone who did, I would laugh and say they were fools. It’s the same as if you tried to argue with me about music theory. The state of Tennessee invested a lot of money in me to make sure I know my stuff. Do you even know how someone obtains a doctoral degree? I don’t think you do so I’m going to give you some education so you can understand. This guy pretty much had to write a book with an original idea about economics, THEN he had to bring it before a board of doctoral recipients who made him defend it. He doesn’t need to defend himself to you, he already defended himself to a room full of brillant people, who, no doubt made him make revisions before accepting his thesis. The doctoral process rates your thesis on a 1 to 8 scale. Most people recieve a 2 which means, do a little more research and make a few revisions and we will accept it. An 8 would mean don’t bother. A 1 would mean that’s perfect here’s your degree. I doubt the man got a 1. He probably got a 2 or 3. But the point is he REVISED IT. What would you score? I think they would have to come up with double digits to rate YOUR thesis.

  32. I would demolish you in a debate because you never argue to the point and it would cost you dearly in a match.

  33. So David,

    If Milton Friedman says Goolsbee is full of crap and Friedman doesn’t have a degree and Goolsbee does, Goolsbee is right?

  34. “How do you know Goolsbee’s study is scientific?” He is a social scientist and it is structured as a scientific article, probably peer reviewed by other economists.

    “Why isn’t Gate’s worth 212 billion if anyone can get 10% interest?”

    “Bill Gates donates an enormous amount of money through the Gill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a $38.7 billion endowment, and yet he is still somehow super wealthy.”

  35. Ingle,
    Who are you calling ignorant? Since when does a teacher/professr, or student of music, have anything to do with the real world? I think it’s great that you are educted in music theory and the liberal arts, more power to you buddy. BUT, the fact of the matter is that most of the liberal artists (and their professors), no matter the area of expertise, would be starving and broke without the excessive taxes collected in the name of “liberal arts”. I ask you, what do the liberal arts have to do with the real world? With maybe the exception of letting liberal “educated” (I say indoctrinated) elitists feel better about themselves, absolutely nothing.
    And Crumb, deep breath, if you were capable of using plain ole logic and common sense, you would see that Jim’s comments and arguments do make sense. But what do I know? I’m just a simple hick country boy that manages to work for myself that pays way more than my share of taxes. And beleive me, I AM part of the unsurveyed population. And, I feel no “social conscience to pay the taxes I owe”. I work hard for what I make, and I would like to keep what I make FOR ME and MINE, not give it away to the hordes of in the entitlement/welfare state. I do, like most conservatives, give donations to people that really need it. The difference is that I choose to give to those charities, unlike the government doing for me, against my will.
    Exhale!
    Jim, I’m with you, I’m now out of breath as well.

  36. Can you tell us how liberal arts would disappear without excessive taxes to pay for them? Or how taxes pay for them? Or how apparently, in the “real world” there is no need for culture, entertainment, philosophy, or humanity?

    Thank you or your critique of my logic. It was very informative when you explained how I was wrong because… you said so. It is also nice to know that you represent the entirety of the “unsurveyed population” and your personal lack of social conscience is somehow relevant to statistics.

  37. Come on now Crumbunist, just like the typical lib that you are, you must twist things all out of context. I never said or insuated that the liberal arts would, or should disappear. Basically I said that I’m sick and tired of funding them, as I would guess 90 percent of our countrymen are. And your ARE a complete fool if you think the government does not provide much of the funding for them. Ask Ingle, I’m sure he can explain it to you.
    And yes, the liberal/performing arts have little to do with the majority of people and their everyday lives. Especially true for those lower income people that the income redistribution you call for would affect the most. As Ingle so astutely chimed in, if you don’t have a degree you have no brains, and if you have no brains how can you possibly appreciate the liberal arts?
    Critique of your logic? I didn’t critique, I claimed you are lacking in it.
    Finally I couldn’t really care about your statistics. You can make statistics say anything you want. But I would argue that my views, being part of the “unsurveyed population”, and the dumb ole country hick that I am, actually represent a majority of the people in this country.

  38. Ad hominem attacks aside, you are wrong.

    “I never said or insuated that the liberal arts would, or should disappear.”

    “the fact of the matter is that most of the liberal artists (and their professors), no matter the area of expertise, would be starving and broke without the excessive taxes collected in the name of “liberal arts”.”

    Please tell me what taxes are collected “in the name of liberal arts” and how it is an egregious crime to encourage culture with a microscopic fraction of the tax dollars spent on war.

    “And yes, the liberal/performing arts have little to do with the majority of people and their everyday lives.” I guess the Eurotrash was right after all, Americans are uncultured swine!

    “As Ingle so astutely chimed in, if you don’t have a degree you have no brains”

    No, he said that:
    “if someone who didn’t have a degree in economics argued with someone who did, I would laugh and say they were fools.”
    Frankly I can’t blame him for siding with the expert instead of the layman on complex issues not yet fully understood by their disciplines. It’s foolish to presume that you know more than an expert who has studied something for years and submitted an exhaustive, original, peer-reviewed thesis on the subject. Especially if this doctor has been practicing for years and is not in ill repute.

    “I didn’t critique, I claimed you are lacking in it.”
    This is what I was pointing out. Your critique, “you have no logic,” had no content and was only supported by “I disagree with you.”

    “But I would argue that my views, being part of the “unsurveyed population”, and the dumb ole country hick that I am, actually represent a majority of the people in this country.”
    Too bad that you think statistics are useless and you can never prove this ridiculous assumption! “I think this, therefore everyone thinks this!”

  39. Gentlemen,

    There is really no point in trying to debate/argue with liberals. It is like arguing with a 4 yr old. It is pointless. Statements will be taken out of context and twisted and they will soon have you down on their level were you are just spitting mad and calling names.

    As far as this “degree” crap goes. I have three. A BA in History, a BS in Business and MBA. One of those degrees is even from one of those left wing Ivy schools. And I will be the first to say a degree means nothing to me. In the real world it is what you can produce. If you can’t contribute to my bottom line then you are worthless to me. Just because someone has a PHD in economics does not mean they are above betraying the truth to push an agenda. There are economists that argue both sides of the coin so what’s the big deal?

    As far as music, dance, performing arts, hell even education majors…. sounds and looks pretty but I would hardly call that the “real world”. I would call it a world artificially supported by people that actually produce good and services that stand on their own merits.

  40. I’m sorry your world is so black and white and broken, Red. Some people understand that there is room for debate and discussion in fields like economics.

  41. I would love to live in your bleak world where culture, education and entertainment are not socially valued, by the way.

  42. Fun fact, the Founding Fathers were not conservatives – conservatives at the time were the United Empire Loyalists who fled from the American Revolution. They wanted to keep the old ways, the Founding Fathers valued liberty, rights, and progress.

  43. Wow, there are sure a lot of nuts on the Internet,

    Looking forward to your next column.

    Carol

  44. Thanks Crumbunist. I’m glad you can read. By the way, my opera teacher is a millionaire solely from singing. That’s because although YOU don’t apprecieate it, others do. And we pay for ourselves because people PAY TO HEAR US PERFORM. When you got married did you use a tape recorder, or did a musician play for you? That’s THE REAL WORLD MORON. I make a living palying music. If you go to a bar and pay a cover charge, you’re paying for the band. Included in the funeral costs at a funeral home is a musician. If you buy a ticket to see the Rolling Stones, that’s musicians IN A BUSINESS IN THE REAL WORLD. And they make more money than you could ever dream of having. Oh and by the way jetff, don’t try that country shit with me, I’m from Tennessee. I live near THE HOME OF COUNTRY MUSIC. Where are you from? You sound like a stuck up rich kid who never had to work a REAL JOB. I bet mommy and daddy put you through college. I pay for it myself. I work hard. Don’t you ever call me eliteist again.

  45. Ah, Crum and and Ingle,
    Once again you prove the point. You make statements that seem to say I hold a certain belief or you make insinuations that I hold some belief.

    I completely agree that there is room for discussion on economic topics. To believe there isn’t room for discussion would be absurd. I was just stating or meaning to state that by simply having the title of “PHD” added to your name does not mean all that you say is true and righteous.

    I never said that I didn’t value culture, education or entertainment. To the contrary, I place a value on all three with education being a top priority. And if the artists and such were truly “socially” valued then their art and music would stand on its own and pay for itself. What I am saying is that I don’t believe in using the police power of the State to confiscate property(that’s money) from people who produce to give to people who don’t. If an artist can’t get someone to buy his or her “socially valued” art then IT DOESN”T HOLD VALUE. IT IS VALUELESS. So don’t prop it up artificially.

    Ingle, you are a moron. A musician that is paying his way and not receiving handouts IS contributing to the bottom line and IS creating a valuable product. That is the whole point. If someone produces music/art/educational experiences or whatever and it is truly “socially valued” then members of society will freely purchase the product. I just don’t believe that taxes should support or subsidize people or companies or institutions that do not have a national security role. So I would disagree with programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Oh, and if you think wedding singers and bar bands will make more than I ever will (as a general rule), you sir, are delusional. I can only assume that you meant the Rolling Stones,which in that case, you are probably 99.9% correct. So I don’t get it. Because I won’t make more than Mick Jagger (who produces a product people freely purchase) I should feel bad?

  46. Ingle, I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should respond and decided your last post just couldn’t be ignored.
    Ingle quote: “You sound like a stuck up rich kid who never had to work a REAL JOB. I bet mommy and daddy put you through college. I pay for it myself”.
    Ingle quote: “The state of Tennessee invested a lot of money in me to make sure I know my stuff”.
    Seems to be a conflict here in who paid for what? Which is it?
    Ingle quote: “I don’t rely on “old axioms” to form the basis of my opinions. I only rely on facts. Pure facts.”
    Here is a little info to answer your moronic “rich kid” statement, which is based compltely on inuendo, no facts. I’ve worked “real” jobs since I was 13 years old. I was married and moved out of my parents home before I was 18. I actually DID put myself through school, at night, while working full time to support my family. Among other things I design homes as well as engineer industrial equipment. All real jobs and with real world results that as Paul says “hold value”.
    And what the heck does where I live have anything to do with this idiotic and time waisting debte? I swear, I have more productive conversations with my nine year old grandson!

  47. Jetff

    I earned music and academic grants which help me pay for my education. I have to take 8 classes a semester to keep them. I pay for the rest, which is still a lot, out of pocket. So both statements are true. I work two jobs, as well as taking 20 hours of classes a semester. I do this because my father died when I was 19, and my mother is disabled. I had to leave my apartment, and move back in with her so I could afford to help her pay the bills. It seems your past is similar to mine, so maybe you can understand why I get so angry when people tell me that I’m poor because I don’t work hard enough. What else should I do, I only sleep 6 hours a night as it is. Should I quit school and take out a 3rd job? I’m poor because of bad luck. My mother, who worked full time for 40 years, deserves some help from somebody, because she worked hard and paid into the system. A far as asking where you live, that was in retort to you saying that whole “country hick” thing. First of all, you are calling me eliteist, when I am not, and second of all I AM A COUNTRY HICK FROM TENNESSEE. So, since you were saying you were as well, I was wanting to know where you were from. You should just tell me the state. I’m not gonna come to your house or anything, I just want to prove a point. I am a hick, and I don’t think that you really are. If you are then prove me wrong.

  48. Raul

    Por la amor de dios!

    You know what I meant so I guess we both agree.
    Most, although not all musicians pay for themselves. I agree with you about the ones who need handouts, but bare in mind that the National Endowment has been funded more by fundraising and donation than by government grants. It Used to be funded mostly by grants, but, we got into a war, and the government can’t afford both, so it cut the funding drastically. Trust me I know about this. In response to the cuts the NEA sought out other ways to obtain revenue. So, understand that about half of your taxes go to paying for a war that you may not agree with. If you do, than fine, you’re getting what you pay for.

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