Author Topic: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"  (Read 43028 times)

PloddingInsight

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #100 on: September 08, 2014, 06:21:03 AM »
Quote
Elizabeth Warren is a bomb throwing political demagogue, just like Bill O'Reilly, Al Sharpton, or Anne Coulter.  She just dresses more demurely and uses a lot less yelling and bluster, so it may be harder to identify her as such.

Everything she does is driven by political ideology.  Don't expect rational analysis from someone like her.  Go ahead and read her stuff, but do so knowing she is driven by a political agenda, not a quest for discovery.  Then have fun pointing out all the ways she manipulates statistics to achieve the outcome she desired.

Nope.  YOUR political ideology is coloring YOUR opinions and keeping you from any semblance of critical thinking.  Comparing her to Ann Coulter is pretty ridiculous, because she is a troll who does no actual research, just says inflammatory stuff to sell books.

E. Warren, whether you like her or not, has actually studied and worked in the field she writes about.  You can dismiss her all you want if it makes you feel better, but she does have credibility.  I wish she hadn't gone into politics personally, because it has the effect of diminishing her work.

I have come to trust Megan McArdle to give an unbiased, clear-headed take on bias issues.  She surely can't be accused of being a partisan of either the left or the right.  Her opinion of Elizabeth Warren's work should warn off any fair-minded person.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/considering-elizabeth-warren-the-scholar/60211/

KaizenSoze

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #101 on: September 08, 2014, 06:39:23 AM »
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I have come to trust Megan McArdle to give an unbiased, clear-headed take on bias issues.  She surely can't be accused of being a partisan of either the left or the right.  Her opinion of Elizabeth Warren's work should warn off any fair-minded person.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/considering-elizabeth-warren-the-scholar/60211/

This is the problem. There are no unbiased opinions on these matters. I have read McArdle off and on for years, her opinions are very colored by her libertarian views. Her old pseudo name was "Jane Galt". She's as biased as the Dailykos.

PloddingInsight

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #102 on: September 08, 2014, 07:34:26 AM »
Quote

I have come to trust Megan McArdle to give an unbiased, clear-headed take on bias issues.  She surely can't be accused of being a partisan of either the left or the right.  Her opinion of Elizabeth Warren's work should warn off any fair-minded person.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/considering-elizabeth-warren-the-scholar/60211/

This is the problem. There are no unbiased opinions on these matters. I have read McArdle off and on for years, her opinions are very colored by her libertarian views. Her old pseudo name was "Jane Galt". She's as biased as the Dailykos.

She's pretty honest about her opinions but I think it's clear that when she's examining Warren's work on medical bankruptcies, her interest is in medical bankruptcies, not trashing Warren.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #103 on: September 08, 2014, 08:01:53 AM »
 Remember that in 1950 everyone was having the babies they had not had during the Depression and WW2 - that was the baby boom.  Three and four child families were the norm.  Then things settled down again.  So comparing things to 1950 uses a very unusual family pattern.  Plus, houses were small because there was a huge post-war building boom and they built more small houses versus fewer large houses.  Read Heinlein's short story "A bathroom of her own" for the flavour of the times.

The widespread poverty of the Great Depression caused dramatic changes to family life as young couples, worried about their finances, put off having children. The US fertility rate (the number of children born to women aged 15-44) declined by nearly 20% from 1928 1935. Fertility rates recovered somewhat during World War II, which brought renewed prosperity to America. However, the war created its own impediments to fertility, as millions would-be American fathers were stationed overseas in the military. After 1945, Americans made up for 15 years of long-deferred babymaking by reproducing at record rates, creating the so-called 'Baby Boom'; from 1946-64, the average fertility rate was a sky-high 113.4 per 100,000.9  From http://www.shmoop.com/great-depression/statistics.html

We do have that information actually: in 1950 the average household size was 3.37 people in 983 square feet, and in 2006 the average household size was 2.61 people in 2349 square feet. the numbers for today are probably very close to 2006 because of the recession and subsequent rebound. Point being that over 60 years the number of square feet per person has increased enormously for a number of reasons. (1) we can build enormous remote houses thanks to car commute (2) under capitalism we live in increasingly isolated alienation pods untouched by human relationships (3) buying gigantic houses "just because." And remember that even though square feet per capita has tripled we've also built billioin dollar self-storage facilities for all the crap you can't possibly fit in your bloated house. Capitalism is a hell of a drug.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #104 on: September 08, 2014, 08:04:31 AM »
Car seats - wow.  I think posters about car seat extended use must be in the US.  Canadian regulations are more realistic:

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act allows a child to use a seat belt alone when one of the following conditions is met:

    Child turns 8 years old, or
    Child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.), or
    Child is 145 cm (4´ 9˝) tall or more



LalsConstant

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #105 on: September 08, 2014, 08:19:27 AM »
Coping with, or simply adapting to? As MMM has pointed out and I wholeheartedly agree, on some levels we have never lived in more abundant times. Yes there are challenges, but challenges a great many can fairly easily overcome.

I'd use "coping" or "adapting" interchangeably in this and most contexts personally.   I see the frugality culture/lifestyle as a hack that counters the cost drivers Warren rails against.

The fact people are finding ways not to pay these costs doesn't mean they're not there for people who do choose to pay them, and that is ultimately the sticking point, the average person's financial behavior is, as I said, maladaptive.

rosaz

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #106 on: September 08, 2014, 10:44:12 AM »
Reminds me a bit of a Russel Brand quote I just heard, something to the effect of, "When I was poor and I was talking about inequality they called me a whiner.  Now that I'm rich and talking about inequality they call me a hypocrite. It seems to me they just don't want to talk about inequality."

Well put.

Jack

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #107 on: September 08, 2014, 12:08:17 PM »
We do have that information actually: in 1950 the average household size was 3.37 people in 983 square feet, and in 2006 the average household size was 2.61 people in 2349 square feet. the numbers for today are probably very close to 2006 because of the recession and subsequent rebound. Point being that over 60 years the number of square feet per person has increased enormously for a number of reasons. (1) we can build enormous remote houses thanks to car commute (2) under capitalism we live in increasingly isolated alienation pods untouched by human relationships (3) buying gigantic houses "just because." And remember that even though square feet per capita has tripled we've also built billioin dollar self-storage facilities for all the crap you can't possibly fit in your bloated house. Capitalism is a hell of a drug.
I agree with your comments, but I'll add three more reasons for the increase in housing:  4) construction techniques (i.e., factory-assembled trusses) have changed the building process; thus, it's now possible to build larger open spaces, and now that it's possible, people want it.  5) for a person with a good credit score and/or downpayment, obtaining a mortgage is pretty easy -- and the general public no longer seems to see living in a paid-for house as a goal.  6) closely related to #5 -- real estate is now looked upon not as simply a place to live, but as an investment; many people buy into the "buy as much house as you can" concept.

There's another reason why houses are bigger now that nobody mentioned before: zoning and racism. Back in the 50s there was either no residential zoning, or the zoning allowed small houses (because small houses make sense, obviously). In fact, blacks and whites lived in similar neighborhoods with similar houses -- the only difference was that blacks weren't allowed to live in white neighborhoods. But once segregation ended and blockbusting and white flight began, authorities in the suburbs started thinking up new, less-illegal ways to keep out "undesirables." One easy way to do so is to simply require that lot sizes and house sizes be larger, so that only more affluent people could afford them. Since black people tend to be less affluent (for reasons which are beyond the scope of this thread), it sort of works (until a somewhat affluent black person moves in, freaking out all the white people, causing them to sell desperately at prices less affluent black people can afford).

The upshot is that whether people said they were "keeping up with the Jones's," "moving for better schools," or fleeing the "declining neighborhood," there were reasons that they ended up in bigger houses unrelated to them actually wanting a bigger house.

Even now, when segregation is (allegedly) long since over, the legacy of these zoning laws is to make housing less affordable for everyone. Even in neighborhoods in my city that were built before the zoning ended up having it retroactively applied, such that probably 90% of the existing homes are "non-conforming" and if you want to build on an in-fill lot you have to apply for a variance just to let you build a house that isn't gigantic compared to your neighbors'.

lexie2000

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #108 on: September 08, 2014, 02:07:08 PM »
Quote

I have come to trust Megan McArdle to give an unbiased, clear-headed take on bias issues.  She surely can't be accused of being a partisan of either the left or the right.  Her opinion of Elizabeth Warren's work should warn off any fair-minded person.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/considering-elizabeth-warren-the-scholar/60211/

This is the problem. There are no unbiased opinions on these matters. I have read McArdle off and on for years, her opinions are very colored by her libertarian views. Her old pseudo name was "Jane Galt". She's as biased as the Dailykos.


The difference is that the burden of proof rests on the researcher (in this case, Warren).  The reason for spending time and money on a research study is to prove or disprove a hypothesis and present facts (whatever they might be) that are statistically reliable so that the researcher can prove or disprove a cause/effect relationship of a phenomenon, in this case, Warren's hypothesis regarding bankruptcy.  Researchers who want to reach a tenable conclusion are extremely careful that the methodology used will lead to a statistically conclusive and therefore credible result.  Most even show the statistical probability of error in the data they present.   

McArdle, whatever her political stripe may be, simply gives reasons why the methodology used and timing of Warren's study necessarily leads her (McArdle) to question the statistical credibility of the conclusions drawn.  I, myself, was able to find an indisputable exaggeration in a statistic that Warren cited in the article simply by reading the footnotes.  That in itself made me question the research and conclusions drawn within.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 02:10:24 PM by lexie2000 »

Luck12

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #109 on: September 08, 2014, 02:50:00 PM »
  I, myself, was able to find an indisputable exaggeration in a statistic that Warren cited in the article simply by reading the footnotes.  That in itself made me question the research and conclusions drawn within.

Unless I'm interpreting this wrong, you're suggesting that "nearly 90%" is far off from 85%?  Clearly, they are pretty much the same thing. 

lexie2000

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #110 on: September 08, 2014, 03:48:50 PM »
  I, myself, was able to find an indisputable exaggeration in a statistic that Warren cited in the article simply by reading the footnotes.  That in itself made me question the research and conclusions drawn within.

Unless I'm interpreting this wrong, you're suggesting that "nearly 90%" is far off from 85%?  Clearly, they are pretty much the same thing.

I'm not suggesting anything other than the footnote cited 85% and she used 90%.  The discrepancy may be the result of carelessness at best or bias to better prove a point at worst, neither of which bode well for Warren.

davisgang90

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #111 on: September 08, 2014, 06:54:08 PM »
  I, myself, was able to find an indisputable exaggeration in a statistic that Warren cited in the article simply by reading the footnotes.  That in itself made me question the research and conclusions drawn within.

Unless I'm interpreting this wrong, you're suggesting that "nearly 90%" is far off from 85%?  Clearly, they are pretty much the same thing.

I'm not suggesting anything other than the footnote cited 85% and she used 90%.  The discrepancy may be the result of carelessness at best or bias to better prove a point at worst, neither of which bode well for Warren.
She does have a reputation for exaggerating, at least 1/32nd of the time. 

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #112 on: September 08, 2014, 07:17:28 PM »
Agree with the poster that says that home prices are skyrocketing in areas near employment.  I think a major problem is the lack of housing near these economic boom centers.  Note that I didn't say lack of "affordable housing" because that to me equates to artificial setting aside of homes for a low price.  I think that we just plain don't have enough places to live near these cities.  If we figure out a way to build up or out and reduce commute times then I think our economy would do better and home prices would go way down.  It's true that if you plan on working 40-50 years home prices and rent prices may be out of reach for many.  You absolutely must be knowledgeable about how to reduce transportation, housing and other such costs if you want to get ahead and the average Joe certainly is not.

TomTX

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #113 on: September 08, 2014, 09:39:07 PM »

Elizabeth Warren is a person that not only works to identify what has changed, but actually backs it up with data. Some of the stuff she's uncovered has genuinely surprised me
I thought it was really interesting that she quotes the spending on appliances went down but quoted $300 per year on computers. It seems like a strange contradiction - also how do you spend so much on computers each year?

Desktop, laptop, tablets, game systems, et cetera.

Actually, if you read any of the threads about carseats on here, people really do have a hard time finding carseats which will fit into a small car.  In the 70s, there weren't even seatbelts in most cars, let alone mandatory carseat laws.  And the age/size during which children "need" to be in carseats keeps going up. 

Yes, when ours sized out of the infant bucket, it was surprisingly hard to get a properly rear-facing child seat to fit. The slants are all wrong:front seat, car seat, back seat /\/ - whereas older children (over 2 with current recommendations) - the slants are in the same direction: ///

I will rag on Warren's daughter for one item which was used as an example. She bought a bigger car, not because the car seat didn't fit, but because a purely theoretical second carseat might not fit. Rather than wait until a 2nd child was on the way, they just got a bigger car for the first.

MrsPete

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #114 on: September 09, 2014, 05:55:10 AM »
There's another reason why houses are bigger now that nobody mentioned before: zoning and racism.
I hadn't thought about that, but now that you've laid it out concisely, I'm sure it's true. 
I will rag on Warren's daughter for one item which was used as an example. She bought a bigger car, not because the car seat didn't fit, but because a purely theoretical second carseat might not fit. Rather than wait until a 2nd child was on the way, they just got a bigger car for the first.
Well, I did the same thing -- and it was the right choice.  When my first child was born, I had a small two-door economy car.  Getting the car seat in and out wasn't easy, but the car was running well and we had no reason to ditch it.  Then, unexpectedly, that car was wrecked and totaled.  At that point we would've been fine with another small car -- though we really did need four doors to make access to the back seat easier.  Instead we bought a larger car that was big enough to serve once we had a second (or possibly third) child.  We felt reasonably sure another child was in the works, we needed a car, and it made sense to purchase something that we wouldn't outgrow in a short time. 

Dollarbill49

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #115 on: September 09, 2014, 12:50:23 PM »
Quote
Elizabeth Warren is a bomb throwing political demagogue, just like Bill O'Reilly, Al Sharpton, or Anne Coulter.  She just dresses more demurely and uses a lot less yelling and bluster, so it may be harder to identify her as such.

Everything she does is driven by political ideology.  Don't expect rational analysis from someone like her.  Go ahead and read her stuff, but do so knowing she is driven by a political agenda, not a quest for discovery.  Then have fun pointing out all the ways she manipulates statistics to achieve the outcome she desired.

Nope.  YOUR political ideology is coloring YOUR opinions and keeping you from any semblance of critical thinking.  Comparing her to Ann Coulter is pretty ridiculous, because she is a troll who does no actual research, just says inflammatory stuff to sell books.

E. Warren, whether you like her or not, has actually studied and worked in the field she writes about.  You can dismiss her all you want if it makes you feel better, but she does have credibility.  I wish she hadn't gone into politics personally, because it has the effect of diminishing her work.

Thank you for those two thoughts, especially the second.  I cannot stop laughing.

2ndTimer

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #116 on: September 10, 2014, 09:30:11 AM »
This is a great thread.  It is a real pleasure to be in a place where interesting ideas are discussed.   I read The Two Income Trap a couple of years ago and came away with the realization of what a large percentage of our personal savings is directly attributable to our decision not to have children.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #117 on: September 10, 2014, 12:20:44 PM »
  I, myself, was able to find an indisputable exaggeration in a statistic that Warren cited in the article simply by reading the footnotes.  That in itself made me question the research and conclusions drawn within.

Unless I'm interpreting this wrong, you're suggesting that "nearly 90%" is far off from 85%?  Clearly, they are pretty much the same thing.

I'm not suggesting anything other than the footnote cited 85% and she used 90%.  The discrepancy may be the result of carelessness at best or bias to better prove a point at worst, neither of which bode well for Warren.
She does have a reputation for exaggerating, at least 1/32nd of the time.

:D

kite

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #118 on: September 11, 2014, 06:10:54 AM »
To believe that over consumption is a myth requires one to step into Oz and obey the Wizard when he says, "Pay no attention to those ubiquitous mini storage units packed with crap."  It isn't the 1% who are pouring 27 billion dollars into rental fees each year.
She's right on health care costs, but those are not entirely divorced from consumption. We humans, especially in prosperous America, ingest too much sugar, refined carbs, alcohol and cigarettes and we have high rates of diabetes,  heart disease and cancer to show for it.  The 1% aren't the folks keeping Cheesecake Factory in business.
Granted, housing costs are high. But baked into the "chasing good schools" rationale is no small amount of racism.  Parents believe that their children will do better if their classmates are wealthy, and by wealthy they mean not black and Latino.  White flight is a real thing and it fuels a number of self imposed costs.
Tuition costs are obscene.  But what did we expect would happen when the real price tag is obfuscated via grants and subsidized loans.  Nor is this The Banks' fault, although they do profit.  Schools enroll 2x the number who will eventally graduate. Much of their revenue comes from students who are going to drop out. Those students who leave with debt and NO degree are in the worst possible circumstance.  But non profit and state schools have been immune to criticism for this.  It's disgraceful. 

hybrid

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #119 on: September 11, 2014, 07:10:23 AM »
To believe that over consumption is a myth requires one to step into Oz and obey the Wizard when he says, "Pay no attention to those ubiquitous mini storage units packed with crap."  It isn't the 1% who are pouring 27 billion dollars into rental fees each year.
She's right on health care costs, but those are not entirely divorced from consumption. We humans, especially in prosperous America, ingest too much sugar, refined carbs, alcohol and cigarettes and we have high rates of diabetes,  heart disease and cancer to show for it.  The 1% aren't the folks keeping Cheesecake Factory in business.
Granted, housing costs are high. But baked into the "chasing good schools" rationale is no small amount of racism.  Parents believe that their children will do better if their classmates are wealthy, and by wealthy they mean not black and Latino.  White flight is a real thing and it fuels a number of self imposed costs.
Tuition costs are obscene.  But what did we expect would happen when the real price tag is obfuscated via grants and subsidized loans.  Nor is this The Banks' fault, although they do profit.  Schools enroll 2x the number who will eventally graduate. Much of their revenue comes from students who are going to drop out. Those students who leave with debt and NO degree are in the worst possible circumstance.  But non profit and state schools have been immune to criticism for this.  It's disgraceful.

I agree completely with your first two paragraphs but take some exception to the notion that racism and white flight are as prevalent in 2014 as it was when I was in school. I do agree some self-segregation still exists, but the lines are divided more on class than race. Many blacks and Latinos with means have also fled city schools for better schools in the counties in the former capital of the Confederacy. My kids schools, decent but not the best in Chesterfield, were well integrated. The very best schools in Chesterfield were overwhelmingly white, but that is because the "best schools" almost always exist in the wealthiest areas, and wealth is still disproportionately concentrated among whites.

So I find the notion that whites with means that choose to live in the wealthiest areas are simply fleeing minorities a bit disingenuous. No, I think that they, like all parents, are simply trying to provide the best for their kids. Whether they are getting the ROI is a topic for a different thread.

kite

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #120 on: September 11, 2014, 08:24:51 AM »
^
Perhaps racism is not as prevalent in 2014 as you say, but it certainly didn't disappear in the time frame she is using in that report. 1976 - 2000.  The bottom line,  people bought homes beyond their means.   Lenders were complicit and demand drove up costs.  My gripe is not with people who prefer a more expensive area, but with Warren's unquestioning acceptance of that as a need.  The buyers do have discretion about where to live. 

libertarian4321

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #121 on: September 11, 2014, 09:53:10 AM »
Quote
Elizabeth Warren is a bomb throwing political demagogue, just like Bill O'Reilly, Al Sharpton, or Anne Coulter.  She just dresses more demurely and uses a lot less yelling and bluster, so it may be harder to identify her as such.

Everything she does is driven by political ideology.  Don't expect rational analysis from someone like her.  Go ahead and read her stuff, but do so knowing she is driven by a political agenda, not a quest for discovery.  Then have fun pointing out all the ways she manipulates statistics to achieve the outcome she desired.

Nope.  YOUR political ideology is coloring YOUR opinions and keeping you from any semblance of critical thinking.  Comparing her to Ann Coulter is pretty ridiculous, because she is a troll who does no actual research, just says inflammatory stuff to sell books.

E. Warren, whether you like her or not, has actually studied and worked in the field she writes about.  You can dismiss her all you want if it makes you feel better, but she does have credibility.  I wish she hadn't gone into politics personally, because it has the effect of diminishing her work.

Because I dared question a liberal Dem icon, you probably assume I'm a Republican?  If so, you are soooooooo wrong.  I have no dog in the Dem-Rep fight.

Yes, I compared her to Anne Coulter (a right wing demagogue).  I also compared her to Al Sharpton, a left wing demagogue.  Demagogues show up in every poltical group (including, believe it or not, Libertarians).

Is Elizabeth Warren as loud, crude, and rough around the edges as Coulter, Sharpton, or O'Reilly?  No, she is not.  She's a far more slickly packaged demagogue, but she is a demagogue nevertheless.

She appeals to the emotions, fears, and ignorance of the masses to manipulate them for political and financial gain in a BIG WAY, possibly to a greater degree than the others do.  Yes, she is relatively soft spoken, but she is manipulative as Hell.

Quote
E. Warren, whether you like her or not, has actually studied and worked in the field she writes about.  You can dismiss her all you want if it makes you feel better, but she does have credibility.

Actually, she doesn't.  She's just another lawyer (like Anne Coulter, btw).  She holds forth on business, economics, sociology as if she were an expert, but she is not.  Which, btw, is pretty typical of a demagogue.

That said, I'd love to see her run for President.  It will make the next election far more interesting if Hillary isn't simply coronated (as it looks like she will be at this point).

libertarian4321

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #122 on: September 11, 2014, 09:58:47 AM »
Quote
Elizabeth Warren is a bomb throwing political demagogue, just like Bill O'Reilly, Al Sharpton, or Anne Coulter.  She just dresses more demurely and uses a lot less yelling and bluster, so it may be harder to identify her as such.

Everything she does is driven by political ideology.  Don't expect rational analysis from someone like her.  Go ahead and read her stuff, but do so knowing she is driven by a political agenda, not a quest for discovery.  Then have fun pointing out all the ways she manipulates statistics to achieve the outcome she desired.

Nope.  YOUR political ideology is coloring YOUR opinions and keeping you from any semblance of critical thinking.  Comparing her to Ann Coulter is pretty ridiculous, because she is a troll who does no actual research, just says inflammatory stuff to sell books.

E. Warren, whether you like her or not, has actually studied and worked in the field she writes about.  You can dismiss her all you want if it makes you feel better, but she does have credibility.  I wish she hadn't gone into politics personally, because it has the effect of diminishing her work.

I have come to trust Megan McArdle to give an unbiased, clear-headed take on bias issues.  She surely can't be accused of being a partisan of either the left or the right.  Her opinion of Elizabeth Warren's work should warn off any fair-minded person.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/considering-elizabeth-warren-the-scholar/60211/

Interesting article. Thanks.

partgypsy

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #123 on: September 11, 2014, 10:27:16 AM »
Seems like Mcarkle's main point was that many bankruptcies due to medical emergencies, weren't really to do with the medical costs, but the job loss associated with the medical problem, and that Warren only cites the medical bills. I don't know where the line for $1000 worth of medical bills and bankruptcy, yes that does sound sketchy. I had insurance which paid 80%, yet for me to have a birthmark removed was $1500 in out of pocket costs. My Dad was in the hospital for 3 days, and had a 30K bill, majority which he owes. It is REALLY easy to get huge medical bills, even for those with insurance. 

So I may agree that medical bankruptcies are a lower percentage of bankruptcies than she estimates, but it is no less real, and in fact the personal economic impact of the stupid backward set up that health insurance is through one's jobs is probably underestimated. If you get hurt, you not only lose your job, you lose your health insurance which makes costs quickly escalate, and may not get care, which makes you unemployable. 
However, it is even a worse deal when your type of job doesn't provide insurance (alot of building and construction jobs, freelance, bartending, etc). I know so many informal stories of people who get hurt, don't have insurance, and lose everything. They don't even count in the bankruptcy numbers because they don't file for bankruptcy. (move in with family members or substandard housing) try to get jobs and chip away at the bills or default on the medical bills.
And the other aspect, of people who are not insured or underinsured, who skimp on their health care by not keeping up with routine preventitive visits, not going to the dentist, or declining to have expensive tests done (because they don't want to know what's wrong) who end up having a worse quality and shortened life. Warren doesn't even get into these issues because she focuses on "middle class" famillies.

There are a lot of real systemic problems with US society. Sure there are ways around them, but they still impact a large number of people.

OK, so she's not a researcher, but as someone who has a post-doc in the field of aging I can tell you that the US health care system, in terms of the way we provide healthcare, is on one hand one of the most expensive per person, yet among the worse in a wide range of metrics, of all developed countries. If you don't agree with Elizabeth Warren on this issue, you can read many scholarly articles, that are variations on the theme, of "Yo, what's up US, why you healthcare so messed up and expensive?" My feeling about obamacare, it is too little, it got mashed up by all the special interests to not achieve what it really needs. Britain converted to universal coverage after WWII, we are long overdue.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447686/
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 10:41:14 AM by partgypsy »

Bob W

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #124 on: September 11, 2014, 11:06:28 AM »
Wow that is a great article.  Thanks!   

Doesn't really explain much except the prices of things that most people are competing for has gone up, while the prices of things that people are buying less of has gone down.   I think I learned that in 1982 in Econ 101.   

Here's an idea - getcha a modest sized and priced home.  Getcha one modest car.  Getcha some inexpensive food and quit pissing your money away.   That ought to work. 

But I could be wrong on that?

franklin w. dixon

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #125 on: October 05, 2014, 09:40:35 PM »
We do have that information actually: in 1950 the average household size was 3.37 people in 983 square feet, and in 2006 the average household size was 2.61 people in 2349 square feet. the numbers for today are probably very close to 2006 because of the recession and subsequent rebound. Point being that over 60 years the number of square feet per person has increased enormously for a number of reasons. (1) we can build enormous remote houses thanks to car commute (2) under capitalism we live in increasingly isolated alienation pods untouched by human relationships (3) buying gigantic houses "just because." And remember that even though square feet per capita has tripled we've also built billioin dollar self-storage facilities for all the crap you can't possibly fit in your bloated house. Capitalism is a hell of a drug.
I agree with your comments, but I'll add three more reasons for the increase in housing:  4) construction techniques (i.e., factory-assembled trusses) have changed the building process; thus, it's now possible to build larger open spaces, and now that it's possible, people want it.  5) for a person with a good credit score and/or downpayment, obtaining a mortgage is pretty easy -- and the general public no longer seems to see living in a paid-for house as a goal.  6) closely related to #5 -- real estate is now looked upon not as simply a place to live, but as an investment; many people buy into the "buy as much house as you can" concept.

There's another reason why houses are bigger now that nobody mentioned before: zoning and racism. Back in the 50s there was either no residential zoning, or the zoning allowed small houses (because small houses make sense, obviously). In fact, blacks and whites lived in similar neighborhoods with similar houses -- the only difference was that blacks weren't allowed to live in white neighborhoods. But once segregation ended and blockbusting and white flight began, authorities in the suburbs started thinking up new, less-illegal ways to keep out "undesirables." One easy way to do so is to simply require that lot sizes and house sizes be larger, so that only more affluent people could afford them. Since black people tend to be less affluent (for reasons which are beyond the scope of this thread), it sort of works (until a somewhat affluent black person moves in, freaking out all the white people, causing them to sell desperately at prices less affluent black people can afford).

The upshot is that whether people said they were "keeping up with the Jones's," "moving for better schools," or fleeing the "declining neighborhood," there were reasons that they ended up in bigger houses unrelated to them actually wanting a bigger house.

Even now, when segregation is (allegedly) long since over, the legacy of these zoning laws is to make housing less affordable for everyone. Even in neighborhoods in my city that were built before the zoning ended up having it retroactively applied, such that probably 90% of the existing homes are "non-conforming" and if you want to build on an in-fill lot you have to apply for a variance just to let you build a house that isn't gigantic compared to your neighbors'.
An excellent point that I hadn't even thought about!

BeanCounter

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #126 on: October 07, 2014, 01:59:18 PM »
Who ever said that the housing issue is supply driven is dead on. And it's also due to greedy builders and cities wanting more taxes. As I said on another thread, I want a small house in a nice neighborhood with good schools. And it's darn near impossible to find. I don't even care if I have to pay more income tax per square foot to be in that neighborhood with good schools. I just don't want >2,000 square feet!!! I don't need it. Right now we've got the perfect sized place- 1,500 square feet (plus another 200 in finished basement play area) with four bedrooms, brick cape cod. But it's in a neighborhood where a lot of other people don't care about their property (because they can't afford it or they are renters) and I have to send my kids to private school.

franklin w. dixon

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #127 on: October 13, 2014, 09:46:11 PM »
Who ever said that the housing issue is supply driven is dead on. And it's also due to greedy builders and cities wanting more taxes. As I said on another thread, I want a small house in a nice neighborhood with good schools. And it's darn near impossible to find. I don't even care if I have to pay more income tax per square foot to be in that neighborhood with good schools. I just don't want >2,000 square feet!!! I don't need it. Right now we've got the perfect sized place- 1,500 square feet (plus another 200 in finished basement play area) with four bedrooms, brick cape cod. But it's in a neighborhood where a lot of other people don't care about their property (because they can't afford it or they are renters) and I have to send my kids to private school.
"Have to."

RFAAOATB

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #128 on: October 14, 2014, 11:26:19 AM »
Who ever said that the housing issue is supply driven is dead on. And it's also due to greedy builders and cities wanting more taxes. As I said on another thread, I want a small house in a nice neighborhood with good schools. And it's darn near impossible to find. I don't even care if I have to pay more income tax per square foot to be in that neighborhood with good schools. I just don't want >2,000 square feet!!! I don't need it. Right now we've got the perfect sized place- 1,500 square feet (plus another 200 in finished basement play area) with four bedrooms, brick cape cod. But it's in a neighborhood where a lot of other people don't care about their property (because they can't afford it or they are renters) and I have to send my kids to private school.
"Have to."

The problem with living below your means is being surrounded by people for whom it is not a choice.  Personally I would take the bigger house in the good neighborhood and public school over the smaller house in the bad neighborhood with private school, unless we're talking Phillips Exeter quality here.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #129 on: October 14, 2014, 01:00:11 PM »
Quote
Elizabeth Warren is a bomb throwing political demagogue, just like Bill O'Reilly, Al Sharpton, or Anne Coulter.  She just dresses more demurely and uses a lot less yelling and bluster, so it may be harder to identify her as such.

Everything she does is driven by political ideology.  Don't expect rational analysis from someone like her.  Go ahead and read her stuff, but do so knowing she is driven by a political agenda, not a quest for discovery.  Then have fun pointing out all the ways she manipulates statistics to achieve the outcome she desired.

Nope.  YOUR political ideology is coloring YOUR opinions and keeping you from any semblance of critical thinking.  Comparing her to Ann Coulter is pretty ridiculous, because she is a troll who does no actual research, just says inflammatory stuff to sell books.

E. Warren, whether you like her or not, has actually studied and worked in the field she writes about.  You can dismiss her all you want if it makes you feel better, but she does have credibility.  I wish she hadn't gone into politics personally, because it has the effect of diminishing her work.

Because I dared question a liberal Dem icon, you probably assume I'm a Republican?  If so, you are soooooooo wrong.  I have no dog in the Dem-Rep fight.

Yes, I compared her to Anne Coulter (a right wing demagogue).  I also compared her to Al Sharpton, a left wing demagogue.  Demagogues show up in every poltical group (including, believe it or not, Libertarians).

Is Elizabeth Warren as loud, crude, and rough around the edges as Coulter, Sharpton, or O'Reilly?  No, she is not.  She's a far more slickly packaged demagogue, but she is a demagogue nevertheless.

She appeals to the emotions, fears, and ignorance of the masses to manipulate them for political and financial gain in a BIG WAY, possibly to a greater degree than the others do.  Yes, she is relatively soft spoken, but she is manipulative as Hell.

Quote
E. Warren, whether you like her or not, has actually studied and worked in the field she writes about.  You can dismiss her all you want if it makes you feel better, but she does have credibility.

Actually, she doesn't.  She's just another lawyer (like Anne Coulter, btw).  She holds forth on business, economics, sociology as if she were an expert, but she is not.  Which, btw, is pretty typical of a demagogue.

That said, I'd love to see her run for President.  It will make the next election far more interesting if Hillary isn't simply coronated (as it looks like she will be at this point).

Yea, I thought that was kind of off base as well.  This poster's opinion of the issue was basically, "You have 2 choices - 1.  Completely agree with Elizabeth Warren.  2.  You don't have critical thinking skills."

johnhenry

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #130 on: October 16, 2014, 03:21:52 PM »
I have pretty much pidgeonholed Ms Warren as the complainypants in chief (way before MMM coined the phrase and before she became a politician.)

If you approach every problem with the idea that you cannot win and that everyone is against you -- then you're already at the conclusion.  You won't win (unless possibly someone saves you.) 

I prefer the MMM way of looking at things:  We are living in times where we have more stuff and more opportunity for far less money.  Yes, we can overspend: but we have control over that, so it's totally solvable.

There are certainly outliers that have just really stupid bad luck.  But they are in the extreme minority.

This is why most conservative political ideas are so noxious.  They promote the status quo for the sake of the status quo.

Surely you can recognize that MMM and Elizabeth Warren are not "looking at the same things".  MMM is offering advice to individual economic actors.  Ms. Warren is concerned about the fairness of the system in which economic actors participate.  One is telling us how to play the game within the current set of rules.  The other is concerned with the rules of the game.

It doesn't matter whether you believe the current system is a little unfair or very unfair.  Telling individual economic actors to "suck it up and play the hand you're dealt" is not a valid political philosophy.  That can never make the system more fair.

The Asian immigrants who built our railroads and the poor mountain people who worked in mines in the early part of last century also lived in a time where they had more stuff and opportunity than ever before.  Would you tell them that their circumstances are fair and the problem is their idea that they cannot win because everyone is against them?

The problem with this conservative political philosophy is that it will acknowledge there were injustices in the past, but not anymore.  But it can never answer the question, if the system is fair now, when did it become fair?  Was it after slavery was repealed, after Jim Crow, after the trusts were busted, after the Glass-Steagall act, after women got the vote, after the civil rights act, the ACA? At each of those intervals in history, that same political philosophy was saying "the system is already fair".   You think any right minded person can look at the system we have today and say it's fair??  Give me a break!!



mattchuck2

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #131 on: October 16, 2014, 05:06:47 PM »
^ Wow. That is so well said. Excellently done.

surfhb

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #132 on: October 17, 2014, 02:53:17 AM »
Wow that is a great article.  Thanks!   

Doesn't really explain much except the prices of things that most people are competing for has gone up, while the prices of things that people are buying less of has gone down.   I think I learned that in 1982 in Econ 101.   

Here's an idea - getcha a modest sized and priced home.  Getcha one modest car.  Getcha some inexpensive food and quit pissing your money away.   That ought to work. 

But I could be wrong on that?

If wish!    I either need to get married or be completely house poor to buy a home in Southern California now.     A modest home here run $500k   

My parents did it and she stayed home and he was a mechanic for a 76 station

Jack

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #133 on: October 17, 2014, 07:18:31 AM »
I either need to get married or be completely house poor to buy a home in Southern California now.

So GTFO of Southern California!

VirginiaBob

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #134 on: October 17, 2014, 07:27:22 AM »
I have pretty much pidgeonholed Ms Warren as the complainypants in chief (way before MMM coined the phrase and before she became a politician.)

If you approach every problem with the idea that you cannot win and that everyone is against you -- then you're already at the conclusion.  You won't win (unless possibly someone saves you.) 

I prefer the MMM way of looking at things:  We are living in times where we have more stuff and more opportunity for far less money.  Yes, we can overspend: but we have control over that, so it's totally solvable.

There are certainly outliers that have just really stupid bad luck.  But they are in the extreme minority.

This is why most conservative political ideas are so noxious.  They promote the status quo for the sake of the status quo.

Surely you can recognize that MMM and Elizabeth Warren are not "looking at the same things".  MMM is offering advice to individual economic actors.  Ms. Warren is concerned about the fairness of the system in which economic actors participate.  One is telling us how to play the game within the current set of rules.  The other is concerned with the rules of the game.

It doesn't matter whether you believe the current system is a little unfair or very unfair.  Telling individual economic actors to "suck it up and play the hand you're dealt" is not a valid political philosophy.  That can never make the system more fair.

The Asian immigrants who built our railroads and the poor mountain people who worked in mines in the early part of last century also lived in a time where they had more stuff and opportunity than ever before.  Would you tell them that their circumstances are fair and the problem is their idea that they cannot win because everyone is against them?

The problem with this conservative political philosophy is that it will acknowledge there were injustices in the past, but not anymore.  But it can never answer the question, if the system is fair now, when did it become fair?  Was it after slavery was repealed, after Jim Crow, after the trusts were busted, after the Glass-Steagall act, after women got the vote, after the civil rights act, the ACA? At each of those intervals in history, that same political philosophy was saying "the system is already fair".   You think any right minded person can look at the system we have today and say it's fair??  Give me a break!!

Not sure if you post was in context to the previous poster.  Worrying about the things you can control and not worrying about the things you can't is not a purely conservative political philosophy.

Jack

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #135 on: October 17, 2014, 08:00:35 AM »
I have pretty much pidgeonholed Ms Warren as the complainypants in chief (way before MMM coined the phrase and before she became a politician.)

If you approach every problem with the idea that you cannot win and that everyone is against you -- then you're already at the conclusion.  You won't win (unless possibly someone saves you.) 

I prefer the MMM way of looking at things:  We are living in times where we have more stuff and more opportunity for far less money.  Yes, we can overspend: but we have control over that, so it's totally solvable.

There are certainly outliers that have just really stupid bad luck.  But they are in the extreme minority.

This is why most conservative political ideas are so noxious.  They promote the status quo for the sake of the status quo.

Surely you can recognize that MMM and Elizabeth Warren are not "looking at the same things".  MMM is offering advice to individual economic actors.  Ms. Warren is concerned about the fairness of the system in which economic actors participate.  One is telling us how to play the game within the current set of rules.  The other is concerned with the rules of the game.

It doesn't matter whether you believe the current system is a little unfair or very unfair.  Telling individual economic actors to "suck it up and play the hand you're dealt" is not a valid political philosophy.  That can never make the system more fair.

The Asian immigrants who built our railroads and the poor mountain people who worked in mines in the early part of last century also lived in a time where they had more stuff and opportunity than ever before.  Would you tell them that their circumstances are fair and the problem is their idea that they cannot win because everyone is against them?

The problem with this conservative political philosophy is that it will acknowledge there were injustices in the past, but not anymore.  But it can never answer the question, if the system is fair now, when did it become fair?  Was it after slavery was repealed, after Jim Crow, after the trusts were busted, after the Glass-Steagall act, after women got the vote, after the civil rights act, the ACA? At each of those intervals in history, that same political philosophy was saying "the system is already fair".   You think any right minded person can look at the system we have today and say it's fair??  Give me a break!!

Not sure if you post was in context to the previous poster.  Worrying about the things you can control and not worrying about the things you can't is not a purely conservative political philosophy.

The entire point of being a politician is to put "the system" into the realm of things you can control. Any politician who thinks he shouldn't worry about "the system" has completely the wrong attitude.

"Not worrying about things you can't control" is not a political philosophy at all, conservative or otherwise.

LalsConstant

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #136 on: October 17, 2014, 08:10:32 AM »
The problem with this conservative political philosophy is that it will acknowledge there were injustices in the past, but not anymore.  But it can never answer the question, if the system is fair now, when did it become fair?  Was it after slavery was repealed, after Jim Crow, after the trusts were busted, after the Glass-Steagall act, after women got the vote, after the civil rights act, the ACA? At each of those intervals in history, that same political philosophy was saying "the system is already fair".   You think any right minded person can look at the system we have today and say it's fair??  Give me a break!!

But that's not what conservatism is.

Conservatism stems from the realization of two principles:  First, the intelligence and problem solving ability of all the people who have ever lived is greater than all of the people currently alive. 

Second, while traditional ways of doing things are often fraught with problems of their own, often some really horrible ones, the "solutions" to these problems can often be worse than the problems themselves due to the law of unintended consequences.

Really that's the gist of it, anyone who believes those two things is a conservative whether they realize it or not.

A conservative does not so much radically cling to a status quo because status quo is sancrosanct, rather a conversative believes that each decision has to be examined in light of the status quo, a kind of political skepticism for lack of a better way to put it.

Rather, a conservative is looking for a robust, overwhelming argument that changes are justified and well reasoned and demonstrably better than the current status. 

This is very difficult to achieve because all the consequences of an action have to be reasoned out to produce gain, and Sturgeon's Law dictates that most proposed changes will not pass such a test.

If there's ever an impasse, the wiser thing to do is maintain, because we at least know that our society/species has survived that long. 

And just because an idea's time hasn't come in the present doesn't mean it can't come in the future.

There are many examples where if conservative thinking had won out, negative consequences would have been prevented.  The thing is, we may not necessarily LIKE all of the downsides of traditional ways of doing things, but those methods are robust.  People survive and even prosper despite the inefficiencies or injustices.

What's more, just from an engineering and optimization perspective, the inputs and outputs of a government could never be exhaustively detailed and analyzed, at least not objectively.  By veering toward conservation, we can at least gain a better if flawed understanding of what does and doesn't work, versus indulging in the moment to run ahead with a change for the sake of making a change we really don't understand the impacts of yet.

Ignoring the priciple of conservatism is like continually feeding random inputs to a black box device, more or less.  You might get lucky sometimes but it's a wasteful approach overall.  It's better to proceed methodically, carefully and intelligently because you are playing with forces of such magnitude. 

Even if the status quo has some faults, it is often better to know what the faults are than trade them for unknown faults.  To think any given proposed change will somehow solve the faults without introducing new ones that are even worse without a very robust and thorough assessment to back that up (an assessment that realistically often can't be performed) is foolhardy.

When you tend toward conservation, what you get is admittedly a limited government that can't really solve all the problems it needs to, but it will tend to solve the problems it can more robustly.

Such a government will tend towards Pareto optimal status, so at least there's some assurance that we have something approximating the best possible government.  Note that the best possible government may well be quite terrible and rife with many problems.

Interestingly, a liberal is actually not the opposite of any of this as some seem to think, most Americans are conservative and liberal simultaenously but the words are so muddled any more they don't even realize it.

johnhenry

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #137 on: October 17, 2014, 09:30:12 AM »
The problem with this conservative political philosophy is that it will acknowledge there were injustices in the past, but not anymore.  But it can never answer the question, if the system is fair now, when did it become fair?  Was it after slavery was repealed, after Jim Crow, after the trusts were busted, after the Glass-Steagall act, after women got the vote, after the civil rights act, the ACA? At each of those intervals in history, that same political philosophy was saying "the system is already fair".   You think any right minded person can look at the system we have today and say it's fair??  Give me a break!!

But that's not what conservatism is.

Conservatism stems from the realization of two principles:  First, the intelligence and problem solving ability of all the people who have ever lived is greater than all of the people currently alive. 

Second, while traditional ways of doing things are often fraught with problems of their own, often some really horrible ones, the "solutions" to these problems can often be worse than the problems themselves due to the law of unintended consequences.

Really that's the gist of it, anyone who believes those two things is a conservative whether they realize it or not.

A conservative does not so much radically cling to a status quo because status quo is sancrosanct, rather a conversative believes that each decision has to be examined in light of the status quo, a kind of political skepticism for lack of a better way to put it.

Rather, a conservative is looking for a robust, overwhelming argument that changes are justified and well reasoned and demonstrably better than the current status. 

This is very difficult to achieve because all the consequences of an action have to be reasoned out to produce gain, and Sturgeon's Law dictates that most proposed changes will not pass such a test.

If there's ever an impasse, the wiser thing to do is maintain, because we at least know that our society/species has survived that long. 

And just because an idea's time hasn't come in the present doesn't mean it can't come in the future.

There are many examples where if conservative thinking had won out, negative consequences would have been prevented.  The thing is, we may not necessarily LIKE all of the downsides of traditional ways of doing things, but those methods are robust.  People survive and even prosper despite the inefficiencies or injustices.

What's more, just from an engineering and optimization perspective, the inputs and outputs of a government could never be exhaustively detailed and analyzed, at least not objectively.  By veering toward conservation, we can at least gain a better if flawed understanding of what does and doesn't work, versus indulging in the moment to run ahead with a change for the sake of making a change we really don't understand the impacts of yet.

Ignoring the priciple of conservatism is like continually feeding random inputs to a black box device, more or less.  You might get lucky sometimes but it's a wasteful approach overall.  It's better to proceed methodically, carefully and intelligently because you are playing with forces of such magnitude. 

Even if the status quo has some faults, it is often better to know what the faults are than trade them for unknown faults.  To think any given proposed change will somehow solve the faults without introducing new ones that are even worse without a very robust and thorough assessment to back that up (an assessment that realistically often can't be performed) is foolhardy.

When you tend toward conservation, what you get is admittedly a limited government that can't really solve all the problems it needs to, but it will tend to solve the problems it can more robustly.

Such a government will tend towards Pareto optimal status, so at least there's some assurance that we have something approximating the best possible government.  Note that the best possible government may well be quite terrible and rife with many problems.

Interestingly, a liberal is actually not the opposite of any of this as some seem to think, most Americans are conservative and liberal simultaenously but the words are so muddled any more they don't even realize it.

Your post is begging for this response from F.A. Hayek.  Full essay here: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/articles/hayek-why-i-am-not-conservative.pdf

Excerpt here:

Quote
Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which
deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the
direction in which we are moving. It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies
in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another
direction, it cannot prevent their continuance. It has, for this reason, invariably been the
fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing. The tug of war
between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of
contemporary developments. But, though there is a need for a "brake on the vehicle of
progress," I personally cannot be content with simply helping to apply the brake.
What the liberal must ask, first of all, is not how fast or how far we should move, but where we
should move.

What I hear him saying is: You need to have the balls to say either "yes the system is fair, let's keep it this way" or "the system is unfair and THIS is what we can do to make it more fair".  Unless you think the system is fair why do you have your hand on the brake?  You should be advocating a turn even if its a slight one!

The only point of yours on which I can partially agree is the part about unintended consequences. Due a convoluted set of laws that are the result of our government basically addressing individual problems at hand, putting out fires so to speak, when the focus should be more on creating a more simple, broad system that provides more fairness from the start.... so there isn't such a need for band-aid approaches to every problem.


johnhenry

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #138 on: October 17, 2014, 01:16:42 PM »
I have pretty much pidgeonholed Ms Warren as the complainypants in chief (way before MMM coined the phrase and before she became a politician.)

If you approach every problem with the idea that you cannot win and that everyone is against you -- then you're already at the conclusion.  You won't win (unless possibly someone saves you.) 

I prefer the MMM way of looking at things:  We are living in times where we have more stuff and more opportunity for far less money.  Yes, we can overspend: but we have control over that, so it's totally solvable.

There are certainly outliers that have just really stupid bad luck.  But they are in the extreme minority.

This is why most conservative political ideas are so noxious.  They promote the status quo for the sake of the status quo.

Surely you can recognize that MMM and Elizabeth Warren are not "looking at the same things".  MMM is offering advice to individual economic actors.  Ms. Warren is concerned about the fairness of the system in which economic actors participate.  One is telling us how to play the game within the current set of rules.  The other is concerned with the rules of the game.

It doesn't matter whether you believe the current system is a little unfair or very unfair.  Telling individual economic actors to "suck it up and play the hand you're dealt" is not a valid political philosophy.  That can never make the system more fair.

The Asian immigrants who built our railroads and the poor mountain people who worked in mines in the early part of last century also lived in a time where they had more stuff and opportunity than ever before.  Would you tell them that their circumstances are fair and the problem is their idea that they cannot win because everyone is against them?

The problem with this conservative political philosophy is that it will acknowledge there were injustices in the past, but not anymore.  But it can never answer the question, if the system is fair now, when did it become fair?  Was it after slavery was repealed, after Jim Crow, after the trusts were busted, after the Glass-Steagall act, after women got the vote, after the civil rights act, the ACA? At each of those intervals in history, that same political philosophy was saying "the system is already fair".   You think any right minded person can look at the system we have today and say it's fair??  Give me a break!!

Not sure if you post was in context to the previous poster.  Worrying about the things you can control and not worrying about the things you can't is not a purely conservative political philosophy.

Context?  My post was specifically making the point that his political stance is absurd because it refuses to acknowledge context!!  It cares not what the situation is.  The answer is always, "pull yourself  up by your bootstraps, spend less than you make and you'll be fine. That's all you can do after all."

"Just worry about the things you can control and not about the things you can't".  That sounds like great advice for a miner in a company town, who owes the company money each week after his room, board and supplies at the Company Store.  Great advice to the negroes told to sit at the back of the bus.  Great advice to the mother with two kids under 15 working in a factory.

But things are different today, right?  Those scenarios are all ancient history, right?  Wasn't it just this week that we heard (from Microsoft CEO) "Women, do yourself a favor, don't ask for a raise.  You'll get what you've got coming". 

I just wish women(and blacks) would quit worrying about making less for the same work compared to white colleagues.  And people who earn wages for a living would stop complaining that their earnings are taxed more than those realizing capital gains.  Those things are out of their control, right?  Why worry?









VirginiaBob

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #139 on: October 17, 2014, 03:51:46 PM »
I have pretty much pidgeonholed Ms Warren as the complainypants in chief (way before MMM coined the phrase and before she became a politician.)

If you approach every problem with the idea that you cannot win and that everyone is against you -- then you're already at the conclusion.  You won't win (unless possibly someone saves you.) 

I prefer the MMM way of looking at things:  We are living in times where we have more stuff and more opportunity for far less money.  Yes, we can overspend: but we have control over that, so it's totally solvable.

There are certainly outliers that have just really stupid bad luck.  But they are in the extreme minority.

This is why most conservative political ideas are so noxious.  They promote the status quo for the sake of the status quo.

Surely you can recognize that MMM and Elizabeth Warren are not "looking at the same things".  MMM is offering advice to individual economic actors.  Ms. Warren is concerned about the fairness of the system in which economic actors participate.  One is telling us how to play the game within the current set of rules.  The other is concerned with the rules of the game.

It doesn't matter whether you believe the current system is a little unfair or very unfair.  Telling individual economic actors to "suck it up and play the hand you're dealt" is not a valid political philosophy.  That can never make the system more fair.

The Asian immigrants who built our railroads and the poor mountain people who worked in mines in the early part of last century also lived in a time where they had more stuff and opportunity than ever before.  Would you tell them that their circumstances are fair and the problem is their idea that they cannot win because everyone is against them?

The problem with this conservative political philosophy is that it will acknowledge there were injustices in the past, but not anymore.  But it can never answer the question, if the system is fair now, when did it become fair?  Was it after slavery was repealed, after Jim Crow, after the trusts were busted, after the Glass-Steagall act, after women got the vote, after the civil rights act, the ACA? At each of those intervals in history, that same political philosophy was saying "the system is already fair".   You think any right minded person can look at the system we have today and say it's fair??  Give me a break!!

Not sure if you post was in context to the previous poster.  Worrying about the things you can control and not worrying about the things you can't is not a purely conservative political philosophy.

Context?  My post was specifically making the point that his political stance is absurd because it refuses to acknowledge context!!  It cares not what the situation is.  The answer is always, "pull yourself  up by your bootstraps, spend less than you make and you'll be fine. That's all you can do after all."

"Just worry about the things you can control and not about the things you can't".  That sounds like great advice for a miner in a company town, who owes the company money each week after his room, board and supplies at the Company Store.  Great advice to the negroes told to sit at the back of the bus.  Great advice to the mother with two kids under 15 working in a factory.

But things are different today, right?  Those scenarios are all ancient history, right?  Wasn't it just this week that we heard (from Microsoft CEO) "Women, do yourself a favor, don't ask for a raise.  You'll get what you've got coming". 

I just wish women(and blacks) would quit worrying about making less for the same work compared to white colleagues.  And people who earn wages for a living would stop complaining that their earnings are taxed more than those realizing capital gains.  Those things are out of their control, right?  Why worry?

Nowhere did he indicate his political stance.

Gerard

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #140 on: October 17, 2014, 04:48:14 PM »
Thanks to people posting on this thread for keeping things fairly civil most of the way through, and for in some cases saying in smarter ways things I've been trying to put into words for myself.
I'm reminded of the old Bill Mauldin cartoon: "You can't have a war unless both sides is right." And that seems to be the case here. I don't think many people in the suck-it-up camp honestly believe that the world as currently constituted gives everyone an equal break. And I don't think many people in the world-is-imperfect camp honestly believe that we're all social and economic plankton driven solely by the current.
It seems more reasonable to suggest that we acknowledge what's broken, and those of us with the ability or contacts to influence that go out and do it. Meanwhile, though, each of us has to also deal, at the individual/family level, with the hand we've been dealt. And maybe repeat a little mantra in the morning: "I will try not to attribute all my success to my wonderfulness, and all my failure to the system."

SisterX

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #141 on: October 20, 2014, 12:17:36 PM »
Thanks to people posting on this thread for keeping things fairly civil most of the way through, and for in some cases saying in smarter ways things I've been trying to put into words for myself.
I'm reminded of the old Bill Mauldin cartoon: "You can't have a war unless both sides is right." And that seems to be the case here. I don't think many people in the suck-it-up camp honestly believe that the world as currently constituted gives everyone an equal break. And I don't think many people in the world-is-imperfect camp honestly believe that we're all social and economic plankton driven solely by the current.
It seems more reasonable to suggest that we acknowledge what's broken, and those of us with the ability or contacts to influence that go out and do it. Meanwhile, though, each of us has to also deal, at the individual/family level, with the hand we've been dealt. And maybe repeat a little mantra in the morning: "I will try not to attribute all my success to my wonderfulness, and all my failure to the system."

That's a good mantra.  I'm going to keep that in mind.

sheepstache

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #142 on: October 20, 2014, 01:43:07 PM »
Thanks to people posting on this thread for keeping things fairly civil most of the way through, and for in some cases saying in smarter ways things I've been trying to put into words for myself.
I'm reminded of the old Bill Mauldin cartoon: "You can't have a war unless both sides is right." And that seems to be the case here. I don't think many people in the suck-it-up camp honestly believe that the world as currently constituted gives everyone an equal break. And I don't think many people in the world-is-imperfect camp honestly believe that we're all social and economic plankton driven solely by the current.
It seems more reasonable to suggest that we acknowledge what's broken, and those of us with the ability or contacts to influence that go out and do it. Meanwhile, though, each of us has to also deal, at the individual/family level, with the hand we've been dealt. And maybe repeat a little mantra in the morning: "I will try not to attribute all my success to my wonderfulness, and all my failure to the system."

Excellent use of the word "plankton" in a political/economic debate.

johnhenry

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's research on the "The Over-consumption Myth"
« Reply #143 on: October 20, 2014, 02:24:46 PM »

Nowhere did he indicate his political stance.

I disagree.  He didn't send us a photo of his bumper sticker or tell us who he voted for, but he told us that he has a pigeonhole called "complainypants" for politicians like Ms. Warren who bring attention to unjust parts of our system. 

He says:
Quote
If you approach every problem with the idea that you cannot win and that everyone is against you -- then you're already at the conclusion.

The obvious counter-argument is: If every citizen continues to play the hand he's dealt without also exercising his political liberty to fix unjust parts of the system, then the system will never become more just.

When I call this stance "conservative", I'm using the word in the broad sense, not it's attachment to a particular political party.  As in "conserving" the status quo.  I'm not trying guess which party this guy gives money to.  I'm saying his political stance is a particularly noxious brand of conservatism that, instead of offering rational opposition to change, just discounts any call for change.

No I don't buy the argument that this position can reflect someone's "personal" position, but not their "political" position.  Money is law and there's no way to separate the two.  You are telling someone that, regardless of the circumstances of their injustice, whether economic or political, it's always appropriate to accept your circumstances and never appropriate to "complain" about the injustice.