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    • Meritocracy, What Meritocracy
      From Saez, Chetty, et al So, unless you think that genetic potential is that unequally distributed (and can explain eras where this chart did not apply, as in the post-WWII decades), you can pretty much forget “meritocracy.” Meritocracy is just a way of saying “we test for the things the middle and upper class has […]
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Happy New Year!

FINALLY, things might be turning around. Oh, sure, I’m going to have to watch my wallet for a long time but January 1, 2016 is a billion times better than 365 days earlier.

Don’t get me wrong, the economy still sucks. Don’t let anyone fool you. And now people are a lot less able to absorb the shock of more blows to their personal finances. I think historians are going to have a field day when they look back on this era after the bubble burst in 2008 and find that neither party was in control. Nope, we’ve been in the hands of the grasshoppers for the last eight years. It remains to be seen whether our current crop of candidates can turn it around.

By the way, if you haven’t seen it, check out The Big Short this weekend, then come back and look me straight in the eye and tell me the bankers didn’t buy the 2008 election in order to save their asses. There are still a lot of people in denial about how Barack Obama became president. It’s time to face up to that. They didn’t support Hillary back 2008. Time to think about that really hard without all the Bro’s vs Ho’s memes getting in the way.02

Hillary nagged me relentlessly in the last few days for money.  I don’t think she really has a shortage of donors but some of us have been disengaged and I have had to dig myself out of a hole. So, I didn’t make a contribution in 2015. But I will this year.

Yes, I think she’s got to shake things up. THAT’s what Trump enthusiasts are responding to, whether or not he is a repulsive, destructive, disrespectful blow hard or not.

And I really wish she’d drop the stupid profit sharing idea. It’s a market tested gimmick. The wealthy would love for us to fall for that. They’re probably thinking they can toss us a gnarled bone like profit sharing and we’ll be happy with it instead of real income stability. They think we’re stupid. It smells like Lily Ledbetter. And I’ve seen how profit sharing works. The MBAs will write the rules and share most of the profits amongst themselves while rank and file and research people get the dregs that will not adequately compensate them for all their hard work. Please, Hillary, just stop.

Anyway, I’ll make that donation when I get around to it. Right now, I have a teensy bit of money that I can use to buy a new coat. I’ve been wearing my 20 year old peacoat and it’s time for something fresher.

Yesterday, I went to an impromptu tea party at my aunt’s house and it was the best New Year’s in a long time.

I finally slept with the lights off.

Happy New Year.

 

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Announcement coming soon

If you’re wondering where I am, RL has intervened in a major way.  I’ve had to put this blog on the back burner.  But I’ll let you know what’s going on in a couple of days.  With President’s Day coming up, there may be a good opportunity to evaluate how THIS president is affecting the lives of many Americans and ask ourselves whether he deserves a second term.

In the meantime, keep your eyes on Madison, Wisconsin, where we are beginning to see the birth of GlennBeckistan.  This is what voters keep telling their politicians they want.  Then when they actually get it, they’re not so sure anymore.

There’s a reason why the national economy boomed during the middle of the twentieth century.  And there is a reason why it will take a heartbreakingly long time to recover from this Great Recession.  The grasshoppers who are consuming everything in sight are going to find out sooner or later that resources are finite.

Paul Krugman reports on the fraudulence of the budget negotiations in today’s column:

But that’s what everyone does. House Republicans talk big about spending cuts — but focus solely on that same small budget sliver.

And by proposing sharp spending cuts right away, Republicans aren’t just going where the money isn’t, they’re also going when the money isn’t. Slashing spending while the economy is still deeply depressed is a recipe for slower economic growth, which means lower tax receipts — so any deficit reduction from G.O.P. cuts would be at least partly offset by lower revenue.

The whole budget debate, then, is a sham. House Republicans, in particular, are literally stealing food from the mouths of babes — nutritional aid to pregnant women and very young children is one of the items on their cutting block — so they can pose, falsely, as deficit hawks.

What would a serious approach to our fiscal problems involve? I can summarize it in seven words: health care, health care, health care, revenue.

Paul’s preaching to the converted.  Even at the NYTimes, the front page news is concentrating on the turmoil in the middle east while putting our own battles in Wisconsin on simmer.  But I believe this pain and ugliness is all unavoidable.  The people who consistently vote for conservatives because they are moved by pictures of fetuses are going to have to see their political heroes unmasked as heartless minions of some extremely greedy and conscienceless power brokers.  What happens when those full term and delivered fetuses of mothers who were once gainfully employed are suddenly denied basics like milk and cereal when the WIC benefits are suspended?  I say suspended because I can’t believe the American people would be so cruel to deny sustenance to children who had the misfortune to be conceived when their parents still had a steady paycheck and health insurance and now don’t.  And yes, I know perfectly clean, well educated, American mothers who fall into this category through absolutely no fault of their own.  It was just business.  Nothing personal.  Except now the baby who was seven months in utero when the pink slip came still has to eat.  Or is infanticide acceptable, just not abortion?  Oh, we wouldn’t go that far.  It’s just a little malnutrition.  It won’t even show up until the kid goes to school.  Provided there’s a school available that doesn’t charge fees like some typical 3rd world country.

Americans have to experience the consequences of the rhetoric of the right.  It was all fine and dandy when it was some immigrant but now it’s everyone you know.  And they can’t all be slackers and parasites, can they?  The pain is just now coming to fruition in a hard way.  This is not by accident.  It’s by design.  The more you hurt, the more their plan is proceeding excellently.

Turn off your TV and radios and you take away most of their power.  They can’t talk you into doing something against your own interests if you can’t hear them.  Tell your doctor’s offices and garage waiting rooms that you’ll go somewhere else if they don’t shut off Fox News.  And mean it.  And tell 21st Century Democrats, the DCCC and any other Democratic fundraising organization that you’ll start contributing when Obama and the Democrats actually start acting like the Democratic party again.  Being out of power sucks.  You can get a lot of money from the big guys but as far as I know, votes still mean something and you get those from ordinary people.  And right now, ordinary people are pissed off.

There is one thing I think we can say with confidence: a third party candidate could clean up in this environment.  Real socialists start sounding reasonable.  And there’s a reason for that, for which I will give an example that is much closer to my current situation than I ever thought it would be.  Sound complicated and mysterious?  Stay tuned and all will be revealed…

This song is for the BFF.  I like this version a bit better.

Injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.