Tuesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. What is Dominionism?
  2. So, the Administration now tries to optimize that which is already being aggressively optimized. And to think the difference between this admin and the prior is that the current one is alledgely smart. Perhaps a correction on that notion is needed.
  3. Anti-intellectualism is an American trope, not liberal/conservative.
  4. Not true I for example, never pay attention to Mr Buffet.
  5. Here’s a slightly snarky response to Mr Buffet.
  6. How about a cynical one?
  7. Our admin continues the abandonment of Taiwan.
  8. Duh. We’re known as a petroleum based economy for good reason.
  9. Guns and bars.
  10. Speaking of guns ….
  11. Global politics, networks and an interesting conversation.
  12. Top ten weird ideas (held by Mr Perry)… alas not very interesting or weird at all.
  13. Campaign paid for by taxpayers.
  14. 5 Questions posed by a liberal that “conservatives can’t answer” … I guess it helps to never listen to actual conservatives. Answers are to those questions are not hard to find. The first (two) are quite obvious (and alas the same question). I think I can do it in two or three sentences. Let’s consider the economy as a mountain climber … stimulus is like giving the climber more caffeine. Regulations are like additional weights holding him down. Uncertainty is like spraying lubricants on the rock. How speed his climb without giving him caffeine? Hmm. To a liberal apparently there is no way to do that. The real question on such a thing is why the liberal mind things that more caffeine is the only possible response.

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  1. Boonton says:

    Let’s consider the economy as a mountain climber …

    Step 1. Committ the fallacy of reasoning by analogy.

    Step 2. Earn ‘Fallacy Points’ by doing so.

    Step 3. Repeat 1 & 2 until you are given the Republican Nomination for President.

  2. Mark says:

    What? You can’t move the analogy to the economy. Try the following:

    There are many ways in which the government can affect the economy including: monetary policy, interest rates and large debt, spending, regulation, and uncertainty in regulatory rules. Spending is one of many. How might a state agent stimulate the economy without using stimulus spending? Hmm. How about reducing and removing regulatory burdens hampering government?

    The real question might be is why you needed that spelled out.

  3. Boonton says:

    Reasoning by analogy almost always fails. By definition an analogy will be different from the thing you’re comparing it too. For reasoning by analogy to work, you have to first show that your analogy is like your target in the ways that matter and in the ways it is unlike your target it doesn’t matter for purposes of your reasoning. One of the few examples of workable reasoning by analogy might be a cosmetic company that tests its makeup by putting it in the eyes of rabbits. While rabbit eyes are unlike human eyes, they are like in essential ways that will work to test whether a compound will harm a human eye.

    Analogies can be useful, though, to illustrate a point. Here the reasoning has already been done elsewhere and the analogy sits only to aid in understanding. The danger remains that the student will take the analogy and ‘work’ that instead of seeing that it is simply a tool for understanding. An example might be higher level physics where we have plenty of analogies deployed by popularizers of science.

    Here, for example, you do not understand the term stimulate which applies to the aggregate demand side of the economy. The focus on regulatory burdens is primarily a supply side argument. Improving supply functions is always helpful but does not address a shortfall in aggregate demand. If you insist on an analogy return to the mountain climber. He’s climbed this mountain before with no problem but now he isn’t moving. Maybe the mountain should be levelled off more. That would be analgous to a supply side issue. But then you also discover his oxygen tank has a leak in it. That’s analgous to the demand side. Giving him a full tank would likely solve the immediate problem. Your Minister of Tourism, though, might also be correct that by levelling off the mountain somewhat you’ll attract more climbers in the future rather than just the handful of professional extreme ones you get now.

  4. Mark says:

    I don’t think your supply and demand sides are as independent as you imagine. Lower costs to produce, can increase supply, but they also can more directly decrease prices … which can in turn increase demand more effectively than stimulus.

    I wasn’t, as you note, reasoning by analogy. It was as you figured out, to illustrate a point.

  5. Boonton says:

    Before you illustrate a point, you must understand it. You don’t.

    For example, lower production costs does not ‘increaes demand’. It would increase the supply curve allowing suppliers to offer a greater quantity at all possible prices along the y axis. The demand curve itself does not move in your example. The terminology, assuming the speaker is thinking in terms of graphs, would be ‘movement along the demand curve’ resulting in a lower price and greater quantity sold. Said movement caused by a ‘shift in the supply curve’.

    These distinctions are not just nitpicking because not being clear on them leads one to major oversights. A lack of demand, for example, will not be remedied by simply playing with the supply curve. (Note we aren’t talking even here about aggregate demand and aggregate supply….which are actually somewhat analgous to demand and supply of a single product).

  6. Mark says:

    The question was (if you recall) how non-stimulus actions (like reducing regulation) can affect employment. If regulations mean you can’t profitably produce a particular product (which means I won’t hire people on that production line) or you won’t hire someone because future unknown health care regulation may mean the cost of a new employee is unknown spurs you not to hire people. That affects employment.

    I don’t see how “supply” vs “demand” concerns impact that question as directly as you pretend.

    Your mistake it seems is to figure that because stimulus affects the “demand” side of some equation and regulation (apparently) does not that therefore the only relevant discussion regarding jobs are isolated on this demand issue. That isn’t true. So your objection is unwarranted.

  7. Boonton says:

    If a particular regulation is good, it should be kept, if it is bad it should be ditched or at least modified. I’m unclear what that has to do with ‘jobs’. Even at full employment you’d still want to ditch bad regulations.

    But unemployment has increased dramatically not because of any sudden changes in regulation. While a quest to improve regulation is always a good idea, it doesn’t address unemployment anymore than the lack of an escalator on Mt. Everest explains why a particular mountain climber who has scaled the mountain several times before can is having trouble on this climb.

  8. Mark says:

    You’re missing the point.

    But unemployment has increased dramatically not because of any sudden changes in regulation

    And neither has it increased dramatically because of a lack of stimulus funding.

    In a health economy the climber has climbed the mountain with restraining straps and extra weight. Now, he’s wounded. Removing the straps is one way to help him get started.

    Even “good” regulations impose costs on production, procurement, and sales. They have other ancillary benefits which you desire but in a bad economy the removal of said costs might be more important than the benefit.

  9. Boonton says:

    And neither has it increased dramatically because of a lack of stimulus funding.

    Well actually it has, private demand has retreated leaving a gap. If it isn’t filled by stimulus you will get a recession.

  10. Mad Minerva says:

    Hi, Mark, FYI the Dignified Rant and View From Taiwan blogs have been doing some good coverage of US-Taiwan ties. As for me, I’m mostly disgusted by the foreign policy (such as it is) toward Taiwan. Thanks for reminding us all of the little island so dear to my family’s heart.

  11. Mark says:


    Cool, two new blogs for the reader. Thanks a lot.