Thursday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Irrespective of the contents of this particular debate, I think Ms Althouse is spot on in noting that any argument that depends/blends on personal anecode is cheapened and weakened. So why is it so often used?
  2. Of tea leaves and primaries.
  3. And this primary? What of it?
  4. A revenue neutral tax? Hows that work? Sounds like no tax at all. Or a linguistic dodge. You can have a revenue neutral tax policy, which entails manipulations of a number of different taxes raising some and lowering others. But you can’t, for example, enact a revenue new tax and have it not be 0. That’s mathematically impossible.
  5. A long way of saying pointing out what should be obvious, that the high wage earning management types … work really hard. The pretense is that they don’t work or work very little. That’s amazingly far from the truth.
  6. Our state considers its next encroachments on freedom.
  7. Reading this, I was wondering if never-had-cable are considered akin to cable cutters?
  8. 900k signatures for recall, 1/3 of which didn’t bother even voting in the primary. Odd that.
  9. Wrapping up our maths fun for the last week or so.
  10. Oh, stop trying to make sense of political rhetoric.
  11. Fashion.

12 responses to “Thursday Highlights

  1. 4.A revenue neutral tax? Hows that work? Sounds like no tax at all. Or a linguistic dodge.

    I think you’re reading too fast. You raise one tax in such a way that it will cause tax revenue to increase by some amount (say $50B) and lower another tax to some amount to offset it. The tax would then be revenue neutral in that for the gov’t it would neither increase or decrease revenue.

    For the individual, though, it may be neutral, a tax increase or a tax cut depending on the circumstances. For example, enacting a deduction for mortgage interest may cost $100B and having the first bracket be 15% instead of 10% may raise $100B making it revenue neutral. But to the individual it can be anything. Someone with a lot of mortgage will see a tax cut, a low income renter will see a tax increase and many will fall somewhere inbetween.

  2. 1.Irrespective of the contents of this particular debate, I think Ms Althouse is spot on in noting that any argument that depends/blends on personal anecode is cheapened and weakened. So why is it so often used?

    Would you apply this to pro-life arguments that center on the little baby that was really sick (Santorum) or the person whose mother wanted to have an abortion but didn’t (NFL player, name slips me)?

    I think the reason why it is so often used is it’s kind of like the concept of ‘base’ in a game of tag. Who wants to challenge or deny someone their personal subjective experiences with family and loved ones? Hence it becomes rhetorically hard to strike back.

    Like the base in tag, though, if you use it too much you start to ruin the game so less is indeed more.

  3. think Ms Althouse is spot on in noting that any argument that depends/blends on personal anecode is cheapened and weakened. So why is it so often used?

    You do it all the time, so why don’t you tell us?

    I think Obama was explaining how he came to the decision, not offering anecdotes as argument per se.

    Gay marriage is an issue where personal anecdotes are especially relevant to changing people’s minds. People were raised in a religious/cultural environment that told them that gay couples were inferior, that homosexuality is dirty and evil, etc. Actually seeing with your own eyes that those teachings are false gets you to a place of truth and understanding much more quickly than you might have gotten there on your own, especially if you are an empathetic human being who doesn’t shut your heart and eyes when reality conflicts with your dogma.

    It’s also easier to support discrimination if you don’t personally see the effects of that same discrimination against those you love.

  4. Boonton,
    I’m as unimpressed by such type of rhetoric when Ms Palin, Mr Santorum, Mr Bush, or Mr Obama use them.

    You raise one tax in such a way that it will cause tax revenue to increase by some amount (say $50B) and lower another tax to some amount to offset it. The tax would then be revenue neutral in that for the gov’t it would neither increase or decrease revenue.

    My point is that is not “a” tax, that’s a tax policy or a tax package. If there was no sales tax … then you cannot (mathematically speaking) introduce a “revenue neutral” sales tax. The tax if it is non-zero will collect revenue.
    JA,

    You do it all the time, so why don’t you tell us?

    I was under the impression that was where you led me. You don’t like arguments from ontological grounds or other abstract ones. The progressive left highlights and puts in a place of prominence personal epistemic experience. When you (JA) want to convince a Christian that gay marriage is righteous … you are best served using theological arguments. If you want to convince a left winger of something anecdotes are his rhetorical bread and butter … so that is the way to talk to them.

    The best light such arguments shed are sanity checks. When people have arrived via their abstractions at, say, notions that (recall discussion with Eli) that life is better left not lived, then they’ve come to a place where they need to question their methods because their conclusion is clearly wrong. Anecdotal evidence can serve as motivations or sanity checks. They don’t replace arguments … and depending on them is (as Mr Althouse hints) means your argument may be weak.

  5. My point is that is not “a” tax, that’s a tax policy or a tax package. If there was no sales tax … then you cannot (mathematically speaking) introduce a “revenue neutral” sales tax. The tax if it is non-zero will collect revenue.

    Not sure what exactly you’re objecting too here. The concept seems pretty simple. ‘Raising’ or ‘Cutting’ taxes would imply a net change in the total tax burden. A change that raised some taxes but lowered others in such a way as to be revenue neutral would be fairly described as neither raising or cutting taxes….but any given individual may indeed see a tax cut or increase depending on their particulars.

    then you cannot (mathematically speaking) introduce a “revenue neutral” sales tax.

    Not if your focus is only on sales taxes, but you could introduce a revenue neutral sales tax if it was paired with some other tax change, such as cutting the rate on the bottom income brackets.

    I’m as unimpressed by such type of rhetoric when Ms Palin, Mr Santorum, Mr Bush, or Mr Obama use them.

    That doesn’t go very far in addressing your question, and I think the answer is in rhetoric. Logic and rhetoric are often presented as opposites but I think in reality you need both. One must not only make a logical case for some important policy but also induce an emotional committment to it. Ancedotes are often (but not always) of little help in presenting a logical case but they are for the emotional one.

    They don’t replace arguments … and depending on them is (as Mr Althouse hints) means your argument may be weak.

    Perhaps, except I have to say in the SSM debate the pro side has been exceptionally good at marshalling good arguments and the anti-side has been very poor at them. In fact, I think it’s pretty reasonable to conclude that a huge problem with the SSM debate is that the anti-side is so emotionally committed to being against it many have no interest in actual good arguments against it, any and all anti arguments are good arguments in their eyes which is why I find again and again antis either blatently ignore the arguments painstakingly presented to them or will, long after a particular argument of theirs has been refuted, present old arguments again and again as if they were brand new insights.

  6. Boonton,

    if it was paired with some other tax change, such as cutting the rate on the bottom income brackets.

    Which is what I said. I said you can have a revenue neutral tax policy but a new tax is not revenue neutral.

    Perhaps, except I have to say in the SSM debate the pro side has been exceptionally good at marshalling good arguments and the anti-side has been very poor at them.

    Hah! That’s very funny. I almost spit my coffee out. The left is very bad at making pro SSM arguments, having to restrict the argument on the onset to a particular sterile small playground before participating. It’s like “assume a flat plane geometry … see I can prove all triangles have interior angles adding to pi”. Except flat 2-dimensional worlds are a small play microcosm of the geometrical universe.

  7. Which is what I said. I said you can have a revenue neutral tax policy but a new tax is not revenue neutral.

    So your insight here is that a negative and a positive net out to zero, but if you pretend you don’t have one you can pretend you don’t net out to a zero. OK.

    The left is very bad at making pro SSM arguments, having to restrict the argument on the onset to a particular sterile small playground before participating.

    Really? I submit my numerous First Things comments as evidence.

  8. Boonton,
    You submit them (your comments) as what evidence? Evidence that you restrict your playground/premises. I’ll buy that.

  9. As evidence that pro-SSM advocates typically produce better arguments than anti-s and do a better job of trying to address and incorporate objections from the other side. I suppose I have to modify my submission to be my FT comments and the responses from other commentators as evidence.

    You’ll have to clarrify a bit more exactly what you man by ‘restrict your playground/premises’

  10. Boonton,
    Well, last night I finished a little over a third of a simple argument why SSM/HSM need to be distinguished by society. Alas, I didn’t save it and then a errant program prompted me on waking to reboot my tablet and I lost it. I’ll begin again.

  11. Well, last night I finished a little over a third of a simple argument why SSM/HSM

    I assume you mean DSM for ‘different sex marriage’. If you meant H for heterosexual….well it gets confusing with homosexual… Before I move onto your argument keep in mind this discussion was more of a meta-analysis not so much of SSM but of the merits of arguments used by pro- and anti- SSM advocates in the debate, which is different from the actual issue of whether or not SSM is good or bad.

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