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Saturday, August 11 - 6:07amSanction this postReply
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One of the article's comments called the Obama plan "trickle up poverty" by contrast, which I consider an apt description.



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Saturday, August 11 - 8:54amSanction this postReply
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Good point, Luke.

Trickle-up poverty (the other side of this coin) may be an easier "sell" to economists. Economists debating trickle-down 'Reaganomic' dynamics sometimes disagree with each other about results. However, the case for trickle-up 'Stalin' dynamics seems more straightforward. I think you could get more economists to agree that 'soaking the rich' forces us all to 'take a bath', at least more so than the fact that ignoring the rich would result in 'a rising tide which lifts all boats.' Almost every economist, for instance, agrees that imposed or mandated costs on producers will be dispersed throughout the system (e.g., a "carbon tax" would increase consumer energy prices).

Maybe the way to argue for trickle-down economics is simply to argue against trickle-up economics.

Ed




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Saturday, August 11 - 10:49amSanction this postReply
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Maybe the way to argue for trickle-down economics is simply to argue against trickle-up economics.
The Progressives draw heavily on sarcasm and ridicule. Many of them have actually had 'formal' training from the likes of Saul Alinsky. It is a technique for encouraging listeners to bypass the critical thinking, and substituting appeals to emotion for logic. It attempts to smuggle into the minds of the listeners judgements that couldn't be logically validated. They are filled with pre-digested concepts and conclusions and wrapped up in a psuedo-certain delivery style for those who mistake a speaker's confidence with their correctness.

Pick apart Obama's statement.

"They" - who are we talking about? Implicitly it is everyone other than "us" - a way of attempting to make the listener part of the inside and the opponents outsiders. It is a subtle way of pre-deciding the argument by putting all the listeners in the group with Obama. (It requires a sarcastic tone for context thereby encouraging people not to part of "they" least the sarcasm bite them too.)

"...have tried to sell us..." is casting their argument as an agenda that we should resist the way we resist sales pitches, and all before any evidence is given to make that a sensible characterization.

"Trickle-down" which in itself was the Left's derogatory characterization of anything that isn't "tax the rich" is coupled with "fairy dust" and between the two we see "tax cut." In this fashion the object of the sentence is wrapped in adjectives that have the effect of making anything other than a strongly progressive 'tax the rich' scheme an unrealistic, unworkable system.

By coming right out and saying that "they have tried to sell us this... before" and saying it in a sarcastic fashion Obama was able to skate right past the facts of what happens when government has 'sold' this before (put it in place). When a 'tax the rich' scheme was tossed out and the low tax on producers and investors was implimented there was, naturally, a surge in employment and tax revenues and (in the absence of increased spending) a decrease in deficits (e.g., as under Coolidge, Reagan, Clinton).

Then comes the big lies: "We've seen this before. It didn't work then. It will not work now. It is not a plan to create jobs. It is not a plan to lower our deficit." These big lies rely on the nothing more than the emotionalism and sarcasm and hidden misstatements that proceeded them - as if they were the evidence.
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I wish we could have the kind of debate where the candidates statements were subjected to a logical critique, live, happening right between debate topic segments, and done by a small group of non-partisan logicians. But that's not going to happen.
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I really liked the "trickle up poverty" that Luke referred to. I think Progressive's use of sarcasm requires the use of sarcasm in response, but it should be built upon solid evidence, explicit principles that educate, and, above all grounding economic and political arguments with moral principle. And I think that this should all be wrapped up as a character attack on those who made the progressive arguments - thus, no free shots - make them pay for that style of arguing.



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Saturday, August 11 - 5:51pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,
I wish we could have the kind of debate where the candidates statements were subjected to a logical critique, live, happening right between debate topic segments, and done by a small group of non-partisan logicians. But that's not going to happen.
But as a small consolation, we ARE having, and are going to be having more of these indirect, 3rd-party logical critiques right here on RoR and elsewhere -- such as on YouTube -- and there will be millions who will view these critiques. So while I agree that we should have a major, televised and protracted, Lincoln-Douglass style debate between candidates -- or prime-time coverage of 3rd-party logical analysis of their policies and positions -- we will be having a watered-down version of such. Maybe it won't be as big as the NBC coverage of the Olympics, but millions will be exposed to the fallacies in thinking of anyone running for office.

I don't believe in The Singularity (I don't think it's coming), but I do think that, for now, information sharing is increasing -- and the pace that it is increasing is, itself, increasing. While this won't go on forever -- to the point where a high-school drop-out becomes omniscient and, therefore, all-powerful -- it is cause for optimism.

Ed




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Saturday, August 11 - 7:16pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I agree that the internet is helping, a lot, in critiquing the debate. And that's a good point. I still would like to see something more thrown into the mix that made politicians pay a price for lies.
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...prime-time coverage of 3rd-party logical analysis of their policies and positions...
Excellent idea! The Libertarian Party is more effective at coming up with new ideas in the political field, and providing an education for the public.
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There appear to be several approaches to this issue of The Singularity. One is a theoretical approach involving the philosophy of mind. That is, can the traits that make up certain critical aspects of human intelligence be reproduced at some future time with technology? The other approach is the one Kurzeil took where he projects the current trend, and very effectively. Ed, the question to you would be what will be the factor in the mix that will cause this trend to change before reaching the Singularity? (And, like I said in the thread that addressed this issue, I'm more focused on his approach and its implications for human nature - for our way of understanding the world than the technological projections.)



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Saturday, August 11 - 10:01pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

I answered in the Singularity thread here.

Ed




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Friday, August 17 - 5:47amSanction this postReply
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We've seen this before?

One of the best responses to 'we've seen this before' is exploding all over the web. Fox News, ABC News, CNN...







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Friday, August 17 - 12:25pmSanction this postReply
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Regarding the Obama quote, here are the facts:

• During the 1980s, the top marginal income tax rate fell from 70% to 33%. Even though the top rates were cut sharply, the tax revenues and the share of personal income tax paid by high earners rose during that decade.
• It is important to distinguish between changes in tax rates and changes in tax revenues.
• Measured in 1982-1984 dollars, personal income taxes paid by the top 1 and 10 percent of income recipients increased between 1980 and 1990 even though their rates were reduced.
• Tax revenues collected from the other taxpayers were virtually unchanged during the decade. (Source: Microeconomics: Private and Public Choice by James D. Gwartney, et al, 2011)

If, according to Obama, cutting tax rates for the rich does not improve economic growth and productivity, then tax revenues would not have increased during the 1980's. But they did. So, what he says is simply false.




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Friday, August 17 - 1:28pmSanction this postReply
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Thomas Sowell wrote this article on the 'Trickle-Down' straw man argument several years ago.  I found it pretty persuasive:

http://capitalismmagazine.com/2001/09/the-trickle-down-economics-straw-man/




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Thursday, August 23 - 7:37pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,

[from the link you provided]
In India, in the decade since the 1991 economic reforms which were condemned as “blind faith,” the country’s economic growth rate has soared. It has been estimated that the real blind faith — in government planning — had cost the average Indian hundreds of dollars a year in income during the decades when socialist dogma ruled. In a poor country like India, this was income they could not afford to miss.
Indeed. In fact, prior to the year 2000, over 40% of the population made less than $500 a year ($1.25 per day) in income!* Now, if you take someone who is making less than $500 a year in income, and then you go ahead and eradicate the "government planning" that is so painfully characteristic of "socialist dogma" -- then you have increased the income of these people by at least 50%! The "trickle-up" poverty which comes from socialism was evident in India (before the reforms). Socialism propagated much poverty there. So much pain and destitution, all for a utopian pipe-dream.

Other countries should learn from this.

:-)

Ed

*Source [see Economic Indicators section]
UNICEF - India - Statistics

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 8/24, 4:24am)




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