OK Boomers & Millenials, Buckle-Up

Via Marginal Revolution: Larry Summers on Elizabeth Warren’s plan to finance Medicare:

‘This time seems different. Judged relative to gross domestic product, the Medicare-for-all program dwarfs the federal spending hikes of the New Deal and the Great Society. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson emphasized that their new benefits would be paid for by contributions from their middle-class beneficiaries. With Warren’s plan, it is the combination of vast new entitlements with total reliance on the top 1 percent for revenue that puts us in uncharted and, I fear, dangerous territory.’

From the outside looking in: I can see some older, Democratic coalitions of working voters migrating towards Trump’s populism, as identity politics seems to have become a main platform of that party.  Civil Rights and social justice activism have become quite influential, as well.  The radicals (anarchists, antifa, Socialists, Communists, etc) are still around, of course, probably in a tense relationship with any party structure.

Larry Summers, briefly became a witch.

It looks like for some young people, Democratic Socialism is a respectable option.

As for my own political coalitions, I suppose I’m on the lookout for anyone reasonable, including old-guard liberals and libertarians (more likely to be pro-market, traditional, less dependent upon radical utopianism). Beneath the old guard I see many people forming  ‘-Ism’ coalitions, with varying degrees of experience and knowledge in their respective domains, whatever you may think of those domains’ knowledge claims (feminism, environmentalism, globalism, collectivism etc).  Such folks have demands which will express themselves through coalition-building, institutional administrative structures, bureaucracy, media hierarchies and party politics.

As to individuals, I try to take folks as they come, and hope they do the same for me.

As posted:

Oliver Traldi at Quillete reviews Mark Lilla- ‘The Once And Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

‘Lilla’s own explanation of his liberalism, given by the book’s structure, is that politics is liberal by definition.

and:

‘Lilla clearly thinks he is making a pragmatic case, but he does not engage with any empirical political science; no numbers of any kind—polls, turnout, what have you—appear in the book.’

Despite the narrowness of understanding and lack of empirical rigor on display (liberal political idealism is the lingua franca of many a humanities department), I don’t mind Lilla’s plea for more national unity and moderate party politics in American life.

Do I really think Democrat donor parties claiming national greatness, neo-liberal economics and an evening of Beatles songs at the Kennedy Center are enough to placate the activists and radicals?

No.

Do I think the old conservative guard and National Review cruises are going to unite the populist, angry and economically left-behind members of the Right, including some actual race-mongers and dangerous ideologues?

No.

Repost-Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

See the previous post.The Intellectual Cowardice Of The Crowd-Charles Murray At Middlebury College

Charles Murray’s Account Of The Middlebury College Affair

Link To Roger Scruton’s First Of Three Charles Test Lectures Hosted By Princeton University

From The Internet Encyclopedia Of Knowledge: Immanuel Kant And Utilitarianism

Repost-Yes, We’re All Going To Die, But The Environment Is Like A Beautiful Kaleidoscope-Peer Inside And See The Shapes Of Happy People

Ron Bailey at Reason on former President Obama’s trip to Alaska:

‘In other words, whatever benefits the administration’s convoluted energy and emissions regulations may provide, they are costing American consumers and industry three times more than would a comparable carbon tax. Talk about negative impacts!’

I think this comment gets to the heart of what some folks were likely thinking:

‘Look, if we can model the economy, we can model the climate.’

Modeling anything so complex seems almost like ballast to the activism, but the photo-ops, now those came off without a hitch.

As previously posted: I can’t speak to Britain’s Green Party, but neither can anyone else apparently.  Via David Thompson: ‘Incredibly Awkward Interview With Natalie Bennett.’ A train-wreck on the air with a lot of coughing… If some Britons aren’t engaged in the magical and doomsday cult thinking of back to nature utopianism, they’re apparently channeling that magical thinking into the Green Party political platform of free houses and money-tree utopianism.

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In many instances, the loyalty that many people had for Communist and Socialist ideals has been transferred over to green causes. Many moral commitments that came with these ideologies, frustrated by the horrendous consequences and totalitarian regimes that resulted (Stalinist North Korea and Communist Cuba still sputter onwards), have been re-directed or can even appear re-branded within environmental movements.

YOU should feel guilty about the poor, the downtrodden, and the global victims of industrial activity. WE should ‘re-wild’ nature and bring it to a state it achieved before man came and despoiled it. Humans have the power to shape their world, but only if they follow the right ideals and the right knowledge, as well as perhaps feeling the guilt and commitment and passion that come with those ideals. WE should aim for a simpler, collective life, and feel ’empathy’ with everyone (oft times the noble savage) around the globe.

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Perhaps we didn’t used to see [so many] genuine socialists out in public in the United States pushing green causes, but there’s now more than ever anti-corporate, anti-industrial activism finding expression within environmental movements. This activism can make its way into laws, and forms a major plank in the Democratic party platform nationally.

Whatever your thoughts on the natural world and conservation, I think it’s fair to say that from cartoons to schools to movies, there’s also been remarkable popular success in making environmental activism mainstream conventional wisdom; easy, cool and fun to join.

Rarely though, is there much discussion of the costs environmental laws can impose on private landowners and consumers (not just big real-estate developers and industrial interests) through compliance with the laws and higher prices. Supporters of environmental causes don’t often connect the dots between their interests and the potential for bureaucratic waste and mismanagement, nor the downright twisted incentives that can result for citizens, lawmakers and even budding scientists looking for grant money.

As we see in California, I think once you get enough public sentiment believing in the basic tenets of green thinking, then climate science, whatever its merits, often becomes a sideshow, while politics and money can become the main event.

***I think Monbiot was on much more stable ground when he appealed to J.S. Mill’s harm principle regarding people harmed by industrial activity.  Sometimes people in industries just don’t care about some of the consequences of their actions, and legal recourse can be hard to come by for those without money or connections.  There have been beneficial consequences to individuals’ health and to those parts of nature sought to be conserved…but again…at what cost?

It seems worth continually discussing.

From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…

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Related On This SiteA Wolf In Wolf’s Clothing?-’Rewilding’ And Ecological Balance

Repost-From The American Spectator: ‘Environmentalism and the Leisure Class’

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”From The Boston Review: ‘Libertarianism And Liberty: How Not To Argue For Limited Government And Lower Taxes’From Slate: ‘The Liberty Scam-Why Even Robert Nozick, The Philosophical Father Of Libertarianism, Gave Up On The Movement He Inspired.’

Is it actual Nature, or a deep debate about civilization and morality, man and nature that fuels this Western debate: ….Roger Sandall At The New Criterion Via The A & L Daily: ‘Aboriginal Sin’Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism’Karl Popper’s metaphysical theory: Falsifiability

Did Jared Diamond get attacked for not being romantic enough…or just for potential hubris?:  Was he acting as a journalist in Papua New-Guinea?:  From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit

Instead of global green governance, what about a World Leviathan…food for thought, and a little frightening: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

Michael Totten’s Vietnam Kickstarter Campaign

Link to 3:26 video here.

Totten is visiting the five remaining countries around the globe still ruled by Communist parties:  North Korea, Cuba, China, Laos, and Vietnam.

He has a Kickstarter campaign to reach the modest goal of $10,000 for the Vietnam trip.

If you like travel writing/journalism with an observant eye, some war correspondence and political/economic analysis as it relates to conditions on the ground, I recommend his work.

Donors will receive updates from his visit.  It’s a solid pitch.

Related On This Site: Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘The Once Great Havana’

Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’James Kirchik At The American Interest: 

Michael Totten’s piece that revisits a Robert Kaplan piece from 1993, which is prescient:  “A Writhing Ghost Of A Would-Be Nation”.  It was always a patchwork of minority tribes, remnants of the Ottoman Empire

I just received a copy of Totten’s book, Where The West Ends, and it’s good reading.

From Art In America: ‘Christie’s Final Assessment of Detroit Artworks: Up To $867 Million’

Full post here.

‘The artworks are being appraised as part of the city’s bankruptcy proceedings. Some of the city’s creditors have pushed for selling the artworks. Orr has stated that all options for paying down the city’s $18 billion shortfall must be on the table.’

How did Detroit get here?

Very comprehensive and easy to navigate.

More from Megan McArdle on the behavior that comes with pension bonuses.

Some links on this site: Charlie LeDuff, Detroit’s populist, citizen journalist’s youtube channel here.  At least he’s sticking around.

Are you looking at beautiful photos and feeling sorry for Detroit, and yourself?  See Time Magazine’s photo essay by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (less porn-like, more thoughtful).

Hipster hope, artists, collectivists and small business types can’t save it either:  A Short Culture Wars Essay-Two Links On Detroit & ‘Ruin Porn’

GM is not a municipality, but good money got put in, probably after bad and it reeks of politics: From The Detroit News: ‘How The Treasury, GM Stock Deal Got Done’

What about the popular arts and culture?:Update And Repost-From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’…A Few Thoughts And A Tuesday Poem By Philip Levine

A garage sale for the city’s art? Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘Detroit’s Van Gogh Would Be Better Off in L.A.’From The Detroit Free Press: ‘DIA’s Art Collection Could Face Sell-Off To Satisfy Detroit’s Creditors’

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest

From Bloomberg: ‘Detroit Recovery Plan Threatens Muni-Market Underpinnings’

Reason Interview Via Youtube: ‘Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe On The High Cost Of College’

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Quite reasonable.

How do we best line-up expectations with aspirations, training with available jobs, and credentials with marketable skills?  Technology and global competition are forcing change rapidly, and Rowe pushes against the oversold idea that everyone should go to college (and many are going into non-dischargable debt to do so, driving-up prices rapidly).

A four-year degree is still worth the investment for many people, and higher annual incomes don’t lie, but there are many escalators leading out of four-year degree programs straight into unrelated cubicle-work, or back to Mom and Dad’s couch in this economy.  Buyer beware.

This blog holds out hope that a reasonable equality-of-opportunity approach can be maintained out of the mess of grade-inflation, watered-down standards, and the kind of competitive meritocracy that has come about.  I suspect the rise of helicopter-parenting and over-monitored kids has a lot to do with fewer perceived opportunities and more intense competition for those opportunities.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site: Should you get a college degree?:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

,,Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’

Analagous to old media? What to change and what to keepFrom The Arnoldian Project: ‘Architecture, Campus, And Learning To Become’

Two Americas forming?:  Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

Inga Saffron At The New Republic: ‘Granite Countertops, Flat-Screen TVs, Fire Pits: How College Dorms Got Luxe’

Full piece here.

Keeping an eye on that upmarket trend in some college amenities.  Meanwhile, the economy’s growing dismally at the moment between 1-2%, and enrollment numbers seem pretty flat:

‘How can student housing be going up-market at the exact moment when we are having a national freak-out over rising college costs and the staggering amounts of student debt?’

Wasn’t there that grad student living in his van a while back?

At least there’s this:

‘Administration officials once managed everything on campus, from the English faculty to the janitors, until they realized they could save money by outsourcing the non-academic stuff. It’s much easier to lease a piece of campus land to a developer than to undertake an arduous fund-raising campaign to pay for a new dorm. It’s also 20 percent cheaper: Private companies are able to shave $16,000 off the per-bed cost in their student residences’

Perhaps fewer administrators in the first-place might be part of the answer, administering fewer students who borrow heavily and incentivize rising tuition-costs with debt, as the government keeps pumping more money in?

A softer landing would be nice for that part of the problem.

Some photos.

From The American Conservative Blog:  The false promise of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses). Reihan Salam At Reuters: ‘Online Education Can Be Good Or Cheap, But Not Both’

Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Why Education And Healthcare Cost So Much’

Analagous to old media? What to change and what to keepFrom The Arnoldian Project: ‘Architecture, Campus, And Learning To Become’

Should you get a college degree, probably, but you also probably shouldn’t lose sight of why you’re going and divorce yourself entirely from the cost:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

Jerry Bowyer Interviews George Gilder At Forbes

Full interview here.

Gilder’s idea:

‘That capitalism is chiefly a knowledge system, rather than an incentive system.’

On Gilder’s thinking, people are learning and suffering from their own mistakes, more so than they would otherwise.  The capital being invested into the acquisition of knowledge is ideally risked by those whose money it is, not politicians who trade money for votes, and have their own goals (when was the last time you saw a politician not just as interested in perception and re-election rather than principles and ideals?).

Politics and political incentives are usually a few times removed from what’s going on in a society, and in my experience perhaps somewhat analogous to the HR department in your company (Addition: Responsible for human capital yes, but arguably non-essential, often beholden to upper management, with incentives to enforce and create more internal regulations.

Also:

‘What Wall Street likes, a lot of the time, is volatility and instability, and they want the downsides protected by government guarantees. That’s why there is this tension between Wall Street and Main Street and Silicon Valley, and why I think one of the tragedies of the recent era has been Silicon Valley’s defection to the government side; Silicon Valley now is oriented toward getting government guarantees for their green projects.”

The society isn’t just less wealthy by allowing green thinking and green ideals to be the highest things around, and even arguably less moral because the government has used the example of force to affect outcomes, but the whole society tends to be more closed, less able to adapt to events, and less dynamic.

Related On this Site: As someone interested in the humanities, I don’t want to leave the matter solely to venture capitalists, nor charter schools, nor Continental philosophies, nor the religious, nor the postmoderns by any stretch, but I do want to resist the institutionalized Dewey do-gooders and secular abstract idealists and humanists that lead to all those people and groups free-riding on the public good.  Does that really best serve our children from lower ed to higher ed?; Jerry Bowyer At Forbes: ‘A College Bubble So Big Even The New York Times And 60 Minutes Can See It…Sort Of’… The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’Friedrich Hayek Discussion On Bloggingheads

-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.

Big cities, especially New York, tend to over-regulate business, you can hope for efficient corruption: Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Death By Wealth Tax’……Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

Link From A Reader: ‘Richard Epstein Introduces Chicago’s Best Ideas To Students’

Jim Powell At Forbes: ‘How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America’s Worst Performing Economies?’

Full piece here.

‘What Connecticut politicians failed to do was focus on making their jurisdictions as attractive as possible to investors and entrepreneurs, so there would be a continuing influx of new jobs.  Among other things, this means reducing the cost of doing business for everyone, large and small – prospective newcomers as well as investors and entrepreneurs already in the state.’

Over in Rhode Island, they tried a crony capitalist sweetheart deal to get in on that tech action with Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios.  Taxpayers were on the hook.  That didn’t work out so well:

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Boondoggle!

Hopefully, more Americans are coming around to the idea that you can’t keep squeezing a stone, neither locally, state-wide, nor federally.  Many municipalities are drowning in pension obligations and they are looking for cargo-cult solutions to keep the status-quo going.

A quote found here:

‘The last thing Detroit teaches us is that America too often doesn’t learn from its mistakes.  Detroit’s troubles have been evident for quite some time, yet it’s hard to see that many other post industrial cities have managed to carve out a different path.  Rather, they pretended that Detroit’s fall was somehow unique due to its auto industry dependence – and managed to ignore other failed cities as well – while embarking on the same turnaround strategy via conventional wisdom and silver bullets.’

This kind of thing is going on all over the country.

Of course, lower taxes, less regulation, less crony-capitalism, and a growing private sector are not in the interests of many in our society, and certainly not the current administration.  I’d even say that we’ve got our work cut out for us given the potential overall drift of our culture, especially post-60’s:

Another quote, this time from Ira Stoll:

‘Indeed, if there is a single fact that sums up the state of American political economy at the present moment, it is this: the Boston office building once home to Inc. Magazine and Fast Company, which chronicled and celebrated small and fast-growing businesses, is now the headquarters of a publication called “Compliance Week.”’

Related On This Site:  Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.

What if you’re economy’s already depressed?  Don’t make a maze of laws and build stadiums and museums on the public dime…get new industry: From Reason: ‘Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey’…Reason also suggests that if such creative/entrepenurial spirit gets off the ground, it will have to get around the public sector in Detroit.  From Reason Via Youtube: ‘Is Harrisburg’s Nightmare America’s Future?’
Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

Ross Douthat At The NY Times: ‘Washington Versus America’

Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘The End Of Unions?’

Repost-‘Philip Brand Reviews Kay Hymowitz At Real Clear Books: ‘Women on Top, Men at the Bottom’

Full review here.

Man-children?  A war against men? The products of feminism?  An erosion of religious values?:

‘The thrust of Manning Up is different. In her new book, Hymowitz puts economic conditions first — along with the increasing professional accomplishments of women. Preadulthood, she says, is “an adjustment to huge shifts in the economy, one that makes a college education essential to achieving or maintaining a middle-class life.” 

That’s preadulthood for men:

Preadulthood — most common among men in their twenties, though it can easily extend to one’s thirties and beyond — is a consequence of two related economic trends that are reshaping the coming-of-age experience for young Americans, both men and women. The first trend is the extended period of training — college and beyond — deemed necessary to succeed in the modern economy. The second trend is women’s participation and flourishing in the new economy.’

Related On This SiteFrom Will Wilkinson-A Response To Kay Hymowitz: ‘The “Menaissance” and Its Dickscontents’Kay Hymowitz In The The City Journal: Love In The Time Of DarwinismKay Hymowitz In The City Journal: Child-Man In The Promised Land?Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’

From The Chronicle Of Higher Ed Via A & L Daily: Christina Hoff Sommers “Persistent Myths In Feminist Scholarship”Wendy Kaminer At The Atlantic: ‘Sexual Harassment And The Loneliness Of The Civil Libertarian Feminist’

Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?

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Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’

 

As Kotkin highlights, there’s the service economy, and then there’s the high-end economy they’re serving, with less and less in-between.  More taxation is an attractive option and the path of least resistance for many city politicians.  He argues that working and/or middle management and/or middle income jobs are hard to find, and especially hard to find outside of public service and government.  Once that economy goes away, so goes the heart and soul of your city (see Detroit).  He argues that Chicago has got to get competitive for business again.

I suspect many libertarians and conservatives will argue that the liberal focus on the arts, culture, equality, education under the banner of rights-based liberty is being done post-mortem in many cases.  It won’t bring back the jobs and opportunity that made the city hum, and beneath those liberal ideals, where the sausage is made, are politicians fighting for less and less pie, voting for higher property taxes, cronyism, unions, and union protectionism etc.  Like New York nearly did in the 70’s, or like Harrisburg did recently, borrowing itself into bankruptcy, cities can end up in tough times.  The liberal/progressive model doesn’t help.

The city that gave us the Chicago School is facing some real challenges as is most of the rust belt.

Of course, I think it’s fair to say that not everyone has the analytical/quantitative reasoning ability and corresponding education to succeed in the developing tech marketplace and explosion of biotech and the sciences either, even if the U.S. educational system is able to re-prioritize away from its old ways (both ideological and practical) and make us more competitive again.

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model from the ground up in NYC.

Related On This Site: The current administration can’t seem to imagine a problem that doesn’t involve a government solution: How Would Obama Respond To Milton Friedman’s Four Ways To Spend Money?From Bloomberg.Com: Nancy Pelosi Says “Bankruptcy Is Not An Option”

Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’A Few Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”

How to end up in a conservative position Repost-Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…when there is socialism vs authoritarianism and fascism all around you:A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’

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