Principled supporters of small government

This is not intended as flame-bait, I didn’t think Jane Hamsher was completely wrong about this at the time, but (Steve M.):

Ah, remember the innocent days of, say, early 2010, when Jane Hamsher could write this (emphasis added)?

… Granted, the tea party messaging can be pretty schizophrenic and has often served as a grab bag of anti-Obama sentiment. But their primary message has always been economic, and they have their roots in the libertarian-leaning, anti-interventionist conservatism of Ron Paul.

Well, now it appears that somebody forgot to tell the members of Congress who’ve taken up the tea party banner that they’re supposed to be anti-interventionist:

Tea Party Caucus members endorse Israeli attack on Iran

… Almost two dozen Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers cosponsored a new resolution late last week that expresses their support for Israel “to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force.”

The lead sponsor of the resolution was Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, one of four congressmen to announce the formation of the 44-member Tea Party caucus at a press conference on July 21. The other three Tea Party Caucus leaders, Michele Bachmann, R-MN, Steve King, R-IA, and John Culberson, R-TX, are also sponsors of the resolution. In total, 21 Tea Party Caucus members have signed on….

Last week, a Tea Party-affiliated grassroots organization launched a nationwide campaign to build popular opposition to the administration’s nuclear reductions treaty with Russia, called New START. The group is led by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginny and it dovetails with similar efforts by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney….

The notion that teatards are anything other than the right wing of the Republican party is simply wrong. Also too, the notion that libertarians are anything other than Republicans who smoke dope like pink Himalayan salt. I’m not saying that there was no libertarian opposition to the Iraq War (e.g. Jesse Walker), but the reaction was generally a mix of WOLVERINES and “meh, it’s not as bad as outlawing guns in churches”.

The circle jerks

Andrew Sullivan linking to McMegan:

Megan doesn’t like how Warren uses data:

Heh indeedy.

Always, Always Wrong

At some point you would think this would begin to get embarrassing for the Atlantic. Also, too.


Capital strike

A frustrating day here for me — I whacked my funny bone and it hurts to type for me more than a few minutes, but there’s a ton to blog about today!

But here’s a short New Yorker piece on the new meme (pushed by Bobo and throughout Kaplan, for example) that the economy sucks because Obama hurt Mort Zuckerma’s fee-fees and made all the business geniuses go Galt:

There’s also a pervasive feeling that Obama’s tone—as evidenced by tough rhetoric against Wall Street and BP—is dampening the spirits of business leaders, making them unwilling to take risks. The implicit idea here is that when businesspeople feel poorly treated they’ll just take their ball and go home, even if that means giving up chances for profit. This isn’t a completely crazy idea: as Keynes argued, “animal spirits” play an important role in driving business decisions, and there are historical examples of so-called “capital strikes”—where investors pulled capital out of an economy in reaction to anti-business policies. But there’s no evidence that anything like this is happening in the U.S. right now. Corporate profits are healthy. Investment may be low, but, given how slowly the economy is growing, it’s about where you’d expect. If businesses truly were holding back on hiring new workers or building new plants in the face of real opportunities, we’d see them working their current employees and factories to the limit. But they aren’t: weekly hours worked have scarcely budged in two years, and factory usage is at just seventy per cent of capacity, which is historically quite low.

If businesses aren’t hiring or investing, in other words, it’s because they don’t need to: they have enough workers and factories to meet the demand for their products. And there are few signs that this is going to change any time soon: consumer demand remains weak, economic indicators—inflation rates, consumer confidence, the stock market, bond rates—aren’t forecasting a quick return to boom times, and, just last week, the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, told Congress that the state of the U.S. economy was “unusually uncertain.” So it’s no wonder that companies are feeling cautious. The uncertainty that’s keeping businesses from spending or hiring isn’t uncertainty about what Barack Obama is doing or saying. It’s uncertainty about whether the economic recovery is going to stick.

This is ugly

I know I’ve pitched temper tantrums at commenters here before, so I don’t blame McMegan for losing her shit but for God’s sake, why can’t she correct a basic mathematical error (via Tbogg)?

Megan McArdle sees someone suggest that Bush’s tax cuts for the rich should be eliminated and the money used for better purposes, and she decides that it just wouldn’t make any difference. McArdle’s problems with the argument:

Dylan Matthews at the Washington Post has asked what we might be able to do for the economy if we repealed the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and spent the money on something else. The result is a nice post full of graphs, but the answer seems to be “not much”–the very best estimate is that we get about $75 billion in added economic activity, or about $25 for every person in the country.

The first two commenters correct her math. “Or $250, whatever,” says the first. The second: “Using current census data, I get $244 per person, but yes let’s call it $250, Megan was off by a factor of 10.” McArdle and math are two ships that pass in the night, never to have contact. Fortunately her commenters are available to do her long division for her.

It’s not a small error — no one would argue that a $25 rebate check (say) per American would help the economy much, but it might be argued that a $250 one would (I have no idea if it really would, but that would be about the same size as the 2008 tax rebate). We all make mistakes, but if you make an order-of-magnitude error that potentially affects your argument, shouldn’t you make a correction and revisit the argument, using the time-honored method of the strike-bar and the update?

This burns me up, whether it’s David Brooks (failed math in high school, no evidence he’s improved) wanking about some graphs he saw on iSteve or claiming that Clinton had an approval rating “in the 20s”, Emily Yoffe critiquing global warming research from a first-grade math level, or McMegan not admitting that $25 and $250 are not the same number, I wish that truly innumerate people would shut the fuck up about everything related to quantitative analysis.

Update. In her very next post:

And we would all of us–not just academics–like to be immune from getting fired for making stupid remarks.

Heh indeedy.

Update. Finally a correction, it’s because the calculator on her computer “won’t go into the billions”. In fairness, I just tested out the calculator on my Mac and if I try to enter 75 billion, it just stops at 750 million.

Anyway, as I said, everyone makes mistakes. I guess maybe it would have been a good idea to notice that the first few commenters pointed out the error rather than just screaming at them and calling them idiots.