Monday, November 11, 2013

Checking In on California and France

Chad had told us California was a disaster. Well, it's been a few months.  How bad is it?  Pretty much as good as you could hope for.  And as Bill Maher discusses here on a rant about how things are great in places where the tea party gets booted, single payer could come next in California.  If so it will be an enormous success.  We know that already.  And then maybe we can debunk the rest of the errors on the right.  Among the most urgent: global warming.

What about France?  S&P has downgraded them, and one might be tempted to think that's a sign that they aren't performing well.  As Krugman explains here though that's really not true.

The American people seem to be learning a bit.  The tea party took it on the chin last Tuesday, and that was good news for Social Security.  These are good signs.  I'd read recently that research shows that when people are confronted with evidence that contradicts their beliefs (for instance the right wing being wrong all the time) the initial reaction is to dig in and hold to the erroneous opinions even tighter.  But then, over time, opinions can start to change as more and more evidence accumulates.  The evidence is always against them.  They're hostile to facts and science.  But with time these things can be beaten back.


Chad said...

Yeah we are nuts.

How bad and widespread are California cities' fiscal problems?

"Virtually ubiquitous and massive,'' says Rod Kiewiet, professor of political science at California Institute of Technology.

More debt than 3 countries combined - yep right on track.

How about this - $1 Trillion according to so and so.

Stats and facts that they are dying, but who cares - rock on.

Chad said...

On France - oops.

Oops again -

Now this articles was one of my favs - sent to me by my friend who works at Haulotte (French Company) that has reduced their work force by more than 50% so far moving most of their people to other countries (including the US).

But hey man we are crazy.

Chad said...


Jon said...

Hey Chad, sorry for my delay. I just didn't have a chance to get to your links.

Your first link is a year old and says California's debt is $335 billion. What a disaster. OK, but where is it now, a year later. $132 billion.

This is what I think you're not getting. Sure, everyone is having tough times since 2008. That's not surprising. The question is, which states are improving and by how much? That's a major turn around. Now, there's been bounce back for a lot of places, but contrast tea party bounce back with non-tea party bounce back.

Your next link says if you add in local debt it's even bigger. Yeah, that's to be expected. Everywhere. But here's the question. Are things getting better or worse? Your claim that their decisions from months back would prove catastrophic are wrong because they are moving in the right direction.

Your first link on France says their debt as a % of GDP is high. Yeah. That's true in a lot of countries, particularly the austere countries that followed right wing economic advice. Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal.

As you can see France is on the higher side, but not as bad as the US, Japan, and other places. You offer these details in a vacuum. Did you read my link from Krugman? Yeah, in a vacuum you can make France appear bad, but contrast them with other countries in the Eurozone. Not at the level of Germany, but not especially bad either.

So you can have your links that predict future doom and gloom for France. That's what right wingers do. Make predictions that don't prove to be true, like your prediction about California. I'm not just making predictions. I'm looking at past behavior. Do that in light of the predictions that have been made. That's the cure for right wing economic thinking.

HispanicPundit said...

I was tempted to respond, but then realized that Jon is probably deflecting here. ObamaCare isn't off to a great start - but instead of discussing that, he wants to discuss California.

Besides, California unemployment rate is tracking upwards, while United States as a whole is not. See here..

Jon said...

Keep in mind I'm not a huge lover of Obama Care. I've always said I would have voted for it because I think the alternative is worse. I also defend it against what I consider to be bad arguments against it. But I agree there is a lot to criticize. All of the problems it is currently having could have been avoided with a single payer or public option type system, but that's not what his financial backers want.

Not sure why you need to use "Let Me Google That For You." It's not as if I asked what the unemployment rate is in California as if I don't know how to use Google.

Jon said...

This link says California added jobs last month, but the unemployment rate climbed. They speculate that more people entered the labor force as the economy heats up, and I suppose people aren't counted as unemployed if they haven't looked for a job recently.

Also the number of people receiving unemployment benefits declined.

Also apparently furloughed federal workers were counted as unemployed.

So when I counter your argument am I supposed to use a "Let Me Google That For You" link?

HispanicPundit said...

I didnt mean 'let me google that for you' offensively. Just couldnt find any other way to post that nice graph that comes up.

Chad said...

Now I am beginning to think your not interested in facts.

Without other states and the federal Gov't California would fall immediately.

Jon said...

Chad, you're just repeating yourself. Yeah, there's plenty of debt. Nobody denies that, so your link doesn't provide a single fact that I have denied. There's a lot of "hidden obligations" apparently, so depending on how you tally it you get a different figure. The point is not that California doesn't have debt. They had debt six months ago when you said they were doomed. The question is are they improving or getting worse? The answer is improving.

Chad said...

Tax hikes and budget cuts tend to do that Jon. They slowed the bus heading for the cliff down to 55 from 60 - let's celebrate! The rebound of the housing market, tech jobs and construction projects are helping, but pull back the covers a bit they still rank at the bottom for places to do business and ask EA Sports, Time Warner and about 10-12 other big companies who left California for Texas if they agree with you.

I looked one other time, but I believe right to work states and states ran by republican governors top both solvency, business freindliness and outlook for growth.

Chad said...

If I may expand a bit. Please keep in mind that I am open to a discussion.

Whether I think California is dying and you think its note to me is almost irrelevant actually. I have said this before and I mean it - all I ask here is to not take any money from non Californian's to pay for whatever programs that State wants to put in play. If California adopts a 100% socialist approach I really could care less (honestly), but I won't live there and certainly do not want any money leaving other states to pay for their policies.

This fits with my/our/Tea Party hopes - 50 States capable of making their own plans/decisions and then to live by (PAY FOR) those decisions/programs. If Cali survives and their citizens are happy then we are just fine with that JC. Those folks who believe can pack up and live in Cali, but for those of us not interested in high taxes and regulations we can live in maybe Texas which may adopt a totally different plan.

That is how the constitution was setup to begin with - handing these major decisions to the State to run as the citizens see fit. It is entirely possible that both states survive with completely opposite political and social points of view and that is the real point I have been trying to make here.

Chad said...

That is what we are seeing in France and California right now. Those high earning folks who lean Progressive are happy with the high taxes/regulations they are staying put. The movie stars in Hollywood - they are happy with keeping only a fraction of what they earn - so that is fine. But Those folks who are interested in keeping their money - well they move to Texas or Florida. Same with most businesses they make decisions based on costs from city to city and State to State - this is a healthy. This has especially become the norm with the wealth of info you can get on the internet.

Take my family as an example - we narrowed where we wanted to live in Ohio to basically 2 towns. As I investigated them both - I knew both schools were 5 star academically, sports programs were very good, both heavily Republican/Conservative, nice towns and all that stuff. It came down to the city income taxes - I could move across an imaginary line into a neighboring district - still have my kids go to the great school and save the 3% on city income taxes so that is what we did. Property taxes are about 1/2 as well so the point is that having choices is a very good thing. Now that more people are doing what I have done now the city is looking at lowering the income taxes if your in city limits so there is the cause and affect. Where I live now has had a population spike so they are considering a 1% tax (which will fail) on the ballot for next year. So cause/effect and choice is good.

My company - same thing we just signed a lease in an adjoining town to save about 3%-4% in property taxes and another couple of percentage points in income taxes. The city where we uprooted from is still surviving for now, but the more they tax the more people leave so there is a nice balance.

Choices - not a one size fits all.

Jon said...

What I think you should consider, Chad, is that what you call the socialist experiment (I would call it capitalism with Keynesian emphasis, but anyway) the test has been tried and is being tried right now. We live in the US and you can say what you wish we would do in terms of federalism. That's fine. But let's not forget to also look at what has happened in the world where non-government intervention in the economy has been implemented.

Our economy has massive government intervention and has had that since WWII. We've seen pretty good economic growth in that time. We have seen the same across Europe. Japan, S Korea. These places have done very well.

Haiti has done poorly. African nations, at least to this point, have done poorly. Some of my right wing commentator friends here have sometimes attempted to argue that African nations are doing pretty well. In other words, they understand that the "easy to do business" countries really are following right wing prescriptions, so they want to show that they do well.

If you say you don't like what you call socialism you're in the wrong place. Haiti is what you want. Go ahead and say you want Haitian style government here, but don't forget that we can see the fruits of your policy recommendations already without requiring us to wait around for another secession and Civil War.

The federalist approach to health care is exactly what turned Canada into a single payer nation. Saskatchewan was the first to implement it. It was such a success others followed suit. The guy that brought single payer to Canada was voted by Canadians as their most admired citizen. Last time I checked Canadians pay less in taxes, both in terms of actual dollars and in terms of a rate, than Americans. On top of that they have no insurance premiums coming out of their check. Their lower tax rates cover their entire health care expense. And they are more satisfied with their care than Americans.

So I am hoping for similar things from California and Vermont. In the Maher clip he talks a lot about that. We'll once again get a chance to test your predictive powers, which aren't doing well as I think you'd also have to admit.

Chad said...

Do you have to thank you for something. Your persistence on talking about things outside the US caused me to actually do some reading/exploration about Haiti - just to see what your trying to say. The one thing I learned is that you actually know very little about Haiti - about why it's not doing well and so it's a bit shocking you continue to be dishonest about what is happening over there.

Predictive powers? I am actually feeling pretty good about things I've said. The massive group of zero liability voters came out in full and the conservative votes stayed home so Obama won the election while losing over something like 74% of the total counties in this country.

California is bankrupt. The socialistist politics in France and the new tax law policies on the rich yielded less tax revenue as I predicted. The most prosperous business states in this country - those with lower unemployment levels, higher GDP growth projections and jobs are states that have Conservatives in the Governor's chair. Those states that went Right to Work are growing as well as I predicted so I am not sure what your referring too?

Chad said...

I see so the votes of the mob proves its good policy? Ever heard of a guy named Claude Castonguay? He kinda sorta was the guy that put the single payer in play - you know what he's saying 40 years later? Might want to look it up - not a ringing endorsement my friend. He actually used words like citizens should be ale to choose private health option to RECIEVE BETTER CARE THAT THEY DESERVE! 40 years in and the ugliness that is the single payer is starting to rear their ugly head!!!!

Ouch. And if we are okay with the mob vote dictating policies then Obama Care should be unplugged right now - the last poll was what 60 percent disapproval of OC?

Chad said...

The only thing I will admit is that there is no perfect system, but what bothers me about your history references - like linking economic success with Gov't is discarding so many things. The first is that no one knows what the growth might have been without? The scoreboard is lit, uniforms off and the final score is etched in history. There is no way to go back - reset the clock to zero and play it over with less Gov't involvement.

The other part that bugs me about your absolutes that are not absolutes is the effect that the opposing side has on doing their best to retard success. You and Progressives need Capitalism to fail - you need crony capitalism to blame. When something begins working, the Dems and Rhino's make policy to slow or hurt growth - lower taxes, but increase the EPA and regulations so at no point has either idea been given full autonomy.

Again we need to discuss our differences - I am fine with and promote the idea to leave you/your state alone. I will not make a law or policy forcing your participation in anything - we just ask the same from you sir. You can tax and force your state citizens to participate in whatever you want - wish you the best now wish us the best and leave us alone!

Jon said...

Remember the policy here. Make a controversial assertion, like I'm being dishonest about Haiti, then back it up. I'd love to see it.

Part of the reason I make claims like that is because I want to be proved wrong if I'm wrong. Otherwise I might say something stupid at another point in my life where it might be more embarrassing. So please, explain my dishonesty.

And I like that you use the word dishonest instead of saying I'm lying, because I take you to mean it's less conscious deception and more like I allow myself to believe something false. I admit I've done that before. You're one of the ones here that can help remedy that, and if I've done it I really want to remedy it.

But also just remember that regarding Haiti make sure you understand clearly what I claim. I don't say they are free market. Nobody is. What is true is that they had elected what you might call a socialist, but in a coup he was removed and a right wing regime was imposed. They pursued the business friendly policies. No labor rights, no environmental requirements, low taxes, small government. This condition leads to all kinds of problems that the right points to and says "That's not free market, so we're not responsible." Like crime, which they say violates property rights. Yeah, I know it doesn't look like the fantasy world that exists only in the minds of libertarians but never in the real world. What I'm saying is that they have pursued your policy preferences. The results are plain.

Are you really happy with your predictive powers when it comes to Romney and Obama, where you said Romney wins big? If that's success what would failure look like?

Jon said...

As far as right to work states doing better, when I evaluate your claims I put forward evidence to back it up, like I've done here. You simply said right to work states do better, but no evidence. A company here and there left California. Companies move all the time. We need better evidence than that.

The "mob" is what people that oppose democracy call the will of the people, so I know where you get that mentality. The right is very authoritarian. Very undemocratic. The preferences of the people are the "mob." Really, only a small number of elites should be deciding for us. I'll take the mob over the dictates of the few.

It doesn't bother me or surprise me that you find an individual person in Canada that wants some private elements in health care. That's a perfectly reasonable position. That's what France does and their health care system is ranked #1. I'm not making any claim about adding some private elements to a public system.

Even if this guy was advocating something I object to, what's up with "Ouch, that's gotta hurt, one person in Canada that should be liberal disagrees with you." The whole rest of the country agrees with me. One guy's opinion is not a big deal. Take a look at what Canadians generally think.

Regarding government intervention and successful economies, can you name a single country that went from poverty to prosperity using government non-intervention? Because on my side I have all of the world's big economies. The US, Japan, S Korea, Germany, Britain, and on down the line. You say the game isn't over. The game has been being played for centuries. Can we at least look and see what is working?

Examinator said...

Just passing by,I see Chad still believes the unskilled, sensation inclined, media is still a reliable (sic) source of information.
That's a bit like asking the mythical Dracula the benefits of a diet of raw blood.
I guess it confirms his entrenched biases.

BTW name 3 long term real Confederacies as opposed to Federations?

NB Chad's much admired anti-federationists of the founding fathers were in fact were in favor of AGRARIAN CONFEDERACY (largely because those states were dominated by rich land owners.(They were opposed to Rich Industrialist... Koch Bros and Chad's corporate types).

One needs to consider the predatory nature of capitalist Corporations. Consider the unbridled Power (abuse) of say ADM (there is a long list of their undemocratic and dubious dealing... check DETAILS of court actions they have lost) would have on a poor rural US state.

A Confederacy by definition demands it's members are sovereign countries (their own armed forces)
BTW members can be expelled and as such be attacked by other members.

Consider an army that would require more than a majority in fact a super majority or consensus to go to war or sabre rattle.
Also consider the consequence of this on US dominance and power. It would be like the EU with control over NATO an equal to US.
Then consider the logical loss of dominance to US Business world wide!
In reality it is USA's Federation that engenders its power/influence and some of the smaller states survival.

Just pointing out some of the realities that a Confederated US would mean.

Jon said...

Chad said...

Looking very much forward to answering later (on the road) your questions. Be sure to tune into The Blaze TV tonight if you can. Wilkow is going to talk about Venezula.

Jon said...

I would watch, but it looks like a paid service.

Chad said...

JC - I think you one of the smartest guys I know and enjoy the banter so first know that whatever I post is not done in spite. The "Ouch" was meant to be like a friend giving you some grief / a hard time with words so please don't take offense when I do stuff like that.

Jon said...

Wow, thanks man, I'm not sure I believe you but that's very kind of you to say. But I didn't take the "ouch" thing as an insult but just that you thought it was something that would be difficult for me to cope with in terms of refuting it. For my perspective I don't think it's a big deal.

Chad said...

I am not joking about that - I enjoy coming out and reading opposite view points. Unfortunately I do not have as much time or knowledge as maybe I would like to refute/rebut you positions, but in many ways your helping to galvanize my position when I do go out and learn about Haiti for instance.

Examinator said...

HP Chad, Jon, etc
Note this scientific observation.
It comes under conditioned responses changing brain chemistry
It puts pay to your assertions about the poor/ undereducated being lazy etc