It’s pretty clear we’ll never agree. I understand that “data-driven” sounds very logical and solid, but in truth, confirmation bias is the most common pitfall in both diagnosis and argument.

Agreed. First thing we learn when we become statisticians. That’s why I endeavor to avoid it, always.

You are starting from the conviction that both the zillionaire currently in the White House and the one who wants to replace him (but in my view is quite likely to do the opposite, dividing moderate votes) would be acceptable choices, then seeking data to confirm your conviction.

Eh. I’ve provided precisely zero data that is related to a specific candidate.

What I’ve provided data on are some common shibboleths of the far left, such as the myth that inequality is a function of the taxation system, the myth that a “wealth tax” can fund massive social programs, and pointed out that the “we’ve had 70% marginal before and life was OK” notion, although technically true, represents an extremely vacuous understanding of reality at that time.

The issue here seems to be that you wish to reject any sort of information that would indicate that the economic situation in the US is basically on-track. After all, if we accept that the economic conditions are on-track, that means we don’t need a radical-left president, eh?

Trouble is, the world is so data-rich that masses of data can always be mustered to support most hypotheses. One sad outcomes is that a lot of blogosphere is people trading links and quotes, none of which can be taken as ultimate or definitive.

Well, the “cherrypicking” problem is always there, which is why I use only official, government-based data sources, well-respected centrist think tank data, and occasionally employ some of the fact-checking agencies (they’re good on data, not so good on anything else.) I keep it simple, and never devolve into econ-speak; and when quoting estimates, I tend to use the one that is better accepted by my debate opponent, not myself. (Example: I mentioned that the 70% tax would cover 1.5% of the cost of the 40T estimate of the Green New Deal; that is the lefty CAP’s estimate; the conservative think tank’s estimate is 90T.)

Bottom line is that the numbers are the numbers. And if anyone is going to put a proposal on the table for anything (I really don’t care if it’s a border wall or Medicare for All) then it’s the responsibility of the promoters to explain how it’s paid for. If the far left wants to put a proposal on the table and call it a “conversation starter” that’s fine, but it’s never going to get passed without putting hard numbers to it.

Same goes for “fixing income inequality”. Income inequality is overwhelmingly due to automation and globalization, which we have exacerbated in the US by signing very corporate friendly (rather than US worker friendly) trade bills.

I never said “Schultz is bad.” I said (to paraphrase) that his decision to introduce his self-funded independent candidacy is likely to split the vote in a way that helps Trump, manifesting both excessive self-confidence and indifference to the suffering another Trump administration would mean for others not so fortunate.

Well, given that I don’t fear a second Trump Admin the way you do, let me give you some comfort, here:

  1. In the cases where the third party candidate is to the right or left of the party candidate (Stein, Nader) the party candidate loses votes to the 3rd party candidate.
  2. In the cases where the third party candidate is to the center of the party candidate (Anderson, Perot) the candidate seems to pull votes approximately equally from both parties. (This would be the situation Schultz would find himself in.)
  3. The Libertarian candidates seem also to pull from both sides about equally.

Personally, I think that Schultz is a long shot; I just don’t think the venom he’s taken from the far left was reasonable. Apparently Bloomberg is also readying a run, and if so, that would be much more viable.

But here’s reality: despite this ostensible 90% approval rating Trump has among Republicans, a large portion of his support is wobbly. If the Dems were to actually run a centrist like Joe Manchin or Evan Bayh, either would probably win 40 states.

Now, if you think the US is falling apart without a socialist revolution, that doesn’t comfort you very much. But if you’re a traditional liberal, or even a far left socialist who believes in incrementalism rather than ramming policies down the throat of the other tribe, that should comfort you somewhat.

The future being unknowable, we will have to wait and see whether the outcome will be as I fear.

Nothing is worth “fearing”. Life is too short. I’ve lived in several other nations and traveled to about sixty over the last decade; life is quite lovely in many of them. If the US decides to tax us to hell and become a far left “paradise” (heh!), then my bags are quickly packed with several options where I can move my money, happily spend my retirement, and put my daughter’s soon to be significant income stream out of reach of the money-grabbers.

Nothing either of us can say now can satisfy the need for outcome-based data in the future. So I’m bidding adieu and leaving it here in the hope readers will decide for themselves.


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Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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