Linkworld: God, War, and Housing

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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175 Responses

  1. Marchmaine says:

    [Eu2] No, probably not… he’s not even likely in the top 5 candidates. I tried to find one of the history surveys of the Arthurian contenders… but I can’t find it on my shelves, and searching anything King Arthur on google is a hopeless task.

    Here’s at least a decent “encyclopedia” type page on Centurion Lucius Artorius

    The original article wants to use Artorius as a prop in what appears to be an history of early modern Yorkshire +/-.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I read John Morris’ “The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650” many years ago and as I recall one of the key points of historical evidence was that people in the Celtic fringe all of the sudden started naming children Arthur in the seventh century suggests an heroic figure of broad importance in the immediately preceding period. Placing Arthur in the Second Century seems to render that evidence meaningless, which I think is suggestive of something.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Yeah, I’ve been more persuaded for an earlier Arthur, 450ish as the empire crumbles and the legions leave; quite likely a “Roman” who rallies the non-Saxons. The various celtic tales seem to have a historical trigger c. 600s which revive and/or rebuild the earlier history into the proto-Arthurian legends… which only expand through the 9th – 15th centuries (and beyond).

        I’m also partially persuaded that while there was an ur-Arthur, there may have been other “Arthurs” which were Arthurs because there was an Arthur of yore. Its mostly a close literary analysis (of difficult languages when not in Latin) of fragmented texts with a smattering of history and even less archaeology. Each one seems triggered by events current when written with big literary arrows to things past.

        Wish I could find my historical collection stash… must be boxed away.Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    Ru1 – “precious”? Was this supposed to be precarious or previous?

    As4 – for what value of ‘historical’ are you using? Mao was a pretty big deal on the world stage; heck so was Chiang Kai-shek in his own way. Deng was a pretty big deal too. The period of quasi consensus rule lacking big personalities seems to have lasted not even 20 years.
    back in the imperial rule days, while the late empire emperors were no doubt rather weak (and eventually so weak the entire ruling edifice crumbled), it seems to me that they were never so sidelined as say, the Japanese emperors were pre-Meiji.

    Me1 – I can’t figure out if she actually means carbon monoxide, or is being somewhat breathless in her characterization of the effect of carbon dioxide.

    Me2 – we did? huh, I guess we did

    Eu2 – Hey, I remember this movie, Clive Owen and Keira Knightley when both stars were still ascendant.

    US2: “Europeans find Southern accents particularly alluring, closely followed by New Yorkers”
    Pro-natalist policymakers will propose a satellite channel showing My Cousin Vinny on a continuous loop.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Kolohe says:

      [Me1] – the bit about the gas hugging the ground definitely fits with CO2 but not CO.

      N2 and CO are both about 28 g/mol, O2 is about 32. CO2 is about 44 g/mol, and does stay low to the ground if not stirred up by turbulence, like the article describes. CO mixes into the air evenly in a whole space.

      It takes a relatively small amount of CO to produce poisoning since it binds to hemoglobin, so there can be plenty of O2 in the air you’re breathing and your body still ends up oxygen deprived – it’s dangerous in the high tens to low hundreds of ppm. CO2 doesn’t poison so much as it just takes up space, physically displacing O2 and other gases – so it only becomes harmful in the kind of high quantities as described in the link, tens of percent.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Kolohe says:

      Also – “somewhat breathless in her characterization of the effect of carbon dioxide” – nicely done!Report

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    Ca2: Nobody goes to California anymore- its too crowded.Report

    • The Census Bureau’s estimates for 2016-to-2017 changes are out. California gained, net everything, about 240,000 people. Among the various flows estimated, net domestic migration was about -138,000. Assuming past trends held up, most of those ended up in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington (with a collective net domestic migration of about 240,500).Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      On this, like so many issues, I end up standing with the millennials. We need more housing, and we’re only going to get it by building more. But this link wants to frame it as a clash between generations.Report

      • The Denver Post ran in interesting story the other day based on the idea that metro Denver has a huge surplus of bedrooms, it’s just that so many of them are in single-family houses where the kids have moved away.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Its weird, where I live we have plenty of housing… all the people here are instead chanting “build more jobs”Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

        That’s why I think Trump’s tariffs – especially the ones targeting China – will play well politically. For decades now large segments of the population have been complaining about lost jobs, the urbanization of our economic policy (prioritizing services over goods), how China cheats the “system,” etc, and have been consistently lied to and ignored by leadership in both parties. The blow-back was a long time coming but was realized, in part, by Trump’s election.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:

          Tariffs don’t build jobs. They raise prices on foreign and domestic goods and automation will still continue at a clip. Housing is obviously different because you have to construct it here. China announced a tariff on soybeans (12 billion dollars exported to China every year) and many other goods from Rust Belt states. Do you think farmers will like that?

          I don’t understand people who still insist that Trump is some secret ninja political master instead of an angry, impulsive, blowhard in cognitive decline.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            His supporters are just deplorable, aren’t they?Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:

              Trump has a 40 year history of being a bigot in action and word. He did so quite openly on the campaign. Plenty of people voted for him because of this as a feature, not a bug. Maybe lots of people voted for him just because he had an R next to his name and they held their nose to.

              But actions have consequences and there seems to be a lot of effort and energy in making sure Trump voters get all their decisions excused away. Trump announced he would be waging holy war against immigrants and you see countless stories in the media from Trump voters saying stuff like “I didn’t think he meant our immigrants…or that guy who is a doctor

              They made their bed. They can lie in it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I think you’re mischaracterizing the situation Saul. Those folks like their bed. They’re happy to lie in it. Your objection is that *you* have to lie in it, too. And you’re right: elections have consequences. We’re living them. Dems just don’t seem to internalize what the proposition actually means.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                All true and just reminds me to fling another rubber chicken at the Susan Sarandon Left.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                It’s a target rich environment, starting with Hillary and a party apparatus which thought she and her historically high disapprovals was the “best” candidate.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes, had the DNC not cleared the field of clearly superior candidates, we would be enjoying the O’ Malley administration now.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Yes, that type of thinking will ensure the longed-for permanent Democratic majority for years to come, Chip. It’s just a cycle or two away.Report

              • All the regulars know my 2020 fear, as a registered Democrat in a non-coastal but blue-trending state: the party will nominate a NE urban corridor Dem, with an important number of delegates coming from states with a snowball’s chance in hell of delivering any electoral votes. And that candidate will get crushed in the South and the Midwest, and lose.

                I’d really like to be wrong. But it’s not the way I would bet.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Someone like, oh, say, Kirsten Gillibrand?

                Add: weird thing about our politics right now is that Amy Klobuchar strikes me as much better positioned than KG to win the general but has little chance of winning the primary.Report

              • InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

                What a disastrous choice that would be. I have nothing else to add other than I share your fears about this. The horrible plausibility of it nearly made me spit out my coffee.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain says:

                I don’t have a crystal ball, so you will need to walk me through the thought process of this gettable Dem voter in the Midwest, and why he would pull the lever for Trump instead of the NE corridor nominee.

                For bonus points, lets name that sun-chapped Midwestern daddy in a Carhatt jacket that leads the Dems to victory.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                {{Amy Klobuchar}}Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yay, she sounds great.

                But I’m really not sure why some gettable voter in Ohio would vote for her, but not say, Gillibrand.

                Because you know that by the time Fox and Breitbart are done, both of them will be the second coming of Hillary Clinton, with extra ball busting emasculating shrillness.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If your view is that the candidate doesn’t matter and my view is that it does let’s compromise by you endorsing my candidate, OK? You’ll be happy you did.

                There’s also this, which you might find interesting.


              • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I guess the reason for my confusion is that as long as I can remember, the Democrats have been having this debate of “how can we win back the Southern and Midwestern Reagan Democrats?”

                Maybe if we ran on Tough On Crime, and ending welfare
                OK, Clinton did that in the 90s and they hate his guts to this day. Countless prosecutors and ex-cops have run across the country, only to lose.

                Maybe if we ran on tough foreign policy and peace through strength
                OK, no Democrat at any level has criticized the military since 1972, and we are still the hippies who spat on returning GIs. We ran Max Clellan who lost three limbs to enemy combat, and he was derided as a traitor.

                Maybe if we stopped with the class warfare stuff and ran on being pro-capitalists
                OK, Hillary was according to Fox News, a Wall Street stooge and also a Communist who wants to confiscate your paycheck and cut off Medicare.

                Maybe if we ran on fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets
                The only Presidents to preside over a reduction in deficits were Clinton and Obama and they are hated with a passion.

                Maybe if we ran on moral rectitude and sexual propriety
                Barack Obama was the most morally upright President in modern memory. And the result need not be said.

                See here’s the thing.
                All the reasons that these Southern and Midwestern ex-Democrats give for the way they vote are bullshit.

                Utter nonsense on stilts- they don’t mean a word of it, or believe any of it.

                Law and Order, patriotism and defense, fiscal conservatism, moral propriety…None of it is real, it was never real, ever.

                The Democrats who defected from Carter to Reagan were wooed by the drumbeat of tribal belonging, and we can’t get them back until they decide they want to help America more than hurt Those People.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I guess the reason for my confusion is that as long as I can remember, the Democrats have been having this debate of “how can we win back the Southern and Midwestern Reagan Democrats?”

                Really? I thought it was conventional wisdom that PA, MI and WI were part of the Democrats “blue wall” and couldn’t be lost. In fact, that’s even offered by some as a rationale for why Clinton didn’t campaign there down the stretch.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Michael Cain says:

                …my 2020 fear… the party will nominate a NE urban corridor Dem… And that candidate will get crushed in the South and the Midwest, and lose.

                Don’t worry about it. Without a war or serious recession Trump is already unstoppable.

                Most of what made him really weak in 2016 will be gone. The party will unify around him. He’ll be the “safe” choice and trustable with nuclear arms and everything else that goes with the Presidency. He’s paying a lot of attention to his base. If we re-held the election again tomorrow he’d not only win but win hard.


                The Dems will focus on Trump being a vile human being and the massive amounts of drama he brings to every situation. The public will show it doesn’t (negatively) care about him banging a Playboy playmate, Porn star, Television Personality, etc… and the dumpster fire which that is will steal all oxygen away from his real scandals.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If Trump is unstoppable, the Republicans shouldn’t keep loosing special elections in districts that went heavily to Trump.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq says:

                If Trump is unstoppable, the Republicans shouldn’t keep loosing special elections in districts that went heavily to Trump.

                Obama was only a good thing for Obama, Trump works the same way.

                Really long term he might repeat what happened in California for the GOP. Win a few elections for himself personally, convince the legal relatives of the illegals that their first priority has to be to vote against the GOP no matter what else is happening.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

                @michael-cain, the base of the Democratic Party is mainly women and people of color though. The type of nominee that can appeal to the residents non-coastal blue-trending state will have nothing to offer for the biggest reliable voting blocs for the Democratic Party. For lack of a better term, said candidate would be too white and potentially too male. How do you suggest that the Democratic Party get around this conundrum? Should people of color just suck it?Report

              • Will H. in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I read things like this, and I wonder what people are trying to tell me.
                Am I to understand that, if someone doesn’t look an awful lot like me, they’re unable to relate to my own experience?
                Is that it?

                Along those same lines:
                Why should I read any book written by a black person, as I, myself, am not black, and therefore not one thing written by a black person might feasibly be relevant to me or my experience?
                Is this true, that I do myself harm whenever I vote for a female candidate, as I, myself, am not female, and no female might possibly adequately represent me holding public office?

                And why should I heed any manner of thing which Mr. LeeEsq. might say, as he is clearly both Jewish and a New Yorker, of which I am neither; in fact, I famously revile New Yorkers more than anything else on Earth, except for… well, there’s… but maybe… hmmm… ok, so, New Yorkers, and I am but curious, though only mildly so, about Jews, and have never seriously considered dabbling in Judaism myself?

                For that matter, there have been a number of occasions when I have looked out my front door or upstairs window to see the traffic going down my street was of a horse-and-buggy nature; so how could it possibly be that any person might adequately represent me, whether in elected office or at a Bingo hall, lest they have this same sort of traffic on the street where they themselves might live?

                I just want to make sure that everyone who doesn’t look like me or live like me is irrelevant before I go jumping off the deep end.
                That’s all.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

                …the base of the Democratic Party is mainly women and people of color though.

                @leeesq , if it were that simple, there would be no place where the Dems weren’t competitive. I claim that the Dems’ base is very largely the urban cores, regardless of the racial makeup — Seattle, Detroit and NYC are all very different, and all blue. There are few rural areas where the Dems are competitive at all, although to your point, the big ones (by area) are the Rio Grande valley, the lower Mississippi right along the river, and the Native American reservations in the West. Most importantly, as a general rule, they win states where they win the suburbs and lose states where they lose the suburbs.Report

              • J_A in reply to Michael Cain says:

                I’ve already seen two “Beto [o’Rourke] (*) for Senator” bumper stickers in Houston…

                In the Memorial/River Oaks area: the most fricking expensive real estate in town ….

                One of them, across the street from where George Bush Sr. and Barbara live (that’s where my office is).

                I haven’t seen any bumper stickers for Ted Cruz yet.

                So yes, Texas cities are Democratic, just like any big city in the country

                (*) He’s the Democratic challenger to Ted CruzReport

              • they win states where they win the suburbs and lose states where they lose the suburbs.

                Yep. “Urban vs Rural” largely misses battleground.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

                Trump also had very high unfavorables among the general electorate and is still massively hated. Republican primary voters nominated him anyway because they liked him. Same with Corbyn supporters. Party members often give their support to politicians that they like but aren’t that well appreciated in the general public. Very few political parties operate with the cold calculating you believe they should.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Very few political parties operate with the cold calculating you believe they should.

                Huh? You think I’m arguing that parties should be colder and calculating-er than they already are? That’s a weird conclusion to draw about a person who’s argued that the Democrats problem over the last decade and specifically the 2016 Presidential process has been *too much* centralized control and who’s suggested that, as a solution, Dems open up the process and platform in upcoming elections.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

                I disagree. Parties and their dedicated members should control who they nominate for office and not the general public. The general public gets to elect officials into office.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Sure, you believe that. What we’re disagreeing about is whether *I* believe that. I don’t. Which makes your initial complaint even more puzzling: you appear to be the one who wants parties to be cold and calculating, according to gatekeepers veto power over prospective candidates.

                BTW, my view is that if the national level party apparatus plays the role you desire the Dem party will fracture along lines similar to the GOP but with even greater negative implications for the party.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                Oofda! This complaint again?
                Look HRC’s candidacy was engineered, sure, primarily by one person; Hillary Rodham Clinton. The motive for it was born in 2008; the first groundwork laid when she and Bill went whole hog for Obama after she lost that same year and told the PUMA folks to move on; Obama signed on when he tapped her for Secretary of State; the walls and girders were stretching high when Bill tore the GOP apart at the Dem convention in 2012 while Clint Eastwood bellowed at an empty chair and it was pretty much a done deal before things even got under way in 2015. It doesn’t say much about the national Democratic Party or much of anything or anyone else that Hillary got the nod; she basically used logistics to methodically set the stage for her candidacy for nearly a decade. No, nothing nerfarious or sketchy went down, no it’s not symptomatic of some profound fault in the national party, no no one’s ever laid out a realistic scenario for what HRC did could plausibly be prevented. Most importantly the way that she got the nod is virtually unrepeatable.

                And because she slacked off in the end and made a series of errors* Hillary will ever and forever be the person who lost a national election to Donald fishing Trump so no one who thinks what HRC did was bad can even claim there is no justice in the world.

                *which brought her to a level of parity where the FBI’s stunt tipped the scales.Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                I don’t think Comey really made much of a difference.
                There was already an atmosphere where every misstep by HRC was magnified, comparatively, because of the airport’s worth of baggage she carried.
                Just another magnified misstep among so many others.
                No, it’s not fair, but she invited it.Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                Nate Silver has measured it out pretty precisely and convincingly. The FIB’s unprecedented and very well timed intervention moved the polls to a degree that easily exceeded the margin of the loss.

                Now it’s 100% on Hillary for allowing herself to be in the position where that kind of breach of the norms and policies could tip her into losing. But that doesn’t excuse Comey and the FBI pro-trump brigade* and there’s no persuasive argument I’ve seen that suggests that Comey’s astonishing intervention had no effect.

                *I wonder if that lot have been kicking themselves over it since.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                *I wonder if that lot have been kicking themselves over it since.

                The best accounts of it I’ve read describe Giuliani working with the SDNY FBI office, the latter having tried to get Hillary investigated and charged for various campaign finance related offenses prior to the campaign. So, no, I don’t think they’re kicking themselves. They didn’t like her one bit.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                I bet a few of them at least are not thrilled with how McCabe and Comey have been treated or all the mud thrown at the FBI. They didn’t want their ox gored. It would be really weird of some of the NY FBI’s don’t like or were loyal to the above or Mueller.Report

              • North in reply to greginak says:

                Yeah Greg’s where I’m at. I have no doubt they disliked HRC for various reasons. I’m more dubious they really believed they’d swing the election and the way Trump has smeared the FBI after the fact I wonder if they regret doing it.Report

              • InMD in reply to North says:

                I think from their perspective they thought they were damned if they did damned if they didn’t. My money has always been thst the final decision was public relations CYA.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                I’m more dubious they really believed they’d swing the election and the way Trump has smeared the FBI after the fact I wonder if they regret doing it.

                It’s an interesting question and probably one we’ll never have any good answer to. But if the reporting I read is correct the SD basically blackmailed Comey into going public with the information fully well knowing that, if he fell for it, Comey was compromised. Comey claims the threat of a leak about Abedin’s emails didn’t motivate him to act, but I think the timing is suspicious enough that it was a factor, tho it’s likely that we’ll never know for certain. Either way, by leaking the info or by his going public with it, he was going to take heat for politicizing the election. I think they’re perfectly fine with his dismissal.

                McCabe on the other hand…Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yeah we’re in agreement on those particulars.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I really don’t know how it will play.

            I do know that for much of Trump’s base, inflicting pain and suffering on their enemies is worth nearly any price.

            For most other people though,. tariffs are one of those abstract things that can’t be touched or experienced, except when the company announces a layoff due to them.Report

          • Will H. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            The effect of automation is likely overstated.
            The steel industry is very automated all over the world. Those Ukranians aren’t out using some Old World technology to make steel. They do it pretty much the same as we do.
            India, OTOH, may well have guys wearing a turban with a little flute to come out and play to the steel as it’s being made. Maybe.

            Technology spreads fast these days.Report

            • Troublesome Frog in reply to Will H. says:

              The effect of automation is likely overstated.
              The steel industry is very automated all over the world.

              I’d be interested in seeing your numbers for this. Steel is very highly automated, which is why you don’t need a lot of people to produce it anywhere. That other countries are also heavily automated doesn’t suggest that automation isn’t the reason why US steel workers are a dying breed.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I think you’re reaching back quite a bit further than I am.

                The desktop computer and the laserprinter, inkjet, et al, revolutionized the publishing industry, and a vast amount of jobs were forever lost.
                However, following the revolutionizing of the industry, and with the availability of desktop computing, the laserprinter, et al, in other nations, everyone is on the same footing. That wave of automation has crested, hit the shoreline, and its foam receded into the sea.

                Looking back from 40 yrs ago, yes, automation has definitely caused job loss in both the steel industry and the publishing industry.
                Looking back over the past ten years, automation has caused very little appreciable job loss in either. There are other factors at work.

                My scope of concern is fairly limited.
                I am much more likely to remain in the near-term.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Will H. says:

                I don’t think that’s really an accurate picture of it, though. Steel has consistently had high productivity growth year after year. Just grabbing this random BLS paper shows productivity growth in steel/metals of 8% from 2015-2016. That growth rate will your labor force over 10 years if output is pretty flat, which US steel production is IIRC.

                I don’t think people fully appreciate the extent to which non-revolutionary changes in technology can very rapidly eat away at demand for specific types of labor. The revolutionary changes are easy for people to pick out, but the death of a thousand cuts of minor tech improvements can give you 8% per year productivity growth with 2% output growth, and before you know it, your factory is just one guy pushing buttons and everybody wonders what happened because they don’t remember any single thing changing much.

                I do a lot of this work these days building factory machines that require people to run. Just slightly fewer people. With maybe about the same output, plus or minus, but with fewer errors or less waste. Not a big deal on its own, but it chips away astonishingly fast.Report

          • James K in reply to Saul Degraw says:


            Of course tariffs don’t create jobs, but people think they do and being a successful politician involves doing things people think are good ideas, not things that are actually good ideas.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to James K says:

              Just a thought here, but I think part of the allure of Trump is that he *sincerely believes* the US can return to a post-WWII era dominated by US-favorable bilateral trade deals with nations which, due to the circumstances of the times, had limited industrial/manufacturing/agricultural production of their own.Report

            • Will H. in reply to James K says:

              I don’t believe it’s about creating jobs, but preserving them, which appears to be an altogether different consideration. Less jobs need created when more are preserved.
              Also, I don’t get the idea that jobs and jobs alone is the single consideration to take into account. Capital investment lying dormant is a legitimate consideration. In fact, it may well be needed to encourage capital investment.
              Consider the Canadian lumber to-do. So, Canadians can cut down a tree and ship it cheaper than an American can. The solution is to walk out to the hill, tell every to roll up, because they’re going home, wish them luck finding a new job, and sell the mill equipment to South America for 20 cents on the dollar.
              There might be another way of going about doing things though.
              Maybe the Chinese saw the long-term effects of pursuing a “Free trade at all costs” policy, and decided to go a different route.

              It displaces the economic activity to another place; in this case, it will increase supply of soy on this end, which should reduce prices for certain uses. Profitability is a different consideration than maximizing profits, so I don’t see a problem.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Will H. says:

                I don’t believe it’s about creating jobs, but preserving them

                This. Many moons ago James K and I (and others) discussed the anonymization of job creation under liberalized trade and how that argument works for everyone except folks who lost their job as a result of those policies. To them, those policies don’t have anonymized effects justified as being net-positive at all. They’re personal. I think Trump’s views on trade have appeal for just that reason. He’s personalizing – localizing – policy.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Stillwater says:

                I believe this is very perceptive, but there is the additional dynamic of the seed falling in fertile soil.
                The Left, in large part, has succeeded in de-personalizing the person, and a great many now consider them hopelessly irrelevant, and likely to be so for the duration of their lifetimes.
                This was discussed, to some extent, in a previous thread, concerning presenting Cuomo to a Western audience.
                Let me dig a little deeper.

                Say, you’re white, young, male, some college, live in a 98% white suburb of a major metro area– or you could be from a small town in a rural farming area, young white male, wondering what to do– or older, worked in a factory half your life, and trying to keep your knees healthy enough to see retirement.
                These people do not live in the aggregate, though Dems, and their policies, speak mostly to the aggregate.

                Illustration: I was a kid at the dinner table, and I didn’t want to eat the cornbread because the juice from the green beans had run over on it, and got it all soggy.
                My mom tells me: “You eat that cornbread! There are other kids in Africa that are starving right now!”
                So, if I eat my cornbread, then these other kids in Africa won’t starve? Is that right, mom?

                The young college suburban kid, the rural youth looking for direction, the aging factory worker– these people are all involved in their own problems, and dealing with those problems takes most of their time.
                Coming to these people to tell them how bad these people they never see have got it, because of institutionalized discrimination, doesn’t do a thing to alleviate their problems.
                Telling them how lucky they are that they don’t have to experience this other thing does nothing in the way of alleviating their problems, and doesn’t make them feel any luckier.
                In fact, it only shows how out-of-touch with their reality that the speaker is. It is a negation of their personhood.
                Their reality is a localized one, but very real nonetheless.

                The Left has no place for the Common Man.
                It loves to peer into every dank, dark corner to proclaim its love of the residents there, but it has no time whatever for the middle of the room, or those standing there.
                I thoroughly reviles the Common Man, and hates his way of life, seeks only to destroy him, to will him out of existence.
                In fact, it is quite likely to view “common” as a pejorative term, unless having a kumbaya moment.

                This whole thing about “old white guys” being the cause of all the world’s ills makes it easy for these people– the aging factory worker wondering if he will ever collect on his pension, the young suburbanite still living at home because he can’t afford to move out, and the rural kid looking for direction– to turn away, to whatever else might happen to be there.
                Something that doesn’t negate your existence is more likely to be viewed in positive terms than something that does.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Will H. says:

                I tried to catch this before the edit function timed out, because I wanted to add:

                It matters not one whit whether man or pig sits at the table in the chair, but the fact that table and chair exist ensures the outcome.
                Giving everyone a table and chair does not solve the problem. It only exacerbates it.
                Table and chair must be smashed to bits.Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                These lefties sound awful. What a mercy that they don’t have a party or any significant sway in politics in America on any level higher than the student council at Berkeley.Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                They’re not awful. They are very sincere, but they have something of a technocratic bent, and often forget all that data they love to crunch is people. And a big part of that is their own fault, because they initiated a technocratic infrastructure to move things forward, but sustaining that infrastructure has become more important to them than moving things forward.
                They got caught up in the task, and forgot their goals. Symptomatic of this is the widespread inflexibility.
                That is a natural human tendency.

                If there’s anything awful about them, it’s that they’re people.
                People are pretty awful.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Will H. says:

                Do these Common Men that the leftists want to destroy include aging (black) factory workers, or young (Hispanic) suburbanite living at home, or the rural (lesbian) kid looking for direction?

                Asking for a friend.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Largely, yes.

                They care about the racial minorities and the LGBTQ crowd as much as they need to for their sound bites and kumbaya moments.

                Of those three you name, working in a factory, living in a suburb, and out in the country, all separate people more than race or sexual orientation do, and especially so nowadays.Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                Wait these are the same people as the identity focused “white guys are the cause of all troubles” left? Technocratic? The identity left is so far from technocrat that I’d expect they’d burst into flames if they said the word. Almost all of the identarian left (and right for that matter) project is vague, difficult to define and subjective, close enough to be akin to religion and not remotely like technocracy.Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                Sometimes I feel very fortunate to discover I was mistaken about a thing.
                Thank you, @north .
                I think . . .Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                You’re welcome Will H. I think…Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Will H. says:

                Maybe the Chinese saw the long-term effects of pursuing a “Free trade at all costs” policy, and decided to go a different route.

                The Chinese are, per person, much poorer than the US. NPR was saying earlier in the week that their economy might be under performing by 80% because of their “different route” (meaning they’re losing 80 cents on the dollar because of this).

                I don’t believe it’s about creating jobs, but preserving them, which appears to be an altogether different consideration. Less jobs need created when more are preserved.

                How long does the average job last? 3 years? 2?

                Anything that gets in the way of job creation is FAR more of a problem than “preserving jobs” can be a solution.

                The political problem is “preserving jobs” is a visible solution but preventing the creation of new jobs is an invisible problem.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Dark Matter says:

                There are some assumptions here that need a bit of unpacking.
                It’s really more of an issue with the urban / rural divide, but on the global scale.
                Allow me to demonstrate.

                Google tells me that the GPD per capita in the U.S. is around $58k, and that of China around $15.5k.
                Nevermind what Google tells me about the Illuminati.

                These numbers come out to about $4835/mo. & 1292/mo.

                I would wager that person making $1292/mo. doesn’t have to pay $1200/mo. (or more) for an efficiency apartment.
                I can point out several in the U.S., but it would tire out my arm, and I don’t know if I could keep up.

                Likewise, “income” means different things to different people, and not one thing across the board.
                For example, when I worked union, I had two different types of wages paid, one of which I never saw. For the sake of keeping the math simple, let’s say a standard scale would be around $40/hr in the pocket, and $25/hr in benefits; and with the (now) standard 60-hr work week.
                I would get time-and-a-half for every hour over 8 worked per day, and all day on Saturday, but only straight time for benefits. This works out to ( 70 * 40 ) + ( 60 * 25 ) = $4300/wk.
                That doesn’t matter much though.
                There are only two numbers in the benefits amount that really make any difference, and those are the Health & Welfare fund (i.e., health insurance) and the pension contribution. Of these two, H&W is pretty meaningless, because every hour counts as 1 credit, regardless of the contribution, and I can bank up to six months of credits. The pension is divided (very unequally) between the national and the local; so, I really have two pensions, paid from different trust accounts.
                I never paid a penny out-of-pocket for health insurance, and I never made an out-of-pocket contribution to a retirement account. Granted, each raise on every new contract was voted on to determine how much of the money would go where.
                On the other hand, I never got any bonuses.
                But still, compared to the non-union worker making $40/hr, I was coming out way ahead, even with the type of deductions coming out of my in-the-pocket amount (e.g., apprenticeship fund, target fund, etc.). Those contribution might come out to $3.50/hr, or so; so let’s say:
                ( 70 * 40 ) – ( 60 * 3.5 ) = $2590
                Compare this with the non-union worker, with 10% going in to an IRA and $135/wk coming out for health insurance:
                ( 70 * ( 40 * 0.9 ) ) – 135 = $2385
                The union worker is getting about $200/wk more at the same pay.

                Other nations generally do not pay for health care from their wages. Public transportation is much cheaper. And they don’t pay anywhere near as much for housing.
                Postage is typically much more expensive, and often iffy, but that’s about the only point, other than wages, that the U.S. comes out ahead on.

                All those things that come with being a resident or citizen of a nation are not paid for from wages, because they don’t need to be.
                The U.S. basically has a policy of encouraging upgrade of service in a fee-for-use system.

                On the other side of it, subsidies for farmers producing sugar in the U.S. operates as a tariff against other nations
                There are a lot of other nations that produce no sugar at all, because the U.S. keeps flooding the market with cheap sugar.

                Like Jeff Foxworthy said in his bit about the family farm: “We made most of our money not growing corn.”Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Will H. says:

                All those things that come with being a resident or citizen of a nation are not paid for from wages, because they don’t need to be. The U.S. basically has a policy of encouraging upgrade of service in a fee-for-use system.

                If you’re going to slap down numbers and complain about how bad things are here, then you really should be pulling out China’s. China’s GDP/person is 8,123, so their monthly income is $677.

                Food isn’t free there, nor is rent. Health care is free… but my wife (who grew up under a similar system) tells me you need to bribe the Doctor to actually use it. Their equiv of a “pension” makes their HC system look really good.

                I’ve heard it claimed that in 19 out of the last 20 centuries, China had the highest GDP in the world. Their percentage of population working is amazing, and so are a lot of other economic numbers.

                Those “free” things you’re marveling at have pretty extreme costs hidden in the system somewhere.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    Our housing crisis is real and the older NIMBYs need to go away but I am not going to believe Fox News saying California has the worst quality of life.Report

    • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      What is so amusing about Ca2 is that the “YIMBY” development advocates are pushing potential solutions to the housing issue while the older liberals just squall “no! Developers are evil” and ask who will pay for the extra infrastructure. Um.. duh? The large number of residents maybe?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        They are stuck with their youthful politics. There was a time when developers wanted to destroy every bit of nature in sight.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I think its more accurate to say that some NIMBYism did start off with some very noble goals but got blind sided by a few things. One is that while some NIMBYs wanted protect nature, many others just wanted to protect their property values or keep outsiders varying defined at bay. Many noble NIMBYs converted to the not so nice NIMBYism as they aged and their property value increased. Environmental NIMBYism provides a nice cover for selfish NIMBYism.

          The Counter Culture environmentalists also inherited a lot of the anti-urban bias that existed in the United States since the colonial era. Rather than seeing densely populated, walkable and transit oriented cities as good for the environment because more people living in a smaller area leaves more places open to wilderness, they just hated cities and didn’t want to do anything to encourage urbanization. When you combine this with the mid-20th century Anglophone Leftist belief that cities are for people of color, LGBT people, white misfits, and wealthy glamorous people while suburbs are for white middle class squares than you have a recipe for NIMBYism on a massive scale.Report

        • James K in reply to Saul Degraw says:


          I’m with LeeEsq on this one. Housing has a powerful insider-outsider dynamic: housing supply affects your standard of living a lot if you’re a renter, but basically not at all if you’re a home owner (higher prices will benefit you if you’re planning to downsize in future, otherwise they are neutral).

          What that means is that a polity dominated by home owners will tend not to concern itself with supply – focusing more on aesthetic and nostalgic considerations. This is the problem with letting land use be determined by political decision-making, if the majority are home-owners then land use will be controlled in a way that harms renters.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to James K says:

            That being said, I also think that it is impossible to prevent land use for being determined or influenced by political decision making in a functioning democracy. No citizenry is going to concede control to market forces entirely. At best you can move the political decision making to a level where NIMBY marketing is hard like Japan doing land use at the Diet rather than in cities, towns, and villages like it is done in the United States.Report

            • James K in reply to LeeEsq says:


              I wouldn’t be so sure. Over the back half of the 20th Century a lot of market reforms were implemented that when first discussed were considered unthinkably radical. Back in the 1960s, Milton Friedman was considered an out-there radical by many for suggesting that countries have floating exchange rates, or that the draft be abolished, or that marijuana be legalised. Coase’s idea of having the government auction off EM spectrum rights instead of allocating them bureaucratically was considered similarly radical at the time.

              Developed countries are suffering a set of economic and social problems that appear intractable – but their intractability is a product of the fact that finding a solution involves changing our thinking. We can’t solve them with the solution set contained within the existing political consensus. If we want our societies to improve we need to start looking beyond the narrow range of tools that we’ve been using for the past 30 years.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to James K says:

                Most of these reforms were not what the party who did them campaigned on though. They campaigned on other issues or spoke really generally about market forces and then did these free market reforms when in power. Land use and ownership is different because people understand how it effects them and their wealth more intuitively than anything else. They are going to fight like hell to keep it that way.Report

              • James K in reply to LeeEsq says:


                At the moment I’m mostly concerned with more market-oriented ideas around land use being discussed more widely. In particular, I want regular non-wonk people to understand the welfare economics of land use planning so that the Baptist part of the Baptist-Bootlegger pairing that holds the NIMBYs together starts to lose its respectability.

                After that, we’ll see where the politics goes.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to James K says:

            What that means is that a polity dominated by home owners will tend not to concern itself with supply

            Not sure about that. If restricted supply increases sale price homeowners have the same incentives as rentees.Report

            • James K in reply to Stillwater says:


              Ah, but they don’t. Prices going up makes it more expensive to buy a house, but it also means you get more for selling your existing house. If you’re trading up, that still means an increased costs, but a much smaller one than a renter trying to get into the housing market faces.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to James K says:

                If you’re trading up

                If you’re trading up, you chase the increasing price-curve and make out better in the end. Lots of people can’t trade up, tho, and just settle for … making out better in the end. 🙂Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to James K says:

                The problem, though, is getting on the escalator in the first place. My wife and I, as a pair of working engineers fresh out of graduate school, with little other debt, got on fairly easily. Then rode 20 years of declining interest rates. Some good planning and good luck put us in a position to help our kids get started just before the latest Front Range real estate boom took off. A lot of young people, though, don’t have that sort of resource.

                When I looked recently, my formerly modestly-priced suburb had one house listed for sale below $250K… and it was old, <1000 square feet (93 square meters), and had foundation problems that were likely to run $75K to fix before you could get an occupancy permit.Report

              • James K in reply to Michael Cain says:


                Oh absolutely, but potential first-home buyers are by definition renters, so that just leads back to “high prices suck for renters, not so much for home owners”.Report

      • Jesse in reply to North says:

        Eh, @north. there is actually valid pushback from leftists against YIMBY’s, especially on SB 827, which I agree will be great so middle class techies will spend a few hundred less on rent in the aggregate, but will still lead to the poor and working class being further pushed out of even the suburbs of San Francisco and historically POC neighborhoods in LA.

        I mean, for example, SB 827 upzones South LA. That’s 800,000 people making $30-40K a year per household and if you think the housing that’s built there will be affordable to those folks, I have some wonderful oceanfront land in Omaha.

        The theory of SB827 is fine, but it’s nothing but a bandaid to a gaping wound, if not an actual negative to many working class people in the areas that will be upzoned without things like stronger displacement protections, better targeting of the upcoming $3B housing fund, mandating that new SB827 units accept housing vouchers and expand that program, include value capture taxes so the value created by public transit development is returned to the public in taxes, repeal of Costra-Hawkins, mandating freezes in rents in areas affected by SB827, reform of the Ellis Act, measures that ensure new development actually occurs in affluent single family neighborhoods and not just in low-income communities with a history of racialized divestment, and a mandate that a high percentage of the new transit-oriented development be designated affordable at extremely low-income, very low-income, and low-income levels.

        Also, of course repeal Prop 13 and pass vacancy taxes.

        That’s why I’m a PHIMBY, not a YIMBY who believe developers will save us, instead of just investing in more luxury condos. The current crisis, at least outside of some specific parts of San Francisco, is as a result of the market responding to investment demand, not occupation demand. LA’s vacancy rate is the highest it’s been in 17 years with a ton of empty units downtown. NYC has more vacancies than people slept in shelters in January.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jesse says:

          Those are very good points, but at the end of the day, “building more” of anything, whether it is low income housing or market rate housing, will end up displacing neighborhoods, and changing the texture and fabric of the city.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            And the anti-immigrant right argues that allowing more immigrants in ends up displacing native born citizens and changing the texture and fabric of the nation. NIMBYs use the same logic but on a much smaller scale but the logic is the same. Long time residents of Berkeley, Brooklyn, and Seattle have more rights to Berkeley, Brooklyn, and Seattle than new comers from other parts of the United States or the rest world just as the anti-immigrant right like Tom Cotton or Steven Sailor or Brexiters states that native born citizens have more of right to be hear than people from other countries.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Jesse says:

          Outside a very few select social democracies, affordable housing is always luxury housing plus time. There isn’t going to be a massive public housing push in the United States and the complicated policies favored by progressives for affordable housing do not work or at best only work in the short term but cause a more disastrous shortage latter. Even if only luxury housing gets built, rents will go down because of the increased supply. This happened in Los Angeles and is happening in Seattle.

          NIMBYs is nothing more than anti-immigration measures on a small scale. Just as the anti-immigrantion faction wants to keep the demographics in the United States stuck in white majority amber forever, the NIMBY wants to prevent newcomers from moving into their cities and maintaining them for the long time residents at the expense of other people. Any sort of progressivism they preach is really just self-serving self-interest masquerading as concern for the down trodden.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse says:

          I think Lee makes some good points and I am more rent control than he is. I find aging hippies to be insufferable when they rail against the “developers” and the “man” but don’t reveal that the house they bought inn1972 for 50k is now worth well over a million dollars.Report

        • North in reply to Jesse says:

          Yeah well if you don’t permit building more housing what do you think is going to happen to those supposedly “poor” neighborhoods? Rich people will come in, buy a bunch of the low income housing and convert it to housing for themselves.
          I remain perpetually baffled by this conceit by building restrictionists that somehow not building new housing units will keep the RICH out of an area. There’s only one way to keep the wealthy out of a housing market; make it so unpleasant a place to live that the rich don’t want to move there (the definition of a pyric victory that). Even in the current Californian housing crisis it bears repeating over and over that the rich don’t have even a small difficulty finding housing in these markets. Every rich person who wants to live in those markets lives there (and if you build new luxury condos then the rich will move into them and vacate other housing for the less rich who vacate housing for the upper middle class etc etc… The people crying about housing are the middle class and the poor.Report

          • Jesse in reply to North says:

            I’m not a building restrictionist – I’m all for upzoning, as long as there’s actual protections for people being who would be displaced. As it stands right now, without SB 827, the poor and working class are screwed. With SB 827, the poor and working class are screwed, only slightly later, so I see no reason to cheerlead a bill that’s greatest success will be slightly decreasing “market rate” prices for middle and upper middle class condos.

            I don’t see any victory in telling a renter in South LA making $40-$50k a year, “so, this is what is going to happen. Everything around you will be upzoned, so much of the empty or dilapidated buildings around you will be built or quickly sold and built up. Also, many of your neighbors will sell their property quickly so that more building can be done there. These new buildings will be built specifically to get new renters and buyers from richer areas of the city, so they can save a few hundred bucks on rent, but will still be insanely out of your price range. So, seeing the gentrification, your landlord will massively raise your rents, kick you out. Have fun commuting to work for even longer now, or having to move completely out of the city. Maybe in ten to twenty years, you might be able to afford this neighborhood again. Wait, why aren’t you supporting this bill? Obviously, you’re a terrible NIMBY.”Report

            • North in reply to Jesse says:

              But if there’s no building or upzoning these people are still getting replaced and displaced. That’s the point. The whole con that’s being peddled by liberal NIMBY’s is the lie that if upzoning or more building is blocked that somehow affordable low income housing will remain. It won’t. If rich people want to live in an area and new buildings are blocked by NIMBYism then the rich will just buy a number of the low income housing units and combine them to make a comfortable rich dwelling unit for themselves. They do it all the time. Want to try and block that by some form of regulation? Good luck, those same NIMBY liberals who don’t want denser building aren’t going to sign on to some rule that interferes in their ability to sell their properties or impacts their property values.
              So the choice is between the poor going along with development plans that will realistically improve the housing supply and in the long run or siding with the NIMBY’s who’re flat out lying when they say that blocking developments will somehow keep housing prices lower. It’s like the Democratic vs Republican debate only writ liberal. One side offers unpleasant but real solutions and the other side lies and offers nothing.

              As an aside I don’t have a problem with affordable housing requirements or the like so long as it gets the fishing housing units built and, yes, the NIMBY single family homeowners really do need to be told to jump in the bay and get over it.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse says:


          A few weeks ago I was in Livermore for an event at a winery. Livermore is connected to SF by BART and can be built up a lot more than it is now. There are modest homes and expensive homes but few apartments.

          There was a sizeable contingent of seniors (65 and older) protesting about how the town should build parking and not housing. This is who benefits from the housing crisis. Not younger techies, not public school teachers, not the working-class. The people whom benefit are old rich assholes who are fucking over their children and grandchildren.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      It’s actually US News saying it, Fox just did that thing where a news outlet rewrites a story because it makes for an easy headline that fits their priors.

      But you’re right in that Fox news did some selective editing because the *overall* ranking has Cali as 31st

      (I don’t get how New Jersey is 32nd for ‘natural environment’ while California is 44th(!), and I’m a pro-New Jersey apologist.)Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

        These decisions are bland and homogeneous. My interests in art do not make Iowa a spot for me. Someone who likes hiking and fishing won’t like more urban states as much.Report

        • California and New Jersey always slug it out for “least rural” population in the Census Bureau rankings. (At the CB’s regional level, the Northeast and the West tie for “least rural” regions.) Both states offer fine opportunities for hiking and fishing. NJ offers some really interesting places for canoeing (unless you’re strictly a high-end white-water freak).

          My personal experience has been that almost everywhere is within an hour or two (maybe not during weekday rush hours, though) of good opportunities for outdoor activities once you know where to look.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

        Defining quality of life is hard because it means different things to different people. If you want a big house with lots of land and little traffic than Northern California is bad. Northern California is also bad if you really like the winter and winter sports. Same with Florida. If you like density and the ability to walk or take transit to places and don’t need that much housing than San Francisco is a great city with a high quality of life.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Kolohe says:

        Look at what they measure for “natural environment”: drinking water quality, low industrial toxins, low pollution health risk, and urban air quality. No points for things like urban green belts, accessibility to wilderness areas (or approximations thereof), or the usual things I would have put in “nature”.Report

        • James K in reply to Michael Cain says:


          And the inclusion of drinking water in “natural environment” is especially strange. There’s nothing natural about drinking water, which is precisely why it’s drinkable.Report

          • Will H. in reply to James K says:

            The best drinking water in the world you will find in a little stream about as wide as my hand at its widest point, flowing down the side of a mountain.
            Nice and cold, too.
            Nature’s drinking fountain.Report

            • James K in reply to Will H. says:


              Right up until some animal dies or craps in it.Report

              • Maribou in reply to James K says:

                @james-k Honestly, a known-to-be-safe stream that small is likely to stay healthy, animals don’t tend to die or crap in them (well, bugs, but). Especially if there’s hilliness involved.

                My uncle’s family has been drinking from the same spring for 30 years now, never gotten sick.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Maribou says:

                My uncle’s family has been drinking from the same spring for 30 years now, never gotten sick.

                Ground filtering is sufficient to get rid of most parasites like giardia. So, close to where the spring emerges is one thing; two or three miles downstream is another. You couldn’t pay me to drink from a mountain stream anywhere in Colorado without a filter.Report

              • Growing up in Syracuse, I got used to clean, good tasting water right out of Skaneateles Lake. The city still gets a lot of its water from there, still unfiltered.Report

              • They also monitor for both cryptosporidium and giardia, chlorinate, and publish a notice that customers with compromised immune systems (eg, if you have received some forms of cancer chemotherapy) should boil the water, switch to known safe bottled water, or use an appropriate filter.

                The bigger problem in the Syracuse area, like many cities in the Northeast and Rust Belt, is dealing with their old combined sewer systems.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

                @michael-cain Ah, yeah, they’re within sight of the spring from their house. Good point about the ground filtration.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      California absolutely has the worst quality of life, as evidenced by the high rents…

      wait, hold on, someone from Econ 101 is on the line….

      Something something, “higher demand, revealed preferences”, something something.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I’d be very interested in taking some foreign countries into the table using the same metrics. Throw some cities in India or Vietnam in there and I bet you start getting some weird results. Look! Cheap land and lots of nature!

        It’s a bit like Cato does its Freedom Index and we inevitably find that the US is a dystopian hellscape and a terrible place to start a business or whatever.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

          It’s a bit like Cato does its Freedom Index and we inevitably find that the US is a dystopian hellscape and a terrible place to start a business or whatever.

          Hardly. We’re currently #17, but that’s out of the 159 they list and the countries not on the list at all should be assumed to be below that.

          That the USA is no longer in the top 10 is partly other countries doing better, but it’s also us doing worse. On the whole it’s best viewed as a relative thing. Relative to what we were in the past and also relative to other countries now.

          20 years ago, the tax code was less complex and you could keep more of your money. Abortion/ environment/ whatever rules less intrusive, etc.

          We are a long way away from being a dystopian hellscape, but lowering freedom has a cost in economic growth and most of the things Cata points out as problems are in fact problems.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

          Actually the CATO index is hilarious because it demonstrates the the best countries in the world are those with robust social welfare systems and highly regulated business sectors.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Sweden frequently comes up on the top of the freedom index list but it never really beats Singapore. From what I understand, the amount of paperwork necessary to get a business started in Nordic countries is a lot less than it is in the United States and France. The official CATO line seems to be that if you combine low paper work necessary to start a business with American style low taxation than you get true free and prosperous society.Report

          • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Yeah you’re only half right there Chip. The Nordics have strong huge social safety nets but they’re pretty light handed on the business regulation side of things.Report

            • Maribou in reply to North says:

              @north That might in part be because here in the States, the social safety net being devolved onto employers in a lot of ways makes for a lot more regulating of employers.

              If you’re not so worried that people will have no recourse to get their basic needs met, you can afford to worry less about what their bosses are doing.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I’m know I’m coming in late here, but looking over that list it seems like the “Social Environment Rank” correlates pretty strongly with a state’s immigrant population.

        I suppose the presence of immigrants and how that affects quality of life is contentious and subjective. But given that USNWR was trying for, it’s pretty clear that the list is largely dictated by their reliance on formal support networks over informal support networks to characterize quality of life.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      That’s not Fox News, per se, but US News. But maybe you knew that. Still, it really looks like the fix was in, particularly after that quote about finances, even though our budget is balanced.

      But ratings pieces like this are basically editorials, not news reporting.

      I talk with other Californians every day. They are gracious and interesting, not insufferable.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    Speaking of housing and suburbia, I recently learned this interesting tidbit of information from Wonderland by Steven Johnson. Most Americans see the indoor shopping mall as an icon of American surburbia. Victor Gruen, the creator of the shopping mall, had something entirely different in mind. The two or three levels of shops around a pedestrian courtyard was supposed to sneak European metropolitan civilization into American suburbia, something that the Central European Gruen hated. The first mall in the United States, Southdale Central in Minneapolis, was eventually supposed to become the center of densely populated, pedestrian oriented mixed use district. Things didn’t exactly turned out as planned. The classic downtown with the flaws fixed.

    When Disney World was really supposed to be the community of tomorrow rather than a really massive amusement park, Disney passed his vision of EPCOT on Victor Gruen’s ideas about urbanism. EPCOT residents were only supposed to use their cars for weekend pleasure drives and trips.Report

  6. Chip Daniels says:

    I am sympathetic with the YIMBY folks, because I have personally witnessed how market forces of increased housing supply actually does drive down rents.
    But my sympathies only go so far, because it happens only slightly!

    I mean, on projects I have worked on, the original proforma anticipated rents of about $3.35/ s.f.. Due to some construction delays, the project was almost a year behind schedule, and because other projects in the neighborhood came online and sucked up the demand, our rents had to be dropped to about $3.15/s.f.

    That 20 cents/ ft drop was huge to the developer’s income stream and profit margin.
    But to the renter? It barely moved the needle of affordability.

    There is a yawning gap between wages and rents, and even with the most wildly high density construction boom scenario, the market can’t close that gap. Construction costs aren’t going to drop, land isn’t going to get cheaper.

    So at some point we will need both YIMBY solutions, plus some sort of wage growth by some means or another.Report

    • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Well sure, that’s a defensible argument. But building housing units is hard and slow to do whereas almost all of the liberal spectrum agrees on increasing wages. If you accomplish the latter without the former than you’re not going to fix any housing affordability at all. The increase in wages will just end up in the hands of the NIMBY landlords/landowners either via increased rent or, (if some kind of rent control idiocy is enacted) resale prices.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    Splinter, Jessica Valenti, and many others are upset that the new Atlantic Ideas section decided to hire Kevin D. Williamson as the house conservative.

    I gotta say that I think they have a point here. I understand the desire to have diverse viewpoints but Kevin D. Williamson said that women who get abortions deserve to be hanged. Hamilton Nolan at Gawker was good with inflamed rhetoric but I can’t imagine the Atlantic or the NY Times hiring him and they would probably find Nolan’s rhetoric distasteful.

    But conservatives seem to get a free pass on their extremist statements. I don’t get how Bennett and Goldberg can convince themselves that they are encouraging their largely center-left audiences to think when they publish stuff by people like Bari Weiss, Kevin D. Williamson, Brett Stephens, etc.Report

    • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Frankly, Saul, I don’t understand the wilting fern attitude about speech on these matters. As a pro-choicer myself the idea that a person saying women who get abortions should be hanged is being given a prominent platform makes me smile a cold predatory grin. That’s the kind of stuff that hurts pro-choice causes. Back when I was arguing in the trenches for SSM it was the hellfire and brimstone fundies popping up in the debate that brought a glint to my eye; you could literally hear the anti-ssm side loosing ground every time they started inveigling.

      I understand it’s hard for trans people, women and gays etc.. to hear despicable things being spouted publicly (I’ve been there) but Napolean advised to “Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.” and that is sage advice, despite coming from a Frenchman.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        I don’t see any evidence for how the last paragraph works. The Atlantic and the New York Times are considered amongst the most important publications in America. Getting published there is a sign that you are taken seriously and deserving to be heard. The Atlantic’s circulation might be relatively small but they are good at attracting money with their so-called Ideas Institute.

        But they are so pompous and full of themselves and ignoring of facts on the ground. Saying women deserve to be hanged for getting an abortion is not a respectable position. I think you can write about the moral nuances of abortion. I don’t think there should be a pro-choice litmus test to write for the Times or the Atlantic but saying that women should be hanged is not a nuanced position.

        The problem is that the people like Bennett and Goldberg sound sanctimonious and smug by saying they are pushing buttons and getting people to challenge their assumptions. They are doing nothing of the sort. I think the opinion-journalist media is the one that lives in a bubble, not everyone else.

        But there is also a hypocrisy here because they marginalize further left writers like Hamilton Nolan and Jessica Valenti. Neither of who are kooks but are certainly to the left of Krugman and Annie Lowery. The only reason I can think of is that corporate types have their fee fees hurt by Nolan* and Valenti but don’t have their fee fees hurt by Kevin “Women Must Be Hanged” Williamson.

        *And I find Nolan to be often insufferable.Report

        • greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          The pool of conservative writers with a resume who don’t’ occasionally say horrible things isn’t all that long. Also i don’t’ think having him in The Atlantic gives him a credibility badge. It’s not like The A hasn’t helped leftie writers like TNC and also one of the new hires is a pretty radical black woman. Williamson may be a bog standard conservative in that he causally says women who have abortions should be hanged but this isn’t battle lost in the grand, and stupid, culture war.Report

        • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Ross Douthat and Kevin Williamson share similar ideals on the issue of abortion. Which one would you rather have be the face of pro-lifers to an undecided audience? I know which one -I’d- rather have in that position. It seems like a no brainer to me- the one who’s less persuasive, less temperate and more extreme sounding.Report

          • Troublesome Frog in reply to North says:

            I really don’t see why that position from Williamson is particularly damning anyway. It seems to follow pretty naturally if you believe that abortion is murder and the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for murder.

            Since I’m on the other side of the fence, I agree with you. Somebody who actually believes and pushes the logical conclusion of what the rest profess to believe just saves me the trouble of being the asshole on the other side who points it out.Report

            • @troublesome-frog We stopped hanging people some time ago under the premise that it was cruel and unusual punishment, is part of why it’s so out there.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Maribou says:

                I hadn’t thought the method was the sticking point, but as I understand it, hanging is still legal in a couple of states.Report

              • New Hampshire allows it if it is impractical to use the lethal injection protocol. Washington allows it if the prisoner chooses it. After screwing up recent attempts at lethal injection, Oklahoma has announced it will begin using nitrogen asphyxiation. It will be a few years before they get to that, since they have to define a detailed protocol and have it approved by state and federal courts.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

        Maybe some of us have a wilting memory of the Clinton/Trump debates, and how he was so obviously unhinged that SNL made a skit of Clinton popping the champagne corks.

        I’m still hopeful that the proposal to hang millions of women is so outrageous it hurts the cause, but damn, The Handmaid’s Tale seems less paranoid today then when it was printed.

        ETA: It feels like our history is being written by Max Bialystock, who smirks to himself thinking such a bizarre farce can’t possibly succeed…Report

        • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Yeah well I was with HRC but she made a number of unforced errors that put it close enough that Comey’s little ass covering adventure tipped it over the edge. Ultimately the buck does stop with her. Also I get no small amount of satisfaction watching Trump demonstrating every libertarian and conservative principle the GOP/conservatives claimed to hold as being false. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s running our actual government* at the moment I’d hazard to say Trump was a salutary tonic for the body politic; a political laxative or a diarretic basically.

          *Though seeing as he’s appointed the deranged disembodied moustache of Aries as National Security Advisor I’m especially aware of the down sides of a Trump admin at the moment. All who claimed HRC was going to be the more hawkish of the two candidates can turn in their credibility at the front desk now.Report

  8. Oscar Gordon says:

    As1: It’s good that the quiet heroes get some recognition too. Not everyone needs the frenetic pace of battle to show their courage.Report

  9. Will H. says:

    What a wonderful day when we can sit around and wring our hands, tut-tutting that the Peoples’ Republic of China might be exhibiting signs of self-governance.

    I guess everything’s ok after all.Report

  10. Dark Matter says:

    [US5] Excellent link. Interesting information although imho the author didn’t understand the roots of the issue nor what a viable solution would look like.

    It’s real clear where the author’s head is at from the examples. The graph which tries to show lines crossing is really impressive until you look at the axis-es and realize it’s a small, blown up part of a big graph. “We need to push for rent control, for affordable housing…“. The example(s) of success where the (literal) Socialists managed to come to come up with solutions.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

      It was a good article, but I kept thinking of how closely the activists sounded like the white working class Trump voters.

      Both groups are being ground into dust by the vast global economic forces, and both are given chirpy advice on how they should have a positive effect on the political scene by gaining a seat at the table, even though they have no seat nor any way to get one.

      And so they turn and lash out at the newcomers immigrating to their neighborhood, wanting to make things great again.

      Of course it is a stupid self-destructive tactic which will only immiserate them even further.

      But why not shake their fist at the newcomers, since the real sources of their rage are diffused, scattered across boardrooms and legislative bodies from Beijing to Washington.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        …like the white working class Trump voters. Both groups are being ground into dust by the vast global economic forces, …

        Good observation. Very much agreed.

        Of course it is a stupid self-destructive tactic which will only immiserate them even further.

        Also agreed. Violently opposing job creation won’t lead to good things, and neither will Moats! in general.

        …the real sources of their rage are diffused, scattered across boardrooms and legislative bodies from Beijing to Washington.

        I disagree. Boardrooms and Beijing don’t control those “vast economic forces”, they just act on them.

        Most policies which affect their lives are local or State. When they try to rent-control their way to prosperity for the poor they reduce the supply of housing which drastically increases its cost. Ditto when they zone things so only McMansions can be built profitably.

        There’s a long list of these policies, some popular, many hidden, and these groups probably could raise enough of a fuss they could change some of them.Report

        • J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

          There’s frequently a tension between how much I want something for my in-group, and how much I want to keep something away from my out-group. Many times, the latter prevails.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

            There’s frequently a tension between how much I want something for my in-group, and how much I want to keep something away from my out-group. Many times, the latter prevails.

            Most xenophobia seems less “they’ll make their own lives better” and more either
            1) harm to me and mine (“they’re taking our jobs”) or
            2) justice (“my taxes are paying for them to not work”)Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

          In what way is the structure of global trade created by states?Report

  11. Dark Matter says:

    In what way is the structure of global trade created by states?

    I don’t understand the question.

    Trade being good, and free trade being better, is mostly a math thing. States don’t create math.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

      Well my point was that local events like gentrification wealth inequality are the result of vast global forces which are the result of policies made by national governments and global corporations.

      So a local gentrification protest can’t easily identify a villain, since the creators of globalism are distributed around capitals and boardrooms from Beijing to Washington.
      Therefore they shake their fist as some ponytailed hipster because he is the easy target.Report

  12. Dark Matter says:

    So a local gentrification protest can’t easily identify a villain, since the creators of globalism are distributed around capitals and boardrooms from Beijing to Washington.

    This is like blaming Ford, as the inventor of the assembly line, for why you can’t get a job as a horse carriage maker.

    There’s an element of truth to the statement, but it’s also true what Ford unleashed was a huge net good for society and (also) that if he hadn’t done it someone else would have. More importantly, IMHO it’s not a useful way to frame the situation.

    If we need to look for villains then there are other factors we should be examining. Globalization has been a huge thing since before those protestors were born. If the local housing situation is unworkable, the way to bet is the most useful culprit to blame is “rent control and the local zoning board” rather than economic treaties signed decades ago.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

      It isn’t rents, though. It is the gap between wages and rents.

      50 years ago, those Latino families in Boyle Heights, and all across Trumplandia in the Midwest, paid rents with their manufacturing jobs.
      Those jobs are gone and wages have stagnated.

      As I’ve pointed out here, there isn’t much local governments can do to dramatically lower rents, or raise wages.

      And as has been discussed here a few times, globalism has benefited many, and harmed many others. These guys in Boyle Heights, like Trumps fans in Ohio or Michigan, aren’t consoled by the fact that other guys in Shenzhen are much happier.

      I agree though, that there aren’t many real villains- that’s my point, that our global trade structure had no single cause or author, and there isn’t a single solution that will lift wages to match rents.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        wages have stagnated.

        You’re hardly the first person to claim this, but there’s less here than meets the eye if we put a microscope on it.

        As I’ve pointed out here, there isn’t much local governments can do to dramatically lower rents…

        The root of these problems is political, not economic. There is a LOT local governments can do to reduce the supply of housing, and normally if there’s a problem with the supply of housing that’s what is going on.

        There are solutions (step on NIMBY, get rid of rent control, change zoning).

        However these solutions have political pain right now but it takes years to build a building. The rewards won’t come this (or even next) election cycle. Worse, the guys terrorising job creation because it’d made their rent go up mostly like rent control and the other things which are hurting them.

        Worse again, sane rents suffers from the same problems as the benefits of free trade, it’s an invisible, widespread economic benefit which people mostly don’t vote on.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

          Even if we built 50 story residential towers on every block of Los Angeles, rents won’t drop enough to where people making 30K/yr can afford them which is what a lot of young people are making.

          The market forces of competition and supply only affect profit, not the underlying cost of construction or land. And the profit margin of real estate development is in the 10% range.

          There just isn’t enough room here for any dramatic drop in rents due to increasing supply

          And anyway if this were the cause, how is it happening all across America?
          Rent control didn’t cause all those working class people in Ohio to feel economic anxiety and vote for Trump.Report

          • I can take you to visit small Great Plains towns where they will give you a house if you agree to live in it and pay the modest future property taxes. There are many more that will give you the land if you build a house of a certain minimum size on it (often 1200 sq ft). Of course there are no local job openings, amenities are few, core services like dental care may be 20 miles away, etc.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain says:

              The underlying problem we are seeing in all these places is the lack of jobs and wages.

              I read somewhere that there are more “frontier counties” as defined by the Census today than there were a century ago because of the slow emptying out of small towns.

              I don’t know exactly why but globalism and modern technology appears to have lead to more centralization, not less.Report

              • I read somewhere that there are more “frontier counties” as defined by the Census today than there were a century ago because of the slow emptying out of small towns.

                Quite probably true. Over the last 25 years the number of frontier counties has been shrinking again, largely from one of (a) hydrocarbons scattered over the Great Plains, (b) ethanol in the corn belt, or (c) exurban growth, all causes enough to kick them over the line from “frontier” to “rural”.

                For various federal purposes where a “frontier” designation matters, California and Arizona are allowed to use sub-county areas. A surprising amount of California meets the definition of less than seven people per square mile.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Even if we built 50 story residential towers on every block of Los Angeles, rents won’t drop enough to where people making 30K/yr can afford them which is what a lot of young people are making.

            The math says drastically increasing supply can be expected to drastically reduce price.

            At worst, if you’re right, this means the $30k/yr aren’t squeezed as much. Note that’s still pretty huge because it means shorter commutes, fewer roommates, or even just doing whatever they are now with more money staying in their pockets.

            Much more likely supply increases enough that all markets are served.

            There just isn’t enough room here for any dramatic drop in rents due to increasing supply

            Not with the current zoning you have. But how many one or two story buildings are still around? How many 5-10 story buildings could be replaced with 50-100? My expectation is that you’re not Coruscant (Star Wars planet where every inch is a skyscraper).Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

              What math says this?
              You need to show your work here.

              Cost of land + Cost of construction + Profit= Rent

              Is the math we use. Are you using something else?Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Cost of land and cost of construction are not some immutable numbers like the speed of the light in a vacuum.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Kolohe says:

                For the sake of this issue, they are.

                They change, but rather slowly and at moment, there isn’t anything on the table that proposes to materially affect either one.

                Unlike consumer electronics, for example, there aren’t factories in China mass producing apartment buildings to be plopped down in California; There aren’t robotic machines dropping the cost of construction to near-zero. There isn’t a way to magically make all the cheap empty land away from cities suddenly accessible.Report

              • J_A in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If only we could stack recycled prefabricated boxes on top of each other….

                Oh yes, we can. We already build offices at construction sites with them, with w8ndows, and doors, and plumbing.

                We live in extraordinary times.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Thank you. Dramatically on topic. Be a (local) world changer if it passes.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Your example suggests increasing the supply dramatically. This is basic supply vs demand curve stuff.

                Edit: Better link:

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Yes, Econ 101 tells us this.
                Magically increased supply is the spherical cow of this equation.

                Again, the raw cost of creating this supply is more than most people can pay in rent.

                For the people in the article, the anti-gentrification protestors, and the Trump voters in the midwest I compared them to, the forces of globalism aren’t making rent cheaper, it is only making their wages lower.
                And so far, I am not seeing anyone anywhere make a plausible proposal for how to fix this.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I am not seeing anyone anywhere make a plausible proposal for how to fix this.

                Fundamentally you’re claiming rent control (and zoning) in Los Angeles have no effect on supply and it’s just that the market doesn’t supply housing.

                Given the expected results of rent control is that the supply goes down, my expectation is that the market failure here is the market isn’t allowed to work.

                This is purely a local issue as opposed to something inflicted on the entirety of the USA by global forces. Blaming it on “globalism” is just a way for local politicians (and political movements) to avoid addressing the unintended side effects of their actions.

                My proposal on how to increase supply is to change the government rules that make it illegal and/or unprofitable to increase the supply. As long as the gov is deliberately making it illegal and/or unprofitable to increase the supply, I don’t think you can reasonably claim it’s a market failure as opposed to a gov failure.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Well, that’s most definitely not what I am claiming so maybe that’s where the disconnect is.

                Rent control does have a slight impact on supply, but in the case of Los Angeles’ rent control, it is so minor of an impact as to be irrelevant –
                Here check out this article about the massive numbers of residential buildings in downtown LA. Really, there’s virtually nothing stopping developers from building even more, except an available pool of renters who could afford them.

                But in any case, my major point is to compare these Latino activists to the Trump voters in the Midwest, where of course rent control isn’t even remotely an issue.

                In both cases, my assertion is that the locals face economic stagnation caused by vast global forces which drained the area of middle class jobs yet did nothing to bring down the cost of rents.
                And in both cases, my assertion is that the locals lash out in anger at scapegoat targets.

                I’m not sure why any of these assertions should be controversial.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                my major point is to compare these Latino activists to the Trump voters in the Midwest…

                I think that’s a fair comparison.

                my assertion is that the locals lash out in anger at scapegoat targets.

                Yes, agree here too. IMHO Moats! is self destructive in both it’s opposition to free trade and its opposition to immigration.

                Having said that, IMHO voting for Trump is far less self-destructive than violently opposing job creation and economic growth in your local area.

                There are parts of Trump’s platform which are crazy, there are other parts which are not. The strength of Trump is he’s trying to prioritize economic growth and claims to view the lack of that as a problem. That’s how he convinced Obama voters to switch sides. This anguish goes away (or at least become manageable) if the economy starts growing again (after subtracting pop growth).Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        It isn’t rents, though. It is the gap between wages and rents.

        This is inevitable when population is increasing faster than housing supply. It doesn’t matter what the wage distribution looks like—as long as there are more households than houses, those houses have to be rationed. And since market economies ration things by price, that means that prices have to rise enough to force enough households to merge (roommates) or move out that the number of households reaches parity with the number of households.

        This is a fairly straightforward application of the pigeonhole principle. Even if you ration by some means other than price, like willingness to curry favor with the local housing commissar, you still end up with a situation where a bunch of people who want to live there either can’t, or have to get roommates when they’d prefer to live alone.Report