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Insulated Decisions


From John Cochrane, The Grumpy Economist, Behavioral Political Economy


People do dumb things, in somewhat predictable ways. It follows that super-rational aliens or divine guidance could make better choices for people than they often make for themselves. But how does it follow that the bureaucracy of the United States Federal Government can coerce better choices for people than they can make for themselves?

For if psychology teaches us anything, it is that people in groups do even dumber things than people do as individuals — groupthink, social pressure, politics, and so on — and that people do even dumber things when they are insulated from competition than when their decisions are subject to ruthless competition.

So on logical grounds, I would have thought that behavioral economists would be libertarians. Where are the behavioral Stigler, Buchanan, Tullock, etc.? The case for free markets never was that markets are perfect. It has always been that government meddling is worse. And behavioral economics — the application of psychology to economics — seems like a great tool for understanding why governments do so badly. It might also inform us how they might work better; why some branches of government and some governments work better than others.


Bureaucracies are also insulated from accountability. Political factors make it much harder to admit mistakes or failures.  Business organizations are also resistant to change but market forces are far less political and often blind and brutal.  Bureaucracies will make better decisions when they face the same accountability faced in a bankruptcy court.

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Leftists Hate Speech II

From American Thinker, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist by Danusha V. Goska:


Leftists freely label poor whites as “redneck,” “white trash,” “trailer trash,” and “hillbilly.” At the same time that leftists toss around these racist and classist slurs, they are so sanctimonious they forbid anyone to pronounce the N word when reading Mark Twain aloud. President Bill Clinton’s advisor James Carville succinctly summed up leftist contempt for poor whites in his memorable quote, “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”

The left’s visceral hatred of poor whites overflowed like a broken sewer when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in 2008. It would be impossible, and disturbing, to attempt to identify the single most offensive comment that leftists lobbed at Palin. One can report that attacks on Palin were so egregious that leftists themselves publicly begged that they cease; after all, they gave the left a bad name. The Reclusive Leftist blogged in 2009 that it was a “major shock” to discover “the extent to which so many self-described liberals actually despise working people.” The Reclusive Leftist focuses onVanity Fair journalist Henry Rollins. Rollins recommends that leftists “hate-fuck conservative women” and denounces Palin as a “small town hickoid” who can be bought off with a coupon to a meal at a chain restaurant.

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From Springer’s Blog, The Fine Art of Grubering


If cynicism and moral bankruptcy were Olympic sports, Jonathan Gruber would have at least two golds locked up.  If there was a Hall of Fame for a sport called  “Contempt for American Citizens”, they would put a statue of him in front of it.  In a country run by socialist wannabes who aspire to complete control, where the end always justifies the means and the concept of integrity is a joke, this guy has some stiff competition, but he’s way ahead on points.

So now a new word has entered the national lexicon.  If you buy a car that turns out to be a piece of junk, you’ve been “grubered”.  A “gruberism” is a lie concocted by the left for the purpose of keeping voters in the dark, at least until the next election.

Gruber  verb  \groo-burr\   

   :  To tell a lie deliberately with the intent of misleading.

:  To misinform people based on the belief that they are too stupid to understand the wisdom of your position.

example:  To conceal the truth about Obamacare it was necessary to gruber the entire nation.


   :  A calculated mistruth intended to deceive listeners

example:  The explanation given in favor of Obamacare was one huge gruber from one end to the other.

Gruberish   noun  \groo-burr-esh\

   :  Any bewildering deluge of falsehoods designed to confound an audience based on the speaker’s awareness that the truth must be concealed by any means necessary.

example:  A preposterous mountain of gruberish was put forth intended to hide the fact that the entire nation had been grubered about Obamacare.

The absence of respect for Americans is obvious, and something we have all come to expect from the socialists,  but what is truly breathtaking here is the total lack of self respect exhibited by Mr. Gruber.  He knows the idea he’s selling is crap, but rather than question his own involvement, his only reaction is to lie about it to get away with it.  Nobody’s going to catch on anyway, we’re all too stupid.

Obamacare is not and never was about health care.  It’s about control.  Like just about everything else the left has to sell us, the effect it will have on the economy and on American’s lives is not the point.


The essence of progressivism is the ends justify the means. It is based on arrogance and contempt for the American voter. It is used to justify lying, manipulation, and to excuse corruption in its various forms. It is amazingly arrogant (and ironically stupid) for Gruber to state his feelings repeatedly in a public forum and be so completely clueless as to how offensive and damning his comments were.  Gruber is not a loner;  his attitude and moral depravity are keenly displayed by Hillary, Pelosi, Boxer, Reid and a host of other leaders of the Democratic Party.

The left will tout that the Republicans engage is such actions as well.  First this is an admission of guilt- to fault the opposition and then imply that you are also guilty.  Secondly, while the Republicans may be guilty of the abuse of power their philosophical underpinning is very different from the progressives – who are really just socialists, if not fascists,  with better PR.  The Republicans have regained a valuable opportunity to prove this trope otherwise.  I hope they don;t blow it.

Remember all that talk and promise about transparency?

Gruber was paid $400,000 for the privilege and opportunity to deceive us all.

Tips to Instapundit.


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Politically Caused Crime


From Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish, Super-Amnesty Will Turn Every City into Detroit


Chicago’s murder rate in 1992 was double what it is today. The death rate was at 33.7 out of 100,000 which meant that you had a pretty good chance of being shot in Chicago. Today it’s down to 15 out of 100,000, which is small comfort to those ending up in the morgue, but it gives everyone else much better odds of surviving to see what ingenious ways the next corrupt mayoral administration will use to rip off the city.

Back in 1992, the cops also blamed guns for the murder rate. But it wasn’t the guns that were killing people. It was the gangs. Now the murder rate is down, but the number of shootings is up. To Chicago’s police boss, that’s a problem, as if it makes a difference to the deceased whether he’s shot, stabbed or dropped in the water wearing cement overshoes. But fighting guns is easier than fighting crime.

America’s gun violence problem is urban. It’s localized in Democratic enclaves. And it overlaps neatly with its corrupt political machines. It has nothing to do with the NRA and a great deal to do with the party of social engineering, the welfare state and gun bans. 

And illegal immigration.

92% of black male teens in Chicago don’t have a job. In Detroit, 50% of black men are unemployed. It’s not that there aren’t any jobs, but the entry level jobs have been mostly going to immigrants.

After the 1986 amnesty, the number of murders, which had begun to fall in the early eighties, rose again. They did not return to a pre-amnesty level until 1997. Rapes have only recently returned to a pre-amnesty level. Now the progress we’ve made is about to be undone all over again.

In 1986, murder rates suddenly rose mysteriously in major cities. The New York Times described the crime rates as being the highest since the 1970s.

In Chicago, murders increased by 20%. In New York they increased by 20%. The cities rushed to crack down on guns while insisting that they were mystified by the drastic increase.


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Defying Julia


Kevin Williamson writes Julia Lost  in The National Review


A funny thing happened in the “war on women” — Mia Love and Joni Ernst won, Wendy Davis and Sandra Fluke lost. The representative who will be the youngest woman ever to have served in Congress, Elise Stefanik, is a Republican who won a formerly Democratic seat — not in Oklahoma or Texas but in New York. Senator-elect Ernst is a 21-year veteran of the Army Reserve and National Guard who served overseas during the Iraq war; Representative-elect Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants who came to the United States fleeing the Tonton Macoutes, is a former city councilman and mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.

The difference could not be more dramatic: The Democrats’ vision of an American woman’s life was best expressed in the Obama campaign’s insipid “Julia” cartoons, in which a faceless, featureless woman at every crossroads in her life turns to the federal government, as personified by Barack Obama, for succor and support. From negotiating a salary to managing her pregnancy, Julia cannot do anything for herself — at every turn, she is reminded that she enjoys political patronage “under President Obama,” in the campaign’s psychosexually fraught and insistently reiterated phrase. So much for the Democrats. And the Republican women of 2014? They helped fight wars and made new lives for themselves on foreign shores. They were women who ran for office on policy platforms, not on their uteruses.


I always thought that the Life of Julia was demeaning to women, the very opposite of the independent woman the feminist movement was about.  Today women make up half of the doctors, accountants and lawyers and the majority of the advanced degrees.  The war on women was won long ago.  Ironically, now that women have achieved great gains in economic power they have much the same interests as others with economic power.  Economic issues resonate far more than fighting wars that have long been won.