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Posted at 6:41 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Wonkbook: NCLB reform coming; Boehner opposes new gun laws; John Kerry's speech; oil spill recommendations

By Ezra Klein

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Top Stories

Obama wants to revise No Child Left Behind, reports Nick Anderson: "President Obama will mount a fresh attempt this year to rewrite the No Child Left Behind education law, a top administration official said this week, and key congressional Republicans said they are ready to deal... Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of a subcommittee on elementary and secondary education, said there is bipartisan consensus that the 2002 law should be overhauled...[but] some Republicans say a big bill could die of its own weight. Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has indicated that he might push instead for a series of small education bills. Duncan said Monday he was 'open to that conversation' but does not want to leave major problems unaddressed."

House Speaker John Boehner will not support new gun controls after the Tucson shooting, reports Mike Lillis: "Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is rejecting gun-control legislation offered by the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in response to the weekend shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 19 others in Arizona. Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation prohibiting people from carrying guns within 1,000 feet of members of Congress...King said the legislation is not intended only for the safety of government officials but also to protect the public. He said elected officials are not necessarily more important than constituents, but by protecting them in this way, they would feel safer in meeting federal officials at public events. "

If you read only one John Kerry speech today, make it this one. An excerpt: "All of this underscores the current danger to our country in ways that go far beyond that single debate and highlight a host of other issues that demand and deserve common resolve, not constant suspicion and division. If treaties ratified almost unanimously yesterday get just 71 votes today, what’s the forecast for other decisive endeavors that once would have commanded 79 votes in the Senate? We can’t afford for the old 79 to become the new 49, dooming our national will to unbreakable gridlock. Because in the 21st century where choices and consequences come at us so much faster than ever before, the price of Senate inaction isn’t just that we will stand still; it isn't just that America will fall behind; it's that we will stay behind as we cede the best possibilities of this young century to others who are more disciplined."

The BP oil spill commission has released its recommendations, report Juliet Eilperin and David Hilzenrath: "The presidential oil spill commission said Tuesday that the federal government should require tougher regulation, stiffer fines and a new industry-run safety organization, recommendations that face an uncertain future in the new Congress... The panel proposed several safeguards aimed at strengthening regulators' control over the oil and gas industry, including establishing an independent safety agency within the Interior Department that would be headed by someone for a fixed term in order to insulate the appointee from political interference...It also called for funding the regulatory agency that oversees offshore drilling, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), with fees from the companies who are tapping into the nation's petroleum resource."

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

'90s alt-rock interlude: Eels' "Last Stop: This Town".

Still to come: The administration and the Chamber of Commerce are growing closer; why Republicans are largely responsible for health care reform's high-risk pools; a GOP congressman proposing cutting ten percent of the federal workforce; Obama might use an executive order to implement the oil spill commission's suggestions; and an adult lion plays with seven of his cubs.

Economy

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's rift with the Obama administration is healing, reports Jia Lynn Yang: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce signaled Tuesday that its rift with the administration is beginning to ease, just three months after bitterly sparring with the White House during midterm campaigns. In a speech at the Chamber's headquarters, directly across the street from the White House, Tom Donohue, the group's president, said disagreements with the administration have 'never been personal.' He noted 'a new tone' at the White House and praised President Obama's selection of William Daley as his new chief of staff, calling him 'a real pro.'"

Read Donahue's speech: http://bit.ly/f3WT7N

China has started yuan trading in the US: http://on.wsj.com/hmclyM

Ben Bernanke has the votes to continue quantitative easing, reports Jon Hilsenrath: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appears to have support from other Fed officials to continue his $600 billion bond-buying program when they convene for their next policy meeting on January 26-27. Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, was the latest to signal a desire for continuity from the Fed, even though he is highly skeptical of the program's effectiveness. 'I wish we hadn't done it, but that doesn't mean I want to stop it right now,' Mr. Plosser said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Plosser is among four regional Fed bank presidents who become voting members of the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee this year."

Job openings fell in November: http://bit.ly/ekWrz6

China's currency reserves are at a record high, reports Neil Irwin: "The thorniest problem in economic relations between the United States and China is getting worse, just as the world's two biggest economies prepare for a summit next week in Washington. At issue is the imbalance in their financial relationship. China's central bank said Tuesday that Beijing's holdings of foreign cash and securities amount to $2.85 trillion - a jump of 20 percent over the year before - despite Chinese promises to try to balance its trade and investment relations with the United States and other countries. China added $200 billion to that stockpile in the last three months of the year alone, as the country socked away capital from the rest of the world at a torrid pace."

Currency manipulation is hardly the US' only grievance with China, writes David Leonhardt: "The truth is that the exchange rate is not the main problem for American companies hoping to sell more products in China and, in the process, create more jobs in this country...For the United States, the No. 1 problem with China’s economy is probably intellectual property theft. Technology companies, for example, continue to notice Chinese government agencies downloading software updates for programs they have never bought, at least not legally. No wonder China has become the world’s second-largest market for computer hardware sales -- but is only the eighth-largest for software sales. Next on the list, say people who work in China or do business there, is the myriad protectionist barriers China has put up."

We're not stuck in a "new normal" economically, writes Catherine Rampell: http://nyti.ms/gIdRTh

Public employees' unions should carve out a "grand bargain", writes Steven Pearlstein: "Such a bargain inevitably begins with a freeze on current wages in exchange for future increases when the economy improves. Going forward, unions might propose tying overall compensation to the rhythms of the business cycle, making up in good times what is lost in bad. Rather than continuing to fight reform of work rules and protecting underperformers, unions could trade those away for across-the-board bonuses for service improvements and a guarantee that employees get a sizable share of any productivity gains. To preserve health benefits for retirees, active workers will need to accept greater cost sharing on their health insurance policies, which will not only reduce the cost to government in the short run but slow the growth in premiums for everyone over the long haul."

Sketch interlude: The Noam Chomsky Talk Show.

Health Care

Republicans bear responsibility for health care reform's failing high risk pools, writes Timothy Noah: "High-risk pools are, in fact, a terrible solution to the health-care crisis. But they happen to be the terrible solution Republicans most favor (along with tax breaks) whenever they're forced to state their preferred alternative to last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They were the central idea in the health plan proposed by Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the 2008 election. They were the central idea in the House leadership's proposed substitute for the Democratic plan in 2009, and they played a major role in the alternative plan set forth that year by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a medical doctor who became the GOP's lead opponent to Obamacare."

The Supreme Court has ruled medical residents must pay payroll taxes: http://nyti.ms/dUAFsS

Domestic Policy

A Republican Congressman wants to reduce the federal workforce by ten percent, reports Ed O'Keefe: "Texas Republican congressman wants to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent in the next decade, impose a three-year pay freeze across federal agencies and Capitol Hill, and trim government printing and vehicle costs. Rep. Kevin Brady's bill, the Cut Unsustainable and Top-heavy Spending (CUTS) Act is the first detailed series of spending proposals introduced in the GOP-controlled House that targets government operations and the federal workforce...Brady chairs the Joint Economic Committee and is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee - perches likely to put him at the center of Congress's forthcoming debate on government spending and deficits."

The chances of any gun control bill passing are slim: http://wapo.st/gLeBHZ

A Tea Party campaign has ended an integration program in North Carolina schools, reports Stephanie McCrummen: "The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood. But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to 'say no to the social engineers!' it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation's most celebrated integration efforts."

High-capacity magazines should be banned, writes Ruth Marcus: "For all the focus on weaponry, one of the most useful parts of the now-lapsed federal ban on assault weapons was that it prohibited the manufacture of magazines of more than 10 rounds. If the law, which expired in 2004, were still in effect, it would not stop crazed gunmen from inflicting damage, but it might limit the amount of damage they could inflict...Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, safe districts and swing seats: Look at the pictures of Christina-Taylor Green, shot dead at age 9. Imagine that she was your daughter, and she was hit by the 15th bullet or the 25th. And ask yourself: Isn't 10 rounds more than enough?"

Adorable animals having family time interlude: A lion plays with his seven cubs.

Energy

Obama might try to implement the oil spill commission's recommendations through executive order, reports Andrew Restuccia: "President Obama has asked his staff to look into executive actions that could help make offshore oil drilling safer...The co-chairman of the national commission investigating the BP oil spill said Obama told staff to look into possible executive actions during a Tuesday meeting with commission members and key administration officials at the White House...The report has revived talk of passing oil-spill response legislation, but two senior House Republicans have given a cool response to the recommendations. Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), the commission co-chairman, told The Hill that commission members made the case to Obama that the administration has the authority to begin instituting a number of important safety measures."

The chairs of the House Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce committees were reluctant to back the panel's recommendations: http://bit.ly/hhe0ns

GM plans to introduce more plug-in hybrids, reports Nick Bunkley: "General Motors plans to introduce two more plug-in hybrid vehicles in the United States based on the Chevrolet Volt in the next few years, its chief executive, Daniel F. Akerson, said Tuesday.
Mr. Akerson, speaking at an industry conference near the Detroit auto show, also said G.M. could build at least 25,000 Volts this year, more than double its initial goal of 10,000. The Volt...could become profitable in three years, after it moves to the second-generation design that is under development, he said. By then, Mr. Akerson said, G.M. expected to be selling a hatchback and a crossover-type vehicle that use the same plug-in technology as the Volt, which is a four-door sedan that seats four."

Delaying the EPA's climate rules would be disastrous, writes David Roberts: http://bit.ly/fN2tsY

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews, Mike Shepard, and Michelle Williams. Photo credit: White House.

By Ezra Klein  | January 12, 2011; 6:41 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Next: Remedies that go too far

Comments

i may be wrong but I don't think Republicans are stating high risk pools are "failing" but they're stating (CORRECTLY) that their costs are under-estimated by Democrats. This difference in what you say Ezra and what they say isn't even subtle as many of your references towards them are.

Their goal all along (and they've never hidden from it) is to reduce costs for those with healthcare which high risk pools in every state would do. Dems goals are making up for foregone wages in years past due to healthcare cost increases by massive wealth redistribution and access to coverage which is what they've achieved.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 12, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Massive wealth redistribution?

You are obviously unaware of how much wealth has been redistributed to the top 1% in recent decades.

I've seen you post many comments here implying high risk pools are failing. Indeed not once have I seen you moderate such comments by saying that maybe the problems were just temporary growing pains. Instead the implication was always Dems were foolish to adopt these mechanisms, and now that someone ties the GOP to these pools, you seem to find virtue in them.

Talk about being contrarian for contrarians sake.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

lauren,

Yes to me 890 Billion is massive wealth redistribution. And I don't think I've ever said that I was in favor of tax cuts for the rich. Please go find me the post where I said that top 1% should get tax cuts. At most I've been somewhat concerned about how an increase in taxes would affect the weak recovery.

You seem to for some reason want to draw lines to say if you're in favor of "X" then you must be in favor of everything that people who are in favor of "X" normally are in favor of. Sorry but real life doesn't work that way. As I've said before I'm in favor of gun control and serious gun control.

You also need to learn how to read. I never said they're failing as they couldn't fail because their stated goal as you say is to be a bridge to 2014 and subsidies. I've said they've understated the costs of it to make their overall plan look better fiscally than it is. That's totally different than what you're accusing me of. For the sake of not destroying another comments section by bickering back and forth I'm not going to respond to you again but reading comprehension on your part would be nice before you go off on me again. Oh and contrary to your beliefs stated in another post comments section Jared Loughner does not seem to be a "right winger" but hey why let facts get in the way of your lunatic rants. Carry on.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 12, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

also (and my last comment on the subject) I'd be happer if the top 1% were actually paying more or most of the cost of the massive wealth redistribution but they're not. Its spread through the middle class and upper middle class (via things like the increase in the medicare tax over the previous threshold). I've said before (a long time back) that I'd be fine with a financial transaction tax on high frequency trading. That to me specifically targets the ultra wealthy with a tax that would be a drop in the bucket to them.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 12, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

there are legitimate criticisms of the Dems that can be derived from the high-risk pool situation. However, the two criticisms I've heard the most are:

(1) The high-risk pool situation suggests that cost projection practices of the Dems and CBO cannot be trusted.

(2) The high risk pool situation is another example of failed liberal ideology.

These are wildly inaccurate arguments.

Posted by: eggnogfool | January 12, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

For your benefit lauren:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/01/reconciliation_draft_1.html


Since you claimed to be unaware of the history of violence from leftwinged militants I posted it here.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Krazen

I never said lefty whackos dont engage in violence.

I said the preponderance of politically motivated or inspired violence is by right wing whackos and is encouraged by rhetoric if righteing public figures.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

890 billion ?

You make it sound like we stole that money from rich people.

Never mind that money was first stolen from the middle class and that now we are just setting things back to the way they were before Bush enacted medicareD in so doing transferring money from all people of all incomes to his corporate and indurance buddies.

Anyone suggesting that ordinary and necessary policy adjustments is a massive transfer of wealth is speaking from an ideological tongue.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"I never said lefty whackos dont engage in violence.

I said the preponderance of politically motivated or inspired violence is by right wing whackos and is encouraged by rhetoric if righteing public figures."

But that's not historically true lying.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Peter King has a buffoonish quality that stands out, even among his own kind.

I think the talk about banning high capacity magazines (thanks for not calling them clips Ezra) is part of th whole foolish nature of much GC legislation. Simply bringing a second gun would defeat the purpose of the law entirely. The real problem with gun control is that we do not enforce all the existing legislation on the books. Even in states with mandatory sentencing, plea deals are worked out so that the charge is avoided.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 12, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"I never said lefty whackos dont engage in violence.

I said the preponderance of politically motivated or inspired violence is by right wing whackos and is encouraged by rhetoric if righteing public figures."

That is not historically true. You are just making up your own reality.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Of course, lauren2010 is some fictional former Republican. If she was an actual former Republican, she would have known that Presidents Reagan, Ford, and Bush faced far more dire assassination attempts from the leftists than the other way around.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/organ1.htm

Oswald was a self-proclaimed Marxist since adolescence who defected to the USSR in 1959 on his own initiative, offering to trade on his military experience with the Marines. Oswald's ideal of a Soviet utopia was immediately soured by bureaucratic indifference, causing Oswald to adopt revolutionary Marxism as opposed to institutionalized Leninism, perhaps inspired by some Cuban students he befriended while living in Minsk. By the time Oswald and his Russian-born wife Marina leave the USSR in June 1962, Oswald sees in the Castro revolution a truer form of socialism — one not corrupted by Soviet Communist Party Officials and their perks.

To Oswald, Kennedy was probably seen as a privileged politician who refused to condemn McCarthyism during the 1960 election, had dragged his feet on civil rights, humiliated Castro in the Missile Crisis, permitted far-right and anti-Castro extremism (as personified by General Walker) to increase, ordered the largest buildup of US Armed Forces in peacetime history, called for a 1,000 ICBMs, etc


Yep. Leftwinged economic and military pacifist ideology.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/organ1.htm

Oswald was a self-proclaimed Marxist since adolescence who defected to the USSR in 1959 on his own initiative, offering to trade on his military experience with the Marines. Oswald's ideal of a Soviet utopia was immediately soured by bureaucratic indifference, causing Oswald to adopt revolutionary Marxism as opposed to institutionalized Leninism, perhaps inspired by some Cuban students he befriended while living in Minsk. By the time Oswald and his Russian-born wife Marina leave the USSR in June 1962, Oswald sees in the Castro revolution a truer form of socialism — one not corrupted by Soviet Communist Party Officials and their perks.

To Oswald, Kennedy was probably seen as a privileged politician who refused to condemn McCarthyism during the 1960 election, had dragged his feet on civil rights, humiliated Castro in the Missile Crisis, permitted far-right and anti-Castro extremism (as personified by General Walker) to increase, ordered the largest buildup of US Armed Forces in peacetime history, called for a 1,000 ICBMs, etc


Yep. Leftwinged economic and military pacifist ideology.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"890 billion ?

You make it sound like we stole that money from rich people."

That's more or less correct Lauren. A huge chunk of the government's money is stolen from rich people, though a decent sum is also stolen from people who aren't all that rich.

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Oswald was nuts and died almost 50 years ago. Really, that's the example you want to go with?

The left had association with a lot of violence in the 60's and 70's; there are numerous better examples than Oswald.

However, the right had their share at that time as well, and has since taken what appears an insurmountable lead at having supporters perform disgusting acts of politically motivated violence.

Posted by: eggnogfool | January 12, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"You are obviously unaware of how much wealth has been redistributed to the top 1% in recent decades."

Actually, wealth was redistributed to the poor and lower middle class in recent decades. Consider that government transfer payments were $2.1 trillion in 2009, far far more than taxes paid in by the bottom, say, 50%.

If you really believe that the government redistributes wealth to the top, you might as well become a libertarian as a libertarian government would end this redistribution.

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"However, the right had their share at that time as well, and has since taken what appears an insurmountable lead at having supporters perform disgusting acts of politically motivated violence. "


This is what is called grade A delusion. Nothing based on facts, just handwaving, speculation, and wishful thinking.

It's why a Hillary Clinton supporting militant leftist can try to shoot Gerald Ford, miss by 6 inches, get released from prison, and be embraced by liberal bloggers.

Oh, and she can claim that it was 'understandably wrong' and the left doesn't care.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Justin

Most of that 890 billion originates from, and goes back to the same people.

The biggest chunk of 890 billion is from medicareD.

That money comes from the taxes of ordinary Americans and ends up in the bank accounts of the wealthy. That didn't happen until BushJr enacted medD and didn't pay for it. We are now just ending a massive transfer of wealth to the wealthy and returning it to the people.


Also much has been written on the growing disparity of income in recent decades.

Your comments are ludicrous and I know you are informed. Hence I van only conclude you are a liar when you deny recent trends of which I speak.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I know of no liberal, not have I ever met one, who believe in oswalds beliefs. They do exist, but are rare. And in recent decades there are no deaths I am aware of.

I have outlined 100s of recent deaths at hands of right-wingers.

Why can't right-wingers admit basic facts?

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@Krazen:

My post says that "the left" was violent in the 70s, not so much since, and somehow you think an event in 1975 proves me 'delusional?'

I have no idea what else can be said.

Posted by: eggnogfool | January 12, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

lauren,

i'm sorry but you're wrong AGAIN. I guess its just easier to call justin a liar when he clearly knows more than you do. The $890 billion is money going TO low income and low to middle income people in the form of increased Medicaid for low or no income and subsidies that don't go to anyone making over $88k for a family of 4 so the wealthy do not qualify for but they'll be paying for it with the increase of the medicare tax. Also increased taxes on health insurers and medical device manufacturers will be passed on through to policyholders who are everyone (well except those that aren't paying (ie low or no income).

http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/22/news/economy/medicare_tax_increase/index.htm

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 12, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@Justin84:

"Actually, wealth was redistributed to the poor and lower middle class in recent decades. Consider that government transfer payments were $2.1 trillion in 2009, far far more than taxes paid in by the bottom, say, 50%.

If you really believe that the government redistributes wealth to the top, you might as well become a libertarian as a libertarian government would end this redistribution."

We have other policies in place besides our tax system. The sum of the policies in place in our society has resulted in a shift of wealth toward the upper class in recent years.

The progressive nature of our tax system has slowed down this redistribution toward the wealthy, but it clearly hasn't stopped it. Libertarian society favors an even more vigorous redistribution of wealth from the have-nots to the haves. That's what they like about it.

Posted by: eggnogfool | January 12, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"I know of no liberal, not have I ever met one, who believe in oswalds beliefs. They do exist, but are rare. And in recent decades there are no deaths I am aware of.

I have outlined 100s of recent deaths at hands of right-wingers.

Why can't right-wingers admit basic facts?
"


That's because your head is in the sand. You've articulated the Oswald redistributionist philosophy in this thread.


The left doesn't have any facts there. They simply make a silly statement about cause and effect when there is no evidence for the cause and effect.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"My post says that "the left" was violent in the 70s, not so much since, and somehow you think an event in 1975 proves me 'delusional?'

I have no idea what else can be said.
"


Any reasonable discussion about political assasination would include a reasonable window of time to study political assassins.

Or, you could be a partisan hack and make a generalization about 1 incident.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"My post says that "the left" was violent in the 70s, not so much since, and somehow you think an event in 1975 proves me 'delusional?'

I have no idea what else can be said.
"

It certainly is delusional to conveniently cut off time periods and make conclusions that are false, rather than look at the entirity of US history and make conclusions that are true.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@krazen:

my post wasn't restricted to assassinations, it referred to 'politically motivated acts of violence'.

if you'd like to restrict the discussion to assassination, then a reasonable response to my post would be "restricting the discussion to assassination, we don't have a sufficient data set to examine your claim."

calling me delusional not because you necessarily disagree with my statements but because you'd like to talk about something else makes no sense.

Posted by: eggnogfool | January 12, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"my post wasn't restricted to assassinations, it referred to 'politically motivated acts of violence'."

Which would, of course, conveniently allow your leftist mind to decide what exactly a 'politically motivated act of violence' is.

Carry on.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because of this", is a logical fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) that states, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one." It is often shortened to simply post hoc and is also sometimes referred to as false cause, coincidental correlation, or correlation not causation. It is subtly different from the fallacy cum hoc ergo propter hoc, in which the chronological ordering of a correlation is insignificant.


The form of the post hoc fallacy can be expressed as follows:

A occurred, then B occurred.
Therefore, A caused B.
When B is undesirable, this pattern is often extended in reverse: Avoiding A will prevent B.


Yep. Textbook example. This why the leftist militants were trying to kill Presidents in the 70s without teenage Sarah Palin's rhetoric.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 12, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

As a Wake County resident, I think the school board is engaged in stealth urban planning. We've had some growth problems; if you ruin the school district, people will stop moving here, solving those problems.

They talk big, but my prediction is they'll find that re-segregating and cutting busing will exacerbate the existing school crowding problems, resulting in no or negative net savings of cash.

Posted by: mutterc | January 12, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"We have other policies in place besides our tax system. The sum of the policies in place in our society has resulted in a shift of wealth toward the upper class in recent years."

eggnogfool,

I think you mean that we're not redistributing the same proportion of income from the rich as before.

"Libertarian society favors an even more vigorous redistribution of wealth from the have-nots to the haves."

If there is redistribution of wealth, it isn't a libertarian society. Think of what the word *"re"distribution* means, and implies. Who, in a libertarian society, "re"distributes the wealth?

Remember, in a libertarian society, wealth is acquired through production and voluntary trade.

"That's what they like about it."

The vast majority of libertarians aren't in the top 0.1% of households by income. Given this, it would be strange at best for most libertarians to justify their political beliefs on the basis that more income flows to the top 0.1%.

There are two types of libertarians (to my knowledge):

- Utilitarian/pragmatic libertarians, who believe that minimal government involvement is best for the vast majority of society, but are willing to accept modest government intervention that would reduce liberty in order to achieve another goal.

- Deotological/natural rights libertarians, who are more concerned with liberty and natural rights than the general welfare, and will resist even modest government interventions beyond the nightwatchman state - for that matter, some are even anarcho-capitalists and oppose the state itself.

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Vision

You promised to stay silent then broke your word.

Your original post implied money from ACA. And that's what I was clearly referring to.

Nonetheless, you are an idiot to suggest that poor people somehow dint deserve health care without suggesting everyone else pays for it.

It is estimated by some economists that middle class families are robbed of as much as $12000 year because of the way the elite set policy, prices, fees, taxes, etc

Whatever money is transferred to the poor via taxes from richer people is offset by the money stolen from everyone by the elite in a myriad other ways.

Your belief that the rich suffer from transfer of wealth makes you the most idiotic commenter on this blog.

And Justin is almost as stupid for believing that tripe of yours.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Most of that 890 billion originates from, and goes back to the same people."

Okay Lauren, what the hell is the point of a program that picks Peter's pocket in order to pay Peter?

Is the person added to the Medicaid rolls paying thousands upon thousands extra in taxes?

Is the family receiving $12,000 in subsidies in order to participate on the exchanges paying that much more in taxes - directly or indirectly - in order to fund it's own subsidy?

No. It's absurd.

Where does most of the government's money come from? Taxes. Who pays the vast majority of taxes? Those in the top few income deciles. Who benefits from PPACA's spending? Mostly, the bottom 50-60% or so of the income distribution.

"Never mind that money was first stolen from the middle class and that now we are just setting things back to the way they were before Bush enacted medicareD in so doing transferring money from all people of all incomes to his corporate and indurance buddies."

If Medicare part D was merely theft from the middle class for the benefit of corporations/insurance companies, by all means, just end the program.

By the way, wasn't part D deficit financed? Deficit financing means that it is being paid for by future income taxes, much of which again is paid for households near the top of the income distribution. On that basis, I'm not sure how part D is more of a theft from the middle class than from the upper middle and upper classes.

"Also much has been written on the growing disparity of income in recent decades."

Yes, much ink has been spilled on the subject, but it does nothing to prove your contention.

It is as if each year, a thief visits your home and avails himself of a subset of your belongings, but each year you grow more adept at hiding your valuables, and so the thief steals a smaller proportion of your assets each year. Now, what if the thief complained about this redistribution of wealth, from him to you? Clearly, his case is absurd. He has merely been less successful at taking what is yours than in past years.

"Your comments are ludicrous and I know you are informed. Hence I van only conclude you are a liar when you deny recent trends of which I speak."

I can assure you I am not lying to you - the "trend" exists, but you are wrong about what the trend actually represents. Much of the problem hinges on your understanding of the word "redistribute".

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"Whatever money is transferred to the poor via taxes from richer people is offset by the money stolen from everyone by the elite in a myriad other ways."

Really? Stolen? Do the rich hold you up at gunpoint while walking down the street? Hasn't happened to me. The government, on the other hand, demands quite a bit of me, and has the force to back up its demands.

"It is estimated by some economists that middle class families are robbed of as much as $12000 year because of the way the elite set policy, prices, fees, taxes, etc"

Theft via prices? We'll add "robbery" and "prices" to the list of words you have trouble understanding.

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Being a bit more clear,

I am defining "Redistribution" from a societal perspective. Which is to say, if in year N the top 1% of your society owns 40% of the society's wealth, and in year N+1 the top 1% owns 45% of the wealth, your society has 'redistributed' wealth to the upper class.

We could arbitrarily select a policy set that resulted in net wealth flow away from that upper 1%, or a policy set that increased the flow to the top. Or a policy set that maintained our current distribution.

It appears that the policy set that would be required to maintain our current wealth distribution would be one that had higher taxes on the wealthy and increased remittance to the poor.

Some would claim that such a policy would be "redistributionist";

but I would argue that anyone decrying a policy that was dedicated to preserving our current wealth distribution for being "redistributionist" is nuts.

Posted by: eggnogfool | January 12, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

lauren,

I "broke my word" because when you say things that are so completely idiotic I just can't help myself. I will have to live with what I've done. You'll have to live in your lack of knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 12, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Justin

There are numerous articles by highly respected people, and a wealth of data showing that the poor and middle class us being decimated and drained of wealth by the wealthy elite.

Ezra has posted many such artlicles.

The economists view has an example recently.

Don't try to pass the big lie to me.

Everyone knows the top 1% are not victims and that America has been good to them in ways in recent decades, and that everyone is getting screwed. You are a liar to suggest otherwise.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Vision

Your concern of billionaires being ripped off because of transfer of wealth issues, when in fact all objective data shows they are the beneficiaries of such ideas, shows nothing you say can be considered as anything but ideological babble.

And stop promising to not respond to me. After a hundred such promises, everyone only laughs when you do it yet again.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Justin

Are you aware that the state of California proved in court that energy companies artificially inflated prices?

Do you seriously think cable tv or cell phone prices aren't aided by policy manipulations by the elite?

Do you think grocery prices remain high, though gas prices fell since 2007, because the markets are honest?

Do you know oil prices are nit set by pure market forces, but are influenced by few brokerage houses in Zurich, London, ny, as well as by OPEC?

Do you know commodity prices are manipulated by small number of people who meet in secret in ny?

Do you know there are millions if illegal foreclosures by banks?

Do you think credit card rates of 30% are not predatory?

Do you know real estate developers donate $100s millions to governors to aide them in procuring lucrative lands often time using eminent domain to wrest such properties? Go listen to owners in any FL gated community of the little ways developers have ripped them off ( high water bills, unknown bond requirements, building on former flood lands that two decades ago were illegal to build on, 30 year cable contracts, inferior construction materials, and many others)

If you aren't aware of the many ways that ordinary Americans are being ripped off, then do me a favor and don't respond to me because I'm sick of dealing with losers like you.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"I am defining "Redistribution" from a societal perspective. Which is to say, if in year N the top 1% of your society owns 40% of the society's wealth, and in year N+1 the top 1% owns 45% of the wealth, your society has 'redistributed' wealth to the upper class."

Your taking the distribution in year N as the natural distribution, which I see no reason to do.

Let's consider a lunch room bully. Each day, he normally demands $2 from you. However, one a particular day, he is caught by an adult and you get to keep your $2. On this day, are you enriched at the bully's expense? Was his income redistributed to you? Using your framework, it certainly is. On day N-1, the bully has an income of $2. On day N, that income was "redistributed" to you.

Does this make sense?

Imagine a communist society, in which all the wealth is equally owned. However, because production is low, the powers that be allow for certain farmers to keep some of what they earn. Income of the new wealthy - the farmers - now rises, and the distribution of wealth is less equal.

Is this government policy best described as a "re"distribution of wealth - to the rich? I say no. The new wealth was left with the original producers.

So redistribution implies an original distribution, which we both agree on. But if you take simply whatever the distribution was in a previous time period as the starting point, it raises the question of whether that was the original distribution. Generally speaking, wealth had been redistributed before that particular starting point. What, then, is the original distribution of wealth? Clearly, that was at the point of origin. If I'm a farmer and I grow 100 bushels of wheat, that wheat represents wealth which I own, and I own it because I produced it. The original distribution of wealth is also the distribution of produced wealth, and (though there is not enough space to argue here) the ensuing and continued patterns of production, consumption and trade.

When the government steps in to take a portion of my wealth and provide it to others, THAT is redistribution of wealth. Say it take 40 of my 100 bushels of wheat. My wealth has been redistributed. Suppose though the government cuts the wheat tax from 40% to 20%, and my production of wheat doubles from 100 to 200 bushels. The poor person who received my 40 bushels still receives them, but I now have 160 rather than just 60. Inequality has widened, undoubtedly, but did the government redistribute the wealth of the poor person to me? Of course not. The government is still redistributing my wealth to him, just not the same proportion.

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"Are you aware that the state of California proved in court that energy companies artificially inflated prices?"

Well, except you can't artificially inflate prices. There is no "correct" price from which to artificially inflate from. If I own something, I should be able to sell it at any price I would like to charge. If someone wants to buy it, a trade occurs and both parties are better off. If not, no sale.

"Do you seriously think cable tv or cell phone prices aren't aided by policy manipulations by the elite?"

I wouldn't be surprised if government policy helped keep prices up - government intervention often comes in the form of industry price supports of one form or another.

As it is, I think tv and cell phone plan prices are worth the money, and if you disagree you don't need to buy them. You have no right to service from AT&T or Comcast. You can get a nice selection of movies and TV shows from Netflix for $7.99/mo, though it does require an internet connection.

Speaking of TV, HDTV prices keep falling like a stone. Why aren't there any greedy TV manufacturers?

"Do you think grocery prices remain high, though gas prices fell since 2007, because the markets are honest?"

A market isn't a person. A market cannot be honest or dishonest. It is simply people trading, each for their own benefit.

I do believe that in these markets, prices adjust to changes in supply and demand. Bidding prices up way above the equilibrium is just setting yourself up for a crash - such disturbances are self-correcting. I also don't view grocery prices as "high", unless there is a huge surplus of unsold goods at grocery stores.

"Do you know oil prices are nit set by pure market forces, but are influenced by few brokerage houses in Zurich, London, ny, as well as by OPEC?"

Well, given that markets are just people trading, prices are being set by market forces. I don't like OPEC either, but hey, it isn't my oil until I pay for it. In addition, trading does impact commodity markets, but it cuts both ways. Why were the brokerage houses so generous in the 1990s? Had greed not been invented yet? Why did OPEC let oil crash to less than $40 in late 2008?

"Do you know there are millions if illegal foreclosures by banks?"

When banks violate contracts or forcibly enter the wrong properties, then sure, they should be prosecuted. That's a pretty good reason for government involvement.

"Do you think credit card rates of 30% are not predatory?"

Of course not. These are unsecured loans. Credit card companies can lose 100% if these borrowers go bankrupt.

Do you think a government which can take 50% of your income at the point of a gun is not predatory? At least the credit card issuers don't bring guns to the table.

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"Do you know real estate developers donate $100s millions to governors to aide them in procuring lucrative lands often time using eminent domain to wrest such properties?"

Yeah, government failure. Big time.

However, this is what you get when most people support political parties which care little for property rights - property is taken by government fiat.

I view interest groups pressuring government to spend *my money* on their particular cause exactly the same way as you view those land developers. It is eminent domain for money, rather than property.

"If you aren't aware of the many ways that ordinary Americans are being ripped off, then do me a favor and don't respond to me because I'm sick of dealing with losers like you."

You don't have to read what I write - I comment for the benefit of other readers.

When the government is involved in the alleged rip off, I agree they are doing more harm than good and should stop. However, your notion of "ripped off" in most of the above cases implies a right which does not exist.

There is no right to a product or service at a given price. The "right" to a product infringes on the right to liberty of the person who must provide it to you. The "right" to a specific price tramples upon the property rights of the person who is selling you the product. As such, these cannot be rights.

Consider the emminent domain complaint from above. Are not the property developers merely trying to assert their right to the property of another? The developers want to property, but are unwilling or unable to pay the property owners enough in order to make the trade.

What the developers want from government with respects to lucrative lands is exactly the same as what you want from government with regards to oil or credit cards or tv service. Rather than consistently oppose such interference, you support it when it is in your favor, leaving you without a leg to stand on when protesting the collusion between the developers and government.

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

There's just no sense trying to communicate with idiots like Justin who automatically dismiss any fact.

You live in a different reality, a self made one where you are unable to stipulate any basic ground facts from which two ideologies can debate.

No matter what I say, no matter which data I refer to, you have some nonsensical response.

The reason you can't basic things, such as the fact that enron and other companies jacked up prices illegally, is that then you are confronted with your own absurdities.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 12, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

"There's just no sense trying to communicate with idiots like Justin who automatically dismiss any fact."

This line of attack is rich. I actually addressed the vast majority of your facts.

Why do you ignore the examples I present - oil prices crashed in the fall of 2008, and were relatively modest throughout the 1990s - can you explain this as the work of greedy shadowy elites? Obviously not.

I don't dismiss facts, but I argue your interpretation of them is misguided. Specifically, I dismiss the foundation of your reasoning - that people have rights to specific products at specific prices - as absurd.

"No matter what I say, no matter which data I refer to, you have some nonsensical response."

Your failure to understand does not make what I say nonsensical.

"The reason you can't [sic] basic things, such as the fact that enron and other companies jacked up prices illegally."

I don't dispute your facts - when they are correctly presented - but I do dispute the premise that the government has a right, either on moral or economic efficiency grounds, to enact price controls.

Enron is always a fun example to hear from liberals, as I do believe that "jacking up" energy prices has long been a goal of the left - apparently it is only bad if a private company does it.

"is that then you are confronted with your own absurdities"

I believe the term psychologists use for this is "projection".

Posted by: justin84 | January 12, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Ah, once again its demoblicans versus republickrats, again and again. boring.

Posted by: shred11 | January 12, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Ah, once again its demoblicans versus republickrats, again and again. boring.

Posted by: shred11 | January 12, 2011 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Justin

I don't have access to a pc right now, only an iPhone, si it is difficult for me to combat your barrage of inaccurate propaganda.

I have to choose my battles for now.

Many $billions were stolen by enron and similar companies from western states in 2001. This theft coming just before the recession is a key reason for fiscal problems there. They were fiscally sound before this theft. They manipulated energy prices and were convicted in fed court. This goes directly against your thesis that the big guys are nit pitting the squeeze on little guys. Your inability to admit this us true means you are a liar.

This is one example of many how your ideology prevents you from dealing in facts.

Also, fit you to ignore multigenerstional oil price spike in 2007 and the fact that oil is still relatively high, and instead pretend oil prices fell in recent years is another example of your failure to stipulate simple facts from which we can engage in reasonable debate.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 13, 2011 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Justin

When gvmt is corrupted by money from powerful interests, and you continue to vote for the people represented and bought by those interests, then the problem is not gvmt, but idiots like you who continue to allow those interests to corrupt the gvmt.

And fools like you continue to laud decisions like Citizens United, which continues to corrupt gvmt even more.

Id like to know more about you, Your entire belief system is straight up laissez faire economy and anti-gvmt. Are you an American citizen? What is your occupation? Are you a foreign business executive? A Saudi sheik? An oil exec? You clearly have an agenda to assist the GOP to put the big squeeze on the common man, and to deny it is happening. Tell us who you are.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 13, 2011 7:18 AM | Report abuse

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2011/01/fed-watch-are-oil-prices-about-to-undermine-the-recovery.html

There is a chart on that link showing the gas price spike in 2007 I speak of.

I wondered why grocery prices, and other commidity prices, followed that spike upward but dud not fall.

In response to my observations, Justin thinks oil prices have crashed and instead implied all was well.

Well, Justin has not shopped for groceries or filled his gas tank. Gas is cheaper than in 2007, but not cheap at all. Some oil CEOs are saying expect a 50% oil price rise this year. Will grocery and other prices again rise though they didn't fall after the 2007 spike subsided?

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 13, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

"I don't dismiss facts, but I argue your interpretation of them is misguided. Specifically, I dismiss the foundation of your reasoning - that people have rights to specific products at specific prices - as absurd."

Where did I make that argument?

I didn't.

You took my arguments, and rather than trying to understand them, bastardized them into something else that suits you POV.

Let's take the enron example....

I said enron increased prices illegally and manipulated prices. You responded glibly with mumbo jumbo about contracts are contracts and that people don't have rights to products at certain prices.

Pah! That's intellectual dishonesty on your part.

Well, the reality is that Enron and other energy companies in question ostensibly set prices according to a legal framework of market forces, only we later found out they engaged in illegal practices to manipulate those prices. For you to respond with gobbledegook about people have no rights about product prices is wildly inaccurate in the sense no such claim was made.

They even have names for these illegal practices.

Read the following link to get a primer to see how energy companies manipulated the energy market to illegally and artificially increase prices. The CA AG, Lockyear, took these companies to fed court and proved his case.

This goes against your earlier claim that no one is being ripped off. Indeed, almost overnight, CA and other states went from sound fiscal conditions to having strained budgets, and then they were hit by the Great Recession, which made things even worse.

Every time a powerful person or business uses his special access and money to influence public policy to favor his interests or business, millions of people are potentially being ripped off, and this happens more often than not. Almost everything we pay for is more expensive than it should be if true free market business practices were in effect instead of gvmt corruption by the powerful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis#Market_manipulation

Manipulation strategies were known to energy traders under names such as "Fat Boy", "Death Star", "Forney Perpetual Loop", "Ricochet", "Ping Pong", "Black Widow", "Big Foot", "Red Congo", "Cong Catcher" and "Get Shorty".[11] Some of these have been extensively investigated and described in reports

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 13, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

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