Video of the day

Apparently dashboard cams are all the rage in Russia.  Makes for some pretty amazing video of accidents:

Charts of the day

Proposals to deal with the fiscal cliff (via Matthew O’Brien):

BowlesSimpsonGraph2.png

ObamaGraph2.png

GOPGraph2.png

There’s lots of great explanation, too.  Here’s what O’Brien has to say on the Republican chart:

This looks like a real plan, but it’s more like a facsimile of a sketch of a real plan. Republicans say they’re willing to increase revenues by $800 but they aren’t willing to say how exactly. A $50,000 deduction cap like Romney proposed during the campaign would get them most of the way there, if they kept rates where they are now. But Republicans don’t want to keep rates where they are now. They want to cut rates. That likely takes their tax plan into the realm of mathematical impossibility, as Greg Sargent of the Washington Post points out. There’s not much more specificity on the spending side. Republicans wants $600 billion in healthcare cuts, but they’ve only identified $100 billion or so of them — that’s how much money the Congressional Budget Office estimates raising the Medicare age to 67 would save over the next decade.

Anyway, a really handy summary of the various proposals.

ACORN stole the election (and the limits of polling)

I meant to post this when it was brand new, but I was slow, and PPP’s latest hoisting of Republicans by their petard has exploded all over the liberal blogosphere and beyond.  Anyway, PPP

PPP’s first post election national poll finds that Republicans are taking the results pretty hard…and also declining in numbers.

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. Wefound that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.  [emphasis mine]

And if that’s not enough, PPP chooses to embarrass the whole electorate:

-As much of an obsession as Bowles/Simpson can be for the DC pundit class, most Americans don’t have an opinion about it. 23% support it, 16% oppose it, and 60% say they don’t have a take one way or the other.

The 39% of Americans with an opinion about Bowles/Simpson is only slightly higher than the 25% with one about Panetta/Burns, a mythical Clinton Chief of Staff/former western Republican Senator combo we conceived of to test how many people would say they had an opinion even about something that doesn’t exist.

Not surprising– there’s a nice long history of Americans have opinions on things that don’t actually exist (including alien abductions :-) ), But, on both scores, these PPP results are very much a reminder of the limits of public opinion polling.  First, I really and truly doubt that half of Republicans truly believe this.  In the absence of FOX, Rush, etc., pushing it, this isn’t your typical misinformed view.  Rather, it’s much more likely just an irrational expression of dissatisfaction with the election results.  My favorite– but never asked– follow up question is, “really?”  I’m sure a few more questions would show that most Republicans don’t really adopt this view.  And on the second point, sure Americans know who they are going to vote for in an presidential election, but when you start getting into complicated policy matters, most of the public really doesn’t have a clue.  The 60% without a position on Simpson/Bowles are just the most honest.

Anyway, this  even made it onto Colbert (he also wonderfully skewers them on the disabilities treaty):

Enthusiasm is over-rated

infographicAt least when it comes to voter turnout.  You probably heard for months about the big Republican advantage in voter enthusiasm.  As this nice shows, all that enthusiasm doesn’t really matter all that much:

Now, when it comes to teaching, on the other hand, among the strongest correlates of overall teacher evaluation is teach enthusiasm.  I like to see that as one of the benefits of having lots of caffeine (via many Diet Coke refills) before my afternoon classes (the downside is the frequent trips to the restroom).

Photo of the day

As you know, I love Big Picture’s “Daily Life” series.  It was hard to pick one, but I went with the following photo in Berlin, as I am reading the excellent In the Garden of Beastswhich is set there (and, it’s an awesome shot):

Trees decorated with Christmas lights are reflected in a puddle as people walk along the Unter den Linden promenade at dusk in Berlin on Nov. 28. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Demint to head Heritage

There are some thinktanks– even right-leaning ones– that deserve the “think” in there name.  Heritage has never been one of those places.  It exists mostly to provide a pseudo-scholarly veneer to whatever it is the Republican Party wants to do.   Thus, not surprising that they should name beloved Tea Party Senator Jim Demint as their new head.  Loved Ezra’s reaction:

My friend on the Hill has been around a lot of Senators in his time.  His take on Demint– just astounded that a United States Senator could really be that stupid.  Maybe we need to invent a new name for Heritage as thinktank surely doesn’t cover it.

Utterly unsurprising public opinion of the day

Via Gallup– it turns out that most opponensts of same-sex marraige object for religious reasons:

What are some of the reasons why you oppose legal same-sex marriages?

And actually, it’s hard not to consider choices two and three as religion based as well.  Anyway, not surprising, but still interesting to see.  And, they also provide the age breakdown (as well as party and church attendance), which is more stark than ever:

Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?

Those young Americans are not going to become more conservative on this.  Rather, due to demographic replacement there will almost surely be a point where a large majority in favor.  As I say, if you are conservative on social issues, keep fighting on abortion, you’ve got something going there and there’s not a dramatic age disparity.  When it comes to gay marriage, the writing is on the wall in a glittery sharpie.

Pointless long-term projections

You know how I love me some Wonkblog, but stuff like this really drives me crazy (fortunately, it’s not from Ezra himself).  It’s about current bad jobs numbers and what this might mean for the future:

If that’s the case, then ADP’s latest report, released this morning, should give you cause for concern. It estimated that the economy gained 118,000 jobs in November, down from 157,000 in October…

This is a very bad trend, should it keep up. The Hamilton Project’s calculator suggests that if we keep adding 118,000 jobs a month, we’ll get back to our pre-recession situation on jobs…never, or at least not until after 2025. Even worse, the jobs gap won’t close before 2025 even if we gain 157,000 jobs a month, keeping up the October figure.

If we keep adding jobs as we have been, the recession could haunt the labor market for two whole decades.

Give me a break!  Yeah, I know it’s been a long, slow, not that good recovery, but is there really any reason to believe that our job growth would continue on such an anemic course for decades?  Seriously, what at all is the point of making an assumption of 118K or 157Kjobs/month in perpetuity and saying how bad that would be?  Okay, we get that these are bad numbers, but to even suggest, “If we keep adding jobs as we have been, the recession could haunt the labor market for two whole decades” seems to me almost completely divorced from reality.  It this possible?  Of course.  But based on what we know of history and economics, I’m not aware of anybody who believes it at all likely that the economy would really stagnate this badly.

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