Why we don’t have government by public opinion, part MCLXI

From the latest Gallup survey:

If you had to choose, who do you blame more for the economic problems facing the United States -- [ROTATED: financial institutions on Wall Street (or) the federal government in Washington]? October 2011 results

I would take stuff like this more seriously if more than 5% of American could tell me what a Credit Default Swap is or what the cloture rule is.


9-9-9 in one loooooong graph

This is awesome (via Ezra):

What percent are you?

I actually have a friend from High School who sometimes reads my blog and actually I think may be in the very top 1% of income, but I suspect most of my readers will find themselves to be in the 99%.  Anyway, this is a pretty cool little tool from WSJ to see what percentile you fall into.  My salary is actually public record (and this is household, so that does not include the earnings of Snapdragonsbaby.com), but for blog purposes, I’ll simply admit to >50% and <99%.

Quote of the day

In John Dickerson’s post-debate roundup, he addresses Herman Cain’s claim that he would implement his 9-9-9 plan within his first 90 (the man does like 9’s) days in office:

It’s great to be ambitious. But this is like turning around Godfather’s Pizza by promising the pies will make themselves.

Just for fun

This compilation of absurd headline/photo juxtapositions literally had me laughing out loud.   Check them all out, but this is, perhaps, the best:

False equivalency and the Republican jobs plan

So, I was driving home yesterday listening to NPR’s coverage of Obama’s tour through NC and VA to tout his jobs plan.  The report then discussed the alternative Republican “jobs” plan.  The reporter cannot quite bring himself to say that the Republican jobs plan is not a jobs plan at all:

The White House has repeatedly cited private economists who say the president’s plan would do more to encourage job growth in the short run than the GOP alternative. Obama told supporters in Jamestown on Tuesday that ultimately it’s up to them to decide.

Et tu, NPR?  Here’s a thought how about just saying: “private economists say the Republican jobs plan would actually do very little, if anything, for short run job growth.”  That’s the simple truth.  No need to make this a political, “White House as repeatedly cited…”  And again, it doesn’t just do more; the Republican plan is not about creating jobs.  It would be like saying a Obama plan to reduce carbon emissions does more to limit airborne CO2 than a Republican plan to regulate sulfur mining.  Here’s Drum on this:

I suspect that reporters are simply so used to Republicans embracing nonsense that they evaluate it on a whole different plane than they do “serious” proposals. GOP campaign plans are treated more as optics than as actual policy, as ways to signal a candidate’s conservative bona fides more than as blueprints for actual legislation.

But Greg is right: this should stop. There’s no reason to give these guys a pass on their laughable jobs plans that virtually no one thinks will create any actual jobs. It won’t be easy, since most of the candidates (with good reason) refuse to release enough detail to make it easy to assess their plans, but it’s still doable. And the press should do it.

True dat!

OWS and the media narrative

One of my advisees emailed me the other day and asked what I thought of the OWS protests.  I formulated some semi-coherent thoughts in response.  Yesterday, I read this Yglesias post and realized he nicely stated what I was trying to semi-coherently express to the student.  Anyway, the deal:

An excellent headline from Susie Madrak:

If #OWS Has No Coherent Message, How Come Eric Cantor Is Suddenly Talking About ‘Income Disparity’?

Indeed. Obviously at some point in the process of political change it matters which policies get adopted. But control of the agenda space matters too. For a long time, we were talking about “the deficit.” The deficit is a real thing, and it would be nice to address it. There are some good progressive ways to address it. But dragging the conversation in that direction was a victory for the conservative movement. Dragging the conversation onto the terrain of inequality is a major win for the 99 Percenters.

Yep.  There’s a lot of talk about how the movement doesn’t even know what it wants, has no coherent ideology, etc.  And there’s some truth to that, but it does strike me that, at heart, this is a story of Americans (and people around the world) awakening to the fact of the growing problem (because it is, in fact, growing) of inequality and wanting to do something about it.  Do they know what to do?  Not really.  But that’s okay.  What’s important is that we recognize that this is much more of a problem for our nation– and focus on it– than whether the budget is balanced in fiscal year 2013.  Only when we recognize the growing income inequality as a political problem can we start to do something about it politically.  That’s the benefit of this movement.

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