2. Montana U.S. House debate. Race believed to be highly competitive by pollsters and skilled observers.
2. Montana U.S. House debate. Race believed to be highly competitive by pollsters and skilled observers.
2. Andrew Sullivan actually writes a good article, for once. Read the comments; they’re gold.
7. LIFE Magazine’s The Case for Warren (for non-American readers, Governor Earl Warren of California would be later confirmed as Supreme Court Justice by Eisenhower in 1952 and become perhaps the most radical dictator America has ever seen in its history)
The summary statistics are these:
Mean 7.4 (out of 21)
Standard Error 0.259508445
Standard Deviation 2.010143768
Sample Variance 4.040677966
Download a Copy of Harding’s Quiz #1 (Responses).
The most frequently missed question was the one on Goldwater’s share of the vote in Mississippi. Only four out of sixty got that one right, and the correct response option was the one the smallest number chose. Apparently, Goldwater’s segregationist appeal has been memory holed by everyone except election junkies.
The most correctly answered question was the one on whether percentage Black or percentage gun owners best predicts the homicide rate. This was a two-option question, so only one way to miss. 90% got this one right. At least we don’t need to be at that dead horse.
Hillary’s use of Republican rhetoric was successful: the majority wrongly mistook Her pronouncements for either Juan McSame or Willard Mitt Romney. Whoever answered Donald Trump wasn’t really reading, because that’s clearly a “he thinks” at the end.
The South African GDP per capita question was one where conventional racist bias fails the one using it. And most people failed that one. Come on, guys, on rare occasion, Black rule can improve on White rule in some ways.
The lowest poverty rate county in Michigan question was correctly answered by the majority, but I think it required Googling the answer to really be sure of, because that answer isn’t really intuitive.
Triple parentheses used as necessary to indicate Jewish ancestry.
Nikki Haley, that foul Indian
Every major newspaper editor
Every major TV commentator
Three quarters of the Senate
Sundance of the Conservative Treehouse (whiplash from previous position)
Hillary is 44 (pro-Trump site)
French, UK, Saudi, (((Israeli))) govts
Pretty much all Pepes
Various people in the Breitbart comments section
Last year’s predictions (with updates as needed) here.
1. More posts will be posted on this blog this year than last year: 70%.
2. U.S. real GDP will expand slower this year than in 2014 (year-to-year; not Q4 over Q4): 90%.
3. U.S. real GDP will expand slower this year than in 2016 (year-to-year; not Q4 over Q4): 60%.
4. The Syrian government will hold more territory on December 31, 2017 than today: 70%.
5. The Kurds in Syria will hold more territory on December 31, 2017 than today: 80%.
6. https://www.torproject.org/download/ will remain accessible on the open Internet in Russia on December 31, 2017: 80%.
7. The unemployment rate in the U.S. will be higher in December, 2017, than in January, 2016: 40%.
8. The Black-White ACT score gap will not narrow in 2017: 50%.
9. The Houthis will hold more territory on December 31, 2017, than today: 30%.
10. The Iraqi government will hold more territory on December 31, 2017, than today: 90%.
11. The Yemeni government will hold more territory in Yemen on December 31, 2017 than today: 60%.
12. The Syrian army will hold Jisr al-Shughur on December 31, 2017: 40%.
13. Al-Mukalla will be held by Yemeni government forces on December 31, 2017: 80%.
14. The Marginal Counterrevolution shall make at least 365 posts during its second year: 90%.
15. The territory held by the Syrian government in and around Aleppo City will expand this year: 90%.
16. This blog will gain more pageviews this year than it did last year: 60%.
17. China will remain formally Communist on December 31, 2017: 90%.
18. Kim Jong-Un will still remain king of North Korea on December 31, 2017: 80%.
19. Robert Mugabe will still be alive on December 31, 2017: 60%.
20. Putin’s approval rating will remain above 40% in every reputable poll in December, 2017: 90%.
21. This blog will achieve a day with at least 400 pageviews: 50%.
22. Comments on this blog this year will be more than last year: 60%.
23. Mosul will be fully under control of the non-Islamic State forces on December 31, 2017: 90%.
24. Palmyra will be fully under the control of the Syrian government on December 31, 2017: 60%.
25. Raqqa will remain under the control of the Islamic State on December 31, 2017: 40%.
26. No Gaza War this year: 60%.
27. No intifada in the West Bank this year: 60%.
28. The Marginal Counterrevolution will have more posts published than Against Jebel al-Lawz in 2017: 90%.
29. The Marginal Counterrevolution will have more pageviews than Against Jebel al-Lawz in 2017: 90%.
30. The Marginal Counterrevolution will have more pageviews per post than Against Jebel al-Lawz in 2017: 30%.
31. The Islamic State will continue to not hold Syrtis on December 31, 2017: 80%.
32. Poroshenko will remain President of Ukraine on December 31, 2017: 90%.
33. The dollar price of oil will be higher on December 31, 2017 than today: 60%.
34. The price of oil will never be higher than $70 per barrel in 2017: 70%.
35. The price of oil will be lower than $60 per barrel on December 31, 2017: 70%.
36. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia: 100%.
37. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Japan: 80%.
38. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Vietnam: 90%.
39. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Indonesia: 100%.
40. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Germany: 60%.
41. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in the Philippines: 70%.
42. China will record growth of 8% or higher in 2017: 10%.
43. China will record growth of 4% or higher in 2017: 90%.
44. China will record growth of 5% or higher in 2017: 80%.
45. China will record growth of 6% or higher in 2017: 50%.
46. China will record growth of 7% or higher in 2017: 40%.
47. Ethiopia will record per capita growth of 7% or higher in 2017: 50%.
48. Ethiopia will record per capita growth of 3% or higher in 2017: 90%.
49. Trump’s approval rating will be above 30% in the latest polls of 2017: 90%.
50. Trump’s approval rating will be above 50% at some point in 2017: 80%.
51. Russia’s economy will record Q4-over-Q4 real GDP growth in 2017: 70%.
52. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 7%: 80%.
53. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 4%: 10%.
54. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 6%: 50%.
55. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 5%: 30%.
56. Not one country will go off the Euro: 100%.
57. Mexico’s per capita GDP growth will be under 3% in 2017: 70%.
58. Mexico’s per capita GDP growth will be under 4% in 2017: 90%.
59. There will be at least two IS-inspired terrorist attacks in the United States that will each kill at least five people: 60%.
60. Belarus’s per capita GDP growth will be above 0% in 2017: 90%.
61. Belarus’s per capita GDP growth will be below 5% in 2017: 60%.
62. Belarus’s per capita GDP growth will be above 1% in 2017: 60%.
63. Africa will experience the start of one new civil war this year: 60%
64. U.S. nominal GDP growth will be under 7% (year-to-year; not Q4 over Q4) in 2017: 100%.
65. U.S. nominal GDP growth will be under 4% in 2017 (year-to year; not Q4 over Q4): 60%.
66. Trump’s approval rating will be below 70% at every point in 2017: 90%.
67. Russian life expectancy will increase in 2017: 70%.
68. The Wilshire 5000 Full Cap Price Index will be lower on December 31 of this year than today: 80%.
69. The U.S. will enter a recession in 2017: 40%. Normally, a yield curve like this would not indicate a recession for next year, but we do not live in normal times.
70. Iran will not get a nuclear weapon: 100%.
71. Russia will not invade any of the following: Finland, Alaska, the Baltic States, Poland: 100%.
72. Legislation on constructing Trump’s border wall will be signed by Trump in 2017: 90%
73. Netanyahu will still be Prime Minister of Israel at the end of 2017: 80%.
74. Afewerki will still be dictator of Eritrea at the end of 2017: 90%.
75. Tunisia will still be a democracy at the end of 2017: 90%.
76. Libya will not be reunified in 2017: 60%.
77. The Tobruk government will hold 100% of Benghazi on December 31, 2017: 80%.
78. Somaliland will remain unrecognized by the U.S. government: 70%
79. Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating will not rise above 60% in 2017: 80%
80. Le Pen will win the French elections in 2017: 40%.
81. Yemen will not be unified on December 31, 2017: 100%.
82. Syria will not be unified on December 31, 2017: 100%.
83. Keith Ellison will win the DNC Chair election: 60%
84. Turkish Cyprus will reunify with southern Cyprus: 0%.
85. Russia will hold on to Krim: 100%.
86. Russian-backed forces will hold on to both the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk: 80%.
87. Not a single act of terror will be prevented in 2017 where formerly and presently secret NSA mass surveillance programs made a crucial difference: 80%.
88. I will have at least 1000 Twitter followers by the end of 2017: 60%.
89. Same-sex marriage will be legal in at least one more country in 2017: 100%.
90. Same-sex marriage will be legal in at least five more countries in 2017: 40%.
91. Same-sex marriage will be legal in at least ten more countries in 2017: 10%.
92. Vehicle miles driven per capita in the U.S. will be higher in 2017 than in 2016: 70%.
93. The Islamic State will carry out at least five terrorist attacks carried out by men within Turkey that will kill more than five people in 2017: 80%.
94. The Islamic State will not carry out a single terrorist attack carried out by men within Israel except against the Arabs that will kill more than five people in 2017: 90%.
95. The Islamic State will not carry out a single terrorist attack carried out by men within Saudi Arabia except against the Shiites that will kill more than five people in 2017: 80%.
96. The Islamic State will not carry out a single terrorist attack carried out by men within Qatar except against the non-Muslims that will kill more than five people in 2017: 90%.
97. Chinese GDP per capita (PPP) will be considered by the World Bank to be above that of Thailand in 2017: 90%.
98. A bill cutting personal income taxes will be signed into law by President Trump in 2017: 70%.
99. Neither of my blogs will reach 100,000 pageviews this year: 70%.
100. Neither of my blogs will reach 100,000 pageviews combined this year: 60%.
101. My blogs will reach at least one million pageviews combined this year: 10%.
102. Not one presently Communist country will become known as a formerly Communist country by December 31, 2017: 70%.
103. Rex Tillerson will be confirmed as Secretary of State: 70%
104. I will be banned or shadowbanned by at least one website, Twitter feed, Facebook account, or YouTube channel by the end of this year: 100%.
105. I will be banned or shadowbanned by at least five websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook accounts, or YouTube channels by the end of this year: 90%.
106. AHETPI/CPIAUCSL will be lower in 2017 than in 2016: 70%.
107. A Supreme Court justice will be confirmed in 2017: 90%
108. I will finish at least three books of over 100 pages this year: 60%.
109. I will finish Scott Sumner’s Midas Curse before the end of the year: 90%.
110. Not one person (myself excepted) will, as per the comment policy, post one or more PGP-encrypted comments encrypted with my public key on any of my blogs: 60%.
Often, protectionism is said to be basically equivalent with opposition to automation. This is a mistake.
The protectionists looked at a typical poor country, say, Honduras. What did they see? Little internal production, mass reliance on outside manufactured goods, a decent degree of internal primary exports, and outside foreign aid, as well as giant trade deficits all around. Then, they looked at a rich country, say, the U.S. in the 1960s. What did they see? A thriving manufacturing sector, high manufacturing output per capita, and a roughly balanced trade, with high imports of primary materials.
Then they saw what was happening to the U.S. in the 1980s: a stagnation in manufacturing output per capita, mass imports of manufacturing goods from abroad, and giant trade deficits all around. And they started saying that the U.S. was becoming a third-world country. Instead of paying its way for its imports by producing goods to sell to the world, the U.S. began to import far more than it exported, and to finance its imports with massive debt and real estate sales -something which the protectionists considered as a drain from the United States.
Contrary to many less insightful critics, protectionists did see that the U.S. got rich due to automation. The problem they saw that, during the 1980s, the automation was increasingly moving to other countries. The problem they saw with the poor countries was not lack of employment, but lack of internal production. They saw outsourcing not simply as something leading to internal job losses, but as something reducing internal output. Automation, unlike outsourcing, obviously has never been claimed to reduce internal output.
The protectionists always saw a country as losing from higher prices of its imports if the demand for these imports was inelastic. Protective tariff revenue went to the government. Revenue from higher import prices went to other countries. The goal of protective tariffs was to reduce imports so that the country imposing those protective tariffs could replace its imports with internal output.
There is much wrong with the above protectionist doctrine. But it is by no means equivalent to opposition to automation.
In the U.S. and U.K., the lower house of the legislature is decided by a first-past-the-post system in roughly equally populated congressional districts decided on election days every few years. As a result, many people don’t like the representatives they’re represented by, the legislature tends towards a two-party system, and incumbents sit around for far too long. I’ve long thought of a superior voting system. To become a representative, a certain number of signatures would have to be collected by a candidate, say, .5% of the population. Each voter among the general public would have the right to vote for any representative in the country. There would be no districts. Each representative’s power in the legislature would be equal to the number of votes he or she receives. Votes may be switched by the voter at any time. This, I think, would be a much superior system to the present one, and would more authentically show the desires of the voters. No longer would gerrymandering be a problem, or people be unsatisfied with whom they are represented by. Maybe some U.S. state might adopt this proposal in the distant future, if the public is made aware of it.
So far, the transitions between the last four United States political party systems have been as thus:
#1 Third to Fourth Party System -Same very high level of political polarization (almost no swing districts, voting record polarization in Congress, etc.), but different and less stable geographic party bases (Republicans winning Manhattan, Democrats winning Colorado and Nebraska), with soaring geographical party polarization. Arguably, there were new partisan issues, but the Third Party System Greenbackers weren’t all that different from the Fourth Party System’s Populists, Socialists, Progressives, and Farmer-Laborers. They mostly wanted the country to go in a similar direction.
#2 Fourth to Fifth Party System -Similar and mostly stable geographic party bases, but rapidly declining level of polarization due to rapidly changing meaning of DW-NOMINATE first dimension during the beginning of the party system.
#3 Fifth to Sixth Party System -Similarly low level of polarization, but newly wildly variable geographic party bases
#4 Sixth to Seventh Party System -Much higher level of polarization and newly stabilized geographic party bases
I’m not seeing any sign of #1. Trump may sound like he’s bringing new issues to the table (like Bryan did), but he’s not destabilizing or even changing the geographic party bases at all, and, unlike Bryan, isn’t increasing the level of geographical party polarization -he’s decreasing it. He might, like Bryan, be bringing new issues to the table, but Republicans’ role as protectors of the Old Economy began in 2000, when they captured West Virginia after the Democrats nominated prominent environmentalist Al Gore (who lost his home state due to his insufficient support for family values). Trump isn’t changing that dynamic.
#2’s possible only if Trump gets elected President. But I simply can’t see Trump being as transformative a figure to the Republican Party as FDR. Sure, Mike Pence might be his John Nance Garner -a typical party figure whom the President almost entirely ignores- but I think Trump is going to act mostly like a typical Republican as President. He’s not going to turn the Fifth Party System and later DW-NOMINATE first dimension back to the mostly protectionist-based Fourth Party System one (I think). If Trump does this, however, and succeeds in depolarizing today’s very polarized Seventh Party System, he will succeed in realigning the country. But I doubt that’ll happen. Mike Lee will remain on the Far Right. Bernie Sanders will remain on the Far Left. The GOP isn’t going to get kicked out of the Great Plains and Mountain West, nor will it expand into Rhode Island.
BTW, if Trump is the GOP’s FDR, it must be noted there was no Al Smith to foreshadow the party’s future in the election before him. The 1928 election really was demonstrably a realigning election, as it cracked the Solid North in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Trump isn’t doing anything like that. Romney didn’t do anything like that either.
#3 is obviously not the case.
#4 -This is today’s party system.
So the 2016 election, no matter what people tell you, is very probably not a realigning one, but simply another one in the Seventh Party System.
Democracy is Poll-ocracy. So what makes the election day polls so special? Tiny difference in timing can make an enormous difference in general election preferences. Democracy is not simply the tyranny of the four percent who actually decide the election, but the tyranny of the four percent who actually decide the election during a single day. Why not have an election day be every day, and simply allow people to change their votes for the candidate they desire at any point in the year? Why not make the telephone polls just as authoritative as going to the ballot box? And if elections are bad, primaries are a disaster. What makes caucuses a good idea in the first place? A presidential nominating caucus can easily get results far different from an open primary held on the same day and in the same state. And an open primary, which includes independents, can easily get results far different from those of a closed primary. Had the entire Democratic race been composed entirely of caucuses, Bernie would have already won. Had the entire Democratic race been composed of closed primaries, Bernie wouldn’t have won ten states. In any case, popularity has only a tenuous relation with justice. Most people are so misinformed as to think government-funded free preschool is a good idea.
In a democracy, the will of the people tends to prevail. But whether it should do so or not, it does so extremely imperfectly. There is too much ossification in democracy. Its present form should be challenged to further its improvement. To connect policymaking closer with the desires of the people, there should be far more direct referendums than there are today, and at least one house should have its members be selected randomly from the general populace. Whether that’s desirable or not remains to be seen.
One of my favorite variables, all too often underused, is real GDP divided by the price level. It really only works as a useful measurement in large, populous single-currency areas, though -like the United States, China, or the Eurozone. Basically, it’s a measure of how efficiently a region is using its resources given its nominal GDP. For example, if a country enters a deflationary depression due solely to collapsing NGDP, its RGDP should suffer. But its RGDP should also fall at the same rate as its price level.
These are the real GDPs of Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, and Ireland:
And these are the price levels of the same countries:
At first glance, Ireland’s real GDP up to Q4 2014 seems in the same boat as that of Portugal, Italy, and Spain, except that Ireland had no double-dip recession.
But look at the real GDPs of the same countries divided by their price level:
Between Q1 1997 and Q4 2007, the largest improvements in real GDP divided by the price level were seen in Ireland, then Germany, then Greece, then Spain, then Portugal, then Italy. Between Q4 2007 and Q4 2014 (seven years of pain!) the smallest deteriorations in the same measure were seen in Ireland, then Germany, then Spain, then Portugal, then Italy, then, lastly, Greece.
Neoliberalism works! The Celtic Tiger lives! The only thing that’s missing is the aggregate demand (and even that’s coming back)! Meanwhile, anti-neoliberal Greece and Italy remain in their own boat of awful, which even the greatest quantity of monetary stimulus can’t fix. Italy had virtually the same inflation as Germany from 2007 onwards, yet it had a severe double-dip recession while Germany didn’t. Ireland remains a classic case of economic convergence, while Italy and Greece may soon be known as classic cases of economic divergence.