September 8, 2010

Jonathan Chait makes a Special Olympics joke!

He wisecracks "Mitch Daniels Wins The Fiscal Special Olympics."

What is stupider than being stupid while calling other people stupid? You'd think Obama fans would at least learn from Obama's mistakes.

39 comments:

Peter V. Bella said...

What is stupider than being stupid while calling other people stupid?

Being Jonathan Chait.

AJ Lynch said...

The unspecial pundit Chait overstated the amount of Daniels' tax holiday by about $350 Billion or so. Chait used both social security and medicare tax revenue but Daniels proposal was for soc security tax only.

This error astounds me because Chait was a Journolister and we know they were all sooopeer geeeenyouses!

My math:
Chait used $934 x 3 = $1.868 Trillion
Correct amount is closer to $756 x 2= $1.512 Trillion
Error = $356 Billion or 23% off

AJ Lynch said...

I am also shocked that Chait, a legitimate soooper geeenyous, did not recognize Daniels' idea for what it really is - a very clever to ploy to end social security as we know it.

If Americans did not have to pay social security taxes for two years, I don't think the govt could ever get us to let them re-instate it again. In effect, Daniels would be ending the social security system as we know it [which would be a good thing IMO....scrap it and re-do the whole Ponzi scheme].

lucid said...

As a college-level journalist still writing in the style of a school newspaper, Chait is in charge of dubious undergraduate humor.

rhhardin said...

It's short-bus journalism.

traditionalguy said...

The Obama plan seems to be to impoverish all Americans so they are stuck to menial jobs with no money to invest while Europe and China use capitalism to become our wealthy bosses. Obama, Clinton and Gore think that they will then get to be the new Aristocracy here enjoying their serfs. IMO Daniels is not personable enough to win a National election, but his good mind is hard at work laying good plans.

Pogo said...

Everybody knows you never go full retard. ... You went full retard, Chait. Never go full retard. You don't buy that? Ask Sean Penn.

Eric said...

This kind of thing is just funny coming from someone like Chait.

Maguro said...

Isn't the bigger gaffe here referring to Ezra Klein as a "very smart guy"?

Synova said...

I'm not sure who he's quoting - The point he's trying to support is that the public sector isn't *actually* a money sucking vampire compared to the private sector.

"“Jobs in the public sector typically require more education than private sector positions. Thus, state and local employees are twice as likely to hold a college degree or higher as compared to private sector employees. Only 23% of private sector employees have completed college as compared to about 48% in the public sector.""

But I just wanted to say... do you know why?

Because in the private sector things are generally at a scale where *competence* can be evaluated. In the public sector, not so much. A college degree is a proxy for the evaluation of both initial competence and performance.

But *really*, when the whole premise of someone's article is that conservative economics aren't a difference of opinion but a lunatic fantasy and everyone knows it... do we expect anything more intelligent than, say, Naomi Klein insisting that there simply is no such thing as unintended consequences or negative externalities?

If our hearts are pure, Tinkerbell will live.

I don't know what conservative economic ideas are so obviously wrong... I had thought at the least there was room for vigorous debate and a number of schools of thought (and a slight trend for both practical and academic economists toward conservative, market economies compared to other professions or academics.)

The benefit of starting with the premise that "Republican" ideas about the economy are absurd is that no argument need be made or supported. Everyone can just skip right to the adolescent superiority.

Pogo said...

Well-stated, Synova.
And the mongoloid math behind Obama's plan to spend our way to wealth raises no eyebrows for Chait.

Craig said...

Synova,

Brilliant.

AJ Lynch said...

Local govt planning & control is good, state govt planning & control is better and centralized govt planning & control by the feds is best. That is the essence of liberal econ thought.

Pogo said...

Keynes was an underpants gnome.

AJ Lynch said...

Synova makes good points about fed pay scales and over-emphasis on college degrees.

AJ Lynch said...

But I thought all profit came from underpants?

Bruce Hayden said...

Because in the private sector things are generally at a scale where *competence* can be evaluated. In the public sector, not so much. A college degree is a proxy for the evaluation of both initial competence and performance.

This really is true.

Some 35 years ago, I took my first professional programming job, with the Bureau of the Census for the 1980 Census. I got the job by getting myself on the federal register, and did so by tweaking my resume a bit. The job required a BS in CS, and, instead, my minor was CS, and I had far more experience on my own than the average entry programmer there had, but technically not the paper credentials. I did great once I got in the door, but wouldn't have if I had been totally honest about my credentials.

I do think that a lot of it had to do with the fact that the government really cannot evaluate expertise, and, indeed, actual expertise is invariably irrelevant, since there is no real metric to evaluate actual performance towards a recognizable goal once you get hired.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't know what conservative economic ideas are so obviously wrong... I had thought at the least there was room for vigorous debate and a number of schools of thought (and a slight trend for both practical and academic economists toward conservative, market economies compared to other professions or academics.)

Yeh, well, you have wishful thinking economics, which is what is apparently accepted by much of academia and the left, and then you have real-world economics, which is what economic conservatives believe.

The problem with conservative economic theory is that it doesn't justify spending trillions of dollars to pay off political constituents (notably unions and government employees, but also Greens, GE, the biggest financial institutions, etc.) and spread the wealth around. But the problem with liberal economic theory, as we have found out to our disadvantage, is that it destroys the economy, greatly increasing the length and depth of the current recession, as it did for FDR back in the 1930s.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I had a coworker once who was absolutely perplexed that when he got his Masters, the company did not give him a promotion and a raise. He thought that was the natural, proper consequence of his degree.

I didn't understand it at the time. First of all, the company contributed toward his Master's tuition, so that already was a raise of sorts. And second of all, after the degree, he was doing exactly the same work, serving exactly the same customers. The company had no opening nor need for anyone in a higher level position, and the value of his work had not increased due to the degree. He was a smart guy with valuable skills before the degree; and pretty much those same skills were what the job called for after the degree. His new skills didn't apply to that job, and they had no job (at that time) that needed those skills.

Now I understand a bit better. He came out of an academic and government background. In those careers, apparently the credential is proof of your worth. The value of the work is secondary. In business, your value should be (barring nepotism and other distortions) entirely dependent on the value you provide to the company and its customers. Some day, very likely, a managerial position in his department would open up; and his degree would give him an edge there. But it's need + credential that matters, not credential alone.

Synova said...

You know... I always thought that Naomi Klein actually had some sort of degree in economics. I really thought she did.

She preaches about the *illogic* of capitalism and talks like she's an authority. But her wikipedia bio seems to indicate she dropped out of a journalism degree.

(She really really hates Milton Friedman. She's on You Tube somewhere utterly (udderly?) mocking the use of temporary upset (the shock doctrine, bwa ha ha ha) to seed Mongolian nomads with their own little herd of yaks so that they could be self-sufficient and begin to grow an enterprise, make some money and reinvest. Cows! Their idea of "helping" was cows! Isn't Milton Friedman an idiot? A maroon? An imbecile? Cows! So individuals can practice capitalism. It would be funny if it wasn't so horrific and evil. And they got in there through a narrow window of opportunity an a connection with a foreign student they'd corrupted at some Ivy League school. Opportunists! Corrupters!)

The place I heard her claim that people do good by attempting to do good was in a screed against Milton Friedman in front of a sympathetic audience. Apparently *he'd* said something to the tune of people with the best motivations making policy changes that hurt people.

This, to me, seemed self-obvious because haven't we all had some well intentioned thing go awry? The only disagreement is deciding what sorts of things apply and what do not... even if someone disagrees (for example) about the negative end results of welfare they must understand that it's *possible* to break things while trying to fix them.

But I really thought she was an economist.

I knew she was a communist. I know her entire life is dedicated to telling everyone how evil capitalism is, how destructive it is. I thought she'd somehow convinced herself, as an economist, that communism would work better (because it's possible to make that argument honestly if one ignores the influence of noncompliance). But it really could be that she simply *wants* the world to be a certain way and believes if everyone wants that with her, hard enough, it will all work out.

I realize that the thread is about Jonathan Chait and his Special Olympic moment (handicaps come in all sorts), but dang if it didn't remind me of dear Naomi and then I got all curious because none of the bits that came up in a quick google search said she was an economist.

SteveR said...

Yeah the public sector obsession with degrees, I guess that's easier than actually evaluating someone. But good grief taking differential equations 35 years ago will get me through the screening computer for USAJobs.gov better than any kind of real experience.

Synova said...

About the public/private thing...

My husband does/did contracting for the DOE through his employer, as well as providing support for a major government research organization... he could never get hired by them. Not to do the exact same job. Not for anything. He wouldn't even get through the door of their HR departments, but he's the one providing their technical know-how.

This isn't a complaint. I don't see being employed directly by the government as a selling point. I don't necessarily have anything against it either. I'm just saying what is, is all.

Dudley Do-right said...

Synova, you're having a very good night. Thanks for the insights.
Dud

c3 said...

Jobs in the public sector typically require more education than private sector positions.

Huh? Where?

I'm sure a large chunk of that is teachers. I have many teacher friends and I continue to be amazed at the BS of taking some college course toward a degree because that will move you up the salary ladder. Nothing about whether they'll teach better, just more education.

When I worked for the IHS I noted many in both the IHS and the BIA who had "advanced degrees" and who clearly would not have made it in the "real world".

Its ok. I work with the government. I'm here to help you

or as Lloyd said it:

Its OK; I'm a limo driver!

Synova said...

"Keynes was an underpants gnome."

I want this T-shirt.

peter hoh said...

People have a constitutional right to make Special Olympics jokes if they want to, but doing so is insensitive.

Peter said...

When I retired from the Sheriff's Dept. in the early '90s I had several other jobs in the private sector. I was most impressed by one otfit, a machine shop. The owner did the hiring. When he got someone in for an interview he asked to see a library card. No card, no job. He figured anyone not interested in reading and learning on his own wasn't worth having.

He also put an Honorable Discharge from the Service ahead of any degree.

Too bad newspapers don't do that, they might not be dying.

Fen said...

Hey Jonathan, maybe Scott Beauchamp can give you some pointers at the next JournoList meetup.

Weary G said...

Look, let's get this straight, for the LAST time.

The same rules do not apply to liberals. Period. Got it?

If making some sort of bigoted remark, making fun of handicapped people (can I say handicapped...hmmm, okay, let's say 'challenged'), or just being politically incorrect is wrong when anyone who is NOT a liberal does it, then it automatically becomes acceptable if that person is a liberal. It's like switching the polarity on a flux capacitor.

In some instances, if that person is NOT a liberal, but happens to be espousing a liberal point of view or narrative, then they are given a temporary immunity until such time that they espouse something illiberal. At such time that pass can revoked retroactively and used to smear said person with no requirement to acknowledge the previous pass given by those who are liberal.

It's all actually very simple, people. I do not know how you are still not getting it.

Clyde said...

There's no love in Mr. Chait.

A.W. said...

Its crap like this that gives resonance to terms like “death panels.” Mind you lots of people will refer to handicapped people in pejorative terms. With my own handicaps I generally try to avoid that sort of thing. But when a person is advocating what can best be described as democratic totalitarian control over our lives, then that kind of statement becomes even worse than usual.

jr565 said...

Weary G wrote:
If making some sort of bigoted remark, making fun of handicapped people (can I say handicapped...hmmm, okay, let's say 'challenged'), or just being politically incorrect is wrong when anyone who is NOT a liberal does it, then it automatically becomes acceptable if that person is a liberal. It's like switching the polarity on a flux capacitor.


Hence, when liberals insult Christians or when artist produce piss christ or Dung Mary or burn American flags they are nobly standing for first amendment principles. Yet when a priest threatens to burn a Koran they are suddenly the defender of all things religious and that priest is an unredeemable bigot and his insensitivity must be renounced. Further, his actions are suddenly jeapordizing national security of all things. (not that I disagree with the argument by the way, it's just funny coming from people who refer to the Iraqis planting car bombs against our troops and also massacring other Iraqis, as freedom fighters akin to The Minutemen).
If this were someone burning a bible to stand against the bigotry of the knuckle dragging christians who hate Gays, I bet he'd be a hero of first amendment principles.
ALso, how they refer to our presidents is ok. They can burn them in effigy. THey can say they are only going into countries to enrich their oil buddies (ie war profiteers) they can say that the president was even in on 9/11. They can say "not my president" they can say he "Stole an election" or "Selected not elected" and all is ok. Criticizing their president though, becomes RACISM! Wanting the president to fail in his march towards European Socialism and anti free market principles and demagoguery towards big business, and high energy prices by necessity, is suddenly a no no. As if liberals wanted Bush's war profiteering to succeed. They wanted his march towards nazi germany to succeed. They rallied behind the guy who stole the election and was in on 9/11. They were rooting against The Minutemen in Iraq and for assisting the Iraqis achieve a semblence of democracy. They didn't sneer when Iraqis held up their purple fingers after voting.They didn't stand against the surge and call Patreus "General Betray Us".

pumping-irony said...

What fishwrap does Chait write for? I want to be sure to put that one in my "no read" zone.

AST said...

I hate Jonathan Chait.

Trooper York said...

I had a woman come into the store to see if there were any positions available. Since I always need people I came over to talk to her.

She had a resume that was very impressive. She had a masters degree and several other impressive academic credentials. She had several administrative positions at a University.

And had retail experiance for six months in the Gap when she was in college.

I was willing to consider it but then she handed me another piece of paper. It was her schedule of when she was available. You see she was serving in an unpaid internship in the arts and was only available from 6pm to midnight during the week and on alternate Saturdays. The internship was more important than the job.

Typical of your overeducated types you find in government and the academy.

I am going to stick with people who want to work regardless of how many classes they attended.

Yeesh.

Anglelyne said...

Bruce Hayden: But the problem with liberal economic theory...is that it destroys the economy...

You wingnuts just obsess over that piddly little point because you hate Obama.


wv: jamiesse. Essence of pajama.

Barry Kearns said...

Keynes was an underpants gnome.

Brilliant!

By extension, Paul Krugman is an apprentice underpants gnome, who thinks he's actually Tweek.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Time to go and spend, spend all year
Spend on stimulus hey,
We won't stop till we have stimulus
Yum tum rummy tum hey.

Jamie said...

My husband and I used to refer to our geology degrees as "union cards" for environmental consulting, back in the '90s... What "geology" we did in that line of work, we could've learned from a one-week training course and high school geometry. But those degrees got us in the door. (Engineers might've had to do more actual, you know, engineering - but I doubt it, at entry level; we baby environmental consultants all seemed to do the same stuff, and we all seemed to move up the ladder at the same pace. Possibly things have changed by now in that field.)

And then there was my predecessor at my current job: incredibly well qualified on paper, advanced degrees in two relevant fields... and she crashed and burned in 18 months, first causing her entire staff to resign in a body and forcing her supervisor to beg all of THEM to stay for long enough for him to replace HER. I came into that job with NO relevant degrees, following a further 18-month "interim" person who just kept the lights on. I've been at the job for five years, each year growing our programs and improving our financial situation and our standing in the community. I don't believe I'm so all-fired good at this job - but I'm sure as heck better than she was.