2016 US Presidential Election

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:37 am UTC

ijuin wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
Mutex wrote:Plus the fact that corporations spend huge amounts of money interfering with politics for their own ends makes it easier to believe too.


I'm for campaign finance reform and revisiting Citizens United. But the tool of the corporation has made America one of the greatest nations on Earth. Its very efficient at raising money, building factories and creating jobs in the middle of a desert. Only the combination of the Stock Market ($500 Million raised in equity through TSLA stock offerings), large banks (loans for the rest of the $5 Billion of the factory), highly educated population, and straight up elbow grease can make these sorts of things.

The key is sound policy that prevents corporations from using their massive money-intensive operations from supplanting democracy. Citizens United was a backwards step in that direction, but if anything, the current election has shown that money isn't everything. The most well-funded Republican dropped out of the election (Jeb!). And both Bernie Sanders and Trump have raised (and spent) significantly less money than their rivals.


If corporations are people, then they should be subject to the same donation limits that individuals are. If an individual is only permitted to donate X thousand dollars, then a corporation should also be limited to that same X thousand dollars.

Latest court ruling says that the individual contribution limit is unconstitutional. I think the limit can only applyper person/thing/group/entity, and not across the whole election. So yea, your point is moot.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:41 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I'm also against minimum wage, but this argument is much harder to make and far more theoretical (Besides, Hilary and O'Malley were also for $15 minimum wage, so Sander's support for it doesn't stick out).

In short: making low-paying jobs illegal is a quickest way of increasing the unemployment rate and increasing poverty. We need policies that encourage wage growth without explicitly making low-paying jobs illegal. Its the poor who work low-paying jobs, and getting rid of their jobs is simply burying our heads in the sand and ignoring them.


There's absolutely no empirical evidence to back that up.


You are in disagreement with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

http://www.nber.org/papers/w12663.pdf

A sizable majority of the studies surveyed in this monograph give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages.


This is a meta-study. It surveys other studies, and concludes that the evidence across the majority of studies demonstrates job-loss as minimum wages go up.

If we are to help the poor, we need to do it correctly with negative income taxes or unconditional basic income. Minimum wage laws destroy low-paying jobs. Period. High-paying workers are immune to the effects of minimum wage universally across the study. Again, this only makes sense. Walmart is never going to pay a Walmart Greeter $15/hour. They will simply fire them.

Here's how the calculation goes: Walmart Greeters prevent X thefts per day. If the greeter isn't preventing enough thefts to make back the money, then they simply aren't worth it. Its a very simple concept to understand. There's a reason the average pay of these guys is $9 / hour. Yes, the job sucks, but its better to be employed for $9 / hour (and proving your trustworthiness to your bosses, so you have hope to move up to a better position in Walmart), rather than being completely unemployed.

Well, ignore the "welfare cliff" problem which encourages unemployment instead of low-paying employment. Pretend we fixed that problem.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:29 am UTC

Define destroy. Like if I raise minimum wage 1 cent, will everyone working at the minimum wage be fired? Provide citations please. You're ideal world of minimum wage does not reflect economic reality.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/sou ... n-sanders/
Everyone knows Bernie was gonna lose, but nobody knew just how bad he would lose. He shouldn't have lost by 50 points, we were expecting him to lose by like 20 points. It implies that Bernie is doing 30 points worse than expected. Not a sign of a contender, much less nomination underdog.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Thesh » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:58 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:You are in disagreement with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

http://www.nber.org/papers/w12663.pdf

A sizable majority of the studies surveyed in this monograph give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages.



Again, that's temporary, and can easily be countered through infrastructure spending. We increased minimum wage significantly throughout the 1930s-1960s and people were able to stay employed - it's just that products from industries without large productivity gains increase in price relative to products from industries with large productivity gains, in the end it doesn't matter what you pay employees as prices will change to reflect that.

KnightExemplar wrote:This is a meta-study. It surveys other studies, and concludes that the evidence across the majority of studies demonstrates job-loss as minimum wages go up.

If we are to help the poor, we need to do it correctly with negative income taxes or unconditional basic income. Minimum wage laws destroy low-paying jobs. Period. High-paying workers are immune to the effects of minimum wage universally across the study. Again, this only makes sense. Walmart is never going to pay a Walmart Greeter $15/hour. They will simply fire them.

Here's how the calculation goes: Walmart Greeters prevent X thefts per day. If the greeter isn't preventing enough thefts to make back the money, then they simply aren't worth it. Its a very simple concept to understand. There's a reason the average pay of these guys is $9 / hour. Yes, the job sucks, but its better to be employed for $9 / hour (and proving your trustworthiness to your bosses, so you have hope to move up to a better position in Walmart), rather than being completely unemployed.


Greeters represent an inefficiency in the economy; and that's a very very specific type of employee. Retail jobs in general will still exist until robots can automate them away (that is, minimum wage increases productivity), and there are plenty of other jobs people can be doing. With less poverty the markets change as well, and the market for services can grow.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:35 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Define destroy. Like if I raise minimum wage 1 cent, will everyone working at the minimum wage be fired? Provide citations please. You're ideal world of minimum wage does not reflect economic reality.


Your hypothetical doesn't take into account that Bernie Sanders wants to DOUBLE the minimum wage from $7/hour to $15/hour. I have no reason to argue about $0.01 increases to the minimum wage when there's a candidate who is arguing for far more. Even Hilary Clinton's $12/hour increase is far exceeding Thesh's hypothetical 15% growth in the minimum wage.

And I've already explained: A Walmart greeter stops X thefts an hour (or roughly prevents a Walmart from losing $X / hour in thefts). If the minimum wage grows above this number, Walmart will either stop hiring greeters, or start firing them. I really don't know how much more simply I can state this.

Thesh wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:You are in disagreement with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

http://www.nber.org/papers/w12663.pdf

A sizable majority of the studies surveyed in this monograph give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages.



Again, that's temporary, and can easily be countered through infrastructure spending. We increased minimum wage significantly throughout the 1930s-1960s and people were able to stay employed - it's just that products from industries without large productivity gains increase in price relative to products from industries with large productivity gains, in the end it doesn't matter what you pay employees as prices will change to reflect that.


If we're placing priority on jobs, then we increase infrastructure spending and never increase the minimum wage. Fact of the matter is, Wages is one of the biggest reasons why manufacturing has left the USA.

I think as unemployment drops, we can consider increasing the minimum wage to push out low-quality jobs out of the country. But don't tell me it has no effect on jobs (only to say you'll "counteract" it by spending on infrastructure). Manufacturing is largely still done by physical labor in China, Korea, Taiwan (Asian countries == electronics), or even Mexico (Cars, bakeries, food).

Hint: Korea, China, and Taiwan don't have more advanced AI than the US. They have the jobs (and companies are outsourcing labor there) because of minimum wage (and other factors that increase US costs of labor. Tax code and whatnot). If it were more efficient to build an iPhone automatically, I am sure Apple would have built the robots by now. But beyond a pick-and-place machine, it turns out hiring an army of dudes with screwdrivers is just more efficient than attempting to implement fully-automated manufacturing. (iPods vs Walkmans. Sony Walkman was designed for almost entirely automated "vertical assembly", while Apple was able to achieve faster iterative designs by employing physical labor. Once you build a Walkman building machine, it takes a very long time to change the designs. Physical Labor has a huge design-speed advantage in manufacturing.)

Certain parts of manufacturing can be automated. A Pick and Place machine can automatically populate the mainboard of an iPhone. But as long as people demand dramatically different designs from year-to-year for Smartphones, it will be more efficient to keep an army of physical laborers to perform the final step of screwing parts together or whatnot.

Greeters represent an inefficiency in the economy; and that's a very very specific type of employee. Retail jobs in general will still exist until robots can automate them away (that is, minimum wage increases productivity), and there are plenty of other jobs people can be doing. With less poverty the markets change as well, and the market for services can grow.


How about this: We wait for robots to naturally displace retail jobs instead of killing them off prematurely by raising the minimum wage. I know warehouse automation is a greatly advancing field of AI / Robotics, but there's no reason to jump the gun and adopt harmful policies ahead of time. A Walmart Greeter anyway is a job that can't be automated. The point of them is to discourage theft by guarding the entrances... and provide basic customer service (where does this Walmart keep honey?)

Besides, I think you are grossly underestimating the importance of physical labor in the modern economy. Humans remain the cornerstone of manufacturing today.

--------------------

All this is moot anyway. With Trump doing so well, I'm probably going to be forced to pick Clinton come November this year. Clinton has demonstrated that she actually understands how the world works, more so than Sanders. I'm somewhat inclined to think that her push for $12 minimum wage is lip-service to her base, unlike Sanders who is actively pushing the concept above and beyond what is politically expedient.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby ucim » Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:53 pm UTC

When wages (minimum or otherwise) go up, expense goes up. That makes prices rise. That makes the cost of living go up. That makes more people poor again, leading to calls for an increase of the minimum wage.

Minimum wages is not a fixit. It's an illusion.

As to the Walmart greeters example, assuming the number of thefts is unchanged after a minimum wage increase, the value of those thefts will go up, because the prices have risen. There's a lag, of course, and that's what makes this legislation attractive at first glance - people naturally assume everything else stays the same. It doesn't.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby morriswalters » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:35 pm UTC

The need for Walmart Greeters was created by size and efficiency. Unless Walmart redesigns their stores I doubt that they will be able to get rid of them , even at 15 dollars an hour. Higher minimum wages will drive efficiency in other areas, since higher prices in the store lead to loss of sales and market share. Amazon might bury Walmart, the minimum wage won't.
KnightExemplar wrote:I'm somewhat inclined to think that her push for $12 minimum wage is lip-service to her base, unlike Sanders who is actively pushing the concept above and beyond what is politically expedient.
Which is a least one reason Trump voters are so angry. Lip service.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:03 pm UTC

Amazon also employs a hell of a lot less people than Walmart. Amazon wining over Walmart is more or less synonymous with killing jobs.

The only benefit of view that seems to make sense from your perspective is "Fuck Walmart" (which happens to fuck over Walmart employees). But if Walmart is more efficient with their stores, while employing more Americans (albet at an unsustainable $7 to $10 wage), its still a grossly better situation than all of the Walmart closing shop, Amazon moving in and only hiring $15/hour automated warehouse administrators.

Automation seems to be killing off jobs quickly enough on its own. There's no need to help it along by raising minimum wages.

KnightExemplar wrote:I'm somewhat inclined to think that her push for $12 minimum wage is lip-service to her base, unlike Sanders who is actively pushing the concept above and beyond what is politically expedient.
Which is a least one reason Trump voters are so angry. Lip service.


I'm a pragmatist. I don't really care for ideologues. Lip service doesn't piss me off at all. I see it as a necessary fruition of the political system. A political elite will have to work with people they disagree with. Hilary Clinton has demonstrated this capability very admirably, even if it is mostly within the Democratic party.

But I completely disagrees with her on a huge swath of issues (including minimum wage). Still, her pragmatism makes me prefer her over Sanders. The main issue I have with her is that she seems awful at bureaucratic issues (ex: she failed to do the right bureaucratic stuff with respect to the Email thing). But I'm pretty sure that Washington advisers will make up for that.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:20 pm UTC

ucim wrote:When wages (minimum or otherwise) go up, expense goes up. That makes prices rise. That makes the cost of living go up. That makes more people poor again, leading to calls for an increase of the minimum wage.

Minimum wages is not a fixit. It's an illusion.

As to the Walmart greeters example, assuming the number of thefts is unchanged after a minimum wage increase, the value of those thefts will go up, because the prices have risen. There's a lag, of course, and that's what makes this legislation attractive at first glance - people naturally assume everything else stays the same. It doesn't.

Jose

If we cut taxes for the poor people by say, giving them a negative tax return, and raise taxes for everyone else. Will prices rise, and make cost of living go up? What about doing the opposite, where we cut taxes on rich people(increasing their after tax wages), does that make prices rise too?

Anyway, back on topic. Bernie is gonna be a loser. By Morris's definition, he wasn't good enough in the first place because he can't win.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:23 pm UTC

I disagree with Sanders, but he still plays an important role in giving Progressivism a voice on the national stage. I think its a good idea for us to discuss his ideas, whether or not we agree with him.

Hilary isn't an ideologue, so she doesn't really rally people to a specific issue at hand. Bernie Sanders does, which is why young people are probably interested in him. But like Rand Paul, I'd loathe for him to be President. Fortunately, 75% vs 25% odds in South Carolina more or less seal the deal with Sanders. He has no support among minorities, the important demographic for beating the Republicans.

Ugggh.... what have I become. I've been cheering on the Republicans for months. Its just this whole Trump thing is making me look elsewhere... Hilary will definitely be better than Trump.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby ijuin » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:33 pm UTC

Instead of raising the minimum wage, we could conversely reduce the cost-of-living for people who live below the poverty line yet are full-time employed. Increase the subsidy for The Affordable Care Act for low-income people so that they can get at least a Bronze plan for zero out-of-pocket charge. Expand bus service enough that more of them can get to work without having to buy a car. Build more low-cost housing (90% of the houses in my county cost over half a million dollars to buy, or nearly three thousand dollars a month to rent--what are you going to live in if you make only the $1700/month less taxes that a $10/hour job earns? Put four families into a single three-bedroom unit?). Basically, if it were possible to live as well as the Chinese do on the wages paid to Chinese workers, then employers could get away with paying their workers as low as Chinese employers.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:35 pm UTC

Wait, can someone explain why black people prefer Clinton to Sanders?

IIRC, black incarceration rates doubled under Bill.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby morriswalters » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:38 pm UTC

sardia wrote:By Morris's definition, he wasn't good enough in the first place because he can't win.
I'm open to any other metric, but if the idea is for him to be in a position where he can do what you want him to do, then how else would you judge his candidacy? He isn't even pushing Hillary to the left. What he may be doing is exposing the weakness of her coalition.

Hillary's problems with her email have the potential to put Trump in the White House, depending on how it breaks. The the investigation isn't finished, so it leaves open the possibility for it to break at a bad time, like say during the general election. This has been something of a Clinton trait. Never do today what you can stonewall until tomorrow.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:52 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Wait, can someone explain why black people prefer Clinton to Sanders?

IIRC, black incarceration rates doubled under Bill.


African Americans were just as much "Tough on Crime" as everyone else was in the 90s. I'm not sure if you really can attribute that to just Bill Clinton, or simply just the "culture" of the 90s.

In any case, Hilary has been meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus and has won their support.

An important note: Clinton was god-awful last year. She was saying "all lives matter" for a good while, not really understanding the issue. But she got the memo, changed her rhetoric, and now has won the support of the Congressional Black Caucus. So... its pretty easy from there on out. It goes back to the "pragmatist" sort of thing: Clinton has demonstrated that while she's not always correct on the issues, she changes her viewpoint and rhetoric... and learns to work with other people. Such is a good quality for a President: working with other people is a good thing, despite what everyone else seems to think right now.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Vahir » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:12 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Wait, can someone explain why black people prefer Clinton to Sanders?

IIRC, black incarceration rates doubled under Bill.


An interesting opinion piece on that:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/opini ... oters.html
Black voters are not monolithic and of one mind. There are a hundred ways to analyze the factions within the black community, but I want to highlight one cleavage I find particularly relevant to discussing the overwhelming disparity in support for Clinton over Sanders.

There isn’t one black America, but two: The children of the Great Migration and the children of those who stayed behind in the South. (Black immigrants are another story.) Having spent the first half of my life in the South and the second in Great Migration destination cities, I can attest that the sensibilities are as different as night and day.

[...]

Southerners in general bristle at this idea that they must be steered, that they can’t set their own course. They don’t want to be told that their abundance of caution is a deficit of imagination. And, they don’t want to be told, “Once you just learn about Bernie, you’ll like him and realize he’s the best candidate for you.”

My sense of it is that charge would be met with a question that frames things in precisely the opposite way: How is it that a person could be 74 years old, spend his life championing my interests and spend decades as a politician, and I not know him? Why is it that I’ve never seen him here in the South?

Indeed, Sanders’s compelling narrative on civil rights advocacy is strangely devoid of Southern touchstones. He was arrested in Chicago, traveled to the March on Washington, and held honorable positions on race and social justice while mayor of Burlington, Vt., and a member of Congress.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:58 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Wait, can someone explain why black people prefer Clinton to Sanders?

IIRC, black incarceration rates doubled under Bill.

Young blacks break for Bernie, older blacks break for Hillary is part of it. Guess who has higher, more consistent turnout? The elderly. Like everything else in America, the disproportionate voting percentages makes for unintuitive outcomes.

morriswalters wrote:
sardia wrote:By Morris's definition, he wasn't good enough in the first place because he can't win.
I'm open to any other metric, but if the idea is for him to be in a position where he can do what you want him to do, then how else would you judge his candidacy? He isn't even pushing Hillary to the left. What he may be doing is exposing the weakness of her coalition.

Hillary's problems with her email have the potential to put Trump in the White House, depending on how it breaks. The the investigation isn't finished, so it leaves open the possibility for it to break at a bad time, like say during the general election. This has been something of a Clinton trait. Never do today what you can stonewall until tomorrow.

There are other reasons to run that would be very effective. For example, the Tea party and deficit reduction. Even though they didn't win all the elections, they changed the conversation so everyone played to or against their tune instead of a different topic.

Senator Graham was running to push the GOP harder into foreign policy, which was accomplished when ISIS and terrorism reared its head.

The general election will be mostly decided by the outside factors that aren't controllable by a candidate. Will China's recession be worse than expected, will unrest in the mideast get even worse? etc etc. A candidates individual flaws will only shift votes by a couple percent. Hillary and Romney are classic examples of this. They are flawed candidates but the party chose, them so they overlooked it.(perhaps the parties didn't have a better choice). Each will be doomed or blessed by outside factors, which people will then assume was a failing on a personal level.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Thesh » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:09 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:If we're placing priority on jobs, then we increase infrastructure spending and never increase the minimum wage. Fact of the matter is, Wages is one of the biggest reasons why manufacturing has left the USA.

I think as unemployment drops, we can consider increasing the minimum wage to push out low-quality jobs out of the country. But don't tell me it has no effect on jobs (only to say you'll "counteract" it by spending on infrastructure). Manufacturing is largely still done by physical labor in China, Korea, Taiwan (Asian countries == electronics), or even Mexico (Cars, bakeries, food).

Hint: Korea, China, and Taiwan don't have more advanced AI than the US. They have the jobs (and companies are outsourcing labor there) because of minimum wage (and other factors that increase US costs of labor. Tax code and whatnot). If it were more efficient to build an iPhone automatically, I am sure Apple would have built the robots by now. But beyond a pick-and-place machine, it turns out hiring an army of dudes with screwdrivers is just more efficient than attempting to implement fully-automated manufacturing. (iPods vs Walkmans. Sony Walkman was designed for almost entirely automated "vertical assembly", while Apple was able to achieve faster iterative designs by employing physical labor. Once you build a Walkman building machine, it takes a very long time to change the designs. Physical Labor has a huge design-speed advantage in manufacturing.)


Those jobs have gone away in spite of us keeping the minimum wage from increasing with inflation. For us to get those jobs back, we would have to significantly cut wages in the United States; doing so would end up lowering overall labor productivity, probably to the point where we actually cause a drop in our GDP. Worrying about manufacturing jobs is pointless as long as there are other things to do in this country. Infrastructure spending is a good way to keep demand for labor high, boosting wages for everyone, especially when combined with a minimum wage increase. Increasing wages also increases the markets for goods and services for the poor and middle class, which creates new jobs.

ucim wrote:When wages (minimum or otherwise) go up, expense goes up. That makes prices rise. That makes the cost of living go up. That makes more people poor again, leading to calls for an increase of the minimum wage.


That's plain just wrong; unless you assume everyone in the country makes minimum wage, of course. In reality, a 10% increase in minimum wage corresponds to an increase in inflation of less than 1%, and most countries shoot for around 2% inflation every year. Plus, once you get minimum wage to where you want, you can index it to labor productivity; the math is such that increasing income for everyone across the country at the same rate as labor productivity can result in no net inflation (prices in sectors with below average productivity growth goes up, prices in sectors with above average productivity growth go down). If minimum wage was high relative to labor productivity, then increasing it would probably just lead to inflation, but we are nowhere near that point - minimum wage is $7.25/hr, labor productivity was $62.55/hr in 2014.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:30 am UTC

Well, I can agree to disagree with regards to minimum wage. Its just one of those eternal debates of American politics.

Two days before super Tuesday, and unfortunately it looks like Trump has momentum. I do hope that the Republican Party of Nikki Haley + Rubio wins over, but it really makes me sad that Trump is so powerful at this point.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:24 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Define destroy. Like if I raise minimum wage 1 cent, will everyone working at the minimum wage be fired? Provide citations please. You're ideal world of minimum wage does not reflect economic reality.


Everyone reasonably understands that the quantity of the effect is related to the size of the raise.

A 1 cent increase is really more of an annoyance than anything. Does fairly little in terms of unemployment or improving income. Too small to provide much measurable effect. But, that's not what's mostly been talked about. People keep pushing a $15/hr deal. That's rather different, and you should see significant effects, simply because it's a significant increase in many areas.

Thesh wrote:Greeters represent an inefficiency in the economy; and that's a very very specific type of employee. Retail jobs in general will still exist until robots can automate them away (that is, minimum wage increases productivity), and there are plenty of other jobs people can be doing. With less poverty the markets change as well, and the market for services can grow.


Only in the sense that all humans represent an inefficiency.

Theft is pretty obviously a problem for retail. Stuff stolen definitely reduces efficiency. If the wages spent on reducing theft are less than the cost of theft, that represents an overall efficiency gain.

sardia wrote:If we cut taxes for the poor people by say, giving them a negative tax return, and raise taxes for everyone else. Will prices rise, and make cost of living go up? What about doing the opposite, where we cut taxes on rich people(increasing their after tax wages), does that make prices rise too?

Anyway, back on topic. Bernie is gonna be a loser. By Morris's definition, he wasn't good enough in the first place because he can't win.


Cutting taxes, by itself, is fairly ineffective. But if you cut government spending in proportion with those taxes, then you do get a better world for the poor. Because they have more money to consume with, and as overall consumption is merely shifted, not increasing, you avoid inflation.

The trick is cutting government spending. Slashing taxes without doing that is just a shell game. Not unlike boosting minimum wage.

It's not that this result is hard to discover...it's just particularly unpopular. Everyone wants the government to promise more things, but spend less money, and...there's some basic math problems when this translates to reality. If you slash taxes and print/borrow your way out of it because spending hasn't changed, no matter how you slice it, the government is still essentially consuming x%, and doing roughly the same things with it, so you shouldn't expect a great deal of change for consumers.

Neither party is actually that motivated by slashing government's role. They just want spending on somewhat different stuff.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Zamfir » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:16 pm UTC

Cutting taxes, by itself, is fairly ineffective. But if you cut government spending in proportion with those taxes, then you do get a better world for the poor.

That's definitely not true in all cases, or even for typical cases. Taxes are fairly strongly tied to ability to pay, while private service prices rarely are (or only weakly). Rich people can often use their tax cuts to buy a private replacement or compensation for the lost government service, and poor people cannot.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby elasto » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:22 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Cutting taxes, by itself, is fairly ineffective. But if you cut government spending in proportion with those taxes, then you do get a better world for the poor. Because they have more money to consume with, and as overall consumption is merely shifted, not increasing, you avoid inflation.

The trick is cutting government spending. Slashing taxes without doing that is just a shell game. Not unlike boosting minimum wage.

It's not that this result is hard to discover...it's just particularly unpopular. Everyone wants the government to promise more things, but spend less money, and...there's some basic math problems when this translates to reality. If you slash taxes and print/borrow your way out of it because spending hasn't changed, no matter how you slice it, the government is still essentially consuming x%, and doing roughly the same things with it, so you shouldn't expect a great deal of change for consumers.

Neither party is actually that motivated by slashing government's role. They just want spending on somewhat different stuff.

There seems to be a huge hidden assumption here that nothing the government spends money on can ever create value.

Well, there are things that indisputably create value - for example commissioning new infrastructure like telecoms, roads, rail etc. Another example would be core scientific research. Yet another example would be mass education.

Now, the private sector could, and sometimes indeed does, carry out such grand sweeping endeavours also - but often governments are best placed to initiate and fund such works due to efficiencies of scale and the fact that it can take more than a generation to achieve any kind of economic return.

It could be argued that something like a minimum wage does nothing to create value - that if people were economically rational they'd see that all it does is move money around, and that increased inflation erodes any extra purchasing power. But people are not economically rational robots.

What if a pay rise causes people to have more life satisfaction, work harder at their jobs, take less time off work through stress etc. - and so even though, economically, it should be a a wash (+pay but +inflation), the overall economy actually benefits due to the higher proportion of happy, productive people..?

I'd argue that a free NHS also adds value to society far in excess of any economic efficiencies through being a single-payer system: The peace of mind given reduces a huge source of stress - chronic stress being a key cause of mental and physical deterioration which is going to represent a hidden yet serious inefficiency within an economy.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:31 pm UTC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnpO_RTSNmQ

A full 20 minutes of John Oliver finally ripping on Donald Trump.

Make Donald Drumpf again. Unfortunately, John Oliver is "liberal media", so he's mostly preaching to the choir here. I can only hope that he makes an effect come Super Tuesday. With that said, rallying the Liberal Base to vote against the inevitable Donald Trump come November is a perfectly fine strategy. I do think we need to do what we can to stop him.

I can only hope that Republicans can get their shit together and get maybe Rubio as their nominee.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby leady » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:56 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Well, there are things that indisputably create value - for example commissioning new infrastructure like telecoms, roads, rail etc. Another example would be core scientific research. Yet another example would be mass education.


None of those things indisputably create value, that's the problem (if by value you mean generate a positive ROI). In fact I'm pretty sure government planners have for some time proven their mediocrity in these areas - particularly as the programme cost gets large. There is no way for example that the channel tunnel is ever going to generate value, nor did concorde etc etc.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:04 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Cutting taxes, by itself, is fairly ineffective. But if you cut government spending in proportion with those taxes, then you do get a better world for the poor. Because they have more money to consume with, and as overall consumption is merely shifted, not increasing, you avoid inflation.

The trick is cutting government spending. Slashing taxes without doing that is just a shell game. Not unlike boosting minimum wage.

It's not that this result is hard to discover...it's just particularly unpopular. Everyone wants the government to promise more things, but spend less money, and...there's some basic math problems when this translates to reality. If you slash taxes and print/borrow your way out of it because spending hasn't changed, no matter how you slice it, the government is still essentially consuming x%, and doing roughly the same things with it, so you shouldn't expect a great deal of change for consumers.

Neither party is actually that motivated by slashing government's role. They just want spending on somewhat different stuff.

There seems to be a huge hidden assumption here that nothing the government spends money on can ever create value.

Well, there are things that indisputably create value - for example commissioning new infrastructure like telecoms, roads, rail etc. Another example would be core scientific research. Yet another example would be mass education.


That is not an assumption.

However, a great deal of budget is not discretionary, and even among what is, most of it will not change. Nobody, for instance, is going to stop building roads altogether.

So, the actual delta is fairly small, outside of particular pet areas prone to partisan infighting. Yes, the republicans talk a good game about shrinking gov, but if they're still spending money, ehhhh. Focusing on taxes alone is a way to make it look as if more change exists than actually does.

It could be argued that something like a minimum wage does nothing to create value - that if people were economically rational they'd see that all it does is move money around, and that increased inflation erodes any extra purchasing power. But people are not economically rational robots.


I am extremely skeptical of any plan that even it's proponents admit is not rational.

It doesn't matter if people understand it. Not understanding it doesn't mean it works. You can't make an airplane fly by lying about areodynamics to the passenbers. Likewise, convincing lots of people that a crappy economic policy is good doesn't actually make the policy good.

If you are particularly persuasive in your lies, you may convince some people to react to changes slower. Those people will, on the whole, lose money to those who react correctly. IE, wealth concentration.

What if a pay rise causes people to have more life satisfaction, work harder at their jobs, take less time off work through stress etc. - and so even though, economically, it should be a a wash (+pay but +inflation), the overall economy actually benefits due to the higher proportion of happy, productive people..?


Ah, I see you're a fan of the 1984 style of government. Everything is fine. Pleasant lies are better than the truth. And we'll just assume that nobody will ever see through those lies, and there will be no consequence for miseducating the populace at large.

May as well start by throwing out that "global warming" business. That causes stress, probably. Why not just tell people everything will be fine? Go, produce and consume more.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby morriswalters » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:45 pm UTC

leady wrote:None of those things indisputably create value, that's the problem (if by value you mean generate a positive ROI). In fact I'm pretty sure government planners have for some time proven their mediocrity in these areas - particularly as the programme cost gets large. There is no way for example that the channel tunnel is ever going to generate value, nor did concorde etc etc.
The US Interstate Highway system, the GPS system, weather satellites, among others. I'm sorry your government doesn't create value. Mine seems to. All of the things I noted have created vast value in the US, in both in intangibles, and in terms of real growth and efficiency.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Lazar » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:07 pm UTC

The vast right-wing conspiracy now includes Obama's DoJ. Can you imagine the meltdown if Hillary wins the nomination and then gets indicted for compromising national security? Eh, maybe she'll be able to pawn it off on a subordinate like Christie did.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby elasto » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:54 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I am extremely skeptical of any plan that even it's proponents admit is not rational.

I said no such thing. Personally I think it's highly rational. I merely said that economists frequently predict the future wrongly because they assume people will behave rationally but they don't. No, that doesn't matter if it comes to whether an aircraft can fly, but it matters for self-fulfilling prophecies - which economies often are: If everyone believes a bank will have a run on its money, it will. If noone believes it, then it won't.

Economics is an art as much as a science is what I'm saying - built on irrational confidence and herd instinct as much as rationality. Why does Bitcoin have value? Because everyone believes it does and for no other reason...

What if a pay rise causes people to have more life satisfaction, work harder at their jobs, take less time off work through stress etc. - and so even though, economically, it should be a a wash (+pay but +inflation), the overall economy actually benefits due to the higher proportion of happy, productive people..?


Ah, I see you're a fan of the 1984 style of government. Everything is fine. Pleasant lies are better than the truth. And we'll just assume that nobody will ever see through those lies, and there will be no consequence for miseducating the populace at large.

Huh? I am not in favour of a fantasy. More egalitarian countries - where the richest earn a much smaller multiple of the poorest than in the UK/US - are a reality in today's world. And the evidence is overwhelming that both rich and poor are happier. And the evidence is overwhelming that happier people are healthier and more productive - taking less days off work with stress/depression etc.

None of this is fantasy or irrational. It's all quite reasonable and rational. And it all follows from the fact that people have feelings rather than being emotionless automata.

We can debate whether minimum wage is the only or best way to achieve happiness for sure. I think it is but one tool. But I think it is a tool you ignore at your peril.

None of those things indisputably create value, that's the problem (if by value you mean generate a positive ROI).


By create value I mean generate a positive ROI including societal externalities - not just in terms of how much cash is generated in revenues. IOW, if a company eliminates malaria worldwide and does it free of charge, in theory they have a huge negative ROI. But, in terms of economic benefits to society, there is an enormous ROI.

I don't know whether the channel tunnel creates a positive ROI or not - you have to factor in things like environmental impact from the shift in transportation, skills learnt during construction - both by individual employees and the firms involved and so on. I could quite easily imagine that even with all that it's a net loss, especially given opportunity cost.

But you chose a harsh example. The UK has numerous good examples though, from the construction of public railways to the public postal service. Over time, the economic returns must be dozens or hundreds of pounds for every taxpayer pound initially invested. A less obvious example that better highlights the 'hidden ROI' I am referring to might be free school meals: Better nutrition as a child equals better concentration equals more skills acquired equals a more productive adult taxpayer.

GPS would be a great example from the US. The Internet itself would be an example of something that will (or perhaps even already has) returned a thousand-fold on its initial investment. Not to the creators, no, but in terms of overall worldwide efficiency gains.

These are the sorts of things that governments are good at sponsoring. No, they don't always get it right. I am very sceptical of the real benefits of HS2, for example (the next big efficiency gains are going to come from virtual working and self-driving taxi cabs, not shaving minutes off a train journey). And I definitely think Trident is a waste of money in the modern world (I find it impossible to conceive a situation where we'd rationally want to use nukes but France and/or the US wouldn't, so I think we can take a 'free ride'). But they get it right often enough to pay for the times they get it wrong - and then some.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby ucim » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:42 am UTC

elasto wrote:And I definitely think Trident is a waste of money in the modern world (I find it impossible to conceive a situation where we'd rationally want to use nukes but France and/or the US wouldn't, so I think we can take a 'free ride').
You were talking about including externalities... you don't get a "free ride" without causing externalities. Since the point of nukes is to keep other people from using their nukes, the free ride just makes it harder. (Of course, the best solution is no weapons for anybody, but that ain't gonna happen.)

As to the election, it looks like it will come down to Trump and Clinton. Which one do you want to have their finger on the button? More than the economy (which will sort itself out no matter who wins), I think this point is of great impact.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:25 am UTC

Wow you guys covered a lot. Quick responses,
Tyndmyr economics assumes rational people but the auntie don't always pan out. Newer economic theories are doing a hybrid, people are generally rational except in odd scenarios.

BTW you should be afraid (low chance regardless of who is in charge) of Cruz, then trump, then rubio.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:56 am UTC

More egalitarian countries - where the richest earn a much smaller multiple of the poorest than in the UK/US - are a reality in today's world.


I don't care about how much the richest person is ahead. I personally care about how livable / unlivable the conditions are of the poorest. I don't know of any reason why the rich have to be proportional to a poor person's wealth.

I want to make sure that the poor have ample opportunities to become a wealthy person. Such is not necessarily true today, now that the college illusion has been revealed. But I'm not going to support any policy that drags down the rich for no damn reason.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Diemo » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:56 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
More egalitarian countries - where the richest earn a much smaller multiple of the poorest than in the UK/US - are a reality in today's world.


I don't care about how much the richest person is ahead.


You should. There is lots of evidence of how bad income inequality is. Just looking at crime we find that increasing income inequality directly leads to higher property crime rates, and could lead to higher violent crime rates.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby leady » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:52 am UTC

Lets not open the "does inequality cause more crime" debate - the spirit level is an interesting read but its manifestly cherry picked. Also there are several uncontrolled factors that correlate far stronger...

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Chen » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:22 pm UTC

Diemo wrote:You should. There is lots of evidence of how bad income inequality is. Just looking at crime we find that increasing income inequality directly leads to higher property crime rates, and could lead to higher violent crime rates.


Directly leads is pretty strong wording there considering they specifically mention they don't see the mechanism that actually links the crime and income inequality. So really you just have correlation at this point. There are a number of places where they talk about more households below median increasing crime rates, but that to me is more a link to poverty and crime rather in inequality and crime. Since their using the median here it doesn't seem to matter if the top percentile has 10x the income of the lowest percentile or 100x. The median will still be in the same spot, yet the latter case would have higher inequality. The article also reads as biased, with little criticism towards the points supporting its hypothesis and numerous ones against. Now that said, but without reading all those other papers I have no way to determine if they omitted flaws in the ones that supported their work or they simply didn't have any.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:25 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I am extremely skeptical of any plan that even it's proponents admit is not rational.

I said no such thing. Personally I think it's highly rational. I merely said that economists frequently predict the future wrongly because they assume people will behave rationally but they don't. No, that doesn't matter if it comes to whether an aircraft can fly, but it matters for self-fulfilling prophecies - which economies often are: If everyone believes a bank will have a run on its money, it will. If noone believes it, then it won't.

Economics is an art as much as a science is what I'm saying - built on irrational confidence and herd instinct as much as rationality. Why does Bitcoin have value? Because everyone believes it does and for no other reason...


Science is more art than science, Morty. Lotta people don't get that.

I am always amused at people who recognize that people are irrational...and of course, proceed to rely on that assumption, but only for evaluating the ideas of others, not theirs personally. Bank runs are mostly a solved problem these days. They are also not irrational. Information available to people is of course an important part of decision making.

What if a pay rise causes people to have more life satisfaction, work harder at their jobs, take less time off work through stress etc. - and so even though, economically, it should be a a wash (+pay but +inflation), the overall economy actually benefits due to the higher proportion of happy, productive people..?


Ah, I see you're a fan of the 1984 style of government. Everything is fine. Pleasant lies are better than the truth. And we'll just assume that nobody will ever see through those lies, and there will be no consequence for miseducating the populace at large.

Huh? I am not in favour of a fantasy. More egalitarian countries - where the richest earn a much smaller multiple of the poorest than in the UK/US - are a reality in today's world. And the evidence is overwhelming that both rich and poor are happier. And the evidence is overwhelming that happier people are healthier and more productive - taking less days off work with stress/depression etc.

None of this is fantasy or irrational. It's all quite reasonable and rational. And it all follows from the fact that people have feelings rather than being emotionless automata.

We can debate whether minimum wage is the only or best way to achieve happiness for sure. I think it is but one tool. But I think it is a tool you ignore at your peril.


Most rich people do not seem to believe this. If you do indeed have overwelming evidence, it certainly conflicts with how people act. You can, of course, just assume that everyone but you is stupid, and needs to be brought to heel...but in a democracy, that doesn't usually work out very well.

You can also assume that you just need to lie to people a lot for their own good, and they're obviously too stupid to figure it out, but...that also has limits. People sort of hate being lied to.

KnightExemplar wrote:
More egalitarian countries - where the richest earn a much smaller multiple of the poorest than in the UK/US - are a reality in today's world.


I don't care about how much the richest person is ahead. I personally care about how livable / unlivable the conditions are of the poorest. I don't know of any reason why the rich have to be proportional to a poor person's wealth.

I want to make sure that the poor have ample opportunities to become a wealthy person. Such is not necessarily true today, now that the college illusion has been revealed. But I'm not going to support any policy that drags down the rich for no damn reason.


Why is the border at "country"? There's a shitload of poor people in the world right now. Some of them might be closer to you, geographically or socially, than many people in your own country.

The definition of "poorest" is significant because there's rather a lot of poor people. And frankly, most people, rich or poor, seem remarkably unbothered by those far worse off than they unless they have to personally encounter those people. And, even within a country, it is terribly easy for people to socially stratify themselves so that they do not need to encounter people terribly far from their wealth level. Seems almost automatic.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Lazar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:08 pm UTC

The mayor of New Bedford, MA, blocking people from voting at a polling place.

Bill Clinton campaigning illegally in front of a polling place.

Here's another videofrom the uploader:

It wasn't just this polling station, it was about 3 different ones in New Bedford. His appearances locked down each voting site for a couple of hours each. What happened was that they plopped down their event pretty much right in front of the entrance and then barricaded it off with lots of security. This took place at the Normandin Middle School, Dottin Place and Taber Mills community house. I originally went to cast my vote at Normandin at around 9 am. A Bill Clinton and Jon Mitchell event took place pretty much right in the parking lot. As I approached the school, I was told I had to wait behind the barricade and am not allowed to vote at this time. Security guy told me to come back later. I went back an hour later and the event was still there and people were still not allowed to vote. Friends of mine confirmed that they staged similar events in those other two polling stations. I was busy so I have still not casted my vote and I don't think I will now because it's too much hassle to go out again.

This may have taken place because everybody I know is voting for Sanders. Who knows, just speculating.

They also would not allow anybody in the vicinity carry Sanders signs or wear Sanders merchandise - only hillary stuff was allowed. they implied that they would escort you away from the event if you refused to comply.

If this is true, then the Clintons have reached a new level of evil.
Last edited by Lazar on Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:24 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:08 pm UTC

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the ... ump-rally/

An inside look at the Trump Rally from yesterday. Long story short, a group of African American college-kids in Virginia dressed as best as they could (suits and stuff), to sit in during a Trump Rally. When Trump made the "Are you from Mexico" comment to some (other) protesters, the African American group began to chant "No more hate. No more hate. Let’s be equal. Let’s be great", which of course, got them kicked out of the rally as well. While they were getting kicked out, the Secret Service agent bodyslammed the reporter, and the kids got to witness that firsthand while getting called out by racial slurs by the White Supremacists at the rally.

While the Virginia rally was the more chaotic (bodyslammed reporter + multiple high-profile ejections), the ejection in the Georgia rally is more worrisome, as the Georgia group of students allegedly didn't do anything. Trump just didn't like them, so he kicked them out.

We seriously cannot let this guy win the Presidency. I do realize that the kids from Virginia were playing their own political game, but the crowds at Trump rallies tell you everything you need to know about the guy. The Georgia kids are also playing their own political game to some degree (well... as much as dressing in similar clothes and sitting silently in your seat can be considered a political maneuver), but kicking them out when they weren't actively protesting is definitely the wrong move.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:19 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:If this is true, then the Clintons have reached a new level of evil.
The New York Times noted that Bill got in too close and the the Secretary of State had to remind poll workers of the rules. And if Sanders has poll watchers, that is precisely why they exist. The Boston Herald had coverage of the stops.

Your link doesn't seem to really care a whole lot, he appears to be easily discouraged for somebody who is really concerned.
I was busy so I have still not casted my vote and I don't think I will now because it's too much hassle to go out again.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:21 pm UTC

I remember my first election. They assigned five voting booths for the college campus of 35,000+ students. Whoever those fuckers were grossly underestimated the amount of time I had available. I was going to vote damn it, it was my first election. And no, this wasn't some rinky-dinky primary in a small town, this was the November presidential election. I spent three hours in line.

In any case, I can understand the hassle that voting can be. And I do realize that the hassles that occur on voting day can make-or-break an election (ie: discouraging specific blocs of voters from voting). But on the other hand, if you didn't actually stick it out and manage to vote... its hard for me to respect somebody.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Lazar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:33 pm UTC

Active voter suppression on the part of a former president of the United States is shameful and unforgivable. I don't care about the uploader's level of political engagement, I care about the truth of what he and others are alleging.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:45 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:Active voter suppression on the part of a former president of the United States is shameful and unforgivable.


Gonna need more than just a few youtube videos from an anonymous guy on the internet who didn't bother to vote today to convince me of that. Granted, I'm trying to vote Republican this year (as long as Cruz / Trump don't sabotage my efforts anyway) and don't really care for Hillary. But... from my perspective, that's a serious charge that hasn't really made much news yet.

If some reporters can start looking into the facts, that'd be great. But for now, your youtube videos are just some dude filming Bill Clinton by some polling areas. True, there could be a story here, but I'm not inclined to jump to any conclusions until I see more facts.
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