Thursday, May 25, 2006

The intellectual bankruptcy of the left, part III

The intellectual bankruptcy of the left, part I
The intellectual bankruptcy of the left, part II

Part II was subtitled "Brad DeLong and the art of the stupidly flawed analogy." This entry is slightly more succinctly subtitled: "Brad DeLong's continued intellectual bankruptcy."

As I've explained, ever since my blogfather Don Luskin got DeLong in trouble with the University of California Regents (for intellectual property violations), DeLong's had it in for Don. Since he can't actually attack Don on anything of substance (let alone anything involving intellect), DeLong invariably resorts to no more than pure ad hominem. I don't know about any of you readers' specific experiences, but throwing around "stupidest man alive" is something most of us got over during elementary school.

I Googled "Eidelblog" today and found an entry on DeLong's blog that specifically attacked me. Well now, if that puts me in company with Don Luskin, then I'm honored. It's a-fisking time again.
A correspondent begs me to reopen the "Stupidest Man Alive" contest and award the prize to wingnuts supreme Billy Beck and Perry Eidelbus:
Translation: one of DeLong's apple-polishers probably Googled his name, found my entry exposing DeLong's intellectual bankruptcy, and sent the link to DeLong for an impotent, vague rebuttal.
If you go to the 2006 Economic Report of the President, issued by George W. Bush and his administration, and look at page 375, Table B-78: "Federal receipts, outlays, surplus or deficit, and debt, fiscal years, 1940–2007 [Billions of dollars; fiscal years]", you will find that George W. Bush reports a federal government surplus of $236.2 billion for fiscal year 2000.

Maybe this is a subtle way of making the claim that George W. Bush is a man of the left? Naah. They're not that smart.
Bush is not infallible. I'm among the first to criticize him, in fact, when he warrants criticism. (Sadly it's getting too often, but that's for another day.) So if GWB's staff -- not him, not Cheney, but his staff -- puts out the annual EROTP, don't take it as gospel when it simply repeats the same historical data from the Congressional Budget Office.

Second, since the EROTP uses the same data columns, it shouldn't be hard to see what I explained before, that the so-called "budget surpluses" were only because of Social Security revenues. You just have to know how to read simple tables, which I wouldn't have thought is beyond the ability of Berkeley economics professors. What's so hard about this? You have to look at the "On Budget" column, not "Total," because Social Security revenues spent now are obligations we must repay in the future. DeLong's $200 billion deficits just don't exist, no matter how much he insists.

My income does not increase just because I got a home equity loan or spent a lot using credit cards. Let's put it another way, that I plan to deposit 93.8% of my earnings into my checking account, and the other 6.2% into a savings account. However, I regularly spend 96% of my paycheck, so I "borrow" from the savings account. Since I will depend on those savings at some undefined future point, I made a promise to myself to repay the funds. Only an accountant worthy of Enron, or a Berkeley economics professor, would be ignorant enough to claim I have any income "surplus."

Oh, I did err in one way, because I forgot to factor in the Post Office's deficits and surpluses. However, those are only a couple billion dollars, and they tend to vary around zero anyway. They're insignificant compared to the main point that the $200 billion deficits were no more real than the Social Security trust fund.

I don't know who's stupider, DeLong or his lackeys. I wouldn't necessary call Beck "right-wing," but anytime a liberal can't refute you, that's what he'll reflexively accuse you of being. As far as mine being another "right-wing" blog, if any of them could actually read, they'd see in "My recommended entries" that I bash conservatives as well as liberals.

So Beck doesn't allow comments on his blog. And? It's his own intellectual property. If he doesn't want to deal with comments for whatever reason, that's his business. It's just like liberals to act like they know best for your lives, telling you what you ought to do. And it's just like the quintessential liberal hypocrite that DeLong's bootlickers criticize someone for not allowing comments, when DeLong himself deletes comments he doesn't like. (In other words, comments he and his readers can't gang up on.)

Another of DeLong's commenters said:
Lots of times they just don't know. We see talking points, they see straight reporting from "Fair and Balanced" news sources. Would Rush and Sean lie?

I have been slogging in the Social Security trenches for a number of years now and it is astonishing what people "know" about its financing in large part because that is all anyone has ever told them all their adult lives.

And funny that projected $1.5 trillion dollar surplus was real enough when Bush was using it deliver promised tax cuts, military spending and paydowns on the budget.
First, I don't get my Social Security information from right-wing talk radio or Fox News. I don't even listen to any talk radio these days, except for rare occasions like last week. I do, though, get my Social Security information straight from the horse's mouth, like the Social Security Administration and its annual report. Even the CBO's budget data clearly shows Social Security revenues, so I don't need Limbaugh or Hannity to tell me what's going on. Want to know the situation? Read my thorough take.

Second, any reference to these trillion-dollar surpluses were the CBO's projections over ten years, not for a single year. The CBO also made overly optimistic assumptions of continued economic growth and tax revenues; 2001's recession (as mild as it was) and terrorist attacks made the forecasts outdated. Also, Congressional Republicans increased spending by more than Bush's tax cuts (which I explained here), so we would have a greatly improved budget today if the GOP would exercise some fiscal restraint.

DeLong's next idiot commenter:
From the lies, distortions, and downright lunacy on display, couple with shameless arrogance in ignorance, isn't EVERY day April Fool's at Eidelblog?

Plus, it would never have occurred to me that Luskin might have a an actual acolyte. And this one claims to be invited to cocktail parties. Miraculous.
Instead of trying to refute what I said, which he clearly cannot, all he can do is resort to ad hominem. And stupidity, too, because his usage of "April Fool's" implies being foolish, whereas the rest of us know that it involves playing jokes on others. Hence every day is clearly not April Fool's on my blog.

You really have to forgive this one, for he has a reading comprehension problem. I actually had written, "Well, that's what DeLong gets for acting like the rude schmuck you tend to encounter at cocktail parties, the kind who uninvitedly jumps into the middle of your conversation." I attend parties of all kinds, and as I said, every once in a while you run into a rude schmuck who jumps into the middle of things.

Next moron:
Give him a break, he's an autodidact, playing educational catchup by slogging through Will & Ariel Durant. That's admirable. If he were to take his culture straight, through, say, the Hutchins-Adler great books, then there's hope for him. But he's got to turn off the radio or he'll die an imbecile.
I've never bothered to read anything by either of the Durants. I don't have such time to waste, nor on what Robert Maynard and Mortimer deign to tell me what are "great books." I'm perfectly capable of deciding that for myself, thank you. Again, isn't it just like a liberal to tell you what to believe, disguising it by telling you what's a good source on what to believe?

All this putz can do is claim I'm "playing educational catchup" without refuting a single thing I said, and I with a mere B.A. am proving Brad DeLong "Ph.D." doesn't know what he's talking about. What, then, is the value of advanced education, especially to liberals who cheapen it?
I guess those fellas are just too busy palpitating Horse shit to read "The Economic Report of the President." Perry, never use a metaphor without calling a visual image to your mind, and, by the way, if the image is one of fondling equine excrement, please do not share it with me.

Guess I should be glad he didn't call the 2006 Economic Report of the President palpable Bullshit. That is a really disgusting metaphor.

Also "what"'s missing from Perry's third to last sentence. (note not ?, .).
How's this for a metaphor. Remember the Saturday Night Live "Bu'wheat Sings" skit with Eddie Murphy? At one point, he sang so incomprehensibly that a bunch of question marks appeared at the bottom of the screen instead of the song title. Well, I bring that up because I have no idea why this guy thinks "what" is missing from my entry's third-to-last sentence.

I tend to blog late at night, and often I leave the computer for a bit to take care of something. So occasionally you'll see me drop a word as I tried to type as fast as possible, but I see nothing wrong with this:
Finally, and it's somewhat unrelated, DeLong said "what we do to our lecturers is shameful."


Blogger Billy Beck said...

Uhm, I think the cited moron was referring to my reading of Durant's "Civilization", which is actually pretty good.

In any case, the essential thing about these people is their abhorence of facts. Ultimately, that means that reason is impossible with them.

The implications of that horrify me.

Thursday, May 25, 2006 4:37:00 PM  

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