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Good Motives Are Not Enough

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For the most part, after seeing Kinsley’s latest I’m happy to defer to Drezner, Konczal, and Krugman. But I did want to add a couple points.

First, I should note that neither Krugman (nor me, in the linked post) “called [Kinsley] a neocon.” The point was just that Kinsley’s invocation of stagflation is comparable to neocon invocations of Munich to justify various interventions against authoritarians who pose threats that are vastly less serious that Hitler. And, again, the moralism that seems to be doing most of the work in Kinsley’s argument isn’t an invention of his critics; it’s entirely explicit. Konzcal again cites Kinsley’s argument about “we have to pay a price for past sins” and “[t]he problem is the great, deluded middle class—subsidized by government and coddled by politicians.” Even more instructively, consider Kinsley’s earlier concession:

My fear is not the result of economic analysis. It’s more from the realm of psychology….

[…]

But this cure has been one ice-cream sundae after another. It can’t be that easy, can it? The puritan in me says that there has to be some pain. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been plenty of economic pain. But that pain has come from the recession itself, not the cure.

It’s not name-calling to say that moralism rather than economic analysis seems to underpin Kinsley’s belief in austerity.  It’s just an accurate description of his explicit argument.

What makes this argument offensive, though, is Kinsley’s implicit assumption of shared sacrifice. It seems important to note that Kinsley and people similarly situated to him are going to keep eating “ice-cream sundaes” no matter what fiscal policies are implemented; the pain being inflicted in the name of austerity is being inflicted on others. Cutting the welfare state during a time of mass unemployment, however, as Kinsley concedes has devastating effects on the less well-off. If you’re a liberal advocating policies that are certain to inflict immediate pain on people who are already in dire straits, you’d better have a damned good argument that this is justified by a clear long-term payoff. Boil off the puritain moralism, though, and Kinsley’s only substantive argument is the invocation of stagflation. And this argument is transparently wrong: there’s no sign of significant inflation, and many of the conditions that led to stagflation (most notably a labor force with the leverage to extract higher wages) don’t exist in 2013. Which is presumably why Kinsley is unwilling to defend his claim on the merits and would prefer to discuss the purity of his motives.   It’s also far from obvious why higher inflation would be so bad that it would justify higher-than-necessary unemployment even if there was any evidence that it was happening.

So, fine, let’s stipulate that Kinsley is a good liberal and that he sincerely believes that austerity will be better for all in the long run. It just doesn’t matter because he doesn’t have any kind of serious argument to make in defense of austerity.

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  • howard

    Kinsley is providing us a vivid demonstration of the status anxiety of the senior pundit class: oddly enough, bracing as they find competition for others, they don’t like it for themselves.

    • MPAVictoria

      “oddly enough, bracing as they find competition for others, they don’t like it for themselves.”

      You ain’t kidding. I am so sick of the “free market for thee and not for me” hypocrites.

    • calling all toasters

      This, and his status comes from his sinecure. I don’t see any middle class or poor people offering Kinsley money to spout opinions in their economic favor.

    • My problem is that you can’t make the middle class sacrosanct. People who have middle class jobs do very well, and their money is needed to fund the government. The POOR should be sacrosanct, including the working class poor.

  • commie atheist

    I think I get it now: Kinsley wants Chris Christie to start eating spinach and lose a hundred pounds, which will qualify him to be President, when he can put America on a strict diet of increased subsidies for corporations and lower taxes for rich people, and cuts to Medicare and Social Security and welfare payments and food stamps.

  • Walt

    Even his “ice cream sundae” framing is stupid. It’s not about free goodies, it’s about putting people back to work. Whatever problems the country may have, deliberately making people sit on their asses as a matter of public policy isn’t going to fix very many of htem.

    • EH

      Employment is seen as a gift.

      • swearyanthony

        No no, employment is a duty. Being *paid* for your work is a gift from the generous Job Creators.

        • EH

          Employment can’t be a duty when your government’s economic policy is to maintain certain amounts of unemployment.

      • LeeEsq

        How feudal. We’re going back to the time where people who managed to secure over hundred days of poorly paid, hard work were considered lucky. Like Southern Italy in the 19th century.

        • Linnaeus

          Yep. The Job Creators are the new lords of the manor.

          • The Dark Avenger

            That policy worked so well, Italians were the 2nd largest immigrant group to America by 1900.

            • And they weren’t even white at that time!

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        It’s a reward for merit, doncha know!

        “[I]in today’s hyper-connected, hyper-competitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven’t earned.” — Barack Obama

        • Cody

          He forgot to say “unless you’re already rich” at the end there. I’ll just pretend he meant to say that.

        • brewmn

          The difference, of course, being that Barack Obama has political constuencies to answer to. Not sure why any “liberal” would even give lip service to policies leading to the long-term impoverishment of the working and middle classes absent such constraints.

      • scott

        This is exactly the point about how Kinsley views sacrifice, merit, coddling, etc. In his view, the rich already are doing their duty by being the creators of all of our (increasingly scarce and lower-paying) jobs and funding the social safety net. He feels like he’s one of the people that we’ve been exploiting and that the exploitation has to end, with us sharing that sacrifice amongst ourselves. The sacrifice by definition isn’t anything to do with him (after all, people like him have been sacrificing for worthless people like us for decades).

        • EH

          He probably thinks of it as empathy.

      • MikeJake

        Work is simply stuff that needs doing. Someone’s gotta feed raw materials into that machine, or collect trash, or cut hair, or reconcile the financial statements, or defend a client in court….Work. Dad may tell you that he’s sending you out to shovel the driveway in order to build your character, but really he’s sending you out there because the driveway needs cleared.

        But when you concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, and turn Wall Street into a casino, and replace labor with machines, you end up with less stuff needing done. And because everyone has to “make a living,” the opportunity to do the work is seen as a carrot, rather than the utilitarian arrangement it’s supposed to be. The fact that some lucky person can randomly have half a billion dollars bestowed upon him by the lottery gods for doing nothing, while entire swaths of the population are left idle and impoverished for lack of work, says something to me about society and the necessity of work that I can’t quite put my finger on.

    • UserGoogol

      You’re really misinterpreting his argument. Putting people back to work is the end, not the means. Kinsley is arguing that the best way to restore employment is to cut government spending. Since that will likely have the effect of hurting employment, that’s wrong and counterproductive. But that’s a very different from saying that employment should be cut for the sake of helping the economy.

      • Heron

        Not really. “Government Spending” IS Employment; contra Kinsley and the austerity crowd, the Gov doesn’t accomplish things merely by depositing e-checks, it has to actually pay real people to do what it wants to accomplish. By advocating a cut in Government Spending, Kinsley is, as a matter-of-course, advocating cuts in government employment and pay. His argument is, “We can and should stimulate jobs by eliminating jobs” and that argument is absurd on its face; more so for his unjustified claim of an moral proscription.

        • UserGoogol

          It’s not really absurd on its face, it’s entirely logically possible for destroying jobs to create more jobs on net elsewhere, (if a job is actively harmful, for instance) it’s just not the situation we are in fact in.

          More generally, you have to make the distinction between errors of fact and errors of reasoning. There’s a difference between directly arguing that people having jobs is a luxury we must go without and making an argument that we must go without supposed luxuries which will inevitably in practice lead to less employment.

          • liberal

            Sure. You could also logically claim that exploding nuclear bombs over all major American cities is the best long-term solution for unemployment.

          • mpowell

            Technically, you have a point. But Kinsley’s literal argument is that this recovery has been filled with ice-cream sundaes. He is advocating for policies that will directly increase unemployment in the short term, in exchange for a vague better future. Some arguments are just based on such flimsy evidence that they don’t really deserve the error of fact/reasoning distinction. Basing your argument on the evidence he assembles is a gross and obvious error of reasoning itself.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Right — it’s the neoliberal version of third party vanity campaigns from the left. “Accept immense pain now for vague long-term benefits we can’t actually specify!”

  • EH

    Hah, I thought this was going to be about the gay thing.

  • cpinva

    ” It just doesn’t matter because he doesn’t have any kind of serious argument to make in defense of austerity.”

    his “serious” argument is that everyone (himself and his ilk excluded, naturally) should experience pain, both as punishment, and just because.

    I think sade had something to say about the Kinsley’s of the world.

    • cpinva

      de sade. not the singer.

      • slightly_peeved

        either that, or he is suggesting that Kinsey and others like him are “Smooth Operators”.

        • cpinva

          “either that, or he is suggesting that Kinsey and others like him are “Smooth Operators”.”

          that would almost make sense, so it couldn’t possibly be the case.

    • DrDick

      Thus has it always been among the pampered and privileged. The poors must be punished for the excesses of the rich so that the latter may continue their indulgences untroubled.

      • Hogan

        “A refinement of the institution of the whipping boy whereby one not only escapes the punishment, but does the whipping.”

    • JKTHs

      Kinsley was never making any defense of austerity, just saying “My bullshit Puritanical reflexes make it so”

  • Well, there was a bridge collapse in the state of Washington last night, so there will probably be a small uptick in jobs there!

    Maybe if it happened in Washington, DC, then our politicians and pundits might have realized that in a period of near historic low interest rates, it’s not only cheap to borrow money, but smart, and borrow a few trillion to fix the rotting infrastructure in this country, and put people to work.
    And by putting people to work, it will help to pay that money back quickly.

    • daveNYC

      Or they’d bitch about how it’s screwing up their commute and/or getting to their dinner parties. Add in a few claims that ‘this proves that the government can’t be trusted to maintain infrastructure’ and top it off with an insane contrarian claim that infrastructure spending hurts the economy (because shut up, that’s why) and you’re good to go.

      • Sev

        because you’re putting all these entrepreneurial Potomac ferrymen out of business- and they must surely be more efficient- they’re in the private(ering) sector!

    • Davis X. Machina

      Yeah, putting people to work — but which people? And under what conditions?

      People who are probably unionized, and working at Davis-Bacon wages.

      Better people should plunge randomly to their deaths before we surrender on those terms.

      Freedom isn’t free, you know.

      • Yes, you’re right, of course.

        Let those people die – it’s just God’s will!

        Besides, gravity is just a theory.

        And if God wants to keep bridges from falling, he’ll send his Engineering angels to heal them.

      • demz taters

        Just imagine how many jobs there’d be if we just did away with minimum wage!

        • Davis X. Machina

          The Thirteent Amendment is all that stands between us and permanent full employment, and let’s face it, in the dynamic, highly-leveraged, rapidly-evolving global/flat economy of the new millennium, wages are an anachronism.

          • Haystack

            Creative Destruction!!

  • Per Sadly, No! Lopez has also issued the call for sacrifice, suffering and hard work (for other people). I am sure she would say it comes from her super duper Catholicness. And now comes this douchetip claiming some deep Puritan impulse is (surprise) calling out for wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    It really is fascinating to watch these crap merchants peddle the latest shit sandwiches. Telling the masses that God wants you to starve, might work with some people, right up until they get hungry.

    • daveNYC

      It really is fascinating to watch these crap merchants peddle the latest shit sandwiches. Telling the masses that God wants you other people, most likely in a demographic you hate to starve…

      There is a slight difference between what she means and what the people she’s talking to hear.

      • True. Where things get amusing is when someone attempts to enact a policy that will make “those people” suffer. Once people realize the food stamps the Caddy driving welfare queen receives are the same as those the Hard Working Real Merkin receives it is back to the drawing board with much muttering about moochers.

        Given the apeshittiness of our current Congress, particularly the HoR, I will not be surprised if someone introduces a bill that attempts to work around this. Perhaps cutting or eliminating aid to areas with a certain population density?

        As a side thought – Why do we have to call this gobstain a liberal? From what I’ve seen he whores the same ideas as the rest of the neocons. Is it that he is slightly less offensive?

        • cpinva

          “As a side thought – Why do we have to call this gobstain a liberal? From what I’ve seen he whores the same ideas as the rest of the neocons. Is it that he is slightly less offensive?”

          good question. self-identifying as something doesn’t, by definition, make you that something, especially when your words/actions are the polar opposite of what would normally be expected of that which you self-identify as. in this case, Kinsley makes his nut by being the “house liberal”, no more than that.

          • Ah, so his full name is “Even the Liberal Michael Kinsley Agrees.”

            Although I assume it is abbreviated on his Amex Palladium.

    • Heron

      The “Pious” have always been thus. “You see, even though I didn’t help hunt and kill this oxen, instead sitting here back at camp next to the fire all day, I really deserve the best cuts of meat from it because The Gods like me more! Let me Explain to you a Thing…”

      Once Sunday roles around we might get the same argument from Fareed Zakaria, too. Our Abrahamic “Trifecta of Torment” will be complete :)

  • Dave

    It’s a basic paradox of actually-existing capitalism – as a system it’s supposed to run on selfishness and hedonism, yet it exists, at least partially, as a consequence of the social evolution of Christian societies in which those very values were constantly denigrated. Hence the anguish of Weber’s protestant capitalist. Modern capitalism has attempted to resolve that problem by palming the attribution of guilt away from the “wealth-creator” to the “moocher”; yet as any fule kno, baseline mass-consumption IS what powers western prosperity. And so it goes, round and round…

    • Heron

      Capitalism has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity, nor did it initially “arise” in a Christian society. Given how much commerce and debt defined the ancient world, and how the leveraging of capital to control the product of labor was the backbone of Senatorial power and the essential quality of Rome’s economy, it’s sort of odd to even talk about capitalism as a modern thing in anything other than an academic sense. In fact -if anything- Christian authorities in Europe fought tooth-and-nail to derail and retard every significant “advance” towards capitalism in Europe, until its pre-industrial form became the social standard, of course. That an economic system arises within a society does not mean that specific economic system has anything to do with the religious or philosophical beliefs of that society.

      • Dave

        Do you see the words “actually-existing” in my first sentence, or is your head too far up your ass for basic reading comprehension? And if you are really so stupid as to believe that the way US political culture defines itself does not have an awful lot to do with a complex and tortured relationship between what it thinks it means to be both christian and capitalist, then you might as well just start drooling now.

      • catclub

        Read him again. “yet it exists, at least partially, as a consequence of the social evolution of Christian societies”
        is not quite the same as ” initially arise in a Christian society.” Social evolution is carrying plenty of baggage there.

      • Njorl

        “Capitalism has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity,”

        Neither does Christianity. When wealth changed from the burden which prevented you from passing through the eye of a needle to being a not-so-subtle sign of God’s favor, Christianity ended.

  • Heron

    FTA: “[t]he problem is the great, deluded middle class—subsidized by government and coddled by politicians.”

    When the middle class is at its smallest and most strained in 70 years, how can any thinking person say and honestly believe this? By writing that, Kinsley is arguing that the prosperity of the middle-class in the US since WWII was a fabrication; a figment created by government subsidy and pork-barreling rather than the result of a fundamentally robust internal economy and generally fair tax policies which encouraged equitable private wage packages. Does he not realize this is what he’s saying? Does he not understanding that he’s asserting absolutely ridiculous things about how US politics works at the functional level?

    • NO.

      This ends today’s episode of “SATSQ.”

    • daveNYC

      Quite obviously, anyone in the middle class is simply a lower class moocher who has been elevated above his or her station by government programs that steal from the deserving wealthy (but I repeat myself) in order to purchase votes via handouts to various undeserving demographic groups.

    • He doesn’t care. The whole point of the exercise is to spread the message that the 99% have had it too easy and it is time they roll up their sleeves, tighten their belts, put their shoulder to the wheel, nose to grindstone and start a Victory Garden.

      And then hand over most of the produce to a passing Job Creator.

      I mean, he is claiming the middle class is subsidized and coddled when pols are shrieking “Leave rich people alooooone!” If that doesn’t scream dishonest neocon cobag, what does?

      • And that Victory Garden will only flourish if it’s watered by the tears of hungry children.

    • He views the middle class as being like Middle Earth: pleasant entertainment that is wholly fantasy.

  • joe from Lowell

    called [Kinsley] a neocon.

    This is what happens when they take analogies off the SATs.

    austerians : stagflation :: neoconservatives : Munich

  • Bob

    So we can’t afford $1200.00 a month SS, a half-assed medical plan for seniors and what else, unemployment insurance? But the $810,740,185,551.00 spent so far on the War in Iraq (with another 70 years of medical bills yet to come) never enters the equation. We can easily afford to double SS, Medicare and welfare. The problem is the Kinsley class has vastly different priorities.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      serious people blow shit up

      un-serious people pick up the pieces

    • liberal

      That’s what I’m thinking.

      Actually, in terms of moralism, I really want to tax the living $hit out of the rich. (And by the rich, I mean the truly wealthy.) They’re the jerk-offs who’ve screwed up the country (getting that monster (s)elected in 2000, for example); they should pay out the nose for it.

    • Haystack

      You could take three-quarters of the 1%’s wealth away and the only pain they’d feel is apoplexy.

      If, just once, we could hear even one of these fucks offer to sacrifice something, even if it’s not a sacrifice at all, to help fix the economic mess they created.

      The only money they’re willing to offer is that which keeps its courtier class flogging the austerity agenda.

  • Brandon

    Does the latest Kinsley article not load correctly for anyone else? I get the background covered in the image of Krugman and a bunch of plain text I have to highlight to read over the images, like an old ytmnd site

  • Matt

    I think I’ve finally realized what Kinsley must be thinking of with the “suffering for everybody, because the banksters went on a bender” strategy: if people are made to suffer *enough*, perhaps they’ll finally stop voting for the 1%’s chosen hand-puppets.

    Either that, or he’s just a sadistic asshole who’s been free-basing Hayek for way too long.

  • Manju

    Kinsley’s misunderstood. All he is saying is that being anti-gay is OK. The reason the village people think otherwise, is because they were having a grand ole time in the 1970’s.

    But in reality, the 70’s sucked. Try standing out in the rain only to never make it into Studio 54. Thats what happened to Mike.

    But he peeked thru the window and saw a whole bunch of Kenyans spending money like there was no tomorrow. Now these very same Kenyans are telling him with a straight face that spending actually declined during the 1970s?

    Well, “fuck that” says Mike; “Everyone knows Steve Rubell cooked the books. Somebody’s gotta pay. I wanna ice cream cone.”

    Hope that clears things up.

  • Wapiti

    Kinsley’s spinach vs dessert analogy seemed a bit off to me. (A bit?)

    A better analogy might be that a bunch of associates went to dinner and were splitting the check. One associate (the defense/oil industry guy) had a big helping of Iraq War cake. One associate (the finance guy) had a big helping of Housing Bubble Collapse pie. And when it comes time to split the check, they want everyone else at the table to pay for it.

    As I say when I go out to dinner, we didn’t have any dessert.

    • Bill Murray

      I think they want the people having salad at the next table to pay

      • calling all toasters

        I think they want the bus boy to pay. If he doesn’t want to be deported, that is. He’s living too large on his sub-subsistence pay.

        • muddy

          Exactly this. Possibly the bus boy and the dishwasher as a team, spread the opportunity around.

    • Rob in CT

      Exactly this.

      The whole political drama since the ’08-’09 crash has been over who pays. The folks who made out like bandits in the recent past (Bush tax cuts, and even before that the Clinton-era cut in capital gains, and before that the Reagan-era tax reform that hiked FICA while dropping income taxes) have been desperately fighting any effort to claw it back. So they talk about “shared sacrifice” but freak out at the concept of shared gains. The degree to which they have been successful is a testimony to the political power of American Conservatism, despite its recent troubles in national elections.

    • LeftWingFox

      Poor people are expected to forego the meal, so the wealthy can have another dessert. If we do so, the wealthy might finally let us have lick the scraps from the trifle bowl.

  • Uncle Kvetch

    Meanwhile across the pond, unemployment in France is now expected to continue rising through 2014.

    I guess this means that there still aren’t enough kids going hungry in Greece, but I’m confident that sooner or later the Eurozone will suffer its way to a better tomorrow.

    • Davis X. Machina

      We need to convince Ms. Merckel to invade Poland.

      That particular form of stimulus has a proven track record of wringing the unemployment out of Europe.

      If that’s too drastic, we could at least prevail upon her to reject the arms-reduction provisions of the Treaty of Versailles….

      • politicalfootball

        Ms. Merkel seems to have found a better way to subjugate Europe.

    • Dave

      And yet French public-sector expenditure is at 56% of GDP, while running a 2012 budget-deficit of 4.8% of GDP, and a total net debt of 90.2% of GDP. The 38th straight year of public-sector deficits. How much more fucking Keynsian do you want them to be?

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/29/frances-misses-2012-budget-deficit-target

      • MikeJake

        Numbers have denominators, Dave. When GDP declines, that will increase the ratio of debt or spending to GDP. It doesn’t mean they spent more.

        • Dave

          No they didn’t spend more, they spent the same huge amount they have been doing for decades. That was kind of my point. What kind of vast decline in GDP do you think France has experienced that would alter the general import of those numbers? Here, have a clue:

          http://www.tradingeconomics.com/france/gdp-growth

          • MikeJake

            I don’t see any point to what you’re saying.

            The fact that the economy of France includes a higher percentage of government spending than other economies doesn’t make their economic policy Keynesian. Keynes isn’t about government spending for the sake of government spending. Keynes is about utilizing economic “shock paddles” to jolt a flatlined economy. Simply pointing out a budget deficit proves nothing.

      • Cody

        Well, to be fair to everyone France is mostly suffering because of the Euro. They haven’t gone full-austerity, but they’re working on fixing that!

        With some luck, they’ll be in Austerity heaven like Greece soon.

      • sibusisodan

        How much more fucking Keynsian do you want them to be?

        The completely obvious and sensible answer to this is ‘as Keynesian as they need to be in order to fill the gap between theoretical GDP and current GDP.’

        This is straightforward, even if working out that amount is not. But the fact that unemployment is still so high in France indicates that the amount Keynesian quotient is insufficient.

        And 38 straight years of public sector deficits, in good times and bad, as again shouldn’t really need saying, isn’t Keynesian.

  • Barry

    BTW, ‘Good Motives Are Not Enough’?

    Kinsley’s motives are not good – he’s just arguing for more beatings for the proles.

    • Haystack

      Until morale improves.

  • Anytime anyone uses the P word, I say “O Rly?” So I had to track down the quote.

    My fear is not the result of economic analysis. It’s more from the realm of psychology. I mean mine. The last time I wrote about this subject, The Atlantic’s own Clive Crook called me a “fiscal sado-conservative.” I would put it differently (you won’t be surprised to hear). Maybe, at least on economic matters, I’m a puritan.

    Translation:

    “I got nothin’ but I am still nowhere near my word count/mendacity level for this column so let’s pretend my feelings are just as valid as cold hard facts and attempt to further validate my feelings by using a word that proves I’m a realer American than the rest of you to describe them.”

    I am going to bet that if Even the Liberal Mr. Kinsley were given a strong incentive, like the threat of rabid rats tipped down his pants, he would be hard pressed to a) Explain what exactly a “Puritan Psychology” means and b) Provide other examples of how he adheres to puritanical principles.

    • catclub

      “Provide other examples of how he adheres to puritanical principles.” This.

      Perhaps he decided not to get the S class Mercedes.
      Foix gras, but skipped the truffles?

      • muddy

        He’s down with the witch burnings I bet.

        • He writes like someone who has dined upon the jimsonweed.

    • Haystack

      the P word

      Pious Puritan Propounds Perpetual Proletarian Pain.

  • Halloween Jack

    let’s stipulate that Kinsley is a good liberal

    Let’s not, OK?

    • MikeJake

      Given his seeming laziness in reading the replies against him and missing their points, I’d rather stipulate that Kinsley is a bullshitter for Team Plutocrat.

  • Davis

    If inflation is around the corner, why are medium- and long-term bond rates so low? This is a question he needs to answer.

    • Brandon

      I’ve been told “because of QEI and QEII” but I don’t know enough to know if that’s true or not.

      • sibusisodan

        I think that still leaves the question of why longer-term interest rates are low. If you’re in a situation where you think the only thing holding inflation rates down right now is QE, and you know that the Fed (or the BoE) is antsy about prolonging QE indefinitely – which they are – then it is not rational to expect low long term interest/bond rates.

    • catclub

      Because the people who are actually betting with money do not think inflation is around the corner. (Or that they can see around the corner and will know when to drop bonds on those who cannot.)

    • mpowell

      Because it’s not. SATSQ…

  • Chris

    As arguments go, this one is terrible:

    The puritan in me says that there has to be some pain. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been plenty of economic pain. But that pain has come from the recession itself, not the cure.

    That’s like saying: oh, gee, your leg hurts because it’s broken? Well, the cure is me hitting you with this stick! No coddling that leg with a cast and bed rest! The cure has to hurt!

    • No, he’s saying that it doesn’t count if the cure hurts, some additional factor must also cause pain.

      So to jigger your comment a bit:

      “You broke your leg and the process of healing is naturally painful. But the doctor says you will make a complete recovery. However, I’m going to hit you with this stick because I’m a sadistic bastard who likes to hit people who can’t strike back a puritan principle I just made up says random stick hits will make your complete recovery more … uh … Complete.”

  • So, fine, let’s stipulate that Kinsley is a good liberal and that he sincerely believes that austerity will be better for all in the long run. It just doesn’t matter because he doesn’t have any kind of serious argument to make in defense of austerity.

    In conclusion, Stupid or Evil? We’ll just put Kinsley down as stupid.

    Same place I’ve had him since the first time I saw him as the useful liberal idiot on CrossFire.

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