Sunday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Economists Agree: Democratic Presidents are Better at Making Us Rich. Eight Reasons Why. (well, some anyway)

    In 2013, economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson — no wild-eyed liberals, they — asked a very important question: Why has the U.S. economy performed better under Democratic than Republican presidents, “almost regardless of how one measures performance”?

    Start with their “performed better” assertion: it’s uncontestable. While you can easily cherry-pick brief periods and economic measures that show superior economic performance under Republicans, over any lengthy comparison period (say, 25 years or more), by pretty much any economic measure, Democrats have outperformed Republicans for a century. Even Tyler Cowen, director of the Koch-brothers-funded libertarian/conservative Mercatus Center, stipulates to that fact without demur.
    Hundreds of similar pictures are easily assembled — different time periods, different measures, aggregate and per-capita, inflation-adjusted or not — all telling the same general story. No amount of hand-waving, smoke-blowing, and definition-quibbling will alter that reality. (If you feel you must try to debunk Blinder, Watson, and Cowen: be aware that you almost certainly don’t have an original argument. Read the paper, and follow the footnotes. You’ll also find more here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

    So what explains that superior performance? Blinder and Watson’s regression model basically says, “we dunno.” Their model rules out a whole slew of possibilities — only finding a significant correlation with oil price shocks (uh…okay…) and Total Factor Productivity (the black-box residual economic measure that’s left when the other growth factors economists can think of are accounted for in their models).

    Standing empty-handed after all their work, Blinder and Watson punt. They attribute Democrats’ consistently superior performance to…luck. Yes, really.

    I am reminded of the old saying that “Good luck beats getting up early any day.”

    So the question remains: what could it be about the Democratic economic policy mix that delivers superior performance? Here are eight possibilities:
    1. Wisdom of the Crowds.
    2. Preventing Government “Capture.”
    3. Labor Market Flexibility.
    4. Freedom to Innovate.
    5. Profitable Investments in Long-Term Growth.
    6. Power to the Producers.
    7. Fiscal Prudence.
    8. Labor and Trade Efficiencies.

    Maybe. At the very least those can all contribute. In the end the upshot is,

    To go back to Blinder and Watson’s “luck” explanation: A non-economist might suggest that “to a great extent, you make your own luck.” And: “hire the lucky.”

  2. Teve says:


    “Back the Blue” Senators voted to acquit the former president after they helped incite a white supremacist insurrection that left police officers dead.

    It was never about “Blue Lives” mattering. It was just about making sure Black lives don’t.

  3. Teve says:


    When Trump started leading the GOP primary, I thought it was because he understood ugliness PR better than the GOP; he took their bigoted dog whistles and turned them into bullhorns. I thought he just had a deep talent for the exploitation of rubes and zero shame. But
    watching and rewatching the clips from the Capitol attack changed my mind. What really makes the MAGA’s love him is that he, in so many ways, is just like them, and it was only natural that chose him as their hero. Some shared traits:
    Delusional self-regard:
    Those that stormed the Capitol are as much heroic patriots driven by principle as he is a business genius. They’re seditionists and he’s a serial failure and deeply indebted fraud and con-man.
    He caged children and separated families and they LOVED it. He frequently encouraged brutalizing protesters at his rallies and they were happy to oblige. He denied the reality of COVID and they were stoked to ignore any remedial action that would’ve saved lives
    He lies. Constantly. And their entitled insistence on the right to complete govt. control despite being the minority is based on the lie of white supremacy. They feel they deserve to rule & view as a birthright the continuing dividends systemic racism provides them.
    His “success” was built on intentionally unpaid loans & bills and fleeing into bankruptcies when his incompetence caught up w him. They hate big govt & the welfare state, but love farm & oil subsidies & getting more from the fed govt than their red states pay in taxes
    Conditional loyalty:
    Trump only tolerates those who serve him. Disagree w him or refuse to submit (or tell the truth) & get thrown under the bus. They screamed “blue lives matter” until they broke the law en masse & then started crushing police skulls and gouging cop’s eyes out
    He’s only out for himself, as are they. He’s prone to loud self-pity when taken to task, as are they. He’s the consummate user; they wanted to hang Mike Pence when he wouldn’t help their coup.
    Etc., etc., etc.
    Anyway, call your Senators and tell them to kill the filibuster

  4. Teve says:

    Dave Ramsey is a piece of shit, but what’s new.

    No, needing a $1,400 stimulus check doesn’t mean you messed up

  5. Teve says:


    According to a study by the London School of Economics, 50 years worth of tax cuts contributed absolutely nothing to GDP growth and employment rates across 18 nations that tried ‘trickle down economics’, since the wealthiest hoard far more than they spend.


  6. OzarkHillbilly says:
  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    History Will Judge the Complicit

    The Atlantic is promoting this Anne Applebaum essay again, if you haven’t read it, it is worth your time.

  8. Teve says:

    I scanned that subreddit for 30 mins to get an idea of how modern conservatism is going. The themes I noticed most were:

    A) Trump is innocent
    B) and won 2020 but Dems rigged it for Biden
    C) Obergefell is unconstitutional and must be overturned
    D) Kamala should be tried for insurrection
    E) the best choice for 2024 is DeSantis

    So yep, I’m still a DemonCrap. 😛

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Starfish Who Just Wants To Grill

    I mean look, I usually try not to judge folks for doing what they have to do to put bread on the table, but if someone told me they were a middle school penis inspector, I would probably politely recuse myself and never speak to them again.

    Anthony Michael Kreis

    Legislation in Georgia introduced to create genitalia assessment boards to investigate student athletes’ reproductive organs, secondary sex characteristics, and chromosomes to enforce sex segregated sports in violation of federal law. #gapol h/t @mwilsonGA
    Show this thread

  10. Northerner says:


    It was never about “Blue Lives” mattering. It was just about making sure Black lives don’t.

    Or poor lives of any color. American police kill over a 1000 people a year, of all races. Want to guess what percentage of them are millionaires, compared to the percentage of millionaires in the general population?

    Blacks and Native Americans (killed by police at an even higher rate than Blacks) get the double whammy of course, nailed on racism and poverty.

  11. CSK says:

    I like the way Ramsey is described as a “Christian personal finance guru.” How does a Christian personal finance guru differ from a Jewish one? A Muslim one? An atheist one?

    I really would like to know.

  12. CSK says:

    Richter neglected to add that Trump is a crude, stupid buffoon, and so are his most fanatical followers. They identify with him, and they were thrilled to see someone as churlish as themselves in power.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: The latest thing around here is bail bondsmen bulletin boards with the christian fish on it. “We can get you out of jail and save your soul!”

  14. Jim Brown 32 says:

    And just like that…most of the Trump flags in Central Florida have been replaced by Tampa Bay Buccaneer flags ‍♂️.

    I guess Patton was right…America hates losers.

  15. Owen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can’t speak to how much it occurs now, but I remember news stories in the 80s and 90s of similar conditions in major U.S. cities, but I’m sure it still occurs. Home owners would build bunks stacked three and four high with access doors, the doors would have hasps that the individual “renters” could lock. It’s my understanding that some “foster families” in the U.S. have done similar things.

    From first hand knowledge, while living in a lower income neighborhood in Fayetteville, NC in the early 90s, there were always houses available to rent due to the transient nature of the large military population. Fine upstanding citizens would enter into a one or two year rental contract for a house. Within a few days, there would be a steady stream of friendly and polite Latinos going in and out, usually to jobs at restaurants. The agent that was renting the house would stop paying rent a couple of months before the end of the contract, knowing that most rental agencies send notices for two or three months before pursuing eviction actions. By the end of the contract all of the residents would have moved on, and the rental agency would have to hire a cleaning crew to rip all of the bunks out of the house (I’ve heard of 40 bunks being in a three bedroom, single story ranch). The lumber from the bunks would be piled up on the edge of the street, and would usually disappear before a trash truck would come to haul away the debris.

  16. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32: here in North Florida most of the Trump signs are still up. There’s a business about 5 miles from me run by a huge idiot—he told me one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard—who replaced his bigass Trump sign with one that says PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY.

  17. CSK says:

    Are you serious?

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Black CA couple lowballed by $500K in home appraisal, believe race was a factor

    “It was work, but it was exciting,” said Paul Austin, a homeowner in Marin City.

    He and his wife Tenisha Tate Austin feel like they captured a slice of the American dream when they purchased their first home together in 2016. The couple secured an original Marin City pole home, but faced a number of challenges in obtaining the property.

    “As soon as like a house came on the market, you go in, you put your bid in, and then you get outbid by like, $100,000 or more, rather quickly,” Austin said. “That can be a little bit depressing.”

    The Austins bought the home off-market from another Black family, who were hoping to make homeownership a reality for a young black couple. After moving in to their home, which was originally built in the 1960s, the Austins staged major renovations. The couple added an entire floor and more than another 1,000 square feet of space. They didn’t stop there, building a deck, new floors, a fireplace, and adding new appliances.

    Then, the Austins got the home appraised.

    “I read the appraisal, I looked at the number I was like, ‘This is unbelievable’,” said Tate Austin.

    The family tells ABC7 that their appraiser was an older white woman. The Austins are convinced race was a factor in her estimate. The appraisal contains what the family believes was coded language, like “Marin City is a distinct area.” The home appraised for $989,000, or just $100,000 more than what the Austins got it appraised for prior to their renovations, despite $400,000 in costs.

    “It was a slap in the face,” said Austin.

    The family immediately called their lender and pushed back. After a month of escalating their complaints, The Austins were approved for a second appraisal. When the day came for inspection, they got creative with the process.

    “We had a conversation with one of our white friends, and she said ‘No problem. I’ll be Tenisha. I’ll bring over some pictures of my family,'” Austin said. “She made our home look like it belonged to her.”

    The home appraised for $1,482,000, or roughly $500,000 more than it appraised for just weeks prior.

  19. Teve says:

    I have nothing else to do this morning so I might as well tell the story of the huge idiot Trumper businessman.

    I’m working in Home Depot and this guy comes up and starts asking me questions about something. I just happened to know who he was because his brother taught an electronics class I had like 20 years prior and he came to the class a few times. He runs an electronic repair business dealing with old Emergency Services communications radios, which technology is from the mid-20th century.

    Me: hey, aren’t you (his name, which is in the company name)
    Him: yes
    Me: how’s business?
    I’m going to have to shut it down.
    Can’t find any new employees.
    What about people with electronics technician degrees from (local community college)?
    They are no good to me, anybody who graduates these days, all they know is digital.
    Well yeah, that’s about all anybody does anymore, that’s the important thing to know.
    That doesn’t help me out any! All the emergency radios are analog!
    Well, maybe most of what they know is for digital, but they still know basic electronics, couldn’t you just teach them the analog stuff?
    Why should I have to pay somebody to learn how to do their job???

  20. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Pretty regular thing on the signs of sole proprietorships in the deep South. I see them often. Its more of a Evangelical, Pentecostal, or Charismatic thing.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Me? Serious? Never, but I think they are. The first time I saw one all I could think was, “WTF?” Now they all do it. Nothing like monetizing Jesus to get you into heaven. After monetizing patriotism*, I suppose Jesus was inevitable.

    * I assume this has spread everywhere, nothing like waving the red white and blue to say “scam” to me, but apparently I’m in the minority. We even have a Patriot Towing company.

  22. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: The signs in that part of the State are frankly pure comedy. My favorite? STOP SOCIALISM. VOTE REPUBLICAN.

  23. charon says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    In my AZ retirement development I no longer see Trump flags or blue line flags when I ride my bike around it. Still seeing several Gadsden flags though, which I take as basically the same message.

    Pretty regular thing on the signs of sole proprietorships in the deep South. I see them often. Its more of a Evangelical, Pentecostal, or Charismatic thing.

    I avoid businesses with Jesus fish signs.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Yeah. Here variations on Dems = socialism were common. Also communism and demons. Really, demons. My favorite is “TRUMP, stop the bullshit”. Dude, do you have a single functioning bullstuff detector? There was one guy trolling it on a large, badly frayed, flag on his pickup,
    Stop the Bu

    We also got a lot of the Trump face stuck on Rambo, naked to the waist, holding an M-60 machine gun with, for some reason, a Russian RPG for a barrel. In good news, both storefront on the main drag Trump junk stores have finally closed. And one guy up the street cut off the bottom of his Trump – Pence sign to remove Pence.

  25. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32: @OzarkHillbilly:
    Well, I’m up here in Godless New England, so I don’t see such things.

    It also strikes me, an irreligious person, that such signs might be somewhat blasphemous.

  26. charon says:
  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    A preference to push unsuspecting Christians into inappropriate investment vehicles that pay high commissions to the financial advisor?

  28. Teve says:

    Could people stop fretting about Trump running and winning in 2024? it took a perfect storm of misogyny, Putin, Assange, The Apprentice, media malfeasance, sparkly novelty-item status, &etc for him to lose by nearly 3 million votes in 2016, before he lost by 7 million in 2020 with the huge advantage of incumbency, plus he’ll be 78 in 2024 and there’s a not-slim possibility he’ll be in prison and his life expectancy is not that good either, but the main thing is, as I keep saying: the future is not yet written.

    What we do in the next almost 4 years (including, if we work like hell, passing voting rights legislation, because a Republican will never win the presidency again except through massive voter suppression) determines what happens in 4 years’ time. Nothing is foreordained. Yeah he has a cult following, but some of them have already soured on him, a lot of what they love about him is that he has sold himself as a winner, when he was always America’s biggest loser, and that’s going to get a lot bigger. He is going to be tied up in criminal and civil cases for what may well be the rest of his life.

    A big part of why he wanted to steal a second term is because he was desperate to hang on to that presidential immunity, because the lawsuits surround him like hungry wolves around a lost lamb or maybe a rotting pork roast. They may devour him whole. And Heather Cox Richardson reminds us tonight that for quite some time to come, “the Capitol rioters will be in court, keeping in front of Americans both the horrific events of January 6 and their contention that they showed up to fight because their president asked them to.” That will not smell so fresh in four years.

    I get it: we have been through 4 years of hell and bullshit from a man whose slovenliness of mind and will is the main reason he didn’t do a more successful job of becoming a dictator, and it’s more than understandable fearing that we are not safely out of it. We are not, because most of the Republican party and all the far-right white supremacist trash heap would like to end democracy in America and punish a whole lot of us for existing. We have our work cut out for us.

    But I firmly believe both that we can win and that Trump is for all intents and purposes dead meat. I believe that we are winning in some crucial ways, and that we just went through four years of epic backlash that nevertheless did not actually make American 1958 again. I’m with Michelle Alexander, when she said a couple of years ago that we are not the resistance, the dam, the attempt to stop things; they are; we are the mighty river they want to stop. There is a lot at stake and a lot to lose and we lose by not trying and we don’t try if we think the future is already written. It is not. What we do together writes it, every day. Are you in?

    -Rebecca Solnit

  29. gVOR08 says:


    I avoid businesses with Jesus fish signs.

    As do I. I figure every business tries to put together a mixture of price, service, quality, and whatever that attracts customers. If claiming to be religious is part of the mix, I figure they’re shorting something that’s of actual value to me.

  30. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    That’s as good an explanation as I’ve heard.

    Or maybe it’s a way of discouraging non-Christian investors.

  31. Jen says:


    Why should I have to pay somebody to learn how to do their job???

    I’ve long been fascinated by this. At some point in this country, businesses decided that it isn’t their job to train people, employees should come to them fully formed and ready to work on Day 1.

    This “attitude” (which, to be clear, I think is complete and utter bullsh!t) has been around since the mid-to-late 90s, at least. That’s when businesses started pushing for workforce development initiatives and community colleges to do more job training.

    What looked on the surface like employers becoming more involved in the educational process was really just a means for them to shove their training costs onto taxpayers.

  32. Teve says:


    We also got a lot of the Trump face stuck on Rambo, naked to the waist, holding an M-60 machine gun with, for some reason, a Russian RPG for a barrel. In good news, both storefront on the main drag Trump junk stores have finally closed. And one guy up the street cut off the bottom of his Trump – Pence sign to remove Pence.

    Love it! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  33. Owen says:

    @charon: Not sure if you are in an HOA. Under AZ statute, an HOA (like the one I live in), cannot restrict residents from flying five different flags (including the Gadsden flag). Political signs/flags can be limited to whatever is allowed by the surrounding jurisdiction.

    At least the weather is usually nice!

  34. Moosebreath says:


    “Looks like Rod Dreher also obsessed with genitalia:”

    And Generalissimo Franco is still dead.

  35. Sleeping Dog says:


    That is a never ending cycle. In the early 80’s I was selling industrial supply products and a number of machine shops were in my territory. All were desperately seeking machinists and were bidding up those available. While at the same time the state unemployment people were reporting high levels of unemployment among machinists. I asked a manager of one company about the discrepancy and he explained that the industry had gone over to CNC machines and the unemployed machinists did not have the knowledge to run those machines. I did ask about training them and he told me that while they did do that, they still couldn’t find enough willing to work as trainees. Stubbornness and pride get in the way. But today the situation is worse as businesses too often take the attitude that someone else should provide the training.

  36. Jim Brown 32 says:

    This is too rich:

    These people have no idea who they are effing with. They needed to storm the Capitol 25 years ago when we didn’t have a DOD with 20 years of experience in counter terrorism. Nobody does this better than us.

    They better adapt real fast because they aint the bad asses they claim to be if simple tactics like this are causing confusion. They haven even started running the plays in Chapter 1 yet. Dunnings-Kruger exhibit 1.

  37. Kathy says:

    I’ve been wondering lately what it would take for single-celled organisms, as they exist today, to join together in forming a multicellular one.

    It probably cannot be done, as current microscopic lifeforms have evolved, either alone or in colony form, to thrive as single-celled beings.

    I also wonder if we could synthesize DNA, more or less randomly, along with a plethora of other organic molecules like amino acids and proteins, and place it under conditions that it would evolve into some kind of cell.

    Decades ago Harold Urey and Stanley Miller, performed an experiment simulating Earth’s pre-life atmosphere, which yielded amino acids after exposure to water and electric sparks.

    There’s a widely believed notion that if you could rewind evolution as you could videotape, and run it over again, the results would be rather different. Well, we can’t do that, but we might devise experiments to simulate just such a thing.

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @charon: I read TAC as part of the effort to understand conservatives that led me to OTB years ago. OTB is now useless for that purpose. Except for the odd Dr. T response to “How the hell could you have ever been a Republican you degenerate arsehole. But I’m only asking politely.” And TAC is becoming useless. The writing has degenerated badly. Only Bacevich and Larison are worth reading, and I don’t read Larison because it’s always stuff I already agree with. Dreher is basically just obsessed. Even the commenters at TAC usually notice how vacuous most posts are. I suspect they’re getting the best writing they can afford, and won’t be with us much longer.

    The conservative columnists at WAPO and NYT are basically comedy relief. Somebody here yesterday mentioned “The Dispatch”. I checked it out, but the first and frequent byline was Jonah Goldberg. Where do you find good conservative writing?

  39. @CSK: It part of his brand and he cloaks his financial advice as being a ministry of sorts, IIRC. He gets a lot of his clients via churches, who often buy his materials and use them as Bible-study materials. I think (and I could be wrong) that he got his start on Christian radio stations.

    It is also used, in my estimation, as a way of convincing a lot of church-goers that he must be honest and trustworthy.

  40. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32: that is delicious 😀

  41. Kathy says:


    Many decades ago, Mexican industrialists faced a lack of qualified people to manage and fill the middle ranks of their expanding operations. Some banded together and founded a university to train engineers, accountants, business majors, etc., they could then employ.

  42. Sleeping Dog says:


    Trump is drawing inspiration from one James Michael Curley.

    Like Solnit, Tim Miller also believes Trump could be president again.

  43. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I think you’re right, especially about the “honest and trustworthy” part. I once asked an acquaintance from Texas why it was so important for southerners to know all about a candidate’s religious beliefs. She replied that they saw it as a sign of good character if a person professed to be a practicing Christian.

  44. CSK says:

    Sounds like Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass.

  45. @Kathy: A good friend of mine is a Dean at the Tec.

  46. Mister Bluster says:

    @charon:..I avoid businesses with Jesus fish signs.
    I have seen many variations of the Jesus fish symbol. I had this one on the back of my 1978 Datsun pick up truck for many years. Drove it 200,000+ miles between ’78 and ’85 to jobs in Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Hoosier Hollow and all over Illinois. No one ever messed with it.
    The only time anything was ripped off a truck of mine was in 1973 when my
    Impeach Nixon Now More Than Ever bumper sticker was pulled off the tailgate of my 1960 F-100* while it was parked at a motel in Olney, Illinois.

    *The one with gas tank in the cab of the truck right behind the bench seat. Can’t tell you how many cigarettes I burned sitting inches away from 20 gallons of gasoline. Never gave it a thought.

  47. CSK says:

    Talk about scams:

  48. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: The WIKI link recounts Curley as governor showing up at the Yale commencement exercise in leg stockings, a powdered wig, and a tricorne with plume. He apparently had a sense of humor, which rules him out as a role model for Trump.

  49. Gustopher says:


    I like the way Ramsey is described as a “Christian personal finance guru.” How does a Christian personal finance guru differ from a Jewish one? A Muslim one? An atheist one?

    I really would like to know.

    Well, if I learned anything from the offensive stereotypes of the right, everyone knows you hire the Jews to work with money, so I assume this means a Christian personal finance guru is just not very good. I don’t know why he would want to advertise this.

  50. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    If this follows the pattern set when the JoD under Bobby Kennedy started cracking down on organized crime, and these idiot are as tough as they claim, bodies should begin piling up.

  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    You sure called this the other day! Carnak the Magnificent lives!!!

    Seriously, couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch, could it?

  52. CSK says:

    Indeed. Didn’t Trump say something about how he wanted only little men wearing beanies counting his money?

  53. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I heard a mafia guy say one time that when certain families decided that drugs caused too much federal heat, the order was that if you suspected another made guy of being involved in drugs you kill him instantly. No meeting, no talking it over with the capo, Kill. That probably lead to more innocent bodies than guilty ones.

  54. charon says:


    Is Larison back at TAC? He was the only thing I read there, I thought he left the site a while back, so I gave up looking at TAC.

  55. Sleeping Dog says:


    You may need to just find some essayists that engage you rather than publications. I was going to mention the Dispatch, yes I know, Jonah… David French though is interesting and seems willing to adjust his world view when presented with new information.

    Recently, I came across American Purpose, while expressing more of a classical liberalism point of view rather than what passes as conservative thought in today’s America. Another worthwhile place for engaging conservative thought on policy and issues is the Niskanen Center, it is center right, libertarianish.

  56. Kathy says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Poor bigots. Surely there’s some way we can foment more mistrust among them, and end their misery quickly.

  57. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That’s where I studied high school.

  58. @CSK: Basically Ramsey is Dr. Laura, but for money. He gives mostly variations on the same theme which includes such grand insights as “don’t spend more than you make” and “avoid debt.”

    He is anti-credit card (he thinks people should only have debit cards)

    He is opposed to financing automobiles (if you can only afford a clunker, buy a clunker).

    I forget if he thinks financing a house is ok.

    Granted, I am not, nor ever was, a devotee. I have had friends do his financial peace course (at church), so have some general ideas about it.

  59. Sleeping Dog says:


    But he got elected while under indictment. That is what Trump will focus on. 🙂

  60. Teve says:

    @charon: he posted something there yesterday, but before that you have to go back to last May.

  61. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    He is opposed to financing automobiles (if you can only afford a clunker, buy a clunker).

    Terrible advice. In 2012 I had saved up $2500 and the economy was still so bad, that Ford was offering 0% interest. I bought a new Fiesta, and for the last 8 years, for the first time in my life I’ve had reliable transportation. The amount of stress reduction in that was huge. And it enabled me to drive cross country twice and spend 6 months in Washington state, which I wouldn’t have even attempted had I instead bought a $2500 car.

  62. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I just checked: Apparently Ramsey is okay with mortgages.

  63. Northerner says:


    Or put it this way — if what your company is doing is innovative, then there is no place but your company for a new worker to learn how to do their job, because no one else is doing it. Just about every engineering/development/hi-tech company out there knows it. If someone comes to your workplace already knowing how to do everything, then your company is re-inventing the wheel.

  64. Thomm says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Ramsey’s advice is decent for someone trying to climb out of debt, but in the modern world, if one is a true deep devotee they become either a credit ghost (no score since there isn’t much to base it on) or have an artificially low credit score for the same reason depending on how long they follow his advice. I have seen this many times working in car sales. People come in after following him for a decade thinking they will qualify for top tier financing or zero percent and then wind up barely getting approved for subprime.

  65. Owen says:

    @Jen: I think it is regional. In the Northeast and on much of the left coast there seems to be far more job training structure. In the area we lived in Massachusetts, kids could go to Minuteman High Schoolif they were interested in certain trades, and Minuteman also has a Engineering pathway for kids with that inclination. Older students could also attend classes, but had to pay tuition (I took an arc-welding class there).

    When I was in my senior year of high school in New Jersey, a number of fellow students would spend half of the school day at high school, then spend the other half of the day in a vocational/technical program at the local Community College, which for them was tuition free.

    Living in Arizona now, from engaging with school age children of friends, it seems none of these programs exist in schools, but fee programs do appear to exist at the Community Colleges.

  66. DrDaveT says:


    Here are eight possibilities:

    So, they didn’t even consider “Sensible enforcement of regulations to prevent bubbles and crashes”?

    I need to go read the article, but I would wager that the big difference between D and R administrations is not better growth under D’s, but less frequent disaster.

    (Longer term, “maintaining a workforce healthy and educated enough to contribute” is a big deal, but that won’t show up in their analysis because of the long lags.)

  67. DrDaveT says:


    How does a Christian personal finance guru differ from a Jewish one?

    By collecting a tithe in addition to a commission?

  68. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @gVOR08: Bwahahahaha. Ive seen the ‘Trump, stop the BS’ signs and the pure irony of how it reads and how anyone would think its a great sign is, as I say, pure comedy. These folks live in Down is Up land

  69. DrDaveT says:


    Looks like Rod Dreher also obsessed with genitalia

    It’s occasionally amusing to ask Christians why they think God cares so very much about sex and sexuality, when there are so many more important aspects of how we treat each other that He might have focused on…

  70. DrDaveT says:


    That’s when businesses started pushing for workforce development initiatives and community colleges to do more job training.

    …While continuing to vote for Republicans who promised to cut their taxes by spending less on such things. The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming.

  71. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: TBH during the time I was most involved in the Charismatic movement, which are mostly Evangelical people that are Conservative but not Right Wing Conservative, it was helpful to know you were helping a fellow Christian business owner who needed the money more than the big box brands that do the same thing. Now that Im in a different place in life…I mostly ignore it and am less likely to give Jesus fish people my money. Evangelical have ruined the brand…despite the “fish” symbol predating Christianity. They’ve done the same to the fish (to a lesser degree) that the Nazis did to the swastika

  72. DrDaveT says:


    Ford was offering 0% interest

    I don’t think 0% interest counts as “financing”. In fact, it counts as them giving you a kickback on the purchase price if you promise not to pay cash up front, plus extra lemon insurance.

  73. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    It would seem to me that, by definition, the owner of a small retail business would need the money more than Walmart or Target would, so patronizing a store that ostentatiously advertised itself as Christian might in effect be saying “I only do business with Christians.”

    I’m not criticizing you, of course, but people who purposefully seek out “Christian” businesses strike me as creepy bigots.

  74. Thomm says:

    @DrDaveT: Generally with 0% financing, you lose out on any rebates that might be on the unit. Sometimes it is better to take the rebates on a less expensive vehicle than the 0% in the current credit market if you are in the top tiers.

  75. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: I can see your point, but they are financing in the sense that some percent of the cars sold will be repoed and auctioned off at a loss, and the accountants had to run the numbers to estimate the profit/loss, maybe?

    One of the reasons I bought my Ford Fiesta is that I read the book American Icon, about how Ford got revitalized, and they can’t offer any kind of deal without having the chief finance people figure out exactly what it’s going to cost.

  76. Teve says:


    Narrator: Teve was not in the top tier. At the age of 35, his dad had to co-sign Teve’s car loan, because Teve’s depression conspired to make him a loser.

  77. Thomm says:

    @DrDaveT: Another point in the car world over the past decade or so, if not longer, is cash is not king like most assume when buying a new car. Most captive financing will give extra customer cash for financing. Usually about 1k. I have had many would be cash buyers go the financing route and pay off the loan after 90 days to capture that. Also, on used cars, if the dealer isn’t a one price dealer there is more room to negotiate if you are financing since the dealer makes money through the finance office.

  78. Owen says:

    @DrDaveT: 0% vehicle financing deals I have seen require that you accept the dealership’s price and fees. I have heard of some requiring the buyer accept extended warranty/maintenance plans, which are a gravy train for dealership owners.

  79. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Absolutely, a lot of Isis and AQ henchmen were shot in the head because, somehow…someway it sorta looked like they talked to the Infidels.

  80. Thomm says:

    @Teve: I know the feeling. Out of work for 8 years from a spinal injury and a foot amputation. Starting at a caddy dealer tomorrow after looking for a year from covid layoff. Was a finance manager before my injury. Enjoy it. They can be fun to drive. If you have one with the power shift transmission, you might want to look into the class action lawsuit against ford. Might qualify to get some cash.

  81. Teve says:

    @Thomm: So there was a class action lawsuit against Ford about the transmission control unit, and there was a settlement that said that Ford would fix it for free within a certain period, and my car developed that same transmission problem riiiiiiight before the period expired, and the local dealership fixed it for free.

  82. Owen says:

    Speaking of extended warranties, this woman did it right!

    Chariot (the car) has outlasted the “lifetime guarantees” on three sets of shocks, eight mufflers and 18 batteries. “I’m the lifetime guarantee people’s nightmare,” Veitch said.

    Needless to say, this is the exception.

  83. Thomm says:

    @Owen: if a dealer is “requiring” you to buy a backend warranty for that, they are running afoul of not only their dealer agreements with the lender, but also state law in many, if not all, states. Called payment padding. If a dealer is still using four squares, get up and leave. Most dealers anymore do what is known as a menu presentation where every fee and such is disclosed. In a four squares, you have no idea how much you are paying for anything until you agree to the payment, trade value, down, and guessed interest rate. As someone with ethics, I hated the old four squares and much prefer the full disclosure route.

  84. Thomm says:

    @Teve: glad to hear the dealer stepped up.

  85. Teve says:

    @Thomm: My brother was working at a Toyota plant in Kentucky and there was some industrial accident on the line and it fucked his spine up horribly, and he was in a great deal of pain and unhappy, and unable to work, and his wife left him, and he went from being a really fun outgoing carefree guy to just being a grim, angry, shitty, hostile person. Make sure to be aware of your mental health and get help if you need it.

  86. Teve says:

    Good luck with the Caddys!

  87. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: The unfortunate side effect of years of being part of the USG’s CT machine is that you grow calluses about this level of violence to solve problems. I would never see these people as innocent if killed because of drug suspicion. Sure they didn’t do the thing they got killed for…but they’ve killed, and destroyed lives. Karma is a Cold SOB.

    Myself and many vets were brought to a place where its normal to belive some people simply have to die for others to live in peace. Some were angry at the Jihadis for wanting to kill Americans and Europeans. I was angry at that too. But some of us were also angry at the amount of destruction these people brought to their own families and communities. In the middle east, its not like you can tell the leader of the clan to take a hike like you can if your father or grandfather went full Q. Over there, if the clan leader is in the rest of the clan is in.
    I understand my GWOT emotional injuries well enough to be thankful that the majority of people haven’t developed a similar callus. War is hell on everyone involved, even non trigger pullers.

  88. Teve says:

    @Thomm: when I worked at Carmax I heard absolute horror stories about other dealerships. One woman in particular, young girl maybe 24, everything was going fine except her credit bounced back to like there was only one lender willing to give her anything and it was Santander offering 24%. It was a previous auto loan she was having problems with, and it turned out that she had bought a used car at a dealership and for financing, they told her ‘the bank stuff would take a few days to work out’ and they literally got her to sign a blank finance paper. She wound up making payments for years and then still owed like $20,000 on a 10-year-old Corolla.

  89. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Totally irrelevant OT, but…. according to Wikipedia (though I haven’t yet traced this claim to a reliable source), Dave Ramsey is the nephew (presumably by marriage) of the late actress Anne Ramsey, of Goonies and Throw Momma from the Train fame.

    During the ’80s she appeared in various films playing evil old bags, and she did display significant comedic talent in these roles (even earning one Oscar nomination). She was only 59 when she died, and apparently her odd way of speaking was due to the cancer that killed her. This puts her in a category similar to William Hickey, who seemed to spend decades playing elderly (often senile) men, then when he died I was surprised he wasn’t even 70 yet.

  90. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I had a friend who went into the Army and became a drone pilot, and none of us who knew him before can deal with him now, he’s an asshole. Probly some PTSD involved

  91. Teve says:

    Totally irrelevant OT,

    personally, I just want to say that the Open Threads here have really turned this site up a notch.

  92. Owen says:

    @Kylopod: Unlike most of you, I have had my life portrayed in film by A-List celebrities, Anne Ramsay played my mother.

  93. Kylopod says:


    Looks like Rod Dreher also obsessed with genitalia

    One thing I find striking about the anti-LGBT crowd is their use of what’s essentially warmed-over hippie-punching. They try to conceal their own reactionary prudishness by painting the other side as laughable flakes.

  94. Mister Bluster says: tier

    I was 30 in 1978 when my dad co-signed the loan for my new Datsun truck.
    I did not get a credit card until after that loan was paid off 4 years later.

  95. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: thanks for that comment ❤️

  96. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Long ago in a galaxie far far away, certain gentlemen whom I’d been associated with for some years decided against inviting me into their recreational pharmaceutical enterprise because they realized they’d die the instant I suspected they’d been compromised. Sociopathy occasionally serves a useful purpose. Enjoy your paranoia, proud boys!

  97. Mister Bluster says:

    Not to forget.

    Happy VD day everyone.
    And remember:

    Love is fleeting
    Herpes is forever!

  98. sam says:


    It’s occasionally amusing to ask Christians why they think God cares so very much about sex and sexuality, when there are so many more important aspects of how we treat each other that He might have focused on…

    There’s a scene in Good Omens, when the angel and the demon are at the crucifixion, and the demon asks the angel, “What did he do? What did he say to them?” The angel replies, “He told them to be kind to each other.” The demon says, “Oh yeah. That’ll do it.”

  99. Michael Cain says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I was 30 in 1978 when my dad co-signed the loan for my new Datsun truck.
    I did not get a credit card until after that loan was paid off 4 years later.

    I got my first card as an 18-year-old college freshman in 1972. The bank was conducting an experiment, offering cards with relatively low limits to freshmen who had been admitted to one of the honors programs. It turned out to be a godsend — there was another Michael Cain in town who had bounced bad checks everywhere. I couldn’t pay for anything by check. I normally paid the balance off at the end of the month. Except for the month the semester started and I had my textbooks on it.

  100. Thomm says:

    @Teve: holy shit…the amount of illegal in that story is astounding. Even in the hellscape that is florida consumer protections, that has to be bad. Carmax is a decent outfit in quite a few ways other than the weak payplans.

  101. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In may be an unintended consequence (yes, that’s snark) of conservatism seeking to always preserve the status quo first and foremost. I started saying long ago that Republican policy is better for capital but Democratic policy is better for business. Over the range and on whole, only large holders of capital do better with conservative/Republican preservation policy. Most of us need a better business environment–though not all “good for business” policies are beneficial to labor or small investors. Then again, some of Amazon’s decisions only benefit Jeff Bezos, too, and we can all speculate however we want about which party is more likely to support those decisions.

  102. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, Bezos has worked assiduously against raising taxes on the superwealthy, of which he’s the premiere example.

  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Dave Ramsey is complicated. Even he will admit that if a family is not making a higher than median gross income, his basket of financial fixes will not be achievable. (He DOESN’T note this in any of his books or tools, but I have heard him say it in so many words on the radio where he doesn’t have any transcripts of what he says.) The problem with that admission is that his reaction is “so sad/too bad” rather than outrage at how our system perpetuates that kind of economic inequality (and the role of Bible believing Conservative Christians in that perpetuation).

    Whether that makes him a piece of shit is a fight that I don’t got a dog in and am not buying one for. To the degree that he can convince any additional people that living on 125% of their gross income is a bad idea, I support his efforts. To the degree that he’s unaware/unconcerned that many working poor have fixed expenses that represent 125% of what they can earn, he’s just another conservative peddling “opportunity economy” snake oil.

  104. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: WA! Brings the “tiny house movement” to a whole nutha level.

  105. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Evangelical Christians won’t take advice from a Jew, Muslim, or atheist. It’s just a continuation of the “Christian Yellow Pages” lifestyle of replicating Elijah Muhammed’s Black Separatism/self-reliance philosophy tailored to evangelicals. It started about 40 years ago as fundamentalists realized they had lost their hold on society.

  106. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Okay. Christian bail bonds persons IS a new one, and I had no idea that it would ever become a necessary service–though I suppose I should have suspected.

  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Surprisingly, no. I used Dave Ramsey’s website to screen some candidates with some other sources when I came back from Korea. The Ramsey recommended guy had both a better feel for what I wanted as an investment plan and had lower rates for his services. That part of Dave Ramseyness worked well, for me at least. The other factors in his management scheme don’t apply to my situation as I already was doing versions of the types of things he recommends. I blame my parents for teaching me to be both frugal and charitable.

  108. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Is that financial advice or any advice? If it’s any advice, they better “pray” they never find themselves suffering a terrible injury when the only top surgeon on call in the E.R. is a Jew or a Muslim. Or a Roman Catholic, for that matter. Catholics aren’t Christians, right?

  109. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Matthew 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

    I don’t think many of them have read the Bible.

  110. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I suspect most conservative Christians still hold to the Archie Bunker thesis that their lawyer, accountant, etc., has got to be a Hebe.

  111. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charon: Rod Dreher is obsessed with anything more modern than the 7th century.

  112. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That’s funny, I see it as the sign of a sucker.

  113. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Well as the character on Burn Notice observed, the problem with entering into a criminal conspiracy is that it’s hard to develop the levels of trust and loyalty necessary for the enterprise to prosper.

  114. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I have never owned a bought off the lot new car and I have driven all over this continent, including a ’72 Chevy P/U with a rebuilt 350 to the Yucatan. Of course I also blew 2 transmissions deep in the hills and hollers (patched them up and drove home on 2nd and 3rd gears only as 1st and reverse were gone) and blew a rear differential in Murdo, South Dakota (“Well, you might find one in Pierre or you might find one in Rapid but you ain’t gonna find one around here!”)(having a cute 5′ nothing redhead with a babe in her arms came in handy that trip).

    Over the years I learned that the way to avoid trouble was to keep them well maintained. Who’da thunk it?

  115. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I attended a church that used his materials, and at least they were clear that it was not a Bible study, it was financial management advice. The notion that the advice is particularly *Biblical* is not, from what I recall on his radio program, heavily stressed, but it is certainly a sidebar element of the conversation. Larry Birkett from a generation back was much more into stumping the practices as Bible secrets, from what I recall, but even then, the main thrust was wise money management.

    The fact that nearly any well established religion teacher similar practices is lost on him and his followers, though. That’s certainly the case.

  116. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: Yeah, there are holes in their theories. Even an innumerate hillbilly could see that. That and they gave DEMs credit for things they were not solely responsible for. Still, the difference was striking and it certainly confirmed my preconceived notions.

  117. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: On financing a house, Ramsey appears to be a realist, which is to say that he gets that most houses are so expensive that saving up to by one while paying rent (that might be more than a house payment, just sayin’) is unrealistic. Again, his “principles” are more likely to be successful for people of above median income levels given that they are more likely to be able to generate significant income reserves by living at or lower than their means will allow.

  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Thomm: Yeah. The trick to being able to live a debt-free existence is having large reserves of cash. I have sufficient reserves to pay cash for my next car should I decide to buy another, but it took 64 years and the death of my parents to get there.

  119. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: God did focus on those other things, but Christians ignore that focus because those things are harder to do than telling other people how to behave sexually is.-

  120. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Didn’t most 0% interest car deals back in the day also come with a balloon feature permitting them to add all of the forebeared interest back into the payment scheme if the loan wasn’t cleared during the zero interest payment period. I can’t remember anymore, but most zero interest deals weren’t really.

  121. Northerner says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Is that an American thing? I know a few Evangelicals Christians well, and I’m certain they have all taken advice (medical and financial) from Jews, Muslims and atheists. In fact I doubt they care enough to even bother asking about the religious background of the people giving the advice. How does that work in any case? Are they supposed to ask a doctor about to operate on them for their religion? Or the loan officer at their bank their religion?

  122. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: What I used to remind seniors of on prom night was that passion was fleeting, but while true love might last a lifetime, child support in the jurisdiction in which they lived had recently been raised to 25. My experience has been that kids imagine themselves to be bullet proof and don’t care about STDs because they only happen to other people.

  123. CSK says:

    Gee, just like Donald Trump.

  124. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: @Northerner: The Christian Yellow Pages phenomenon is sort of a fringe thing in my mind, but yes, I have known Christians who will go to that extreme. Then again, I knew a girl who belonged to a denomination that wouldn’t marry her and her fiance until she was with child, too. I’ve traveled some with the outliers, and they are real.

  125. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I didn’t realize till now, when I looked it up, that there’s actually such a thing as “the Christian Yellow Pages.” I’m aghast.

  126. Kylopod says:


    Gee, just like Donald Trump.

    Absolutely. His alleged remark to a biographer about how he wants “short guys with yarmulkes” counting his money and not blacks is very Archie Bunker-esque.

  127. Thomm says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: to answer your question about 0%: for at least 10 years that hasn’t been the case, but for a long time leases could look like that. In the past leases were used by businesses and not very much by individual customers. Some time in the early 2000’s leases became more friendly to the retail buyer, thus the explosion of leasing and why bmw, mercedes, and lexus have become almost common anymore.

  128. Teve says:


    Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 15:13
    @Teve: holy shit…the amount of illegal in that story is astounding. Even in the hellscape that is florida consumer protections, that has to be bad. Carmax is a decent outfit in quite a few ways other than the weak payplans.

    I saw how CarMax works, up close and personal, and I would buy a car from them.

  129. Owen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I asked an Army Chaplain I had been on a couple of military exercises with to perform our wedding ceremony. I had always gotten along with the guy, we had some shared life experiences, but we had never discussed religion. My family is irreligious, but my wife’s people are Southern Baptists. My wife had grown disenchanted with the Southern Baptist convention so asking one of their ministers was out of the question. I was sure the Chaplain would keep the ceremony Christian enough for her parents and all of their guests to be accepting, how much could it matter? Everything went fairly well until the end of the ceremony when the Chaplain, who was Church of God, became charismatic, which appeared to shock the Southern Baptists present. My wife and I have been together for nearly 27 years now, so I guess the Chaplain did something right.