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Election Prediction


Greg Burnham
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Greg,

Do you think so? I've been disappointed with Obama's performance, but is it enough to drive people to the likes of Sarah Palin?

As in the UK the people of the US seem disillusioned with mainstream politicians. The Tea Party candidates seem both politically and economically, illiterate.

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i think its propaganda on the right and incompetence on the left. the left government seems to be more concerned with social issues, the economics of the heartland are really bad. the fierce and immoral propaganda seems to have been ignored by the left. maybe we will stop hearing the bogus socialism charge. i am beginning to think socialism means anybody who cares in the least for anybody but themself.

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Greg,

Do you think so? I've been disappointed with Obama's performance, but is it enough to drive people to the likes of Sarah Palin?

As in the UK the people of the US seem disillusioned with mainstream politicians. The Tea Party candidates seem both politically and economically, illiterate.

You've got it right, John. In my opinion, The T-Party is a "shot in the dark" at best...at least the "Palin-nite" version is. God help us if they ever come to power! The Rand Paul wing of the T-Party is much more promising. There exists little, if any, distinction between the "Republicans and the Democrats" these days.

It's become a lot of "smoke and mirrors" between them--a ruse, of sorts--to keep the masses placated. And it goes on, and on, and on, and on....

It's not the donkey who gets f*&%^ed in the arse--it's the rest of us...

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i think its propaganda on the right and incompetence on the left. the left government seems to be more concerned with social issues, the economics of the heartland are really bad. the fierce and immoral propaganda seems to have been ignored by the left. maybe we will stop hearing the bogus socialism charge. i am beginning to think socialism means anybody who cares in the least for anybody but themself.

Viryually all elections are based on economic factors. In the last three years six million Americans have fallen below the poverty line. Official unemployment is close to one in ten. Two and a half million people have had their homes repossessed and living standards are dropping. Most importantly of all, despite a massive increase in public spending, the recovery appears to be on the verge of going into reverse.

Although these problems started under Bush, it is clear that Obama has failed to halt the economic decline. This is an impossible task. We have the same problem in the UK and the rest of Western Europe. (Although our welfare systems is protecting us better from the economic fall-out than the US.) We are all faced with the same economic problem, the takeover of manufacturing by the low-wage economies and a reluctance of those with money, to invest in the home economy.

The problem for the US is that the solution to the problem (increased government control of the economy) is unacceptable to large sections of the American population. Therefore, economic decline will continue. Even so, I still think Obama will win in two years time because the Tea Party group will only weaken the Republicans and I suspect they will be unable to come up with a candidate who is able to beat him.

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I've been quite parochial, and looked up some details. I was surprised that so many minor parties existed. The party which scores the biggest after the main two is the Libertarians (a group which I have appreciation for). They gained about 1% of the vote.

Why is it that US citizens are drawn so much towards the two major parties, and not towards the alternatives?

For example, this was the result at the last Australian Federal Election:

http://results.aec.gov.au/15508/Website/default.htm

(You can display by primary vote, etc)

Although Australians favour the two major parties, there is a large amount of the vote which goes towards other parties.

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Guest Tom Scully

I thought it might be a good idea to present the following info to the members participating in this thread who do not live in the U.S. Highlights are a Pew Research exit poll indicating sentiment related to the Bush tax cuts sunset, happening on 31 December of this year unless a compromise can be reached on the choices of extending the cuts temporarily for everyone, or only for families with annual income under $250k and individuals under $200k, or the further right wing proposal to make all of the cuts permanent, which will have the effect of ending the inheritance tax on estates above $1 million, currently abolished only in the 2010 tax year.

If no agreement is reached, the tax schedules on income and inheritance will revert to year 2000 levels, a year when tax receipts and spending was nearly balanced and the defense budget was less than half its present level.

Ironically, I included an excerpt from study by Obama friend, Cass Sunstein, a man who proposed undercover government monitors to participate in and observe activity in forums like this one. The point of all of the following is that the American voters are influenced by the media and the two major parties to underestimate the reality and the damage of U.S. wealthy inequality. The bottom 80 percent of households now hold just 12-1/2 percent of the total wealth. A scientific poll indicated the majority prefer a wealth distribution model closer to the one in Sweden than the one in the U.S., yet "monsters" like John Cornyn have no trouble getting elected to the U.S. Senate, representing the interests of the people of the second most populous U.S. state, clearly with an agenda benefiting only the wealthiest of his constituents.

Studies how the larger the crowd, the more likely the vote should result in the best outcome, but the spending to influence the opinions of voters influences them to vote for candidates intent on advancing policies further concentrating wealth, and the results are reflected in stagnant and declining wealth of the majority.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/11/04/some-14-of-us-uses-food-stamps/

November 4, 2010, 2:47 PM ET

In U.S., 14% Rely on Food Stamps

....Some 42,389,619 Americans received food stamps in August, a 17% rise from the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which tracks the data. That number is up 58.5% from August 2007, before the recession began.

By population, Washington, D.C. had the largest share of residents receiving food stamps: More than a fifth, 21.1%, of its residents collected assistance in August. Washington was followed by Mississippi, where 20.1% of residents received food stamps, and Tennessee, where 20% tapped into the government nutrition program.

Idaho posted the largest jump in recipients in the past year. The number of people receiving food stamps climbed 38.8% but their rolls are still fairly low. Just 211,883 Idaho residents collected food stamps in August.

The average benefit size per person nationwide in August was $133.90. Per household it was $287.82.

Food stamps have become a lifeline for workers who have lost their jobs, particularly among the growing share of unemployed Americans who have also exhausted their unemployment benefits. Lines at grocers at midnight on the first of the month have signaled that, in many cases, those benefits aren’t tiding families over and they run out before their next check kicks in.

Even during the summer children returned to schools to take advantage of free lunch programs where they were available. Nearly 195 million lunches were dished out in August and 58.9% of them were free. Another 8.4% were available at reduced prices. That number will surge when the fall data are released because children will be back in school. Last September, for example, more than 590 million lunches were served, nearly 64% of which were free or reduced price.

Children whose families have incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level — $28,665 for a family of four — can access free meals. Those families earning between 130% and 185% of the poverty level — $40,793 for a four-person family — are eligible for reduced-price meals that can’t cost more than 40 cents...

http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_589.pdf

(bottom of page 32)

"..it is possible to provide a partial update of the wealth figures to July 1, 2009 based on two notable developments....

...Trends in inequality are also interesting.... The share of the top 1 percent advanced from 34.6 to 37.1 percent, that of the top 5 percent from 61.8 to 65 percent, and that of the top quintile from 85 to 87.7 percent, while that of the second quintile fell from 10.9 to 10 percent, that of the middle quintile from 4 to 3.1 percent, and that of the bottom two quintiles from 0.2 to -0.8 percent. ..the share of households with zero or negative net worth, from 18.6 to 24.1 percent."

http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2006/200613/200613pap.pdf

Currents and Undercurrents: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989–2004 (a new triennial, SCF, Fed Reserve "Study of Conusmer Finances...will be released shortly after the election...sure to document, even further wealth concentration into the hands of the top ten percent.)

January 30, 2006

Abstract

This paper considers changes in the distribution of the wealth of U.S. families over the 1989–2004 period using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF)...

page 27

...Ownership shares. For some assets, the distributions of the amounts held are far more disproportionate than the differences in ownership rates. MOST STRIKING is the 62.3 percent share of business assets OWNED BY THE WEALTHIEST 1 percent of the wealth distribution in 2004 (table 11a); the NEXT-WEALTHIEST 4 percent OWNED ANOTHER 22.4 percent of the total. Other key items subject to capital gains also show strong disproportions: THE WEALTHIEST 5 PERCENT OF FAMILIES OWNED 61.9 percent of residential real estate other than principal residences, 71.7 percent of nonresidential real estate, and 65.9 PERCENT OF DIRECTLY- AND INDIRECTLY HELD STOCKS. For bonds, 93.7 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL WERE HELD BY THIS GROUP...."

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1789/2010-midterm-elections-exit-poll-analysis

1789-4.png

http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2010/09/americans_have.html?mobify=0

Americans Have No Idea About Wealth Inequality in America

By Paul Kedrosky · Wednesday, September 22, 2010

http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf

Building a Better America – One Wealth Quintile at a Time

page 5.

As can be seen in Figure 1, the (unlabeled) United States distribution was far less desirable than both the (unlabeled) Sweden distribution and the equal distribution, with some 92% of Americans preferring the Sweden distribution to the United States. In addition, this overwhelming preference for the Sweden distribution over the United States distribution was robust across gender (Females: 92.7%; Males: 90.6%), preferred candidate in the 2004 election (Bush Voters: 90.2%; Kerry Voters: 93.5%) and income (less than $50,000: 92.1%; $50,001-100,000: 91.7%; more than $100,000: 89.1%). In addition, there was a slight preference for the distribution that resembled Sweden relative to the equal distribution, suggesting that Americans prefer some inequality to perfect equality, but not to the degree currently present in the United States....

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/219-crs-groups-new.pdf

Group Judgments: Deliberation, Statistical Means, and

Information Markets

Cass R. Sunstein

PDF Page 11.

B. The Condorcet Jury Theorem

The accuracy of judgments of statistical groups is best explained by reference to the Condorcet Jury Theorem.40 To see how the Jury Theorem works, suppose that people are answering a common question with two possible answers, one false and one true, and that the average probability that each voter will answer correctly exceeds 50 percent. The Jury Theorem holds that the probability of a correct answer, by a majority of the group, increases toward certainty as the size of the group increases.41 The importance of the Jury Theorem lies in the demonstration that groups are likely to do better than individuals, and large groups better than small ones, if majority rule is used and if each person is more likely than not to be correct. The last proviso is extremely important. Suppose that each individual in a group is more likely to be wrong than right. If so, the likelihood that the group will decide correctly falls to zero as the size of the group increases...

PDF page 13

C. Errors

In this light, we can identify two situations in which the judgment of a statistical group will be incorrect. The first are those in which group members show a systematic bias. The second are those in which their answers are worse than random. The failures of statistical judgments, in these circumstances, have strong implications for deliberation as well.

1. Bias. A systematic bias in one or another direction will create serious problems for the group’s answers. If, for example, an experimenter “anchors” subjects on a misleading number, the median will almost certainly be wrong. Suppose, for example, that a jar contains 800 jelly beans, and the experimenter happens to say, quietly, “many jars of jelly beans, though not necessarily this one, have 500 jelly beans,” or even, “I’m asking this question to 250 people.”48 In either case, the low number will likely operate as an anchor,49 and people’s answers will be systematically biased toward understating the actual number, producing an unreliable mean. One study demonstrates more generally that a group’s statistical estimate is likely to be erroneous “when the material is unfamiliar, distorted in a way such that all individuals are prone to make similar errors of estimation.”50 The error-producing effects of anchors are simply a special case of this general point. Anchors are undoubtedly at work in deliberating groups as well, although in theory deliberation might reduce their effects. And anchors have significant effects within the legal system. For example, the plaintiff’s demand is likely to affect damage awards for harms that are difficult to monetize, and groups are no less subject to those effects than individuals.51 Even judges have been found to be subject to irrelevant anchors,52 and there is every reason to believe that multimember courts would be at least as vulnerable to them as individual judges are.53

http://www.scribd.com/doc/38192371/6674234-Citigroup-Oct-16-2005-Plutonomy-Report-Part-1

October 16, 2005

SUMMARY

®The World is dividing into two blocs - the Plutonomy and the rest. The U.S.,

UK, and Canada are the key Plutonomies - economies powered by the wealthy.

Continental Europe (ex-Italy) and Japan are in the egalitarian bloc...

Page 24

Our conclusion? The three levers governments and societies could pull on to end

plutonomy are benign. Property rights are generally still intact, taxation policies neutral

to favorable, and globalization is keeping the supply of labor in surplus, acting as a

brake on wage inflation.

IS THERE A BACKLASH BUILDING?

Plutonomy, we suspect is elastic. Concentration of wealth and spending in the hands of a few, probably has its limits.

What might cause the elastic to snap back? We can see a number of potential challenges to plutonomy.

Thef i r s t, and probably most potent, is through a labor backlash. Outsourcing,

offshoring or insourcing of cheap labor is done to undercut current labor costs. Those

being undercut are losers in the short term. While there is evidence that this is positive

for the average worker (for example Ottaviano and Peri) it is also clear that high-cost

substitutable labor loses.

Low-end developed market labor might not have much economic power, but it does have

equal voting power with the rich. We see plenty of examples of the outsourcing or

offshoring of labor being attacked as“unpatriotic” or plain unfair. This tends to lead to

calls for protectionism to save the low-skilled domestic jobs being lost. This is a cause

championed, generally, by left-wing politicians. At the other extreme, insourcing, or

allowing mass immigration, which might price domestic workers out of jobs, leads to

calls for anti-immigration policies, at worst championed by those on the far right....

...A t h i rd threat comes from the potential social backlash. To use Rawls-ian analysis, the

invisible hand stops working. Perhaps one reason that societies allow plutonomy, is

because enough of the electorate believe they have a chance of becoming a Pluto-

participant. Why kill it off, if you can join it? In a sense this is the embodiment of the

“American dream ”. But if voters feel they cannot participate, they are more likely to

divide up the wealth pie, rather than aspire to being truly rich.

Could the plutonomies die because the dream is dead, because enough of society does

not believe they can participate? The answer is of course yes. But we suspect this is a

threat more clearly felt during recessions, and periods of falling wealth, than when

average citizens feel that they are better off. There are signs around the world that

society is unhappy with plutonomy - judging by how tight electoral races are. But as

yet, there seems little political fight being born out on this battleground.

A related threat comes from the backlash to“Robber-barron” economies. The

population at large might still endorse the concept of plutonomy but feel they have lost

out to unfair rules. In a sense, this backlash has been epitomized by the media coverage

and actual prosecution of high-profile ex-CEOs who presided over financial

misappropriation. This“backlash” seems to be something that comes with bull markets

and their subsequent collapse. To this end, the cleaning up of business practice, by high-

profile champions of fair play, might actually prolong plutonomy.

Our overall conclusion is that a backlash against plutonomy is probable at some point.

However, that point is not now. So long as economies continue to grow, and enough of

the electorates feel that they are benefiting and getting rich in absolute terms, even if

they are less well off in relative terms, there is little threat to Plutonomy in the U.S., UK,

etc.

But the balance of power between right (generally pro-plutonomy) and left (generally

pro-equality) is on a knife-edge in many countries. Just witness how close the U.S.

election was last year, or how close the results of the German election were. A collapse

in wealth in the plutonomies, felt by the masses, and/or prolonged recession could easily

raise the prospects of anti-plutonomy policy.

We should at this point make clear that we have no view on whether plutonomies are good or bad,

our analysis here is based on the facts, not what we want society to look like.

HOW TO PLAY PLUTONOMY

So, Plutonomies exist, and explain much of the world’s imbalances. There is no such

thing as“The U.S. Consumer” or“UK Consumer”, but rich and poor consumers in these

countries, with different savings habits and different prospects. The rich are getting richer;

they dominate spending. Their trend of getting richer looks unlikely to end anytime soon.

How do we make money from this theme? We see two ways....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cornyn#Political_views

...Economy and taxes

Cornyn is a cosponsor of the Fair Tax Act of 2007.[28] He voted to permanently repeal the estate tax and for raising the estate tax exemption to $5 million. He voted in favor of $350 billion in tax cuts over 11 years, and supports making President Bush's tax cuts permanent.[20]

Cornyn voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008,Troubled Asset Relief Program TARP, but against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/15/AR2005091501245_pf.html

Final Day of Nomination Hearings: Yawn.

By Dana Milbank

Friday, September 16, 2005

...Lewis's testimony was passionate, poignant -- and pretty much irrelevant to the outcome. Only four of the committee's 18 senators were on hand for much of his testimony; Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) could be seen consulting his wristwatch. Of the 120 seats in the press gallery, 104 were unoccupied. And dozens of seats reserved for the public went unoccupied.

Skipping the final session, committee members Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) gave a news conference outside the hearing room. The pair found themselves talking mostly to camera crews, as a couple of reporters half-listened. "Questions?" Brownback asked.

Nobody replied.

As witnesses gave their views for and against the man who will almost certainly be the next chief justice, one thing was clear: John G. Roberts has no Anita Hill....

...As Democrats proceeded through their final round of questioning, the Republicans did not conceal their boredom. Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) yawned. Brownback closed his eyes and rubbed his brow. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) let out a big yawn and fixed his hair. Five GOP staffers shared a joke, then passed a note to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), who read it, looked over at the Democratic side and chuckled.

As Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) wrapped up his questioning of Roberts, he listed a number of documents he wanted included in the record.

"Mr. Chairman, if those items could be entered in the record?" Feingold asked of Specter.

Silence.

In the chairman's seat, Specter sat, scribbling or doodling, unaware that all eyes were on him to grant the routine request.

"Mr. Chairman?" Feingold said again.

This roused Specter from his reverie. "Yes?" he asked, looking up, and then he finally mustered "Without objection, so ordered."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a stalwart supporter of Roberts, skipped most of the afternoon session. Instead, this distinguished committee member distributed laminated cards labeled "Crying Wolf Bingo" with words such as "Ideologue!" "Partisan!" "Far Right!" "Zealot!" "Extremist!" An accompanying news release chronicled "the sad history of attacks against previous nominees." ....

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/national/stories/DN-cornyn_25nat.ART.State.Edition1.4bbb3bb.html

Cornyn to vote against Sotomayor's confirmation

12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, July 25, 2009

"The stakes are too high for me to vote for a nominee who can address all of these issues from a liberal, activist perspective," Cornyn said...

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I thought it might be a good idea to present the following info to the members participating in this thread who do not live in the U.S. Highlights are a Pew Research exit poll indicating sentiment related to the Bush tax cuts sunset, happening on 31 December of this year unless a compromise can be reached on the choices of extending the cuts temporarily for everyone, or only for families with annual income under $250k and individuals under $200k, or the further right wing proposal to make all of the cuts permanent, which will have the effect of ending the inheritance tax on estates above $1 million, currently abolished only in the 2010 tax year.

If no agreement is reached, the tax schedules on income and inheritance will revert to year 2000 levels, a year when tax receipts and spending was nearly balanced and the defense budget was less than half its present level.

Ironically, I included an excerpt from study by Obama friend, Cass Sunstein, a man who proposed undercover government monitors to participate in and observe activity in forums like this one. The point of all of the following is that the American voters are influenced by the media and the two major parties to underestimate the reality and the damage of U.S. wealthy inequality. The bottom 80 percent of households now hold just 12-1/2 percent of the total wealth. A scientific poll indicated the majority prefer a wealth distribution model closer to the one in Sweden than the one in the U.S., yet "monsters" like John Cornyn have no trouble getting elected to the U.S. Senate, representing the interests of the people of the second most populous U.S. state, clearly with an agenda benefiting only the wealthiest of his constituents.

Studies how the larger the crowd, the more likely the vote should result in the best outcome, but the spending to influence the opinions of voters influences them to vote for candidates intent on advancing policies further concentrating wealth, and the results are reflected in stagnant and declining wealth of the majority.

http://blogs.wsj.com...es-food-stamps/

November 4, 2010, 2:47 PM ET

In U.S., 14% Rely on Food Stamps

....Some 42,389,619 Americans received food stamps in August, a 17% rise from the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which tracks the data. That number is up 58.5% from August 2007, before the recession began.

By population, Washington, D.C. had the largest share of residents receiving food stamps: More than a fifth, 21.1%, of its residents collected assistance in August. Washington was followed by Mississippi, where 20.1% of residents received food stamps, and Tennessee, where 20% tapped into the government nutrition program.

Idaho posted the largest jump in recipients in the past year. The number of people receiving food stamps climbed 38.8% but their rolls are still fairly low. Just 211,883 Idaho residents collected food stamps in August.

The average benefit size per person nationwide in August was $133.90. Per household it was $287.82.

Food stamps have become a lifeline for workers who have lost their jobs, particularly among the growing share of unemployed Americans who have also exhausted their unemployment benefits. Lines at grocers at midnight on the first of the month have signaled that, in many cases, those benefits aren't tiding families over and they run out before their next check kicks in.

Even during the summer children returned to schools to take advantage of free lunch programs where they were available. Nearly 195 million lunches were dished out in August and 58.9% of them were free. Another 8.4% were available at reduced prices. That number will surge when the fall data are released because children will be back in school. Last September, for example, more than 590 million lunches were served, nearly 64% of which were free or reduced price.

Children whose families have incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level — $28,665 for a family of four — can access free meals. Those families earning between 130% and 185% of the poverty level — $40,793 for a four-person family — are eligible for reduced-price meals that can't cost more than 40 cents...

http://www.levyinsti...pubs/wp_589.pdf

(bottom of page 32)

"..it is possible to provide a partial update of the wealth figures to July 1, 2009 based on two notable developments....

...Trends in inequality are also interesting.... The share of the top 1 percent advanced from 34.6 to 37.1 percent, that of the top 5 percent from 61.8 to 65 percent, and that of the top quintile from 85 to 87.7 percent, while that of the second quintile fell from 10.9 to 10 percent, that of the middle quintile from 4 to 3.1 percent, and that of the bottom two quintiles from 0.2 to -0.8 percent. ..the share of households with zero or negative net worth, from 18.6 to 24.1 percent."

http://www.federalre...3/200613pap.pdf

Currents and Undercurrents: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989–2004 (a new triennial, SCF, Fed Reserve "Study of Conusmer Finances...will be released shortly after the election...sure to document, even further wealth concentration into the hands of the top ten percent.)

January 30, 2006

Abstract

This paper considers changes in the distribution of the wealth of U.S. families over the 1989–2004 period using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF)...

page 27

...Ownership shares. For some assets, the distributions of the amounts held are far more disproportionate than the differences in ownership rates. MOST STRIKING is the 62.3 percent share of business assets OWNED BY THE WEALTHIEST 1 percent of the wealth distribution in 2004 (table 11a); the NEXT-WEALTHIEST 4 percent OWNED ANOTHER 22.4 percent of the total. Other key items subject to capital gains also show strong disproportions: THE WEALTHIEST 5 PERCENT OF FAMILIES OWNED 61.9 percent of residential real estate other than principal residences, 71.7 percent of nonresidential real estate, and 65.9 PERCENT OF DIRECTLY- AND INDIRECTLY HELD STOCKS. For bonds, 93.7 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL WERE HELD BY THIS GROUP...."

http://pewresearch.o...t-poll-analysis

1789-4.png

http://paul.kedrosky...e.html?mobify=0

Americans Have No Idea About Wealth Inequality in America

By Paul Kedrosky · Wednesday, September 22, 2010

http://www.people.hb...0in%20press.pdf

Building a Better America – One Wealth Quintile at a Time

page 5.

As can be seen in Figure 1, the (unlabeled) United States distribution was far less desirable than both the (unlabeled) Sweden distribution and the equal distribution, with some 92% of Americans preferring the Sweden distribution to the United States. In addition, this overwhelming preference for the Sweden distribution over the United States distribution was robust across gender (Females: 92.7%; Males: 90.6%), preferred candidate in the 2004 election (Bush Voters: 90.2%; Kerry Voters: 93.5%) and income (less than $50,000: 92.1%; $50,001-100,000: 91.7%; more than $100,000: 89.1%). In addition, there was a slight preference for the distribution that resembled Sweden relative to the equal distribution, suggesting that Americans prefer some inequality to perfect equality, but not to the degree currently present in the United States....

http://www.law.uchic...-groups-new.pdf

Group Judgments: Deliberation, Statistical Means, and

Information Markets

Cass R. Sunstein

PDF Page 11.

B. The Condorcet Jury Theorem

The accuracy of judgments of statistical groups is best explained by reference to the Condorcet Jury Theorem.40 To see how the Jury Theorem works, suppose that people are answering a common question with two possible answers, one false and one true, and that the average probability that each voter will answer correctly exceeds 50 percent. The Jury Theorem holds that the probability of a correct answer, by a majority of the group, increases toward certainty as the size of the group increases.41 The importance of the Jury Theorem lies in the demonstration that groups are likely to do better than individuals, and large groups better than small ones, if majority rule is used and if each person is more likely than not to be correct. The last proviso is extremely important. Suppose that each individual in a group is more likely to be wrong than right. If so, the likelihood that the group will decide correctly falls to zero as the size of the group increases...

PDF page 13

C. Errors

In this light, we can identify two situations in which the judgment of a statistical group will be incorrect. The first are those in which group members show a systematic bias. The second are those in which their answers are worse than random. The failures of statistical judgments, in these circumstances, have strong implications for deliberation as well.

1. Bias. A systematic bias in one or another direction will create serious problems for the group's answers. If, for example, an experimenter "anchors" subjects on a misleading number, the median will almost certainly be wrong. Suppose, for example, that a jar contains 800 jelly beans, and the experimenter happens to say, quietly, "many jars of jelly beans, though not necessarily this one, have 500 jelly beans," or even, "I'm asking this question to 250 people."48 In either case, the low number will likely operate as an anchor,49 and people's answers will be systematically biased toward understating the actual number, producing an unreliable mean. One study demonstrates more generally that a group's statistical estimate is likely to be erroneous "when the material is unfamiliar, distorted in a way such that all individuals are prone to make similar errors of estimation."50 The error-producing effects of anchors are simply a special case of this general point. Anchors are undoubtedly at work in deliberating groups as well, although in theory deliberation might reduce their effects. And anchors have significant effects within the legal system. For example, the plaintiff's demand is likely to affect damage awards for harms that are difficult to monetize, and groups are no less subject to those effects than individuals.51 Even judges have been found to be subject to irrelevant anchors,52 and there is every reason to believe that multimember courts would be at least as vulnerable to them as individual judges are.53

http://www.scribd.co...y-Report-Part-1

October 16, 2005

SUMMARY

®The World is dividing into two blocs - the Plutonomy and the rest. The U.S.,

UK, and Canada are the key Plutonomies - economies powered by the wealthy.

Continental Europe (ex-Italy) and Japan are in the egalitarian bloc...

Page 24

Our conclusion? The three levers governments and societies could pull on to end

plutonomy are benign. Property rights are generally still intact, taxation policies neutral

to favorable, and globalization is keeping the supply of labor in surplus, acting as a

brake on wage inflation.

IS THERE A BACKLASH BUILDING?

Plutonomy, we suspect is elastic. Concentration of wealth and spending in the hands of a few, probably has its limits.

What might cause the elastic to snap back? We can see a number of potential challenges to plutonomy.

Thef i r s t, and probably most potent, is through a labor backlash. Outsourcing,

offshoring or insourcing of cheap labor is done to undercut current labor costs. Those

being undercut are losers in the short term. While there is evidence that this is positive

for the average worker (for example Ottaviano and Peri) it is also clear that high-cost

substitutable labor loses.

Low-end developed market labor might not have much economic power, but it does have

equal voting power with the rich. We see plenty of examples of the outsourcing or

offshoring of labor being attacked as"unpatriotic" or plain unfair. This tends to lead to

calls for protectionism to save the low-skilled domestic jobs being lost. This is a cause

championed, generally, by left-wing politicians. At the other extreme, insourcing, or

allowing mass immigration, which might price domestic workers out of jobs, leads to

calls for anti-immigration policies, at worst championed by those on the far right....

...A t h i rd threat comes from the potential social backlash. To use Rawls-ian analysis, the

invisible hand stops working. Perhaps one reason that societies allow plutonomy, is

because enough of the electorate believe they have a chance of becoming a Pluto-

participant. Why kill it off, if you can join it? In a sense this is the embodiment of the

"American dream ". But if voters feel they cannot participate, they are more likely to

divide up the wealth pie, rather than aspire to being truly rich.

Could the plutonomies die because the dream is dead, because enough of society does

not believe they can participate? The answer is of course yes. But we suspect this is a

threat more clearly felt during recessions, and periods of falling wealth, than when

average citizens feel that they are better off. There are signs around the world that

society is unhappy with plutonomy - judging by how tight electoral races are. But as

yet, there seems little political fight being born out on this battleground.

A related threat comes from the backlash to"Robber-barron" economies. The

population at large might still endorse the concept of plutonomy but feel they have lost

out to unfair rules. In a sense, this backlash has been epitomized by the media coverage

and actual prosecution of high-profile ex-CEOs who presided over financial

misappropriation. This"backlash" seems to be something that comes with bull markets

and their subsequent collapse. To this end, the cleaning up of business practice, by high-

profile champions of fair play, might actually prolong plutonomy.

Our overall conclusion is that a backlash against plutonomy is probable at some point.

However, that point is not now. So long as economies continue to grow, and enough of

the electorates feel that they are benefiting and getting rich in absolute terms, even if

they are less well off in relative terms, there is little threat to Plutonomy in the U.S., UK,

etc.

But the balance of power between right (generally pro-plutonomy) and left (generally

pro-equality) is on a knife-edge in many countries. Just witness how close the U.S.

election was last year, or how close the results of the German election were. A collapse

in wealth in the plutonomies, felt by the masses, and/or prolonged recession could easily

raise the prospects of anti-plutonomy policy.

We should at this point make clear that we have no view on whether plutonomies are good or bad,

our analysis here is based on the facts, not what we want society to look like.

HOW TO PLAY PLUTONOMY

So, Plutonomies exist, and explain much of the world's imbalances. There is no such

thing as"The U.S. Consumer" or"UK Consumer", but rich and poor consumers in these

countries, with different savings habits and different prospects. The rich are getting richer;

they dominate spending. Their trend of getting richer looks unlikely to end anytime soon.

How do we make money from this theme? We see two ways....

http://en.wikipedia....Political_views

...Economy and taxes

Cornyn is a cosponsor of the Fair Tax Act of 2007.[28] He voted to permanently repeal the estate tax and for raising the estate tax exemption to $5 million. He voted in favor of $350 billion in tax cuts over 11 years, and supports making President Bush's tax cuts permanent.[20]

Cornyn voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008,Troubled Asset Relief Program TARP, but against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.

http://www.washingto...1501245_pf.html

Final Day of Nomination Hearings: Yawn.

By Dana Milbank

Friday, September 16, 2005

...Lewis's testimony was passionate, poignant -- and pretty much irrelevant to the outcome. Only four of the committee's 18 senators were on hand for much of his testimony; Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) could be seen consulting his wristwatch. Of the 120 seats in the press gallery, 104 were unoccupied. And dozens of seats reserved for the public went unoccupied.

Skipping the final session, committee members Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) gave a news conference outside the hearing room. The pair found themselves talking mostly to camera crews, as a couple of reporters half-listened. "Questions?" Brownback asked.

Nobody replied.

As witnesses gave their views for and against the man who will almost certainly be the next chief justice, one thing was clear: John G. Roberts has no Anita Hill....

...As Democrats proceeded through their final round of questioning, the Republicans did not conceal their boredom. Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) yawned. Brownback closed his eyes and rubbed his brow. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) let out a big yawn and fixed his hair. Five GOP staffers shared a joke, then passed a note to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), who read it, looked over at the Democratic side and chuckled.

As Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) wrapped up his questioning of Roberts, he listed a number of documents he wanted included in the record.

"Mr. Chairman, if those items could be entered in the record?" Feingold asked of Specter.

Silence.

In the chairman's seat, Specter sat, scribbling or doodling, unaware that all eyes were on him to grant the routine request.

"Mr. Chairman?" Feingold said again.

This roused Specter from his reverie. "Yes?" he asked, looking up, and then he finally mustered "Without objection, so ordered."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a stalwart supporter of Roberts, skipped most of the afternoon session. Instead, this distinguished committee member distributed laminated cards labeled "Crying Wolf Bingo" with words such as "Ideologue!" "Partisan!" "Far Right!" "Zealot!" "Extremist!" An accompanying news release chronicled "the sad history of attacks against previous nominees." ....

http://www.dallasnew...n1.4bbb3bb.html

Cornyn to vote against Sotomayor's confirmation

12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, July 25, 2009

"The stakes are too high for me to vote for a nominee who can address all of these issues from a liberal, activist perspective," Cornyn said...

Texas was the epicenter, well actually Dallas, for the extreme right in the 1960's, and as much as I would like to deny it is true, little or nothing has changed.

The most disgusting aspect of the Tea Party/Republican lovefest, was taking a thoroughly rational Obama Administration economic policy, and the Republican's and their media cronies morphing that into a rallying cry for the lowest common denominator.

Economic experts are fairly much in agreement, [unless they work for or are cited by Fox News] that reasonable spending is the biggest single stimulus

to extricating a nation from a "severe recession" the policy the Obama Administration used had even began to see an easing of the unemployment figures

which is confirmation that the measures which had been taken were having a tangible effect.

So, in essence, the Republican's throttled the Democrat's by sensationalizing, and distorting the facts regarding that the Administration was doing the very thing,

economically speaking they were supposed to do, by virtue of sound economic policy.

Unless you think "voodoo economics" was historically proven to be a great success. [Clue; It wasn't]

In essence, the Republican's throttled the Dem's in the Congressional races and the Governor's races, with the Dem's lone victory, if it can even be called that

being the non-election of the most extreme Tea-Party candidates. In reality, the latter is simply a victory of common sense.

And I will not give them the satisfaction of repeating their names.

Many conservatives are in denial about the fact that "new ideas" does not mean "new levels of hate-speech."

If you have heard the latest garbage on the politico's talkshows, the next step is either to impeach Obama. for what, didn't make sense to me, but when did

making sense become a criteria, to "shutting down the government, literally if Obama's health care reform is not overturned."

Which all goes to prove, to some degree, collective "deep-thinking" in America has been going to the sewer for some time now,

Irrespective of ones political affiliation, fostering hate, anger, distrust and a false populism that exists only in the media, isn't a recipe

for Democratic government, but it is a great way to destroy a culture.

Edited by Robert Howard
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Texas was the epicenter, well actually Dallas, for the extreme right in the 1960's, and as much as I would like to deny it is true, little or nothing has changed.

The most disgusting aspect of the Tea Party/Republican lovefest, was taking a thoroughly rational Obama Administration economic policy, and the Republican's and their media cronies morphing that into a rallying cry for the lowest common denominator.

Economic experts are fairly much in agreement, [unless they work for or are cited by Fox News] that reasonable spending is the biggest single stimulus

to extricating a nation from a "severe recession" the policy the Obama Administration used had even began to see an easing of the unemployment figures

which is confirmation that the measures which had been taken were having a tangible effect.

So, in essence, the Republican's throttled the Democrat's by sensationalizing, and distorting the facts regarding that the Administration was doing the very thing,

economically speaking they were supposed to do, by virtue of sound economic policy.

Unless you think "voodoo economics" was historically proven to be a great success. [Clue; It wasn't]

In essence, the Republican's throttled the Dem's in the Congressional races and the Governor's races, with the Dem's lone victory, if it can even be called that

being the non-election of the most extreme Tea-Party candidates. In reality, the latter is simply a victory of common sense.

And I will not give them the satisfaction of repeating their names.

Many conservatives are in denial about the fact that "new ideas" does not mean "new levels of hate-speech."

If you have heard the latest garbage on the politico's talkshows, the next step is either to impeach Obama. for what, didn't make sense to me, but when did

making sense become a criteria, to "shutting down the government, literally if Obama's health care reform is not overturned."

Which all goes to prove, to some degree, collective "deep-thinking" in America has been going to the sewer for some time now,

Irrespective of ones political affiliation, fostering hate, anger, distrust and a false populism that exists only in the media, isn't a recipe

for Democratic government, but it is a great way to destroy a culture.

You are right Robert that the only way out of this crisis is by increased public spending. UK currently has a government that is making massive cuts to public spending. It will not work of course. You only have to look at Ireland to see what happens when you do that. Their problems now are so great that they seem to be doomed. The cutting of public spending in other countries is making it so difficult for Obama's policies to work.

Do we have any supporters of the Tea Party on the Forum? I would be very interested in hearing how their economic policies would work?

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john,

the tea party doesn't have an economic policy. they ran on the phrase, "out of control spending." but they never make a simple declarative statement of how much spending has increased. local letters to the editor always talked about the deficit, sometimes getting the debt and deficit mixed up, never quantifying the drop in tax revenues because of the recession, or the component in the stimulus that was a tax cut, which conservatives say they always approve. these are dark times!

there is populist anger, jobs seem to be on a long downward trend. the conditions for a popular protest are there. the democrats do not seem to be a different party than the republicans when it comes to financial regulation, war-making, or the mechanics of government. these are the real problems, and the democrats seem to want to pick off relatively minor issues. so in my view, you have a party in power which deserves to be thrown out. however the anger is out of proportion to their actual misdeeds. and i think that should be placed squarely on the right wing gasbags, limbaugh, beck, drudge, and a whole army of others. the propaganda that is going on unchecked is vicious and immoral. its a political assassination of a different kind.

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john,

the tea party doesn't have an economic policy. they ran on the phrase, "out of control spending." but they never make a simple declarative statement of how much spending has increased. local letters to the editor always talked about the deficit, sometimes getting the debt and deficit mixed up, never quantifying the drop in tax revenues because of the recession, or the component in the stimulus that was a tax cut, which conservatives say they always approve. these are dark times!

there is populist anger, jobs seem to be on a long downward trend. the conditions for a popular protest are there. the democrats do not seem to be a different party than the republicans when it comes to financial regulation, war-making, or the mechanics of government. these are the real problems, and the democrats seem to want to pick off relatively minor issues. so in my view, you have a party in power which deserves to be thrown out. however the anger is out of proportion to their actual misdeeds. and i think that should be placed squarely on the right wing gasbags, limbaugh, beck, drudge, and a whole army of others. the propaganda that is going on unchecked is vicious and immoral. its a political assassination of a different kind.

I was reading yesterday that China is the main holder of American bonds. What impact is this having on the economic policies of the US?

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