Last week, I addressed a Dave Mindeman post about the DFL whose highlight was Mindeman saying, essentially, “the beatings will continue until morale improves, and you’ll like it!”.
Well, no – his idea was the business has nothing to fear from DFL hegemony in the state. We can debate that – indeed, we will – but in fact the bulk of my critique had more to do with his claim that business does better when Democrats are in charge. It’s just not true.
Mindeman responded last week with a post entitled, presumably with no irony intended, “Answering Mitch Berg with a Blizzard of Facts“.
The “unintended irony” bit is because most of the flakes in his “blizzard” that aren’t utterly irrelevant or non-sequiturs reinforce my point, and undercut his and, more importantly, the DFL’s and the lefty establishment’s (for whom Mindeman is a reliable crier).
Example: He pointed out the liberal meme that “the economy does better when Democrats are in the White House”. I responded that while that is “true”, it’s also dependent on macroeconomic context that goes way beyond the sitting President’s party. Here – check that part out for yourself:
So when Mindeman writes…:
1. According to McGraw-Hill’s S&P Capital IQ, the S&P 500 has rallied an average of 12.1% per year since 1901 when Democrats occupy the White House, compared with just 5.1% for the GOP.
2. Gross domestic product has increased 4.2% each year since 1949 when Democrats run the executive branch, versus 2.6% under Republicans.
3. S&P 500 GAAP earnings per share climbed a median of 10.5% per year since 1936 during Democratic administrations, besting an 8.9% median advance under Republicans, S&P said.
Again, as I pointed out, there was more to it than just the “D” or the “R” attached to the guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The “Blizzard of Fact” completely dodges the important part – all that inconvenient context. It merely piles data together to repeat a flawed thesis.
(And data from before 1933 is both irrelevant – the economy was fundamentally different before The New Deal – and a bit of a red herring, since there really was only one Democrat president between 1901 and 1933, the loathsome Woodrow Wilson, whose economy “benefitted” from massive wartime deficit spending).
Mindeman seems to have learned “fact checking” from the “Dog Gone” liberal obedience school: Google some figures, print ’em, and huff derisively at the fools one must suffer. To be fair, it’s all one needs among leftybloggers.
But Dave’s not at the 331 Club anymore. He goes on:
And just in case Mr. Berg wants to highlight Obama’s tenure….
A. Corporate profits have surged an average of 51.8% under Obama, the best out of any stretch of party control since 1933, S&P said.
Sounds good, right?
Except it’s not because business is banging along on eight cylinders. It’s because businesses are sitting on their cash. They’re laying off workers, and outsourcing jobs. They are not investing in new plants, new products and new hires.
Mindeman’s factoid seems to support his thesis – but if you look at the context behind the figure, you find it supports mine.
B. The S&P 500 has also climbed an average of 12.3% each year since Obama’s inauguration, far outpacing the 3.3% mean return for his predecessor.
Asked and answered. Businesses are sitting on cash. As noted over and over by pundits on both sides of the aisle, they took the bailout money and put it into CDs. They’re outsourcing. They’re getting leaner, and buckling in for a rough ride. They are not expanding; they are sitting tight, tightening payrolls, paring back expenses, blowing out inventory.
That translates into booming profits – but not because business is healthy, thriving and growing. Or has Mr. Mindeman not noticed the unemployment rate?
And just in case you question my sources… they all come from Fox Business News…an analysis from September 4, 2012.
Well, that’s great.
Unfortunately, they do nothing to change the fact that Mindeman’s thesis – that economies do better, historically, under Democrats than Republicans, is only true on the most superficial level possible – a correlation between numbers and dates that ignores causation. And, notwithstanding the unearned condescension…:
But facts never settle anything for conservatives.
…still ignores it.
Note to Dave Mindeman; your “blizzard” did nothing to address any of the historical or macroeconomic context behind the numbers; the fact that from 1945 to 1970, we were the world’s only functional export economy; the fact that some of the greatest shocks to the economy happened to occur during GOP administrations – the 1953 and 1958 Recessions, the Oil Embargo, Reagan’s sweating out of stagflation, the transition after the Cold War, the Dotbomb and 9/11 recession, the Subprime Mortgage collapse, none of which (except the 1982 constriction) had anything to do with Republican policy, or indeed, presidential politics of any stripe.
It was less a “blizzard” than a drizzle of non-sequiturs; a rhetorical version of yelling “pay no attention to the history behind that curtain!”.
And saying “conservatives aren’t convinced by facts” is a cozy bit of name-calling – but the fact (!) is, facts without analysis and context are just…well, snow.
I don’t mean to be too hard on Mindeman. He’s one of the small cadre of Twin Cities’ leftybloggers that doesn’t deserve to be under police surveillance. Leaving the pro forma condescension aside, the guy actually tries to debate. Kudos to him.
But here are some bonus questions:
If business does so well under liberal Democrat rule, then…:
- Why is Paul Krugman’s wet-dream state California floating toward the surface, its belly slowly rotating toward the sky, with a private sector that is leaving the state as fast as moving trucks can be secured?
- Ditto Illinois, which seems, more than any other, to be the state the MN DFL most idolizes? It’s taxes are among the country’s highest, and its debt is out of control, and it is collapsing bit by bit.
- Indeed, why are 9 of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment not only run by GOP governors, but have fundamentally GOP cultures – while most of the worst performers are Democrat (or southern Republican, which have plenty of other problems that have little to do with politics)?
- You say unemployment isn’t the sole arbiter of economic heath? OK – how about business climate? Eight of Forbes’ top ten states for business climate are Republican (and mostly the ones with the low unemployment). Eight of the bottom 10 are run by Democrats (Alaska is mostly Federal property and a hard place to do business; Mississippi is a basket case no matter who runs it).
- But if you’ve read my blog, you know that states are rarely purely culturally and politically Democrat. Like the rest of the nation, even “blue” states are mostly like Minnesota – Democrat-clogged urban cores surrounded by red. OK – every one of Manpower’s 10 Worst Cities to Find a Job” is Democrat, as are all of 24/7 Wall Street’s Worst-Run Cities in America. Detroit, Newark, Chicago, Camden, Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, Cleveland, Toledo, Philadelphia, Sacramento – all have for generations been Democrat sinecures; all are collapsing, all are miserable business environments – entirely due to generations of Democrat policies.
Mindeman concludes, more or less, by saying he believes business will benefit from DFL control. It’s a faith-based statement. And that’s fine; one can cheerlead one’s team as much as they want.
But judged against actual evidence viewed in meaningful, complete context, it’s pretty clear that’s all that it is.
Nope. No blizzard here. No need to even button your jacket.