Meet The Two-Stage Snowblower Of Logic And Analysis

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.


26 thoughts on “Meet The Two-Stage Snowblower Of Logic And Analysis

  1. On the original article, Dave was put in his place pretty well by both comments he received. They pointed out that his “analysis” was economically ignorant. His next post should really be titled “No, I Don’t Understand Economics”.

  2. Liberals aren’t good at this kind of analysis, because, well, they don’t use analysis. I could assemble a similar list that ‘proves’ that businesses do better under GOP administrations than they do under democrat administrations.
    The cause of the boom of the 1990’s was low oil prices, not Clinton’s tax rates or policies.

  3. If you decide to go over to Mindeman’s piece, be sure to read the comment slagging Mitch about his Springsteen series. You’ll recognize the author.

  4. The problem is he thinks profit statistics are proof when they’re simply evidence to be weighed against other evidence, such as tax rates and regulatory uncertainty. But he doesn’t understand any of that and neither do his readers so they howl in frustration when you don’t agree with them.

    Pearls before swine, Mitch. Give it up.

  5. So you were wondering what businesses with all that stored up cash would do with it in the face of the fiscal cliff and Obamacare? Well Costco decided to pay out $3 Billion to it’s stockholders (of record 12/10 – you still have time) ahead of the end of the year. In fact, Costco isn’t just paying out cash it has on hand – it’s borrowing money to contribute to this payout. Since this will be subject to current rates (of 15% instead of possibly >39%), the actual tax impact on the shareholders will be lower now than next year. Due to moves like this, next years higher rates will, as usual, net much less tax revenue than forecast.
    Now, if you are a Lefty and you are thinking that it’s just a bunch of rich white guys (like Miss Ann’s husband) trying to shaft our brilliant, brave, uber-hip young President and his plans to reduce the deficit – you’d be right. The only problem with your narrative is that mostly this benefits Costco’s founder and CEO as well as his handpicked board. These folks gave sh**tons of money to the DNC and Obama and the CEO himself spoke at the recent Democrat Nat’l Convo.
    See wingnuts – you got to play the game: You got to say that you don’t mind having you’re tax rates increased while all along you’re keeping all that money for yourself.

  6. Look, if you use the ‘corelation is causation’, ‘Mindeman method’ of determining the truth, you’d end up believing that black people cause crime and that aids is caused by being gay.
    You all have no idea how thick these people are. Here is a post by Dog Gone about the evils of ‘scientific racism’:
    Dog Gone believes that homosexual behavior is a result of being born gay. She literally can not comprehend that there is a link between believing that core human identity and behavior are congenital, and believing in racism — which is the belief that core human identity and behavior is congenital.

    For a bonus, in the article she cites Wikipedia as an authoritative source.

  7. I wonder if Davey boy knows that the states with the biggest number of tax loopholes, all went DemocRAT?

  8. Earlier today, BH429, I was listening to regime approved NPR when they did a story on how the evil Rethuglicans were putting forth the idea that elimination of deductions and capping maximum deductions would bring in more money than simply soaking the 2%. After conceding that, yes, the Rethug plan would bring in more money than the White House’s rate raising, they went on to create a hypothetical (hypothetical because no Republican has offered it) where deductions would be capped at $25,000 per year (Romney spitballed a 50K cap in one of the debates). Then we in the audience were introduced to a Ventura, CA firefighter. Our brave first responder has >40K in deductions and this hypothetical 25K cap would hit him and his family hard. Democrats are fighting to keep deduction loopholes like deducting your state/local income tax and mortgage interest because they know if these go away in their high state/local income tax, high property tax blue states, they’ll need to consult with Berlin on how to build a wall around the state to keep the productive class from streaming through the exits.

  9. Let me expand on my last comment.
    If you believe that some human behaviors — like sexual behavior — are in-born, there is no reason to believe that other behaviors that humans exhibit are not in-born, and there is also no reason to believe that any of these in-born behaviors are as innocuous as Dog Gone believes homosexuality to be.
    If you can be born with a sexual attraction to members of your own sex, or both sexes, it is reasonable to believe that other sexual behaviors, such as pedophilia, are also in-born, and that other, non-sexual behaviors are also in-born — behaviors like preferring theft to buying things, laziness to work, or lying to honesty.
    It was the belief that human behavior was in-born that led to the adoption of the ‘scientific racism’ of the progressive era that she pretends to despise.

  10. I can tell you’re very new to this area of science. Maybe you should read up a little before sharing further insights.

  11. Psychology is an academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of mental functions and behaviors.

  12. What an odd definition, Emery! Involving scientific study does not make a discipline a science, and more than painting is a science because it involves the scientific study of light. Psychology is one of the humanities, it attempts to codify value judgments.

  13. And perhaps you should study beyond the first sentence of the Wikipedia definition of Psychology.
    I mean at least you could click through to the APA definition foot noted – “Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental health care services, “the understanding of behavior” is the enterprise of psychologists.”
    But hey, wasn’t this thread about causation and correlation regarding how well the economy does when a Democrat is President versus when a Republican is President?

  14. “And perhaps you should study beyond the first sentence of the Wikipedia definition of Psychology..” Pffft. Emery illustrates what it’s like to wander around all day waiting for someone to tell you what to say, think and do.

    That is to say, thanks for the peek into a day in the life of a barking moonbat.

  15. I’m sorry, but did I hear either one of you mention you were a licensed Psychologist or a trained medical professional?

    I certainly don’t claim to be one….

  16. Well, I did contribute a critique of the ‘corelation equals causation’ foundation of Mindeman’s argument.
    But, to go even further off-topic, there is a definite tendency on the part of liberals to cloak themselves in the robe of science. This in spite of the fact that so few them know anything about science (I’m not speaking of Emery, here). Somebody needs to explain to them that psychology isn’t a science — and economics isn’t a science either.

  17. “I certainly don’t claim to be one….”
    But your comment above – “I can tell you’re very new to this area of science. Maybe you should read up a little before sharing further insights.” – beyond the raw condescension, was certainly an appeal to authority, that you had knowledge beyond the other commenters (Terry) understanding of correlation and causation in the nature of homosexuality.
    Your word for word copying of the 1st sentence of the Wikipedia definition of Psychology demonstrated your ability to wiki (or google or yahoo or as well as your cutting and pasting skills but didn’t give the reader any sense that you understood the subject matter any better than the other commenter – at least well enough to make the condescending comment you made.
    “I’m sorry, but did I hear either one of you mention you were a licensed Psychologist or a trained medical professional?” As much as I appreciate a good old fashioned passive-aggressive walk back, I’ll simply point out you and I and others are merely commenters on a weblog (ahem, albeit a regionally prominent one, Mr. Berg) and that makes us merely a small grade above radio talk show callers if only because we aren’t required stay on hold for an hour to say a 30 second piece.

  18. Pingback: In the spirit of bipartisanship

  19. A good place to start is with the APA’s info page on homosexuality:
    Notice they do not say that homosexual orientation is congenital or that it cannot change or be changed.
    towards the bottom of the page the APA gets into question-begging:

    Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding. Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder.

    If normal is defined as ‘Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras.’
    Than rape, spousal abuse, and animal cruelty are all ‘normal’ behaviors.

  20. Emery,

    Before you get too far down the rabbit hole, Terry is literally a rocket scientist. While I’m loathe to argue via an appeal to authority, quibble at your peril.

    My job involves a *lot* of formal applied experimental and cognitive psych. No license, but I know what the field is and is not.

    And a hard science it is not.

  21. I’m not a rocket scientist! I am a telescope operator! I can calculate orbits and precess celestial coordinates, however. And occasionally I FIRE A GIANT LASER AT THE BLACK HOLE AT THE CENTER OF OUR GALAXY!!! LOL!!
    It sounds like this:
    Me: East side spotter, I’d like permission to propagate at az 145, el 42.
    Laser spotter (over radio static): You are clear to propagate in that direction.
    Me: Roger that . . . stand by . . . laser propagating . . . laser is on the wavefront sensor . . . closing loops . . . okay, loops are closed, return is steady at 9.5.

    Then I turn it over to the real rocket scientists.

  22. Chemical engineer with libertarian leanings.

    Mr. Berg should offer a playbill with his own humorous take on the proceedings.

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