El_Borak (Bill Hoyt)


Comment history

Audit finds 'chronic weaknesses' in state agencies protecting confidential information

I suspect that Anonymous would have found a lot more.

December 11, 2013 at 7:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Food stamp funds

"There are very few good reasons to show historical spending comparisons without correcting for inflation."

One of them would be that it doesn't make the slightest difference to my argument. You can look at either chart, and either one will tell you that the last few years are way out of 'normal' for the program. The numbers show a spike in the chart either way, and in either chart, a 'draconian' 5% cut will turn the clocks back to that fateful year of 2012, when this fair city was a virtual Ethiopia, complete with swollen-bellied children in the streets and Eric Cartman complaining about insect repellent.

Now, the fact that your demand for inflation-adjusted numbers made no difference to my argument also means that your hand-waving and hurrumphing is merely a distraction, not a response. If you had numbers that showed that my argument was incorrect (much less dishonest) you would have shared them rather than Barbara complaining that my numbers were not manipulated and Mropus complaining that they were.

I talked to the numbers about that and they said it was ok; they're used to people not liking them on first meeting. But they do hope that in the future they'll have a chance to be your friends and hope that over time, you both will grow to trust them even though they feel it necessary to share an unpleasant truth now and again.

December 11, 2013 at 7:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Food stamp funds

"...a chart that shows all of them and adjusts for inflation" Here you go.

Now, as I was saying, "Look at those monster cuts!" The funny thing is that in adjusting it for inflation, the chart makes the last 5 years' explosion look even bigger proportionally, especially since it's up another 7% (5.5b) this year. It also shows that it has been rising almost unabated since 2001. If I recall, 2001 to 2008 were not known for their high unemployment. But I might just be misremembering.

But if one wishes to look for intellectual dishonesty, it can be found exactly where the expiration of a temporary increase is called a cut. That's on the order of saying that your boss gave you a salary cut in January because he did not renew your Christmas bonus that month.


December 11, 2013 at 3:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Food stamp funds

Ok, so I'm right that we should not adjust the chart for inflation where it goes boom (besides, the 30 year trend line reflects inflation just fine). And I'm right that there were expansions in eligibility due to recent changes in the law. I suspect I'm also right that there have been no real cuts, much less that Congress has "not renewed the SNAP program" as the letter writer alleged.

My entire argument is this: the allegation of draconian cuts is rubbish in light of the fact that the program has doubled in 6 years, and has increased at a rate far higher than any time in its life.

If you can find something dishonest in that, I suspect you brought it with you.

December 11, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Food stamp funds

Ah, yes, the old "hatefacts" argument - I don't like your numbers so here's a list of all the things they don't say.

We don't need to include inflation when looking at the 2009-2012 fiscal years - after all, our government tells us inflation is contained (ask any SocSec recipient about their adjustment this year). So let's not adjust them. Unadjusted numbers put the lie to the sob story that these programs are being gutted. The assertion is not remotely true.

The red line is the 30 year moving average - what some might call "its previous level." In fact, if we took the letter writer's advice, we might halve the program. Or more.

What has actually happened is that the program has gone from $30 million to almost $80 million in 6 years. Most of that is because of a temporary Stimulus package adjustment. But I suppose there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.

The thing I most enjoyed, however, was Mr. Wan's assertion that these numbers include "chart and data manipulation." I find it so amusing because the main thing you have accused me of is not manipulating it at all.

December 11, 2013 at 11:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Food stamp funds

"Urge them to restore food stamp funding to its previous level."

Look at these monster cuts!


December 10, 2013 at 4:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Sebelius a finalist for Time Person of Year

Snowden ought to be a shoe-in.

However, if Brenda Landwehr is really looking for someone 'less deserving' of Person of the Year than our former governor, she might try a mirror.

December 10, 2013 at 4:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: Sharing the wealth not a radical idea

John Graham: "Can't have it both ways, we need money for programs but then say the programs don't help [or] aren't accessible as you allude to in your first sentence."

But they MUST have it both ways. It is the same reasons they do not count non-cash income as income for purposes of poverty measurement. By their own numbers, anti-poverty programs do nothing to alleviate poverty. This is why there needs to be more anti-poverty programs. That by their own numbers accomplish nothing.

But the big issue you have hit on here is absolutely the most important one when it comes to dealing with long-term, chronic poverty: either the poor have choices or they do not. Either the poor can do something to allay their poverty, or they cannot. The excuse-makers will argue that there is nothing the poor can do to help themselves, then complain that the poor feel helpless. Of course they feel helpless: the poverty industry has been telling them for 50 years that they ARE helpless. In excusing the poor from responsibility, any responsibility, they have hamstrung the poor. Is it any wonder the poor are frustrated, alienated, and angry?

As Charles Hugh Smith recently <a href='http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2013/12/americas-excuse-book-take-your-choice.html'>wrote</a>: <b>"Yes, there are injustices and imbalances of power and wealth that we collectively need to remedy. But the way to do that is to embrace fact, responsibility, choice, consequence and thrift rather than deny those realities in favor of a false dichotomy of victim and non-victim."</b>

So long as we tell the poor there is nothing they can do, they will do nothing. Except die at 50 of congestive heart failure with a bag of chips in one hand and Days of Our Lives blaring on the TV.

December 8, 2013 at 2:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: Sharing the wealth not a radical idea

"...there is pretty good evidence for the benefits of tying the minimum wage to some kind of a cost of living index..."

What raising the MinWage means is that any person whose labor is worth less than the MinWage becomes unemployable. Consensus - especially one as politicized as that of economists - should be ignored when reality speaks.

MinWage is not unlike a price control that raises milk to $10 a gallon. A rational consumer will buy less milk at that price than if it cost $3 at Aldi. A rational employer will buy less labor at a politicized price as well.

If you want to know why the youth and black unemployment rate is higher than any other group, this is why: those with no skills or experience can seldom provide enough value to be hired at the current, politically-established rate. Raise the rate higher and you further reduce the number of youth who will be hired. This is not rocket science.

Liberals love the idea of a "Living Wage," some subjective, ever-rising number that they think those without real skills deserve. What they ignore is that numbers have meaning: those without skills and experience - also known as the poor and needy - are necessarily denied employment by liberals' labor price controls.

So who treats the poor with real respect, the one who offers him a job at a low wage with the opportunity to advance via accumulated skills and experience, or the one who says, "Unless your labor is worth $X, you shall have no job"?

December 6, 2013 at 3:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )