This Op-Ed by Karl Rove seems pretty ironic

“Karl Rove: Obama’s Campaign Will Take the Low Road”

“He will distort beyond recognition his opponent’s arguments. For example, he explained to news executives at the AP that Republicans want to “convert more of our investments in education and research and health care into tax cuts—especially for the wealthy.” Actually, no one has suggested that.”

Err… so Karl Rove is criticizing Obama because Rove speculates that Obama will use the low handed tactic of making speculations about his opponent in the election? Thanks, Karl Rove.

No kidding, sounds to me like Obama is using Rove’s playbook. Why doesn’t Rove just say it, “He’s stealing all my good ideas and not playing nice guy anymore.”

BREAKING NEWS: Campaigns, both Republican and Democrat, distort the truth.

Carry on.

Film at 11.

It’s tough to follow politicians you admire around elections. The system forcing them to do and say things that they probably don’t agree with (what in the world was Obama thinking with his supreme court comments). The problem is when they don’t do this and speak from the heart they simply don’t get elected (see Ron Paul, Howard Dean, Goldwater, etc). So we’re faced with trying to figure out what’s really in these guys and gals hearts and analyzing individual sound bites to determine if they really feel that way or are they just saying these things to placate the crazies in their base.

Obama is one of the few Democratic politicians who has been masterful about controlling the message. The fact that Rove has to complain says everything.

As in he doesn’t have one?

Right now, his message is that he represents the “middle class”, whatever that is.

The middle class is the people who do all the mid-level jobs in Asia that used to be done in the United States.

Obama’s representing the people who are basically obsolete because they are expensive and not as talented as the rest of the world and feel really sorry about it.

Working in Asia, as I do, I am really inspired by people who bootstrap themselves here in spite of a corrupt, unfair, and a highly competitive system. They do this without having a 10th of the resources of your average US student or worker.

Then we got the “US Middle-Class” which is anti-intellectual, feels self-entitled, and is unwilling to work to try and make themselves marketable in the 21st century. Instead what they want is benefits like a government bureacrat.

Ultimately, this is a culture issue and I’m fairly certain that if we allow ourselves to have a culture of mediocrity we will head towards a socialist system and slowly erode our competive advantage.

In life, you plan your course in your teens and 20s and then you have to live with your choices in your 30s 40s and beyond. If you are fortunate, you will have some opportunity to make course corrections at later points, but in many ways, your future is the result of bets you make in your 20s based on undeveloped perspectives and incomplete information about the world.

It’s not all about how there are 200 million people who were used to getting reasonably paid jobs that didn’t require enormous amounts of skill, but could raise a family on that money. When they were growing up, before the internet, before massive outsourcing, etc., this was a reasonable expectation, based on what the world looked like to them at the time.

Now it’s true that they can’t just sit there and say “waaah, but I want the same deal that dad got, but better,and without any work,” but, let’s be realistic… what is it that they can do? It takes several years and a lot of money to train a bioengineer, and it’s going to be hard to get tens or hundreds of thousands of auto workers to turn into computer programmers and bioengineers.

On the other hand, it is disingenuous to say, well, you were stupid and whatever fate you receive is your fault and don’t come looking for help from anyone. Even though your dad was able to raise a middle class family on a high school education, you should have been able to foresee the the internet and outsourcing and decided you were going to be a high-tech energy developer instead of going into what had worked for your family for decades.

And look, it doesn’t even help to be smart. I was arguing with economists over the last decade about how I couldn’t see how the changes in global structure were going to provide employment for large fractions of the US labor force. Their answer: “well, the economy will find other productive uses for these people, and we’ll all be better off. Besides (this was about 7 years ago) look at how great the employment and economy are now. It’s all good!”

But I’m not at all convinced that this redeployment that the theory describes is really going to happen. And if it does, it will take the better part of a decade to do it, and it will destroy many family balance sheets in the process, and many will simply never recover. Some people will get retrained for new industries, but what industries are those going to be, exactly? A lot of people are simply not going to be able to adapt. More likely, we will adapt by having a substantial portion of the labor force die off or take substantially lower-quality jobs, possibly lower quality because they are mismatched to their skill sets. I understand the economic logic behind it and feel that to some extent it is not really preventable, but it seems wrong just to throw people under the train just because they happened to be born or educated at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think the OWS movement gains a lot of its traction out of the idea that the winners in the curent system tell the losers that they themselves are to blame for their losses. It’s not the growing inequality, the degree of fraud, the TBTF dynamic and rules that get written to produce socialism for the rich, and survival of the nastiest for the poor. There are certainly aspects where some people have contributed to their own downfall, but there is a smugness to much of the 1% that smacks of the attitude of the French aristocracy in 1789 (which, as someone pointed out, I am old enough to remember). And it could end a similar way too (though I don’t think that’s the most likely outcome).

One thing that I think may help is to devalue the currency, through QE or inflation, or whatnot. Doing this starts to make the US worker more attractive internationally, and may help to trigger employment and redeployment. I think there need to be major fiscal incentives to do retraining, and perhaps some kind of program where businesses can define what they need higher quality workers for and so the retraining budgets are actually deployed by the private sector, even if they are to a great extent financed through grants, loans, or tax credits. This would allow the economy to determine the type of retraining that is required but the government to help expedite the process by lowering the up-front costs. Targeting small businesses that employ US citizens and residents would be key.

These kinds of programs always attract some leeches that discover ways to milk whatever rule-set is determined, but it is probably more important to get the bulk of something like this done and try to find a way to audit for the leeches and cheats.

The world is full of low hanging fruit. Anyone with an ounce of desire and energy can figure out how to go out and make some decent money. The problem is that people frequently just don’t care enough in the US, I argue because they aren’t hungry enough.

Seriously, come to Asia. You will see people hustling to make cash day in day out and succeeding. Many of them will have no formal education. Some will be begging, but they will make more money than your average wage slave. It’s not always pretty but these people have incentives.

You will also see people that just wanna sit and do nothing. These people do jobs like, “push the button in the elevator man.” Unfortunately, most government employees fall under this category. E.G.

I don’t think we should kow-tow to those type of people. Even if its gonna hurt we need to push people to innovate and hustle.

It does suck for people that got made obsolete by the internet and I do get their frustration. But really, they ought to just put their nose to the grindstone and figure out the next greener pasture rather than whining about how they no longer get the exact same good deal they had to begin with.

I grew up in Hartford, CT, formerly an important city for Insurance and tech, that essentially died around the time I was born. The place is filled with people who like to bitch in moan about the “good old days” and how outsourcing took away their jobs etc.

It is all true, and maybe economically speaking it was the wrong thing to do for America in spite of Ricardo Barro. I’ve got no fucking clue, I’m no economist. My guess is that Barro was right but that he didn’t imagine how lazy people in the 21st century could afford to be thanks to modern agriculture and technology.

My solution to growing up in a shitty place with little opportunity was simple. When I grew up, I moved to a place where there is opportunity. I didn’t sit around and wait for the good old days to come back. I didn’t drown my sorrows in PBR and cable television wishing the union were still strong. That’s how I am always confident that there will always be a job for people like me. I’m flexible, I’ll learn something new, and do that.

Yeah, definitely feel worse for the bums in SE asia than the bums in NE america.

Not sure what Tikka’s experience, but my experience has been that for most of the US, particularly in the urban areas, that the ambitious greatly outnumber the lazy. Sure the lazy are the ones politicians highlight and rightwingers complain about as they sit on their asses blaming the “Overbearing and Obtrusive Government” for never having made anything with their lives – as if they would be rich if it wasn’t for head start or school lunch programs.

The US will be just fine. The undemployment rate is 3 percent points above historic averages and dropping fast (a level most countries in the world could only dream of) not bad considering what we’ve just been through. Those who don’t want to work chose to live a shitty life, what gov’t provides to these people is just enough to keep them off the streets and tucked away in dark corners out of the public eye.

The US will be ok. How many billions (trillions?) of dollars are Facebook, Google, Apple, etc. going to get from other countries over the next decade? Most of these didn’t even exist 20 years ago. Sure, there are a bunch of 40-year-old people who only know how to build cars or something like that. But it’s not like these industries are going to collapse overnight. It will take like 20 to 30 years - enough time for everyone to get old and retire. Normal young people (that is, not Zuckerberg) of the future have tons of job opportunities that were not available to past generations. For instance, gym trainers, computer game designers, e-commerce, or anything in alternative energy. Other jobs, like journalism, are much easier to get into today due to the internet. People write more today than in any past period.

I’m sure people in every period were afraid of change. I bet people thought the US would starve when all the farmers went to work in factories in the late 1800s. That didn’t happen, right?

America will be ok. Americans, maybe not.

But, forunately, 50 years from now, it will all look like a smooth transition, because the winners write history, and the losers will be gone. What will have transpired will be understood as “what had to transpire,” because we lack the imagination to think things could be different.

Americans do work hard, no doubt about that. I just think it should stay that way. We need to sustain our competitive advantage through innovation, which comes with incentives, and not turn ourselves into a big socialist bureacracy where everyone just waits for their next government pay check.

Can you imagine how screwed the US would be if China or India could out innovate and create better brands than the US? It would be an utter disaster. This is exactly what both countries are trying to do. Fortunately for Americans this hasn’t happened yet.

If we lose our competitive advantage in tech and innovation we will end up having to work in factories like foxconn making smartphones for the chinese. I’d much rather create incentives for people at companies like Apple to work in the US and outsource those crappy jobs somewhere far away.

Why would China or India innovation would be bad for the US? Is Google bad for China? Is cell phone technology bad for India? No, if China or India started developing super technology, they will just become super rich. The types of industries in each country might change. For instance, the US might regain some competitive advantage in factory manufacturing, and rich Chinese and Indians will pay the high wages of US factory workers. Sure, the US might not be the richest country any more, but why should that matter?

I know the free trader in all of us wants to say that this would be good for the world economy as a whole, and it probably would be as that comparative advantage exercise tells us. I still don’t think it would be good for America.

if America was no longer out innovating and attracting the smartest best people and lets say that China was then we can assume that America would lose power and control. Other countries would not pay us the massive premiums that they do for our technology that no other country formerly could compete with.

Look at defense companies for example. The end all be all of any strong economic power is a superior army. If the US ceases to have the best weapons and defense technology then who will buy them? Furthermore, whoever has better defense would essentially be able to bend America to their will.

I can’t think of any other reason why we spend so much on military when we have neighbors like Canada and Mexico,which do not pose much threat of invasion.

The US spends a lot on military because the core of US FP is built around having a military that is vastly superior to any other nation. Needless to say that’s going to be more and more difficult in the years ahead, and I think countries have started to plan for a world that doesn’t have US supremacy.

Other nations developing tech from an economic perspective is not a threat to the US, but from the strategic POV, it unquestionably is.

I don’t think the weapons example is necessarily right. Tons of people buy Kalashikovs and Russian and (I believe) Chinese weapons because they don’t need the very best; they just need something that can kill reasonably well (You can argue that the Kalashnikov is the best for their particular needs, perhaps; the things are incredibly durable and resiliant).

But, there is an important issue, which is that the US, for better or worse, does use its military to maintain the existing international political and economic order, which also means free trade and resolving all sorts of resource conflicts. There’s of course a lot of criticism about how the US actually does this and that it perhaps abuses the advantages that US military superiority gives us in the world, but as hegemonic powers go, it does seem that the US (particularly the post-cold-war US) is one of the most begnign hegemons we’ve ever encountered in history.

If the US loses its military hegemony (which may well happen if it loses the economic productivity required to sustain it), what replaces it? There are really three possible answers. The first is that a rising China will take over. The second is that some unwieldy council like NATO+Russians might handle it (except that there’s no economic policy for NATO, but perhaps there can be a parallel body for that). The third is that we basically go back to a balance of power or even quasi-anarchic system, which is exceedingly dangerous in an age of biological and small nuclear weapons.

To some extent, the decline of US hegemony (though not necessarily the US in absolute terms), seems inevitable, but none of the options above sound all that attractive. China is neither willing or ready to take over, and I don’t think the world is ready for Chinese values and political principles to drive the world order; a global NATO will be prone to incessant bickering and muddling, not unlike what we see in Europe today. Anarchy is disaster waiting to happen.