Ho hum

Clinton unveiled a decidedly progressive agenda, listing a bevy of issues on which she pledged to lay out specific proposals in the coming weeks. Among the issues she mentioned were paid sick and family leave, equal pay, improving infrastructure, college affordability, raising the minimum wage, reforming Wall Street and fighting climate change.

Rather why I hate her. she doesn’t actually have any ideas. Instead, an aide reads what the progressives are saying on Twitter and that’s what the policies will be in the primaries. Come the election itself a tack to what everyone is saying on Twitter.

And that’s it. There’s not going to be a single surprise in this campaign at all. No original ideas. Nowt.

32 thoughts on “Ho hum”

  1. It really is a “down with that sort of thing” and “Good things for all” campaign, isn’t it.

  2. Whereas the Republican nominee will just follow their conscience, completely ignoring what conservative voters, fox news and rich donors want? Ho hum.

  3. None of them have any original ideas – not even Rand, though at least his (and to a lesser extent, Walker’s) position is to try something other than doubling down on the same things we’ve been doing that have been shown to not work at all.

    The rest are just variations on what politicians have been spouting for decades – more government, more control of daily life, more war, more taxing, more spending.

    The closest any of them come to having *principles* though, are Rand, Walker, and *shudder* Sanders.

    The rest are just picking positions to ‘distinguish them from the pack’ (that, strangely enough, *all* involve more war, more regulation, etc just like their rivals) and will blow in the prevailing winds like a flag.

  4. Sanders (shudder, indeed) is another one who suffers from “isolated foreign data point” syndrome with his “Free College For All Because Germany Has Free College (which I appear not to have noticed is heavily, heavily rationed, and is a in any case different beast entirely from the US Liberal Arts minor/major system)” nonsense.

  5. It’s how Bill got elected. Bribe the voters with their own money.

    Paid sick and family leave, equal pay, reforming Wall Street (whatever that means) raising the minimum wage- let’s give you some freebies at the risk of you losing your job and goods and sevices becoming more expensive

    Improving infrastructure, fighting climate change – I’m going to take your tax dollars and give them to a very good friend of mine who will give me a bung when I retire.

    I’m not quite sure how they managed it, but society hates business which takes your money and gives you a TV, mobile phone or a car as much as it hates politicians, who just take your money.

  6. Many of the more “progressive” things aren’t anyway assigned to the federal government by the US Constitution, much venerated, but apparently only a few clauses in the Bill of Rights still apply, and even they probably aren’t being read as intended.

  7. The evil of the ideas on display more than outweighs their lack of novelty. Indeed we should sometimes be glad that the stupidity and banality of evil keeps many new ideas out of their shite-filled heads.

  8. So how come it’s OK for newspapers to allegedly follow the agenda rather than set it, but not for politicians? Surely that’s exactly what politicians should be doing? The fact that both left and right wing variants of big gubmint are detestable doesn’t alter the fact that both are following the agenda that they think will give them the most votes. And the stuff their diehard followers want is the stuff they are least likely to do anyway.

  9. @BiG,

    The difference is that, in theory, policitians – especially presidents – are supposed to provide leadership (I know, I know). Leadership usually involves getting people to do what they otherwise would not: advocating what people want to do anyway isn’t leadership, and it raises the question of what a president is for if only to do this.

    Newspapers, on the other hand, exist to make money for their owners. Leadership is, thankfully, not one of their roles.

  10. “College affordability”

    That’s a laudable aim, but how does she plan to achieve it? Supply-side reforms like clamping down on staff & admin costs at state colleges, or demand-side reforms i.e. more loans?

  11. gen – Whereas the Republican nominee will just follow their conscience, completely ignoring what conservative voters, fox news and rich donors want? Ho hum.

    You have the first part right about who they’ll ignore. Conservative voters don’t really factor into the equation. Conservative voters would like to kick out illegal immigrants, restrict abortion, and repeal Obamacare. Yet none of these things will happen if the Republicans win.

    Andrew M – “College affordability”

    That’s a laudable aim,

    Is it?

    We’re – we, as in adult Westerners – still supposing that a university education is a good, because we can remember the days when universities were useful to society and a degree was a solid investment in one’s future.

    But what if it isn’t a good any more? What if it actually has negative value for many consumers? What if degrees are actually a really inefficient way of giving youngsters four years of partying?

    What if it’s more in the nature of a scam, or a cargo cult? Not many employers are scrambling to hire Psychology, Communications, or English graduates. The ones who get degrees in Gender Studies, African Studies, or Media Studies are flat-out unemployable outside left-wing academia and the public sector.

    Even Computer Studies grads struggle to find jobs in their field in the US. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates say the answer is to let unlimited numbers of Indian and Chinese immigrants come in to compete with them.

    Go figure, as they say.

    And as for affordability, 71% of American girls who complete high school now go on to college. For boys, the figure is 61%.

    That suggests the system is affordable enough for the vast majority of the population, or else why the hell are they going to college? Note that there are also plenty of scholarships available for bright but poor students from minority backgrounds, or poor but athletic students.

    So what’s the benefit of trying to get the remaining 30% or so into college? Wouldn’t these people be better served by getting jobs and learning a trade? Do Americans really need every last one of their auto mechanics, plumbers, bricklayers, policemen and Wal-Mart checkout staff to have completed a degree?

    Matthew L is right in saying this is a “Good things for all” pitch.

    We assume university degrees are “good”. But that assumption doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny, given the outcomes and given that we’re aware of the concept of opportunity costs.

  12. “Instead, an aide reads what the progressives are saying on Twitter and that’s what the policies will be in the primaries.”

    Amen. That’s what happened with Obamacare (which the auto spell checker still doesn’t like). When Obama made speeches selling the plan, he listed platitudes, like, “My plan will reduce the cost of insurance $2500 a year.” His speeches had no connection, none, with the legislation actually in front of Congress. It is beyond obvious he never read it; he had no idea what was in it. He was simply the marketing man.

    Mrs. Clinton knows she can use the same approach, as the legacy press will cover for her the same as they did for Obama. The legacy press has lost its soul.

  13. Steve,

    “We’re – we, as in adult Westerners – still supposing that a university education is a good, because we can remember the days when universities were useful to society and a degree was a solid investment in one’s future.

    But what if it isn’t a good any more? What if it actually has negative value for many consumers? What if degrees are actually a really inefficient way of giving youngsters four years of partying?”

    I never went and I partied harder than people I knew at university, because I had money.

    “What if it’s more in the nature of a scam, or a cargo cult? Not many employers are scrambling to hire Psychology, Communications, or English graduates. The ones who get degrees in Gender Studies, African Studies, or Media Studies are flat-out unemployable outside left-wing academia and the public sector.

    Even Computer Studies grads struggle to find jobs in their field in the US. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates say the answer is to let unlimited numbers of Indian and Chinese immigrants come in to compete with them.”

    It is a cargo cult, because it used to be that just having any degree opened doors for you because it was so rare. If there are 10% of jobs that are graduate-worthy, raising the number of graduates from 20% to 40% is going to leave a lot more people doing non-graduate jobs.

    There’s also a social aspect to it (and you really see this driven by mothers who are generally more interested in social climbing than men). They’ve swallowed the idea of a degree being a golden ticket to a higher class, hook, line and sinker. They haven’t worked out that you’re no longer part of the elite when 40% of people have degrees. So, they push their kids to get into £30K of debt on a degree in photography, even though you can get as much out £200 of books, £100 of online Photoshop training and £50/year being the member of a photographic society.

  14. I disagree. My son, a recent college graduate, is a cart boy at a local golf club. But I still value his education, because he will go through life as an educated man. It isn’t just about jobs.

  15. Gamecock,
    That’s a fair point, but not all courses and Universities will produce “an educated man” (or woman).

    More to the point, it depends what you mean by “educated”.

    Expanding the number of university places available will neither expand the number of suitable jobs, nor the number of suitable candidates.

    Just facts that is.

  16. College education for all isn’t necessarily a laudable aim, but making it cheaper is. Indeed, making everything more affordable should always be the government’s aim, since that’s basically what economic growth is.

    As Tim Newman points out it’s a completely redundant question: the Democratic party is too closely aligned with the education sector to ever threaten their cosseted existence. Still they’ve managed to cock up healthcare quite nicely, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of hand grenades they lob into education.

  17. Gamecock,

    “I disagree. My son, a recent college graduate, is a cart boy at a local golf club. But I still value his education, because he will go through life as an educated man. It isn’t just about jobs.”

    Unless he did hard science, he got an education by very expensive means. Find the book list for a course, buy the books, read them and if you get stuck, ask some people on the internet.

    OK, if you can get into a top university, it’s probably worth the money, but your average ex-poly is staffed by people who’ve done not much more than the course you’re doing.

  18. Generally, from what I’ve seen, going to university is about failing to get an education. Missing those important 3 years of learning about the real world. Regrettably, so few graduates make up the lost time.

  19. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “So how come it’s OK for newspapers to allegedly follow the agenda rather than set it, but not for politicians?”

    Newspapers are perfectly welcome to try to set the agenda if they like. Some, like the Guardian, do try. I am not sure they succeed. That is the point – newspapers have little success trying to do what they are claimed to do.

    A politician can try to set the agenda or just follow the polling as well. Except we are more likely to admire the former than the latter. As elections should be about policy choices.

  20. @SMFS,

    I think my point is that in a democracy, politics is basically about trying to appeal to as many people as possible. It’s not about agenda-setting, it’s about (in the run up to an election) slavish agenda following, of the agenda of 50%+1 people. The rest of the time, it’s about making yourself and your kin as filthy rich as possible. And I’m sure you’d agree that neither of these two habits are exactly foreign to the Clintons.

  21. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “I think my point is that in a democracy, politics is basically about trying to appeal to as many people as possible. It’s not about agenda-setting, it’s about (in the run up to an election) slavish agenda following, of the agenda of 50%+1 people.”

    I am sure that is what most people do. Which is why we despise politicians so much – because they do not believe anything, they simply want to be in office. However a good election is one where we have a choice. Offering choice is brave. That is why even people who did not support her, admired Thatcher’s bravery. She did give people a clear choice. She was a conviction politician. That is why more politicians ought to believe in things. So we don’t have government by focus group.

  22. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “Generally, from what I’ve seen, going to university is about failing to get an education. Missing those important 3 years of learning about the real world.”

    Worse than failing to get an education. They get an education in resentment, cheap cynicism and depravity. If you want your daughter to end up a pole-dancing hooker, send her to do a Women’s Studies degree.

    We ought to shut the whole non-STEM sector outside the three great universities down. They not only do not add value, they detract value from the UK as a whole.

  23. “We ought to shut the whole non-STEM sector outside the three great universities down. They not only do not add value, they detract value from the UK as a whole.”

    Why shouldn’t the consumer decide?

  24. So Much for Subtlety

    Tomsmith – “Why shouldn’t the consumer decide?”

    Because treason is treasonable. But that would not be a bad first step. Full fees. No support from the tax payer. No form of restrictive work practices that makes a college-issued licence a job requirement.

  25. @BiG

    Others may have made this point but:

    ‘So how come it’s OK for newspapers to allegedly follow the agenda rather than set it, but not for politicians?’

    I don’t have to buy any given newspaper, and newspapers are not able to exert any actual control over the way I live my life.

    That said, the idea that The Guardian (for instance) is not trying to set the agenda is I think mistaken.

  26. BIG,

    > in a democracy, politics is basically about trying to appeal to as many people as possible. It’s not about agenda-setting, it’s about (in the run up to an election) slavish agenda following, of the agenda of 50%+1 people.

    Yes, that must be why Thatcher got such a paltry majority compared to Cameron.

  27. Gamecock,

    > My son, a recent college graduate, is a cart boy at a local golf club. But I still value his education, because he will go through life as an educated man.

    But you can say the same about any education. If your son got a PhD, he’d be even more educated, which presumably would have even more value. And why stop at one degree? Lots of people get two. Assuming that all education is valuable but also that stopping full-time education and going to work at some point is also valuable, we need to make a decision about which bits the taxpayer pays for and which bits you pay for yourself. I think it’s valuable to the taxpayer to get most people through A-levels and even more through GCSEs. I think it’s also valuable to the taxpayer to stop this obsession with qualifications uber alles and let people leave school early if they’re going into a proper trade (worked out OK for Alan Titchmarsh). I reckon some degrees are valuable to the taxpayer and others less so, though it’s difficult to be sure which (I don’t subscribe to the “STEM good everything else bad” mantra popular round here), and it’s arguable. But almost all of that value is based on employability and usefulness to the economy or the state or both. I’m not convinced the taxpayer should pay for someone simply to go through life educated — at least not to degree level.

  28. @stigler – even though you can get as much out £200 of books, £100 of online Photoshop training and £50/year being the member of a photographic society. – hmm, if you want to do something better, then going to college will likely give you more than just studying from books – total environment, peers, being lectured / tutored by really clever people etc.

    OTOH, it might just not be worth 3 years of your life.

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