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Edwards on Corporate Greed.--

I am watching John Edwards' speech attacking corporate greed (he used the phrase at least 2 or 3 times). One of Edwards' examples of outrageous behavior by a corporation: Maytag closing its plant in Newton, Iowa.

Before posting I saw that Glenn at Instapundit had similar feelings about the speech:

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, John Edwards is the big loser. Not from the vote, but from the absolutely awful speech he's giving right now. I think he knows it's awful, too, as he's blinking about twice per second.

Indeed!

ha ha:
Edwards did a lot better than every "libertarian endorsed" candidate discussed on this web site. (And I really thought this was going to be Fred Thompson's night!) So say what you will about Edwards's speech -- and good luck with Huckabee in the general!
1.3.2008 10:46pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
ha ha: As goes Iowa, so goes Iowa
1.3.2008 10:48pm
Thinker:
Pull back Edwards hair to look for the number of the beast!! That speech was the most hypocritical piece of political excess I've ever heard! He criticized CEOs who make hundreds of millions - yet they employ people. He ignored the trial attorneys who also made hundreds of millions of dollars ---and then lost Iowa.

It was dreadful....
1.3.2008 10:50pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Edwards and Huckabee are of a piece. And Crist.
1.3.2008 10:54pm
Ari (www):
Au contraire; I think Edwards' speech was stunningly passionate, though I disagree entirely with its contents. He has no equal among the other contenders in rhetorical fervor.
1.3.2008 11:05pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Has anyone said his speech lacked fervor? He practically froths at the mouth as he decries the fruits of labor.
1.3.2008 11:10pm
Ted Frank (www):
In 2004, Edwards got 32% of the vote in Iowa in a four-person field.

In 2008, Edwards got 30% of the vote in Iowa in a three-person field.

On the Republican side, every candidate can find good news except Romney. McCain and Thompson tied for third, Paul broke double digits, and Rudy saw the race get sufficiently complicated that his 49-state strategy just might work.
1.3.2008 11:17pm
Lev:
Edwards' speech - what a demagogic horse's ass
1.3.2008 11:24pm
Morat20 (mail):
Edwards seems to touch a few nerves. Keep it up, and the left will probably start coining the phrase "Edwards Derangement Syndrome". :)

More seriously, however, I think we all need to recognize that we're not exactly representative of modern America here -- either as heavy blog readers, and more specifically, heavy readers of this sort of blog.

For lack of a better term: That speech wasn't for you, for me, or for Glenn. I think we should be wary of falling into the same trap as those who said "Nixon won in a landslide? But no one I knew voted for him!".
1.3.2008 11:27pm
Justin (mail):
Your political pulse is terrible. You think your politics are popular (wrongfully!), and thus assume the worst. Instapundit as well.

The speech was to Democratic primary voters. From reading the blogosphere, the speech played very well there.

I don't have much else to say about this post - and certainly nothing positive.
1.3.2008 11:32pm
hlc:
Although it is probably easier to deliver a victory speech than a concession speech, I have to say that both Obama and Huckabee gave wonderful speeches. (And I think the latter would make the worst president of the lot of candidates.)

I think McCain was the large beneficiary of Romney's defeat.
1.3.2008 11:40pm
therut:
You should see his other speeches. He screams Corporate Greed over and over and over. He makes me literally ill. He sits in his big mansion and decries wealth. He talks like he is for the little guy. I as a little woman know better. He would steal me blind while he sits in his mansion and has all his assets safely tucked away already. He reminds me of the rich man who Jesus has a little talk with.
1.3.2008 11:44pm
mnuez (mail) (www):
I disagree. I thought Edwards speech was fantastic. I believe him to be a dirty, lying scumbag like the rest of the candidates but I'm rooting for him with all I've got.

Oh, and you DID leave out pretty much the entirety of the focus of his speech, didn't ya?

Anyhow, there's really no point in listening to what I have to say in any case because people like me - poor people - rarely vote and have almost no influence.

Every so often we get really pissed and erect a row of gallows but since we've gotten free television and internet porn you're pretty safe. Pretty sick but pretty safe.

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com
1.3.2008 11:53pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
People still read Instapundit?
1.3.2008 11:58pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
People still read Instapundit?
1.3.2008 11:58pm
alias:
CrazyTrain, people read it before... nothing's changed there, afaik.

Justin writes: The speech was to Democratic primary voters. From reading the blogosphere, the speech played very well there.

IIRC, Prof. Lindgren votes in the Democratic primary.

On John Edwards, my only hope for the 08 election is that he doesn't become the next president or vp. He is the most contemptible of all of them, and if he wins, I might personally understand the visceral revulsion many of my liberal friends have felt for the past 8 years.
1.4.2008 12:03am
TribalPundit (W&M 1L) (mail) (www):
Um...who doesn't read InstaPundit?
1.4.2008 12:05am
The General:
and how many hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs because of Democrat-backed tax increases, regulation and litigation? Edwards won't answer that...
1.4.2008 12:05am
mrshl (www):
I keep seing Edwards described as a Demagogue, which he certainly is. But I've noticed a general unwillingness to describe other candidates in similar fashion. Every definition I've seen would swallow the entire field on both sides of the spectrum.
1.4.2008 12:07am
Truth Seeker:
People still read Instapundit?

He's my startup screen.
1.4.2008 12:14am
alias:
ironic nickname, then...
1.4.2008 12:29am
EH (mail):
You know, I love this site. That's why it doesn't bug me that legal scholars are filled with such vitriol over Edwards. As a trial lawyer, he is the only one of the putative candidates with the training to break through the kind of law practiced in DC and in legal circles. He's battled government lawyers and won, and I think there's a grain of resentment by policy and statute wonks against him by that token. In fact, I'd love to see someone from the statute side of things critique Edwards' policy possibilities given his history.

He screams Corporate Greed over and over and over. He makes me literally ill. He sits in his big mansion and decries wealth.

I don't know if that's just an inelegant segue, but "corporate greed" and "wealth" are not the same thing.

Lastly, and few have picked up on this, if you put today's Huckabee and Edwards vote tallies together, you get a majority of caucus voters going against the corporate line. I'm intrigued to see how long the knives are that come out for Huck in the next couple of weeks, since Edwards is easy enough to discount.
1.4.2008 12:37am
James Lindgren (mail):
I sometimes vote in the Republican primary--depends on who is running.
1.4.2008 2:02am
Cornellian (mail):
As a trial lawyer, he is the only one of the putative candidates with the training to break through the kind of law practiced in DC and in legal circles.

I don't know what you mean by "break through" but Giuliani was a former US District Attorney, not lacking in trial experience.
1.4.2008 2:34am
CrazyTrain (mail):
IIRC, Prof. Lindgren votes in the Democratic primary

And Andrew Sullivan generally votes for Republicans -- big deal. Lindgren is a guy who adamantly supported the Iraq war, supported Bush in 04 (or at least his blog posts at the time seemed incredibly supportive of Bush and derisive of Kerry/Edwards), and even wrote in 04 when he first started on this blog that he "could not even believe" (or something to that effect) that the Democrats were not fully behind the Iraq war. Someone who could nto believe that the Dems were fully behind the Iraq war is not your typical Democrat, and certainly not your typical Democratic primary voter. If Lindgren is a Democrat, he is of the Mickey Kaus variety.
1.4.2008 3:18am
CrazyTrain (mail):
Giuliani was a former US District Attorney

What's a "US District Attorney"?
1.4.2008 3:19am
CrazyTrain (mail):
Edwards did a lot better than every "libertarian endorsed" candidate discussed on this web site.

Well put. In fact, he likely did more than three or four times better than any of those guys given that Democratic turnout was over twice as high as Republican turnout (no shocker given the losers the Republicans are fielding).
1.4.2008 3:20am
Steve:
Usually when people score winners and losers they at least try to be an objective judge of the conventional wisdom. It's obvious Reynolds is offering nothing but his personal opinion here.
1.4.2008 3:59am
A Federal Law Clerk:
What's a "US District Attorney"?
The former term for a U.S. Attorney. See, e.g., United States v. Thirty-Seven (37) Photographs, 402 U.S. 363, 371 (1971) (quoting 72 Cong. Rec. 5420 (remarks of Sen. Pittman); United States v. Five Gambling Devices Labeled in Part "Mills," and Bearing Serial Nos. 593-221, Etc., 346 U.S. 441, 458 (1953).
1.4.2008 4:25am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Edwards did a lot better than every "libertarian endorsed" candidate discussed on this web site. (And I really thought this was going to be Fred Thompson's night!) So say what you will about Edwards's speech -- and good luck with Huckabee in the general!
You do realize that Edwards wasn't running against any of the candidates discussed on this website, right? So he couldn't "do better" than any of them. He may have gotten a higher percentage of the Democratic vote than any of the candidates discussed here did of the Republican vote, but that's not "doing better."


Your political pulse is terrible. You think your politics are popular (wrongfully!), and thus assume the worst. Instapundit as well.

The speech was to Democratic primary voters. From reading the blogosphere, the speech played very well there.
[Godwin]Hitler's speeches played well to his intended audience, too. What's yer point?[/Godwin] Oh, and reading the blogosphere probably isn't the best way to determine what Democratic primary voters think.


I don't know if that's just an inelegant segue, but "corporate greed" and "wealth" are not the same thing.
They are to Edwards.
1.4.2008 5:18am
Simon (391563) (mail) (www):
What's disgraceful is not that the Maytag plant in Newton closed but that Maytag's last CEO walked away with something like $10 million for running the company into the ground.
1.4.2008 8:31am
Brezh (mail):
Edwards was factually wrong too. He said the Maytag jobs went overseas. In reality, the administrative jobs went to Michigan and the manufacturing jobs to Ohio. Does this mean he opposes free trade with greedy Buckeyes?
1.4.2008 9:33am
On My Own:
People on this comment stream think Edwards cannot be the candidate "for the poor" who "decries the rich" because he is rich. Let's face it though, Edwards would be unable to be a presidential candidate if he were poor. How is any candidate, then, supposed to stand up for the poor, when the prerequisite is having a ton of money?

Candidates MUST be able to represent many different people; rich, poor, corporate, small business, etc. Just because a candidate is rich, does not necessarily mean that he cannot adequately represent the poor. Just because a candidate is from Nebraska, doesn't mean that he cannot adequately represent New Yorkers, or all Americans for that matter.
1.4.2008 9:36am
Justin (mail):
[Godwin]Hitler's speeches played well to his intended audience, too. What's yer point?[/Godwin]

Admitting the violation of Godwin's law doesn't make this the most silly and absurd argument ever. Yes, what was horrible about Hitler was his popularity amongst Germans.

The point is that Edwards's speech, as a political tool (which is exactly how Lindgren/Instapundit is looking at it) did well, and the only reason to believe it did poorly was disagreeing with the merits.

By your standards, anyone who disagrees with the merits of a speech can rule that speech awful. But then why not just go out and say, "I disagree with Edwards" rather than comment on the quality of his speech?

Indeed, that was my position. L/I are conflating the fact that he disagrees with Edwards on the merits (and L/I's position on the merits has very limited public support, regardless of its normative value). As such, they are tone-deaf to its political effectiveness.

PS - who ever heard of a pro-war, liberterian Democrat? Is this just a Republican who is afraid of evangelicals?
1.4.2008 9:37am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
I don't know if that's just an inelegant segue, but "corporate greed" and "wealth" are not the same thing.


"Corporate greed" creates wealth--even if only as a byproduct--and we all know that wealth must be created before it can be redistributed. Edwards (and his ilk) are as lampreys on the corporate host. At least lampreys don't criticize.
1.4.2008 9:40am
LongSufferingRaidersFan (mail):
Justin, who is wrong and wrongheaded virtually 100 per cent of the time (and quite superior about it in a way that suggests he is an inexperienced self-important whippersnapper) happens to be right for once here. The more excerable Edwards' speech, the more it will appeal to his target audience of freedom-hating resentful lazy scapegoat seeking losers.
1.4.2008 10:12am
Adeez (mail):
"The more excerable Edwards' speech, the more it will appeal to his target audience of freedom-hating resentful lazy scapegoat seeking losers."

Wait, I thought it was the "libs" who hated Americans so much. Now I'm all confused an stuff.
1.4.2008 10:21am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
"Corporate greed" creates wealth

Tell that to the former employees and stockholders of Enron or Worldcom.
1.4.2008 10:24am
iowan (mail):
As far as edwards anti corporation schtick, can one person please explain what the executive branch of the federal govt is going to do about it? Also, how much salary is too much? I wish just one person whould get any democrat and huckabee to say out loud what they are going to cap corparate salarys at. this is nothing but empty rehtoric that all the candidates should be called on the carpet for. allowing this to continue is making me ill.
1.4.2008 10:24am
NicholasV (mail) (www):
"Corporate greed" creates wealth

Tell that to the former employees and stockholders of Enron or Worldcom.


The plural of "anecdote" is not "data"...
1.4.2008 10:32am
Justin (mail):
Awesome, I get superflous insults hurled my way!
1.4.2008 10:41am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data"

A glib statement is not data either.
1.4.2008 10:41am
Houston Lawyer:
We'll know he's serious about stopping greed when he attempts to cap the income of contingency fee lawyers. Prior attempts to cap corporate salaries led to the stunning increase in stock options and the market manipulation that ensued.
1.4.2008 10:41am
Justin (mail):
BTW, Raidersfan believes that a good third of the country, including his coworkers, friends, and family, are "freedom-hating resentful lazy scapegoat seeking losers."

Also awesome. Raidersfan, why do you hate America?
1.4.2008 10:42am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
"Corporate greed" creates wealth--even if only as a byproduct--and we all know that wealth must be created before it can be redistributed.

Let me expand then. Lowering labor costs--say by shutting down a plant in Iowa and moving it lock stock and barrel to China merely to cut the cost of labor 90%--does not "create wealth", it merely concentrates into the hands of fewer people by raising the profits of the corporation. Instead of high paid union employees in Iowa who can afford to buy quality Maytag washing machines and solidly built homes, you now have low-paid non-union WalMart employees who rent trailers and wash their clothes at the laundromat. Meanwhile, the "wealth" that you claim has been created is spent on larger homes for management (built mostly by illegal immigrants), country club memberships, expensive vacations to exotic locales, and rehab for the drug and alcohol addled children of the very rich. Things that do very little to actually benefit the economy.

Henry Ford learned this lesson 90 years ago. It is a pity we have forgotten it in this country.
1.4.2008 10:57am
NicholasV (mail) (www):
J. F. Thomas: Did I say it was? My point is that it's difficult to draw a conclusion sans proper data (i.e. not just cherry picked). I never claimed I had such data. In fact I don't, which is why I do not attempt to make a conclusion about this claim.

If you are going to claim Edwards is right then perhaps someone should come up with some factual information (studies, statistics, etc.) which shows that these large benefits are in fact detrimental to society's wealth. In absence of such information I don't see the basis for the criticism.
1.4.2008 10:59am
frankcross (mail):
J.F. Thomas, you are completely wrong. Reducing labor costs does create wealth. The only source of wealth is efficiency. This is simple economics. It obviously creates a massive increase of wealth in China, and it has also increased wealth in the US, because people will pay much less for goods produced more efficiently and because unemployment has remained low.
1.4.2008 11:08am
DLM (mail):
Edwards has taken on government lawyers? Even if true, not sure what it has to do with anything. But it's really not true. Edwards made his mark, and his money, in civil med mal suits.

Edwards' compensation -- which allowed him to build an absolutely ostentaious compound of a home that could hardly be more isolated from those he claims to represent -- came from taking exorbitant percentages of compensatory damage awards and/or settlements that were supposed to benefit his "injured" clients. "Sorry you lost your leg, Joe, but here's 60% of the verdict to make up for it. I'll be spending the other 40% to add an indoor basketball court to my house."
1.4.2008 11:12am
DLM (mail):
If Maytag reduces it labor costs 90% its stock goes through the roof, and the value of thousands of workers' 401(k)s go up substantially. To say that management is the only group to benefit from increasing profits betrays a very biased view of corporate finance. Every pension fund that owns its stock -- and I'll bet there are plenty of them -- benefits big-time.
1.4.2008 11:20am
Justin (mail):
I thought you could be disbarred in most states for taking a 40% contingency. I thought the maximum was a third, or 35%?
1.4.2008 11:27am
DLM (mail):
I am not aware of any specific regulation that caps percentages. The ethics rules in most states say that a fee must be reasonable, but I think that's about it. I'd love it if someone would ask Edwards whether he was overpaid as a lawyer. If he can second-guess everyone's compensation we surely need to know about his.
1.4.2008 11:41am
AnonLawStudent:
J.F.,

May I suggest that you read some introductory economics before spouting off. Closing an inefficient factory (and exporting the factory to China) creates wealth on several fronts. It reduces the cost of the goods produced, creating wealth for consumers. It increases the stock price of the company, creating wealth for shareholders, including the average Joe's pension fund. And it reallocates capital stock (and labor) to a more productive use, i.e. Schumpeter's "creative destruction," facilitating the creation of more wealth for all. Economics is not easy or intuitive, hence the gripes in this thread when a demagogue, quite frankly, takes advantage of the ignorant to procure votes. Not to mention that the factory in question wasn't even exported to China, but rather to another state.

On a related note, I would point out that Edwards entire career has been based on taking advantage of the ignorant, whether juries or voters. No surprises here.
1.4.2008 11:49am
frankcross (mail):
Oh, and one further thing on labor costs. The Henry Ford story is somewhat mythical. He raised wages, not to benefit the workers, but because it was efficient for the company. His goals were (a) reduced turnover, (b) avoidance of unionization of his plants, and (c) improved workers with higher productivity. All worked out famously for him. Larry Summers documented this in an article some time back.
1.4.2008 11:49am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The only source of wealth is efficiency.

You are confusing labor costs with efficiency--they are two different (and often inversely proportional, i.e., higher paid workers are more efficient, and it is certainly more efficient to sell a product a few miles from the production source rather than half a world a way).

If Maytag reduces it labor costs 90% its stock goes through the roof, and the value of thousands of workers' 401(k)s go up substantially.

Of course 401(K)s don't represent current wealth, they represent wealth at some time in the future (sometimes many years in the future). For most workeers they are also a worse deal than the traditional pensions that were prevalent 40 years ago. That the average working stiff has been sold the bill of goods that they are better off with a 401(K) than a secure annuity pension just shows the kind of fantastical nonsense that economists and corporate America can shove down the throat of people who don't know any better.
1.4.2008 11:52am
TribalPundit (W&M 1L) (mail) (www):
if you put today's Huckabee and Edwards vote tallies together, you get a majority of caucus voters going against the corporate line.

No, you don't, because they're not slices of the same pie. Huckabee has 35% of Iowa Republicans; Edwards has 30% of Iowa Democrats. Adding them together, assuming an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, gets you 65/200, not 65/100.
1.4.2008 11:56am
whoa:
Lowering labor costs--say by shutting down a plant in Iowa and moving it lock stock and barrel to China merely to cut the cost of labor 90%--does not "create wealth", it merely concentrates into the hands of fewer people by raising the profits of the corporation.

This is probably the most economically ignorant comment I've seen at this site.
1.4.2008 11:59am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
It reduces the cost of the goods produced, creating wealth for consumers. It increases the stock price of the company, creating wealth for shareholders, including the average Joe's pension fund. And it reallocates capital stock (and labor) to a more productive use

First of all, it only creates wealth for consumers if their spending power is not reduced (they are able to find work at a similar or higher salary) and prices do indeed drop (would Nikes be more expensive if produced by higher paid workers in the U.S.--the competetiveness of New Balance seems to indicate otherwise). And of course seeing a minor bump in your IRA account from a rising stock price hardly compensates for losing a good union job and taking a major pay cut, especially if it means you have to seriously reduce contributions to your retirement plan just to get by.
1.4.2008 12:01pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
This is probably the most economically ignorant comment I've seen at this site.

No, equating lower labor costs with higher efficiency is.
1.4.2008 12:02pm
whoa:
No, equating lower labor costs with higher efficiency is.

Keep digging, J.F.
1.4.2008 12:04pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Closing an inefficient factory (and exporting the factory to China) creates wealth on several fronts.

You are assuming the factory is inefficient, rather than there is a corporate decision to close the factory because lower costs will allow higher profits elsewhere.
1.4.2008 12:06pm
AnonLawStudent:

You are assuming the factory is inefficient, rather than there is a corporate decision to close the factory because lower costs will allow higher profits elsewhere.


What, pray tell, do you think is the appropriate measure of whether capital stock is correctly allocated? Hmmm... let me see here, could it be: "Are higher risk-adjusted returns available elsewhere?" I second whoa's comment: keep digging.
1.4.2008 12:10pm
qwerty (mail):
the maytag repairmen were obviously a drain on the company's resources.
1.4.2008 12:11pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
May I suggest that you read some introductory economics before spouting off.

And you may want to figure out how the economy works and affects people in the real world (not just what you learned in introductory economics) before spouting off.
1.4.2008 12:12pm
AnonLawStudent:

And you may want to figure out how the economy works and affects people in the real world (not just what you learned in introductory economics) before spouting off.


J.F., you're advocating mercantilism, which was quite unceremoniously rejected roughly two centuries ago. Regardless of disputes over higher-level economics, e.g. Keynes, efficient allocation of capital is a settled issue. As for how it affects people, the only people who have any rights related to the capital are those who own it, not those who are incidentally employed in its use. Not to mention that those who are employed, collectively, are better off through maximizing efficient allocation, even if a small number of individuals suffer in the short term.
1.4.2008 12:18pm
Justin (mail):
Not taking sides in this, but I want to point out that:

"As for how it affects people, the only people who have any rights related to the capital are those who own it, not those who are incidentally employed in its use"

is a normative judgment, one that is probably shared by a substantial amount of Americans but is not necessarily dominant in other countries, even other western ones.
1.4.2008 12:25pm
DLM (mail):

That the average working stiff has been sold the bill of goods that they are better off with a 401(K) than a secure annuity pension just shows the kind of fantastical nonsense that economists and corporate America can shove down the throat of people who don't know any better.


I am sure they prefer you and your ilk telling them they're far too stupid to manage their own money.
1.4.2008 12:36pm
AnonLawStudent:
Justin,

You're quite correct. My apologies for the digression. I would, however, point out that this particular normative judgment is strongly correlated with national economic prosperity. Greenspan discussed it extensively in his book. Again, I apologize for the digression.
1.4.2008 12:37pm
DLM (mail):

And you may want to figure out how the economy works and affects people in the real world


I'd say market capitalism has an incredible history of raising living standards for rich and poor alike. But for some, it will never be enough. The insatiable god of equality demands not just that everyone get richer, but that everyone do so at the same rate.
1.4.2008 12:38pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
J.F., you're advocating mercantilism, which was quite unceremoniously rejected roughly two centuries ago.

I'm not advocating anything, just pointing out that your assumptions are simplistic--workers laid off from a Maytag plant in Iowa are unlike to find work at a similar salary, for them there will be a net loss of "wealth".

Simply lowering labor costs (not raising efficiency, which is output per unit of labor), whether you do it by shifting manufacturing to a low-wage country or replacing high-paid union workers with illegal immigrants (as has happened in the meat packing industry in this country) does not create wealth, although it may indeed increase profits, but only because you have taken money out of the pocket of high paid workers and put it into even higher paid management or investors.
1.4.2008 12:43pm
therut:
I say let us tax the "excessive" profits of trial lawyers first. When they agree to equality at about a 75,000 per year gross income(so they will not be more wealthy than the little people they say they love). I will be ready to support Edwards. He would have to maybe dip into some of his "wealth" to pay for up keep on his shack in the NC woods.
1.4.2008 12:49pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I am sure they prefer you and your ilk telling them they're far too stupid to manage their own money.

Where did I say that? I said a traditional pension was a better deal for them. Corporations couldn't wait to dump their pension plans. And those that didn't dump them underfunded them.
1.4.2008 12:53pm
DLM (mail):
Don't play dumb. This could not have been more dismissive of the intellect of the people whose interests you're supposedly advocating here:

That the average working stiff has been sold the bill of goods that they are better off with a 401(K) than a secure annuity pension just shows the kind of fantastical nonsense that economists and corporate America can shove down the throat of people who don't know any better.
1.4.2008 12:59pm
AnonLawStudent:
J.F.,

You are viewing the laid-off workers as having either same job or no job. Labor, like capital, is an asset requiring efficient allocation, and maximizing efficient allocation creates wealth. Labor can become inefficiently allocated due to either (i) technology replacing an antiquated labor process, or (ii) access to cheaper labor to perform a given task; both are usually at work when a factory closes. Note that (ii) can be labor induced, e.g. union induced instability or pressure to raise wages to economically unjustified rates. When workers are laid off, they are effectively reallocated to a more productive use. If the worker is willing to move to a new location and/or obtain additional training, he can reacquire a job at the same or higher wage. If he is not willing to move, that is a personal decision with an economic cost, and he is likewise reallocated the most efficient use for his skills in the local community. As for the magnitude of wealth created by (ii) alone, a simple approximation is the difference between (decreased labor cost + worker's new wage) and (worker's old wage). It is distributed in the form of both higher profits to shareholders and reduced cost of goods sold to consumers, and can be even higher if the worker is willing to move and/or retrain.
1.4.2008 12:59pm
AnonLawStudent:
As for your apparent preference for domestic production instead of efficient allocation of capital through trade, that is part-and-parcel mercantilism without the gold.
1.4.2008 1:01pm
gab:
AnonLawStudent said:


On a related note, I would point out that Edwards entire career has been based on taking advantage of the ignorant, whether juries or voters. No surprises here.


Ignorant juries? Is this what they're teaching in law schools these days?
1.4.2008 1:04pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Don't play dumb.

First of all I don't consider "working stiff" to be perjoritive, obviously you do. And I thought the rest of the comment indicated that I thought it required quite a concerted effort by a bunch of charlatans and con men to convince the average working person that he was better off with a 401(K) than a traditional pension.
1.4.2008 1:08pm
AnonLawStudent:
Gab,

Yes. In technologically complex cases, including the med-mal cases in which Edwards made his fortune, the inability of the jury to deal with the facts in issue is well-established. Some courts have gone so far as to note that it can result in a conflict between the right to trial by jury and the right to due process. See, e.g., In re Japanese Electronic Prod. Antitrust Litigation, 631 F.2d 1069 (3d Cir. 1980). Juries serve a variety of purposes, particularly in the criminal context, but they fail as rational decision makers in complex cases.
1.4.2008 1:11pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that the other thing that JF seems to be ignoring is that if moving production reduces costs, those reduced costs are invariably mostly fed back to the consumers as lowered prices for them. That leaves more money in the pockets of consumers, which effectively increases their wealth. And in most cases, the increased wealth for consumers more than compensates for the marginal loss in wages for those who have to find new jobs.

What you have to keep in mind is that wealth is not really dollars, but what you can buy for them. And if you can buy more washing machines for the same amount of labor expended working, that is increased wealth.
1.4.2008 1:13pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
If the worker is willing to move to a new location and/or obtain additional training, he can reacquire a job at the same or higher wage. If he is not willing to move, that is a personal decision with an economic cost, and he is likewise reallocated the most efficient use for his skills in the local community.

How old are you? How many jobs have you had? Ever lost a job?

Ever had to think about retraining when you have a wife and kids? Do you think it is easy to pick up and relocate if you own a house and have to sell it (oh yeah and since the factory shut down nobody is buying and everybody else is selling)? How exactly do you pay for this retraining? How are you kids going to eat and how are you going to pay the mortgage while you undertake it?

Remember in your libertarian paradise there will be no unemployment insurance, no student loans, no government assistance for displaced workers.
1.4.2008 1:15pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I think that the other thing that JF seems to be ignoring is that if moving production reduces costs, those reduced costs are invariably mostly fed back to the consumers as lowered prices for them.

Again, the ability to buy more stuff at a lower price does not necessarily mean you are wealthier. It just means you can buy more stuff. E.g., if I can afford to buy a flat screen tv because they are really inexpensive but medical care is beyond my ability to pay for it because I have a chronic condition and cannot get insurance and my job doesn't offer it, am I really wealthier in a meaningful sense?
1.4.2008 1:20pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Ignorant juries? Is this what they're teaching in law schools these days?
The problem isn't really that the juries are dumb, but rather they are faced in this sort of case with discerning the scientific merits based on expert testimony, and thus often end up determining the outcome of cases based on their view of each side's "experts".

One problem is that many of these "experts" were only expert in attorney created fields of expertise. The big change there has been, at least at the federal level, judges acting more as gatekeepers to keep out those whose expertise lacks peer review, etc.

Another is that this system gives the glib expert an advantage over the less glib, but better qualified, expert. And, ditto for the attorneys.

The result is that Mr. Edwards was able to parlay junk science and a silver tongue into a sizable fortune (at least from the point of view of most of us here). But, while doing so, he ended up depriving the citizenry of more reasonably priced obstetrics in those areas in which he preyed. Indeed, I think it fairly obvious that by doing this, and driving up malpractice costs and OB/Gyns out of the state, he ultimately destroyed wealth, not increased it, as did Maytag.
1.4.2008 1:24pm
DLM (mail):
I am sure when Edwards picked his juries he sought out the most intelligent people with the greatest possible medical knowledge, who would be swayed only by compelling evidence and rational argument. That's why he was famous for his closing argument in infant mortality cases, in which he "spoke for" the deceased infant, complete with cries that "I am suffocating in here" and "please help me!"
1.4.2008 1:24pm
AnonLawStudent:
J.F.,

I have, indeed, been fortunate enough to never involuntarily lose a job. I did, however, in my mid-twenties leave my job as a military officer and begin retraining for an entirely different field. As much as you may hate it, the days of going to school for a few years early in life, receiving a degree, and working for the same employer until retirement are gone. Like everything else, the technology cycle has sped up significantly, and does not extend over the full employable lifespan. You argued for a focus on economic reality in your 12:12PM post. This is it. Anecdotally, I think you are correct that willingness to move and/or retrain is correlated with both age and education: younger, better educated individuals are more willing to move and/or seek additional education in pursuit of higher wages. Broadly, the increased willingness to do so is seen in the increasing popularity of, e.g., junior colleges and trade schools among (relatively) older workers.
1.4.2008 1:25pm
EH (mail):

People on this comment stream think Edwards cannot be the candidate "for the poor" who "decries the rich" because he is rich. Let's face it though, Edwards would be unable to be a presidential candidate if he were poor. How is any candidate, then, supposed to stand up for the poor, when the prerequisite is having a ton of money?

You've hit the nail on the head of hypocrisy. This old chestnut is trotted out year after year by people advocating the status quo, without making any acknowledgement of the political mechanisms involved in running for President. It's disingenuous and a bad faith argument.
1.4.2008 1:37pm
DLM (mail):
More on Edwards and his struggle for the poor, from a 2004 NYT article.

First, about that whole greed thing. Surely Edwards would never except an exobitant fee if he did very little work to earn it. Well, nope, he did:

"That created a buzz," Mr. Hargrove said. "The revenue that he was producing was an out-of-body experience. John would pick up an $800,000 fee for making a few phone calls."


In the years that followed, Mr. Edwards handled all sorts of cases. He litigated contract and insurance disputes.

Well, at least he helped injured people because that's what he believed in, right? Not exactly. Seems he only did so if there was sufficient promise of a massive payout to him:

"Over time, Mr. Edwards became quite selective about cases. Liability had to be clear, his competitors and opponents say, and the potential award had to be large."

"He paints himself as a person who was serving the interests of the downtrodden, the widows and the little children. Actually, he was after the cases with the highest verdict potential. John would probably admit that on cross-examination."
1.4.2008 1:44pm
AnonLawStudent:
EH,

I think the argument is more along the lines of (i) Edwards obtained his fortune by feeding off those who create wealth, (ii) he used the ignorance of the poor to do so, and (iii) now is using that same ignorance to try to get elected as a demagogue. Edwards is a poverty pimp, who depends on ignorance and envy to stay in power. I think we're all aware that effectively running for President requires a certain degree of wealth, but I'm not sure it's as great as you imagine. See, e.g., Carter, Clinton I, Clinton II - successful yes; rich, not so much.
1.4.2008 1:45pm
whoa:
On My Own and EH: I agree with the basic proposition that the rich can indeed "stand up for" the poor. But I disagree with your argument. Personal wealth helps in politics, for sure. But it is not a prerequisite. I don't think Obama is rich--and he just beat Edwards. So "having a ton of money" isn't required. Like I said, though, I see nothing necessarily inconsistent with a rich politician "standing up for" the poor.
1.4.2008 1:48pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
And, JF, I think that almost everyone would agree that efficiency should be (measured in units of output)/(units of input)

You seem to think that the unit of measurement for input should be workers. I think the people arguing that the Iowa plant was inefficient are using total costs as their unit of measurement, of which labor costs are a component.

A question for those who seem to think tha layoffs, offshoring, etc. are per se bad.

Where would we be if your preferred course of action (Maytag doesn't close it's plant) had been taken during the 20th and 21st centuries? I mean, what is the alternative. I presume you'd grant that it is possible for a factory to become inefficient in some cases. For example, a 21st century buggy whip facgory. Isn't your first-best solution to provide unemployment insurance and other benefits, as opposed to requiriring continued employment? I mean, you recognize that preventing labor mobility would depress aggregate output right? Don't we have unemployment insurance? Do you prefer that the government stepped in, retrained the employees, kept them at the same wage, and opened their own factory or kept making appliances?
1.4.2008 1:53pm
Kazinski:
JF,
What makes workers in China, India, Ohio or Mexico subhuman and unworthy to have factory jobs making appliances for the American market? Why do liberals only have compassion for American union workers and could care less about raising the third world into prosperity? The answer isn't fighting over slivers of the pie, the answer is making the pie bigger.

David Ricardo showed 190 years ago why Americans are better off purchasing a washing machine from China if the Chinese can produce it more efficiently. The world has ridden expanding trade into ever higher standards of living, but the left is more concerned about the relative standard of living between middle class Iowans and Manhattan financiers than they are about the absolute standard of living. The problem is more about chattering class envy than corporate greed. My retirement plans depend on corporations maximizing their return, as well as lower prices for appliances other consumer goods and travel when I do retire. Win Win.
1.4.2008 1:55pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
So you're telling me that if Edward's gave away all or almost all his money, he wouldn't be a viable candidate? I'm not saying he's a hypocrite, and I'm not saying he should give his money away. I'm just saying that you don't need to be rich to be a candidate, although it sure helps. Weren't the Clinton's merely well-off pre-1992?
1.4.2008 1:57pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I think the argument is more along the lines of (i) Edwards obtained his fortune by feeding off those who create wealth

If you are criticizing Edwards for this, then you had better seriously reconsider your career choice. I hate to break it to you, but there are very few lawyers out there creating wealth.
1.4.2008 1:58pm
BillW:
JFT: Remember in your libertarian paradise there will be no unemployment insurance, no student loans, no government assistance for displaced workers.

Why do you imagine Libertopia would have no unemployment insurance, or student loans? The third, I'll grant you.

JFT: Again, the ability to buy more stuff at a lower price does not necessarily mean you are wealthier. It just means you can buy more stuff. E.g., if I can afford to buy a flat screen tv because they are really inexpensive but medical care is beyond my ability to pay for it because I have a chronic condition and cannot get insurance and my job doesn't offer it, am I really wealthier in a meaningful sense?

What does being wealthier mean, if not having the ability to buy more stuff? Simply having more portraits of dead presidents in your pocket?

Getting sick would make you poorer, but that's independent of whether you can buy more stuff.
1.4.2008 1:58pm
PLR:
I'm not an Edwards fan as a candidate, and plaintiffs' lawyers aren't my favorite people -- I'm on the other side. But a large part of the criticism hurled his way here is utterly ridiculous.

There's no reason at all the wealthy can't take the side of the working man. If Edwards plans to abide by the same sytem of taxation as the rest of working America, where is the hypocrisy? Must all wealthy people cater exclusively to the interests of country club Republicans and corporate executives in order not to be hypocritical?
1.4.2008 2:05pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
What makes workers in China, India, Ohio or Mexico subhuman and unworthy to have factory jobs making appliances for the American market? Why do liberals only have compassion for American union workers and could care less about raising the third world into prosperity? The answer isn't fighting over slivers of the pie, the answer is making the pie bigger.

Oh I see, corporations move their factories to those countries because they want to raise the living standards of people in China and India, not to increase their profits.

Snark aside. You are 100% right, and as long as we have trade agreements that ensure the right to organize and similar health, safety and environmental regulations in those countries that our workers enjoy here so that we are really competing on a level playing field (and that companies are not moving their manufacturing to China so they can get away with using paints that have been banned in this country since 1971), then I have no problem with free trade.

But don't try to sell me bs about bringing prosperiety to the poor people of China. Mattell could care less about that.
1.4.2008 2:07pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Why do you imagine Libertopia would have no unemployment insurance, or student loans

Because both are government programs?
1.4.2008 2:09pm
DLM (mail):

If Edwards plans to abide by the same sytem of taxation as the rest of working America, where is the hypocrisy? Must all wealthy people cater exclusively to the interests of country club Republicans and corporate executives in order not to be hypocritical?


I see; so long as Edwards "abides by the tax" system there is no hypocrisy in decrying the "greed" of a CEO while at the same time earning $800k for making a few phone calls.

By the way, I wonder if Edwards took advantage of any tax shelters before his political career? Nah, I'm sure he just paid the top marginal rate on his income and never consulted any tax professionals along the way.
1.4.2008 2:30pm
Prufrock765 (mail):
Re: JF Thomas at 2:07
There is a 230-year-old book called, "The Wealth of Nations". Among the points the author makes is that, it is not due to the virtue of the butcher, brewer and baker that I get my dinner, but to the fact that each of those men is in pursuit of his own interest.

No factory owner need or, necessarily, should care about the poor in China or Burundi or Newton, Iowa. That is clearly not the point.

Beyond pointing out that capitalism involves short-term pain for a discernible number of participants, what point are you trying to make?
1.4.2008 2:33pm
AnonLawStudent:

Why do you imagine Libertopia would have no unemployment insurance, or student loans?

Because both are government programs?


And neither needs to be. For example, without the moral hazard created by welfare, individuals would (i) purchase private unemployment insurance, (ii) make a cost-benefit analysis that it isn't worth it, or (iii) increase savings rate. A cursory review of global savings rates shows that they are higher in lesser developed countries that lack social safety nets, a fact largely attributable to economic uncertainty. Not to mention the collateral benefits of a higher savings rate, e.g. reduced consumption and reduced current account deficit, and increased incentives to preempt economic risks via education. As for student loans, maybe we might see a better cost-benefit analysis by students: Is a degree in Queer Theory weaving really worth the $30,000 that I'll have to pay, or should I major in engineering instead?
1.4.2008 2:39pm
Prufrock765 (mail):
Also:
It seems that this point is rarely brought up in conversations like this:

What if Maytag had kept the factory in Newton. And what if some other corporation built a factory in the next town. And what if this new factory paid 20% better compensation, all things considered (retirement, health benefits, etc).
Is it a despicable act for a Maytag worker to leave Maytag and go to work at the hypothetical new factory?
If not, then why is Maytag held to a higher standard than a worker is held to?
1.4.2008 2:39pm
AnonLawStudent:
J.F.,

As for your concern about worker's rights, the environment, or whatever the cause-of-the-day is, perhaps the competition might force Americans to do a little bit of introspective cost-benefit analysis before advocating massively expensive regulations to protect the brown spotted purple people eater bat-toad, found only in 160 square feet of Trickle Creek.
1.4.2008 2:44pm
AnonLawStudent:
Prufrock,

I like your style.
1.4.2008 2:45pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
No factory owner need or, necessarily, should care about the poor in China or Burundi or Newton, Iowa. That is clearly not the point.

That was Kazinski's argument, not mine?

A cursory review of global savings rates shows that they are higher in lesser developed countries that lack social safety nets, a fact largely attributable to economic uncertainty.

Link please.
1.4.2008 2:49pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
As for your concern about worker's rights, the environment, or whatever the cause-of-the-day is, perhaps the competition might force Americans to do a little bit of introspective cost-benefit analysis before advocating massively expensive regulations to protect the brown spotted purple people eater bat-toad, found only in 160 square feet of Trickle Creek.

Spoken by someone who neither remembers nor cares what the environmental conditions were in this country prior to 1970. You might want to do a little research on the environmental disaster that is modern China, or compare the number of miners killed there and in this country, before you advocate a return to the good ol' days of unregulated factory emissions.
1.4.2008 2:53pm
AnonLawStudent:
J.F. @ 2:49PM

Reference: Greenspan, Age of Turbulence. Unfortunately, I'm currently away from home, and can't provide a pincite.
1.4.2008 2:58pm
PLR:
I see; so long as Edwards "abides by the tax" system there is no hypocrisy in decrying the "greed" of a CEO while at the same time earning $800k for making a few phone calls.

No doubt Edwards' supporters (if they were here) would say he's realizing his professional income at a rate set by a free market where the sides have equal bargaining power, while the CEO is not getting such a rate.
1.4.2008 2:58pm
paul (mail):
Aren't corporations supposed to be greedy? When I purchase stocks, I want to buy a company that will make money. I don't want to buy stock in a company that will give away its profits instead of paying dividends.
When Edwards says he wants to go after greedy corporations, I wonder what he believes should be the goal of a corporation other than make money for its stock holders within the bounds of the law?
1.4.2008 3:00pm
AnonLawStudent:
J.F.,

I never said no regulation, I said "cost-benefit analysis." Would I want to live in Birmingham, Alabama back in the days of the steel mills? No. Would I want to work in a coal mine in China? No. Personal cost-benefit. Should I presume to make that choice for some Uighur guy literally half-way around the world, whose alternative is to make a subsistence living herding goats in the mountains around Kashgar? No, as well. It never ceases to amaze me how willing you are to dictate the actions of people in situations of which you have no knowledge.
1.4.2008 3:05pm
SeaDrive:
AnonLawStudent said
"For example, without the moral hazard created by welfare, individuals would (i) purchase private unemployment insurance, (ii) make a cost-benefit analysis that it isn't worth it, or (iii) increase savings rate."

Or (iv) leave themselves at risk for financial ruin.

And, chances are that (iv) would be the popular choice. For my money, this is proveable as a matter of sociological fact by the number of people who take on mortgages they cannot pay, and the number who make patently unwise decisions about their 401(k)s.
1.4.2008 3:27pm
byomtov (mail):
Yes. In technologically complex cases, including the med-mal cases in which Edwards made his fortune, the inability of the jury to deal with the facts in issue is well-established.

"Over time, Mr. Edwards became quite selective about cases. Liability had to be clear, his competitors and opponents say, and the potential award had to be large."

OK, people. Whch is it? Did Edwards make his fortune by bamboozling ill-informed juries with emotional appeals, or did he do it by taking cases where liability was clear (no bamboozlement necessary) and the damage significant (serious harm done - not "feeding off the wealthy").

No doubt Edwards' supporters (if they were here) would say he's realizing his professional income at a rate set by a free market where the sides have equal bargaining power, while the CEO is not getting such a rate.

I'm here, and I say exactly that. Funny how un-libertarian some of the commenters here get when someone they don't like makes a lot of money. Why don't some of you go into the personal injury business and undercut the Edwards' of the world, if it's so outrageous? Isn't that how market competition is supposed to work?

"Sorry you lost your leg, Joe, but here's 60% of the verdict to make up for it. I'll be spending the other 40% to add an indoor basketball court to my house."

And how do you think Joe would have made out if he had relied on the good will of the insurance company to compensate him for his lost leg?

What a bunch of whining there is in this thread. How many of you lawyers would turn down multi-million dollar fees?
1.4.2008 3:33pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Tell that to the former employees and stockholders of Enron or Worldcom."

The best story to come out of the Enron situation dealt with the "Trading Room." Enron had a huge room at its HQ set up as a trading room. However, it wasn't used to trade. It was used to impress visitors who marveled at all the blinking screens and frenzied traders. But, they weren't traders; they were just employees recruited to sit in the room and pretend thay were trading.

Imagine that. Workers participating in fraud.
1.4.2008 3:40pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Whenever I want work, I always ask a trial lawyer for a job because they offer so many of them.

Whenever I want business advice I ask a trial lawyer and one-term junior senator because they are such experts on business operations.

Call me crazy, but I love bureaucrats designing my cars, toilets, and light bulbs because those guys are real experts.

Am I the only one who noticed that the Dems are running 3 junior senators (current and former). Couldn't they find any senior senators? Whatever happened to Joe Biden?
1.4.2008 3:43pm
SeaDrive:
Duncan Frissell: And when I look for a president I prefer an actor, or failing that, an ex-baseball team executive.
1.4.2008 3:53pm
Jeff S. (mail):
JF Thomas,

"First of all I don't consider "working stiff" to be perjoritive".

It is pejorative, but you use it in a paternalistic and elitist way.
1.4.2008 3:57pm
EH (mail):

Personal wealth helps in politics, for sure. But it is not a prerequisite. I don't think Obama is rich--and he just beat Edwards. So "having a ton of money" isn't required.

This reinforces the hypocrisy I was describing. Personal wealth is a non-issue when running for President, so those who bring it up are either ignorant or facetious. Typically, lambasting people who are standing up for poor people because they themselves are not poor serves as a thinly-veiled argument that nobody should help the poor. If that's the case then those people should be honest and say so, rather than criticizing those who do not adhere to that ethic.
1.4.2008 4:15pm
Adeez (mail):
Man, some of you commenters sure are clever. Here's a post about Edwards railing against corporate greed, and people dare call him a hypocrite b/c he happens to be rich.

Then JF Thomas (to his infinite credit) takes on a gang by himself in support of workers and against corporate greed as well.

To those criticizing either as "elitist" or hypocritical: you're joking right? It's like one of them rhetorical tricks or something, right? Not that he needs any help defending himself, but I gotta step-in regarding the preposterous claim that he's being elitist by calling the same people he's blue-in-the-face supporting "working stiffs." It's called compassion. It's called sympathizing with those who're too busy working for peanuts while the rest of us have time to chat about it from our cozy offices and homes.

Warren Buffet plans on giving away his billions to charity. That's compassion. The world needs a lot more of that.

You wanna see "elitist": cue Barbara Bush overseeing the katrina victims in the Superdome. To paraphrase: these people come from shit, so living in this shit temporarily should suit them fine.

Or: "the haves and the have-mores. Some call you the elite, I call you my base. hee hee hee"

Ever since I learned of the civil rights movement, I was in awe of the northerners (particularly whites) who risked a lot to fight for a cause that barely personally affected them at all. To fight for the least amongst us is amongst the most noble of causes, and it is laughable to say that someone rich cannot effectively lobby for those who are not. It's called caring about something more than whether you can buy another private jet.
1.4.2008 4:21pm
Kazinski:
JF,
I didn't say Corporations are relocating overseas because of any concern over raising third world living standards. We all know why they are locating overseas, it's to produce products for a lower cost so they can compete better. Competition is good, lack of competition leads to stagnation. Stagnation isn't good for us, it isn't good for the third world.
1.4.2008 4:32pm
AnonLawStudent:
Adeez,

Edwards isn't looking out for the little guy. He's made a fortune by taking advantage of the system, based on the ignorance of the little guy, and ultimately, to the detriment of the little guy. Right now, it sucks to be a little woman in need of an obstetrician in North Carolina. It's rank hypocrisy to say you are a "champion of the poor," then advocate policies which will keep them that way.

As for charity, I don't know of very many people who object to charity. More power to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates for their good deeds. Libertarians do, however, object to REQUIRING "charity" by force of law.
1.4.2008 4:45pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
JF Thomas - you sound like a Socialist to me. Would you have government step in and dictate to a company how many workers they should employ and what the "correct, moral" profit-margin should be? Just admit you are a Socialist, you'll be a lot happier not denying it anymore.
1.4.2008 4:46pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
but I gotta step-in regarding the preposterous claim that he's being elitist by calling the same people he's blue-in-the-face supporting "working stiffs." It's called compassion. It's called sympathizing with those who're too busy working for peanuts while the rest of us have time to chat about it from our cozy offices and homes.
1.4.2008 4:53pm
DeezRightWingNutz:

To those criticizing either as "elitist" or hypocritical: you're joking right? It's like one of them rhetorical tricks or something, right? Not that he needs any help defending himself, but I gotta step-in regarding the preposterous claim that he's being elitist by calling the same people he's blue-in-the-face supporting "working stiffs." It's called compassion. It's called sympathizing with those who're too busy working for peanuts while the rest of us have time to chat about it from our cozy offices and homes.


I especially like the "too busy working for peanuts" line, as if there are so many poor people in the US putting in sixteen hour days for their gruel and cardboard box.
1.4.2008 4:57pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
JF Thomas - you sound like a Socialist to me.

I sound like a socialist because to you because you have no idea what a real socialist is. I am not a socialist because I don't believe in nationalizing any industries.
1.4.2008 5:01pm
AnonLawStudent:
J.F.,

Actually, your arguments are far closer to Fabian socialism than you may realize.
1.4.2008 5:14pm
Dennis Nicholls (mail):
Gentlemen,

Whirlpool bought out Maytag about a year ago. See for example news story It's reasonable after such a merger for some Maytag plants to be closed and the product lines consolidated into fewer plants. Now Edwards may attack the merger itself (even though the feds approved it) but is in no position to attack Whirlpool. Whirlpool is an example of a well-run US company that makes almost all of its products here in the US to rave reviews for quality. See any issue of Consumer Reports for this.
1.4.2008 6:01pm
Adeez (mail):
Hey Deez: thanks for all the attention. And despite our apparently different ideologies, given the similarity of our names, we must be somehow related. So peace brother.
1.4.2008 6:08pm
JaredS:
EH:
Lastly, and few have picked up on this, if you put today's Huckabee and Edwards vote tallies together, you get a majority of caucus voters going against the corporate line. I'm intrigued to see how long the knives are that come out for Huck in the next couple of weeks, since Edwards is easy enough to discount.

Few have picked up on it because it's wrong. If 30% in one group meet a criterion and 34% in another group meet the criterion, then the percentage meeting the criterion in both groups together must be between 30 and 34, because it's a weighted average of both groups. If Huckabee and Edwards each got 55%, that would not be 110% of caucus voters against the corporate line.
1.4.2008 7:23pm
LN (mail):
Edwards was a greedy parasite trial lawyer who enriched himself at the expense of real hard-working Americans!

Also, stupid Edwards and his blathering about "corporate greed" -- he's just appealing to bitter ignorant masses who don't understand that greed makes capitalism work and that the rich deserve every penny that they earn in America!

Fascinating.
1.5.2008 12:10pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I'm not an Edwards fan as a candidate, and plaintiffs' lawyers aren't my favorite people -- I'm on the other side. But a large part of the criticism hurled his way here is utterly ridiculous.

There's no reason at all the wealthy can't take the side of the working man. If Edwards plans to abide by the same sytem of taxation as the rest of working America, where is the hypocrisy? Must all wealthy people cater exclusively to the interests of country club Republicans and corporate executives in order not to be hypocritical?
PLR, you're right that the fact that Edwards is wealthy does not make him hypocritical for (claiming he's) wanting to help the poor. What's hypocritical is demonizing the wealthy, as Edwards regularly does, while being wealthy himself.

What's also hypocritical is making ranting and raving speeches which provide anecdotes about suffering poor people, without him actually doing anything to help those people.




Why do you imagine Libertopia would have no unemployment insurance, or student loans

Because both are government programs?
Both are currently government programs, not inherently such. Indeed, student loans are private as well.

Oh I see, corporations move their factories to those countries because they want to raise the living standards of people in China and India, not to increase their profits.

[...]

But don't try to sell me bs about bringing prosperiety to the poor people of China. Mattell could care less about that.
True, but so what? t is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. This is the classic leftist mistake, thinking that what's important are good motives rather than effective actions. Employing Indian people purely out of self interest is good for Indian people, regardless of whether the motive is charity or profit. (Correction: a charitable motive is less likely to be effective.)
1.5.2008 6:38pm
Smokey:
whoa:
I agree with the basic proposition that the rich can indeed "stand up for" the poor.
Ah, but that's not the real question here, is it?

John Edwards would help the 'poor' immensely by simply setting the example: by digging deep into his own pocket, rather than demanding that we elect him -- so that he can dig his hands deep into our pockets, to give our hard-earned after tax money to these people.

As economist Walter E. Williams says, digging into your own pocket to help others is admirable; digging into other folks' pockets to fund your great idea is simply theft. John Edwards falls into the latter category, not the former.
1.6.2008 5:05pm