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January 21, 2015

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Posted: 21 Jan 2015 12:06 AM PST

Obama and I, Me, My, You, We, Our

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:46 AM PST

Mark Liberman at Language Log tries to set the record straight -- yet again:

Presidential pronouns: This time it's Ron Fournier: Ron Fournier, "Is Obama More Interested in Progress or Politics?", National Journal, 1/20/2015:

Count how many times Obama uses the words "I," "me," and "my." Compare that number to how often he says, "You," "we," "our." If the first number is greater than the second, Obama has failed.

This leads naturally to a different question: "Is Ron Fournier More Interested in Analysis or in Bullshit?"...

If Ron Fournier had spent a minute or two looking into the facts of the matter, he might have discovered... ALL presidents since WWII have used substantially more first-person-plural pronouns than first-person-singular pronouns in the SOTU messages; Adding second-person pronouns makes the disproportion even larger; Obama is pretty much in the middle of the pack on all the relevant measures. ...

Mr. Fournier is reprising a sub-theme of the Great Obama Pronoun Fantasy, variants of which seem to draw pundits like flies to rotting meat. ...

'The 2003 Dividend Tax Cut Did Nothing to Help the Real Economy'

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:42 AM PST

Mike Konczal:

The 2003 Dividend Tax Cut Did Nothing to Help the Real Economy: President Obama is going big on capital taxation in the State of the Union tonight, including a proposal to raise dividend taxes on the rich to 28 percent. ...Bush's radical cuts to capital taxes are part of his legacy... And it's a part that the latest evidence tells us did a lot to help the rich without helping the overall economy at all.
In the response to Obama's proposal, you are going to hear a lot about how lower dividend rates increase investment and help the real economy. Indeed, lowering capital tax rates has been a consistent goal of conservatives. As a result, one of the biggest capital taxation changes in history happened in 2003, when George W. Bush reduced the dividend tax rate from 38.6 percent to 15 percent... So did the tax cut make a difference?
This is where UC Berkeley economist Danny Yagan's fantastic new paper, "Capital Tax Reform and the Real Economy: The Effects of the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," (pdf, slides) comes in. ...
Here's what he finds: ... There's no difference in either investment or adjusted net investment. There's also no difference when it comes to employee compensation. The firms that got a massive capital tax cut did not make any different choices about things that boost the real economy. This is true across a crazy-robust number of controls, measures, and coding of outliers. ...
President Obama will likely focus his pitch for the dividend tax increase on the future, when, in his argument, globalization and technology will cause compensation to stagnate while investor payouts skyrocket and the economy becomes more focused on the top 1 percent. But it's worth noting that while capital taxes are a solution to that problem, that the radical slashing conservatives have brought to them are also partly responsible for our current malaise.

'Poorer Parents are Just as Involved in Their Children's Activities as Better-Off Parents'

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:16 AM PST

This seems worth noting:

Poorer parents are just as involved in their children's activities as better-off parents, EurekAlert: Poorer parents are just as involved in education, leisure, and sports activities with their children as better-off parents, a new study has found.
Dr Esther Dermott and Marco Pomati analysed survey data on 1,665 UK households and found that poorer parents were as likely to have helped with homework, attended parents' evenings, and played sports or games with their children in the previous week.
Dr Dermott, of the University of Bristol, and Mr Pomati, Cardiff University, say they found no evidence of a group of poor parents who failed their children.
"Those with lower incomes or who felt poor were as likely to engage in all of the good parent-child activities as everyone else," they say in an article published online in the journal Sociology.
"The findings support the view that associations made between low levels of education, poverty and poor parenting are ideologically driven rather than based on empirical evidence. Claims that families who are poor or are less well educated do not engage in high profile good parenting practices are misplaced." They found no evidence of a group of parents who failed to participate in parent-child activities, they say.
"This is potentially important since recent political discourse has not only promoted the idea that poor parenting exists but also emphasised the existence of a group of parents who persistently fail to engage in parenting activities that are beneficial for their children." ...

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