Dear Conservative Life Coach…

 

1983

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’m 23 and just graduated from college and I’ve met the most wonderful girl. Neither one of us believes in sex before marriage so ‘shacking up’ is out of the question. Should I ask her to marry me even though my career is still in its infancy?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! We know that the way to prosperity is to get married and have children.

CLC

1993

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’m 33 and just got a nice promotion at work. My wife and I have been renting but the kids are growing and we’re thinking about buying a home. Should we make the leap?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! Home ownership is a surefire way to prosperity! Plus home ownership makes for stronger neighborhoods and stronger communities in general. And with all the tax breaks and programs designed for first time buyers there’s never been a better time!

CLC

2005

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

My wife’s father has Alzheimers. We’ve been looking at extended care facilities but neither of us liked what we saw. Should we add a room on to the house or petition the government to expand care to the elderly?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

First of all, we conservatives know that government is never the solution to any problem. If I were you I’d take out a small loan, build your father-in-law a room and take care of him! Nobody is going to do that better than family. And to encourage and reward good people like you we’re working on providing tax breaks for caregivers.

CLC

2013

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

My oldest just graduated from high school and we’re looking at colleges. Are Federal Student Loans really the way to go?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! With the changing economy you know your child is going to to have to have at least a Bachelor’s degree to compete in the job market. Besides, we’re working to pass new changes to the Dependent Child Tax Credit that will reward good people like you!

CLC

2017

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’ve done everything you told me to do in the past. I’m 57 and farther and farther away from retirement with all the changes in Social Security. Now it seems my company is moving production overseas. All of the tech jobs here in the home office are being filled by H1B visa workers from India. I’m losing my job and my health insurance. I had to refinance the house after the ’08 crash plus I have those additional loans that I took out for the addition for my elderly father-in-law and college loans for both kids. And the real estate market here is pretty depressed. What do I do now?

Trump Voter in Ohio

Dear Ohio,

Why are you asking me? If you voted for Trump you’re obviously not a true conservative. Stop whining and looking to others to solve your problems! You should have thought about this a long time ago.

CLC

2019

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

Screw you.

Angry in Ohio

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  1. TES Inactive
    TES
    @TonySells

    The OP reminded me of the “Life of Julia” power point the Obama campaign put out in 2012. Instead of an overtly message of “look at all the cool things government will do”, it was more of a message of “look how Republicans don’t care about you and their solutions will screw you over”.  I don’t see much of a difference between the two messages.  

    I don’t say this to be pejorative.  Obviously this message resonates for a lot of Republicans now. Maybe both parties are statists, but they are different kinds of statists.    

    • #181
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    TES: Obviously this message resonates for a lot of Republicans now. Maybe both parties are statists, but they are different kinds of statists.

    The problems are absolutism, the acceptance of “X” based on how you feel about the person proposing it and the natural consequences of international relationships, even from “allies.”

    Once you publicly declare a position such as “All tariffs are bad even if our competitors do it” puts you in a box and leaves no room for compromise.

    If you point out Reagan’s protectionism you get the “YeahButs.”

    In an international environment allowing even your allies to steal your economic assets at the expense of your own countrymen while yelling “Cheap things at Walmart!” is political tone deafness to the nth degree.

    • #182
  3. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    As for bloggers covering sewer board meetings: that’s done by i-phones and facebook now.

    Yeeeeah, no. How many Facebook “journalists” left work and headed to Wisconsin when they found the girl who’d been missing since her parents were shot? We need a dedicated cohort of people who are paid to gather the news, and have institutional accountability.

    @jameslileks

    James, just wanted you to know that at least in part because of a couple of the comments you’ve made on this thread, I just bought an electronic subscription to my local newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, rather than continuing to privatemode browse the stories I’m interested in.

    It’s not the paper it used to be – I let my print subscription lapse about 5 or so years ago when I realized that there just wasn’t much paper there anymore.  I miss the days of sitting down with the Sunday paper and having a separate business section, travel section, arts section, editorial section, etc etc.  I could spend a couple hours going through it.Then the business section turned into 3 pages, with a one page travel “section” on the back of that, the editorial page turned into the last two pages of the local news section…You could knock out everything worth reading in 45 minutes.  There just was no point to it anymore.  And it’s gotten worse since Gannet bought them.

    I have little hope that the organization will improve, but I’m doing my part.

    At least Jim Stingl is still a relatively decent columnist.

    • #183
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Bad idea, but the government should subsidize the education and retraining of the journalists. Nobody should have any pretensions that changing a job is like changing toothpaste, and markets never function like they do in Econ 101. The journalists can learn a new trade, and since it is through no fault of their own that they are unemployed in a society that ideally wouldn’t have to choose between technological progress and short-term economic security, it is best for everyone if their education were subsidized.

    I’d say that’s the union’s job. I’d rather my dues went to help unemployed journalists than take money from someone else who had nothing to do with the situation. What sort of retraining are we talking about, though? Anything short of college will probably be insufficient.

    There are coding bootcamps that last about 12 weeks. They could also be sent to a technical school to learn a trade. They can learn a new skill late in life without going to college.

    I doubt they would be able to learn advanced mathematics or engineering at that point in their lives.

    After 40+ years of experience, I would say it’s the same with coding. It’s been my experience that most people can never be good at coding, period, even if they start trying when young. The older they get, the more unlikely they are to “get” it to any significant – i.e., employable – degree.

    Plus which, coding has to be one of the most easily-outsourced jobs to ever arise. To put it simply, however little pay you might be willing to accept to do coding in the US, someone in some other part of the world is willing to do it for less.

    I thought the whole point of the coding bootcamps was that anyone can learn it well enough to get a decent job.

    If they’re actually supposed to be teaching programming type “coding,” not the kind of medical-billing-etc “coding” that James describes, then frankly I’d have to think they’re lying. Or they just don’t understand enough about it themselves, to realize when they’ve failed.

    Based on my experience, this article describes the problem very well, and many of the comments are also quite enlightening (as well as entertaining).

    https://blog.codinghorror.com/separating-programming-sheep-from-non-programming-goats/

    The link is broken.

    Try copy/paste rather than just click on in.  Ricochet seemed to turn it into some kind of “place-holder” thing rather than the actual link.

    • #184
  5. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EJHill (View Comment):

    TES: Obviously this message resonates for a lot of Republicans now. Maybe both parties are statists, but they are different kinds of statists.

    The problems are absolutism, the acceptance of “X” based on how you feel about the person proposing it and the natural consequences of international relationships, even from “allies.”

    Once you publicly declare a position such as “All tariffs are bad even if our competitors do it” puts you in a box and leaves no room for compromise.

    All tariffs are bad for the economy. There are times when it’s worth impoverishing one’s own people in order to make life worse for others; sanctions are cheaper than war, and are sometimes a sensible step short of it. But they don’t create jobs.

    It is sometimes the case that one has to tactically raise some tariffs in order to drop others; tariffs are bribes and while all bribery is bad for the country (even if competing countries are corrupt), sometimes bribes can be worthwhile in reforming the system to be less susceptible to future bribery. 

    Reagan removed a lot of tax loopholes, so some people’s taxes were hiked even though the average tax rate went down. In the same sense that Reagan was in favor of tariffs, he was in favor of high income taxes. The same is true for Bush. 

    If you point out Reagan’s protectionism you get the “YeahButs.”

    If you point out Reagan’s love of income taxes as part of an argument that we should undo Reagan’s tax cuts, you’ll get the same “YeahButs” as if you argue Reagan’s support for undoing Reagan’s tariff cuts. Trump’s beefs with Canada over NAFTA, for instance, are almost exclusively about trade agreement provisions that were passed by Reagan.

    In an international environment allowing even your allies to steal your economic assets at the expense of your own countrymen while yelling “Cheap things at Walmart!” is political tone deafness to the nth degree.

    Sometimes the truth is politically tone deaf. It’s really unpopular, for instance, to tell people that Social Security isn’t a government mandated retirement account. That said, it’s also unethical to lie to people.

    Sometimes economic conspiracy theories are popular. Often they involve Jews. In the 1930s and 1910s it was politically tone deaf to be excessively philosemitic (look at the treatment of Lochner v NY). Public opinion was strong against allowing Jewish Refugees from Germany. But that didn’t mean that it was not to the credit of the politicians who stood up for Jews when they needed support.

    If your concern about stealing is literally about stealing, then I’d appreciate more specificity. If it’s treating trade as a form of theft in the manner that Trump does, then I guess the issue is obvious.

    • #185
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    James Of England: If your concern about stealing is literally about stealing, then I’d appreciate more specificity.

    James, you’re a true lawyer, just like Bill Clinton parsing about the meaning of the word “is.” Often what is right and what is legal are at odds. A third trimester abortion done for the “mental” health of the woman may be legal, but I doubt the child would be interested in your argument.

    • #186
  7. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    James Of England (View Comment):
    All tariffs are bad for the economy. There are times when it’s worth impoverishing one’s own people in order to make life worse for others; sanctions are cheaper than war, and are sometimes a sensible step short of it. But they don’t create jobs.

    Tell that to China. They have successfully used tariffs and non-tariff  trade barriers to build large industries. The benefit to their producers has greatly outweighed the detriment to their consumers.

    • #187
  8. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    James Of England (View Comment):
    All tariffs are bad for the economy. There are times when it’s worth impoverishing one’s own people in order to make life worse for others; sanctions are cheaper than war, and are sometimes a sensible step short of it. But they don’t create jobs.

    Tell that to China. They have successfully used tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers to build large industries. The benefit to their producers has greatly outweighed the detriment to their consumers.

    It has also created huge and growing problems:

    • #188
  9. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    China has another problem brewing – one they don’t like to acknowledge.  As China has gotten more expensive, other nations are starting to undercut them, ones that are easier and safer to do business in, and less likely to steal.

    China has built up a huge modern industrial base, one that will not be easily converted as technology changes.  Just as it was extremely difficult for the US steel industry, for instance, to adapt to new technologies (that failure being far more germane to their collapse than foreign competition, BTW) because of the sunk costs and labor calcification, China is going to find itself likewise in the same position – being stuck with higher labor costs and outdated equipment and methods while younger cheaper countries steal their business.

    The US textile business didn’t move to China, it moved to places like Columbia, then went to SE Asia, and now it’s moving again to the Indian Ocean and Africa.  Other things will follow.

    • #189
  10. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It has also created huge and growing problems:

    Huh? Hardly caused by the tariffs per se. 

    The ghost city issue (like massive government expenditures on military, mass transit, etc.) merely evidences the success of the tariffs in taking high profit industries from the west so that China has money to waste. Imagine how well china would b doing if it was not wasting some of the money generated by use of tariffs to conquer high profit industries.

    The shoddy construction issue again highlights the success of the tariffs in that they are able to overcome the disadvantages of the culture of shoddiness. 

    • #190
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    The US textile business didn’t move to China, it moved to places like Columbia, then went to SE Asia, and now it’s moving again to the Indian Ocean and Africa. Other things will follow.

    It sounds like what you’re saying is that “capitalistic” choices of first-world countries are naturally elevating the standard of living in poorer countries and we don’t necessarily have to bring them into Western countries to significantly improve their lives.

    • #191
  12. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It has also created huge and growing problems:

    Huh? Hardly caused by the tariffs per se.

    The ghost city issue (like massive government expenditures on military, mass transit, etc.) merely evidences the success of the tariffs in taking high profit industries from the west so that China has money to waste. Imagine how well china would b doing if it was not wasting some of the money generated by use of tariffs to conquer high profit industries.

    The shoddy construction issue again highlights the success of the tariffs in that they are able to overcome the disadvantages of the culture of shoddiness.

    Actually it’s a sign that the money within China has no place to go in China, and the government is not necessarily keen to let too much out of China either.  So the government tries to keep the money moving on crap state-run projects like this, and other gigantic and largely junky projects, rather than letting the money go out and get spent elsewhere, since that would mess with their attempts to keep their currency cheap for easier exports.  It’s a system that cannot go on forever, and as their economy has been growing at a slower clip of late, they’re starting to feel pinched.  They’ve got growth rates that would be great here, but there they are a borderline recession.

    What Chinese capital is getting out, is not going out by importing goods (due to their tariffs and politics), but on acquisitions (rather like the buying spree Japan went on here in the 80s and 90s, before their economy stagnated).  Chinese capital funds (usually hidden under several layers of fronts) are buying stakes in US heavy industry here because we’re actually making money, and are a place to park money.  The internal Chinese economy is not free, is not politically safe, and buying things here also makes for a nice hedge if things go pear shaped there.

    Remember how terrified we were of Japan in the 80s and 90s?  How “unfair” their tariffs were?  They’ve stagnated since (and they were a lot freer than China), and China is running the risk of doing the same.  

    Besides, if China dropped their own tariffs, their consumers might have a decent shot at finding out just how unsafe and poor quality a lot of Chinese goods are compared to the world competition.

    • #192
  13. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Flicker (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    The US textile business didn’t move to China, it moved to places like Columbia, then went to SE Asia, and now it’s moving again to the Indian Ocean and Africa. Other things will follow.

    It sounds like what you’re saying is that “capitalistic” choices of first-world countries are naturally elevating the standard of living in poorer countries and we don’t necessarily have to bring them into Western countries to significantly improve their lives.

    Separate argument.  But yes, immigration / emmigration are push / pull issues.  You want to reduce the pull of people into your own country?  One way is to improve the lot of the people in their own lands so that they’re not pushed out of theirs in the first place (see: Venezuela).

    • #193
  14. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    China needs to sell more stuff to itself. A consumer economy. I think the problem is if they do that, the mafia Government they have–50 guys at the top of the Chinese Communist Party–would lose control. 

    • #194
  15. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    China needs to sell more stuff to itself. A consumer economy. I think the problem is if they do that, the mafia Government they have–50 guys at the top of the Chinese Communist Party–would lose control.

    It’s certainly part of the problem.  Their economy is hellaciously top-heavy, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.

    • #195
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    The US textile business didn’t move to China, it moved to places like Columbia, then went to SE Asia, and now it’s moving again to the Indian Ocean and Africa. Other things will follow.

    It sounds like what you’re saying is that “capitalistic” choices of first-world countries are naturally elevating the standard of living in poorer countries and we don’t necessarily have to bring them into Western countries to significantly improve their lives.

    Separate argument. But yes, immigration / emmigration are push / pull issues. You want to reduce the pull of people into your own country? One way is to improve the lot of the people in their own lands so that they’re not pushed out of theirs in the first place (see: Venezuela).

    Well, I was thinking of Africa, but I was just saying that what you said was a pretty good thing, and doesn’t require mass migration and cultural disruption to accomplish it.

    • #196
  17. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EJHill (View Comment):

    James Of England: If your concern about stealing is literally about stealing, then I’d appreciate more specificity.

    James, you’re a true lawyer, just like Bill Clinton parsing about the meaning of the word “is.” Often what is right and what is legal are at odds. A third trimester abortion done for the “mental” health of the woman may be legal, but I doubt the child would be interested in your argument.

    When I say “I don’t know what you are talking about” I am not drawing fine distinctions. I literally don’t know the topic, so can’t easily respond to that bit. Something about foreigners being terrible, but there’s a lot of ways in which foreigners can be bad.

    • #197
  18. RandR Member
    RandR
    @RandR

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    We need a dedicated cohort of people who are paid to gather the news, and have institutional accountability.

    I quite agree but I see nothing in the Constitution that says providing the above is a responsibility of our government.

    • #198
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