Voters confuse me

Here’s an anti-Romney ad:

The setting is Marion, Indiana, about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The city is the home of Indiana Wesleyan University, the largest evangelical Christian university in the Midwest and largest private university in Indiana. Since 2003, former Olympic skater Wayne Seybold has been Marion’s mayor. Marion is also noted for being the birthplace of legendary actor James Dean and famed cartoonist Jim Davis, though both were raised in nearby Fairmount. It was also the location of the wedding of actress Julia Roberts and singer Lyle Lovett in 1993. The city is also the site of a famous lynching of two African Americans.

So, what’s the electoral projection for November?


FiveThirtyEight Projections Dem Rep Margin
Polling average 40.0 49.0 Romney +9.0
Adjusted polling average 38.3 50.7 Romney +12.4
State fundamentals 41.2 50.0 Romney +8.8
Now-cast 41.0 50.1 Romney +9.1
Projected vote share ±7.2 45.2 53.6 Romney +8.4
Chance of winning 12% 88%
Polls 538 WT. Date Dem Rep Margin
Howey/DePauw 3/27 40.0 49.0 Romney +9.0

Not a squeaker. Not even close. Mitt Romney has an 88% chance of winning in a state where workers were ordered to build a stage so his minions could have a platform from which they could fire everybody. Obama won Marion in 2008. No idea how he’s going to do there in 2012, but we know the rest of the state’s residents aren’t going to show much sympathy for their neighbors.

OK, Hoosiers. If that’s what you want …


Cuckoo for austerity

So what’s happening in world economics?

Steepest drop in German private sector output for three years. Euro crisis leads to survey-record monthly fall in service providers’ business outlook.

Of course, an economist could explain this better, but let’s see:

Germany is the leading voice for an austerity strategy for dealing with Europe’s economic problems. When countries practice austerity, jobs and services are cut. When that happens, citizens have less money to spend. German economic strength is based on product manufacturing. People throughout Europe buy German products. But governments throughout Europe are practicing austerity. With austerity, people don’t have money to buy products (fewer jobs, fewer payouts in social services, higher taxes, less money). When people don’t buy products, German businesses make less money.

So austerity is bad for Germany.

But Germany insists austerity is the way to go.

And now German service providers are experiencing a record fall in their business outlook.

Who could have seen that coming? Cue Paul Krugman:

Basically, it seems that even as the euro approaches a critical juncture, senior German officials are living in Wolkenkuckucksheim — cloud-cuckoo land.

Now, I know the phrase normally refers to a state of naive optimism, not normally something one attributes to German officials. But a broader interpretation would be that of believing, despite all the evidence, that the world is the way you want it to be, and acting on that false belief.

So the man from the finance ministry asserts that the euro crisis was brought on by fiscal irresponsibility, and in particular by “short-termism” — so that the remedy is to focus on long-run fiscal irresponsibility plus structural reform, which he insists has never failed.

All one can say is, My God. You have to be willfully blind not to know that private excess, not public, caused the problems in Spain and Ireland — and nowhere, not even in Greece, did Keynesian stimulus efforts have anything at all to do with the crisis. As for fiscal responsibility plus reform solving the kind of problem we face now — massive real overvaluation with a fixed exchange rate — it would be truer to say that this has never worked.

Public school spending (too bad if you’re color blind)

OK, NPR. This would be an interesting, informative graphic if you had decided to make a better choice in your color coordination:

At first glance, this looks like Louisiana is spending as much on schools as New York. Of course, that’s a joke. Did NPR not bother to notice that its $10,000-$12,000 range looks an awful like its $15,000-$19,000 range?  If you’re not color blind, you can tell the difference if you have your nose right against the computer screen, but seriously, didn’t anyone say to the mapmaker that from a normal distance the dark blue sure looks like the dark green?

No wonder our kids aren’t learning anything.