Open thread August 31, 2012 Dan Crawford | August 31, 2012 2:13 pm Tags: open thread Comments (15) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
There are about 158.3 million women in the US. About 46% of women vote as compared to 45% of men. And, about 41% of women voters are Dems as opposed to Repubs. Obviously, one way to influence the outcome of an election is to change the number of women who vote in it. From the Repubs’ standpoint, the fewer women voting, the better. The reverse is true for Dems.
The voter ID laws now in effect in 15 states require govt-issued photo ID, usually a driver’s license. Some require anyone who has changed his/her name to provide proof of the change from the old to the new name. On the whole, women are more likely to change their last names because they customarily do so when they marry. To prove the change of name, a woman needs a certified copy of the marriage certificate. If you don’t have this document, you have to obtain it. It recently cost me $40 to obtain mine. Birth certificates cost about the same although it can cost much more to obtain any document from a foreign country. For a birth certificate and marriage certificate, a woman may need to shell out $80 or more depending on the number of documents involved to prove she is eligible to vote. In my state, the same evidence is needed to renew a driver’s license.
Alrighty, then. Bear in mind that about half of all women 18 or older are married. Just require everyone to prove a change of name and voila! You can impose a potential cost to vote of at least $40 on married women without proof of marriage. So, if you want to combat the monstrous horde of women voters, just ask them to prove their married name.
Crickets. Hmmm. Well, I admit it’s a nerdy little election fact, but it’s all I got today. 8)NancyO
I wonder how it is that “experts” in the various fields of study come to be recognized as such. If one writes about a particular subject repeatedly and includes in such writings misinformation and flawed logic how does that add credence to the claim of expertise. Is it simply the repetition of idea that makes that idea, or conclusion, valid?
Recently Coberly sent a copy of a letter he’d written to Charles Blahaus, an “expert” on the topic of Social Security and retirement systems in general. I am not at all familiar with the writings of Mr. Blahaus, but with a little searching I was able to find some brief and recent articles he’d written as a “scholar” at the Hoover Institute. That brings up a secondary question regarding the research goals of an organization that seems top heavy with conservative ideologists, but that’s for another day.
One such article can be found here,
Read the article. It is brief, but an excellent example of invalid analogies and illogical conclusions. How does this pass for scholarship and how does Mr. Blahaus qualify as an expert on any topic beyond obfuscation for a reactionary ideology? It prompted me to write the following in reply to Coberly’s comments on the subject of Blahaus.
“I often wonder how it is that these “experts” come to be defined as such. Blahaus is an excellent example of that quandary. Here is an article he wrote last year for the Hoover Inst. that is
so blatantly illogical and misrepresentative of even the most simple concepts of the social security program as to make one wonder how any reader would be expected to accept Blahaus’s
arguments? Here is one example of Blahaus’s contempt for his reader’s intelligence.
“To understand this, consider a simple analogy of a family with its own retirement fund. Everyone in the family agrees to put money into the fund while working, and each is to withdraw benefits in retirement. Now let’s assume that the father spends from the fund during his working years. Each time he does so, he puts a note in the fund promising that it will be repaid in the future. When it is time for the father to retire, he tells his son, “Son, I’ve spent all the money in the fund on other things I wanted. But now I am ready to claim my benefits, so it’s time to pay the fund back. So, in addition to the contributions we previously agreed on, you’ll need to come up with additional contributions to pay back the money I spent.” Obviously, the son would be none too pleased by this arrangement. It would not escape his notice that the person who borrowed the money (the father) is not the same person being asked to pay it back (the son).”
Note the distortion of the analogy. On the one hand we have a two part relationship, the father and the son, both contributors to the fund and both eventual beneficiaries of the fund. The Social Security system, especially that aspect represented by the built up assets of the Trust Fund has at least three participants. There are the contributors (as are the father and son) and their will be beneficiaries (again the father and son), but there is also the actual borrower of the funds being held for the benefit of the future beneficiaries. The general fund is the borrower. Same government, different accounts. In our example, Social Security, the contributors have been “investing” their current contributions in the Treasury of the USA. The Treasury has the obligation to pay back those assets to the fund. In Blahaus’s example the family could have lent the funds to the neighbors and those neighbors would be expected to pay back with interest those borrowed funds. The analogy fails all the more so given that no contributor can borrow from Social Security.
The report is filled with such invalid analogies which Blahaus uses to support his false analysis and conclusions.”
Jack, Becoming an expert, even a top expert is, sometimes, very easy. But I’ll relate one of many stories.
In response to a class assignment a first year graduate student wrote a review of a new laser spectroscopy technique. The professor thought the composition was good enough for the monthly review article in the field’s lead journal. They submitted it and it was accepted. Soon after he found himself listed as one of the top five researchers in the area. He had never seen the instrument much less contributed to it’s development. The student received letters from other scientists asking for opinions, invitations to lecture on the technique, etc. He had to write each and explain how his review arose and got published in the lead pages of the journal. So this can happen even when someone is not being deceptive as “think tanks” often are.
I almost think I could start a “think tank” and set up a website and no one would care if I knew anything or not. The FL economics department shows what money can buy. How many endowments/foundations started with similar restrictions? It’s the way the world works, I guess. I say this because my example above is from the 1970s.
On the whole ID issue, given that one can not open a bank account or get on a plane without such id, and that most states exempt folks over 65 from the requirements, its folks in their working lives that will be affected. All this proves that as parents keep your children’s birth certificates in a safe place, and once you get married you need to keep the marriage certificate in a safe place. (you would need all this documentation to get a passport anyway).
Jack–Regarding how Mr. Blahous became an expert on Social Security the Hoover Institute says, “Blahous has a PhD in computational quantum chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and an AB from Princeton University, where he won the McKay Prize in Physical Chemistry.” In short, he is an expert in quantum physical chemistry. From what I can determine from the Hoover Institute’s website, he has no experience in administering social insurance programs or other retirement systems. By comparison with you, Blahous knows little or nothing of any practical value in regard to SS. Seems to me that were he not on SS’s Board of Trustees, I could safely disregard his writings on SS and any number of other topics. Except for quantum physical chemistry, of course. 😎 NancyO
Voter ID can shave percentage points off particular candidates’ vote totals. In a close election like this upcoming general, even one percent of lost votes can make the difference between Obama and Romney. Poor people don’t have ID, as a rule–no DL,no documents, no phone, no transportation, no bank accounts. SSA used to help indigent claimants obtain birth certificates and other proofs to establish their eligibility for benefits. (Probably still do–things haven’t changed that much but I’ve been gone 9 years.)
Main thing is you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on this exclusionary result unless you know people who fall in this category. That’s why churches are so important in Afro-American and other minority communities. “Souls to the polls” is only one thing churches and similar groups do–they provide rides and other forms of help filing taxes, getting to the doctor, et al. In my state, the “free” ID card isn’t free when you consider what it costs to get the documents you need to establish your identity. This requirement may be enough to keep busy people from voting, too. Is it worth it to you to spend $80
to vote or will you just stay home? Smart people thought this through and intentionally created a new barrier to voting. It may not be a poll tax, but it has the same effect. NancyO 😎
Well, since this is the open thread, anything goes.
Am I the only one that has gone from reading to not reading to totally ignoring comments labeled Anonymous? I didn’t realize I had morphed to this until this morning. There were so many Anonymous’ in the list, ignoring them was the same as focusing on them.
sorry about that. Google still won’t let me use my own name.
i try to remember to use “name/url” but it’s an extra step.
i have to say i can’t understand the objection to anonymous. it’s not like any of us have sufficient prestige that our name alone guarantees we have something worth reading.
and i will say to the site owner that the problem is with the Blogger – Google comment routine. We have become the victims of people who program machines for their own amusement and don’t give a damn about the people who actually have to use the programs. they act very much like a government bureaucracy.
i don’t know what dan is up against in getting a decent comment service, but he is hardly the only one who presents the customer (me) with an aggravating chore just to post as simple comment.
fortunately i can still read the “anonymous” comments in less time than it would take to decide not to read them.
i suspect from the number of other anonymous, and what looks to me like a dramatic fall off in the number of people commenting, that i am not the only one who finds the procedure too tedious to put up with. i don’t know if it is affecting the actual readership. but i’d worry.
Anna–Do you sign in here using the name/url process? It lets me in with no hassle but I comment on another website that has the same facility. So, I’m wondering what the proliferation of anonymous means too. NancyO
Wikipedia provides the road to expertise taken by Blahaus from natural science to political hack.
“Between 1989 and 1996, Blahous worked as a legislative aide to Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming; he was his Congressional Science Fellow in 1989-1990 and Legislative Director in 1994-1996 (sponsored by the American Physical Society). After Simpson’s retirement, Blahous served from 1996 to 2000 as a Policy Director for Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. From June 2000 through February 2001 he served as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security. From 2001 to 2007, he served as a Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, during which time he also served as Executive Director of the bipartisan President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. From 2007 to 2008, he held the position of the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. After the end of George W. Bush’s second term in office in January 2009, Blahous joined the Hudson Institute as a Senior Fellow. In 2010, Blahous left the Hudson Institute and became a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.”
No academic training what so ever, but a solid grounding in political sycophancy. What is the pay level of a Congressional aide of the type that Blahaus had been early in his government career? Better than a nascent chemist or academician I’d guess. And now he can peddle himself as an expert in a field he has no training in, either general economics or retirement systems. In spite of his lack of any academic preparation, Blahaus has managed to get several books published on the topic of social security over the past decade. So having an untrained perspective and an easy way with words regardless of a lack of validity for one’s ideas must make one an expert.
“His ideas about Social Security reform issues are explained in Reforming Social Security for Ourselves and Our Posterity, a book he published in September 2000. Blahous’ second book, Social Security: The Unfinished Work, was published by Hoover Institution Press in November 2010, and a third, Pension Wise: Confronting Employer Pension Underfunding – And Sparing Taxpayers the Next Bailout, was released by the same publisher in December 2010”
Note if you have a drivers license you will need to produce the documents cited at your next renewal because of the effects of the real id act. (If you have a passport you don’t need the birth certificate however) Note that the $40 tends to be the express fee, Indiana for non express use (3-4 weeks) is $10 for the first copy and $4 for additional copies. The $40 tends to be what the commercial services charge for fast service. For marriage certificates in Indiana it appears the charge for non express service is $2.00. So if one does not have to documents apply to get them now. Now if only the food stamp card had a picture this would not be a problem.
Yes,Lyle–The $40 is the fee for an internet website’s services which includes UPS mailing to the requestor directly from the document’s source. I now live in GA and got married in Monterey,CA. The MC cost $15 direct from the Monterey County’s Recorder’s office. I broke my hip in July and my license expires on 9/13/12. I used the website service because of the time factor. The Recorder’s office required a notarized statement of identity (fee $10 on my side.) So, you see the MC cost more than $40 including all associated costs.
My point is it ain’t cheap and it ain’t easy. Incidentally, the DDS made a digitized copy of all my documents (two original SSN cards, my BC, MC,and two pieces of correspondence showing my name and address) and included them in their computer record of my DL application.
The State of Georgia now has copies of all my ID documents on file. Beats me what they intend to do with them. In most cases, the federal government doesn’t retain copies of ID evidence submitted in connection with claims and SSN applications, but Georgia sure does. (SSA has other procedures which generally make keeping copies unnecessary.) I remember the Real ID Act from when it was passed. I don’t remember any provision requiring states to keep digitized copies of evidence used in issuing DL’s or other ID cards. It would be interesting to know what, if any, privacy requirements the states must meet in order to comply with the Real ID Act.
Georgia has a valuable asset in its document data base alone. There is a huge market for real or counterfeit documents of virtually any kind. Even automobile insurance cards have considerable value on the street–a counterfeit card can save you the cost of an insurance premium when you register a vehicle, for example. Packages of genuine documents with non-English names are particularly valuable if they show or could be used to establish the right to work in this country, or better yet, citizenship. Just the information itself has significant value. Without safeguards, this information could be sold and resold before anyone would be aware of it.
To sum up, it ain’t easy, cheap, or safe. NancyO
Nancy, yes I use the Name/URL thing. I think people don’t realize what it is or how easy it makes posting. But is is not automatic so some people might prefer the other options that require some sort of login.
On the voter ID issue note that many states exempt the elderly from the requirement in Tx it would have been 65 beyond that no ID required.
Btw my nephew got married in 2007 and his new wife had to produce the marriage certificate to get a new license when they moved to CA. In essence the states are retaining the copies because otherwise every time you renew you would have to bring the documents in to renew. Just checked and it is a real id requirement that copies of the documents submitted for 10 years see: