Starting in late 1950s, U.S. Democrats take leadership on crime issue.

Maybe not. I continue to be optimistic that, on crime, good policy is good politics.

It's like the average citizen knows enough and has thought through it enough that he or she has achieved and exceeded some kind of threshold, so that a politician who talks about comic books, for example, risks being laughed at. And no politician likes being laughed at.
Geographydude, you forget that we're talking about _american_ voters here. Optics is key, especiallly macho/"tough" optics.
 
Age certainly has an impact on crime, but saying that age was solely responsible for the rise and then decline of American crime is silly, especially because the best stats we have today indicate that violent crime has been rising in the United States the last few years, despite the fact that the country continues to age. There are a lot of variables that go into crime.
 
he concluded that if you add a lag time of 23 years, lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America.
90 percent ! ? !

At that point, the guy ought to question his own theory. Because it appears to be working too well.
 
. . . especially because the best stats we have today indicate that violent crime has been rising in the United States the last few years, despite the fact that the country continues to age. . .
I think that's now slightly dated. It's a couple of years in the mid to late 2010s. I'm going to try to pull a reference and encourage you to do the same.
 
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1 Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century.

" . . . The long-term decline in violent crime hasn’t been uninterrupted, though. The FBI, for instance, reported increases in the violent crime rate between 2004 and 2006 and again between 2014 and 2016. . . "
Okay, so some amount of increase in violent crime between 2014 and 2016 within the context of a quarter century of decrease.

This is why a skillful politician shouldn't boast or brag too much. Every smart thing we do to reduce violent crime benefits the real lives of real people. And in a healthy functioning political system, citizens would know their leaders were at least in there trying in realistic ways. And heck, it seems like we could at least approach that! :cool:
 
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There might be an even better reason.

Solutions?
  • Get rid of lead paint in homes. Spend $1, get back about $6 in benefit.
  • Get rid of lead in gasoline. Ditto.
  • Doing this should create lots of jobs, which is good for reducing crime...
  • More police, not longer sentences. Crime is deterred by the chance of getting caught.
  • Equal civil rights for everybody. The increase in recognizing the "other" as "us" leads to an increase in civility & a decline in crime, & has done, steadily, for 400yr. (No, I can't cite a source, but IIRC, there was a YouTube video on the subject.)
If you're inclined to allow a radical option, encourage building of O'Neill-style orbital habitats. Aerospace jobs are the highest-skill & -paying, & that's good for society. The benefits of having the habs are even bigger.
 
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Realistically speaking democrats deciding to "take leadership" on the crime issue in the late 1950s would feature things like a second round of mccarthy hearings, pols talking about taking a "touh line" on miscegnation/communism/comic books and the like for what it'd look like.

If you want to prevent modern "tough on crime" stuff, you need either a quieter 1960-80 or to avoid reaganism*. HHH then muskie would probably be little better than OTL 1969-81, but it'd at least mean an overton window shifted leftwards enough on econ to prevent Reaganism from being credible. Removing watergate would both weaken various anti-government sentiments and delay/prevent certain shifts in both parties coalitions to prevent Reaganism. So there's 2 PODs for that.

* More to avoid neoliberalizing "reforms" than anything to do with Reagan per se. I don't know what the linkage is, but I do think there's _something_ to Edward Luttwak's noticing in his turbo-capitalism the prevelance of "tough on crime" mentalities/puritanical mores in the more neoliberal us/uk than say other countries
Alternatively, you could see the Democrats focus more on organized crime - a favorite target of Bobby Kennedy's. Although a sustained focused on the mob would have created problems with organized labor, it would have helped the Democrats with suburban voters and positioned them as the more credible party on law and order when street crime rates started going up.
 
  • Get rid of lead paint in homes. Spend $1, get back about $6 in benefit.
Companies voluntarily pulled lead from interior paint in the 1950s.

Old interior paint tests positive for Lead, from the TEL in gasoline that was in the air while the paint was drying.

lead removal , how many jobs do you think that will creat? Problem was, manufacturing and other high wage jobs for thos with
just a H.S. Diploma(or dropouts, even) were going away in the '70s. As OTL shows, Service jobs don't replace that.

So Both parents would now get jobs, to keep up the standard of living that was expected, so less parenting going on.
Speaking of parenting

Percent of own children under 18 years old living in single-parent families, by race/ethnicity of family householder: 1965 to 1994

More police, not longer sentences. Crime is deterred by the chance of getting caught.
OTL 'Catch and Release' was part of the problem, not the solution. If Cops aren't arresting suspects, they aren't deterring anyone
 
Unfortunately, the 'tough on crime' rhetoric is too often loaded with racial codewords. The democrats in the 50's could have run with it, but they would've ended up as dixiecrats.
 
Companies voluntarily pulled lead from interior paint in the 1950s.
After how long? How many houses remained with it on walls into the '80s?
Old interior paint tests positive for Lead, from the TEL in gasoline that was in the air while the paint was drying.
:rolleyes: And that makes lead in the paint okay, does it?
lead removal , how many jobs do you think that will creat? Problem was, manufacturing and other high wage jobs for thos with
just a H.S. Diploma(or dropouts, even) were going away in the '70s. As OTL shows, Service jobs don't replace that.
It offers jobs that don't exist now, & cleans up a persistent problem.
So Both parents would now get jobs, to keep up the standard of living that was expected, so less parenting going on.
Or provides jobs for people who don't have them OTL, & helps prevent problems of lowered IQ, more poverty, more violence, & more crime, all associated with lead remaining in place. You prefer that, do you?
OTL 'Catch and Release' was part of the problem, not the solution. If Cops aren't arresting suspects, they aren't deterring anyone
Where did I say there wouldn't, or shouldn't, be arrests?:rolleyes: Notice I said, "the chance of getting caught". More cops increases that. Or do you disagree with that proposition?

Tougher (longer) sentences have no deterrent effect, & disproportionately affect the poor defendants.

The "3 strikes" laws, touted as a way to get at violent repeat offenders, instead swept up thousands of mostly non-violent offenders & led to an explosion in prison population, & cost, with no appreciable reduction in crime.
 
And that makes lead in the paint okay, does it?
Hardly, but false positives from the TEL in the air, means that dust was in _everything_ in that house. Swabbing old curtains on the walls would have shown lead.
Lead in exterior paint shouldn't have been a problem, unless you let your kids chew on the outside window frames or Bridge railings. But that TEL covered everything, inside and outside the house
It offers jobs that don't exist now, & cleans up a persistent problem
so what a couple jobs for every 50,000 population? that amount of jobs is so low, that's noise, for nationwide employment. Manufacturing used to be 25% of the workforce, rather than under 10% now. You aren't going to get 15% of the workforce in lead abatement.
Tougher (longer) sentences have no deterrent effect, & disproportionately affect the poor defendants.

The "3 strikes" laws, touted as a way to get at violent repeat offenders, instead swept up thousands of mostly non-violent offenders & led to an explosion in prison population, & cost, with no appreciable reduction in crime.
Poor people disproportionately commit violent crimes like battery and murder, as well as robbery.
And while in jail, you can't commit crimes against the general population

Crime did drop in the '90s.

That said, non-violent offenders should have other options, that are cheaper to the State than incarceration.

But look at California today, they effectively decriminalized theft and other property crimes for amounts under $1k in value a few years ago, and surprise! Theft rates are way up . 61% more in Los Angeles, and car breakins over 18%
Theft isn't a victimless crime
 
There might be an even better reason.

Solutions?
  • Get rid of lead paint in homes. Spend $1, get back about $6 in benefit.
  • Get rid of lead in gasoline. Ditto.
Even if we go with an 8 point drop in IQ, very much on the high side of estimates, do you really think that this by itself would be the major driver of crime?

Yes, a tragedy of missed potential, a failure of both independent journalism and public policy and more, but crime?

I remain skeptical.

* yes, I’m aware that IQ number is to some extent a fiction is that it attempts to summarize a number of different traits with a single number
 
Lead in exterior paint shouldn't have been a problem, unless you let your kids chew on the outside window frames
Lead in (not on) inside paint was a problem, because it would flake off, or be picked off, & eaten by children.
so what a couple jobs for every 50,000 population? that amount of jobs is so low, that's noise, for nationwide employment. Manufacturing used to be 25% of the workforce, rather than under 10% now. You aren't going to get 15% of the workforce in lead abatement.
Did I say, anywhere, I hoped to make up the entire difference this way? And do you mean you find it okay poor blacks (who are disproportionately affected by this) continue to suffer, so long as rich (or richer) whites don't have to? I don't find that acceptable, whatever the jobs benefit.
Poor people disproportionately commit violent crimes like battery and murder, as well as robbery.
And while in jail, you can't commit crimes against the general population
Somebody has to pay for the jail time. I far prefer the money be spent on preventing crimes. Given a choice between longer punishment for having your car stereo stolen, & not having it stolen in the first place, which would you choose?
Theft isn't a victimless crime
I didn't say it was. I do think cops are more likely to solve thefts, especially car thefts, than murders. I think the violence associated with, frex, the "drug war" is a direct product of stupid political decisions that have caused the crime rate, in general, to climb & stay artificially high for over 70yr.

Want to reduce the crime rate? Start with legalizing marijuana.

I'm also inclined to say, loosen absurd gun control laws & make concealed carry permits "must issue" nationally, but the evidence for that is less unequivocal.
 
Lead in (not on) inside paint was a problem, because it would flake off, or be picked off, & eaten by children.
Note my terms of exterior and outside. And in previous post, the paint companies voluntarily removed lead from all interior housepaint in the 1950s.
If the kids were eating the paintchips, they were eating decades old paint.

But new, lead free paint got lead in it, from the TEL byproducts from gasoline that was only gradually reduced in the '70s.

Lack of opportunity for all the poor, well, the OTL Great Society Programs failed. some areas got better, other worse. Symptoms treated, but not the causes.
Manufacturing decreased, plants closed in urban areas, and there were fewer good paying jobs for those with HS education disappeared.
This is still the main untreated cause. https://interactive.wbez.org/2019/manufacturing/overview/
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I don't have a problem with legalizing weed, but that won't solve crime either, other than taking some profits away from Cartels
right now, drug addicts aren't stealing so they can buy weed, they are spending on harder drugs to self medicate, as well as the oldest, alcohol
 
But I say we can still do smart policy which makes a difference at the margins:

1) all the liberal programs of education and job training. As well as simply creating more jobs, and somehow this part is not emphasized near enough.

2) better investigation and conviction when crimes are committed, and

3) We can run prisons better and avoid brutalization. In particular, neither men nor women need to be raped.

That is, a mix of liberal and conservative approaches. And to a considerable extent, good policy is actually good politics?
Perhaps you should have led with this, but I think you have a tendency to be overly Socratic.

Here's the problem I see with it--it is pretty complex and nuanced. In order to have populist resonance, it is necessary to get a bit confrontational--because a lot of crime is actually the fish rotting from the head down.

Take the immigration controversy. It has long been the case that a major reason we have lots of undocumented residents is that the law is written and then selectively enforced by politicians largely beholden to the well off as donors to campaigns, and patrons in general. A substantial number of the propertied are proprietors of shady fly by night operations that rely on underpaid, overexploited workers and they have tended to shift the practice and text of immigration law to in practice let in lots of people who have difficult or no legal pathway to citizenship, but are desired as workers below the radar, in practice exempt from the minimum wages and safety/worker interest regulations these bosses seek to evade to their greater profit. Thus their influence prevents police and courts from effectively stopping the immigration of the undocumented, and "protects" these desperate people from its consistent effect, as long as they show up to work in their sweatshops and don't make waves about the dangerous conditions they work in.

So, progressive "tough on crime" might turn to the "malefactors of great wealth" as Teddy Roosevelt, the progressive (in the top down preemption of genuine populist democracy sense of that early 20th century movement) put it. If we put some of these sweatshop operators behind bars, confiscated their ill-gotten gains, the illegal shops might go out of business, the protection of immigrants without cover of law in their cynical interests might dry up--and then, it would be my hope that a humane and reasonable amnesty of these largely honest and beneficial new Americans would make them citizens and close the gaps in American labor law. For the general welfare it is a win win.

But not for the "welfare" of a big sector of the most powerful, influential people! We can stipulate (I am not sure with how much generosity and how much resulting inaccuracy!) that the really great powers that be among the wealthy are not these fly by night types--though if we make analogies to other infamous forms of corruption, such as the entanglement of northern business interest in slavery prior to the Civil War, it doesn't look good for the Great and Good--slavery provided capital for a whole lot of US development across the board actually. Harriet Beecher Stowe was careful to point this out by the way in Uncle Tom's Cabin, which had a lot of good muckraking journalism in it. So I think it is being generous to the point of cartoonish to pretend that zero tolerance toward sweatshops from a point of view of labor solidarity including the workers in these shops and aimed at those who actually profit from hypocrisy would not be a blow to the moneyed classes as a whole; even supposing only a minority have direct complicit knowledge of such abuses, the indirect blow to portfolios across the board would be heavy I actually think.

Now relax the pious assumption that the Great and Good are by and large Good, and suppose that anything that inconveniences them, they will react to by opposing effectively. Perhaps it is not necessary for most of them to face squarely the idea "we actually need the sweatshops for our own gain and are willing to lie and cheat to maintain them." It is perhaps enough for them to give money and endorsement and patronage to politicians who more or less launder the agenda by talking about "tough on crime." Here I generalize away from the specific matter of persons here in the USA without the benefit of legal standing, and point out that across the board, it is easier for a society so stratified by wealth and privilege as ours is to shift the blame for trouble down onto the poorer masses, who lack strong advocacy save as supplicants in the organs of power. Oh sure, on paper they can go vote for politicians who will champion them, and being numerous, ought to be able to win some.

But look at the fine print of our "democracy." A lot of people will affirm that elected representatives do not actually represent people as such, but rather the communities people live in. We don't have positive representation, where a person's vote, if aggregated with enough other persons, results in a representative for them being elected; representatives run in binary winner take all district contests isolated from all other districts, and the premise (which seems plainly undemocratic on the face of it to me) is that someone speaks for the entire district when they win it.

One way or another, the great movers and shakers will have first claim on this representative's priorities, as they are in a position to effectively veto anyone being elected who doesn't first meet with their collective approval.

Now if we had positive representation, if it were possible for each group of citizens who scraped together across a state or nation amount to a quota of the state or Congressional representation to get their champion elected to these bodies, I think then the long term outcome would be as you say "good policy is good politics."

But with the binary, first past the post, winner take all system we accept as normal, it is quite often the case that terrible policy is good politics, to win those kinds of races. Scaremongering and scapegoating is an easy recourse, because elections can be won mainly by negative means, by smearing the Other Guy and seeing which one can take more hits--and dish more out.

Cheap lies are, well, cheap. The OTL "War on Crime" was in fact founded in lots of mendacious misdirection and deeply reactionary in its effects, as the cheap demagoguery of its proponents would lead one to expect. Malefactors of great wealth have many bastions of defense to deflect cheap easy shots, people looking for quick, shoot from the hip 'solutions' to problems they are not interested in diving deep into and unsorting (the representatives of a democratic republic ought to be doing that, as their job) can easily be told to blame people they don't like and fear anyway and that seeing them frustrated and treated harshly is in fact the progress they are looking for.

For the Democrats of the 1960s to have taken up a "war on crime" banner then to preempt people like Nixon would have been a declaration of war on someone. Would the Democrats of say 1962 have been prepared, or at all likely, to open fire on the bastions of wealth? I think to ask the question is to answer it. Of course not. It would therefore necessarily be a war on the Usual Suspects, on the people American society always threw under the bus first.

How do you suppose such a dynamic would work out? Would it necessarily be the case that the party that opened fire in this demagogic game would automatically inherit the mantle of Law and Order, and the other be forced into the position of hand-wringing, dithering wishy-washy "but it is complicated!" camp stampeded over the political cliff?

No, you are talking about a nuanced, careful, judicious Good Policy. Fine, but isn't it plain the other guys could easily make political hay of that, seizing on every due process bit of meticulousness now insisted actually be honored consistently instead of only in practice being a privilege of those who could afford the best lawyers as "war on the common man, soft on criminals, pandering to the worst while fouling decent Americans?" For this is exactly what did happen. In order to have good policy, it was necessary to tone down the cowboy posturing, stop shooting from the hip, and buckle down to serious careful deliberation of cases--which was represented shamelessly as coddling criminals, no doubt at Communist orders. In order to protect themselves from such charges, Democrats would have had to prove themselves just as inured against cries against blatant injustice as any Republican, have had to shrug off plain cases of abuse of authority and double standards and so on as just the way power works in America. The whole stance of being careful and judicious would have to be thrown out.

Possibly the USA becomes a nation of cowboys--in fact it seems plain to me that relative to any sane pretense to law and order that is not a mere exercise of the power of property, we have largely always been so and have remained so, and the whole Nixonian era War on Crime, Nixon's Enemies List, his appeals to the Silent Majority, his quite mendacious approach to drug policy, all of it was an assault on what little baby steps toward a more balanced rule of law that were taken in the '60s.

The whole "inspiring" narrative is, much like your opening metaphor of the Missile Gap (and Bomber Gap) based on lies and misdirection, and it is unclear how much of it is cynical conscious mendacity and how much is Orwellian self-deception.

Let's look at that metaphor a moment by the way. This is what happened: based on long knowledge that each military service will vie for as much of the public treasury and policy priority as it can get, in the post-WWII era the CIA was founded in large part to give the President a supposedly unbiased, not service-chauvinistic, objective assessment of the actual world situation the President faced. But when the best practices of the CIA estimated Soviet warfighting capability in a certain limited range, that tended to undermine the high priority the various services had for generous Federal funding of service levels and weapons procurement programs, which a lot of other ax-grinding interests outside the Air Force and Navy shared, as contractors and work forces and the like. So, in defiance of the concept that the Central Intelligence Agency after all existed to provide the definitive assessment of the facts on the ground, the USAF employed its own methodologies, which in later sober hindsight all clearly distorted the picture, consistently skewing in one direction--to (falsely) purport to discredit the CIA assessment as dangerously optimistic and paint a much more luridly grim picture of Mighty Ivan just bursting with no doubt slave produced arsenals of all sorts of high tech wizardry all aimed at Destroying the American Way of Life, which only massive new funding of the Air Force could parry. I suppose the Navy was playing much the same game, I am not sure why the Air Force has the spotlight largely to itself in this.

But the Bomber Gap, and the Missile Gap, were both, to put it charitably, errors. If we can be the least bit frank, it seems plain they were culpable errors. Now if instead the generals (and I suppose admirals) had said, well, sure, we agree the CIA is probably right, our missile programs are farther along, we have large numbers of bombers carrying large megatonnages of bombs that probably can mostly penetrate Soviet airspace and drop them on target while their best weapons probably cannot generally get through to CONUS; we agree we are in fact ahead, but we just want to appeal to the US taxpayer--you've never had it so good, you can afford to pay a little more, we want our lead to be as great as possible just in case maybe we might be overlooking something those sneaky Reds have hidden, and just in case they start surging ahead sometime in the future, and quite frankly it is overkill but we say better safe than sorry, cause it is our job to defend the USA--that would have not been mendacious. But would it have been effective at getting the delirious splurge of weapons system buildups that in fact covered the USA in pork grease in the '50s and '60s? Probably some fraction of it, but not the orgy of "defense" spending that was the norm in those decades.

One of the outcomes of the Air Force being willing to, to put it bluntly, lie to get the funding they wanted, was to cast a cloak of spurious plausibility over just about any kooky notion anyone had of Soviet superpowers. Entire generations of crazed reactionaries went about believing the Reds had deep factories, entire cities worth, of hand-picked Communist fanatics, that they were building weapons systems people like Khrushchev could only dream of--it is all very Clancyesque because of course people like Tom Clancy grew up in this fantastic hothouse.

Now in much the same way, the cheap and simplistic scapegoating narratives of the "War on Crime" paint a lurid but false picture of the general nature of humanity and of American society in particular, and people grow up steeped in this nonsense, and make life decisions and vote, based on bull.

Whichever party took that ball and ran with it--and I can point to plenty of Democrats who did so--can in fact win elections because a lot of people either believe the bull uncritically, or are worried that their lying eyes are fooling them into it being false when in fact so many people believing this stuff probably suggests there is hidden truth to it. Given that elections are a zero sum game and negative campaigning is effective, policy makers are at a great arms length remove from reality, and are under pressure to deliver practical results not to the masses as a whole but to the great movers and shakers who broker their campaigns.

War on Crime is inherently and necessarily a reactionary slogan with reactionary results, and being founded on lies, it sows a bitter harvest of ongoing damage. It is not possible for someone to cynically play this card to do good with it.
 
Even if we go with an 8 point drop in IQ, very much on the high side of estimates, do you really think that this by itself would be the major driver of crime?
I think anyone framing this discussion in terms of "IQ" is being lazy or disingenuous. IQ is a pretty useless concept, certainly if we pretend measured "IQ" has much to do with anything.

I believe lead poisoning worked to increase violent crime not by messing with nebulously defined "intelligence" as such but by impairing impulse control and generally making people irritable. It doesn't have to have anything to do with their formal ability to chop logic or perform tasks, it has to do with moods and attitudes.

Haven't you ever just felt "cranky" and done and said things you regret because you just weren't feeling good? That's how I think lead poisoning works, not "reduction of IQ."

That whole framing it of reeks of a rather condescending view of how our society works actually, that people become criminals because they are just stupid, and smarter people are always successful and contented. It is an endorsement of a false narrative of the USA as a meritocracy.

In truth I doubt intelligence has a lot to do with success or failure in the USA.
 
Luck and being first to get the government on your side as opposed to the competition are bigger determinants of success in the US. Imagine thinking "hard work" or intelligence play a role. x'D
 
Note my terms of exterior and outside. And in previous post, the paint companies voluntarily removed lead from all interior housepaint in the 1950s.
If the kids were eating the paintchips, they were eating decades old paint.
Exactly. Hence the proposal to remove & replace it.
But new, lead free paint got lead in it, from the TEL byproducts from gasoline that was only gradually reduced in the '70s.
Airborne TEL had issues of its own, & removing that before the '70s would have been both dead easy & pretty smart, in all.
Lack of opportunity for all the poor, well, the OTL Great Society Programs failed. some areas got better, other worse. Symptoms treated, but not the causes.
Manufacturing decreased, plants closed in urban areas, and there were fewer good paying jobs for those with HS education disappeared.
I'd agree with much of this, except maybe "failure".
I don't have a problem with legalizing weed, but that won't solve crime either, other than taking some profits away from Cartels
right now, drug addicts aren't stealing so they can buy weed, they are spending on harder drugs to self medicate, as well as the oldest, alcohol
Actually, legal MJ will impact crime directly. It's the alcohol option. Given a choice between legal alcohol & illegal MJ, most choose alcohol. Given a choice between legal MJ & illegal coke, most will choose MJ. (Not all, I allow, but most.) That drives down demand for coke, which drives down price. Both lead directly to less street & property crime, as there's less need to steal to support a habit, & fewer stealing.

That has tremendous impacts on black neighborhoods across the U.S. The number of arrests for small-time possession drops off a cliff. The number of people with jail records drops way down. And, at least in the short term, the public at large is a lot safer, with both less violent crime & more cops on the street, til the impact of fewer arrests (less overtime, less demand for cops) & less drug money coming in (from seizures) is felt by LEAs.

The decline in manufacturing as cause is distorted. What's gone down is the "traditional" manufacturing. What's changed is the technology involved & the number of people required. The only way around that I can see is getting rid of robots, & that means abandoning technology, which seems an obvious non-starter.

The question I have is, given greater productivity, why hasn't that translated into more jobs in "supporting" industries, & in product sales businesses? That's the usual answer to job losses.
 
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