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EJ
01-02-19, 07:58 PM
Can an anti-FIRE Economy candidate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu0uQEuq3SI) possibly win?

thriftyandboringinohio
01-02-19, 09:44 PM
Can an anti-FIRE Economy candidate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu0uQEuq3SI) possibly win?

Nope.

seobook
01-03-19, 07:58 AM
A crash would have to happen first.

Also, I forgot you interviewed her long ago. My memory might be fuzzy here, but I thought you promoted Brown in the election way back in the day. You sounded fond of him in this thread (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/13980-Why-Scott-Brown-won-Eric-Janszen).

EJ
01-03-19, 10:16 AM
A crash would have to happen first.

Also, I forgot you interviewed her long ago. My memory might be fuzzy here, but I thought you promoted Brown in the election way back in the day. You sounded fond of him in this thread (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/13980-Why-Scott-Brown-won-Eric-Janszen).

To clarify, not promoting Warren. I have mixed feelings about her. Asking if it's possible for a presidential candidate to win who takes such a strong anti-finance and insurance industry position. Brown ran a shabby, lazy campaign. Warren ran circles around him.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-03-19, 10:31 AM
To clarify, not promoting Warren. I have mixed feelings about her. Asking if it's possible for a presidential candidate to win who takes such a strong anti-finance and insurance industry position. Brown ran a shabby, lazy campaign. Warren ran circles around him.

Senator Warren would be a great president, whip smart and hard working.
But it seems the victory of FIRE is essentially complete now.
The Citizens United environment allows unlimited amounts of untraceable money to be spent on elections, and FIRE has more money than can be imagined.
Senator Warren has been fully vilified by right wing media since 2011, and would seem to stand no realistic chance of being elected to national office.

I would be delighted to find myself wrong on this one.

geodrome
01-03-19, 10:59 AM
Perhaps FIRE and Warren can reach a "compromise".

jk
01-03-19, 11:36 AM
Senator Warren would be a great president, whip smart and hard working.
But it seems the victory of FIRE is essentially complete now.
The Citizens United environment allows unlimited amounts of untraceable money to be spent on elections, and FIRE has more money than can be imagined.
Senator Warren has been fully vilified by right wing media since 2011, and would seem to stand no realistic chance of being elected to national office.

I would be delighted to find myself wrong on this one.
i agree with you in a way. however, even in the unlikely event she would get elected she would face a hostile congress on BOTH sides of aisle.

BK
01-03-19, 12:27 PM
Sorry - I believe Elizabeth Warren lacks to charisma of Presidents Obama, Bush (both), Trump.

The masses like to be sold and follow a charismatic leader. Every top elected leader has an ability to mesmerize a crowd in their own way.

Reading a great book of Nazi Germany and Hitler had the special sauce to mesmerize the crowd. The Elites of Germany loved Hitlers oratory skill and figured to use him as a puppet to manipulate the masses. Hillary Clinton did not/does not have the ability to mesmerize and was able to win lots of states with her platform/resume, but not enough to secure the office.


Just my theory and I may be completely wrong. Take a look at Elizabeth Warren drinking beer on Instagram which comes across as an awkward way to relate to voters.
Then take a look at Ann Richardson (Democrat) former Governor of Texas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtIFhiqS_TY

I think Ann Richardson had the special sauce and perhaps would have become President if alive today.

jpatter666
01-03-19, 12:38 PM
Can an anti-FIRE Economy candidate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu0uQEuq3SI) possibly win?

It was possible in 2016. Not now.

The reactionaries are in charge and Warren isn't seen as a radical alternative anymore. She missed her window IMO.

The DNA testing did her no favors either as per the Trump tweet. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1080858959404240896/photo/1

I think whomever is the Democratic candidate might well campaign as anti-FIRE, but I'm expecting it to be an unholy alliance under the covers. Warren actually was (at least she was then in 2010 -- I haven't looked at her closely recently).

lakedaemonian
01-03-19, 01:04 PM
I think Warren is unelectable in a similar way to Howard Dean and his “Dean Scream” in 2004.

Dean could argue his was the first campaign to effectively leverage the internet for campaigning.

But one gaffe and the opposition pounce ruthlessly.

Warren has had a few gaffes already and completely lacks the charisma to connect with large audiences.

But I believe she has the right mindset and the ability to connect one to one and one to some, just not one to many.

I could see here as a very potent running mate, but would she defer to another?

jpatter666
01-03-19, 01:14 PM
I could see here as a very potent running mate, but would she defer to another?

Now that's a very good question.

shiny!
01-03-19, 01:33 PM
Perhaps a good follow-up question is: Even if an anti-FIRE candidate DID manage to beat the odds and get elected, could s/he actually get anything accomplished given how FIRE interests have so successfully taken over our political and economic systems? I would bet on massive, generated hysteria over anything and everything they would attempt to do.

vt
01-03-19, 01:56 PM
"You didn't build that" Warren would be a disaster.

We do however need a much smaller FIRE that provides what the financial sector needs, but with all of the corruption and excessive costs
carved out of it. You are seeing more of that with top teams leaving wirehouses and becoming lower fee managers and financial planner RIAs

The big banks will be massively downsized by Amazon, Square, and other innovators.

The insurance industry will need to jettison all the useless variable annuity scams, and trim down to life and disability coverage.

The real estate industry will also be massively eroded by technology and new innovative solutions. 90%
of the 1 million plus real estate agents will have to find other jobs.

All this will be led by an independent party led by a charismatic leader that will capture enough votes to win, and begin the
process of replacing the two corrupt parties we have now. It will be a revolution of the center, totally inclusive, free competitive markets,
and bring back a much larger middle class.

dcarrigg
01-03-19, 02:08 PM
i agree with you in a way. however, even in the unlikely event she would get elected she would face a hostile congress on BOTH sides of aisle.

I'm not sure that's true. I've said it before, but the last time Republicans held as many federal and state offices as 2016 was 1928. An as in 1930 (although a bit smaller in magnitude, Dems gained 52 in 1930 and 41 in 2018), a large shift happened in 2018, not just in terms of numbers of seats won, but also in terms of the ideology of people who won those seats. There are 26 new members of the progressive caucus in the House of Reps as of today, bringing the total to 95 out of 235. That's quite near the tipping point of majority of Democrats in the house. They're bigger than the New Democrats now (the biggest difference between a New Dem and a Progressive is probably friendliness to FIRE), and the Blue Dog caucus is down to about 24. Just as in 1930, the Senate stayed in Republican hands. And like back then, the next two (the 2020 and 2022) Senate maps are unfavorable to Republicans.

Oh, I don't doubt the Senate will be the stumbling point, as it usually is. But we're late in the expansion in volatility land. We've got a President who already has shitcanned over 400 of his own appointees just 2 years in, and who's under the most serious investigation probably at least since Watergate. And we've got a background milieu of both accelerating political polarization and accelerating inequality. Thanks to the 2018 election, it doesn't seem too far off in the tails of probability to me that the Progressives pick up another 20 or 30 seats in the House on the coattails of a Presidential wave election in 2020. If that happens, the new speaker's going to be ideologically somewhere between Pelosi and AOC, and Hoyer's going to lose his position. Put plainly, the House would look nothing like the 2008 House. It doesn't even look like it today.

Like I said before, the Senate's stickier. But a President Warren might end up with a much friendlier House than you'd think. And even in the Senate, the most Conservative Democratic Senators on economic issues like Claire McCaskill (MO), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Joe Donnelly (IN) lost. Only Manchin held on. Think about that. The Dems only lost with their most Conservative economic candidates. Claire McCaskill lost campaigning against a minimum wage increase on the same ballot that won. Now, it's possible all this means nothing in the tea leaves. But I don't think so. I think it reflects an electorate that's changing. I think the moment the Washington Consensus cracked was 2016 when both Trump and Clinton were campaigning against TPP.

I strongly suspect that 2020 is not going to be a squeaker decided by Ohio or something. It could be. But I don't think so. I think we're looking at a disjunctive president on the eve of a realignment. Maybe that happens in 2024 and not 2020. But I doubt it. Domestically, a generational shift is occurring. For the first time in a generation, Fox News is not the number one cable news channel any more. Turnout in 2018 absolutely smashed records, highest in a midterm in a hundred years. This is not the type of thing that happens before another textbook humdrum Presidential election.

Plus, for the first time in half a century, I think there's a more or less concrete policy platform on the left that's leaking into the larger Dem party, and the Right is pretty much out of ideas. Not much more top bracket or corporate tax cutting to be had. Nobody wants the damned flat or fair tax; nobody's even trying to push that crap anymore. Nobody really has the stomach for tossing grandma off her Medicare. Border wall's kind of a sideshow, but whatever, wasting a couple billion for a goofy fence won't hurt any more than wasting a couple billion on some viaducts in Afghanistan that get blown up two years later. They've all but given up on having a healthcare plan of any kind.

Meanwhile, foreign policy's in shambles. UK's prepping for a hard brexit crashout. Italy and Brazil have all but gone fascist. China's grinding to some sort of a slowdown. Russia's more likely to try to absorb Belarus to create a real Union State and keep Putin in power under a new constitution. Incidentally, this move totally surrounds Ukraine. And US' soft power has been roughly dismantled, while Lord knows what's happening on the strategic hard power front. Long story short, odds are Uncle Sam's largely sitting this one out.

So anyways, who knows what will happen in the Primary. There's so many people rumored to be running, I can't keep track of them all. It's gonna go sequential as always, but the rules have changed a lot. In about 13 mos we'll have Iowa, then New Hampshire, then presumably a long three week wait to South Carolina. Warren could out-perform in NH. Not sure how she'll do in IA. But there will be so many people, it's going to come down to pluralities and whatnot. And New England punches above its weight in Democrat primaries, it's worth more delegates than Texas even though it's half the population. So combined with the timing, a strong showing there can be decisive. It's not necessarily. But it can be. Important thing is showing 'momentum,' even if you don't win outright, doing better in NH than you did in IA sets up that whole 'comeback kid' narrative.

It's all odds and I don't even know what the field looks like yet. But it doesn't seem so implausible to me as it does to some others here.

vt
01-03-19, 02:10 PM
FIRE will be totally tamed by a renegade within the industry who teams up with technology and business innovators.

The alliance of Buffett, Bezos, and Dimon will be a huge aid to the business process, but will not be a part of the political
leadership.

This will likely happen in the next two presidential cycles.

jpatter666
01-03-19, 02:10 PM
All this will be led by an independent party led by a charismatic leader that will capture enough votes to win, and begin the
process of replacing the two corrupt parties we have now. It will be a revolution of the center, totally inclusive, free competitive markets,
and bring back a much larger middle class.

That's been the dream for over 20 years. Still see no sign of it.

dcarrigg
01-03-19, 02:27 PM
I think you're right in that the two will come together even more closely. But I think you'll see tech becoming more like fire, not the other way around. As the pace of innovation computing continues to slow, they will turn to increasingly intrusive, damaging, and dishonest business practices (including more financing and monthly subscription payments with surprise fees) in a desperate attempt to keep growth figures looking good. But the truth is, speed, processing power, and storage are already not advancing in the 2010s as fast as they did in the 2000s or 1990s or 1980s. There's more room to go, but the old exponential curve is already flattening out.

Chris Coles
01-04-19, 11:52 AM
Can an anti-FIRE Economy candidate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu0uQEuq3SI) possibly win?

having read all the other input here up to now I want to present a contrarian viewpoint; that all of you, including EJ, have placed the cart before the horse. That the underlying problem is; the FIRE economy is right at the point of complete failure and thus the debate should be about who in politics, (either here in the UK or with most of you in the USA), has a capacity to adapt to a FIRE collapse?

The FIRE economy has been built from the ground up by bureaucrats changing the underlying rules of each sector in FIRE as a means to cover up their own failure. A very good example being the extreme complexity of the underlying rules governing insurance. What was a very simple concept is today a veritable minefield of detailed regulation; all of which is designed to deliver maximum protection, not to the insured, but to the executive. Again, as a regular attendee of the last few years of IFLR International Financial Law Review conferences in London, their program of keeping everyone up to date with the changes in law show, repeatedly, the desperate uncertainty of ability to trade under the new rules.

We all live today in a zero interest rate environment precisely caused by the executive to prevent their financial bankruptcy; as such, they have nowhere to go. The more they try to change the rules of engagement; the worse their situation becomes.

We are today as though watching a clearly bankrupt company in our locality desperately trying not to go bankrupt, when every sign we see tells us they have no way out of their dilemma. Bankruptcy is the hard end game of any organisation that loses focus and then tries to change the rules to suite their perceived problem.

My view is we must expect that the entire FIRE economy will collapse. Yes, EJ has successfully, in my opinion, shown us we do not have a recognisable timescale. That does not change the underlying predicament of the executive. So the question should be; After the total collapse of the FIRE economy as we know it today; who will lead the way forward out of the collapse? They will need to be up to speed with the debate and fully aware of why, and that turns the question around again. Who will be able to lead the complete rebuild of the executive, from the ground up with a new ethos and an acceptance of the need to change?

The underlying problem of the FIRE economy is not political; it is the complete failure of the executive to recognise the need to change direction and accept that past thinking has failed. That requires new leadership to rise to the front of the executive. They are at present invisible, other than a few such as FED chairs and the like.

Here in the UK it is blindingly obvious that the political classes are confronted by an executive they fear; that as such, they cannot set into motion the required change of ethos and underlying leadership, because they see the executive as the means to their success; regardless of the underlying failure of policies.

The coming complete collapse of the underlying economic rules that have created the FIRE economy, requires an abandonment of acceptance of the present leadership of the executive; that they have to accept the complete failure of their own moral, intellectual and financial leadership.

The challenge today is not political; it is to seek out and promote a new leadership, under new rules of engagement and especially ethos; among the younger members of the present executive and give them the wherewithal to complete the rebuild of trust that will serve to bring the ships of state back into a proper supporting relationship with the needs of a free and prosperous nation.

lakedaemonian
01-04-19, 03:02 PM
having read all the other input here up to now I want to present a contrarian viewpoint; that all of you, including EJ, have placed the cart before the horse. That the underlying problem is; the FIRE economy is right at the point of complete failure and thus the debate should be about who in politics, (either here in the UK or with most of you in the USA), has a capacity to adapt to a FIRE collapse?

The FIRE economy has been built from the ground up by bureaucrats changing the underlying rules of each sector in FIRE as a means to cover up their own failure. A very good example being the extreme complexity of the underlying rules governing insurance. What was a very simple concept is today a veritable minefield of detailed regulation; all of which is designed to deliver maximum protection, not to the insured, but to the executive. Again, as a regular attendee of the last few years of IFLR International Financial Law Review conferences in London, their program of keeping everyone up to date with the changes in law show, repeatedly, the desperate uncertainty of ability to trade under the new rules.

We all live today in a zero interest rate environment precisely caused by the executive to prevent their financial bankruptcy; as such, they have nowhere to go. The more they try to change the rules of engagement; the worse their situation becomes.

We are today as though watching a clearly bankrupt company in our locality desperately trying not to go bankrupt, when every sign we see tells us they have no way out of their dilemma. Bankruptcy is the hard end game of any organisation that loses focus and then tries to change the rules to suite their perceived problem.

My view is we must expect that the entire FIRE economy will collapse. Yes, EJ has successfully, in my opinion, shown us we do not have a recognisable timescale. That does not change the underlying predicament of the executive. So the question should be; After the total collapse of the FIRE economy as we know it today; who will lead the way forward out of the collapse? They will need to be up to speed with the debate and fully aware of why, and that turns the question around again. Who will be able to lead the complete rebuild of the executive, from the ground up with a new ethos and an acceptance of the need to change?

The underlying problem of the FIRE economy is not political; it is the complete failure of the executive to recognise the need to change direction and accept that past thinking has failed. That requires new leadership to rise to the front of the executive. They are at present invisible, other than a few such as FED chairs and the like.

Here in the UK it is blindingly obvious that the political classes are confronted by an executive they fear; that as such, they cannot set into motion the required change of ethos and underlying leadership, because they see the executive as the means to their success; regardless of the underlying failure of policies.

The coming complete collapse of the underlying economic rules that have created the FIRE economy, requires an abandonment of acceptance of the present leadership of the executive; that they have to accept the complete failure of their own moral, intellectual and financial leadership.

The challenge today is not political; it is to seek out and promote a new leadership, under new rules of engagement and especially ethos; among the younger members of the present executive and give them the wherewithal to complete the rebuild of trust that will serve to bring the ships of state back into a proper supporting relationship with the needs of a free and prosperous nation.

I just don’t see a “complete collapse” of the FIRE economy with all of its existing incumbents.

A complete collapse would be a United States FIRE version of socialist Venezuela’s complete collapse on the other end of the continuum. Or possibly some version of the multi-decade slow motion crash in Argentina.

Is a complete collapse possible? Of course. But that means the world burns.

But is it probably or likely? I think not. Because we will not let the world(or at least OUR part of the world) burn if there are alternatives.

I think a more likely outcome will be a “disorderly transition” of incumbents from old to new.

From long established centralised FIRE incumbents to existing decentralised incumbents(FAANG lights their FIREs ��) and to “what’s next” truly distributed future incumbents in areas of extremely low incumbent trust, possibly in the developing world.

My personal perception of EJ’s investment thesis/mindset is as follows:

Gold as a defensive hedge to retain value through a disorderly transition.

StartupS(plural) as a riskier offensive play to create/capture/grow value through a disorderly transition.

My personal thoughts are that we will see something akin to an economic/financial cliche of Sebastian Junger Perfect Storm book.

1)Legacy centralised FIRE economy incumbents

2)Recent decentralised FAANG economy incumbents

3)Emergent distributed technology enabled future incumbents

4)Atomic level shift in social demography

#1 will be largely supplanted by #2 in a disorderly transition.

#2 will be largely(and more quickly) supplanted by #3, because of #4

Just my 0.02c

Chris Coles
01-04-19, 04:10 PM
The underlying problem, as I see it are the changes made to the rules governing financial institutions, a good example being the changes made to ensure sufficient quantity of the savings of nations being re-directed into the executive to cover their shortfalls. The end result being that, as an example, here in the UK, we are constantly being told of the importance of "Inward Investment"; when what they do not say is that - we need such simply because the majority of the savings of the citizens is re-directed towards the executive and as such, there is insufficient savings, as capital; at the full, savings institutional level, to support the long term investment needs of the nation. The end result is all of the present Western economies are grossly undercapitalised. Here, we had to go cap in hand to China to fund a new electricity power station; something that represents a basic need. Over the last few decades, again, to cover the shortfalls, here the executive has sold to France a good proportion of the electricity infrastructure in the Southern counties.

Everything points towards the rapidly rising debt levels of the executive governments of Western economies, the FIRE economy, being caused by their being unable to pay their way.

That is classic bankruptcy.

To reverse they have to return the basic rules of engagement of financial institutions back to where they were in the late 1960's. The FIRE economy cannot do that; they have no power to set that into motion. That is the invisible core problem no-one seems to want to address; the underlying rules created to deliver the debt into the hands of the executive; are the children of the executive.

Politicians are simply there to deliver the rule changes described to them by the executive. The complete control of the Western economies is not in the hands of the savings institutions; they have no power whatever to change the rules that have been imposed upon them. The necessary leadership has to stem from the executive; we see no sign of acceptance of that need from the executive and tell me of a politician here in the UK that will, publicly, do anything other than say; again and again, how wonderful and professional they are.

The entire Western economic model desperately needs a complete revision; away from delivering debt to an unresponsive executive; towards a well capitalised free enterprise economy; that places the capital investment needs of the people before their own, now very obvious desperate need, to cover up their long term failure to create policy that keeps the expenditure of the executive within the capability of the nation to deliver such.

The Western economies are essentially bankrupt. Period! That cannot continue without a collapse back to sanity.

EJ
01-04-19, 04:58 PM
"You didn't build that" Warren would be a disaster.

We do however need a much smaller FIRE that provides what the financial sector needs, but with all of the corruption and excessive costs
carved out of it. You are seeing more of that with top teams leaving wirehouses and becoming lower fee managers and financial planner RIAs

The big banks will be massively downsized by Amazon, Square, and other innovators.

The insurance industry will need to jettison all the useless variable annuity scams, and trim down to life and disability coverage.

The real estate industry will also be massively eroded by technology and new innovative solutions. 90%
of the 1 million plus real estate agents will have to find other jobs.

All this will be led by an independent party led by a charismatic leader that will capture enough votes to win, and begin the
process of replacing the two corrupt parties we have now. It will be a revolution of the center, totally inclusive, free competitive markets,
and bring back a much larger middle class.

I'm in! Who's your candidate?

vt
01-04-19, 05:49 PM
Unfortunately he lacks charisma, but former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has the requisite experience and moderation to lead.

The ideal leader may come from outside the political arena, but have enough experience or understanding of how government works.
I'm not able to identify anyone at the moment but will contribute ideas as they come forth. I encourage others to suggest
candidates too.

Chris Coles
01-05-19, 03:45 AM
I'm in! Who's your candidate?

In the past, certainly here in the UK, the very best candidates were from the business community that had then recognised their commitment to a greater good, by taking public office; thus an EJ would have seen that moment and moved forward to address that challenge. While you EJ, may well not believe that is your destiny, then who other has a long, very successful, track record of regard for the need for such a debate that could also follow through?

Techdread
01-05-19, 04:29 AM
The Western economies are essentially bankrupt. Period! That cannot continue without a collapse back to sanity.

I do agree with this assertion, but to whom is this debt owed?

It seems that major eastern economies face the same head winds.

http://www.itulip.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5892&stc=1


I think the world could carry considerable more debt than it has now, looking at the case of Japan the US should be able to triple it's debt burden.

As for the UK too many policy mistakes, like the privatisation madness of the eighties & Gordon Brown selling Gold, and now Brexit we will have no claim on EU's gold hoard.

Chris Coles
01-05-19, 05:36 AM
I do agree with this assertion, but to whom is this debt owed?

It seems that major eastern economies face the same head winds.

http://www.itulip.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5892&stc=1


I think the world could carry considerable more debt than it has now, looking at the case of Japan the US should be able to triple it's debt burden.

As for the UK too many policy mistakes, like the privatisation madness of the eighties & Gordon Brown selling Gold, and now Brexit we will have no claim on EU's gold hoard.

On the one hand you are correct, "the world could carry considerable more debt than it has now", except that it is not the lender that faces bankruptcy, but the borrower. Again, if one has maintained a stable and positive income over outgoings position, then additional debt is always a normal economic condition. What we all face today is the consequence of a historical considerable greater portion of the additional debt being sourced from the savings of the nation, rather than from external markets. That has, in turn, depleted the ability of the nation to invest into new industry. Ergo, why that inability to so invest created the recent trend to source almost all manufactured goods from the likes of China.

Again, your point about UK policy mistakes is central to the ongoing dilemma facing the UK. On the other hand, as I understand it, China is massively increasing their gold holdings, purchased by, one must assume, selling their US dollars for the Gold. In which case they face much less difficulty in maintaining economic stability over the next stage of the ongoing collapse. Then add their recognition of the power of their massive internal market for their own manufacturing capacity; the exact opposite of the Western economic condition; they did not seek to source their manufactured goods from the West.

The East is thus in a much better place than the West.

Chris Coles
01-05-19, 10:48 AM
A thank you to seobook for the link to this by Chateaubriand here http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/29625-Economic-Crisis-Avoidance-Deus-ex-Machina-Part-I-Active-Asset-Price-Inflation-Eric-Janszen?p=313772#post313772

The New York Times "accidentally" forgot to link to Frédéric Bastiat in their job engine story.
http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

(http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html)
"In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause — it is seen. The others unfold in succession — they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference — the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, — at the risk of a small present evil

I might subject a host of other questions to the same test; but I shrink from the monotony of a constantly uniform demonstration, and I conclude by applying to political economy what Chateaubriand says of history:-

"There are," he says, "two consequences in history; an immediate one, which is instantly recognized, and one in the distance, which is not at first perceived. These consequences often contradict each other; the former are the results of our own limited wisdom, the latter, those of that wisdom which endures. The providential event appears after the human event. God rises up behind men. Deny, if you will, the supreme counsel; disown its action; dispute about words; designate, by the term, force of circumstances, or reason, what the vulgar call Providence; but look to the end of an accomplished fact, and you will see that it has always produced the contrary of what was expected from it, if it was not established at first upon morality and justice."

(Chateaubriand (http://bastiat.org/fr/personnes.html#chateaubriand). Posthumous Memoirs.)



The tragedy today is that no one within the executive, seems to have given any thought to the long term consequences of changing the rules for the use of the savings of the citizens of the nations, (previously used firstly by the people themselves to capitalise new start-ups in their local communities and thereafter, by the savings institutions of the nation to re-invest back into productive industry); which savings were instead then taken by the executive, to pay to cover up their ongoing failures. Those savings are the capital base for the entire nation; it is just like taking the food from the mouth of a child, the child inevitably has less to eat and grows at a reduced rate; so too does a nation's economy.


"Whatever be the actual state of the skill, dexterity, and judgement, with which labour is applied in any nation, the abundance or scantiness of its annual supply must depend, during the continuance of that state, upon the proportion between the number of those who are annually employed in useful labour, and that of those who are not so employed. The number of useful and productive labourers, it will hereinafter appear, is everywhere in proportion to the quantity of capital stock which is employed in setting them to work, and to the particular way in which it is so employed." Taken from; Introduction and Plan of the Work, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith.


To finish, first, I want to say how much I do care about the plight of those US government employees that have been refused income by the decision to shut down the government as a ploy to try and force through funding for a Mexico wall. There will be, in any nation's executive, a majority of very hard working people. My debate is all about the leadership within an executive and their ongoing failure to recognise the consequences of past decisions.

Secondly, bankruptcy is a very brutal process, it forces change. But that has always been its merit and why we retain the process; it brings forward new thinking by forcing a change in direction at the top of any organisation so involved. Its strength is speed; bankruptcy creates an immediate change and thus opens the door to new thinking that speeds renewal. The faster we set bankruptcy into motion; the sooner we will renew and move forward. The longer we wait, the harder it will become.

ProdigyofZen
01-07-19, 04:24 PM
Can an anti-FIRE Economy candidate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu0uQEuq3SI) possibly win?

Here is what I see. The FIRE economy is happy to elect any president that focuses on issues other than FIRE after they are elected. They will gladly let Warren talk about these issues but privately negotiate with her and give her wins on what to me the media/social justice warriors see as the most important and easiest issues to make people happy/get them to vote for you: race, patriarchy, intersectionality, LGBT.... and gender.

IMO those issues will be the rallying cry of the election. Anything that destroys the so called white male patriarchy is fair game and they expect laws to be enacted to counter "it."

Canada is already moving in this direction.

In a time when there is no national crisis economically or militarily, these issues will be the driver of the election.

Austin Allred is on top of it: "Americans are so bored and so far removed form any struggle of mortal urgency that their feigned outrage over petty offenses has become an embarrassing theater of the absurd, with social media encouraging ever-more ridiculous displays."

jk
01-07-19, 09:35 PM
i doubt eliz warren is a viable candidate, but if so she won't buy substituting identity politics for an attack on the finance industry.

seobook
01-07-19, 09:42 PM
Anything that destroys the so called white male patriarchy is fair game and they expect laws to be enacted to counter "it."
said crusaders should move to Saudi Arabia to better enjoy the fruits of their labor
http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/2127-You-Can-t-Make-This-Stuff-Up?p=313818#post313818

jk
01-08-19, 04:59 AM
Here is what I see. The FIRE economy is happy to elect any president that focuses on issues other than FIRE after they are elected. They will gladly let Warren talk about these issues but privately negotiate with her and give her wins on what to me the media/social justice warriors see as the most important and easiest issues to make people happy/get them to vote for you: race, patriarchy, intersectionality, LGBT.... and gender.

IMO those issues will be the rallying cry of the election. Anything that destroys the so called white male patriarchy is fair game and they expect laws to be enacted to counter "it."

Canada is already moving in this direction.

In a time when there is no national crisis economically or militarily, these issues will be the driver of the election.

Austin Allred is on top of it: "Americans are so bored and so far removed form any struggle of mortal urgency that their feigned outrage over petty offenses has become an embarrassing theater of the absurd, with social media encouraging ever-more ridiculous displays."
it is possible you are right in these predictions, poz, but i sincerely hope you're wrong. both sanders and warren, neither of whom are likely to get the nomination imo, are very focused on the banking system and shadow banking system. it is my hope that their efforts will help the democrats keep economic realities as a focus, albeit certainly not their only focus.

gugion
01-10-19, 11:25 AM
I'm in! Who's your candidate?

I've got one...Michael Hudson!

Polish_Silver
01-13-19, 11:25 AM
Can an anti-FIRE Economy candidate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu0uQEuq3SI) possibly win?

Good candidates cannot win in the US because of the electoral system.
Political scientists call it "first past the post" . I call it
"winner take all". In any voting district, the candidate with the largest number of votes gets the office, even if it is a margin
of 1 vote out of 10 million. The other voters get no representation.

Nearly every other democracy has some form of "proportional representation". This creates a multi party system where every vote does count,
as nearly as possible in a mass society.

How to save the country:

The senate has 100 seats. Make each seat represent 1% of the vote nationwide.
If 5% of voters vote for the slate of libertarians, than the top 5 of those candidates will be senators.

People will vote for libertarian, socialist, and peace candidates if they can win seats in the senate.

That will have impacts on the congressional, state and presidential elections.

A multi-party system is not dysfunctional. A two party system is what is dysfunctional.

Right now, if you wanted a candidate that would oppose wars, you could not vote
in any major party. Outliers, like Paul and Sanders, opposed some of the wars. But the parties overwhelmingly supported
the wars. Of parties above, all three of them would likely oppose any war that did not threaten US territory, which I believe was the intention
of the founding fathers. These disparate parties would agree on many profound issues and create better policy outcomes.

Other areas where these "wingnut" parties might agree is reforming the financial and health care systems.


Problems with the current system:

0) Most Votes do not count.
Unless your district is 50/50, your vote will not make a difference.
Voting for a democrat in South Carolina is as futile as voting for a republican in Connecticut.

1) The president is the only office that represents the entire country. Everyone else in Washington represents (at best) a majority of a small region.
In fact, many states are dominated by one party or the other, which means that the primary election of the dominant party controls the general election outcome. But primary voters are "core loyalists" --often a small minority of total voters and with fringe views. So a small minority
gets to elect the representative.

2) Strategic Voting: Most voters do not really like the candidates they vote for. They are just less unacceptable than others.
Even in a swing state, only two candidates have a realistic chance to win. So you identify the one most unacceptable, and vote for the other.
In a multi-party system with "instant run off" you could really vote your heart, and not waste your vote.

3) Party loyalty: Since the parties are bankrupt intellectually and morally, voters are motivated more by loyalty and demonizing the opposition
than by thought and alignment of values. The two party system feeds a dualistic good/bad mentality in which issues are subordinated to
fear mongering.

4) The influence of Money.
Since the elections are based on personality and party loyalty, campaign money has a big effect on outcome. A multi party campaign would be
more issues focused, reducing the effect of money.


This change would require a constitutional convention--(why isn't there a mandatory one every 10 years?) or the state level amendment process.

If we do not change the electoral process, we will not solve the problems in health care, wars to win elections, etc.

Polish_Silver
01-13-19, 02:31 PM
Senator Warren would be a great president, whip smart and hard working.
But it seems the victory of FIRE is essentially complete now.
The Citizens United environment allows unlimited amounts of untraceable money to be spent on elections, and FIRE has more money than can be imagined.
Senator Warren has been fully vilified by right wing media since 2011, and would seem to stand no realistic chance of being elected to national office.

I would be delighted to find myself wrong on this one.

I was impressed by the depth and nuance of Warren's thinking (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/07/27/sen-elizabeth-warren-responds-to-our-invitation-to-discuss-policy-part-1/?utm_term=.e6b51dcc3fd8)on economic issues.
.


I Have to agree with your post, Thrifty!

Polish_Silver
01-13-19, 02:35 PM
BK, you are totally right about that. The Book "no sense of place" explains how this is the result of TV ,
and more recently , the internet. Deep thinking people like James Madison or Lincoln would not have a chance
now. And that is scarry, really scarry !
But: acting is a skill that can be learned, right?
Perhaps Warren could take some "Trump lessons" .

dcarrigg
01-13-19, 03:52 PM
I was impressed by the depth and nuance of Warren's thinking (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/07/27/sen-elizabeth-warren-responds-to-our-invitation-to-discuss-policy-part-1/?utm_term=.e6b51dcc3fd8)on economic issues.
.


I Have to agree with your post, Thrifty!

I still think she has a better chance in the primaries than other folks do.
Reasons?

1. I'd be surprised if she didn't finish in the top 3 in NH (out of a field of maybe 2 dozen). She has a chance to be 1st. She has proven she can organize and fundraise in New England.
2. In the last 100 years there have been 18 Dem nominees. Half of them came from just 3 states: Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois. Of the half that came from other states, half again were VPs. I'd argue that the primary system (delegate allocation and media markets) are designed such that folks from these states have an edge, and the party designed it that way.
3. Even though Massachusetts is her home base, she's obviously not from there, and has more midwestern/southern Sooner mannerisms and turns of phrase. This can be a weakness if people see it as fake or carpetbagging or whatever. And she will get attacked for it. But it can also be a strength.
4. This is more speculative. But I think she's in an intellectual sweet spot within the party. Still a capitalist so moderates on the right of the party can stomach her, but mindful enough of existing problems that the left wing of the party can still trust her. Combined with #3, I think that means she can play in the south in a way Sanders could not.

Who knows what happens in a general. It's all going to be one thing at a time. But unless she flubs up and gets knocked out early (screws up bad and takes a bath in NH or something), I'd be surprised if she weren't one of the final contenders. Certainly I think she has a better shot than the other 5 who've announced campaigns so far (Gabbard, Castro, Delaney, Ojeda & Yang).

vt
01-14-19, 01:41 AM
I disagree. An excellent third party candidate can win. Perot showed the possibilities.

The problem is money. It's hard to campaign across the nation without funding, though a viral campaign
might have a very slim chance to get lots of small to medium contributions.

You can win with 34% of the vote, assuming the other two split the other 66%. Heck Clinton only got
43%. The polls definitely support it in that 60% of the people hate both parties. They would love the choice in voting against the devil on the right and the devil on the left.

It would be a huge task for a third party candidate to articulate the minefield of creating the right message to attract enough moderates to pull it off. However he or she might attract a good portion of the 35% plus of eligible voters that just don't vote. They could show up for excellent and rare electable third party wonder.

I don't understand why the media and pundits missed the 2016 election. There were all sorts of indications like Trump's crowds and energy vs. Clinton. I felt two weeks before the election that Trump was going to win. Frankly I didn't want either candidate. Woodsman was also writing that Trump had the momentum.

Slimprofits
01-14-19, 09:00 AM
Asking if it's possible for a presidential candidate to win who takes such a strong anti-finance and insurance industry position. Brown ran a shabby, lazy campaign. Warren ran circles around him.

If charismatic and persuasive, then yes.

Slimprofits
01-14-19, 09:06 AM
http://www.itulip.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5893&stc=1

sunpearl71
01-14-19, 10:55 AM
I disagree. An excellent third party candidate can win. Perot showed the possibilities.

I agree. However, isn't that only part of the solution? Even after winning, can a third party candidate govern and lead the nation? Can they work with the two houses effectively to get the reforms through?

thriftyandboringinohio
01-14-19, 11:26 AM
There is no evidence to support the claim that a third party candidate can be elected president of the United States.
Ross Perot got less than 19 percent of all individual votes, got zero electoral college votes, and won zero states.

jk
01-14-19, 12:36 PM
There is no evidence to support the claim that a third party candidate can be elected president of the United States.
Ross Perot got less than 19 percent of all individual votes, got zero electoral college votes, and won zero states.
perot provided a means for conservative to moderate voters to exercise their franchise but to NOT vote for george hw bush. this allowed clinton to win.
i can't think of an example in which a 3rd party candidate was not either an irrelevancy or a spoiler.
the most important 3rd party possibility would be a conservative anti-trumper, giving disaffected republicans a way to not vote for trump. perhaps mike bloomberg would fulfill this role.

vt
01-14-19, 12:47 PM
I'm not just suggesting a third party candidate can win, but that a third party could replace one of the other two parties, as when the Whigs were
replaced by Republicans.

https://qz.com/813355/2016-presidential-election-this-was-the-year-a-third-party-candidate-could-have-won-the-presidency/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/americas-off-love-affair-third-party-candidates

dcarrigg
01-14-19, 02:16 PM
There is no evidence to support the claim that a third party candidate can be elected president of the United States.
Ross Perot got less than 19 percent of all individual votes, got zero electoral college votes, and won zero states.

The old Duverger's Law. FPTP, winnter-take-all, plurality wins, single-member-district elections end up a 2 party system. Very occasionally third parties pop up and do somewhat well in the electoral college. But this tends to be a sign of realignment more than anything. And often 4th parties come with them.

Sometimes it's a sign of things to come. The 1824 election was bananas and led to the rise of Jackson and the Democrats in 1828. In that one, 4 people split electoral votes. John Quincy Adams won, but Jackson was the candidate with the most popular vote AND the most electoral votes and still did not win. In 1860 we had a similar bananas election that led to the rise of Lincoln and the Republicans. In this one Lincoln was the clear winner, but 4 candidates won electoral votes again. 1912 was the next one with 4 major candidates, Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs. Roosevelt had previously been a Republican, but his Progressive Party got more electoral votes and popular votes than Taft's under the GOP banner. Don't see another real game-thrower until 1968 with George Wallace (previewed by Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrats in 48), and that really gives way to the rise of Nixon, the South flipping from solid Dem to solid GOP, the end of the New Deal Era, and the beginning of a more conservative era both for the GOP and for the nation in general. Nixon and Humphrey both got 43% of the vote. Wallace was the spoiler who had the other 14% locked up. And that year was a wild ride that included assassinations and convention riots.

We might be due for one of these again. I suppose it can't be totally ruled out. But here's the thing: In the 2 instances a third party candidate won, another party had to die (basically Federalists & Whigs to make room for Democrats & Republicans respectively). But each time there was also a driving structural issue. Expanding the franchise to men with without property in the first case, and slavery in the second. I can't clearly identify that issue this time. The electorate is quite polarized right now and the media's increasingly national/international. So it's hard to see a regional third party rebellion brewing. If anything, moderates in both parties are losing elections across the board, so if it does happen, it's not going to be about brave defenders of whatever people think "the center" is now. Definitely not boring, milquetoast both-siderism or debt fretting. It would need it's own raison d'etre. One that struck deep or had deep regional resonance. Cutting social security and kicking grandma off Medicare so you can cut more taxes for Apple and Amazon, but doing it politely, just ain't gonna make the cut on this one. Neither is the kinder, gentler machine gun hand.

So maybe tomorrow Charlie Baker (https://www.vox.com/2018/6/18/17475650/family-separation-migrants-republican-governor-massachusetts-charlie-baker) breaks off and makes the Northern Republicans or Jim Webb (http://www.jameswebb.com/news/my-cotton-pickin-mama) breaks off and makes the General Lee Democrats. But even if they did, they'd be hard-pressed to answer "Why?" You know what they call someone with Charlie Baker's exact politics in Virginia? An unelectable Democrat. You know what they call someone with Jim Webb's exact politics in Massachusetts? An unelectable Republican. I think that's not only the truth, I think that's the nature of the electorate at the moment.

What seems progressive to a Virginian seems reactionary to a Bostonian: Just think about it, a $10 minimum wage is a $3/hour increase in the Old Dominion and a $2/hr decrease in the Bay State. Has the spread ever been this wide? And it's like this on issue after issue. The "common sense middle ground" is now a huge 30% jump in Richmond and a huge 20% cut in Worcester. So I can all but be certain that to the general electorate, advocating a $10/hr federal minimum wage seems boring and conservative in one place, but it seems radical and sharply progressive in another. In the last 20 years, Virginia's minimum wage has only increased by $2/hr, Massachusetts' has by $6/hr. It's like this on issue after issue. State laws have drifted far apart, and it's accelerating.

Let me spin this up another way: Would you have thought in 2000 that by about election-time 2020, Massachusetts will certainly have legal recreational marijuana stores (it already does), but probably also cafés where adults can smoke it, civil rights guarantees and constitutional marriage for LBGT etc. groups (probably saw this coming), a $13.50/hr statewide minimum wage (maybe that if you were optimistic), 25% lower CO2 output than 1990 levels (seemed fringe), free community college (already free for Pell-Grant recipients in Boston), casinos everywhere (not just Connecticut), criminal justice reform including the elimination of mandatory minimums for low-level drug charges and bail for the poor (fringe again), labor reforms including limitations and bans on non-competes and non-disclosures and other tools employers use to suppress wages, 12 weeks of paid family leave, 20 weeks of medical leave, and 5 days of paid sick leave per year for all employees, etc (huge shift). On the other side you'll have to be 21 to buy tobacco products, homeschooling and gun purchases have a lot of restrictions, drivers' licenses have more restrictions, there's a state health insurance mandate regardless of the elimination of the federal one, etc.

I only wrote all that out to illustrate some of the range of how far MA and VA's laws have spread apart in the past generation. The further apart they get, the more likely it is that it will become impossible to ignore the differences, and the federal government will have to pick a path rather than sit on the fence.

jk
01-14-19, 03:35 PM
one thought you stir up, dc, is that the new direction that is already happening is more devolution of issues to the states, i.e. instead of the federal gov't picking paths, just have the federal gov't step back and say leave it to the states. divergences will probably increase but maybe that's ok. i'm not sure of the implications of this trend, besides low tax states trying to poach businesses from higher tax states. i haven't thought it through. but it sure is a change from the march to the ever more imperial presidency.

dcarrigg
01-14-19, 05:28 PM
one thought you stir up, dc, is that the new direction that is already happening is more devolution of issues to the states, i.e. instead of the federal gov't picking paths, just have the federal gov't step back and say leave it to the states. divergences will probably increase but maybe that's ok. i'm not sure of the implications of this trend, besides low tax states trying to poach businesses from higher tax states. i haven't thought it through. but it sure is a change from the march to the ever more imperial presidency.

Sort of wish I was as optimistic as you about the prospects of interstate divergence putting the reigns on the imperial presidency. Reminds me of Tocqueville in 1830 pointing out interstate political divergences and how they're fundamentally irreconcilable. How long will Yankee moralizers sit back and accept 5 million uninsured people in Texas or 6 million disenfranchised felons throughout the south? There's some folks already calling it the New Jim Crow. The 14th amendment must be interpreted and enforced one way or the other. There's little room for a grey zone once you start drawing lines in the sand there.

In 20 more years, if (I mean this as a hypothetical) a new generation in the northeast grows up that has never known work with non-compete agreements or without paid sick leave or family leave or health coverage; that has never known criminal charges for marijuana or mandatory minimum sentences, or disenfranchisement for felons, or the death penalty; that looks south and sees a 500% to 1,000% higher incarceration rate all under the stars and stripes, US history suggests they probably won't just mind their own business and butt out.

And that's if things stay copacetic. If the divergences accelerate, it'll be even more glaring. California and Mass et all already have adopted everything from stricter vehicle emissions packages to tighter definitions on what constitutes an employee. Here's one small example (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=12&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjZw57Hpu7fAhWOm-AKHdQTC-IQFjALegQICRAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Ftechnol ogy%2F2018%2F12%2F04%2Fnew-rules-guarantee-minimum-wage-nyc-uber-lyft-drivers%2F&usg=AOvVaw3jgXg7L5s__dEAjxExlKZt) of what we have to look forward to in the immediate term. So that's playing out in courts now. When the career Uber drivers (https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/01/02/mass-uber-drivers-file-suit-against-ride-sharing-company-over-wages-ot/) in some states get social security and minimum wage etc, but not in others, the long game outside of the corporate poaching gets more obvious. Will those in states not receiving these benefits under the FLSA truly be receiving substantive due process and equal protection under the law? Stay tuned.

For now, this is all mostly framed in material terms. So it's prone to stat and cost-benefit policy analysis. And America can handle that debate. But what happens when it gets recast in terms of freedom? Then it comes with absolute moral certitude. Material arguments fall to a support role behind spiritual ones. Politics overtakes policy. I can already see it coming.

ProdigyofZen
01-14-19, 07:01 PM
it is possible you are right in these predictions, poz, but i sincerely hope you're wrong. both sanders and warren, neither of whom are likely to get the nomination imo, are very focused on the banking system and shadow banking system. it is my hope that their efforts will help the democrats keep economic realities as a focus, albeit certainly not their only focus.

Attacking the banking system doesn't play because there is no "crisis" like 2008-2011. They will focus not on the banking system but on the economy being "controlled by white males keeping everyone else out of jobs and power."

They need a face to point to, stating the banking system is corrupt has no value because there is nothing attached to the banking system, it is abstract.

jk
01-14-19, 08:25 PM
Attacking the banking system doesn't play because there is no "crisis" like 2008-2011.
i think there's a fair chance the next crisis will have begun by nov 2020.

jk
01-14-19, 08:31 PM
Sort of wish I was as optimistic as you about the prospects of interstate divergence putting the reigns on the imperial presidency.

never said i was optimistic. i was just trying to think of how the political world might split along an axis orthogonal to the one that's punching us in the face. your comparison of ma and va brought a "states' rights" axis to mind. no new civil war; instead it would be live and let live. what a concept!

vt
01-14-19, 09:08 PM
The states are the laboratory of democracy. They try different ways to serve their voters. The results give the Federal governmnent a survey of what works best and what doesn't.

EJ
01-14-19, 09:37 PM
http://www.itulip.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5893&stc=1

Good call, on the surface. A newcomer with a relatively blank slate onto which bits and pieces of voter preference can be written as the campaign goes on, ala Obama, starting with "opposite of Trump" positioning of "love for each other and for our country." Ideal as a marketing campaign president for more of the same policies as Bush and Obama but without the Trump crazy.

Almost everyone will welcome a return to the regular scheduled programming, except for this: Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/lefts-trump-sized-tax-plans/573328/)

Warren lawyers the question of taxes: How high does Elizabeth Warren want to raise taxes? Her challenger wants to know. (https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2018/09/10/how-high-does-elizabeth-warren-want-to-raise-taxes-geoff-diehl-wgbh)

It is on the question of taxation that electability hinges.

The reality of mounting federal government debt resulting from unrealistic tax policy will remain in the periphery of the conversation until after the election.

Warren if she continues to play her cards this way could win, and at least won't have to got back on a "read my lips" pledge when she's forced to raise taxes.

dcarrigg
01-14-19, 09:54 PM
never said i was optimistic. i was just trying to think of how the political world might split along an axis orthogonal to the one that's punching us in the face. your comparison of ma and va brought a "states' rights" axis to mind. no new civil war; instead it would be live and let live. what a concept!

Sorry if I extrapolated on you there. I realize we're all just taking stabs at what we think may possibly come to pass in this thread.

dcarrigg
01-14-19, 10:16 PM
Just spitballing, but something tells me tax credits to the bottom third isn't going to be a winning campaign issue-item. Not even in the coming Democratic primary, and certainly not in the general. It's more 2000 thinking than 2020 thinking. These kind of means-tested, conditional, tax-transfer proposals didn't really sell for Clinton in 2016, and I suspect they won't sell again in 2020. Partly it's because it's confusing as hell. So kludgy. Ask anyone on the street if they qualify for the EITC, and they have no damned clue. From a policy perspective it may look like a good idea. But it's not super-effective politics. And I actually think on the street-level, it's less effective policy than most wonks assume. The problem is nobody can count on it, so nobody can plan on it. It becomes more like a weird mercurial annual bonus than an income stream. Then the vultures come out. Cash advances on tax returns with 900% interest, etc. Anyways, even the bulk of the people who'd benefit from it probably don't want that style of handout. Not when the real split point is more 80/20 and heavily overweighted at the right tail of the distribution. The 3rd & 4th quintiles have not done well these past 20 years either. If you're going to be offering things that leave them out, they won't have much to be jazzed about.

lakedaemonian
01-14-19, 11:01 PM
Don’t count out Tulsi Gabbard.

She just about ticks every box in a manufactured candidate.

Female
Offspring of a legal immigrant
Ethnic minority
Veteran(left office to serve on deployment)
Unpopular with entrenched Democrats(not shortlisted to backfill Senator Dan Inouye)
Blue Dog-ish Democrat in appearance

She’s only missing small business ownership/startup experience or strong empathy

She’s already announced and is a clear outsider, but would be far more likely to sway voters on the right and possibly the middle than either Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.

——-

What should not be underestimated is the disruptive influence Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is having.

AOC is not eligible to run for President or experienced enough to lead the way out of a paper bag, but her social following is not to be underestimated.

She effectively represents the voice of:

1)People carrying $1.5 trillion 8nnstudent debt indentured servitude

and/or

2)People struggling in the low wage, low skill service “gig” economy

and/or

3)People carrying(or are close to) medical debt or medical bankruptcy

And that’s a lot of people. If they can be activated as a voting block......it could get interesting.

Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are already reactively adapting their own output/content to catch up to AOC’s social momentum.

AOC is pushing a very hard left “feelings > facts” narrative that is connecting with the 3 large and growing audiences I listed above.

AOC also seems unwilling to be reigned in by Democrat leadership and is trolling retired senior Democrat leaders like Lieberman.

AOC has potential to be an internal Democratic Party disruptor that could split the party between hard left and center left.

Hence why I think someone like Tulsi Gabbard could be viewed as a Center Left safety choice.

But it’s very early days.

If Trump is not running in 2020, I’m going with Nikki Haley as the GOP’s doppelgänger

EJ
01-14-19, 11:19 PM
Simple messages like "A Chicken for Every Pot" and "Join the Silk Stocking Class" messages brought up-to-date will resonate versus obscure tax policy and without offending any interests.

Americans don't want the rich held back. They want to join them. To get in on the action.

The winning political message for 2020 isn't "I'll punish the rich" ala Sanders but "Elect me and I'll make you part of the Elite that runs things and controls all the money. I'll bring you in."

It's a time-tested win-win.

Warren has possibly figured this out.
https://iowaculture.gov/sites/default/files/primary-sources/images/history-education-pss-depression-chicken-source.jpg

dcarrigg
01-15-19, 12:20 AM
You may be right.

Still, I think her past will throw up some hurdles. For one, I don't think she's the offspring of an immigrant. From what I know, her mom was a white-bread midwestern gal and her dad was an Air Force brat whose dad was stationed in American Samoa. Her grandma was a local that her grandpa met there, so she's got some roots on American Samoa. But so far as I know, 3 of her 4 grandparents were certainly US citizens, and one was a citizen of a US territory.

The Hindu thing and any ties to India seem like they're only because her family got really wrapped up in a Hare Krishna sect called Science of Identity. They had a bunch of members as politicians, including her dad. Both her parents were board members of the Science of Identity Foundation (as were her husband's parents, iirc). But her father has since switched from Republican to Democrat and Hindu to Catholic. Who knows exactly what that means, as it's a secretive group. The Congresswoman was named after it, and the only schools she attended besides homeschools from K-12 were their schools in the Philippines (https://culteducation.com/group/1298-science-of-identity/28537-disciples-deities-and-development.html), which were described by some who attended as odd to say the least. They span both parties and switch between them, but the sect has its own views.

It may all be nothing. But there's potentially skeletons there. First she'll have to deal with her position switches. They're already hitting her on that (https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/13/politics/kfile-tulsi-gabbard-lgbt/index.html). Then there will be all this Krishna fundamentalist offshoot stuff (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/16/tulsi-gabbard-krishna-cult-rumors_n_6879588.html). Then there's the questionable foreign policy stuff, especially vis-a-vis Assad (https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/01/tulsi-gabbard-2020-presidential-run). Finally there's the fact that the left has long had their knives out for her (https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/05/tulsi-gabbard-president-sanders-democratic-party) for various reasons.

You're right. It's early days. Maybe it all becomes a big nothing-burger or whatever.

vt
01-15-19, 12:35 AM
"Mrs. you didn't build that" will not play well for those aspiring to become rich.

It will be a new face, possibly an outside face no one is aware of. And they will come from the center with a message of unification to enrich all, and end all the fruitless, immature division.

Slimprofits
01-15-19, 12:06 PM
Good call, on the surface. A newcomer with a relatively blank slate onto which bits and pieces of voter preference can be written as the campaign goes on, ala Obama, starting with "opposite of Trump" positioning of "love for each other and for our country." Ideal as a marketing campaign president for more of the same policies as Bush and Obama but without the Trump crazy.

Almost everyone will welcome a return to the regular scheduled programming, except for this: Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/lefts-trump-sized-tax-plans/573328/)

My wager is for the Dem nominee, not the election winner!

Slimprofits
01-15-19, 12:06 PM
Good call, on the surface. A newcomer with a relatively blank slate onto which bits and pieces of voter preference can be written as the campaign goes on, ala Obama, starting with "opposite of Trump" positioning of "love for each other and for our country." Ideal as a marketing campaign president for more of the same policies as Bush and Obama but without the Trump crazy.

Almost everyone will welcome a return to the regular scheduled programming, except for this: Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/lefts-trump-sized-tax-plans/573328/)

My wager is for the Dem nominee, not the election winner!

Slimprofits
01-15-19, 12:09 PM
Don’t count out Tulsi Gabbard.

I'm a fan, but she has no chance. Those two go hand in hand.

She's as independent as they come, hence she must be destroyed.
The loud 10-20% on the left HATES Tulsi. Look at CNN and other left/Dem channels and publications. Look at Twitter. She's "anti-gay, pro-Assad, the Ruskies love her, etc."

Morgasbord
01-16-19, 05:43 PM
If you're not paying attention to DSA's platform and AOC, you're missing the zeitgeist. As someone of the LGBT persuasion and thus very connected to Leftist thinking and those gosh-darned "millennials", my read of the pulse is that a centrist Democrat is not electable anymore; a milquetoast democrat will just lose to Trump. A Democrat will win based on their ability synthesize enough of the DSA/AOC's Green New Deal and Stephanie Kealton explanations of "debt doesn't matter" MMT to fund it into a digestible platform that appeals to under 35's and enough red staters to flip the electoral college.

DSpencer
01-17-19, 03:11 PM
If you're not paying attention to DSA's platform and AOC, you're missing the zeitgeist. As someone of the LGBT persuasion and thus very connected to Leftist thinking and those gosh-darned "millennials", my read of the pulse is that a centrist Democrat is not electable anymore; a milquetoast democrat will just lose to Trump. A Democrat will win based on their ability synthesize enough of the DSA/AOC's Green New Deal and Stephanie Kealton explanations of "debt doesn't matter" MMT to fund it into a digestible platform that appeals to under 35's and enough red staters to flip the electoral college.

Is taking the pulse of Leftist thinking a reliable way of predicting a general election? If push came to shove, would supporters of AOC really not pull the lever for Biden if he was running against Trump? Or maybe your point is that a centrist will never make it out of primaries?

I definitely think that attitudes have changed a lot in 10 years. It's hard to use "socialist" as an insult against AOC if she is already calling herself one. Of course, she isn't personally able to run in 2020 anyway.

I think it's still a bit too early to say what is likely to happen in 2020. If the economy is doing well and barring any other big events, I think it will be difficult for a Sanders or slightly older version of AOC to gain enough traction. If there's an economic crisis then that might present an opportunity to bring in a lot of angry people looking for a different direction.

dcarrigg
01-17-19, 05:23 PM
Is taking the pulse of Leftist thinking a reliable way of predicting a general election? If push came to shove, would supporters of AOC really not pull the lever for Biden if he was running against Trump? Or maybe your point is that a centrist will never make it out of primaries?

I definitely think that attitudes have changed a lot in 10 years. It's hard to use "socialist" as an insult against AOC if she is already calling herself one. Of course, she isn't personally able to run in 2020 anyway.

I think it's still a bit too early to say what is likely to happen in 2020. If the economy is doing well and barring any other big events, I think it will be difficult for a Sanders or slightly older version of AOC to gain enough traction. If there's an economic crisis then that might present an opportunity to bring in a lot of angry people looking for a different direction.

The truth of the matter is that AOC's "radical socialist" 70% top marginal tax rate is exactly the same as it was under Carter, Ford, Nixon, and Johnson & 24% lower than it was under Eisenhower, Hoover, and FDR. This places her to the right of people who've actually sat in the Oval Office. Also to the right of the 80% point folks like Picketty and Saez think the top rate should be.

Reagan chopped it down from 70% to 24%. Just like FDR jacked it up from 24% to 94%. It only took one administration each time. In between, people played small ball. We're still living with the 1986 tax code. I've been saying in other threads how the House is totally different than 2008, because the Progressives are now the biggest caucus, and are poised to potentially be a majority of the Dems if they can continue gaining ground in 2020. This isn't Slick Willy's Citibank®-approved party anymore, for better or worse.

I don't know what will happen in the Primary. But if you're not sort of in the thick of Democratic politics, I think you're missing out on the gravity of what Morgasbord is saying. I'm telling you, the Dems are about as conflicted and split a group as ever. And I am certain that if you waltz in with an Obama-Clinton-style platform, you're writing off a larger and growing chunk of the base now, including a lot of the youth. There's been a growing divide for years in the base between the left and the neoliberals. And in many ways Occupy and all that was a breaking point. But to think of it another way, the 2016 primaries left a big scar, and it has not healed. It's partly a generational thing too. Rightly or wrongly it's millennials looking up to their grandparents who fought fascism and looking down on their parents as a greedier, more self-indulgent generation that failed both them and the country.

So anyways, Clintonworld and Bernieworld hate each other, some more than they hate Trump. Bernieworld sees Clinton as Reagan's shadow who sold out the party of the New Deal. Clintonworld sees Bernieworld as a bunch of traitors who would sink the whole damned party just to get free healthcare or college. Clintonworld is generally more urban, older, more Protestant, alliance between wealthy professionals and the poor. Bernieworld is generally more more working and middle class, younger, and more fed up with the status quo. I suspect that Morgasbord is right in that Biden and Beto and a few others are going to get tagged as part of Clintonworld (and prove it by the people they surround themselves with). And I suspect that more than just Sanders are going to get tagged as part of Bernieworld. There's a loud cadre of people, even if relatively small, who will never vote for Clintonworld or visa-versa. They'd rather see Trump burn it down.

These aren't just surface divisions either. It goes right down to the local bits of the party. "Progressives" have been ousting "corporate dems" with greater or lesser success across the board. The DSA is one vector. But there are a hundred others. They have their own think tanks and party apparatus and are winning over some of the unions and forming their own PACs and organizations that explicitly will not allow former Clinton and Obama staffers on them, and their running their own candidates for everything from dog catcher to state rep. Maybe it's hotter and heavier in Mass and New York and the like at the moment. But it's happening. Did you know that DSA members pay dues? Imagine the Republicans or Democrats trying to pay dues. Working Families Party too. The whole apparatus is no longer interested in running third party candidates. And they're no longer interested in wealthy or corporate donors. They've aligned. They're interested in 'taking back' the Democratic Party. And Clintonworld is not interested in sharing power. But they've ousted several long-term local incumbents--and lost badly against several others.

Long story short, if they really want a knock-out blow against Trump, somebody's gonna have to bridge the gap. Some folks straddle the divide. Reverend Barber comes to mind, for one example. Liz Warren might be another. A couple governors could probably pull it off too. But everyone has a history and everyone has friends and the two camps will judge each other by the company they keep.

DSpencer
01-18-19, 12:23 PM
Maybe I'm underestimating the willingness of the far left to let Trump "burn it down". As always the Supreme Court might force people to hold their nose and vote their party. If RBG makes it to the end of Trump's first term (which seems increasingly unlikely), it seems inevitable she won't make it through a second. She's 85 years old and in questionable health. Breyer is 80 right now. Will he make it to 86 in adequate health to keep serving on the court?

I don't expect the Bernie crowd to vote for a Clinton Dem in the primaries just out of the perception that they will do better in the general election. So if they get their way in the primary then it could be an interesting election. I just don't see that many Democrats refusing to vote for Beto or Biden or whoever if they know the alternative is four more years of Trump and possibly a couple more SCOTUS picks.

dcarrigg
01-18-19, 01:35 PM
Maybe I'm underestimating the willingness of the far left to let Trump "burn it down". As always the Supreme Court might force people to hold their nose and vote their party. If RBG makes it to the end of Trump's first term (which seems increasingly unlikely), it seems inevitable she won't make it through a second. She's 85 years old and in questionable health. Breyer is 80 right now. Will he make it to 86 in adequate health to keep serving on the court?

I don't expect the Bernie crowd to vote for a Clinton Dem in the primaries just out of the perception that they will do better in the general election. So if they get their way in the primary then it could be an interesting election. I just don't see that many Democrats refusing to vote for Beto or Biden or whoever if they know the alternative is four more years of Trump and possibly a couple more SCOTUS picks.

I think you're right, in that I don't think it is many. But I don't think it has to be many either. All it takes is for marginal numbers in a few states to stay home. It's a part of how Clinton lost. Beto married a billionaire's daughter. He's part of the New Democrat caucus. There are lots on the left who will never trust him. Biden's history also is problematic for that group.

To be totally clear, I wasn't talking about the general before. But if I am going to talk about it, below is the one graph that I think everyone needs to really let sink in. 2020 will be nothing like 2008. The base of the electorate is now at the tails. If you're not playing to and motivating the base accordingly, you're losing. The center cannot hold because centrists are going the way of the dodo (outside of press outlets and think tanks at least).

https://www.epsilontheory.com/wp-content/uploads/pew-polarization.png

Another important thing to realize: That little mound in the center is older than the growing zeniths on either side. So it's going to continue to shrink. If anything, I think the proof in the pudding there was how effortlessly Trump and Sanders could draw stadium crowds in 2016 while more centrist candidates cried, "Please clap."

It can be tough to think like a young leftist, but here's the intuition from what I gather: The Trumps, The Saudis, The Clintons, The Bloombergs, The Kochs, The Adelsons, even the Bin Ladens, all of them are part of a corrupt and criminal ruling class whose power must be diminished. The 'class war' stuff Obama ran away from is more or less the emerging worldview. If the Democrats run billionaires or families of billionaires or anyone who doesn't know and can't or won't credibly talk about life as a virtuous laborer vs. the criminality of the billionaire class, it's going to disappoint a ton of people. And young people are the most likely to stay home anyways and the hardest to motivate to vote.

You see what I'm saying? Trump is not an anomaly when you think like this. He's emblematic. Behind every great fortune is a great crime. They're all corrupt swindlers and crooks.

The mission isn't to replace one corrupt billionaire with another, or worse, a pawn of another. It's to take power away from corrupt billionaires. Ulysses O'Rourke and and Barron Trump will just go to the same parties and schools anyways, just like Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump did. Voting for Beto vs. voting for Trump is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.

To be clear, this isn't my personal view. But it is, I think, a more common emerging way of looking at things, especially for younger folk. Bernie's credibility wasn't just in his policies. It was in not sending his kids to Sidwell Friends like Chelsea Clinton or Malia Obama or Julie Nixon Eisenhower or RFK Jr., or in not hanging out with Jeffrey Epstein's or taking rides on his Lolita Express like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and everyone else. He didn't get invited to those kind of parties. And that was a feature for people, not a bug.

DSpencer
01-18-19, 03:49 PM
Do you know how to find the 10 questions they ask for that poll? I'm curious to see what they are.

I'm not a big fan of the concept that political views exist on a line where depending whether you answer yes or no to a question you get pushed one direction or the other. I think the real world is much more complex than that. It's frustrating to have everything turned into some issue where there's only two points of view and everyone has to take a side. Do you want to ban all fossil fuels or do you hate the environment?

dcarrigg
01-18-19, 04:39 PM
Yeah. They've been asking the same thing for decades. No doubt the real world is more complex. But the responses are correlating increasingly with Party ID over time. More than that, the 10 questions just establish a category scheme. Those who fall within the categories answer 100 other questions more consistently than before. Meaning the 10 questions are only used to establish baseline categories. But the percentage of random respondents who fall in each category change over time. And the correlation between categories and many other policy positions changes over time too. Put another way, people are much more likely to answer all 10 questions in a consistently conservative or consistently liberal way than they were a decade ago, and to follow up with other unrelated questions with similar consistency as one might expect. Hopefully I'm making sense there. Can explain better later if it's useful. Questions and weighting below:

https://imgur.com/Z88fMze.png

https://imgur.com/76On6ek.png


Anyways, even if you don't buy this, you can look at something less arbitrary like Nominate scores (http://www.voteview.com) and see a similar polarization effect. Or look at counties that went 20 points or more for one candidate or another. That's striking.

https://imgur.com/RVZwvhL.png

https://imgur.com/qBPlVz7.png

https://imgur.com/VMbrGCh.png

What it all adds up to in my estimation is that turning out the base will be a relatively more valuable strategy than swaying the middle, which has become relatively less valuable.

DSpencer
01-21-19, 03:11 PM
Yeah, those are the kind of questions I hate. Maybe they still serve the intended purpose, but it seems to only reinforce the idea that you have to pick a side and there are only two options. You either hate the government or love the government, there's no in between. I'm curious how much of the drift apart has to do with the digital echo chamber that serves to reinforce everyone's pre-existing beliefs.

dcarrigg
01-21-19, 04:12 PM
Yeah, those are the kind of questions I hate. Maybe they still serve the intended purpose, but it seems to only reinforce the idea that you have to pick a side and there are only two options. You either hate the government or love the government, there's no in between. I'm curious how much of the drift apart has to do with the digital echo chamber that serves to reinforce everyone's pre-existing beliefs.

I think the echo chamber's a huge part of it. So's the search bar and predictive content. So's the way online & mobile content works: caters to the extreme and unreasonable for the clicks.

But on a secondary level, I do think another part of it is baked into real institutions and culture and physical space too. I can, about down to the county, predict something about how Ohio will vote based off the old borders of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-21-19, 04:16 PM
The Overton window has been shifted significantly since about 1980. An Eisenhower Republican set of policies is now considered radical leftist by many.

DSpencer
01-21-19, 04:41 PM
I think the echo chamber's a huge part of it. So's the search bar and predictive content. So's the way online & mobile content works: caters to the extreme and unreasonable for the clicks.

But on a secondary level, I do think another part of it is baked into real institutions and culture and physical space too. I can, about down to the county, predict something about how Ohio will vote based off the old borders of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

Right. I am basically referring to the whole system as an echo chamber. Some of it is from "the bubble" where your searches return results that are catered to you which means they steer you to sites you'll agree with. And news sources themselves have decided it's best to just pick a side/audience and cater exclusively to them. Then the comment sections create an effect that "everyone thinks/knows/agrees with this" and people with extreme views feel the most need to shout them on the internet. All of it preys on the human tendency to seek out confirmation in the first place and it's become trivially easy to just shut out views you don't like by closing the window, pressing mute, etc.

What's scary, but interesting, is how much of it isn't necessarily malicious in purpose. I don't think search engines purposefully tried to create information bubbles for nefarious purposes. They just tried to make money and they (their algorithms) learned that's what people want, even if they didn't realize it themselves.

We've basically hijacked our own brains. Maybe I'm too dramatic, but I find the whole situation pretty disturbing and dystopian. I have young kids and I guess teaching them how to have a healthy relationship with technology is now just part of life. Don't take candy from strangers, don't smoke crack, don't become obsessed with social media likes, don't send nude selfies, don't get tricked by fake news, etc. Only they can't "just say no". They have to learn to use all this stuff without getting hooked.

dcarrigg
01-22-19, 10:17 AM
Right. I am basically referring to the whole system as an echo chamber. Some of it is from "the bubble" where your searches return results that are catered to you which means they steer you to sites you'll agree with. And news sources themselves have decided it's best to just pick a side/audience and cater exclusively to them. Then the comment sections create an effect that "everyone thinks/knows/agrees with this" and people with extreme views feel the most need to shout them on the internet. All of it preys on the human tendency to seek out confirmation in the first place and it's become trivially easy to just shut out views you don't like by closing the window, pressing mute, etc.

What's scary, but interesting, is how much of it isn't necessarily malicious in purpose. I don't think search engines purposefully tried to create information bubbles for nefarious purposes. They just tried to make money and they (their algorithms) learned that's what people want, even if they didn't realize it themselves.

We've basically hijacked our own brains. Maybe I'm too dramatic, but I find the whole situation pretty disturbing and dystopian. I have young kids and I guess teaching them how to have a healthy relationship with technology is now just part of life. Don't take candy from strangers, don't smoke crack, don't become obsessed with social media likes, don't send nude selfies, don't get tricked by fake news, etc. Only they can't "just say no". They have to learn to use all this stuff without getting hooked.

I agree that the search engines are just trying to make money. I disagree that they're giving people what they want. But that's a deep bone I pick with rational actor assumptions and the idea that people buy what they want or click on what they want. They don't. People buy and click on what you put in front of them, not what they want. You can control how much people eat by just shifting plate sizes so the corresponding portion looks more or less reasonable (http://digg.com/video/applebees-large-beer). You can make people buy more with loss leaders and other retail marketing and positioning tricks. We've known this forever.

But the computer world is taking it to new heights. They hire psychologists to run big datasets and figure out what to put in front of people to maximize their ad revenue. So people who might never have typed in "anti-semetic conspiracy" because they weren't interested in that might be curious about famous Americans who were Jewish, and BAM! They get the anti-semetic conspiracy anyways. Even though they didn't ask for it. And morbid curiosity, like rubberneckers at a car accident, forces the click. It's not what people want. The best thing I can think to tell kids is to show them how bad it is and drive home the idea that 1) internet companies are not your friend helping you learn, they're grifters just out to make money, and 2) so they lie to you, and lots of information you see is lies or junk.

Go to a public library and ask for information about Democracy, and you're not going to get Laura Ingram followed by alien Nazi conspiracies. Or whatever visa-versa weird stuff happens in other search bars for other political persuasions. I really think in an age where this much of life is required to be online that the primary platforms should be better regulated so that they have at least to show they put minimal effort into actually providing relevant information and not just poisoning the information stream with the nonsense that generates the most clicks. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. They know much more much more dangerous information about all of us. I'm not even saying they shouldn't be able to advertise or anything. But they probably shouldn't be able to use the chokehold gateway monopoly of search to dictate what everyone sees with impunity like this. There is almost no competition anymore. So we're not getting a sense of how much worse google has gotten over time. And everyone else just licenses the old Yahoo or Bing or whatever.

The results are absurd now. Not even always in an obviously political way. I mean, in what universe do reasonable educated people think the search results should look like this? It's more like a tabloid than a bona-fide information retrieval service. Lowest. Common. Denominator.

Notice that if there's anything relevant at all, it's usually in the right bar, and usually just an excerpt from the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article. You're literally better off just using Wikipedia's search bar. You won't get so much trash. Google search just keeps presenting you with menu after menu of junk food. People don't realize how bad it really is because on one hand, at one time, it was actually better and they've been slow boiled. But on the other hand, look at the crap it throws at you, it's designed to be full of celebrities and aliens and other garbage that people will just mindlessly click on the same way they'll mindlessly eat french fries or potato chips. And I don't really think it's an accident. But I think it can and does have shitty consequences.

I really mean it. Google search was far better 10 years ago. Reader was far better than the news aggregators too. You could set the content you want on your homepage where you want, include RSS feeds from relevant non-news sources, and have an informationally-useful home page. Like a home cooked meal. All that is gone now. You just get junk food. Prepackaged, processed, junk food. I mean, literally, the results for the simplest things you type into google look like they'd fit better in the pages of the Weekly World News at the end of a supermarket checkout lane than in the library. It's all Batboy and You'll Never Guess Which Celebrity Lost 30lbs now.



https://imgur.com/oLpeh6Q.png

https://imgur.com/kRPHmAj.png

https://imgur.com/EhRsPBK.png

https://imgur.com/l9M61mR.png

DSpencer
01-22-19, 10:56 AM
I agree that the search engines are just trying to make money. I disagree that they're giving people what they want. But that's a deep bone I pick with rational actor assumptions and the idea that people buy what they want or click on what they want. They don't. People buy and click on what you put in front of them, not what they want. You can control how much people eat by just shifting plate sizes so the corresponding portion looks more or less reasonable (http://digg.com/video/applebees-large-beer). You can make people buy more with loss leaders and other retail marketing and positioning tricks. We've known this forever.

When I said "want", I really just meant "want to click on" or maybe even more precisely "click on the most".


I really mean it. Google search was far better 10 years ago. Reader was far better than the news aggregators too. You could set the content you want on your homepage where you want, include RSS feeds from relevant non-news sources, and have an informationally-useful home page. Like a home cooked meal. All that is gone now. You just get junk food. Prepackaged, processed, junk food. I mean, literally, the results for the simplest things you type into google look like they'd fit better in the pages of the Weekly World News at the end of a supermarket checkout lane than in the library. It's all Batboy and You'll Never Guess Which Celebrity Lost 30lbs now.

I agree that it's getting worse. I started using the Apple News app because, hey it's there and reading the news is good, right? At first it was just a few stories from sources I selected. Next thing you know it starts filling up with celebrity gossip from People or whatever. Even if I kept saying I didn't like them, it didn't stop more from being fed to me. But the worst thing was that I sometimes clicked them. Not all at the time and usually just to read the first couple lines, but still. I was mindlessly consuming content that I wouldn't take home from a grocery store checkout even if it was free. I recently just deleted the whole app because of crap like that.

dcarrigg
01-22-19, 11:19 AM
When I said "want", I really just meant "want to click on" or maybe even more precisely "click on the most".



I agree that it's getting worse. I started using the Apple News app because, hey it's there and reading the news is good, right? At first it was just a few stories from sources I selected. Next thing you know it starts filling up with celebrity gossip from People or whatever. Even if I kept saying I didn't like them, it didn't stop more from being fed to me. But the worst thing was that I sometimes clicked them. Not all at the time and usually just to read the first couple lines, but still. I was mindlessly consuming content that I wouldn't take home from a grocery store checkout even if it was free. I recently just deleted the whole app because of crap like that.

I hear you. I've caught myself doing it too. And I've done everything from delete apps to add URLs to the old 127.0.0.1 host database just to prevent myself from sliding down the rabbit hole when linked to them. That's something I'd never done in my life. Either I'm getting weaker in my older age, or they're getting better at suckering me into nonsense content. But I think probably that it speaks a ton to how good they're getting at getting me to click on things I wouldn't otherwise seek out. It happens with all sorts of content too. Used to be Pandora was about the only thing that did that--suggested or autoplayed what's next. Now everything does. It's all carefully geared-up for mindless (over)consumption.

jk
01-22-19, 11:39 AM
I disagree that they're giving people what they want. But that's a deep bone I pick with rational actor assumptions and the idea that people buy what they want or click on what they want. They don't. People buy and click on what you put in front of them, not what they want. You can control how much people eat by just shifting plate sizes so the corresponding portion looks more or less reasonable (http://digg.com/video/applebees-large-beer). You can make people buy more with loss leaders and other retail marketing and positioning tricks. We've known this forever.

But the computer world is taking it to new heights. They hire psychologists to run big datasets and figure out what to put in front of people to maximize their ad revenue.

casinos have been hiring psychologists for many years to design reinforcement schedules for slot machines. players have favorite machines- presumably those with a reinforcement schedule better attuned to their individual learning/reward system. a slot machine is just a skinner box, really.

so what do we TRULY "want" if we're so manipulable. what you "wanted" before being hit with the clickbait was presumably a product of earlier, less definable but more pervasive conditioning as processed by your individual nervous system.

learning about this kind of stuff should be a standard part of the high school curriculum. come to think of it, given when kids get on the social networks, learning this stuff should start in middle school. still earlier?

lakedaemonian
01-22-19, 01:48 PM
I hear you. I've caught myself doing it too. And I've done everything from delete apps to add URLs to the old 127.0.0.1 host database just to prevent myself from sliding down the rabbit hole when linked to them. That's something I'd never done in my life. Either I'm getting weaker in my older age, or they're getting better at suckering me into nonsense content. But I think probably that it speaks a ton to how good they're getting at getting me to click on things I wouldn't otherwise seek out. It happens with all sorts of content too. Used to be Pandora was about the only thing that did that--suggested or autoplayed what's next. Now everything does. It's all carefully geared-up for mindless (over)consumption.

There’s a great book called the Master Algorithm that I recommend for gaining a broad macro understanding of an increasingly important aspect of our lives.

Looking at the success of foreign Advanced Persistent Threats involved in shaping US domestic political/partisan behaviour it would appear some were quite successful in terms of scientific method, iterative lean startup like bang for the buck.

But at the same time, it’s also clear that algorithmic recommendations and suggestions are far from perfect.

‘One the continuum from pathetic to perfect, we are still far closer to pathetic in most cases.

One only needs to look at their own Netflix habits, where many anecdotally spend more time selecting from their “recommended for you” than actually watching anything.

Same with my old employer Amazon, recommendations are still quite weak, even after 21+ years of data on me. Although they “have my number” when it comes to Kindle deals.

What I find fascinating is a recent study showing older people far more likely to share fake news articles.

Coincidentally, I was just talking to my kids yesterday about the importance of trying to adjust for bias, particularly comformity, confirmation, sunk Cost Fallacy, and Halo Effect.

If I could change two things in education, I would add an education module on detecting and mitigating for what I can the big 4 biases and I would add an education module on the 5 most common algorithms used today.

I recall a Silicon Valley StartUp that was producing a tech industry version of a Presidential Daily Briefing, by someone who used to curate it.

I remember thinking I would really appreciate a paid Presidential Daily Briefing type source for news. And just largely ignore the rest.

I used to watch CNBC in the 90’s, then began to recognise the big picture.

Now I view it from the lens of it being a means to shape the sheep and what NOT to do.

Which may have some limited value.

Chris Coles
01-22-19, 02:46 PM
Here in the UK this evening we have a news item about a 14 year old girl suicide https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-46966009/instagram-helped-kill-my-daughter

Again, just search 14 year old suicide, pages of it.

We older surfers can see the chaff, but for a new generation coming to this sort of thing for the first time and having no experience to fall back upon, is deadly.

There is a very deep problem herein that is taking vulnerable teenagers into drastic solutions to what are every day social problems.

DSpencer
01-22-19, 03:22 PM
I recall a Silicon Valley StartUp that was producing a tech industry version of a Presidential Daily Briefing, by someone who used to curate it.

I remember thinking I would really appreciate a paid Presidential Daily Briefing type source for news. And just largely ignore the rest.


I really like the concept and I think there are lots of people who feel that way as well. However, this again gets at the question of what people "want" and what they "really want". First, a lot of people say/think they are willing to pay for news, but it doesn't seem like very many are. Second, many people (myself included) seem to be addicted to information. It's easy to say I'll just read/watch/listen to a quick daily briefing, but how many people would go on to spend another hour (or 3) consuming more news throughout the day?

There's some rational basis for both issues. There is a huge amount of free news available and some of it is pretty decent. So why spend money on it? I think many people (among the group who want a new solution) are reluctant to get news from just one source. Often it feels like the best way to feel like you know the truth is to somehow triangulate it from multiple sources. If you just got a quick briefing from one company, how would you know it's the real news? Is it misleading? Even if it's totally objective and factual, does it push an agenda through omission of other news?

The issues of payment and exclusivity are related in my mind. It's one thing to pay a reasonable subscription to a single provider. However, if you think you need to read news from 10 different sources then are you really going to pay for all 10?

lakedaemonian
01-22-19, 04:04 PM
Here in the UK this evening we have a news item about a 14 year old girl suicide https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-46966009/instagram-helped-kill-my-daughter

Again, just search 14 year old suicide, pages of it.

We older surfers can see the chaff, but for a new generation coming to this sort of thing for the first time and having no experience to fall back upon, is deadly.

There is a very deep problem herein that is taking vulnerable teenagers into drastic solutions to what are every day social problems.

I chair a fast growing veteran support NGO.

We've recently seen an anecdotal cluster of self harm from people in shared social groups. It was truly frightening.

Which has me trying to get my head around the concept of social contagion.

Currently trying to read the research paper called: Beyond "Social Contagion": Associative Diffusion and the Emergence of Cultural Variation by Amir Goldberg and Sarah Stein at Stanford U. Dated July 16, 2018.

It's not just ideas that can spread virally, but emotions and states of wellbeing.

lakedaemonian
01-22-19, 04:12 PM
I really like the concept and I think there are lots of people who feel that way as well. However, this again gets at the question of what people "want" and what they "really want". First, a lot of people say/think they are willing to pay for news, but it doesn't seem like very many are. Second, many people (myself included) seem to be addicted to information. It's easy to say I'll just read/watch/listen to a quick daily briefing, but how many people would go on to spend another hour (or 3) consuming more news throughout the day?

There's some rational basis for both issues. There is a huge amount of free news available and some of it is pretty decent. So why spend money on it? I think many people (among the group who want a new solution) are reluctant to get news from just one source. Often it feels like the best way to feel like you know the truth is to somehow triangulate it from multiple sources. If you just got a quick briefing from one company, how would you know it's the real news? Is it misleading? Even if it's totally objective and factual, does it push an agenda through omission of other news?

The issues of payment and exclusivity are related in my mind. It's one thing to pay a reasonable subscription to a single provider. However, if you think you need to read news from 10 different sources then are you really going to pay for all 10?

I think you hit the nail on the head.

There's a big gap between what we want and what we need, especially when it comes to news.

I think the consumption of news would benefit from personal discipline. Much like physical fitness for most people fits into schedules.

Humans used to consume news with involuntary discipline via the morning newspaper and the evening TV news. Not so much any more.

I think Fear Of Missing Out(FOMO) plays a role.

But it is exceptionally rare for any news beyond localised emergencies(such as extreme pending weather) to compel instant consumption.

For me, I try to keep my physical wellbeing activities to as rigid a schedule as I can, and adjust only when I have to.

I try to make as many essential tasks as ritualistic as I can. I try to leave as much time as I can for reading/learning...but that's where the news rabbit holing comes into play.

Perhaps I can add news consumption and rabbit holing to that list, but I have to admit I'm pretty weak in that regard. So I recognise the problem, but still need to modify my own behaviour.

Morgasbord
01-22-19, 04:26 PM
I'm not sure if this meets what you're looking for in terms of a daily briefing, as it's focused on the Trump presidency, but I've found this daily aggregation site extremely helpful, https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/. I send the poor soul a few bucks a month for his trouble.


The issues of payment and exclusivity are related in my mind. It's one thing to pay a reasonable subscription to a single provider. However, if you think you need to read news from 10 different sources then are you really going to pay for all 10?
I've kicked around an idea for several years about something like Kindle Unlimited or Spotify... a 'royalty pool' I could pay into for a set monthly amount, which is metered out proportionally to all the third party news sites as I read each article. What I haven't figured out is how to ensure the system dis-incentivizes garbage Top 10 X content and similar to attract eyeballs.

shiny!
01-23-19, 05:36 PM
The truth of the matter is that AOC's "radical socialist" 70% top marginal tax rate is exactly the same as it was under Carter, Ford, Nixon, and Johnson & 24% lower than it was under Eisenhower, Hoover, and FDR.

While the top rate is lower now, how do present-day deductions compare to the tax deductions we had when the top tax rate was 70%? We used to have a tax deduction for credit card interest paid that has since been removed. OTOH, I'm sure we have some deductions now that we didn't use to have. I wonder if looking only at past tax rates without also comparing past deductions and tax credits gives the most accurate picture.

I've got limited time at the computer or I'd search for this, but just wanted to mention it in case it has any bearing on the discussion.

dcarrigg
01-23-19, 06:08 PM
While the top rate is lower now, how do present-day deductions compare to the tax deductions we had when the top tax rate was 70%? We used to have a tax deduction for credit card interest paid that has since been removed. OTOH, I'm sure we have some deductions now that we didn't use to have. I wonder if looking only at past tax rates without also comparing past deductions and tax credits gives the most accurate picture.

I've got limited time at the computer or I'd search for this, but just wanted to mention it in case it has any bearing on the discussion.

Saez has a pretty good class on the effects of top rates. (https://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/course/Labortaxes/taxableincome/taxableincome_attach.pdf) You're right that it's not as high as the top-line number suggests. But there were also many more brackets. The effects as a share of total US output are like this: Not as big as it sounds, but still meaningful. The effect of the Reagan tax code is obvious when you look at it like this:

https://imgur.com/j6ayBTt.png

Slimprofits
01-25-19, 12:51 PM
I find it laughable that the people advising and writing Warren's Wealth Tax are employees of universities that benefit from exorbitant tuitions and student loans and they are citing student loan debt relief as a reason for creating the proposal.

I wasn't born yesterday.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-25-19, 12:54 PM
Here's an article that's a bit hopeful for Warren and makes some interesting points.

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/miles-mogulescu/83200/could-elizabeth-warren-be-the-next-president



Could Elizabeth Warren Be The Next President ?
first published 12/13/14
Early Friday evening Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to the Senate floor and gave a plain-spoken, barn-burning speech that could make history and put her into serious contention to be the next President of the United States.
There are only a handful of political speeches that have such historic impact....

dcarrigg
01-25-19, 01:50 PM
I find it laughable that the people advising and writing Warren's Wealth Tax are employees of universities that benefit from exorbitant tuitions and student loans and they are citing student loan debt relief as a reason for creating the proposal.

I wasn't born yesterday.

Well, they're from UC Berkeley, iirc. Definitely among the left-most campuses in the US. But far from among the most expensive. Tuition's like $14k per year. Average student loan debt there for graduating seniors is under $20k. In this day and age, not bad for a top-25 university.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-25-19, 02:34 PM
If you're not paying attention to DSA's platform and AOC, you're missing the zeitgeist. As someone of the LGBT persuasion and thus very connected to Leftist thinking and those gosh-darned "millennials", my read of the pulse is that a centrist Democrat is not electable anymore; a milquetoast democrat will just lose to Trump. A Democrat will win based on their ability synthesize enough of the DSA/AOC's Green New Deal and Stephanie Kealton explanations of "debt doesn't matter" MMT to fund it into a digestible platform that appeals to under 35's and enough red staters to flip the electoral college.

That's a pretty good observation Morgasbord. For a long time now the Democratic party has run as "Republican light".

shiny!
01-25-19, 04:07 PM
Saez has a pretty good class on the effects of top rates. (https://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/course/Labortaxes/taxableincome/taxableincome_attach.pdf) You're right that it's not as high as the top-line number suggests. But there were also many more brackets. The effects as a share of total US output are like this: Not as big as it sounds, but still meaningful. The effect of the Reagan tax code is obvious when you look at it like this:

https://imgur.com/j6ayBTt.png

Dang! Look at that jump after the Reagan tax cuts! Thank you, DC.

vt
01-25-19, 04:38 PM
Study history. The baby boomers were the millennials of the 1960's.

SDS was far more radical than Antifa. the left was strong.

What happened? Nixon was elected in 1968 and 1972.

Neither the left or right will prevail. A centrist fiscal conservative, social liberal will defeat the left and right that run both parties now.

Polish_Silver
01-26-19, 03:21 PM
The Overton window has been shifted significantly since about 1980. An Eisenhower Republican set of policies is now considered radical leftist by many.


I think it all depends on how you measure it. People are allowing/wanting much more federal intervention in ways that would never have been accepted in the past, anywhere in the
left-right spectrum.

The fed involvement in financial markets, the massive "security justified" privacy invasions, mandatory subscription to private sector health insurance, wars to supposedly
protect us from terrorism.

dcarrigg
01-26-19, 03:56 PM
I think it all depends on how you measure it. People are allowing/wanting much more federal intervention in ways that would never have been accepted in the past, anywhere in the
left-right spectrum.

The fed involvement in financial markets, the massive "security justified" privacy invasions, mandatory subscription to private sector health insurance, wars to supposedly
protect us from terrorism.

It's interesting, because if you spin it around a little, the influence of the private side of those things would never have been accepted in the past either. The massive effects financial markets, tech company privacy invasions, health insurance companies, and maybe even terrorists (this one's more questionable) have on the lives of average people has greatly expanded as well. People are dependent on financial markets for retirement, dependent on tech companies for information & communications, dependent on health insurance for medical care, etc. As more and more mundane daily activities are converted from non-commercial to commercial interactions (what they call "the service economy"), dependence on intermediary firms that facilitate these things necessarily increases. As dependence increases, the matters necessarily become politicized. At least I think that's how it goes.

Polish_Silver
01-26-19, 04:15 PM
Well, they're from UC Berkeley, iirc. Definitely among the left-most campuses in the US. But far from among the most expensive. Tuition's like $14k per year. Average student loan debt there for graduating seniors is under $20k. In this day and age, not bad for a top-25 university.

But most of the cost is born by taxpayers. I'll bet if you add that, it is not that much less expensive the private colleges.

Both health care and education in this country need a serious overhaul .


Colleges in canada are 1/4 the price of USA.

Polish_Silver
01-26-19, 04:20 PM
It's interesting, because if you spin it around a little, the influence of the private side of those things would never have been accepted in the past either. .

Right. It's the sacrifice of individual liberty to state and corporate interests.
Like the mandatory health insurance. Both the ridiculous cost
and the mandatory private sector participation are equally unacceptable to libertarians and socialists.

The fact that the country is not even discussing, let alone solving this problem , really scares me.

dcarrigg
01-26-19, 05:02 PM
But most of the cost is born by taxpayers. I'll bet if you add that, it is not that much less expensive the private colleges.

Both health care and education in this country need a serious overhaul .


Colleges in canada are 1/4 the price of USA.

You're not wrong. It's something of a shell game. Canada is still cheaper. But even the private colleges tend to charge international students about double what they charge Canadians. With the Ivies etc. in the US they tend to redistribute so kids with poorer parents might pay nothing while others might pay a lot. Either can still be a good deal, or can be terrible. Depends on how you game it.

The thing is, it's not like Canadian universities generally pay professors a lot less up there or have much larger class sizes. It's all in ancillary stuff and administration. In the US, the assistant basketball coach of a team you've never heard might be pulling in a cool million per year, and the assistant vice deputy dean for technology transfer initiatives might be pulling in $200k. The people actually teaching the kids probably are adjuncts and technically "independent contrators" earning $3k per class with no benefits. But the administrators and coaches are in the meetings with the presidents when the budgets are being made, and the professors are not. So whatever they think's important flies. Not totally different than a corporate board meeting or a fancy DC fundraiser. Most surefire way to move up in heavily administrative systems is to get yourself in the rooms where decisions are made. Most surefire way to move down is to be excluded from them.

Polish_Silver
01-27-19, 10:25 AM
You're not wrong. . . .The people actually teaching the kids probably are adjuncts and technically "independent contrators" earning $3k per class with no benefits. But the administrators and coaches are in the meetings with the presidents when the budgets are being made, and the professors are not ....

I was recently coming through the Wilton (https://www.wiltonps.org/departments/financial-planning-and-operations)school district budget, and it has all the traits you describe.

Salaries are about 60% of total cost, but classroom teacher salaries are less than 1/3 of the total cost.
(it seems like they should be at least 70% of total cost)

So a kindergarten class costs $600k to run (I am not making this up) and I don't think the teacher gets anywhere
near $200k/year.

I would like to see a budget from 50 years ago to compare the bites taken by the same line items.

dcarrigg
01-27-19, 11:46 AM
Lol, how many man-hours do you think went into designing that budget infographic (https://www.wiltonps.org/uploaded/02_Departments/Finance/2018-2019_Infographic_4.25.2018.pdf)? Gotta figure at least one accountant, one graphic designer, one assistant, and a couple meetings with top officials and executive assistants.

Glanced briefly at the 2016 line. 3.5 million for administrators, 3 million for clerical workers, and another 8 million for "other" who don't fit in the teachers, aides, custodial, instructional, nurse, therapists, coaches, or substitutes lines. Another million for reading interventionists, who afaik are pretty much just there to hassle teachers and mess with their lesson plans. Another million in overtime, which teachers don't get. Another 2.5 million for contracted professional services, which I'm assuming is where the lunch ladies are. A million to transfer special education out of the district. I'd guess another 5 million in fringe to these folks.

And there you have it. Not counting any teachers, janitors, coaches, counselors, supplies, operational costs, or capital costs, you've got $25m in annual expenses. More than what all the teachers cost combined. Mostly for things like making infographics or pushing paper.

jk
01-27-19, 12:36 PM
don't know what a reading interventionist does in a classy district like wilton, but i have a patient who has that kind of position in an inner city school. he earns his money pulling the most difficult kids [both behavioral and educationally] out of class and working with them in small groups. whether it's successful with the kids he works with i don't know. otoh, i would think that getting those kids out of the classroom lets the teachers run their lessons much more smoothly, for the benefit of the other kids.

dcarrigg
01-27-19, 01:05 PM
Oh, interesting. I'm friends with a local teacher the next town over (far from inner-city environment), who often describes work. IIRC, she described them as basically office workers interjecting mandated busy-work into curricula rather than folks working directly with students. But this is also a high school. So maybe it's different at lower grade levels.

Still, part of me has to wonder if you couldn't reduce the non-teacher staff by 50% and increase the teacher staff by 50% and get better outcomes through smaller class sizes and whatnot. There'd be enough left over to fund a significant teacher raise too.

vt
01-27-19, 01:23 PM
Do we need to liquidate the Kulaks?

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/elizabeth-warren-tax-plan-is-asset-forfeiture/

dcarrigg
01-27-19, 01:35 PM
I think this is hyperbolic. It's not like this kind of tax is unheard of in the capitalist world. Italy has one (higher on foreign assets than domestic assets), the Netherlands has one, Spain has one, France had one until Marcon just ditched it, Norway has one, Iceland has one, Argentina has one, it's not a totally radical thing. These are countries that still have home grown billionaires despite it.

I think there might be a legitimate argument to be made that it's unconstitutional, either on Article 1 or 5th Amendment grounds or both, and no doubt it would face a legal challenge as such, which is why I don't think it has happened in the US. But a 2% wealth tax on assets over $x million is not Stalinism. In fact, millions of Americans pay more than that on the asset value of our cars (2.5% in MA, for example).

jk
01-27-19, 04:19 PM
related re high income tax rates.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1089463716133916672

---------------------

just read a piece on the wealth tax proposal that supposedly is being created- has she actually proposed any such thing? if so, i must have missed it. please let me know.

anyway the piece suggested it would be 2% on wealth over $50million. [i wish i were among those who would be affected.] just thought people might want to know some specifics [theoretical in the absence of an actual proposal].

Ellen Z
01-28-19, 02:55 AM
---------------------

just read a piece on the wealth tax proposal that supposedly is being created- has she actually proposed any such thing? if so, i must have missed it. please let me know.



60 Minutes interview, youngest-ever Representative, relates to marginal tax rates:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ocasio-cortez-suggests-individual-tax-rates-as-high-as-70-2019-01-04

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-wants-to-raise-taxes-on-the-rich-and-americans-agree/

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/01/alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-proposed-70-top-income-tax-rate.html

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/poll-large-majority-backs-aocs-70-top-marginal-tax-rate.html

Chris Coles
01-28-19, 05:44 AM
Lol, how many man-hours do you think went into designing that budget infographic (https://www.wiltonps.org/uploaded/02_Departments/Finance/2018-2019_Infographic_4.25.2018.pdf)? Gotta figure at least one accountant, one graphic designer, one assistant, and a couple meetings with top officials and executive assistants.

Glanced briefly at the 2016 line. 3.5 million for administrators, 3 million for clerical workers, and another 8 million for "other" who don't fit in the teachers, aides, custodial, instructional, nurse, therapists, coaches, or substitutes lines. Another million for reading interventionists, who afaik are pretty much just there to hassle teachers and mess with their lesson plans. Another million in overtime, which teachers don't get. Another 2.5 million for contracted professional services, which I'm assuming is where the lunch ladies are. A million to transfer special education out of the district. I'd guess another 5 million in fringe to these folks.

And there you have it. Not counting any teachers, janitors, coaches, counselors, supplies, operational costs, or capital costs, you've got $25m in annual expenses. More than what all the teachers cost combined. Mostly for things like making infographics or pushing paper.

We have the same effects here in the UK, except that as I see it, all of these problems, (for want of another word to describe them), entirely stem from an economic concept called GDP, Gross Domestic Product; where the driver of the concept is not the economics profession; it is the underlying failure of central government administrations to generate sufficient tax income from what we might have once described as ordinary employment.

An analogy might be to develop drugs to give a better performance; in this case, somewhere down the line, someone came up with the idea that you can increase the dynamic of an economy by adding boosters to the underlying costs. In a classic small business, doing this sort of thing would herald a short run into bankruptcy; but when the "sales income" stems from government coffers, (as all education once did), then the more you can add to the gross income of the organisation, by adding high value costs, the greater the overall economic output of the full economy.

Here in the UK we have a classic example, the National Health Service, NHS, which is now stuffed with management that has blown the overall cost of running the NHS to the point where it is becoming impossible to fund. Every year we get a new crisis of insufficient funding.

Now look at the massive over borrowing of governments throughout the Western economies; all of it driven by the same imperative; GDP.

The constant drive to increase GDP drives the subsequent increases in such costs, themselves driven by the assumption that the only way to increase the tax income from the overall economy is to incorporate the drive to increase GDP. A classic circular imperative; need more income; increase incentives to increase GDP.

Only now, the whole thing is completely out of control and the eventual need to bring the whole edifice to a dead stop, will result in desperate times for the majority.

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 10:34 AM
We have the same effects here in the UK, except that as I see it, all of these problems, (for want of another word to describe them), entirely stem from an economic concept called GDP, Gross Domestic Product; where the driver of the concept is not the economics profession; it is the underlying failure of central government administrations to generate sufficient tax income from what we might have once described as ordinary employment.

An analogy might be to develop drugs to give a better performance; in this case, somewhere down the line, someone came up with the idea that you can increase the dynamic of an economy by adding boosters to the underlying costs. In a classic small business, doing this sort of thing would herald a short run into bankruptcy; but when the "sales income" stems from government coffers, (as all education once did), then the more you can add to the gross income of the organisation, by adding high value costs, the greater the overall economic output of the full economy.

Here in the UK we have a classic example, the National Health Service, NHS, which is now stuffed with management that has blown the overall cost of running the NHS to the point where it is becoming impossible to fund. Every year we get a new crisis of insufficient funding.

Now look at the massive over borrowing of governments throughout the Western economies; all of it driven by the same imperative; GDP.

The constant drive to increase GDP drives the subsequent increases in such costs, themselves driven by the assumption that the only way to increase the tax income from the overall economy is to incorporate the drive to increase GDP. A classic circular imperative; need more income; increase incentives to increase GDP.

Only now, the whole thing is completely out of control and the eventual need to bring the whole edifice to a dead stop, will result in desperate times for the majority.

Yeah, I think you're onto something with this idea for the US too. It's not just the random desire to use GDP as a political yardstick. It's actually part of the policy rule-kit now. Congressional Budget Office scoring that's mandated for certain bills and certain Senate maneuvers to drop voting thresholds from 60 to 50+ votes are hitched to GDP measures. So the system for passing legislation is hard wired to GDP in that way. The there are the additional rules, like paygo, that Congress imposes upon itself that combine with the GDP scoring to actually prevent them from ever doing anything transformative that really makes a big impact on GDP. So they can't take up bills that would spend enough to really jam the growth lever up to 6% like back in the 1960s or something. But they also can't do anything that CBO projections say would lower it off the 2% growth baseline too much. And of course, this was not true just a short decades ago. But now every 10 year period pretty much has to average between 1 and 3% GDP growth, or you're violating one rule or another in Congress. This is also partly why they've had such a damned horrific time actually passing serious infrastructure bills, even if both Obama and Trump say they wanted it.

But even on a second level, it occurs that if you're measuring GDP so carefully, and you have free trade agreements designed to ship all the manufacturing jobs overseas to lower-labor-cost jurisdictions, and you simultaneously have an international myth that manufacturing isn't important anymore and the developed world has moved beyond it into a new historical era called the 'service economy,' then you desperately have to find ways to get things that were happening anyways onto the books to keep up the figures. So you make work. Not only with the Graeber style Bullshit Jobs thing. But by commercializing parts of life that were not commercialized before. As I was going on before, rent a room to a stranger on AirBnB and use the money to hire a home health care aide, and you're creating a lot of GDP. Have a friend move in for free who also helps out around the house as a friend, and you're creating zero GDP. The same amount of work is being done either way. But one generates a ton of tax revenue and official statistical economic activity. The other generates none of that, but creates a real human bond between people who actually care about each other instead. So everything must be bent towards incentivizing the first arrangment and discouraging the latter. This is a big reason why Putnam found all the stuff in Bowling Alone that he found, I think. "The service economy" is really just the commercialization of previously non-commercial human interactions. It's the "marketization" of life. Manufacturing hasn't become any less important. The economy hasn't moved beyond it. Try getting through a day without any manufactured goods. It's just where manufacturing is done and what people are paid to do it has changed dramatically. So in lieu of these types of jobs, as you say, we've got to convolute and commercialize things.

And this has further implications too--notice how, on this side of the pond at least, the corporate rates and the share of total revenue generated by corporate taxation is way, way down. The top marginal rates too and the share generated by the top 0.1% is way, way down too. Just compared to 5 years ago it's down. Compared to 15 more so. Compared to 30 even more so, etc. Since Reagan, and I'm guessing since Thatcher over there. And this isn't even considering the tax revenue lost to offshoring. Imagine if iPhones were manufactured in Los Angeles instead of in Shenzhen. That'd be what? 350,000 jobs? Even at LA minimum wage, it'd be $25,000 per year per job, assuming they only pay 5% income tax on that (an unlikely low number, but possible), that's about $4.5 billion in annual tax revenue. At a minimum. If everyone made the lowest legal wage and paid the lowest tax share they could. That's not counting state taxes. That's not counting the Social Security Trust Fund payroll taxes. It's not counting Medicare contributions for 65+ healthcare. That would all add up to much more. $25 billion per year wouldn't be out of the question when it's all said and done. Of course, with a company as big as Apple, that's what? 9% of their revenue or something? So that sounds about right for back of the envelope guesswork to me, since it'd clearly force a significant price increase for the knick knacks and doo dads. But when you add it all up, it's a whole lot of tax revenue lost. Government gives up a ton of revenue by allowing extremely low corporate tax rates and top marginal rates in conjunction with frictionless offshoring of manufacturing jobs. If they don't change laws to promote "the service economy" and promote commercializing previously non-commercial activity, and if them and the private sector don't engage in make-work schemes full of infographics and grant competitions, etc, then how the hell else would anything work? If you were focused on GDP, it certainly wouldn't.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FAmr1la6w0

jk
01-28-19, 12:52 PM
60 Minutes interview, youngest-ever Representative, relates to marginal tax rates:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ocasio-cortez-suggests-individual-tax-rates-as-high-as-70-2019-01-04

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-wants-to-raise-taxes-on-the-rich-and-americans-agree/

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/01/alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-proposed-70-top-income-tax-rate.html

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/poll-large-majority-backs-aocs-70-top-marginal-tax-rate.html

as far as i can tell, these articles are about raising the marginal rates of the INCOME tax. i didn't see [perhaps overlooked?] any reference to a WEALTH tax [like a national property tax but on all wealth, not just on real estate].

jk
01-28-19, 12:58 PM
Imagine if iPhones were manufactured in Los Angeles instead of in Shenzhen. That'd be what? 350,000 jobs? Even at LA minimum wage, it'd be $25,000 per year per job, assuming they only pay 5% income tax on that (an unlikely low number, but possible), that's about $4.5 billion in annual tax revenue. At a minimum. If everyone made the lowest legal wage and paid the lowest tax share they could. That's not counting state taxes. That's not counting the Social Security Trust Fund payroll taxes. It's not counting Medicare contributions for 65+ healthcare. That would all add up to much more. $25 billion per year wouldn't be out of the question when it's all said and done. Of course, with a company as big as Apple, that's what? 9% of their revenue or something? So that sounds about right for back of the envelope guesswork to me, since it'd clearly force a significant price increase for the knick knacks and doo dads. But when you add it all up, it's a whole lot of tax revenue lost. Government gives up a ton of revenue by allowing extremely low corporate tax rates and top marginal rates in conjunction with frictionless offshoring of manufacturing jobs. If they don't change laws to promote "the service economy" and promote commercializing previously non-commercial activity, and if them and the private sector don't engage in make-work schemes full of infographics and grant competitions, etc, then how the hell else would anything work? If you were focused on GDP, it certainly wouldn't.

what do you figure would be the price on an iphone manufactured in los angeles? then go back and lower all those numbers, because they couldn't sell anything like the volume they sell now.

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 01:10 PM
what do you figure would be the price on an iphone manufactured in los angeles? then go back and lower all those numbers, because they couldn't sell anything like the volume they sell now.

I'm not so sure. Presumably a couple of things could happen. Could be much higher domestic demand for labor leads to higher domestic wages. Higher domestic wages could lead to greater domestic consumer demand. And/or an overall shift in expenses that makes iPhones and laptops and jeans and t-shirts more expensive could put downward pressure on rents and housing expenses. The combined effect could simply be significantly higher overall domestic growth. It doesn't necessarily have to be zero sum.

But that's neither here nor there. I mean, this isn't a forward-looking proposition. I'm not advocating for it, and I realize it's not happening. The point was simply to illustrate how policy has manufactured the need to look for growth and revenue elsewhere. Typically in places like finance, insurance, meds, eds, rents, fees, IP, and real estate.

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 01:56 PM
Here's another way to think about it:

US median one bedroom rent's around $1,100 per month now. When the iPhone came out 12 years ago, it was about $900. Back in 1990 it was about $800. All adjusted for inflation to today's money. Macbook goes for about one month's rent today. Went for about $1,300 adjusted for inflation 12 years ago, closer to 6 weeks' rent. 1990 powerbook took you back $4,000, or 5 months' rent. All the while, median wages have been more or less flat. A pair of Levis cost $50 in 1990. 2 days' rent. They retail for $30 now. Maybe 18 hours' rent? You could probably make them with slave labor and cut quality back some and sell them for $20 to drop it to 12 hours' rent or something. But we're getting pretty near the end of the runway.

As it is now you owe your landlord like 40 pairs of jeans per month or 12 macbooks per year just to live in a squalid one-room hovel. Not so very long ago, used to be you only owed them 15 pairs of jeans per month or 2 powerbooks per year to live in the same place.

Say you were going to get dropped into a society, the high rent and low consumer good one, or the low rent and high consumer good one, which would you choose?

shiny!
01-28-19, 02:25 PM
Neither the left or right will prevail. A centrist fiscal conservative, social liberal will defeat the left and right that run both parties now.

Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, might be your guy. He was on 60 Minutes last night (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/howard-schultz-starbucks-ceo-considering-independent-run-for-president-60-minutes/), saying he was seriously considering a run as a "Centrist Independent" with ties to neither party. His net worth is over $ 3 billion, so he could bankroll his own campaign like Trump did.

On the fiscally conservative side, he's concerned about the national debt and said that while everyone needs affordable healthcare, the Democrat proposals of "free healthcare for everyone" is fiscally impossible. On the socially liberal side, he seems to be in favor of unrestricted immigration, for starters.

Interesting times, indeed.

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 02:35 PM
Gotta be honest, Shiny, this post just filled me with existential dread as I imagined the possibility 2020 could be a battle of the billionaires between Bloomberg, Shultz, and Trump or something. Just the three richest candidates in history, none of whom have ever had the foggiest idea within an order of magnitude what a gallon of milk or a bottle of laundry detergent cost.

geodrome
01-28-19, 03:15 PM
as far as i can tell, these articles are about raising the marginal rates of the INCOME tax. i didn't see [perhaps overlooked?] any reference to a WEALTH tax [like a national property tax but on all wealth, not just on real estate].

Straight from the horse's mouth:

"The ultra-rich have rigged our economy & rigged our tax rules. We need structural change. That’s why I’m proposing something brand-new: An annual wealth tax on the tippy-top 0.1%. We’d get $3 trillion in new revenue to invest in rebuilding the middle-class. Let’s make it happen."

https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1088622462470946817/video/1

shiny!
01-28-19, 04:11 PM
Gotta be honest, Shiny, this post just filled me with existential dread as I imagined the possibility 2020 could be a battle of the billionaires between Bloomberg, Shultz, and Trump or something. Just the three richest candidates in history, none of whom have ever had the foggiest idea within an order of magnitude what a gallon of milk or a bottle of laundry detergent cost.

I hope I didn't give you the impression that I was supporting Schultz, because I don't. To be fair though, I don't think that any of the politicians who might throw their hat into the ring have an inkling of those things, either. Aside from perhaps A-O-C, when was the last time that ANY politician from either side had to live on an average worker's wages?

jk
01-28-19, 04:28 PM
Straight from the horse's mouth:

"The ultra-rich have rigged our economy & rigged our tax rules. We need structural change. That’s why I’m proposing something brand-new: An annual wealth tax on the tippy-top 0.1%. We’d get $3 trillion in new revenue to invest in rebuilding the middle-class. Let’s make it happen."

https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1088622462470946817/video/1

yep, there it is. thanks for finding it.
looking for the cumulative wealth of the top 0.1%. the top TWENTY INDIVIDUALS had, in 2017, wealth equal to a trillion dollars. to be in the top 0.1% you need a minimum net worth of $43million. as a group, the top 0.1% own 22% of ALL the wealth in this country. [not sure about how their international holdings are counted, or if that statistic means 22% of all the wealth owned by u.s. citizens].

so here's another factoid:
The financial position of the United States includes assets of at least $269.6 trillion (1576% of GDP) and debts of $145.8 trillion (852% of GDP) to produce a net worth of at least $123.8 trillion (723% of GDP) as of Q1 2014.


so let's estimate that the top 0.1% are worth around $25trillion. [remember, just the top 20 individuals are worth a trillion. and that's a 2014 number, and we know what asset prices have done since then.] so if warren is looking for $3 trillion is that per year, or over 10 years? [these kinds of statements are often a 10year number.] if it's over 10 years we're talking about a little over a 1% tax if assets were at the 2014 level. the tax would be significantly lower based on 2019 values.

it's hard to call a property tax of less than 1% confiscatory.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-28-19, 04:50 PM
...it's hard to call a property tax of less than 1% confiscatory.

It's not hard at all.
You start by calling all taxes theft. Then convince millions of wage earners that such a tax would destroy the economy and throw them out of work.
Repeat it endlessly and millions of people come to believe it is true.
It has worked like a charm for 30 years and counting.

Chris Coles
01-28-19, 05:04 PM
It's not hard at all.
You start by calling all taxes theft. Then convince millions of wage earners that such a tax would destroy the economy and throw them out of work.
Repeat it endlessly and millions of people come to believe it is true.
It has worked like a charm for 30 years and counting.

Spot on!

jk
01-28-19, 05:04 PM
It's not hard at all.
You start by calling all taxes theft. Then convince millions of wage earners that such a tax would destroy the economy and throw them out of work.
Repeat it endlessly and millions of people come to believe it is true.
It has worked like a charm for 30 years and counting.

of course you're correct. otoh, if you say you're going to spend the $3 trillion on e.g. infrastructure people know you'll be creating a lot of jobs.

Chris Coles
01-28-19, 05:14 PM
yep, there it is. thanks for finding it.
looking for the cumulative wealth of the top 0.1%. the top TWENTY INDIVIDUALS had, in 2017, wealth equal to a trillion dollars. to be in the top 0.1% you need a minimum net worth of $43million. as a group, the top 0.1% own 22% of ALL the wealth in this country. [not sure about how their international holdings are counted, or if that statistic means 22% of all the wealth owned by u.s. citizens].

so here's another factoid:
The financial position of the United States includes assets of at least $269.6 trillion (1576% of GDP) and debts of $145.8 trillion (852% of GDP) to produce a net worth of at least $123.8 trillion (723% of GDP) as of Q1 2014.


so let's estimate that the top 0.1% are worth around $25trillion. [remember, just the top 20 individuals are worth a trillion. and that's a 2014 number, and we know what asset prices have done since then.] so if warren is looking for $3 trillion is that per year, or over 10 years? [these kinds of statements are often a 10year number.] if it's over 10 years we're talking about a little over a 1% tax if assets were at the 2014 level. the tax would be significantly lower based on 2019 values.

it's hard to call a property tax of less than 1% confiscatory.

But now you really come to the central issue. My view is that 50 years ago the majority of base, grass roots investment, into the entire industrial base of the Western economies, (not just the US), came from the excess funds held by the successful; that first stage investment into all those millions of tiny start up businesses, came from the concept that it was a duty of those holding spare cash; to invest into their nation.

Not a sign of anything like that today. Now, everyone wants to be in on the very best chance of adding to that wealth; with no consideration of the long term effects upon the base of the economy.

Here in the UK there is a historical record from the 19th century of the investors in a tunnel under the Thames river in London, having a dinner party in the tunnel; they were not anyone we might today call the .1%; they were just people that invested. Again, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was built with funds raised from investors. Not hedge funds, not venture capitalists, no bank in sight; just small investors.

When we describe the .1% no one takes account of the lost investment.

Chris Coles
01-28-19, 05:20 PM
Yeah, I think you're onto something with this idea for the US too. It's not just the random desire to use GDP as a political yardstick. It's actually part of the policy rule-kit now. Congressional Budget Office scoring that's mandated for certain bills and certain Senate maneuvers to drop voting thresholds from 60 to 50+ votes are hitched to GDP measures. So the system for passing legislation is hard wired to GDP in that way. The there are the additional rules, like paygo, that Congress imposes upon itself that combine with the GDP scoring to actually prevent them from ever doing anything transformative that really makes a big impact on GDP. So they can't take up bills that would spend enough to really jam the growth lever up to 6% like back in the 1960s or something. But they also can't do anything that CBO projections say would lower it off the 2% growth baseline too much. And of course, this was not true just a short decades ago. But now every 10 year period pretty much has to average between 1 and 3% GDP growth, or you're violating one rule or another in Congress. This is also partly why they've had such a damned horrific time actually passing serious infrastructure bills, even if both Obama and Trump say they wanted it.

But even on a second level, it occurs that if you're measuring GDP so carefully, and you have free trade agreements designed to ship all the manufacturing jobs overseas to lower-labor-cost jurisdictions, and you simultaneously have an international myth that manufacturing isn't important anymore and the developed world has moved beyond it into a new historical era called the 'service economy,' then you desperately have to find ways to get things that were happening anyways onto the books to keep up the figures. So you make work. Not only with the Graeber style Bullshit Jobs thing. But by commercializing parts of life that were not commercialized before. As I was going on before, rent a room to a stranger on AirBnB and use the money to hire a home health care aide, and you're creating a lot of GDP. Have a friend move in for free who also helps out around the house as a friend, and you're creating zero GDP. The same amount of work is being done either way. But one generates a ton of tax revenue and official statistical economic activity. The other generates none of that, but creates a real human bond between people who actually care about each other instead. So everything must be bent towards incentivizing the first arrangment and discouraging the latter. This is a big reason why Putnam found all the stuff in Bowling Alone that he found, I think. "The service economy" is really just the commercialization of previously non-commercial human interactions. It's the "marketization" of life. Manufacturing hasn't become any less important. The economy hasn't moved beyond it. Try getting through a day without any manufactured goods. It's just where manufacturing is done and what people are paid to do it has changed dramatically. So in lieu of these types of jobs, as you say, we've got to convolute and commercialize things.

And this has further implications too--notice how, on this side of the pond at least, the corporate rates and the share of total revenue generated by corporate taxation is way, way down. The top marginal rates too and the share generated by the top 0.1% is way, way down too. Just compared to 5 years ago it's down. Compared to 15 more so. Compared to 30 even more so, etc. Since Reagan, and I'm guessing since Thatcher over there. And this isn't even considering the tax revenue lost to offshoring. Imagine if iPhones were manufactured in Los Angeles instead of in Shenzhen. That'd be what? 350,000 jobs? Even at LA minimum wage, it'd be $25,000 per year per job, assuming they only pay 5% income tax on that (an unlikely low number, but possible), that's about $4.5 billion in annual tax revenue. At a minimum. If everyone made the lowest legal wage and paid the lowest tax share they could. That's not counting state taxes. That's not counting the Social Security Trust Fund payroll taxes. It's not counting Medicare contributions for 65+ healthcare. That would all add up to much more. $25 billion per year wouldn't be out of the question when it's all said and done. Of course, with a company as big as Apple, that's what? 9% of their revenue or something? So that sounds about right for back of the envelope guesswork to me, since it'd clearly force a significant price increase for the knick knacks and doo dads. But when you add it all up, it's a whole lot of tax revenue lost. Government gives up a ton of revenue by allowing extremely low corporate tax rates and top marginal rates in conjunction with frictionless offshoring of manufacturing jobs. If they don't change laws to promote "the service economy" and promote commercializing previously non-commercial activity, and if them and the private sector don't engage in make-work schemes full of infographics and grant competitions, etc, then how the hell else would anything work? If you were focused on GDP, it certainly wouldn't.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FAmr1la6w0

And we all know what happened to Robert Kennedy.....

Again, I will argue that you may not be accurate when describing minimum wages; these boosts to GDP here in the UK involve as many as possible high level wage earners being added to the likes of the NHS. Indeed, you yourself described high cost wage earners in schools.

Apart from that, yes, we are on the same page; the drive to increase GDP is the primer of choice for any increase in economic output. Too much of a supposedly good thing will, inevitable, come back to haunt all of us.

And then I remembered how Henry Ford paid all his workers high wages so they could afford to buy his cars. We are turning full circle.

jk
01-28-19, 05:22 PM
But now you really come to the central issue. My view is that 50 years ago the majority of base, grass roots investment, into the entire industrial base of the Western economies, (not just the US), came from the excess funds held by the successful; that first stage investment into all those millions of tiny start up businesses, came from the concept that it was a duty of those holding spare cash; to invest into their nation.

Not a sign of anything like that today. Now, everyone wants to be in on the very best chance of adding to that wealth; with no consideration of the long term effects upon the base of the economy.

Here in the UK there is a historical record from the 19th century of the investors in a tunnel under the Thames river in London, having a dinner party in the tunnel; they were not anyone we might today call the .1%; they were just people that invested. Again, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was built with funds raised from investors. Not hedge funds, not venture capitalists, no bank in sight; just small investors.

When we describe the .1% no one takes account of the lost investment.

with slack demand no one wants to build capacity. the trillion dollar tax cut, mostly for corporations, has spurred NO increase in capital spending and NO increase in wages. it all went into stock buybacks to goose executive bonuses and make the wealthy wealthier.

so excess funds just go sloshing around the financial markets and mostly don't make it into the real economy at all.

jk
01-28-19, 05:50 PM
here's a little info re eliz warren's proposal:
The plan, which would impose an annual 2 percent wealth tax on fortunes greater than $50 million and a 3 percent tax on ones greater than $1 billion,

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 06:03 PM
Oh, no, I didn't get that impression. It's just what popped in my head.

Morgasbord
01-28-19, 07:28 PM
ok, candidates talking about national debt. the deficit. oh noes! I alluded to it earlier, maybe it should be a separate thread, but can we talk about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)? I've drank of the koolaid, and now all talk of national debt makes my eyes roll.

Federal debt. Who is it owed to? how is it paid? what are federal taxes for?

This article goes into the thinking driving Bernie and AOC's views on spending, and the progressive caucus are correspondingly getting increasingly annoyed with the centrist camp of paygo rules and narrative framing of the federal deficit.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/22/behind-the-money-curtain-a-left-take-on-taxes-spending-and-modern-monetary-theory/

Why, exactly, can we not deficit spend to marshall real resources to provide medicare for all, and re-tool our infrastructure, but we can spend on the military just fine? Deficit spending only matters in as much as it leads to inflation in the sector you are spending in, at least according to MMT. Republicans seem to get this, but keep it on the down low.

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 08:00 PM
I haven't drunk the koolaid, and I still say ditch paygo and fund a healthcare system that doesn't suck. Debt might cause real constraints down the road. But I refuse to believe that it's possible to have a public healthcare system more wasteful and inefficient and with worse outcomes than we have in the US today. And paygo is just stupid for Democrats without a corresponding Republican 'cutgo.' Seems baldly on the face stupid to me that one side has a rule against spending without raising revenue while the other side doesn't have a corresponding rule about cutting revenue without cutting spending. Why kneecap your own party like that?

You don't have to believe a damned thing about MMT to think that 1) America has the most expensive, worst designed, and least moral healthcare system in the developed world, or that, 2) the Democrats are strategically handicapping themselves by self-imposing paygo. In fact, I'd suggest that both of these things are plainly true to anybody examining the evidence, regardless of proclivities toward one economic theory or another.

(PS the thing called 'cutgo' where they pledge to cut mandatory spending for increases in discretionary is not what I'm talking about, that's just robbing grandma to pay boeing)

Morgasbord
01-28-19, 08:04 PM
The truly maddening thing is universal health care would be SO GOOD for business owners, large and small.

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 08:31 PM
On every level. Not having to pay huge money. Not having to waste time with open enrollment every year. Not having to waste time with insurance salesmen. Not having employees so scared of deductibles they wait too long for treatment and miss work. All the trillions in wasted overhead and admin costs. It's not like the big boys don't realize this; they have employees in other countries. But still they're dead set against it, and they've geared up the US chamber to make Medicare for All public enemy number 1. I think the real fear is personal, not business. Even if it would be better for business, the idea of not having preferential access is the real fear that keeps the fight alive. Shit like concierge medicine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concierge_medicine), and this (https://www.nbclosangeles.com/investigations/Not-Fair-Insiders-Say-Hospitals-Favor-Rich-and-Famous-421689663.html). The prospect of losing that horrifies them. My friends who are nurses in Boston have told some amazing stories about the stops that get pulled out for Mid East princelings. Like special treatment an order of magnitude better than this (https://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2015/11/24/boston-hospitals-luxury-rooms-amenities/). But mis-triaging like that is only possible in a very corrupt and broken system that has no ethical foundation.

vt
01-28-19, 08:41 PM
I agree with JK that the best use would be to rebuild the infrastructure.

That's would create a lot of high paying jobs and be a real boost for the middle class.

Plus if we don't fix crumbling water and sewer systems, bridges, and other critical parts of the infrastructure the bill will be much higher later.

dcarrigg
01-28-19, 08:44 PM
Yeah, this is an interesting one where you have more or less broad bipartisan agreement, and yet they cannot seem to get it done.

jk
01-28-19, 10:14 PM
we're already spending a ton of money on less than world-class care. we don't need to spend more than we're spending, we need to spend it smarter. so there's no extra spending needed. it's just a question of how the money goes 'round. the reason business owners oppose universal healthcare is that they figure it means they're going to have to pay higher taxes. but the reality is it makes u.s. businesses more competitive. a canadian company doesn't have to worry about funding its healthcare. a u.s. company does. there is no problem in paying for universal healthcare, the only problem is how to distribute the pain of paying for it.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-29-19, 08:47 AM
we're already spending a ton of money on less than world-class care. we don't need to spend more than we're spending, we need to spend it smarter. so there's no extra spending needed. it's just a question of how the money goes 'round. the reason business owners oppose universal healthcare is that they figure it means they're going to have to pay higher taxes. but the reality is it makes u.s. businesses more competitive. a canadian company doesn't have to worry about funding its healthcare. a u.s. company does. there is no problem in paying for universal healthcare, the only problem is how to distribute the pain of paying for it.

I spoke at length with a gent from Canada who owns a construction company. He loves their national healthcare for two practical reasons. First, he spends zero time and effort on health insurance for his employees. Second, he does not worry his employees will be hired away by competitors due to differences in health plans. He cold not say enough good things about the whole system, both as a business owner and as an individual healthcare consumer.

As to US healthcare costs, we are dancing around the central issue, unwilling to speak it directly. To get costs down, lots of people in the healthcare industry need to be fired, and many others need a pay cut. Who's pay will we cut, and who will we fire? If we don't do that costs will stay high. In other nations they've zeroed out all costs and profits for health insurance companies, and for the clerks working insurance paperwork on the provider side. That's a big slice of the pie chart that stays in the customer's pocket.

jk
01-29-19, 08:59 AM
I spoke at length with a gent from Canada who owns a construction company. He loves their national healthcare for two practical reasons. First, he spends zero time and effort on health insurance for his employees. Second, he does not worry his employees will be hired away by competitors due to differences in health plans. He cold not say enough good things about the whole system, both as a business owner and as an individual healthcare consumer.

As to US healthcare costs, we are dancing around the central issue, unwilling to speak it directly. To get costs down, lots of people in the healthcare industry need to be fired, and many others need a pay cut. Who's pay will we cut, and who will we fire? If we don't do that costs will stay high. In other nations they've zeroed out all costs and profits for health insurance companies, and for the clerks working insurance paperwork on the provider side. That's a big slice of the pie chart that stays in the customer's pocket.
i believe the affordable care act said that medical losses [i.e. actual spending on medical care] couldn't be less than 80% of premiums collected. so the remaining 20% includes admin costs, profits, exec bonuses, etc. otoh, medicare iirc has admin costs around 2%. that's a lot of savings. further, if we repeal the provision of medicare part d which forbids medicare from negotiating drug prices, there can be major savings.

so the immediate losers are health insurance execs, health insurance staff in general, and the stockholders and to some degree execs of big pharma. some other big pharma staff might be cut- drug reps? some of the bogus research brand extension personnel?

in general, between 18% savings on the admin costs and savings on drug costs i have little doubt you can save 30% immediately.

then, too, medicare fees for docs are distinctly lower than private insurance fees. docs will take a hit, but otoh they won't have to hire as many back office staff to make sure the insurance companies pay them properly, so their overhead will go down. this will represent further system-wide savings, say 10% immediately. so now we've healthcare spending down 40% and we've just started and further, haven't changed any of the services being delivered.

these are just first thoughts off the top of my head.

dcarrigg
01-29-19, 09:36 AM
I spoke at length with a gent from Canada who owns a construction company. He loves their national healthcare for two practical reasons. First, he spends zero time and effort on health insurance for his employees. Second, he does not worry his employees will be hired away by competitors due to differences in health plans. He cold not say enough good things about the whole system, both as a business owner and as an individual healthcare consumer.

As to US healthcare costs, we are dancing around the central issue, unwilling to speak it directly. To get costs down, lots of people in the healthcare industry need to be fired, and many others need a pay cut. Who's pay will we cut, and who will we fire? If we don't do that costs will stay high. In other nations they've zeroed out all costs and profits for health insurance companies, and for the clerks working insurance paperwork on the provider side. That's a big slice of the pie chart that stays in the customer's pocket.

Sure. But wouldn't anything they do be more productive and more moral than making a living doing busy work just for the sake of gouging the sick?

I mean, nobody feels bad for electronics assemblers whose jobs get automated. Hell, people gleefully threaten fast food workers picketing for a higher wage with automation. But I'm supposed to care that the local Blue Cross marketing executive might no longer make half a million per year at a non-profit by jacking up my deductibles?

If we're going to have make-work schemes, wouldn't it be better to just use tax money to pay them to dig a hole and fill it in again rather than have them extract their wages from cancer patients under duress?

thriftyandboringinohio
01-29-19, 10:40 AM
...nobody feels bad for electronics assemblers whose jobs get automated. Hell, people gleefully threaten fast food workers picketing for a higher wage with automation. But I'm supposed to care that the local Blue Cross marketing executive might no longer make half a million per year at a non-profit by jacking up my deductibles?...

You misunderstand me. The US seems to be going to great lengths to keep them rolling in the dough, and it may be time to stop. When the topic comes up we invariably hear from our conservative friends how the magical forces of the free market can somehow make healthcare cheaper and better if we would just give the insurance companies everything they want - selling polices across state lines with no regulation, and increased ability to sell entirely worthless polices for half the price of real insurance. There is no place in the world now where a fully private, for-profit health insurance system delivers excellent care for most people at a low price.

dcarrigg
01-29-19, 10:49 AM
Wasn't meant to be argumentative. Just pointing out that I think you're right. It's a make-work scheme. For every manufacturing job lost the US has gained a healthcare job. Lots are in marketing and billing and other nonsense that only exists because we've overcomplicated things and abstracted too far away from the plain truth: That there's functionally a monopoly of geography with most healthcare needs, and a layer of competition about who gets to middleman the price structure at that monopoly point isn't going to create real competition in care delivery. Nobody's shopping around from the back of an ambulance. Nobody's getting to make the call to wait for an in-network anesthesiologist for their emergency surgery. All the wild layers of private incentives and competition in the world aren't going to change the facts on the ground.

I mean, think about it this way: As a nation we're blowing hundreds of billions advertising and marketing schemes for various healthcare products and services in an attempt to boost sales. At the same time, we're also blowing hundreds of billions on copays and deductibles expressly designed to dis-incentivize overconsumption of healthcare products and services. I'd literally rather give Trump triple the money he wants for his wall just to adorn the goddamned thing in gold leaf than continue this charade. America will survive without 700 commercials per day telling you to ask your doctor about Xarelto, or $12,000 deductibles for spending a couple hours in the ER.

DSpencer
01-29-19, 12:27 PM
Straight from the horse's mouth:

"The ultra-rich have rigged our economy & rigged our tax rules. We need structural change. That’s why I’m proposing something brand-new: An annual wealth tax on the tippy-top 0.1%. We’d get $3 trillion in new revenue to invest in rebuilding the middle-class. Let’s make it happen."

https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1088622462470946817/video/1

So in the example from her video the heir who has $500,000,000 is making $50,000 per year? I suppose it's possible, but not very likely.

How is it determined how much money a person has? Do they have to pay for a yearly appraisal of all their "yachts and jewelry and fine arts"?

I do appreciate that this at least uses the .1% instead of the standard "1%". Many people in the 1% are still essentially wage-earners, albeit high income ones. A doctor or lawyer making $500k with a few million net worth is doing great, but not really comparable to someone worth $50 million, let alone $500 million. I think it was a mistake to vilify the 1% as if they were a homogenous group of hedge fund managers and fortune 500 CEOs.

dcarrigg
01-29-19, 01:05 PM
I'm not 100% sure the details of this particular plan. But it seems to me the IRS already does some form of this assessment, at least for estate taxes. I suppose the process would have to be streamlined somewhat to do it annually for a larger group of people. I imagine whatever they came up with would look like a somewhat simplified version of Form 706 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f706.pdf). I figure if you're over the $50 million threshold, you probably have a pretty good CPA who's capable of figuring all this stuff out anyways. You pretty much have to be somewhat on top of it if you're bequeathing over $11 million as it stands now.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-29-19, 01:34 PM
...How is it determined how much money a person has? Do they have to pay for a yearly appraisal of all their "yachts and jewelry and fine arts"?...

That an extraordinarily good question. At first glance it seems impossible. Maybe a total of account balances for a person could be reported by banks and brokerages, but even that gets dicey for the shifting values of stocks and bonds. Real estate, fine collectibles, trust balances -fuhgetaboutit.

Chris Coles
01-29-19, 02:05 PM
As to US healthcare costs, we are dancing around the central issue, unwilling to speak it directly. To get costs down, lots of people in the healthcare industry need to be fired, and many others need a pay cut. Who's pay will we cut, and who will we fire? If we don't do that costs will stay high. In other nations they've zeroed out all costs and profits for health insurance companies, and for the clerks working insurance paperwork on the provider side. That's a big slice of the pie chart that stays in the customer's pocket.

Then surely, the answer to the overall problem ought to be entirely solved through the simple mechanism of good old fashioned competition? It is the lack of competition from competitive investment that lies at the heart of your healthcare problem. Nothing to do with the existing system, simply the lack of the ability to effectively compete.!

DSpencer
01-29-19, 02:48 PM
ok, candidates talking about national debt. the deficit. oh noes! I alluded to it earlier, maybe it should be a separate thread, but can we talk about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)? I've drank of the koolaid, and now all talk of national debt makes my eyes roll.

Federal debt. Who is it owed to? how is it paid? what are federal taxes for?

This article goes into the thinking driving Bernie and AOC's views on spending, and the progressive caucus are correspondingly getting increasingly annoyed with the centrist camp of paygo rules and narrative framing of the federal deficit.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/22/behind-the-money-curtain-a-left-take-on-taxes-spending-and-modern-monetary-theory/

Why, exactly, can we not deficit spend to marshall real resources to provide medicare for all, and re-tool our infrastructure, but we can spend on the military just fine? Deficit spending only matters in as much as it leads to inflation in the sector you are spending in, at least according to MMT. Republicans seem to get this, but keep it on the down low.

You won't get any argument from me that we spend too much on the military, but that's somewhat beside the point as it relates to MMT. The problem with MMT is the connection between deficit spending and "real resources".

Reading your comment and that link, my sense is that inflation is seen as some kind of minor pitfall that's easily avoided as opposed to the obvious and existential threat that it is. Once you realize that the seemingly magical ability to pay for anything in any amount promised by MMT is constrained by the necessity of managing inflation, there's really nothing much left to get excited about. The question of the legitimacy of the Fed is a good one, but that's really a separate question from: "can't we just print the money to fund national healthcare"?

In the end, the seemingly profound revelations of MMT are already known by anyone who has a rough understanding of the monetary system. Yes, the government can create money. However, the government cannot create gasoline, bread, housing, medical services, etc. in the same way as numbers in a computer. Once you realize that is what actually needs to be created for the utopian vision to succeed, the fantasy dies.

It's not like this hasn't been tried. History is littered with horror stories of hyperinflation. Venezuela is imploding right before our very eyes.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-46999668

DSpencer
01-29-19, 02:51 PM
That an extraordinarily good question. At first glance it seems impossible. Maybe a total of account balances for a person could be reported by banks and brokerages, but even that gets dicey for the shifting values of stocks and bonds. Real estate, fine collectibles, trust balances -fuhgetaboutit.

It's not impossible, but it makes me question whether this is really the best approach to achieve the desired goal. It certainly seems like it would be very expensive and create a huge incentive for hard to discover fraud.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-29-19, 03:01 PM
Then surely, the answer to the overall problem ought to be entirely solved through the simple mechanism of good old fashioned competition? It is the lack of competition from competitive investment that lies at the heart of your healthcare problem. Nothing to do with the existing system, simply the lack of the ability to effectively compete.!

It's awfully hard to compare two or three health insurance policies. People like me just cannot understand all the details and jargon, plus we don't know what future medical services we might need. I could save money with a plan that omits coverage for dialysis, but what happens if I buy that one and then my kidneys fail? Every company tries to make it's skimpy low quality product look as good as the super deluxe premium product. With a toaster I can understand and see the differences. Not so much for the coverage limits on organ transplants and the related therapies to avoid rejection.
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Slimprofits
01-29-19, 03:20 PM
http://www.itulip.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5893&stc=1

CNN and MSNBC LOVE Kamala Harris

Kamala is the candidate of choice for the the "establishment Dems."

Her line to win the nomination on Bovada has dropped from +450 to +400.

They also have Beto at +400. Beto has no chance, IMO.

The Dems have made it clear that they are the party of women and people of color.

They won't be nominating Beto, Biden or Bernie or Howard Schultz or any other white guys for quite some time.

dcarrigg
01-29-19, 03:59 PM
It's not impossible, but it makes me question whether this is really the best approach to achieve the desired goal. It certainly seems like it would be very expensive and create a huge incentive for hard to discover fraud.

Do you guys not have personal property appraisals in Ohio? It's pretty typical in New England for all personal property to be taxed, except a short list of what's exempted. Here are the Mass rules (https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2017/09/26/personalpropertyfaq.pdf). Between the IRS calculating net worth for estate taxes and the states and towns assessing personal property values for property taxes, it seems like it shouldn't be all that expensive or difficult to me. Whether it's the best approach might be debated. But it's not like the feds couldn't ask the states and munis for the data even if they just wanted to spot audit. If it's already happening in California and the northeast, it has to already cover a bunch of spots the $50M+ crowd tends to keep fancy homes, no?

jk
01-29-19, 05:24 PM
That an extraordinarily good question. At first glance it seems impossible. Maybe a total of account balances for a person could be reported by banks and brokerages, but even that gets dicey for the shifting values of stocks and bonds. Real estate, fine collectibles, trust balances -fuhgetaboutit.
rmd's from ira's are based on the balances in e.g. brokerage accounts on 12/31 of each prior year. not hard.
real estate- the town i live in doesn't seem to have a problem putting a value on my house and charging property tax based on that value
fine collectibles are usually insured, and the insurance company and purchaser must see eye to eye on the values in the policies.
trust balances are no different than any other balances. the question is who is the beneficiary and what is their income
and worth.

re fraud- in the [unlikely i think] even that warren becomes president and the [even more unlikely] event she can pass a wealth tax, my hunch is that she will fund the irs at much higher levels, and audits will become more frequent for big money earners and holders.

Chris Coles
01-29-19, 10:40 PM
It's awfully hard to compare two or three health insurance policies. People like me just cannot understand all the details and jargon, plus we don't know what future medical services we might need. I could save money with a plan that omits coverage for dialysis, but what happens if I buy that one and then my kidneys fail? Every company tries to make it's skimpy low quality product look as good as the super deluxe premium product. With a toaster I can understand and see the differences. Not so much for the coverage limits on organ transplants and the related therapies to avoid rejection.
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I did not make myself clear, in competition, I was not describing competition within the existing system, I meant competition by a completely new health system. You will see what I mean when I make my next post.

Chris Coles
01-29-19, 10:45 PM
Let a UK citizen take the plunge and ask the simplest question; what platform needs to be set out to define the long term responsibilities for the next President of the United States? It is of no use whatever to try and define the person, without first setting out the challenges that must be addressed; for without the acceptance of the challenges, how do you define the attributes for the individual that has the ability to address them? You first need to change the heading from The Next President, to, The Long Term Responsibilities for the Next President.

As I see it, the overriding problem takes history right back to the end of WW2, where the economy was still in top gear, industrially, manufacturing weapons. At the highest level, no one could conceive of an successful economy that would replace that success. So the decision was taken to continue. That from then onwards, the economy of the United States was driven by war. War at any cost; War in any and every circumstance. The result is that today, you have an armed services greater than the combined resources of China and Russia. And what is today driving Trump forward? Someone has put into his head the idea of starting another proxy war with Russia in Venezuela. Yes, here in the UK we have clear history of success, when Maggie Thatcher went to war against Argentina, so history is about to repeat itself. But that forces the question; the nation is arguably bankrupt; you simply do not have the funds to continue without at some point in the very near future, facing the need to accept that you are in a dead end. So as I see it, the primary question any next President has to face is; how do we bring the Ship of State back to where we were before WW2?

You need to elect someone with the moral courage to close down Langley, and return that set of buildings back to farmland, and at the same moment, close down the more than 1,000 Lillipads; world wide groups, who have been set into place to disrupt any and every nation that has had the temerity to stand up and say No! - as a clear demonstration to the rest of the planet of the intention to act in the interest of the rest of the planet. That is not to become weak; that is to once again to become strong. In the real world, strength is not about who has the biggest gun; it is all about who has the moral courage to accept the need to change direction and lead. Leadership of the Free World demands that primary aiming point. Period!

Next challenge is to face your entire population with the need to work together; to put aside party and accept that the two party system has taken the nation to the edge of bankruptcy, both financially and morally. That they should set to to create a government of national unity; where every candidate has to accept the duty to bring about change. You challenge the people to stand up to be counted; to create that government of national unity, you must have new faces. So you need to place an absolute limit on funding. From now onwards, all candidates must be limited in their campaign spending. Fix a sum, and make it law; everyone on exactly the same basic spending and importantly; all such funding has to come from the government. They have to bring a stop to the idea that external funding has control of the Congress. From that point onwards; no other source of funds can be accepted. They have to close access to Congress by corporate funding. Then they have to close the good old revolving door, between the administration and corporate employment.

The United States must renew its commitment to national institutions that serve the people; not the corporations.

Then they have to show the courage to do what anyone, indeed, everyone; has to when in business and the funds run out; they have to officially declare the nation financially bankrupt. They have to close the funding spigot to everything involved with a bankrupt government.

That will precipitate a series of decisions that must be made.

The long term decision to remove ~ 2% of the economic capacity of the nation, the inflation target of the Federal Reserve, has resulted in a vast sum held by the Federal Reserve, more than $2T. I have already set out how that can be used to create millions of new start up businesses in RecapGRE.

Then they must create a completely new set of National Health institutions. My suggestion is that Dr. Joseph Mercola would be commanded to set about teaching the nation to Take Control of their Health. That in turn will bring about the closure of all the existing health related national institutions; which in turn, creates the momentum to start the long term process of the government of the United States bringing back into government the full responsibility for the health of the people. Mercola has made a career of showing those of us, World Wide; how to care for ourselves without drugs and by eating the right things to promote a healthy diet. So, why not now teach the whole nation?

Finally, whether the United States likes to hear this or not; you do not have a credible system of law. Instead, what you have is politically controlled law, and that applies right throughout the process of law within the United States; from the local sheriff right up to the Supreme Court. Make all political appointments illegal. Require the law professionals to determine the law and whom to appoint to deliver the law. Here in the United Kingdom, the full process of the law is entirely detached from any political interference; the next president must bring the same changes to the law in the United States. Yes, that will mean the closure of the supreme court and the complete renewal of the structure of the law throughout the nation; but this time completely driven by the legal profession; completely removed from any political interference. You have to accept that the last appointment to your supreme court completely destroyed the reputation of law in the United States.

Those decisions; to close down Langley, to create a Government of National Unity, Declare the nation bankrupt, Create millions of new small businesses, to Completely change the nature of the health of the nation and the complete renewal of the law as a profession, will in turn cause a shock wave of change throughout every level of the now morally and intellectually bankrupt national institutions.

The aim will be to bring back respect for the needs of the people; rather than the needs of either corporate interests or morally and intellectually bankrupt national institutions.

Now; who is your candidate?
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DSpencer
01-30-19, 09:49 AM
Do you guys not have personal property appraisals in Ohio? It's pretty typical in New England for all personal property to be taxed, except a short list of what's exempted. Here are the Mass rules (https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2017/09/26/personalpropertyfaq.pdf). Between the IRS calculating net worth for estate taxes and the states and towns assessing personal property values for property taxes, it seems like it shouldn't be all that expensive or difficult to me. Whether it's the best approach might be debated. But it's not like the feds couldn't ask the states and munis for the data even if they just wanted to spot audit. If it's already happening in California and the northeast, it has to already cover a bunch of spots the $50M+ crowd tends to keep fancy homes, no?

Nope. It sounds like a bureaucratic pain. From skimming the Mass. rules you linked, it sounds like jewelry and fine art would be exempt assuming it's at your primary residence. Maybe even a yacht is exempt because it's taxed elsewhere?

I just don't think it makes any sense to tax people in a million different ways that each require their own accounting and enforcement systems. It seems to be based on some false sense of precision that we know exactly what the effects are and we have to fine tune the tax code to achieve our perfect vision of society.

jk
01-30-19, 09:57 AM
Nope. It sounds like a bureaucratic pain. From skimming the Mass. rules you linked, it sounds like jewelry and fine art would be exempt assuming it's at your primary residence. Maybe even a yacht is exempt because it's taxed elsewhere?

I just don't think it makes any sense to tax people in a million different ways that each require their own accounting and enforcement systems. It seems to be based on some false sense of precision that we know exactly what the effects are and we have to fine tune the tax code to achieve our perfect vision of society.

no, it's just another way for gov'ts to raise money.

dcarrigg
01-30-19, 12:02 PM
Nope. It sounds like a bureaucratic pain. From skimming the Mass. rules you linked, it sounds like jewelry and fine art would be exempt assuming it's at your primary residence. Maybe even a yacht is exempt because it's taxed elsewhere?

I just don't think it makes any sense to tax people in a million different ways that each require their own accounting and enforcement systems. It seems to be based on some false sense of precision that we know exactly what the effects are and we have to fine tune the tax code to achieve our perfect vision of society.

Weird.

The yacht thing is different. Mass does tax them, but as vehicles, which are subject to higher rates. Rhode Island, trying to keep the blue blood Newport thing alive, exempts them from tax, but taxes a shitty 20 year old Toyota at 3 times the rate than MA. John Kerry got caught stashing his yacht in Rhode Island trying to avoid the taxes a few years back. Of course, most of the mega-rich yachts in Newport Harbor are flying Caymans flags anyways. I still say we take one of those old WWII aircraft carriers that sat in moth balls just up the harbor forever and send them down there. Watch how fast the bank secrecy and yacht registry files suddenly stop being secrets.

Anyways, I'm surprised you guys don't have it. But I looked it up and I guess 8 states don't, mostly in the mid-atlantic or midwest. Today I learned something.

DSpencer
01-30-19, 12:41 PM
no, it's just another way for gov'ts to raise money.

If raising money is the only consideration it is vastly simpler to raise the income tax from X to Y instead of creating an entirely new system of taxation.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-30-19, 01:51 PM
Let a UK citizen take the plunge and ask the simplest question...

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Chris I finally found a few moments to read your post carefully. Your central points are unarguable.
Sadly, changes as sweeping as those take generations to accomplish. I like the term "boiling the ocean".
I prefer to look at the first small step.

jk
01-30-19, 02:11 PM
If raising money is the only consideration it is vastly simpler to raise the income tax from X to Y instead of creating an entirely new system of taxation.

income tax taxes income. wealth/property tax taxes wealth. those 2 things may be very different and one doesn't substitute for the other. a very wealthy person, e.g., might generate very high income solely from tax-free bonds. this takes a lot of wealth.

also they have different political valences.

geodrome
01-30-19, 03:07 PM
How about a flat fee from every citizen? Say $4000 a year ;_TU

geodrome
01-30-19, 03:49 PM
You misunderstand me. The US seems to be going to great lengths to keep them rolling in the dough, and it may be time to stop. When the topic comes up we invariably hear from our conservative friends how the magical forces of the free market can somehow make healthcare cheaper and better if we would just give the insurance companies everything they want - selling polices across state lines with no regulation, and increased ability to sell entirely worthless polices for half the price of real insurance. There is no place in the world now where a fully private, for-profit health insurance system delivers excellent care for most people at a low price.

Untold millions are spent by the insurance industry lobby to make sure those barriers to selling health care insurance across state lines stay in place. Industry loves regulation!

thriftyandboringinohio
01-30-19, 04:04 PM
How about a flat fee from every citizen? Say $4000 a year ;_TU

geodrome, that flat tax idea comes around every once in a while, and it is indeed attractive at first glance. It's pretty easy to find information about progressive taxes and the relative burdens on rich versus poor, I assume a smart person like you is aware of it, no need to go over that stuff here.

What might be worth mentioning is how a person in the top 1% uses far more government services than a low paid wage earner.
If a person owns a business requiring heavy trucks, they tear up highways much faster than Joe six pack. Rich people who own private aircraft use those small county airports, your waiter doesn't ever set foot on them. The Coast Guard spends millions to provide off shore rescue services to people who own ocean going boats and yachts; the garbage man doesn't have a boat. A person who owns three homes gets protection from three different police departments.

When you think it through, rich folks just use more government services than a family of four with the median income of $60,000.
A flat tax is hard to justify for that reason alone.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-30-19, 04:07 PM
Untold millions are spent by the insurance industry lobby to make sure those barriers to selling health care insurance across state lines stay in place. Industry loves regulation!


Never thought of it that way. Your turf and my turf.

geodrome
01-30-19, 04:21 PM
When you think it through, rich folks just use more government services than a family of four with the median income of $60,000.
A flat tax is hard to justify for that reason alone.

My proposal was mostly tongue-in-cheek. But to address your point... Any system of taxation results in a net tax-payer class and a net tax-receiver class resulting in mutual plunder among citizens.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-30-19, 04:50 PM
My proposal was mostly tongue-in-cheek. But to address your point... Any system of taxation results in a net tax-payer class and a net tax-receiver class resulting in mutual plunder among citizens.


LOL! That may be a good catchphrase, harking back to James Carville:

"It's the plunder, Stupid!"

shiny!
01-30-19, 07:29 PM
I agree with JK that the best use would be to rebuild the infrastructure.

That's would create a lot of high paying jobs and be a real boost for the middle class.

Plus if we don't fix crumbling water and sewer systems, bridges, and other critical parts of the infrastructure the bill will be much higher later.

Usually when pols talk about infrastructure projects, they're talking about roads and bridges. But the electrical grid needs a lot of work. Most of all, I'd like to see a national committment (like Eisenhower's interstate highway system) to re-vamping our public water infrastructure so that water coming out of the tap is really clean.

Remember the old days when public water fountains were commonplace and people actually used them? Now everyone drinks bottled water without even thinking about it. We have charities handing plastic bottled water to homeless people in the heat of the summer, either because the water fountains aren't there anymore or because even the poorest of the poor are reluctant to drink from them.

If we could spend $$ on improving our public water supply, we could all but eliminate plastic bottled water. Think of the environmental and financial impact that would have. I'm surprised no one has picked this up as a major campaign issue.

Chris Coles
01-31-19, 03:46 AM
Chris I finally found a few moments to read your post carefully. Your central points are unarguable.
Sadly, changes as sweeping as those take generations to accomplish. I like the term "boiling the ocean".
I prefer to look at the first small step.

Someone has to define the long term aiming points; if you do not have a map of where you are going, the chances of arrival are very slim indeed. Again, by making a point of defining what is wrong, from that point onwards, the people involved also have a recognition that they cannot continue without accepting the ongoing consequences. As I see it, my post WAS that first small step.

DSpencer
01-31-19, 11:48 AM
Usually when pols talk about infrastructure projects, they're talking about roads and bridges. But the electrical grid needs a lot of work. Most of all, I'd like to see a national committment (like Eisenhower's interstate highway system) to re-vamping our public water infrastructure so that water coming out of the tap is really clean.

Remember the old days when public water fountains were commonplace and people actually used them? Now everyone drinks bottled water without even thinking about it. We have charities handing plastic bottled water to homeless people in the heat of the summer, either because the water fountains aren't there anymore or because even the poorest of the poor are reluctant to drink from them.

If we could spend $$ on improving our public water supply, we could all but eliminate plastic bottled water. Think of the environmental and financial impact that would have. I'm surprised no one has picked this up as a major campaign issue.

Practical issues do not get people whipped into a frenzy like the divisive politics that dominate the discussion. Who cares about clean water? Which public bathrooms people can use is a much more important issue...

DSpencer
01-31-19, 12:53 PM
income tax taxes income. wealth/property tax taxes wealth. those 2 things may be very different and one doesn't substitute for the other. a very wealthy person, e.g., might generate very high income solely from tax-free bonds. this takes a lot of wealth.

also they have different political valences.

I understand what you're saying. But what is the goal in progressive taxation? Do we really object to people earning too much money or having too much money? If it's the latter, then why not just get rid of the income tax and only tax wealth? Or stop offering tax-free bonds and categorize all income the same so that if you earn returns on your wealth they are all taxed. Or tax spending through a higher sales tax.

I just have a hard time believing that achieving a specific tax goal for society requires having a small tax on basically everything.

The tax code is just insane. Here's a little anecdote:

My company had a sales tax audit a few years ago. One of the findings was that our vendor for coffee and tea wasn't collecting sales tax. Strangely, in Ohio at least, even though the vendor is required to collect the sales tax, it's still the customer who owes it if it's not collected. So they had to go back through our invoices to determine what we owed. Sounds simple enough, but not quite that simple.

Food isn't taxed in Ohio. Well, it is taxed if you dine-in at a restaurant, but carry-out and grocery is not taxed. So why do we owe taxes? Aren't coffee and tea considered food? Yes, they are! But...only sometimes. Bottled/canned coffee, without milk (or milk substitute), is not food. But if you add milk, now it is food. But a CUP of coffee IS food, even without milk. Unless, it's artificially sweetened, then it's not food. Unless it also contains milk, then it is food.

You can serve a customer a cup of coffee and it's not taxable. You can provide them with sugar and it's still not taxable. If you add the sugar for them, now you've created a soft drink which is always taxable. If you then add some milk, you've turned the soft drink back into food and it's no longer taxable.

So they had to go through every invoice, line by line, to determine whether 10 pods of hazelnut or whatever contained sweetener and/or milk and then assess the tax accordingly.

I'd love to hear the precise social purpose achieved by taxing those who drink their coffee with sugar, but not those who drink it black or those who drink it with cream and sugar. I'd also like to understand how long I could survive drinking only a "food" such as black coffee vs a "non-food" such as a juice drink containing less than 50% juice.

thriftyandboringinohio
01-31-19, 01:21 PM
...I'd love to hear the precise social purpose achieved by taxing those who drink their coffee with sugar, but not those who drink it black or those who drink it with cream and sugar. I'd also like to understand how long I could survive drinking only a "food" such as black coffee vs a "non-food" such as a juice drink containing less than 50% juice.

Those distinctions have a historical basis. When sales taxes were first introduced, food was not taxed. Over the years skirmishes broke out, with tax authorities claiming candy bars or soda pop are not basic food, but M&M Mars and Coca Cola saying they are indeed. So we end up with page after page of distinctions between taxable food and tax exempt food, each one the result of a tax code skirmish. The same skirmishes break out over what a poor person can buy with their food stamps. People scream if they see someone buying a steak or some shrimp with food stamps.

dcarrigg
01-31-19, 01:41 PM
Those distinctions have a historical basis. When sales taxes were first introduced, food was not taxed. Over the years skirmishes broke out, with tax authorities claiming candy bars or soda pop are not basic food, but M&M Mars and Coca Cola saying they are indeed. So we end up with page after page of distinctions between taxable food and tax exempt food, each one the result of a tax code skirmish. The same skirmishes break out over what a poor person can buy with their food stamps. People scream if they see someone buying a steak or some shrimp with food stamps.

More than that, especially with states, everybody wants to tax "the other guy." Lots of places where "in state" tolls are $0.50, out of state are $4.00 or something, based on the address of a transponder. The whole idea of hotel and 'prepared meal' tax is that you're getting people from out of state to pay it. Same idea as the border stores and the all the rest. Since this type of thing is almost always popular, it flies through. People don't just scream if they see someone buying steak with food stamps. They scream at the idea that eating outside the home is ever necessary at all. Crank up the gambling revenue and cigarette excise while you're at it. We must take full advantage of the misery of addiction. They deserve maximum punishment anyways. Slobs. Sinners. Idiots. We must do everything we can to make them more miserable. The beatings will continue until morale improves. Would anyone like another corporate tax cut? How about a few billion on us? You want Kelo's little pink house? Nothing's good enough for our virtuous overlords. Nothing's bad enough for their wretched underlings. Calvinism reconstructed is wonderful. All the freedom of 5-points wealth worship, none of the responsibility of creating a shining city on a hill.

dcarrigg
01-31-19, 01:57 PM
Practical issues do not get people whipped into a frenzy like the divisive politics that dominate the discussion. Who cares about clean water? Which public bathrooms people can use is a much more important issue...

The problem is last-mile. City can do more damage by ripping out lead pipes and updating infrastructure. Housing pipes that connect to the street mains in old neighborhoods are often lead. If the house is owned by broke people, they can't afford to redo that part. And two different metals together = battery = much worse lead leeching. Worse? Landlords have zero incentive to upgrade the pipes. They don't drink the water. Why blow thousands to make it clean?

This problem is pervasive. It's a problem for EV adoption. It's a problem for solar adoption. It's a problem for even basic insulation and efficiency. It's a problem for any updating of residential infrastructure whatsoever. 100 years ago, government sent guys around, and they did real work on real properties to update them, electrify them, connect them to water and sewer systems, etc. Now government only offers tax incentives. If we did electrification in the USA like we're doing 21st century stuff, a good chunk of the country still would be living in the dark. The last mile's always hard. But it's impossible to do with just markets and tax incentives.

I think it's short-sighted too. For the few extra million short term it'd cost a city to do it, image how much you'd save on the back end social services from the lead poisoning. Ditto on overall electric costs if you just went around insulating everything, especially at peak. It's basic bread and butter stuff. But somebody might get something for free. So it's verboten under neoliberal orthodoxy.

peakishmael
01-31-19, 04:01 PM
My proposal was mostly tongue-in-cheek. But to address your point... Any system of taxation results in a net tax-payer class and a net tax-receiver class resulting in mutual plunder among citizens.

Seems unnecessarily cynical. The point of taxation in general is to enable purchase of public goods, for which we are (as a group) better off. It isn't necessarily zero sum. And as far as I can tell it isn't easy to calculate who the "net receivers" are either. Seems one could argue that the ultra-wealthy benefit far more from both basic infrastructure and the military, for instance, in that their exorbitant incomes might not be possible without those services.

jk
01-31-19, 04:39 PM
I understand what you're saying. But what is the goal in progressive taxation? Do we really object to people earning too much money or having too much money? If it's the latter, then why not just get rid of the income tax and only tax wealth? Or stop offering tax-free bonds and categorize all income the same so that if you earn returns on your wealth they are all taxed. Or tax spending through a higher sales tax.

I just have a hard time believing that achieving a specific tax goal for society requires having a small tax on basically everything.

The tax code is just insane. Here's a little anecdote:

My company had a sales tax audit a few years ago. One of the findings was that our vendor for coffee and tea wasn't collecting sales tax. Strangely, in Ohio at least, even though the vendor is required to collect the sales tax, it's still the customer who owes it if it's not collected. So they had to go back through our invoices to determine what we owed. Sounds simple enough, but not quite that simple.

Food isn't taxed in Ohio. Well, it is taxed if you dine-in at a restaurant, but carry-out and grocery is not taxed. So why do we owe taxes? Aren't coffee and tea considered food? Yes, they are! But...only sometimes. Bottled/canned coffee, without milk (or milk substitute), is not food. But if you add milk, now it is food. But a CUP of coffee IS food, even without milk. Unless, it's artificially sweetened, then it's not food. Unless it also contains milk, then it is food.

You can serve a customer a cup of coffee and it's not taxable. You can provide them with sugar and it's still not taxable. If you add the sugar for them, now you've created a soft drink which is always taxable. If you then add some milk, you've turned the soft drink back into food and it's no longer taxable.

So they had to go through every invoice, line by line, to determine whether 10 pods of hazelnut or whatever contained sweetener and/or milk and then assess the tax accordingly.

I'd love to hear the precise social purpose achieved by taxing those who drink their coffee with sugar, but not those who drink it black or those who drink it with cream and sugar. I'd also like to understand how long I could survive drinking only a "food" such as black coffee vs a "non-food" such as a juice drink containing less than 50% juice.

lol. loved the anecdote.

amused but disheartened by the idea of state employees spending hours going through your invoices to make these penny level determinations.

dcarrigg
01-31-19, 05:01 PM
Not to mention property law. How many times have IP rights or the dead hand of trust limits been extended? I think Florida's up to 360 years now the living must suffer the will of the dead. Was what? 21 years not so long ago? Then count every single property crime on the books and all the police-work to enforce them, right down to loitering and trespassing. Then count all the people who work to survey, plot and deed land for people like John Malone or Ted Turner who own more of it than several of the smaller 50 states, who undoubtably bought the majority of it sight unseen. It's not possible for one person to amass billions worth of property, never-mind allow their children to inherit it, without an army of soldiers, police, judges, and bureaucrats on the ground to stop other people from using it or taking it. Imagine "owning" a non-contiguous area of land the size of Delaware or Connecticut. You gonna keep trespassers out yourself? Is it possible to even have a clue what you own at that point? I mean, someone who contracts for someone who works for someone who works for the owner might have a clue, maybe. But we're a long way away from yeomanry here. We're talking 10 times bigger than the Queen's Crown Estate in the UK. And I fully expect to see someone with 10 times that within a decade or two. Just an area the size of New York state "belonging" to one man. It's only a natural outcome of accelerating inequality. Especially if property law is considered absolute and there aren't methods to decay and recycle ownership so others might use things. We're already at 6 generation trusts and 4 generation IP and massive landholder property tax exemptions as common stuff. Soon we'll be closer to one man owning everything than everyone having an equal share. Might have already passed it. And there are no signs of slowing down.

Land is a zero sum game. Power is a zero sum game. Don't think the founding fathers established a republican form of government in the USA just so that tens of millions could live in one-room apartments, cramped by 1790s standards, and other men could have 10 times the UK landholdings of King George, areas bigger than several of the constituent states of the union. Top 100 all but certainly own land bigger than all New England combined now. And it's getting worse every year. Does anyone think continuing down that path ends well?

globaleconomicollaps
01-31-19, 07:05 PM
Not to mention property law. How many times have IP rights or the dead hand of trust limits been extended? I think Florida's up to 360 years now the living must suffer the will of the dead. Was what? 21 years not so long ago? Then count every single property crime on the books and all the police-work to enforce them, right down to loitering and trespassing. Then count all the people who work to survey, plot and deed land for people like John Malone or Ted Turner who own more of it than several of the smaller 50 states, who undoubtedly bought the majority of it sight unseen. It's not possible for one person to amass billions worth of property, never-mind allow their children to inherit it, without an army of soldiers, police, judges, and bureaucrats on the ground to stop other people from using it or taking it. Imagine "owning" a non-contiguous area of land the size of Delaware or Connecticut. You gonna keep trespassers out yourself? Is it possible to even have a clue what you own at that point? I mean, someone who contracts for someone who works for someone who works for the owner might have a clue, maybe. But we're a long way away from yeomanry here. We're talking 10 times bigger than the Queen's Crown Estate in the UK. And I fully expect to see someone with 10 times that within a decade or two. Just an area the size of New York state "belonging" to one man. It's only a natural outcome of accelerating inequality. Especially if property law is considered absolute and there aren't methods to decay and recycle ownership so others might use things. We're already at 6 generation trusts and 4 generation IP and massive landholder property tax exemptions as common stuff. Soon we'll be closer to one man owning everything than everyone having an equal share. Might have already passed it. And there are no signs of slowing down.

Land is a zero sum game. Power is a zero sum game. Don't think the founding fathers established a republican form of government in the USA just so that tens of millions could live in one-room apartments, cramped by 1790s standards, and other men could have 10 times the UK landholdings of King George, areas bigger than several of the constituent states of the union. Top 100 all but certainly own land bigger than all New England combined now. And it's getting worse every year. Does anyone think continuing down that path ends well?


I've been thinking a lot about wealth redistribution today. I picked up this book (https://www.amazon.fr/Forgive-Them-Their-Debts-Foreclosure/dp/3981826027/) the other day. It makes the case that debt cancellation was the basis of all historic civilizations. What would a debt cancellation look like today? If the debt was government debt then the government could simply declare the debt canceled and no obvious harm would be done to the public or the idea of debts as inviolable obligations. So in the case of student loans in the US. Federal student loans could be canceled. Even rescheduling student loans at current rates of interest would be an enormous improvement in the economy. This is what I think will happen if Trump runs again. Let's compare a high inflation over a short period of about 5 years ( EJ has proposed something similar once). What is the intent here? Are we trying to restore balance to the same level of wealth distribution that existed in ancient Babylon? France before the revolution? The US in 1850? 1950? 2006? What? How likely is this to succeed?

Cancelling federal debt like this doesn't change the balance much. It has a big impact on working class people with student loan debt, but retirees and people living on income from investment would not be affected. Major debt holders like banks would complain but ultimately they too would not be affected. Your typical billionaire wouldn't even notice. They might even welcome the move. The difference between inflation and limited debt cancellation is that inflation would impact banks, pension funds and wealthy individuals. If your intent is to reverse the wealth inequality than this looks like the way to do it. Inflation hits all debt not just student loans. The key here is control of the gold. If any billionaire manages to sequester a few thousand ounces of gold before the high ( note I didn't say hyper) inflation, the entire exercise fails. Debt cancellation by itself or inflation don't suffice. Wealth inequality is systemic.

This issue of wealth inequality has some levels to it. For instance I listened to Russell Napier (https://www.macrovoices.com/podcasts/MacroVoices-2019-01-24-Russell-Napier.mp3) talk about china. He said that china dictates the world inflation rate. He also predicts a much higher rate of inflation soon. This is interesting because India is predicted to surpass China as the most populous country soon. The Indian people collectively hold the largest private stocks of gold. Imagine the poorest people on earth suddenly becoming the richest. Geo-politically do you think that Donald Trump would put up with that? I can see him picking a fight with both India and China.

shiny!
01-31-19, 07:40 PM
The problem is last-mile. City can do more damage by ripping out lead pipes and updating infrastructure. Housing pipes that connect to the street mains in old neighborhoods are often lead. If the house is owned by broke people, they can't afford to redo that part. And two different metals together = battery = much worse lead leeching. Worse? Landlords have zero incentive to upgrade the pipes. They don't drink the water. Why blow thousands to make it clean?

This problem is pervasive. It's a problem for EV adoption. It's a problem for solar adoption. It's a problem for even basic insulation and efficiency. It's a problem for any updating of residential infrastructure whatsoever. 100 years ago, government sent guys around, and they did real work on real properties to update them, electrify them, connect them to water and sewer systems, etc. Now government only offers tax incentives. If we did electrification in the USA like we're doing 21st century stuff, a good chunk of the country still would be living in the dark. The last mile's always hard. But it's impossible to do with just markets and tax incentives.

I think it's short-sighted too. For the few extra million short term it'd cost a city to do it, image how much you'd save on the back end social services from the lead poisoning. Ditto on overall electric costs if you just went around insulating everything, especially at peak. It's basic bread and butter stuff. But somebody might get something for free. So it's verboten under neoliberal orthodoxy.

Depressing, but true, as so much truth is these days.

Just think about all the plastic in landfills and the ocean that could be eliminated if we eliminated 90% of bottled water. Even if the last mile remains a problem, our water treatment plants still need major upgrades. Outdated water systems can't keep up with all the pharmaceutical drugs that are being peed down the toilets. They're in tap water and are effecting wildlife in rivers and streams.
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin/article/prescribing-psychotropic-medication-to-our-rivers-and-estuaries/2520626208FF655882FC9687F7215472

dcarrigg
01-31-19, 07:52 PM
I've been thinking a lot about wealth redistribution today. I picked up this book (https://www.amazon.fr/Forgive-Them-Their-Debts-Foreclosure/dp/3981826027/) the other day. It makes the case that debt cancellation was the basis of all historic civilizations. What would a debt cancellation look like today? If the debt was government debt then the government could simply declare the debt canceled and no obvious harm would be done to the public or the idea of debts as inviolable obligations. So in the case of student loans in the US. Federal student loans could be canceled. Even rescheduling student loans at current rates of interest would be an enormous improvement in the economy. This is what I think will happen if Trump runs again. Let's compare a high inflation over a short period of about 5 years ( EJ has proposed something similar once). What is the intent here? Are we trying to restore balance to the same level of wealth distribution that existed in ancient Babylon? France before the revolution? The US in 1850? 1950? 2006? What? How likely is this to succeed?

Cancelling federal debt like this doesn't change the balance much. It has a big impact on working class people with student loan debt, but retirees and people living on income from investment would not be affected. Major debt holders like banks would complain but ultimately they too would not be affected. Your typical billionaire wouldn't even notice. They might even welcome the move. The difference between inflation and limited debt cancellation is that inflation would impact banks, pension funds and wealthy individuals. If your intent is to reverse the wealth inequality than this looks like the way to do it. Inflation hits all debt not just student loans. The key here is control of the gold. If any billionaire manages to sequester a few thousand ounces of gold before the high ( note I didn't say hyper) inflation, the entire exercise fails. Debt cancellation by itself or inflation don't suffice. Wealth inequality is systemic.

This issue of wealth inequality has some levels to it. For instance I listened to Russell Napier (https://www.macrovoices.com/podcasts/MacroVoices-2019-01-24-Russell-Napier.mp3) talk about china. He said that china dictates the world inflation rate. He also predicts a much higher rate of inflation soon. This is interesting because India is predicted to surpass China as the most populous country soon. The Indian people collectively hold the largest private stocks of gold. Imagine the poorest people on earth suddenly becoming the richest. Geo-politically do you think that Donald Trump would put up with that? I can see him picking a fight with both India and China.

These are all interesting thoughts. What I think is probably needed at any level is a popular re-thinking of what private property is and what purpose it serves. Popular conceptions of it are extremely reactionary now by almost any historical standards. Folks who say "Forgive us our debts" daily in the Lord's Prayer turn around and preach the prosperity gospel and maximum punishment for debtors. When I talk to younger people, the very idea that patents or trademarks should ever expire seems beyond their comprehension. They just figure everything is owned by fictional legal entities in perpetuity. Ditto with inheritance. Like the frog, being slowly boiled, they extended the length of these things piece by piece until nobody alive remembers that six generation trusts and perpetual intellectual property rights are not normal. The ultimate goal is obvious: To allow all property to stay in bloodlines in perpetuity untaxed. It's more feudal than capitalist, really. But when that type of thing seems normal to people, they're even willing to stomach the elimination of bankruptcy protections (see student loans in the US). In that type of environment, is any debt jubilee possible? Even just getting back to the property laws of 20 years ago would be a hell of an accomplishment for 99.99% of Americans.

BK
01-31-19, 08:44 PM
Isn't a debt someone else asset? In a world before mutual funds and etfs I can see a debt Jubilee working. But, how many pension schemes own Sallie Mae Bonds or etc??

What am I missing?

dcarrigg
01-31-19, 08:53 PM
Depressing, but true, as so much truth is these days.

Just think about all the plastic in landfills and the ocean that could be eliminated if we eliminated 90% of bottled water. Even if the last mile remains a problem, our water treatment plants still need major upgrades. Outdated water systems can't keep up with all the pharmaceutical drugs that are being peed down the toilets. They're in tap water and are effecting wildlife in rivers and streams.
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin/article/prescribing-psychotropic-medication-to-our-rivers-and-estuaries/2520626208FF655882FC9687F7215472

It's absolutely true. Other problem is that since existing treatment centers are down the gravity stream, lots of them flood out, and it increases the overall property damage of extreme weather events exponentially, along with tap water disruptions due to fecal coliform contamination. If former 100 year floods start coming at intervals closer to 10, it just compounds the problem. It's not only filtration and treatment methods that have improved either. Old pumps are wildly inefficient and use much more electricity than necessary. I think you're absolutely right that it's another spot where there has been underinvestment. We've set up a system in which there's trillions of dollars to invest in apps and luxury condos and weapons and advanced cruise control systems, but basic infrastructure gets no love.

I like to drive. I've never made it west of Iowa by car (not without flying and renting). But I've made it up and down the eastern seaboard from Nova Scotia to Florida, out through the midwest, everywhere in between. The lack of capital is plainly noticeable. Just looking around at the state of people's roofs and out buildings, the railroad ties holding up rusty bridges, the aging sewer systems still stamped with those letters W.P.A. There are little bubbles of wealth around the whole foods with new luxury condos and McMansions and new infrastructure, but a mile down the road it's decrepit again, and you're lucky to get a price rite or a dollar general, luckier still for walmart. There's still a few places that are in between, clinging to universities or some odd industry that's still there despite some long odds. But even these places are starting to look rougher, and the lack of investment is creeping from the outside in. And it's interesting to me how much of it is obviously political. Took a ferry across Lake Champlain a couple years ago. Vermont side was very posh and up to date. New York side was very...not. Same beautiful landscape, rolling hills and farms. But rotten farmhouses. Bombed out silos. Abandoned schools. Terrible roads full of cracks and holes. Vermont's kind of the opposite on the other side. No money in the northeast part. Very old towns and very old people maybe keep one grocery store and restaurant alive--moldy siding, stop signs faded to white, one corner of a fence still standing, blue tarp on the roof, bars on the windows of the convenience store with broken old gas pumps out front, rusty old railroad bridges--that type of thing. Cross into Quebec and there's investment again. It's not that the land's useless.

dcarrigg
01-31-19, 10:03 PM
Direct federal student loans aren't sally mae, are they? Thought they're the majority and functionally direct loans from feds to students, and feds are the only ones holding the asset.

Chris Coles
02-01-19, 03:44 AM
I understand what you're saying. But what is the goal in progressive taxation? Do we really object to people earning too much money or having too much money? If it's the latter, then why not just get rid of the income tax and only tax wealth? Or stop offering tax-free bonds and categorize all income the same so that if you earn returns on your wealth they are all taxed. Or tax spending through a higher sales tax.

I just have a hard time believing that achieving a specific tax goal for society requires having a small tax on basically everything.

The tax code is just insane. Here's a little anecdote:

My company had a sales tax audit a few years ago. One of the findings was that our vendor for coffee and tea wasn't collecting sales tax. Strangely, in Ohio at least, even though the vendor is required to collect the sales tax, it's still the customer who owes it if it's not collected. So they had to go back through our invoices to determine what we owed. Sounds simple enough, but not quite that simple.

Food isn't taxed in Ohio. Well, it is taxed if you dine-in at a restaurant, but carry-out and grocery is not taxed. So why do we owe taxes? Aren't coffee and tea considered food? Yes, they are! But...only sometimes. Bottled/canned coffee, without milk (or milk substitute), is not food. But if you add milk, now it is food. But a CUP of coffee IS food, even without milk. Unless, it's artificially sweetened, then it's not food. Unless it also contains milk, then it is food.

You can serve a customer a cup of coffee and it's not taxable. You can provide them with sugar and it's still not taxable. If you add the sugar for them, now you've created a soft drink which is always taxable. If you then add some milk, you've turned the soft drink back into food and it's no longer taxable.

So they had to go through every invoice, line by line, to determine whether 10 pods of hazelnut or whatever contained sweetener and/or milk and then assess the tax accordingly.

I'd love to hear the precise social purpose achieved by taxing those who drink their coffee with sugar, but not those who drink it black or those who drink it with cream and sugar. I'd also like to understand how long I could survive drinking only a "food" such as black coffee vs a "non-food" such as a juice drink containing less than 50% juice.

Everything is designed to increase GDP, use any method imaginable to increase the need for debate and or prevarication; this is how you slowly establish bureaucratic feudalism. Here in the UK we have a law called Tree Preservation; today, a bureaucrat walks into your garden, you have no recourse to stop him, and he lists trees for preservation; from that moment you have to ask him for permission to even trim a small branch that has tips on the ground.....

When bureaucrats take control of the law; you lose control of your nation.

Chris Coles
02-01-19, 04:13 AM
It's absolutely true. Other problem is that since existing treatment centers are down the gravity stream, lots of them flood out, and it increases the overall property damage of extreme weather events exponentially, along with tap water disruptions due to fecal coliform contamination. If former 100 year floods start coming at intervals closer to 10, it just compounds the problem. It's not only filtration and treatment methods that have improved either. Old pumps are wildly inefficient and use much more electricity than necessary. I think you're absolutely right that it's another spot where there has been underinvestment. We've set up a system in which there's trillions of dollars to invest in apps and luxury condos and weapons and advanced cruise control systems, but basic infrastructure gets no love.

I like to drive. I've never made it west of Iowa by car (not without flying and renting). But I've made it up and down the eastern seaboard from Nova Scotia to Florida, out through the midwest, everywhere in between. The lack of capital is plainly noticeable. Just looking around at the state of people's roofs and out buildings, the railroad ties holding up rusty bridges, the aging sewer systems still stamped with those letters W.P.A. There are little bubbles of wealth around the whole foods with new luxury condos and McMansions and new infrastructure, but a mile down the road it's decrepit again, and you're lucky to get a price rite or a dollar general, luckier still for walmart. There's still a few places that are in between, clinging to universities or some odd industry that's still there despite some long odds. But even these places are starting to look rougher, and the lack of investment is creeping from the outside in. And it's interesting to me how much of it is obviously political. Took a ferry across Lake Champlain a couple years ago. Vermont side was very posh and up to date. New York side was very...not. Same beautiful landscape, rolling hills and farms. But rotten farmhouses. Bombed out silos. Abandoned schools. Terrible roads full of cracks and holes. Vermont's kind of the opposite on the other side. No money in the northeast part. Very old towns and very old people maybe keep one grocery store and restaurant alive--moldy siding, stop signs faded to white, one corner of a fence still standing, blue tarp on the roof, bars on the windows of the convenience store with broken old gas pumps out front, rusty old railroad bridges--that type of thing. Cross into Quebec and there's investment again. It's not that the land's useless.

Though nothing like as extensive, my travels between Washington DC and New York via railway confirm the same viewpoint; everything in a very poor state of repair. Best was Houston, where a quarter mile from the centre you can find wooden hovels, streets of them. It was, in large part, these experiences that drove my own thinking towards the concept of recapitalisation of the grass roots economy.

dcarrigg
02-01-19, 09:59 AM
Though nothing like as extensive, my travels between Washington DC and New York via railway confirm the same viewpoint; everything in a very poor state of repair. Best was Houston, where a quarter mile from the centre you can find wooden hovels, streets of them. It was, in large part, these experiences that drove my own thinking towards the concept of recapitalisation of the grass roots economy.

Yeah, Chris, I've often thought about your capital spillway idea. The need for it, or something like it, grows more apparent by the day. It does't surprise me that your travels here kicked off some of your thinking. Death, but for the grace of a few federal dollars that keep the roads and post office alive, becomes a good chunk of this country's towns.

The truly terrible thing is that these are some really good places with really affordable homes and that were built in good places with good resources. These are exactly the types of places one might imagine a younger generation locked out of housing markets by high prices might move into and make something out of. The type of place where you can still buy a big old house for $150k or rent a big old storefront on one of the main corners in the neighborhood or town for $200/mo and turn it into something interesting. And lots are built on rail lines or ports or other infrastructure that still exists. Real potential is there.

But capital's so concentrated that these places simply become poor, and it drives demand so low that the main street corner commercial real estate's all empty. What index fund or VC or PE firm or hedge fund or mutual fund ever gave a crap about the smaller companies that made these places? Lots of money funnels into the S&P 500. Much less for the 501st on the list. And so on. More sophisticated players know that, and so the prophecy self-fulfills.

I also got to drive around most of Germany, at least most of the west of the country. It's night and day compared with the US. You may know the country better than I. But they too talk about a rust belt, 'Rhurgebiet.' Maybe one of their most famous rust belt towns is Bochum. They've got their own sad songs about it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gtd9Bg9S85U). But here's the truth that would stand up and smack any American in the face: Bochum looks a lot more like Boston or one of the 'winner cities' in the US than it looks like Cleveland or Buffalo. And Germany's a poorer country overall! They're simply better at structuring their corporate and finance law to promote mid-sized businesses rather than winner-take-all, and generally they spread things out a little more evenly. So their "Rust Belt" looks like a tech hub in the US. I don't know if this holds true in the former East Germany, and I suspect it does not from everything people have told me. Never got to rightfully travel the byways over there.

The real shame of it is there's a lot of potential going untapped in America. But we're so hooked on winner-take-all systems, defending monopolies and duopolies, and prone to believing lies, that as a people we refuse to realize it.

One other thing I noticed about the mid-size towns that are doing relatively okay in the US (at least on the east side of the continental divide), is that they're not only clinging to a university or an industry (often Defense-related), but they all have fought hard to keep most of the national retail and restaurant outlets out of town. Conservative places, liberal places, doesn't rightfully matter. If they successfully fended off the vultures and kept local businesses with local owners maintaining economic activity in the local economy rather than shunt it all down to Bentonville to move some heirs and heiresses a few spots up the Forbes list, they tend to have done better. I'm not sure if it's the chicken or the egg. But I am pretty sure if you give a damn about your town, unless you live in the orbit of a major metro that's teeming with capital anyways, fighting those suckers tooth and nail at the local level is probably a smart move. These places simply weren't designed to handle some absentee executive from 1,500 miles away who has never even heard of the town owning the only grocery store.

GRG's right in that Americans are good at scaling things up. But the method doesn't have to be centrally planned monopoly. At least the McDonalds on the exit ramp might have a local franchisee. People got so used to national branding they've come to accept far off central command and control ownership of local resources.

DSpencer
02-01-19, 11:55 AM
lol. loved the anecdote.

amused but disheartened by the idea of state employees spending hours going through your invoices to make these penny level determinations.

On top of that we had our accountant billing by the hour to sit there with them during the audit. Definitely funny but sad.

In the same way, how are citizens and politicians supposed to meaningfully debate and discuss the tax code when even a single tax is filled with endless minutiae? I'm convinced that we could achieve nearly identical results if we simplified the tax code down to 1/10th the current size.

As mentioned by thrifty, there's all kinds of lobbying potential as well. Who has time to make closing the frappuccino loophole a priority?

DSpencer
02-01-19, 12:31 PM
I've been thinking a lot about wealth redistribution today. I picked up this book (https://www.amazon.fr/Forgive-Them-Their-Debts-Foreclosure/dp/3981826027/) the other day. It makes the case that debt cancellation was the basis of all historic civilizations. What would a debt cancellation look like today? If the debt was government debt then the government could simply declare the debt canceled and no obvious harm would be done to the public or the idea of debts as inviolable obligations. So in the case of student loans in the US. Federal student loans could be canceled. Even rescheduling student loans at current rates of interest would be an enormous improvement in the economy. This is what I think will happen if Trump runs again. Let's compare a high inflation over a short period of about 5 years ( EJ has proposed something similar once). What is the intent here? Are we trying to restore balance to the same level of wealth distribution that existed in ancient Babylon? France before the revolution? The US in 1850? 1950? 2006? What? How likely is this to succeed?

Cancelling federal debt like this doesn't change the balance much. It has a big impact on working class people with student loan debt, but retirees and people living on income from investment would not be affected. Major debt holders like banks would complain but ultimately they too would not be affected. Your typical billionaire wouldn't even notice. They might even welcome the move. The difference between inflation and limited debt cancellation is that inflation would impact banks, pension funds and wealthy individuals. If your intent is to reverse the wealth inequality than this looks like the way to do it. Inflation hits all debt not just student loans. The key here is control of the gold. If any billionaire manages to sequester a few thousand ounces of gold before the high ( note I didn't say hyper) inflation, the entire exercise fails. Debt cancellation by itself or inflation don't suffice. Wealth inequality is systemic.

This issue of wealth inequality has some levels to it. For instance I listened to Russell Napier (https://www.macrovoices.com/podcasts/MacroVoices-2019-01-24-Russell-Napier.mp3) talk about china. He said that china dictates the world inflation rate. He also predicts a much higher rate of inflation soon. This is interesting because India is predicted to surpass China as the most populous country soon. The Indian people collectively hold the largest private stocks of gold. Imagine the poorest people on earth suddenly becoming the richest. Geo-politically do you think that Donald Trump would put up with that? I can see him picking a fight with both India and China.

As always, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Sure, the federal government can cancel debts owed to it, student loan or otherwise. However, that means they have less revenue to pay for things. The MMT crowd will point out that they can simply print the extra money they need to pay for things. That's true, but what is the result? Inflation.

That doesn't necessarily mean that plan doesn't suit your political goals, but it's not true to say that there's no effect of the government cancelling debt. Some people might say that inflation is a good thing. For example, they might look favorably on a plan to send a $100,000 bill to every US citizen. Sure, it would cause massive inflation, but if someone had zero dollars before, they will now have $100,000. Of course it won't be worth as much in terms of purchasing power, but it's better than nothing, right?

It's worth keeping in mind that who gains or loses from inflation is not necessarily clear-cut. Jeff Bezos probably wouldn't suffer too much under inflation because his wealth is mostly stock in Amazon. The stock price would go up like other prices. The prices for goods sold on Amazon would go up. However, a billionaire whose wealth is mostly in bonds (debt) is probably going to take a big hit. What about the workers in Amazon's warehouses? They better hope they can get pay raises that track with inflation or their living standards are going to plummet. Someone living on some kind of pension/fixed income stream is screwed unless it adjusts for inflation.

globaleconomicollaps
02-01-19, 12:56 PM
As always, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Sure, the federal government can cancel debts owed to it, student loan or otherwise. However, that means they have less revenue to pay for things. The MMT crowd will point out that they can simply print the extra money they need to pay for things. That's true, but what is the result? Inflation.

That doesn't necessarily mean that plan doesn't suit your political goals, but it's not true to say that there's no effect of the government cancelling debt. Some people might say that inflation is a good thing. For example, they might look favorably on a plan to send a $100,000 bill to every US citizen. Sure, it would cause massive inflation, but if someone had zero dollars before, they will now have $100,000. Of course it won't be worth as much in terms of purchasing power, but it's better than nothing, right?

It's worth keeping in mind that who gains or loses from inflation is not necessarily clear-cut. Jeff Bezos probably wouldn't suffer too much under inflation because his wealth is mostly stock in Amazon. The stock price would go up like other prices. The prices for goods sold on Amazon would go up. However, a billionaire whose wealth is mostly in bonds (debt) is probably going to take a big hit. What about the workers in Amazon's warehouses? They better hope they can get pay raises that track with inflation or their living standards are going to plummet. Someone living on some kind of pension/fixed income stream is screwed unless it adjusts for inflation.


If your point is that wealth redistribution will not happen short of a socialist revolution then I tend to agree. I'm expecting a financial crash and mass unemployment long before that happens. You seem to be hinting that the end game here is a feudalistic system. Well, feudalism was a response to the collapse of the roman empire.

DSpencer
02-01-19, 01:22 PM
If your point is that wealth redistribution will not happen short of a socialist revolution then I tend to agree. I'm expecting a financial crash and mass unemployment long before that happens. You seem to be hinting that the end game here is a feudalistic system. Well, feudalism was a response to the collapse of the roman empire.

Those conclusions are way deeper than any point I was trying to make.

ProdigyofZen
02-01-19, 01:40 PM
Good call, on the surface. A newcomer with a relatively blank slate onto which bits and pieces of voter preference can be written as the campaign goes on, ala Obama, starting with "opposite of Trump" positioning of "love for each other and for our country." Ideal as a marketing campaign president for more of the same policies as Bush and Obama but without the Trump crazy.

Almost everyone will welcome a return to the regular scheduled programming, except for this: Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/lefts-trump-sized-tax-plans/573328/)

Warren lawyers the question of taxes: How high does Elizabeth Warren want to raise taxes? Her challenger wants to know. (https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2018/09/10/how-high-does-elizabeth-warren-want-to-raise-taxes-geoff-diehl-wgbh)

It is on the question of taxation that electability hinges.

The reality of mounting federal government debt resulting from unrealistic tax policy will remain in the periphery of the conversation until after the election.

Warren if she continues to play her cards this way could win, and at least won't have to got back on a "read my lips" pledge when she's forced to raise taxes.

Kamala Harris almost sank her presidency before the campaign is started. She basically wants to eliminate all private health insurance.

Not to mention using her good looks and being a female to apparently sleep her way to the top publicly with Mayor Willie Brown? I think that is comical given the current #metoo socio-political environment.

dcarrigg
02-01-19, 01:55 PM
As always, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Sure, the federal government can cancel debts owed to it, student loan or otherwise. However, that means they have less revenue to pay for things. The MMT crowd will point out that they can simply print the extra money they need to pay for things. That's true, but what is the result? Inflation.

That doesn't necessarily mean that plan doesn't suit your political goals, but it's not true to say that there's no effect of the government cancelling debt. Some people might say that inflation is a good thing. For example, they might look favorably on a plan to send a $100,000 bill to every US citizen. Sure, it would cause massive inflation, but if someone had zero dollars before, they will now have $100,000. Of course it won't be worth as much in terms of purchasing power, but it's better than nothing, right?

It's worth keeping in mind that who gains or loses from inflation is not necessarily clear-cut. Jeff Bezos probably wouldn't suffer too much under inflation because his wealth is mostly stock in Amazon. The stock price would go up like other prices. The prices for goods sold on Amazon would go up. However, a billionaire whose wealth is mostly in bonds (debt) is probably going to take a big hit. What about the workers in Amazon's warehouses? They better hope they can get pay raises that track with inflation or their living standards are going to plummet. Someone living on some kind of pension/fixed income stream is screwed unless it adjusts for inflation.

My thinking about this stuff was much more like this a decade ago. I've since revised it. Why?

1. It assumes labor's share as a constant. Most econ did. Turns out, it's shrinking (https://www.nber.org/papers/w19136.pdf).
2. This has serious implications for the relationship between unemployment rates and labor markets. If you've ever scratched your head at how unemployment can be near historic lows without wage increases, you're assuming labor's share is constant. If it's shrinking, it makes perfect sense that unemployment could drop to 0%--there could even be a labor shortage--and still real wages can stay flat or even decrease.
3. This is a fundamentally different environment than in the 1970s when labor's share was a constant and wages pushed stagflation.

I haven't quite bought into the whole MMT model. But I don't have to in order to be more skeptical of inflationary concerns. That does not mean that interest payments on the debt cannot grow so large they chew up an uncomfortably large chunk of the annual discretionary budget. But I think it does mean there's much stronger headwinds against inflation than there were before labor's share began shrinking. And I think it explains why the simple supply and demand explanation of wages never seems to pan out with much real wage growth anymore (https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickwwatson/2018/09/25/real-wage-growth-is-actually-falling/#7dfeae707284).

It's not a super complicated thing to understand. For the last 20 years the real pie's growing, albeit slowly at about 2% per annum. But over that same time, labor's total share of that pie shrunk by about 14%. Most people earn most of their money from labor income. Seems to me that's how these seemingly counterintuitive macro things can happen. It's also why I'm less hawkish about inflation--within limits roughly bounded by labor's loss. So at this point, to put a figure on it, I'd say roughly $2T per year in the US on the fiscal side before you really overcome the headwinds and face real inflationary danger. We're at about half of that.

Think what you want about the Fed, but their model projections have been pretty good. The two spots where they have been persistently and predictably off in the same direction have been that inflation and wages have remained lower than expectations. To me, this is a reasonable answer as to why.

The folk wisdom and textbook econ people have learned does not treat labor's share as a long-term shifting variable. But it is.

jk
02-01-19, 02:34 PM
wages have been stagnant while the participation rate is declining. so total labor income doesn't go anywhere. i agree a lot of money could be pumped into the economy before we got inflation. debt levels are so high that a 2.5% fed rate slows the economy to the point that people start talking about recession. the total debt burden has to go down, or it has to be ignored [mmt time!]. those are the only 2 ways forward that i can see.

dcarrigg
02-01-19, 03:31 PM
Sort of par for the course, right? Labor's devalued compared to assets. So there's what, about 9.2T in mortgages? Less than at the bubble peak, but not by much. Another 1.5T in student loans and 1.3T in auto loans and 0.4T in credit cards rounds out that "normal person" credit picture. Meanwhile, there's another ~9T in corporate debt all in, iirc. So that's about equal to the public debt when you add it all up. Then you have about 14T in financial debt security liabilities, largely already counted elsewhere.

Looked at as a whole, a few things are obvious since the last big recession: 1) personal debt for most citizens is still down compared to then, 2) corporate debt is way, way up compared to then, 3) federal debt is way, way up compared to then. The student loan drag is heavier than it looks, since rates are higher and terms are shorter, so the cashflow hit is more significant. 10 years at 6.8% is pretty typical. $200k on a mortgage at 4% is going to be roughly $1k per month. About $85k on a student loan at 6.8% is going to be the same $1k per month. And it's very disproportionately held by younger generations. So even if it's at 15% of total mortgage debt, it's probably about as impactful on cash flow for lots of the under 40 set.

That's one of the interesting things about dropping the rates on them or forgiving some of the or whatever. You drop the rate to 2.5% like the federal funds rate (the rate the government loans money to banks vs. the rate at which they loan money to students), and suddenly you free up $200/mo cashflow for that person. You forgive it and obviously free up $1,000. Anything in between is obviously a potential option as well. If you want to crank up interest rates without crashing the housing market, I don't see how you do it without some sort of relief on the student loan side. As it stands, you're looking at folks who maybe can get their first 30 year mortgage at 40, which is cutting it pretty damned close in an era of declining life expectancy. The other thing with the demographic retirement glut is the potential for housing to take a beating. Half of boomers have no retirement savings, or something to that effect. Reverse mortgages are probably going to be a booming business. Aging people stuck in aging homes too big and expensive for them to care for and not leaving them to their kids is probably going to be the norm for most. Have a feeling most won't be FHA loan material by the end of it. Under 40 homeownership rate has dropped to about 40%. Maybe total mortgage debt falls considerably as future generations increasingly find they don't have the opportunity to become homeowners. But it hasn't been the driver of private debt growth for the last 12 or 13 years anyhow.

DSpencer
02-01-19, 04:43 PM
My thinking about this stuff was much more like this a decade ago. I've since revised it. Why?

1. It assumes labor's share as a constant. Most econ did. Turns out, it's shrinking (https://www.nber.org/papers/w19136.pdf).
2. This has serious implications for the relationship between unemployment rates and labor markets. If you've ever scratched your head at how unemployment can be near historic lows without wage increases, you're assuming labor's share is constant. If it's shrinking, it makes perfect sense that unemployment could drop to 0%--there could even be a labor shortage--and still real wages can stay flat or even decrease.
3. This is a fundamentally different environment than in the 1970s when labor's share was a constant and wages pushed stagflation.

I haven't quite bought into the whole MMT model. But I don't have to in order to be more skeptical of inflationary concerns. That does not mean that interest payments on the debt cannot grow so large they chew up an uncomfortably large chunk of the annual discretionary budget. But I think it does mean there's much stronger headwinds against inflation than there were before labor's share began shrinking. And I think it explains why the simple supply and demand explanation of wages never seems to pan out with much real wage growth anymore (https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickwwatson/2018/09/25/real-wage-growth-is-actually-falling/#7dfeae707284).

It's not a super complicated thing to understand. For the last 20 years the real pie's growing, albeit slowly at about 2% per annum. But over that same time, labor's total share of that pie shrunk by about 14%. Most people earn most of their money from labor income. Seems to me that's how these seemingly counterintuitive macro things can happen. It's also why I'm less hawkish about inflation--within limits roughly bounded by labor's loss. So at this point, to put a figure on it, I'd say roughly $2T per year in the US on the fiscal side before you really overcome the headwinds and face real inflationary danger. We're at about half of that.

Think what you want about the Fed, but their model projections have been pretty good. The two spots where they have been persistently and predictably off in the same direction have been that inflation and wages have remained lower than expectations. To me, this is a reasonable answer as to why.

The folk wisdom and textbook econ people have learned does not treat labor's share as a long-term shifting variable. But it is.

I think what you're saying is that for there to be actual inflation, the effect of debt cancellation/money printing would have to outweigh other factors. I guess my wording could have been more precise. What I meant to say is that the effect is an inflationary force. Whether that's balanced out by other opposing forces is another question.

I will admit that the Fed has exceeded my expectations in their ability to at least maintain the appearance of the economy being ok. I fear that they are simply setting us up for a bigger disaster in the long term, but hopefully not.

Honestly, what scares me more than anything aside from war at this point is this new belief that MMT is some kind of magic wand. The basic premises of MMT seem non-controversial to me. However, the conclusions that are drawn make no sense. This story has played out before. But apparently the lessons are difficult to learn. It's like the promise of 8 minute abs, chain emails about Bill Gates giving away money, MLM schemes, playing the lottery, etc. No amount of reason can outweigh the human desire to get something for nothing (or very little).

MMT: This one weird trick that politicians don't want you to know about can fund everything you ever wanted!

jk
02-01-19, 06:31 PM
I think what you're saying is that for there to be actual inflation, the effect of debt cancellation/money printing would have to outweigh other factors. I guess my wording could have been more precise. What I meant to say is that the effect is an inflationary force. Whether that's balanced out by other opposing forces is another question.

I will admit that the Fed has exceeded my expectations in their ability to at least maintain the appearance of the economy being ok. I fear that they are simply setting us up for a bigger disaster in the long term, but hopefully not.

Honestly, what scares me more than anything aside from war at this point is this new belief that MMT is some kind of magic wand. The basic premises of MMT seem non-controversial to me. However, the conclusions that are drawn make no sense. This story has played out before. But apparently the lessons are difficult to learn. It's like the promise of 8 minute abs, chain emails about Bill Gates giving away money, MLM schemes, playing the lottery, etc. No amount of reason can outweigh the human desire to get something for nothing (or very little).

MMT: This one weird trick that politicians don't want you to know about can fund everything you ever wanted!

let's set these conditions:
1. no cuts in entitlements
2. no cuts in defense
3. ongoing growth in interest expense as the deficit expands

the solution is simple: devalue the dollar. a cheaper dollar allows the gov't to meet all these conditions. mmt will be the mechanism by which a dollar devaluation will be achieved. foreign cb's stopped buying treasuries, net, in 2013-2014. instead they are buying gold.
http://www.itulip.com/forums/blob:http://www.itulip.com/03d2eb5a-e4a6-4e7a-adb0-376710949b76

just revalue the gold to, i don't know, $10-20k/oz. then the u.s. gold reserves are big enough to back all the outstanding debt. the u.s. balance sheet will show the huge amount of gov't debt on one side of the ledger, but an equally huge asset on the other side. [the europeans, by the way, mark their gold reserves to market- i forget if annually or more often.] the mmt-based spending will be flowing into the real economy instead of into banks' excess reserves. there will be inflation and that will be the one factor which limits how far mmt can go. but this inflation will really be controlled by fiscal policy, not monetary policy as the fed keeps raising nominal rates while keeping real rates negative. how's that for a scenario?

dcarrigg
02-01-19, 11:52 PM
I think what you're saying is that for there to be actual inflation, the effect of debt cancellation/money printing would have to outweigh other factors. I guess my wording could have been more precise. What I meant to say is that the effect is an inflationary force. Whether that's balanced out by other opposing forces is another question.

I will admit that the Fed has exceeded my expectations in their ability to at least maintain the appearance of the economy being ok. I fear that they are simply setting us up for a bigger disaster in the long term, but hopefully not.

Honestly, what scares me more than anything aside from war at this point is this new belief that MMT is some kind of magic wand. The basic premises of MMT seem non-controversial to me. However, the conclusions that are drawn make no sense. This story has played out before. But apparently the lessons are difficult to learn. It's like the promise of 8 minute abs, chain emails about Bill Gates giving away money, MLM schemes, playing the lottery, etc. No amount of reason can outweigh the human desire to get something for nothing (or very little).

MMT: This one weird trick that politicians don't want you to know about can fund everything you ever wanted!

You're on to one implication. But I presume the relationship is non linear. Maybe think of it as the last leg of a 20 knot wind. And a wind that's picking up.

If you think of it that way, 10 knota, a trillion fiscal either way, does one thing. 20 another. 30 something else still. Balancing the budget like in the 90s in 20 knot winds will probably be deflationary. Maybe moreso than you'd think. Conversely, debt funding universal health care at current prices without tax increase looks like $4T, which capsizes the ship. There are bounds, as you say, but they're neither linear nor obvious.

More than that, the quality of the wind matters. A brief 40 knot gust isn't the same as a sustained blow. Dropping student loan rates or even eliminating debt would mostly simply convert it to mortgage debt in my estimation. Asset prices inflate, but not most prices for real goods. Timing here is critical. Do it at a housing peak, and benefits are low. Do it at a nadir, and the opposite is true.

More than all of that? The game is on. Workers in aggregate are losing. So there's two ways that can go. Close down the hatches and flog the men more. Or promise to spread out the 2 and 20 the captain was promised.

Either way, we're nearing the point of no return. Either accommodate the crew or go down with the ship. The alternative is to better control the winds, and we've been trying to. But we refuse to accept that simple truth:

We suck at it. And moves we don't even realize will affect the winds, like changing property rules, do. Significantly. Eliminating bankruptcy for student loans in 2005 changed the winds.

If Keynes was right about one thing it's that monetary policy without fiscal policy is pushing on a string. It's putting up a big sail in still waters. You can raise the sails all you want and go nowhere. If you are worried about going too fast, the sail shouldn't be the first variable you're worried about. And the wind you can make blow from one direction might not be enough to move you the way you'd expect.

jk
02-02-19, 08:36 AM
Conversely, debt funding universal health care at current prices without tax increase looks like $4T, which capsizes the ship. .

2 comments on just this issue of funding universal health care.

1 first, if all the dollars currently spent on healthcare were funneled through a universal program, and providers were paid for ALL their services as the medicare rate, i don't think it would add the deficit at all. it might even make a profit.

2. second, the u.s. currently spends 17.8% of gdp on healthcare, while gdp is $19.3 trillion. if the gov't prints and spends the $3.4trillion implied by these 2 numbers, it means that people and companies suddenly have an extra $3.4 trillion in their pockets. That is one huge stimulus, and gov't revenues will rise substantially. i'm not going to say it will pay for itself, though given my first consideration, it could. nonetheless, the cost is much lower than it first appears.

=================
on another, related, topic: mmt and the usd

Is US media beginning to set the narrative for the implementation of MMT or MMT-like easy money policies?
“Who’s afraid of budget deficits?”: Foreign Affairs magazine - 1/27/19
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-01-27/whos-afraid-budget-deficits
White House adviser says Fed board nominees should support easy money policies: WSJ – 1/24/19
https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-adviser-says-fed-board-nominees-should-support-easy-money-policies-11548375931
CBO unveils apocalyptic long term debt picture – 1/28/19
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-28/cbo-unveils-apocalyptic-long-term-debt-picture-us-set-borrow-over-1-trillion-second
TBAC is suddenly worried about who funds $12T in US deficits in next 10 yrs (assuming no recessions) – 1/30/19
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-30/tbac-worried-about-who-funds-12-trillion-us-deficits-and-dollars-reserve-status


Luke Gromen: The US media began setting the narrative that “China is bad” in mid-2017. Fast-forward 18 months, and voila! China is now bad. It now appears that the narrative of “US deficits are a problem but don’t need to be if we just use easier money” has begun being established among “serious people” (see Foreign Affairs, WSJ articles above.) Our guess is this is not by accident, and speaks to an understanding at a high level that the end game of a much weaker USD is now coming into sight. Let’s watch.

jk
02-02-19, 08:36 AM
Conversely, debt funding universal health care at current prices without tax increase looks like $4T, which capsizes the ship. .

2 comments on just this issue of funding universal health care.

1 first, if all the dollars currently spent on healthcare were funneled through a universal program, and providers were paid for ALL their services as the medicare rate, i don't think it would add the deficit at all. it might even make a profit. [note, too, below that if current expenditures are 3.4trillion, a 4trillion program- if that indeed is what it cost- would have a net cost of ONLY 600billion.]

2. second, the u.s. currently spends 17.8% of gdp on healthcare, while gdp is $19.3 trillion. if the gov't prints and spends the $3.4trillion implied by these 2 numbers, it means that people and companies suddenly have an extra $3.4 trillion in their pockets. That is one huge stimulus, and gov't revenues will rise substantially. i'm not going to say it will pay for itself, though given my first consideration, it could. nonetheless, the cost is much lower than it first appears.

=================
on another, related, topic: mmt and the usd

Is US media beginning to set the narrative for the implementation of MMT or MMT-like easy money policies?
“Who’s afraid of budget deficits?”: Foreign Affairs magazine - 1/27/19
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-01-27/whos-afraid-budget-deficits
White House adviser says Fed board nominees should support easy money policies: WSJ – 1/24/19
https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-adviser-says-fed-board-nominees-should-support-easy-money-policies-11548375931
CBO unveils apocalyptic long term debt picture – 1/28/19
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-28/cbo-unveils-apocalyptic-long-term-debt-picture-us-set-borrow-over-1-trillion-second
TBAC is suddenly worried about who funds $12T in US deficits in next 10 yrs (assuming no recessions) – 1/30/19
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-30/tbac-worried-about-who-funds-12-trillion-us-deficits-and-dollars-reserve-status


Luke Gromen: The US media began setting the narrative that “China is bad” in mid-2017. Fast-forward 18 months, and voila! China is now bad. It now appears that the narrative of “US deficits are a problem but don’t need to be if we just use easier money” has begun being established among “serious people” (see Foreign Affairs, WSJ articles above.) Our guess is this is not by accident, and speaks to an understanding at a high level that the end game of a much weaker USD is now coming into sight. Let’s watch.

dcarrigg
02-02-19, 12:51 PM
2 comments on just this issue of funding universal health care.

1 first, if all the dollars currently spent on healthcare were funneled through a universal program, and providers were paid for ALL their services as the medicare rate, i don't think it would add the deficit at all. it might even make a profit. [note, too, below that if current expenditures are 3.4trillion, a 4trillion program- if that indeed is what it cost- would have a net cost of ONLY 600billion.]

2. second, the u.s. currently spends 17.8% of gdp on healthcare, while gdp is $19.3 trillion. if the gov't prints and spends the $3.4trillion implied by these 2 numbers, it means that people and companies suddenly have an extra $3.4 trillion in their pockets. That is one huge stimulus, and gov't revenues will rise substantially. i'm not going to say it will pay for itself, though given my first consideration, it could. nonetheless, the cost is much lower than it first appears.

=================
on another, related, topic: mmt and the usd

Is US media beginning to set the narrative for the implementation of MMT or MMT-like easy money policies?
“Who’s afraid of budget deficits?”: Foreign Affairs magazine - 1/27/19
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-01-27/whos-afraid-budget-deficits
White House adviser says Fed board nominees should support easy money policies: WSJ – 1/24/19
https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-adviser-says-fed-board-nominees-should-support-easy-money-policies-11548375931
CBO unveils apocalyptic long term debt picture – 1/28/19
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-28/cbo-unveils-apocalyptic-long-term-debt-picture-us-set-borrow-over-1-trillion-second
TBAC is suddenly worried about who funds $12T in US deficits in next 10 yrs (assuming no recessions) – 1/30/19
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-30/tbac-worried-about-who-funds-12-trillion-us-deficits-and-dollars-reserve-status


Luke Gromen: The US media began setting the narrative that “China is bad” in mid-2017. Fast-forward 18 months, and voila! China is now bad. It now appears that the narrative of “US deficits are a problem but don’t need to be if we just use easier money” has begun being established among “serious people” (see Foreign Affairs, WSJ articles above.) Our guess is this is not by accident, and speaks to an understanding at a high level that the end game of a much weaker USD is now coming into sight. Let’s watch.




jk, I totally agree with your points. It's part of why I say there's a lot of room for "downward pressure" (e.g. sector deflation) in healthcare. Even if you make those $2,000 MRIs cost $200, you're not really going to get people wanting to spend more time in the machine. Stuff's not super elastic. Maybe pills are. But just about everything else isn't. As far as the numbers go, I was using whole numbers for simplicity's sake to make the point. But iirc my CMS news, we crossed $3.5 trillion in healthcare spending back in 2017, and we're still chugging up.

jk
02-02-19, 03:04 PM
jk, I totally agree with your points. It's part of why I say there's a lot of room for "downward pressure" (e.g. sector deflation) in healthcare. Even if you make those $2,000 MRIs cost $200, you're not really going to get people wanting to spend more time in the machine. Stuff's not super elastic. Maybe pills are. But just about everything else isn't. As far as the numbers go, I was using whole numbers for simplicity's sake to make the point. But iirc my CMS news, we crossed $3.5 trillion in healthcare spending back in 2017, and we're still chugging up.
pills are definitely elastic. i've had many patients call me saying they couldn't afford the copay on their meds, could i switch them. sometimes there's an alternative [usually with more side effects], sometimes no alternative [they've already tried multiple alternatives without success]. i have a significant and growing number of patients ordering meds from canada.

even procedures may be elastic. a law school classmate of one of my kids fell down some subway steps and injured himself. it was late december and he was going to have new, better healthcare coverage on jan1, so he decided to delay going to an e.r. he had injured his spine and the swelling, untreated, led to sig damage to his spinal cord. he became paraplegic. it is now several years later and he is dead. i don't know if it was complication, something unrelated, or suicide.

Chris Coles
02-02-19, 03:24 PM
pills are definitely elastic. i've had many patients call me saying they couldn't afford the copay on their meds, could i switch them. sometimes there's an alternative [usually with more side effects], sometimes no alternative [they've already tried multiple alternatives without success]. i have a significant and growing number of patients ordering meds from canada.

even procedures may be elastic. a law school classmate of one of my kids fell down some subway steps and injured himself. it was late december and he was going to have new, better healthcare coverage on jan1, so he decided to delay going to an e.r. he had injured his spine and the swelling, untreated, led to sig damage to his spinal cord. he became paraplegic. it is now several years later and he is dead. i don't know if it was complication, something unrelated, or suicide.

Very sad, he should have caught a flight to the UK and walked into the nearest hospital out patients. yes, he would have, eventually, got a bill; but I bet it would not have cost as much as he would have had to pay in the US.

dcarrigg
02-02-19, 05:46 PM
France should build out a big hospital complex on St. Pierre and run weekly direct flights out of Boston and NYC. They could provide high quality care to Americans at a fraction of the cost. With the tourism it would bring in alone, it would probably pay for itself and still be considerably more affordable. Do dental work too. At 50 euros per filling vs $300, one would probably cover the flight. A root canal and crown would definitely be worth a week's vacation with money to spare. Canadians pay way too much for dental work too. I'm sure they'd come out. Make it the Los Algodones of the northeast. Run specials in the winter. Throw up a couple hotels and some nice French restaurants. If Al Capone could use it a hundred years ago to smuggle hundreds of thousands of cases of hootch in (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/tiny-french-archipelago-became-americas-illegal-warehouse-during-prohibition-180967868/), I figure converting it to a medical tourism destination can't be too much more difficult. Easy potential for a multi-billion dollar arbitrage opportunity you could feel good about.

Chris Coles
02-03-19, 01:24 AM
France should build out a big hospital complex on St. Pierre and run weekly direct flights out of Boston and NYC. They could provide high quality care to Americans at a fraction of the cost. With the tourism it would bring in alone, it would probably pay for itself and still be considerably more affordable. Do dental work too. At 50 euros per filling vs $300, one would probably cover the flight. A root canal and crown would definitely be worth a week's vacation with money to spare. Canadians pay way too much for dental work too. I'm sure they'd come out. Make it the Los Algodones of the northeast. Run specials in the winter. Throw up a couple hotels and some nice French restaurants. If Al Capone could use it a hundred years ago to smuggle hundreds of thousands of cases of hootch in (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/tiny-french-archipelago-became-americas-illegal-warehouse-during-prohibition-180967868/), I figure converting it to a medical tourism destination can't be too much more difficult. Easy potential for a multi-billion dollar arbitrage opportunity you could feel good about.

My understanding is the very best pace to go, high quality for moderate costs for surgical work is Thailand and for dental, Hungary.

jk
02-03-19, 09:55 AM
France should build out a big hospital complex on St. Pierre and run weekly direct flights out of Boston and NYC. They could provide high quality care to Americans at a fraction of the cost. With the tourism it would bring in alone, it would probably pay for itself and still be considerably more affordable. Do dental work too. At 50 euros per filling vs $300, one would probably cover the flight. A root canal and crown would definitely be worth a week's vacation with money to spare. Canadians pay way too much for dental work too. I'm sure they'd come out. Make it the Los Algodones of the northeast. Run specials in the winter. Throw up a couple hotels and some nice French restaurants. If Al Capone could use it a hundred years ago to smuggle hundreds of thousands of cases of hootch in (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/tiny-french-archipelago-became-americas-illegal-warehouse-during-prohibition-180967868/), I figure converting it to a medical tourism destination can't be too much more difficult. Easy potential for a multi-billion dollar arbitrage opportunity you could feel good about.
put it in martinique or guadaloupe.

vt
02-04-19, 12:32 AM
More voters are seeing an independent party as a good idea:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/wide-party-divide-could-be-opening-independent-candidate-n966296

jk
02-04-19, 10:41 AM
if howard schultz runs he will succeed in re-electing trump.

thriftyandboringinohio
02-04-19, 10:59 AM
if howard schultz runs he will succeed in re-electing trump.

He knows that good and well.

dcarrigg
02-04-19, 11:01 AM
He knows that good and well.

They will do anything to protect and defend their precious tax cuts. They are not patriots.

touchring
02-05-19, 01:15 AM
How about a cruise ship hospital?

dcarrigg
02-05-19, 02:37 AM
It's not a terrible idea, but you'd have to at least take it to international waters, and you'd risk the US shutting it down regardless. Dump it on terra firma on a constituent part of France and it's a bit tougher to shut down. Not impossible to apply pressure. But I imagine more difficult. The whole thing that makes it possible is that other countries negotiate prices, and the US lets providers and pharma charge whatever the hell they damned well please. So the same insulin that's 48 Euros in France or 25 dollarydoos in Australia might easily cost you 1,000% more in the US. And your anesthesiologist is always out of network and always wants a few grand. They lobbied hard to make it illegal for the government to negotiate and illegal to import from countries which can and to make it legal to price gouge at will. What's the market rate on a bullet in the chamber when the gun's cocked and pointed at you but whatever the guy with your life in his hands demands? So I figure they'd lobby hard to shut the boat down too. Ethics and oaths aren't going to keep these people honest.

jk
02-05-19, 10:22 AM
They lobbied hard to make it illegal for the government to negotiate and illegal to import from countries which can and to make it legal to price gouge at will.
billy tauzin came really cheap considering the money involved.

vt
02-05-19, 11:23 AM
"France briefly had a 75% rate a few years ago but it was scrapped in 2014 because it raised less revenue then anticipated"

Economist 2/3/19

Anytime you raise rates you have to consider what the negative consequences might be. Will you hurt business formation and thus limit good paying jobs that might provide more revenue?

As the Economist says "any change should be incremental". It's totally counterproductive to raise rates to real high levels overnight.

dcarrigg
02-05-19, 11:27 AM
May the Lord grant any of us the fortune of having to make the hard choice not to form a business because we already were earning over $10M in individual labor income per year and marginal tax rates simply made earning even more not worth our time.

dcarrigg
02-05-19, 11:28 AM
No doubt. The ROI on that one boggles the mind.

vt
02-05-19, 11:55 AM
If I labor at a job and come up with a better way to do so by starting my own business, I might just be reluctant if I see super high rates if I'm successful.

No one is speaking of those with a $10 million dollar income. Some of us look at those trying to better their lot in life and seeing that there is a move to
denigrate success. It's about penalizing someone who may have worked hard for years then achieves an income of say $400K because it's not fair to those
that didn't take the risk or do the work.

By the AOC's proposal will only raise $12 billion a year.

dcarrigg
02-05-19, 12:16 PM
So how much is fair? Is it as much per year as the average person makes if they work hard for 10,000 years? 100,000 years? Is any amount enough? Should we just make Bezos king, retire the republic, and be done with it?

I mean, the thing is, when rates were 70% in America, economic growth was higher, so I'm not totally sold on the idea the wheels would come off if Reagan's tax cuts were reversed.

vt
02-05-19, 12:46 PM
The Economist article says to raise rates over time, not all at once.

There is also a good article in the Wall Street Journal covering Warren's proposal and cautioning of how do you define wealth, and
looking at potentially better ways to reach revenue goals.

Meanwhile there are even key liberal Democrats wanting to be careful how to proceed:

https://theintercept.com/2019/02/05/nancy-pelosi-medicare-for-all/

And why weren't any banksters tried after the 2008 meltdown? Why didn't Chris Dodd and Barney face inquiries over the real estate fraud
going through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as banks and mortgage fraudsters.

We got in this mess because regulations were not being enforced. And this was Democrats and not just Republicans. They are all on the take.

dcarrigg
02-05-19, 01:14 PM
They shot up from 28% to 75% in one fell swoop in FDR's first term. They dropped from 70% to 28% in one fell swoop under Reagan. The Economist is full of people who don't understand the US political system. It's not a parliament. There's checks and balances. Nothing big happens. Until everything does. Incrementalism is not how it works.

vt
02-05-19, 02:22 PM
Governor Cuomo says New York taxes are uncompetitive:

https://taxfoundation.org/governor-cuomo-concedes-new-yorks-tax-code-uncompetitive/

The cap on property taxes for Federal taxes is hurting. But why should the middle class subsidize $1,000.000 plus homes?

The top 1% pays 48% of all New York taxes, and now some are leaving for lower tax states. Money moves to where is is
treated best.

dcarrigg
02-05-19, 02:30 PM
If low taxes and conservative government were the most important thing for business, Biloxi would be Manhattan by now.

Dave Koch's Tax Foundation might rank South Dakota as the best state for business, and New York at the worst, but at the end of the day, he's resting his head at 740 Park Avenue, not Main Street in Pierre. In fact, guess where the Tax Foundation was founded?

LazyBoy
02-07-19, 04:31 PM
France should build out a big hospital complex on St. Pierre and run weekly direct flights out of Boston and NYC. They could provide high quality care to Americans at a fraction of the cost. With the tourism it would bring in alone, it would probably pay for itself and still be considerably more affordable. Do dental work too.
I believe there will be some EU medical types looking for work soon as they leave the UK.

LazyBoy
02-07-19, 04:44 PM
The top 1% pays 48% of all New York taxes, and now some are leaving for lower tax states. Money moves to where is is
treated best.

One man left NJ a couple of years ago and it caused some concern.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/business/one-top-taxpayer-moved-and-new-jersey-shuddered.html


Nevertheless, "That's where the money is." IMO, if more people are paid a nice middle-class wage we can get more tax revenue from them. Otherwise, we have to go where the money is. A functioning society costs money.

Should states underbid each other for the rich like they do for companies that promise jobs? Should NYC and VA offer Bezos some personal tax breaks so he'll move to an HQ2?

dcarrigg
02-07-19, 05:17 PM
It's a racket. Nothing but a middle class shakedown.

What would it cost to make public college tuition free? 5% of Trump's tax cut?

What would it cost to wipe all the federal student loans off the books and just forgive them? 1 year of Trump's tax cut?

Whenever anyone comes up with a plan to change the rules to give money to the middle class, the hemming and the hawing about deficits and how much money it costs starts.
Whenever anyone proposes a tax cut for the rich and corporations that's 20 times bigger than shit the middle class is asking for, all the sudden worries about the deficit go out the goddamn window.

The only difference between mafia bosses and billionaires is whether the last names end in a vowel or a consonant. It's a racket. Nothing but a crooked strong-arm shakedown.

The rules only change one way.

And you know the worst part? I think people would have tucked tail and put up with it of only they took 10% of their kitty they've amassed these past 40 years and spread it around a little. But they're too greedy and crooked for that. It takes millions of police and prison guards and soldiers and patent clerks and deed officers and teachers and maids and cooks to them them fat and happy and their property safe. And the guys running the neighborhood have been squeezing them all as hard as they possibly can for decades, taking more for themselves and leaving less for everyone else with each additional tax cut.

Watch what happens when more and more of folks wake up and realize it. Gotta wonder what they thought was gonna happen when they literally let nothing at all trickle down for decades as they flaunted the law and committed crime after crime with no consequence. Not exactly enlightened leadership. Even Caesar knew to pass out a few sestertii and some free bread from time to time. Now'a'days they just insist on making the deal worse and worse every year.

jk
02-07-19, 06:00 PM
https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2019/02/07/recession-revolution-recovery/

dcarrigg
02-07-19, 06:26 PM
I'm largely in agreement insofar as I think we'll see radical structural change over the next decade or two, likely starting within the next 5 years or so. For two generations things have been one way. Soon they'll be another way.

jk
02-08-19, 08:26 PM
Jeffrey Gundlach‏Verified account @TruthGundlach (https://twitter.com/TruthGundlach)




Fed says it is currently discussing using QE as a regular tool, not just during “emergencies” or when the Funds rate is at the “zero bound”.
------------------
anyone have any doubts that mmt's day is coming?

jk
02-08-19, 08:27 PM
Jeffrey Gundlach‏Verified account @TruthGundlach (https://twitter.com/TruthGundlach)



Fed says it is currently discussing using QE as a regular tool, not just during “emergencies” or when the Funds rate is at the “zero bound”.


------------------

anyone have any doubts that mmt's day is coming?

-------------------https://www.epsilontheory.com/wp-content/uploads/strangelove-3.jpg


Modern Monetary Theory or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the National Debt (https://www.epsilontheory.com/modern-monetary-theory-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-national-debt/)

dcarrigg
02-09-19, 12:31 AM
anyone have any doubts that mmt's day is coming?

Symptom, not a cause. The goal is ancient; oligarchy with power hard-wired down bloodlines. Borrowing $10 trillion from the treasury to pay it out as free and clear cash to billionaires and large corps is just a means to an end. Unlimited printing is just a consequence of the means.

Assume, just for a moment, that there are those who have no love for the republic, who would rather see it destroyed and replaced with a series of ruling kleptocratic families. Then ask yourself what would they do?

People often think the threat to the republic is the majority; the common people printing themselves too much out of the treasury by the vote. But the truth is, there's no real threat of that. The common people haven't gotten so much as a crumb in 40 years. Wages stay flat, rents go up, fees go up, healthcare goes up, services get rescinded, pensions get rescinded, so on and so forth. But guess who got $10 trillion of Uncle Sam's money free and clear for doing nothing in the biggest bill passed in the last decade by dollars under Trump?

The game's the same. Trump, Schultz, Bloomberg; Republican, Independent, Democrat. The billionaires all want the same thing. They all golf together. The rest is just window dressing.

The real struggle isn't over GDP or numbers or resources anymore. They already robbed that cupboard blind. Now it's over power and rights. And there's precious little time left to exercise them.

And I'll tell you something else, the Bezos, Trump, Pecker Pic feud is just a preview of what's to come. They're all morally bankrupt. Every one of them lies, cheats, steals, and whores, and so every one of them is open to extortion, and none of them are beneath it. The only thing that kept them from each others throats was the common goal of fleecing Uncle Sam. But once they think Uncle Sam's tapped dry, they'll turn on each other.

I mean it. As we rapidly approach the point at which they write this country off, as more and more of them vacation and invest in dictatorships that cater to them, like Dubai and Singapore, increasingly they will view the real power struggle not as with the republic, which is weak and dying and no real threat, but with each other. We've never seen billionaires toying with running for office in the numbers they are today, and it's not because political office is more powerful than it was in the 00s or 90s or 80s. If anything, the union is relatively less powerful than then. It's because they want to use the office to attack each other and defend themselves from each others' attacks.

The story is the same in any failing republic for the last 2000 years. Crassus and Sulla and Caesar. Mercer and Trump and Bloomberg. Not a patriot among the lot of them. But plenty willing to move against the republic and each other to ensure their own families' power.

One way or another, big change is coming in the next few years. It could be good; it could be bad. It will be up to the lot of us. But we'd be fools to discount the possibility of these folks abolishing the estate tax--the oldest American tax, the only one Jefferson and Adams; slave owners and abolitionists; the founders across the board could agree on for the purposes of promoting merit instead of bloodlines--and following it up with attempts to declare emergencies and suspend government and otherwise install their families as rulers in perpetuity.

jk
02-09-19, 07:27 AM
Symptom, not a cause.

absolutely. not even a symptom, really, just an excuse or cover-up

from the "how i learned to stop worrying and love the national debt" piece i linked above:

Modern Monetary Theory – which is neither modern nor a theory – is a post hoc rationalization of political expediency and power-expanding action.

dcarrigg
02-09-19, 01:13 PM
absolutely. not even a symptom, really, just an excuse or cover-up

from the "how i learned to stop worrying and love the national debt" piece i linked above:

Modern Monetary Theory – which is neither modern nor a theory – is a post hoc rationalization of political expediency and power-expanding action.

Yeah. Don't even need tinfoil when you think about it. Doesn't have to be coordinated. Just politics. Who gets what, when and how. If the wealthiest among us can appropriate themselves trillions borrowed out of the treasury, why can't the rest of us do the same? Pick any excuse you like. The example has already been set. It's not like MMT is any more dangerous than the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves. Anyone can rationalize it however they want. In the end of the day, it's almost certainly worse if the looting is asymmetrical. Better to have a deeply indebted state with rule of law in tact than a somewhat less deeply indebted state run by a handful of ruling families who are above the law.

seobook
02-11-19, 03:53 AM
Good call, on the surface. A newcomer with a relatively blank slate onto which bits and pieces of voter preference can be written as the campaign goes on, ala Obama, starting with "opposite of Trump" positioning of "love for each other and for our country." Ideal as a marketing campaign president for more of the same policies as Bush and Obama but without the Trump crazy.
She was highly involved in the Great Recession & its aftermath, actively choosing to look the other way while a San Francisco DA & then as the AG of the state of California.
https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=234916


She is arguably the reason that not one single bank executive went to prison for rampant fraud all across California when the housing market blew up.
She was AG from 2011 to 2017, when the location of all the buried bodies from the crash were known. In addition she was DA of San Francisco from 2004-2011 and thus was a willful participant in looking the other way in one of the hottest parts of the nation while all the mortgage, securitization and servicing fraud was going on during the bubble itself.
She knew good and damn well that WaMu, for example, was paying out more in dividends than it had in free cash flow, making up the difference with "capitalized interest" -- in other words, exploding "teaser rate" loans that negatively amortized

That mean's she'll get plenty of campaign contributions from deep pockets painting her as a new and different path while in reality she represents a continued bet on failed policies from the recent past.

Polish_Silver
02-13-19, 06:41 AM
I think low income people could be helped by changing the benefit threshold structure. As wages rise, you lose benefits very quickly. So your effective income tax rate is very high. And the medical costs are a burden for families up to $150k income. The country has a some really serious problems.

dcarrigg
02-13-19, 01:55 PM
I think low income people could be helped by changing the benefit threshold structure. As wages rise, you lose benefits very quickly. So your effective income tax rate is very high. And the medical costs are a burden for families up to $150k income. The country has a some really serious problems.

I think you're right that folks would benefit from those kind of changes. But in the US they've spent so long stigmatizing it that it's probably not going to be a political winner even if it's a policy winner. Millions of folks just won't take them. Millions more don't know how. The middle class is largely completely detached from this stuff.

The healthcare system desperately needs to be hit with a sledgehammer and totally rebuilt. It's really beyond tweaking or fixing. Hospitals are run by reits like retail malls now. There's 17 different profit companies operating out of each one. There's thousands of different prices for every little thing, which makes coding, billing, and IT a total nightmare. There's layers on layers of insurance, pharma, device operators, and others all with layers on layers of marketing, sales, and advertising. And I've yet to see any comprehensive plan to get it under control by small technocratic tweaks, largely because I suspect it's not possible. We tried the Romneycare/Obamacare/Heritage Foundation thing. We've tried HMOs, PPOs, HSAs, FSAs, EPOs, HDHPs, POSs, etc. etc. There's a new scheme every few years that's supposedly going to get costs under control. None of them do. The results are not good.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/OECD_life_expectacy_and_health_spending_per_capita _2013_v1.png

DSpencer
02-13-19, 04:05 PM
I think you're right that folks would benefit from those kind of changes. But in the US they've spent so long stigmatizing it that it's probably not going to be a political winner even if it's a policy winner. Millions of folks just won't take them. Millions more don't know how. The middle class is largely completely detached from this stuff.

The healthcare system desperately needs to be hit with a sledgehammer and totally rebuilt. It's really beyond tweaking or fixing. Hospitals are run by reits like retail malls now. There's 17 different profit companies operating out of each one. There's thousands of different prices for every little thing, which makes coding, billing, and IT a total nightmare. There's layers on layers of insurance, pharma, device operators, and others all with layers on layers of marketing, sales, and advertising. And I've yet to see any comprehensive plan to get it under control by small technocratic tweaks, largely because I suspect it's not possible. We tried the Romneycare/Obamacare/Heritage Foundation thing. We've tried HMOs, PPOs, HSAs, FSAs, EPOs, HDHPs, POSs, etc. etc. There's a new scheme every few years that's supposedly going to get costs under control. None of them do. The results are not good.

It's also true that we haven't taken what is, in my opinion, the obvious first step: ending (or at least modifying) the employer sponsored tax break. It seems to be an issue that is mostly non-partisan, yet it doesn't get done. Presumably that's because the insurance industry, like any other, likes when there's huge tax breaks for buying their products and they lobby to maintain it.

thriftyandboringinohio
02-13-19, 04:47 PM
It's also true that we haven't taken what is, in my opinion, the obvious first step: ending (or at least modifying) the employer sponsored tax break. It seems to be an issue that is mostly non-partisan, yet it doesn't get done. Presumably that's because the insurance industry, like any other, likes when there's huge tax breaks for buying their products and they lobby to maintain it.

They like more than the tax break.
They like selling a product to one person at corp HQ benefits dept but delivering the product to someone else, a pipe fitter two states away.

dcarrigg
02-13-19, 05:46 PM
It's also true that we haven't taken what is, in my opinion, the obvious first step: ending (or at least modifying) the employer sponsored tax break. It seems to be an issue that is mostly non-partisan, yet it doesn't get done. Presumably that's because the insurance industry, like any other, likes when there's huge tax breaks for buying their products and they lobby to maintain it.

You're not wrong. I still don't think it would have a major effect on the underlying cost structure. Even if you abolish employer sponsored healthcare and force everyone on to the exchanges, the price would remain high for all the reasons I outlined earlier. The incentives just don't work; when you need a hospital stay, there's really no good way to shop around or even determine prices ahead of time. It all just reminds me of Crassus' private sector fire brigades. When your customers are necessarily vulnerable, you can squeeze them for whatever you want.

jk
02-13-19, 07:42 PM
i can only see 2 possible reasonable destinations for u.s. healthcare. one is a medicare-for-all kind of single payer. people who scream about the cost seem to forget what we're already spending on our current system. the only other reasonable system i can foresee is universal coverage through kaiser-like systems. kaiser is both insurer and healthcare delivery system- they have their own clinics and hospitals, and as the insurer too the incentives are all aligned.

most places in the country will have a natural monopoly because of limited local resources. these monopoly systems, however, can be benchmarked against systems in regions dense enough to support multiple delivery systems. kaiser, for example, operates in many markets in california. the sutter system is looser and differently structured, but could easily be turned into a kaiser-like operation by incorporating the insurance function. thus there can be competitive systems to set standards and prices.

Polish_Silver
02-13-19, 08:14 PM
Kasier is very efficient, in my experience. So were medical services run by universities, who had a stake
in controlling costs.
Universal coverage is not necessarily expensive. It is very cost effective in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.

The problem I see here is that interests are so entrenched they will rig it to keep the costs up. (pharma, insurance companies, hospitals, doctors)

dcarrigg
02-14-19, 09:41 AM
i can only see 2 possible reasonable destinations for u.s. healthcare. one is a medicare-for-all kind of single payer. people who scream about the cost seem to forget what we're already spending on our current system. the only other reasonable system i can foresee is universal coverage through kaiser-like systems. kaiser is both insurer and healthcare delivery system- they have their own clinics and hospitals, and as the insurer too the incentives are all aligned.

most places in the country will have a natural monopoly because of limited local resources. these monopoly systems, however, can be benchmarked against systems in regions dense enough to support multiple delivery systems. kaiser, for example, operates in many markets in california. the sutter system is looser and differently structured, but could easily be turned into a kaiser-like operation by incorporating the insurance function. thus there can be competitive systems to set standards and prices.

Kaiser seems to do some good work, and I don't have any direct experience with them. But they don't seem to really keep costs down either. In some ways, the Catholic Church and a few other university schemes have created a somewhat similar alignment around here.

But here's the thing: I think of hospitals as a natural monopoly and as something more or less like a public utility.

I mean, we live in a country where we are fine with regulated electric prices, but people scream socialism when you talk about regulating healthcare prices. People in the US don't realize what regulation does for them.

Imagine if the electric systems in the US were run like the healthcare system.



There'd be variable opaque pricing that changed by the street and by the second. It might cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to run the AC on that 100 degree day or run the heat when it drops to -20 degrees. And you wouldn't be able to know the price until after you used it and you got the bill. You'd just be terrified to use the heat or AC on the days when you most need it, aware that the price might ruin you and you have no control over it.



They'd force you to buy blackout insurance, otherwise they'd shut you off at times of peak load. Some companies might not even serve you without it. Each of the power suppliers would send you bills separately from the power distributors, system operators, and transmission companies, and most people would probably want some sort of third party insurance or other negotiator to handle rate negotiations even during regular times. The bills would be confusing and outrageous.



Likely 10% or so of the country would simply go without electricity on the regular. There would be counties in Texas with less than 50% of households having power.



Veterans, the poorest, and the elderly might get their own special government systems of blackout insurance to try to ensure they don't freeze to death. Maybe something called Electriccare or Electriccaid. These systems would vary enormously in effectiveness and coverage by state. Electric companies would complain that the rates those systems paid were below market rates.



Maybe in California you'd have Kaiser Electric, who managed to unify the distribution grid and the blackout insurance. But even if they did so, they'd still have to interact with other third party insurance companies and the three government systems. And they'd still have an unregulated natural monopoly at point of service. So prices would stay the highest in the world.



Over time, tangential businesses would pop up and become standard parts of the process. Backup batteries and generators with automatic refueling delivery services would become standard parts of the insurance package, because they'd be cheaper than if the insurance company just paid the price gouging of peak rates. Soon they'd be ubiquitous for the middle class, and every household would treat having a $30k battery in the basement and a giant generator running on hot days or cold nights as normal.



The lack of direct price regulation would lead to not only the electric sector eating up a greater share of GDP, but the strain and stress the expenses it causes would lead to ever more political solutions and insurance schemes in a futile attempt to indirectly get prices under control.



This would lead to ever more complicated regulations on everything but the goddamn prices. Soon you wouldn't be able to screw in a lightbulb yourself legally, and you'd have to hire someone with a postgrad degree to do it for you for hundreds or thousands of dollars. And they would be encouraged to ration them to try to get prices under control. It wouldn't work, but it would result in an ever more bloated advertising and marketing budget. "Ask your certified professional engineer if LG LED lightbulbs are right for you!" Meanwhile, in every other country where they did regulate prices for electricity directly, tangential products like LG LED lightbulbs would cost $3 a pop instead of $300.



Concierge and superlux electric services would pop up, along with vanity electric consultants even though there's a shortage of electric consultants and relatively long wait times to get a lightbulb screwed in. More and more PEs would get out of the volume game and just serve the wealthiest, offering regular home infrared scans and insulation touch-ups and other luxury services that are expensive, but mostly non-essential.



Political movements for years would cry "Elecriccare for all!" as the system grew ever more convoluted and the costs spiraled out of control.



Of course, people wouldn't actually care about Electriccare per se. It would all be a means to an end, and the only one people could imagine. Really the goal would be getting everyone access to electricity and lowering rates out of the stratosphere. But, since in this universe price regulation for electricity is out of the question, the best people can imagine is getting everyone on a government blackout insurance plan and hoping that price negotiations would occur that way rather than direct price regulation.



Yet even still people would insist that if we just restructure blackout insurance and have people call into their certified professional engineers on 100 degree mornings to make $200 copayments to get a referral to an air conditioner specialist to turn the AC on, we'll reduce electric consumption, and thereby control prices. We'll literally try absolutely everything and every institutional arrangment to control prices, except actually controlling prices.



Since we won't control prices, soon enough every blackout insurance plan and every address will have different pricing for every time of every day, leading to a massive bloated administrative staff that makes super-kludgy IT systems and builds ultra-complex smart-meters and codes and bills for all the variables.


If this sounds absurd to you, I think it should. But I also think it's pretty damned close to the reality of how the healthcare system works in the US. Pretty much an unregulated natural monopoly at the ultimate point of service. So they've got you by the shorthairs. And if you're not going to regulate prices on the natural monopoly, then it's going to eat up an ever-increasing share of national income. People will realize this and it will become a political issue. Soon this whole system's going to sprout up around it as people who can't see the forest through the trees try to solve the problem in myriad indirect ways. It will never work, because the unregulated natural monopoly's still an unregulated natural monopoly. And now all these ancillary appendages the system grew over time exist and have lobbying power.

Why doesn't this happen with electricity in the US? Because we either A) run the electric delivery system as public and municipally owned, or B) regulate prices directly in the event the system is privately owned. Either way, rates are set, usually by a quasi-judicial commission or board, and for any given 6 or 12 month period in any given municipality, the cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity is dictated, knowable, and constant. There may be some variation. Big industrial users will probably pay less per unit than residential users, etc. But there are a limited number of combinations and rules about that stuff. Power suppliers may be deregulated too, and consumers may be able to select them. But even there, the billing is mandated to occur through the distribution company and so the negotiations are not complex. And if people don't want to do that kind of shopping, they don't have to, and the electric company will provide a standard default supply offer that everyone gets just for signing up. Even then, some of the poorer areas of the country couldn't manage the infrastructure investment, so things like the TVA pop up and are still around. And in the 30s we sent guys through rural and urban residences that were unpowered and wired them up on Uncle Sam's dime. But we basically had the makings of a universal system with affordable prices.

I suspect we will never, ever have that in healthcare the way the system is designed today, where there is no price regulation, nor a universal negotiator, nor a standard offer service, nor even broad agreement on the concept that everyone deserves access.

This is extremely weird to me. Americans collectively have come to terms with the idea that electricity is essentially a universal right of citizenship, but healthcare is not. It's a really bizarre choice, out of step with the old hierarchy of needs. But here we are. People will kick and scream and fight you tooth and nail if you suggest that healthcare delivery prices ought to be regulated. But nobody bats an eye about the fact that electric delivery prices are regulated. Nobody calls it "socialized electric." Nobody even thinks about it. They just take it for granted that electricity will be available and affordable. What a concept!

Chris Coles
02-14-19, 12:04 PM
Kaiser seems to do some good work, and I don't have any direct experience with them. But they don't seem to really keep costs down either. In some ways, the Catholic Church and a few other university schemes have created a somewhat similar alignment around here.

But here's the thing: I think of hospitals as a natural monopoly and as something more or less like a public utility.

I mean, we live in a country where we are fine with regulated electric prices, but people scream socialism when you talk about regulating healthcare prices. People in the US don't realize what regulation does for them.

Imagine if the electric systems in the US were run like the healthcare system.



There'd be variable opaque pricing that changed by the street and by the second. It might cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to run the AC on that 100 degree day or run the heat when it drops to -20 degrees. And you wouldn't be able to know the price until after you used it and you got the bill. You'd just be terrified to use the heat or AC on the days when you most need it, aware that the price might ruin you and you have no control over it.



They'd force you to buy blackout insurance, otherwise they'd shut you off at times of peak load. Some companies might not even serve you without it. Each of the power suppliers would send you bills separately from the power distributors, system operators, and transmission companies, and most people would probably want some sort of third party insurance or other negotiator to handle rate negotiations even during regular times. The bills would be confusing and outrageous.



Likely 10% or so of the country would simply go without electricity on the regular. There would be counties in Texas with less than 50% of households having power.



Veterans, the poorest, and the elderly might get their own special government systems of blackout insurance to try to ensure they don't freeze to death. Maybe something called Electriccare or Electriccaid. These systems would vary enormously in effectiveness and coverage by state. Electric companies would complain that the rates those systems paid were below market rates.



Maybe in California you'd have Kaiser Electric, who managed to unify the distribution grid and the blackout insurance. But even if they did so, they'd still have to interact with other third party insurance companies and the three government systems. And they'd still have an unregulated natural monopoly at point of service. So prices would stay the highest in the world.



Over time, tangential businesses would pop up and become standard parts of the process. Backup batteries and generators with automatic refueling delivery services would become standard parts of the insurance package, because they'd be cheaper than if the insurance company just paid the price gouging of peak rates. Soon they'd be ubiquitous for the middle class, and every household would treat having a $30k battery in the basement and a giant generator running on hot days or cold nights as normal.



The lack of direct price regulation would lead to not only the electric sector eating up a greater share of GDP, but the strain and stress the expenses it causes would lead to ever more political solutions and insurance schemes in a futile attempt to indirectly get prices under control.



This would lead to ever more complicated regulations on everything but the goddamn prices. Soon you wouldn't be able to screw in a lightbulb yourself legally, and you'd have to hire someone with a postgrad degree to do it for you for hundreds or thousands of dollars. And they would be encouraged to ration them to try to get prices under control. It wouldn't work, but it would result in an ever more bloated advertising and marketing budget. "Ask your certified professional engineer if LG LED lightbulbs are right for you!" Meanwhile, in every other country where they did regulate prices for electricity directly, tangential products like LG LED lightbulbs would cost $3 a pop instead of $300.



Concierge and superlux electric services would pop up, along with vanity electric consultants even though there's a shortage of electric consultants and relatively long wait times to get a lightbulb screwed in. More and more PEs would get out of the volume game and just serve the wealthiest, offering regular home infrared scans and insulation touch-ups and other luxury services that are expensive, but mostly non-essential.



Political movements for years would cry "Elecriccare for all!" as the system grew ever more convoluted and the costs spiraled out of control.



Of course, people wouldn't actually care about Electriccare per se. It would all be a means to an end, and the only one people could imagine. Really the goal would be getting everyone access to electricity and lowering rates out of the stratosphere. But, since in this universe price regulation for electricity is out of the question, the best people can imagine is getting everyone on a government blackout insurance plan and hoping that price negotiations would occur that way rather than direct price regulation.



Yet even still people would insist that if we just restructure blackout insurance and have people call into their certified professional engineers on 100 degree mornings to make $200 copayments to get a referral to an air conditioner specialist to turn the AC on, we'll reduce electric consumption, and thereby control prices. We'll literally try absolutely everything and every institutional arrangment to control prices, except actually controlling prices.



Since we won't control prices, soon enough every blackout insurance plan and every address will have different pricing for every time of every day, leading to a massive bloated administrative staff that makes super-kludgy IT systems and builds ultra-complex smart-meters and codes and bills for all the variables.


If this sounds absurd to you, I think it should. But I also think it's pretty damned close to the reality of how the healthcare system works in the US. Pretty much an unregulated natural monopoly at the ultimate point of service. So they've got you by the shorthairs. And if you're not going to regulate prices on the natural monopoly, then it's going to eat up an ever-increasing share of national income. People will realize this and it will become a political issue. Soon this whole system's going to sprout up around it as people who can't see the forest through the trees try to solve the problem in myriad indirect ways. It will never work, because the unregulated natural monopoly's still an unregulated natural monopoly. And now all these ancillary appendages the system grew over time exist and have lobbying power.

Why doesn't this happen with electricity in the US? Because we either A) run the electric delivery system as public and municipally owned, or B) regulate prices directly in the event the system is privately owned. Either way, rates are set, usually by a quasi-judicial commission or board, and for any given 6 or 12 month period in any given municipality, the cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity is dictated, knowable, and constant. There may be some variation. Big industrial users will probably pay less per unit than residential users, etc. But there are a limited number of combinations and rules about that stuff. Power suppliers may be deregulated too, and consumers may be able to select them. But even there, the billing is mandated to occur through the distribution company and so the negotiations are not complex. And if people don't want to do that kind of shopping, they don't have to, and the electric company will provide a standard default supply offer that everyone gets just for signing up. Even then, some of the poorer areas of the country couldn't manage the infrastructure investment, so things like the TVA pop up and are still around. And in the 30s we sent guys through rural and urban residences that were unpowered and wired them up on Uncle Sam's dime. But we basically had the makings of a universal system with affordable prices.

I suspect we will never, ever have that in healthcare the way the system is designed today, where there is no price regulation, nor a universal negotiator, nor a standard offer service, nor even broad agreement on the concept that everyone deserves access.

This is extremely weird to me. Americans collectively have come to terms with the idea that electricity is essentially a universal right of citizenship, but healthcare is not. It's a really bizarre choice, out of step with the old hierarchy of needs. But here we are. People will kick and scream and fight you tooth and nail if you suggest that healthcare delivery prices ought to be regulated. But nobody bats an eye about the fact that electric delivery prices are regulated. Nobody calls it "socialized electric." Nobody even thinks about it. They just take it for granted that electricity will be available and affordable. What a concept!

And I always thought the solution was simple competition; that if you are faced with a powerful entity, taking more profit that necessary to achieve results, anyone could simply start up a competitor. Surely, that was always the underlying philosophy of a capital based society; the competitor was always going to have access to the necessary capital to allow them to compete. So, why not? What has changed?

seobook
02-14-19, 12:21 PM
And I always thought the solution was simple competition; that if you are faced with a powerful entity, taking more profit that necessary to achieve results, anyone could simply start up a competitor. Surely, that was always the underlying philosophy of a capital based society; the competitor was always going to have access to the necessary capital to allow them to compete. So, why not? What has changed?


lack of price transparency
heavy consolidation to scrub the market of actual competition
non-enforcement of antitrust laws COUPLED WITH making drug reimportation illegal to juice profit margins on them
forced purchasing of insurance
CON laws ... you have to get DIRECT COMPETITORS (and/or those bribed by them) to approve a certificate of need (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certificate_of_need) for you to be able to compete with them

dcarrigg
02-14-19, 01:09 PM
lack of price transparency
heavy consolidation to scrub the market of actual competition
non-enforcement of antitrust laws COUPLED WITH making drug reimportation illegal to juice profit margins on them
forced purchasing of insurance
CON laws ... you have to get DIRECT COMPETITORS (and/or those bribed by them) to approve a certificate of need (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certificate_of_need) for you to be able to compete with them



These are all huge factors. But even more than that, the truth is, I think, that for-profit competition never works in lots of healthcare scenarios. Even if you resolved all these, issues, nobody can shop for price when they're unconscious in the back of an ambulance. They can charge you literally whatever they want in the meanwhile. That's what I mean by natural monopoly at point of service. No time to drive an hour to the next hospital that's cheaper when you're in the middle of a heart attack. And there's only so many hospital beds any arbitrary geographic area can support. So it really does function like a natural monopoly. Worse? They can and will perform services without your consent, and you're still stuck with the bill, which you cannot know ahead of time. Worse than that? You can't always control what your doctor orders. If they put you on a brand name vs a generic or whatever when you're out, or coming to, what can you do? I've never gotten to pick what pain meds they put me on after a surgery. You can't control this stuff, but you do get billed for it.

The largest share of healthcare spending in the US still happens at hospitals. It's more money than all the retail drugs and physician and clinical services combined. If you've ever been in an ICU, you know the patients don't exactly have the luxury to "send price signals to the market." They're basically meat that's barely breathing. And the assumption is that they'll pay anything not to die. This is not a great environment into which to inject the profit motive. BUT, I still think it can be done reasonably, if prices are regulated. If they're not, as in the US, and they've got their hands on an unconscious lump of meat whom they can charge any amount they feel like charging without informed consent, then it's just a plain old extortion racket masquerading as "freedom." And people eat it up, I guess because they worship The Market®, or whatever. I always liked this scene. Who better than a crook to know when he's being shaken down?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7CVXO2pBLc

DSpencer
02-14-19, 01:31 PM
You're not wrong. I still don't think it would have a major effect on the underlying cost structure. Even if you abolish employer sponsored healthcare and force everyone on to the exchanges, the price would remain high for all the reasons I outlined earlier. The incentives just don't work; when you need a hospital stay, there's really no good way to shop around or even determine prices ahead of time. It all just reminds me of Crassus' private sector fire brigades. When your customers are necessarily vulnerable, you can squeeze them for whatever you want.

I'm not sure why you say there's no good way of determining prices for a hospital stay ahead of time. The vast majority of prices are negotiated by insurance companies ahead of time. I understand the argument that you can't negotiate the price of healthcare while you bleed out in an ambulance, but the reality is that is not the real problem with US healthcare. The hospitals are already required to treat you regardless of your ability to pay. If you're broke, that's their problem. If you're not, you probably have insurance that's negotiated the price in advance. I understand there's exceptions, but those aren't what's driving the US spending levels so high.

Another easy change: let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices. This is just self-imposed insanity that we won't let our largest healthcare payer negotiate prices for drugs.

Another easy change: allow for import of drugs from other countries. This is another scenario where the regulations hamstring us and then we decry the failure of our "free market".

The US essentially subsidizes drug innovations for the world. It's probably true that we would get less new drugs if we stopped. It also seems that we've reached the tipping point where affordability is the greater concern.

Maybe it still wouldn't be enough. But when we do everything but the obvious changes, it makes me question whether anyone is really trying.

dcarrigg
02-14-19, 02:04 PM
Different prices for different demos with different plans in different companies. There is no set price for an appendectomy. There are 75,000 different prices for different combinations of nonsense requiring a massive back-office (and lots of arbitrary judgement calls) just to figure out. It's like the blackout insurance all over again. Drug costs are a small fraction of hospital costs. I get that you have an instinctive aversion to regulated prices. But is the electric market really so horrible or socialist? I mean, even for free market fanatics, natural monopolies should still be a problem.

Just put ideology aside for a moment. Have you ever seen a hospital chargemaster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chargemaster)? Here's Norton Hospital in Kentucky (http://search.hospitalpriceindex.com/hospital/Norton-Healthcare/5192). Random example. It's actually a relatively cheap hospital. There are 1,567 pages of fees, each with 50 line-items on them. So you can see that I'm not making that 75,000 number up. Now compare that to Brigham and Women's here in Boston (https://www.partners.org/Assets/Documents/For-Patients/Financial-Assistance-Billing/Hospital-Charges/BWH-Standard-Charges.zip). Sorry, it's a .zip excel file. That's the only way they offer it. They have only maybe 7,000 or so charge codes. HC ASSEMBLY DRIVER PNEUM PACK #1006 costs $200,000. I have no ******* clue what that is, I can only pray to the Lord almighty in heaven I never need one.

Of course, these charges are the standard charges. Each insurance company negotiates some sort of discount off the sticker price for each individual plan. But here's the rub: You've got no way of knowing. There's literally 1,000 different codes for sterile supplies. You can't even fight these bills, because there's no way to even be sure services were rendered. All the negotiations in the world can't stop them from choosing to use one thing that's 10 times more expensive than a comparable thing in the course of treatment. And even if one hospital is cheaper than another (which matters at least for the deductible or out-of-network expenses, right?), there's no way to know or be sure. They don't even have apples-to-apples chargemaster categories. Instead of regulating prices, we turned it into the wild west, and now there's literally thousands upon thousands of pages of things you might be charged for once you step foot in the hospital, and there's no rational way to figure it out anymore.

Meanwhile, just a couple hundred miles north of me in Canada, they do it like this (https://www.qch.on.ca/uploads/Finance/Fees%20for%20Cdns%20without%20insurance.pdf). A single, intelligible page of regulated prices, even for non-covered, non-residents. They even have some for-profit hospitals. It's not impossible. But if we do nothing to regulate prices, we'll continue to have this rube goldberg madness. There are over 100,000 Americans employed in just figuring out hospital charges. About one for every MD. More people than work for Alphabet worldwide. They built pages and pages of charge lines for their own services. I mean, if you hold ideology aside, and look at it like an alien being dropped on earth examining different health systems, you'd surely have to conclude that the unregulated price madness of the US system is the most ludicrous system in the world.

DSpencer
02-14-19, 04:10 PM
Different prices for different demos with different plans in different companies. There is no set price for an appendectomy. There are 75,000 different prices for different combinations of nonsense requiring a massive back-office (and lots of arbitrary judgement calls) just to figure out. It's like the blackout insurance all over again. Drug costs are a small fraction of hospital costs. I get that you have an instinctive aversion to regulated prices. But is the electric market really so horrible or socialist? I mean, even for free market fanatics, natural monopolies should still be a problem.

Just put ideology aside for a moment. Have you ever seen a hospital chargemaster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chargemaster)? Here's Norton Hospital in Kentucky (http://search.hospitalpriceindex.com/hospital/Norton-Healthcare/5192). Random example. It's actually a relatively cheap hospital. There are 1,567 pages of fees, each with 50 line-items on them. So you can see that I'm not making that 75,000 number up. Now compare that to Brigham and Women's here in Boston (https://www.partners.org/Assets/Documents/For-Patients/Financial-Assistance-Billing/Hospital-Charges/BWH-Standard-Charges.zip). Sorry, it's a .zip excel file. That's the only way they offer it. They have only maybe 7,000 or so charge codes. HC ASSEMBLY DRIVER PNEUM PACK #1006 costs $200,000. I have no ******* clue what that is, I can only pray to the Lord almighty in heaven I never need one.

Of course, these charges are the standard charges. Each insurance company negotiates some sort of discount off the sticker price for each individual plan. But here's the rub: You've got no way of knowing. There's literally 1,000 different codes for sterile supplies. You can't even fight these bills, because there's no way to even be sure services were rendered. All the negotiations in the world can't stop them from choosing to use one thing that's 10 times more expensive than a comparable thing in the course of treatment. And even if one hospital is cheaper than another (which matters at least for the deductible or out-of-network expenses, right?), there's no way to know or be sure. They don't even have apples-to-apples chargemaster categories. Instead of regulating prices, we turned it into the wild west, and now there's literally thousands upon thousands of pages of things you might be charged for once you step foot in the hospital, and there's no rational way to figure it out anymore.

Meanwhile, just a couple hundred miles north of me in Canada, they do it like this (https://www.qch.on.ca/uploads/Finance/Fees%20for%20Cdns%20without%20insurance.pdf). A single, intelligible page of regulated prices, even for non-covered, non-residents. They even have some for-profit hospitals. It's not impossible. But if we do nothing to regulate prices, we'll continue to have this rube goldberg madness. There are over 100,000 Americans employed in just figuring out hospital charges. About one for every MD. More people than work for Alphabet worldwide. They built pages and pages of charge lines for their own services. I mean, if you hold ideology aside, and look at it like an alien being dropped on earth examining different health systems, you'd surely have to conclude that the unregulated price madness of the US system is the most ludicrous system in the world.

There is no doubt that the new transparency law is nearly worthless when the requirement allows the descriptions to be vague and cryptic to the point where they are unintelligible. Doubly so given that these prices are not the actual price for almost anyone.

Nonetheless, the complexity is not completely artificial. Sure, an electric company has a simple bill. They also sell a single product. Walmart and Lowes also have tens of thousands or more products on their price lists. Don't get me wrong, it can be simpler and it should be simpler. But, there's kind of a limit. There's thousands of medications alone, are they supposed to charge the same price for everything?

That Canadian price list is very simple. However, I find myself confused. Can you tell me how much it costs to get a total knee replacement? Or a c-section? Or a 2 level lumbar fusion? As far as I can tell, it's basically useless in determining how much something would actually cost.

The best transparency I'm aware of is probably the Surgery Center of Oklahoma:

https://surgerycenterok.com/pricing/

That's still a few hundred different prices and that's at an outpatient surgery center. And it only works because they don't take insurance and require payment in full up front.

dcarrigg
02-14-19, 04:21 PM
There is no doubt that the new transparency law is nearly worthless when the requirement allows the descriptions to be vague and cryptic to the point where they are unintelligible. Doubly so given that these prices are not the actual price for almost anyone.

Nonetheless, the complexity is not completely artificial. Sure, an electric company has a simple bill. They also sell a single product. Walmart and Lowes also have tens of thousands or more products on their price lists. Don't get me wrong, it can be simpler and it should be simpler. But, there's kind of a limit. There's thousands of medications alone, are they supposed to charge the same price for everything?

That Canadian price list is very simple. However, I find myself confused. Can you tell me how much it costs to get a total knee replacement? Or a c-section? Or a 2 level lumbar fusion? As far as I can tell, it's basically useless in determining how much something would actually cost.

The best transparency I'm aware of is probably the Surgery Center of Oklahoma:

https://surgerycenterok.com/pricing/

That's still a few hundred different prices and that's at an outpatient surgery center. And it only works because they don't take insurance and require payment in full up front.

Does the electric company sell a single product? Or does it appear that way thanks to regulation? I mean, if you stop and think about it off the top of your head, they're selling poles, wires, distribution lines, transmission lines, pole space for telecom use, repair services, ballasts, street lighting, transformers, ground trenches, load balancing and monitoring services, interconnection services, transfer stations and substations, power transition services, tree clearing services, preventative maintenance services, billing passthrough services for third party power providers, demand-side management programs, etc etc etc.

The regulators say, "Wrap all that stuff up into a standard kWh charge." But if they didn't, I'd bet you anything there'd be 5,000 charges for all these little things meted out. Because they could. And since they own the only grid connected to your house, they could charge you whatever. Thus is the nature of natural monopoly.

Chris Coles
02-14-19, 05:48 PM
So, what you need is a new mindset within the insurance industry, prepared to directly challenge the existing system. That surely comes down to leadership; so the answer is to create a completely new mindset within the insurance industry. That in turn requires someone start a debate that will show up the present lack of the required leadership.

It beggers belief that there are no professionals within the insurance industry that see the need for reform.

vt
02-15-19, 01:56 AM
The broken payer business model


https://www.innosight.com/insight/after-the-breakups-big-payers-find-vertical-love-in-new-faces/

Chris Coles
02-15-19, 03:09 AM
Then the way forward is to include the capability towards patient travel; towards a much more competitive location on the planet.

Polish_Silver
02-15-19, 06:28 AM
That is an excellent point, DC. We need either competition or price regulation. In most places, medical services are not a monopoly, except that institutions keep the prices secret and prevent
any price comparison. Japan has regulated medical prices very succesfully. The problem here is collusion, information assymetry, lack of choice etc.
Physicians are licensed by the state. So what if part of the
licensing criteria was that they had to publish prices, treatment outcomes, etc. All this stuff gets reported now to the insurance companies, but not to the consumer.

Most of the cost is chronic degenerative illness, which means there is time to plan, compare prices, switch providers. But how can you choose with no information?
I think a state or university could set up a clinic open to the general public (or to employers) and offer care at much lower prices. I am surprised larger corporations (like my own)
have not created internal medical service systems.

dcarrigg
02-15-19, 09:27 AM
Then the way forward is to include the capability towards patient travel; towards a much more competitive location on the planet.

Hear, hear! I was talking in an earlier thread about the US potentially becoming a net exporter of students by 2030. And this will be a big part of that.

One weird thing that's popping up lately is universities largely running their own health insurance and delivery racket, and not even just ones with med schools. They'll set up a treatment clinic and pharmacy and then push to sell or auto-enroll students in their fee and insurance schemes. They require students to have coverage. The insurance itself can easily run over $5k per year.

So let's get concrete. Stanford's up to $5,208. Relatively cheap, by US insurance standards, but students are also a younger, healthier population generally. Thing is, on top of that, there's a health fee of $217 per quarter, so about $6k per year we're up to now. But that's not all. Need to be admitted to Stanford Hospital during that time? $500 co-pay. Then there's a deductible. Want to use the medical center you pay $217 per quarter fees to access and $5,208 per year to insure against? You pay between $25 and $35 co-pays each time depending on what you go for. Go to any other hospital or doctor (say you went home for the summer), and you owe 30% of the bill in co-insurance for certain covered procedures, for many others (including all mental health, etc), you owe 100% and insurance will not cover it.

Big take-away: It's probably easy to drop $40,000 in health costs alone on the cost of a 4-year education there, even if one is not very sick. That's significant, even if tuition is running a bit over $200,000 for 4 years. It's a 20% adder during a time when many are not earning income. But, let's say you get a side-job. CA minimum is up to $11/hr now. Say you worked about ~20 hours at a part-time job for that $11: that would only buy you only the health fees, and wouldn't even touch tuition or living expenses. Now, mommy and daddy might still claim you as a tax dependent and keep you on their family plans during this time, thanks to the delayed adulthood provisions from Obamacare. But doing so can have other negative student aid consequences when it comes time to fill out the FAFSA. And it might cost mommy or daddy more. Not to mention all the kids who don't have parents willing or able to do it.

You can see how foreign schools look better and better to middle class Americans and American schools look worse and worse to foreign students when you look at it this way. Top schools like Stanford will probably always have some pull for princesses and emirs around the world. But the layer just under them, and everything below, maybe not. But can you imagine, say, paying £7,500 or so per year just in student health insurance and fees? Oxford's whole tuition is what? £9,200? You'll pay that just for standard health coverage at comparable US schools. And it's growing compounded at 7% or so per year, doubling every 10, eating up a bigger and bigger share of the pie. While we spin our wheels about free markets and competition, it will just get worse and worse.

Lots of America's competitive edge rests solely on past reputation at this point. We're coasting on it. And if we don't get our act together, as more people wake up and realize the halcyon days are over and prices are really high here and quality not so great, trouble can brew up easily. The brain drain thing's a real threat. Combine anti-immigrant sentiment with outrageous university costs and health costs, and any animosity with huge countries like India or China, and you've got a recipe for net out-flow of students.

So think about that:

1. The US experienced a 6.6% drop in international student enrollment this year, on top of a 3.3% drop last year. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-students/fewer-foreign-students-coming-to-united-states-for-second-year-in-row-survey-idUSKCN1NI0EN)
2. US students fleeing the US to study are up 2.3% this year, and have been growing steadily. Anecdotally, I think they're some of the sharpest middle class public school kids.
3. Health costs slowed between 2013 and 2014, but are now back up to between 5%-7% increases per year and growing since 2015.
4. Despite this, US life expectancy has dropped for consecutive years on end.
5. And health costs are still the number one source of bankruptcy in the US (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/05/05/this-is-the-no-1-reason-americans-file-for-bankruptcy/101148136/).

So here's what we have:

1. Fewer smart kids coming in.
2. More smart kids going out.
3. Unaffordable care prices, growing exponentially.
4. Falling life expectancy despite it.
5. Hospitals that have become a game of financial Russian roulette.

Time is not on our side on this one. I really don't think Americans can handle another decade of price doubling coupled with the rest of these trends. If there's not major change before 2030, we're gonna be in a very bad spot.

More than that, I don't think most people realize how close we are to the knife's edge on this one. The mandate exemption law not only takes the penalty for being uninsured away, but it also makes offering defined contribution (rather than real benefit) plans more attractive. It's especially attractive to small businesses. Where you may have gotten health insurance before, now you get the equivalent of a $300 per month coupon to go buy it on the exchange. And that $300 will not go up to keep up with health price inflation. With no tax penalty on the other side, we're in a rough spot. And states get strapped when recessions hit, and roll back medicaid coverage. It happened last time, but medicaid was much smaller then, before obamacare.

I think hardly anyone has priced in the possibility of a sudden, massive shift of about 10-50 million Americans from insured to uninsured in the wake of a recession, and the effects that will have rippling through all sorts of consumer spending and consumer debt. But I also think events have conspired to make such a thing much more probable, and increasingly likely with time.

DSpencer
02-15-19, 11:24 AM
Does the electric company sell a single product? Or does it appear that way thanks to regulation? I mean, if you stop and think about it off the top of your head, they're selling poles, wires, distribution lines, transmission lines, pole space for telecom use, repair services, ballasts, street lighting, transformers, ground trenches, load balancing and monitoring services, interconnection services, transfer stations and substations, power transition services, tree clearing services, preventative maintenance services, billing passthrough services for third party power providers, demand-side management programs, etc etc etc.

The regulators say, "Wrap all that stuff up into a standard kWh charge." But if they didn't, I'd bet you anything there'd be 5,000 charges for all these little things meted out. Because they could. And since they own the only grid connected to your house, they could charge you whatever. Thus is the nature of natural monopoly.

I think it's a stretch to say that hospital billing would be as simple as electric utility billing if only it were regulated. But we don't have to think about it in hypothetical terms anyway. If all it takes to simplify the system is for the government regulators to step in and put their foot down, then why is it still so complicated?

The Federal government already has the power to control this. The majority of patients in hospitals are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. If they say "CMS now pays a flat hourly rate for hospital care" then it's done. The hospitals will either bill by the hour or not get paid by CMS and lose ~60% of their patients. The hospitals don't get to decide how this works. CMS decides what is covered, how much it pays, what codes and forms must be used, what quality standards must be met, etc.

If Medicare did a good job, I don't think we'd be having this discussion. We'd already have some kind of single payer or medicare for all or public option. It would have been a tale of two payers where Medicare was obviously better and everyone except for insurance company employees would be begging for its expansion.

LazyBoy
02-15-19, 11:40 AM
So what are the "good" countries to study in now? (And what language should I make sure my daughter studies?) Germany?


Actually, my boss (a German transplant) was just on a rant about (stem) PhD programs in the U.S. vs Europe. He thinks the U.S. programs are too directed. (Basically, that the U.S. prof typically finds your research topic for you.) He has organizations in both regions and hires PhDs.

dcarrigg
02-15-19, 12:38 PM
I think it's a stretch to say that hospital billing would be as simple as electric utility billing if only it were regulated. But we don't have to think about it in hypothetical terms anyway. If all it takes to simplify the system is for the government regulators to step in and put their foot down, then why is it still so complicated?

The Federal government already has the power to control this. The majority of patients in hospitals are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. If they say "CMS now pays a flat hourly rate for hospital care" then it's done. The hospitals will either bill by the hour or not get paid by CMS and lose ~60% of their patients. The hospitals don't get to decide how this works. CMS decides what is covered, how much it pays, what codes and forms must be used, what quality standards must be met, etc.

If Medicare did a good job, I don't think we'd be having this discussion. We'd already have some kind of single payer or medicare for all or public option. It would have been a tale of two payers where Medicare was obviously better and everyone except for insurance company employees would be begging for its expansion.

The law doesn't allow for this. CMS can't just do it. They're not allowed to regulate prices. Ditto with state health insurance commissioners. They can't either. At least not without federal approval. Average charges range from over $400k per inpatient visit to under $1k, depending on the hospital. That's the Medicare range. Lord knows what that range is for private insurers. Medicaid is even more complex. There are special higher reimbursement rates for FQHCs, look-alikes, and others vs. standard rates. And they vary all over the place too.

But the whole thing is that the whole existence of the payment intermediary arose due to a lack of price regulatory power. Once people have it in their heads that a payment intermediary is necessary, the best they can imagine is something like Medicare for All, because "better negotiating power" is the only way they can imagine to control prices and cover everyone. Of course, if you want to control prices, you could actually just do it directly.

But whatever. One way or the other, a change is gonna come. At current price growth rates, average family premiums will equal 100% of median family income by 2033 (https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20180705.24704/full/). The only question is whether we stubbornly cling to the existing system until we hit a second great depression, or whether we actually do something about it before then. Doing nothing will precipitate a complete retool of the US health sector almost as quickly as doing something at this point. The status quo is no more sustainable than radical change.

California was looking at regulating prices at least for the 60% you're talking about (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/11/17226574/california-health-care-pricing-regulation). So far no go. There are lots of entrenched players in the politics game side of this.

dcarrigg
02-15-19, 01:03 PM
So what are the "good" countries to study in now? (And what language should I make sure my daughter studies?) Germany?


Actually, my boss (a German transplant) was just on a rant about (stem) PhD programs in the U.S. vs Europe. He thinks the U.S. programs are too directed. (Basically, that the U.S. prof typically finds your research topic for you.) He has organizations in both regions and hires PhDs.

I think it's heavily dependent on what she'd want to study, what kind of schools she's looking for, and the sorts of places she can get into.

Germany's a good option (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678). American students heading there have been increasing by 20% y/y. No tuition in many places. Good schools. Usually only have to have about $7k in the bank for the visa. PhD process is tougher than the US, but respected. UK is easier, but somewhat less well regarded. Might want to check out Luxembourg (https://wwwen.uni.lu/international/courses_taught_in_english). Norway often has no tuition either, and cheap Norway Air flights from JFK. They have a range of programs in English. (https://www.studyinnorway.no/What-can-I-study)

If you want something closer, Canada's not a terrible option. Easy flights. If you're in North Jersey, may not even be that bad of a drive. If you're thinking some sort of liberal arts school or other sort of specialized PUI, the top ones north of the border are running maybe $24k per year USD all-in (room, board, healthcare, tuition, fees, etc). Compare it to comparable US institutions that'll probably run you $70k. Canadian class sizes might tend to be a bit bigger at those things, but they're pretty good, and they generally are directly comparable to US degrees.

Of course, the rest of Europe isn't a bad option either. And there are increasingly good options in Asia too. This page is pretty good (https://www.bachelorsportal.com). Think up a major you'd want to study and a country you might be interested in and see what the options and costs and visa requirements are. So just type in "biology" and "europe" or something and sort by tuition. It's not perfect, but it's a good jumping off point to hunt down affordable English-language programs. Hell, if you can manage to go to Ireland for $4k per year tuition, get the experience and save a pile of cash, why the hell not?

DSpencer
02-15-19, 01:52 PM
The law doesn't allow for this. CMS can't just do it. They're not allowed to regulate prices. Ditto with state health insurance commissioners. They can't either. At least not without federal approval. Average charges range from over $400k per inpatient visit to under $1k, depending on the hospital. That's the Medicare range. Lord knows what that range is for private insurers. Medicaid is even more complex. There are special higher reimbursement rates for FQHCs, look-alikes, and others vs. standard rates. And they vary all over the place too.

But the whole thing is that the whole existence of the payment intermediary arose due to a lack of price regulatory power. Once people have it in their heads that a payment intermediary is necessary, the best they can imagine is something like Medicare for All, because "better negotiating power" is the only way they can imagine to control prices and cover everyone. Of course, if you want to control prices, you could actually just do it directly.

But whatever. One way or the other, a change is gonna come. At current price growth rates, average family premiums will equal 100% of median family income by 2033 (https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20180705.24704/full/). The only question is whether we stubbornly cling to the existing system until we hit a second great depression, or whether we actually do something about it before then. Doing nothing will precipitate a complete retool of the US health sector almost as quickly as doing something at this point. The status quo is no more sustainable than radical change.

California was looking at regulating prices at least for the 60% you're talking about (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/11/17226574/california-health-care-pricing-regulation). So far no go. There are lots of entrenched players in the politics game side of this.

I should have been more precise, but it's just semantics to me. The federal government controls Medicare. The federal government regulates the prices that Medicare pays for healthcare services. The federal government controls how a hospital must bill for their services if they want to get paid by Medicare. Despite all that, the billing for Medicare services is not simple like a utility bill.

Personally, the public option seems more appealing to me all the time. If it's truly a self sufficient program paid for by the people who use it, then it's not "socialized medicine". If it's voluntary then nobody can complain about being forced into some dystopian government program. If it ends up being significantly better, then it will just become a de facto single payer anyway.

dcarrigg
02-15-19, 02:08 PM
I guess I just want to be clear about one thing:

The federal government does not regulate the prices Medicare pays for healthcare services in any way that's recognizably true price regulation. The federal government does negotiate the prices Medicare pays for healthcare services to an extent.

There's a big difference between public utility rate setting and CMS negotiated Medicare charge rates. The hospital methods are nearly incomprehensible and complicated for the scope of what we can do here. But look at the clinical and lab price setting. How do they do it?

1. Establish an advisory panel made up of industry players to recommend rates.
2. Consult with panel and take panel recommendations under advisement.
3. Collect private payer data from sample reporting labs.
4. Verify data and estimate market rate for private insurance payments.
5. Do a rain dance and say a voodoo chant.
6. Select a price somewhere between the panel recommendations and the private rates for last year (adjusted for prospective price inflation).
7. Negotiate with providers to see if they'll accept that price, which 90% of them do, because look at the previous steps.

This is a fundamentally different process than public utility rate setting. That works more like this:

1. Quasi-judicial board or commission calls a rate hearing.
2. The state defends ratepayers, the utilities request higher amounts.
3. Costs are calculated and questioned. Corporate books are open to regulators.
4. Board or panel makes a ruling and issues a rate tariff based on the case.
5. Rate goes into effect on the date ordered by the commission.

The former case is a convoluted way to attempt to back into market rates. There is no real hard force behind it. The goal isn't to price-set or control rates. The goal is only to mimic imagined market rates. But the fox runs the henhouse. The panel's made up of industry, and every surveyed provider knows if they lower their rates for private insurers, they'll get screwed on their Medicare rates next year. Consequently rates never go down. The latter is an adversarial process that takes real costs, inflation, and depreciation etc. into account, but which at times will drive prices down and control them.

I guess, technically, these are both under the umbrella of "regulation."

But they're two very different things.

Polish_Silver
02-16-19, 09:35 AM
Hear, hear! I was talking in an earlier thread about the US potentially becoming a net exporter of students by 2030. And this will be a big part of that.



I will not shell out $200k for my girl to go to US college.
Not worth it.
She'd be better off to put the $200k in dividend stocks and take a two year course in pipe welding.
Come out of it with near 0 debt and excellent career prospects.

What I expect is that she will go to college in Canada or central europe (she is fluent in Polish).


The perspective she will get from 4 years in another country would greatly out weigh any advantage
from going to a "top school" in America.

(And I'm the one who studied at one of these "top schools")

Tuition and Health Care: the public policy & cultural bogies that are ruining this country, even more than FIRE and the Military.
(not that the military cost isn't bad eough)

vt
02-16-19, 09:32 PM
I've been with Kaiser in the Virginia area for 5 years. It is the most efficient, best service, good doctors I've ever seen.

Wife and I use for Medicare supplemental and cost savings far better than others.

I have my employee covered by Kaiser for about 40% less than other programs.She is not on medicare; only 55. I pay 100% of her
health care.

Kaiser can also cover vision, dental, and hearing for a small amount more.

Kaiser just announced discount meal delivery, medical alert system, and personalized home care.

Kaiser should be the model for health care nationwide.

Doctors are salaried and have full benefits.

vt
02-16-19, 10:07 PM
Republicans an Democrats have let FIRE get away with mayhem for decades. They've done the same with healthcare.

Both parties are bought and paid for.

Government at all levels is too large and inefficient. Many corporations are too. Too many business categories are anti competitive and exclude
innovation.

The left has caused education to become bloated and biased. It was biased on the right 50 years ago then started shifting toward reasonably moderate. Now it's gone too far left. There is no questioning, no respect for other opinions, no debate and no opening of minds.

This is why both parties must be replaced and the entire system rebooted to serv all Americans.