Economist here, I want to rant about why I don't tell people

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Mona Pereth
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14 Oct 2022, 10:38 am

stratozyck wrote:
One of the fallacies of neoliberalism and the way free trade was sold to the West in the 1980s-1990s was that while there may be "winners," and "losers" in trade, if the country as a whole is better off you can just tax the winners to compensate the losers.

It works in an algebraic model.

But in reality, the "winners" just buy lobbyists to prevent any compensation.

A lot of American tech companies basically took technology developed at publicly funded US universities (for the most part, anyways), and made trillions of market value by offshoring production to Asia. They benefited greatly from free markets.

In neoliberal trade theory, this is, "great, cool lets tax them more to compensate the high school educated worker who now makes $8 instead of $15 with benefits

In reality, the winners bought lobbyists and use that to keep compensation out of the question.

Not just lobbyists, but also propagandists (e.g. via Fox News) to convince large numbers of people that such compensation would be evil.

stratozyck wrote:
The field of economics has slowly been realizing this. For example, Paul Krugman - a guy that could be said to be the face of free trade in the 1980s and 1990s - wrote an op ed not too long ago saying we got it wrong. There is growing evidence that the rapid globalization hit rural America hard and there was no compensation.

So, when it comes to economics, there are two things to remember:

1) what is optimal

2) what is probable

1) What is optimal is people should be for more education spending, more social safety nets for people left out of globalization, etc.

2) What is probable is some anti free trade nationalist comes along and shuts the whole thing down because people are suspect of "free money from the government" and xenophobia is a powerful marketing tool.

What do most mainstream economists now think should be done about this?

stratozyck wrote:
In Europe, there are left wing as well as right wing nationalists who both agree in less free trade.

In the US, the closest thing we have to a left wing nationalist is Bernie Sanders. (For the record, I viscerally hate Bernie Sanders as a person but he can be correct about a lot of things but is dishonest about a lot as well).

What are some of the things you consider Bernie Sanders to be correct about?

What are some of the things you consider him to be dishonest about?

What about him do you viscerally hate?


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aghogday
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14 Oct 2022, 2:42 pm



"In June 2022, 61% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, up from a low of 52% in April 2021 and 55% in June 2021.
- Average savings dropped $517 from $11,724 in May 2022 to $10,757 in June 2022.
- The biggest rise in paycheck-to-paycheck consumers was in consumers earning between $100,000 and $150,000, up 11 percentage points from May 2022 to 52% in June 2022.
- The average consumer stores 11% of their savings in either stocks or bonds, yet half of all stockholders reported that their portfolios recently lost value in the last three months.
- An estimated 33.5 million — or 13% — of U.S. consumers spent more than they earned in the past six months."

It's True Americans Could Use Some More Schooling Not Only in Macroeconomics

Yet Surely Microeconomics too; And It's Good To Have A PHD Level Educated Economist
In 'the Rooms' of the 'Wrong Planet' to Dispel Myths Like The President of the United States

Can Single Handedly Control the Price of Oil in the Whole World; Although Close And
More Intimate 'Trump' Relationships With the Saudis Carry Some Weight it Seems

In The Psychology of Economics on the Macroeconomic Level in This Case too;

Not Unlike the Benefits of Having Educated Biologists on the Wrong Planet As Well
to Dismiss Myths Scientifically That Gender And Sex is Only Binary As Such too;

True, It's Easy Enough to Look Up the Facts of the Matter Online; Yet Understanding
Every Nook And Cranny Does Require Education As Well As Frigging Common Sense;

As A Federal Employee Most of my Life And Now A Federal Retiree At Early Social
Security Age too, Recent Polling Suggests That Only 2 Percent of Americans Are

Satisfied With Current Economic Conditions; i Surely See the Issues of Inflation For Others;

However, For me at A Personal Level it is A Huge Windfall These Entire Pandemic Years So
Far As Cost of Living Increases in the Federally Guaranteed Lifelong Benefits i Receive Now

Are Increasing to the Point Where A New Car Could Be Afforded With the Additional Monthly Benefits.

And the Covid Injections of Cash into the Household With my Wife, Built a New Board-on-Board Fence as usually
Replacement of Privacy Fences Are Held off Until last for Other Issues With Potential Scarcity to Be Taken Care of First.

My Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, And Yes Literal Religion of Microeconomics May Be Summarized

Bare-Free And Yes Even

Briefly As Living Naked
Enough Whole Complete

As Close to Nothing to Add
And Subtract Making Life
Joy In Every Way Possible Now;

True, it Helps to Be Financially
Independent as Cash Flow is No Issue;

And As A Lifelong Practice of Life, it Truly
Helps to Be Born With An Autotelic Personality,
Hyperthymic As Such too; And Seek And Find Flow Activities
As A Practice of Life in Laser Focus; Yes, Constantly Increasing

Levels of Human Potential in Effortless Ease of Wu-Wei-Like-Flow

Yet i Don't Work For Any Paymaster so i Get to Seek and Find it
All Free With No Lessons From Anyone Else At All For Full Life Satisfaction Now.

My Mother Lived Off of 500 Dollars A Month into Her Retirement off Her Meager
Social Security Check; She Had A Subsidized Older Folks Apartment For About
100 Bucks A Month; 50 Dollars in Utilities; and She Refused Additional Social
Security Supplemental Entitlements As That Was Enough For Her to Be Satisfied in Life;

However, Her Most Valuable Gift;

Just like me in Life Was Her Ability

To Generate Her Own Happiness Within;

Just Effortless, Enjoying the Simplest Pleasures in Life Complete.

True, At Core Economics Is Microeconomics Most Indeed; Yet of Course

in Terms of MacroEconomics, if The Entire Society Were to Fail this Way We All Go Down With 'The Ship;'

Yet Of Course Those

Who Are Gifted And
Develop Inner Tools

Are Most Definitely More
Likely to Rise From the Wreck of the Ship.

Our Society Has An Externally Based System of

Economics, Mostly; Sadly The Inner Part That May

Make You A Millionaire By Middle Age As You Don't
Need Nearly As Much Money TO SPEND, IF Your Happiness is Generated
Within in Free Activities in A Blissful Flow of Life Achieving A Plateau

of 'Nirvana' These
Ways Most Hours of Every Day;

Even Guaranteed Interest Rates
Like Whole Life Insurance Policies
With Regular Savings Additions; Yes,
Locked in at 4 Percent, Decades Ago

Will Grow Indeed Like Mold in the Bank;

Retirement Benefits From the Government Are
Surely A Sweet Spot that May Be Achieved Life Long;

However, It Takes A Whole lot of Discipline and Humility
to Stick With The Same Job in Golden Handcuffs that Way Indeed...

That Part Almost killed me By Age 47 And took 66 months of my Life
in many Stress Induced illnesses; However As 'They' (me) Say Hell Passes and

Heaven Replaces Hell

in Return of A Fairy
Tale Ending Finally Come
True At Least for the Last
Almost 111 Months for me in
4 Days; It's True, in Hell You Count The
Days in that Kind of Microeconomic SCaRCiTY

in Every Way Imaginable And Beyond Imagination
Too; And True After That Ya Come to Count Every
Day In Heaven in Abundance As The Colors Never End to Come New...

The Levels of Mental Illness in The United States Are Rising in Tandem
With Pay-Check-to-Pay-Check Living; And 90 Percent of Folks See A Mental
Health Crisis in the United States; And 50 Percent of Parents Suggest Their
Children Suffer the Same in Accordance With Recent Polling As Reported;

Oh Lord, 'Human Pandemics
of Loneliness' too; It's True

Economics is So Much More
Than MacroEconomics Indeed

When it Comes to True Scarcity

At the Personal Level of Microeconomics For Real...

We May Be one of the Richest Countries in the World
Yet When You Take into Account the Frowns in the Day
of A Life of Most Americans The ScarCiTY Comes Through

As We Continually Become Even More Ripe For Demagogues to Take control

As When Folks Become That Desperate in Microeconomic Way Indeed They Are Looking

For Whatever

Possible

Change
That May
Come Their Way...

The Leadership in Our
Country Reflects the Nature of
This Economic Beast for Real;

Social Sciences Must Take an
Interdisciplinary Approach Indeed
to Come Close to Understanding
A Human Condition As F'ed Up As the One that is Real Now.

i Don't Have Any PHD's Yet i Do Have Degrees in Anthropology,
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, And Health Science too With Some
Masters Levels Work After That Before Economic Scarcities Said Get A Job;

Get Some Kind
of Job Except for
the Three Part Time
Ones That Got me
Through A Triple
Major in College.

And it's True, Working in And
Managing A Military Bowling Center
Taught me More About the Human
Condition Than Those Three Degrees

Could Ever Come Close to Do; And Fortunately

For me The Last 5 Years of Federal Employment
Meant 5 Job Changes And Promotions and Double
Pay in 5 Years Before What is Commonly Described
As Autism Burnout or 'General Adaptation Syndrome'

Took me down to the Bottom Floor of Existence in A Life
Threat of A Synergy of 19 Medical Disorders; Yet On the Other
Hand, i Got to Retire At An NF-4 Grade Level Equivalent to An

O-4 Marine Major
in Terms of Retirement Pay;

What i Learned From That Experience

is Money Means Nothing When You Are
So Sick You Just Wanna Die; As True One
of the Disorders Was Type Two Trigeminal
Neuralgia, The Worst Pain Known to Humankind
From Wake to Sleep, No Drug Would Touch For 66 Months,
Literally Assessed as the 'Suicide Disease;' Yep That's the Bottom

of the Bowl

of Economic
Scarcity at the

Microeconomic
Level in Most Every
Way; However, A Roof, and
Some Food, And A Loving
Wife, And A Few Loving Family
Members Loved me More Than i Did For Damned Sure...

In Terms of Economics, Both at the Macro And Micro
Level it's All About

Perspective Indeed

Per What We Value in
Definition of What
Scarcity and Abundance Even is...

One Thing For Sure, my Father's Side of
the Family Wanted me to Go into Business
School to Use my Straight 'A' Intelligence
To Make A Whole Lot of Money; Science

Shows Mechanical Cognition to the Exclusion
of Social Empathic Activities in Life Wither Away

Our Organic Souls This Way; i Intuited As Much Then
At the Beginning of College And Said No Thanks i'm

Gonna Focus
on Being
Human Instead;

Yet You See, i Was

Just a Canary in A Coal
Mine Then; Now, So Many

Other Folks Are Suffocating
in Coal Mines of Cultural Making Now...

Far Beyond the Autism Spectrum Indeed...

In Fact, These Days Most Everywhere i Go

i Tend to Be The Least Autistic Person in

Terms of Social Reciprocal Communication For Real...

Indeed, There Are Many Economic Scarcities of Humanity Now...

And of Course The Statistics In our Modern Days DO Reflect This For Real...

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-number-of-consumers-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-has-increased-year-over-year-across-all-income-levels-301596552.html



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stratozyck
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14 Oct 2022, 3:08 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
To be fair historically I think the American left has been pretty sceptical of free trade. The Clintons and Obama were generally free traders, but Biden has been more protectionist, “buy American”, etc. There were some Democrats prepared to come out swinging for free trade in the last campaign, but I think most people have forgotten than John Delaney and Michael Bennet ever ran.


I wish we had a multiparty system. We really need about 4. You'd have two right of center and 2 left of center, and one of the left of center and one of the right of center ones could end up voting together on some things.

I personally prefer a free trade world where everyone is peaceful, but the free trade models don't account for enriching a future enemy. The free trade models of China never took into account the impact of increased defense expenditures needed to prevent China from bullying its neighbors.

My personal belief system is rooted in more than economics as I believe a state is important and it is vital that the state ensure its working class is physically, mentally, and financially able to have children. When the working class cannot afford to have children, they lose the will to defend the state.

The rich depend on the working class to field the armies to defend their interests. Its not their kids. If a country gets invaded, the rich all fly their kids out.

So, while I understand and accept the benefits of free trade, the costs are not nothing and get magnified when a society doesn't commit to those that are left behind in free trade.



Mona Pereth
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14 Oct 2022, 4:01 pm

stratozyck wrote:
I wish we had a multiparty system. We really need about 4. You'd have two right of center and 2 left of center, and one of the left of center and one of the right of center ones could end up voting together on some things.

Problem is, given the overall structure of the American electoral system, it is simply not feasible to have more than 2 major parties.

Multi-party systems can work well in parliamentary systems with proportional representation by party (e.g. in Israel and in some European countries). This system naturally results in lots of small political parties that then form coalitions as they please.

In the U.S., on the other hand, political parties have no official constitutional role. Members of Congress officially represent districts, not parties. Political parties have power when, and only when, they can win the majority of votes in a given district. Hence a political party is worthless unless either it already has a majority or it has a strong chance of becoming a majority. Given these constraints, a two-party system is the only feasible outcome.

Therefore, here in the U.S.A., most political reform movements need to work, primarily, outside of any official political party apparatus. Once such a movement has either enough people or enough money, it can then exert pressure on one or both political parties.

stratozyck wrote:
I personally prefer a free trade world where everyone is peaceful, but the free trade models don't account for enriching a future enemy. The free trade models of China never took into account the impact of increased defense expenditures needed to prevent China from bullying its neighbors.

My personal belief system is rooted in more than economics as I believe a state is important and it is vital that the state ensure its working class is physically, mentally, and financially able to have children. When the working class cannot afford to have children, they lose the will to defend the state.

The rich depend on the working class to field the armies to defend their interests. Its not their kids. If a country gets invaded, the rich all fly their kids out.

So, while I understand and accept the benefits of free trade, the costs are not nothing and get magnified when a society doesn't commit to those that are left behind in free trade.

So the question is: how to build an effective political movement to tax the rich and defend the interests of those who are left behind in free trade. Such a movement would need to be strong enough and well-organized enough to counteract, effectively, the extremely well-funded propaganda about how horribly evil it is to tax the rich and to give anyone "free money" for higher education, subsidized housing, etc.


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DW_a_mom
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14 Oct 2022, 8:25 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
To be fair historically I think the American left has been pretty sceptical of free trade. The Clintons and Obama were generally free traders, but Biden has been more protectionist, “buy American”, etc. There were some Democrats prepared to come out swinging for free trade in the last campaign, but I think most people have forgotten than John Delaney and Michael Bennet ever ran.


The pandemic did a good job of pointing out the problems with relying on too much from import/export. I don't see Biden as protectionist nearly as much as I see him pragmatically aware of (a) the supply chain, and how it had become too vulnerable to issues outside our borders and (b) the way we had over-outsourced the middle of our economy, leaving a large section of employable talent inappropriately utilized.

I'm a free trade proponent, but going back to the OP's pizza analogy, everything has the point where it becomes a problem instead of a benefit.


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16 Oct 2022, 11:37 am

stratozyck wrote:
My personal belief system is rooted in more than economics as I believe a state is important and it is vital that the state ensure its working class is physically, mentally, and financially able to have children. When the working class cannot afford to have children, they lose the will to defend the state.

The rich depend on the working class to field the armies to defend their interests. Its not their kids. If a country gets invaded, the rich all fly their kids out.

So, while I understand and accept the benefits of free trade, the costs are not nothing and get magnified when a society doesn't commit to those that are left behind in free trade.


Wow. I have read your rants with great interest and this here I take as proof that you are actually overqualified.
The only other people I heard talking this clearly about the relationship between working class, military service and the dangers to the nation state are philosophers.

On a side note: I'm friends with an economist. I find it absolutely fascinating: he's the only person I know who actually thinks like a homo oeconomicus, who does the calculations to figure out which internet provider has the best offer, considering the lifetime of the contract and so on. I also learned from him that it seams, the most glaring bias in economics is that economists seem to think that's normal.


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stratozyck
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17 Oct 2022, 9:49 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
stratozyck wrote:
One of the fallacies of neoliberalism and the way free trade was sold to the West in the 1980s-1990s was that while there may be "winners," and "losers" in trade, if the country as a whole is better off you can just tax the winners to compensate the losers.

It works in an algebraic model.

But in reality, the "winners" just buy lobbyists to prevent any compensation.

A lot of American tech companies basically took technology developed at publicly funded US universities (for the most part, anyways), and made trillions of market value by offshoring production to Asia. They benefited greatly from free markets.

In neoliberal trade theory, this is, "great, cool lets tax them more to compensate the high school educated worker who now makes $8 instead of $15 with benefits

In reality, the winners bought lobbyists and use that to keep compensation out of the question.

Not just lobbyists, but also propagandists (e.g. via Fox News) to convince large numbers of people that such compensation would be evil.

stratozyck wrote:
The field of economics has slowly been realizing this. For example, Paul Krugman - a guy that could be said to be the face of free trade in the 1980s and 1990s - wrote an op ed not too long ago saying we got it wrong. There is growing evidence that the rapid globalization hit rural America hard and there was no compensation.

So, when it comes to economics, there are two things to remember:

1) what is optimal

2) what is probable

1) What is optimal is people should be for more education spending, more social safety nets for people left out of globalization, etc.

2) What is probable is some anti free trade nationalist comes along and shuts the whole thing down because people are suspect of "free money from the government" and xenophobia is a powerful marketing tool.

What do most mainstream economists now think should be done about this?

stratozyck wrote:
In Europe, there are left wing as well as right wing nationalists who both agree in less free trade.

In the US, the closest thing we have to a left wing nationalist is Bernie Sanders. (For the record, I viscerally hate Bernie Sanders as a person but he can be correct about a lot of things but is dishonest about a lot as well).

What are some of the things you consider Bernie Sanders to be correct about?

What are some of the things you consider him to be dishonest about?

What about him do you viscerally hate?


"What do most mainstream economists now think should be done about this?"

Oh man, well, you really got me/us there because economists tend to give answers in such a way that it ignores backlash. So for example a lot of economists are for a universal basic income but seem to be completely unaware that even proposing one would get such a backlash...

I would say default to "lets hope we educate people more." Most economists just say "things as they are" without giving much prescription. For example we do a lot of work to try to say "Y is contributing to X" and often that is such an effort that prescriptions don't really come out of it.

Ultimately we defer to the will of voters because Public Choice 101 is that if the voters know the information and still act "sub optimally," actually we say they acted optimally assuming they knew. But of course, voters tend to be uninformed or misinformed.

I would say that recognition of the issue and teaching it in schools would be a huge win because that alone is impossible. The control of society by the rich is so common across human societies and time that it really is a rule - but teaching it would be labeled as "Marxist." But in reality if you believe that the rich tend to warp society to their own benefit - congrats you are at least a little bit Marxist. Doesn't make you a pinko commie - I think a better democracy is a more effective solution to the problem than armed revolt and shooting property owners.

My Rant About Bernie Sanders
What are some of the things you consider Bernie Sanders to be correct about?

He is correct that is not just about tax rates. Its about posture. The rich really do collude to make things better for themselves. The rich have this mindset that "we can all get rich," but when it comes to things like land - the more they spend on land as an investment the more it makes the rest of us poorer. In that regard its a zero sum game and not a growth game. We get richer when existing capital and land stock gets more productive and its distributed somewhat across society, not when the rich are buying fixed assets amongst each other.

We need to set up the posture of government to be for the common person. We all know if WW3 starts it won't be Bill Gates' grandchildren in bunkers with us, they will have jetted off to far away and safer destinations. The rich should be seen as what they are - egomaniacs with fleeting interest in the defense of the state. It is us who have no where else to go that have the real vested interest in the long run survival of the state.

They really have used their power to put the thumb on the scale and "manufacture consent," as the saying goes. They buy up media and don't buy ads on stations that criticize them too much.

What are some of the things you consider him to be dishonest about?

Bernie made his wealth by being Bernie Sanders. He used his campaign donations to buy his books. Look it up, its not a secret. It's "unethical" but not "illegal." It fits with the pattern of his wife, who also did some ethically shady things.

He doesn't get you can't make it about yourself and leave a party and join it when you see fit and then complain about the establishment not liking you. Because thats what he does - he makes it about himself.

He ran down to the South during the Civil Rights Era and it just so happened to be that someone had a camera when he was being arrested. It was a stunt. He cared so much about Civil Rights in the South he decided to fight the good fight from Vermont - a state so white you can't see it in Winter.

Bernie keeps repeating the lie going around that "X number of billionaires have more wealth than the the bottom X% of the country/world/whatever" Its always something insane like "10 billionaires have more wealth than 4 billion people combined."

That is such a dishonest lie that I don't even know where to begin. Never include percentages when one percentage can be negative. It gives you whack results.

When I was 26 I had negative $40,000 in wealth. A homeless person with $1 in their pocket technically had more wealth than me at that time. But thats absurd. I had the negative wealth because I was taking out student loans.

Rich people's wealth includes net present value of expected future dividend streams in their current value.

For the rest of us they just look at our current assets - debt situation. It understates the true wealth of people with negative wealth.

My real wealth currently is the net expected present value of my future salaries. Thats how I get a mortgage - I convince a bank that while my net wealth is negative my future income streams are positive.

Most people have negative net wealth until their mid 30s.

So the fact that he repeats that angers me. There are many, many other ways to that highlight that inequality is at levels not seen in the US since the 1890s. But this statistic he keeps repeating makes me think he is either a dumbass or dishonest.

What about him do you viscerally hate?

In short, he is a "tankie." He makes apologies for leftist dictators. When he got married, he couldn't help but run to the Soviet Union right before it collapsed just he could get one last apology for leftist dictatorship before it collapsed. He couldn't help himself. If he just waited 2 years it would have collapsed and he would have avoided that embarrassment, but he couldn't help himself and go there and praise it.

The proper response when asked about Cuba is not "they have free health care," its, "they shoot dissidents, I hate their government." As Americans, we value freedom of speech and choosing our leaders over free health care. I would prefer both, but given a choice I know what I would choose.

In the 1980s, the leading Soviet dissident who wrote "Gulag Archipelago" lived in Vermont. Bernie never visited him, and that was his state. You have to understand at this time it was a pretty big deal - this guy fled the Soviet Union and wrote a series of books that exposed the evils of the Soviet Union and was very well known. Bernie ignored him. Because he is a tankie.



stratozyck
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17 Oct 2022, 10:13 pm

shlaifu wrote:
stratozyck wrote:
My personal belief system is rooted in more than economics as I believe a state is important and it is vital that the state ensure its working class is physically, mentally, and financially able to have children. When the working class cannot afford to have children, they lose the will to defend the state.

The rich depend on the working class to field the armies to defend their interests. Its not their kids. If a country gets invaded, the rich all fly their kids out.

So, while I understand and accept the benefits of free trade, the costs are not nothing and get magnified when a society doesn't commit to those that are left behind in free trade.


Wow. I have read your rants with great interest and this here I take as proof that you are actually overqualified.
The only other people I heard talking this clearly about the relationship between working class, military service and the dangers to the nation state are philosophers.

On a side note: I'm friends with an economist. I find it absolutely fascinating: he's the only person I know who actually thinks like a homo oeconomicus, who does the calculations to figure out which internet provider has the best offer, considering the lifetime of the contract and so on. I also learned from him that it seams, the most glaring bias in economics is that economists seem to think that's normal.


Yes!! The last part is true. I try to rationalize. However oddly our field says that people also think with emotion.

So a statistician will say "don't buy a lottery ticket."

An economist, "well if it makes you feel better for a day or two maybe a few bucks is worth it even if its highly unlikely."

I try to combine economics with other social sciences. Economists have a strong "cosmopolitan bias" in that they tend to discount the value created by national identity.

The math says if we all trade a lot and have open borders, we will all get better off if we tax winners to compensate losers. This is mathematically true.

But the way human society works, you do need to know if your neighbor and your fellow citizens would be willing to take up arms to defend your home. Invasions happen. The world isn't a peaceful place. We are seeing this play out in Ukraine in real time. When citizens won't take up arms to defend the state, it collapses. Ukrainians were willing, and their state did not collapse.

In the US we are generally immune to this, but the typical state over history has this happen more frequently than the US has had it happen.

The state is probably the largest entity you can reasonably expect someone to sacrifice their life for. You definitely need to know that the people living in it are willing to do that if it comes to that.

I do think in America at least, immigrants have shown a greater than average tendency to be willing to serve in the military. The US depends on minorities to do the dying. So in my view, that is why I am not a closed border person.



stratozyck
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17 Oct 2022, 10:20 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
stratozyck wrote:
I wish we had a multiparty system. We really need about 4. You'd have two right of center and 2 left of center, and one of the left of center and one of the right of center ones could end up voting together on some things.

Problem is, given the overall structure of the American electoral system, it is simply not feasible to have more than 2 major parties.

Multi-party systems can work well in parliamentary systems with proportional representation by party (e.g. in Israel and in some European countries). This system naturally results in lots of small political parties that then form coalitions as they please.

In the U.S., on the other hand, political parties have no official constitutional role. Members of Congress officially represent districts, not parties. Political parties have power when, and only when, they can win the majority of votes in a given district. Hence a political party is worthless unless either it already has a majority or it has a strong chance of becoming a majority. Given these constraints, a two-party system is the only feasible outcome.

Therefore, here in the U.S.A., most political reform movements need to work, primarily, outside of any official political party apparatus. Once such a movement has either enough people or enough money, it can then exert pressure on one or both political parties.

stratozyck wrote:
I personally prefer a free trade world where everyone is peaceful, but the free trade models don't account for enriching a future enemy. The free trade models of China never took into account the impact of increased defense expenditures needed to prevent China from bullying its neighbors.

My personal belief system is rooted in more than economics as I believe a state is important and it is vital that the state ensure its working class is physically, mentally, and financially able to have children. When the working class cannot afford to have children, they lose the will to defend the state.

The rich depend on the working class to field the armies to defend their interests. Its not their kids. If a country gets invaded, the rich all fly their kids out.

So, while I understand and accept the benefits of free trade, the costs are not nothing and get magnified when a society doesn't commit to those that are left behind in free trade.

So the question is: how to build an effective political movement to tax the rich and defend the interests of those who are left behind in free trade. Such a movement would need to be strong enough and well-organized enough to counteract, effectively, the extremely well-funded propaganda about how horribly evil it is to tax the rich and to give anyone "free money" for higher education, subsidized housing, etc.



I agree on all points, I am pessimistic about the US and its future.

I think the writers of the Constitution are worshipped too much. It has an amendment about quartering of troops. Is that really a concern? And honestly, if US troops showed up at your house, would you refuse them quarter? I think most Americans would fold out the couch if a few Marines needed it.

There is this problem in societies that the old laws become obsolete. It becomes baggage. I think the US simply has an obsolete political system framed in the 18th century. We should be a better democracy but are hamstrung by what a bunch of old white male supremacists came up with in the 18th century.

I wish I could be optimistic, but I can't. By 2040 about 60% of the Senate will come from 30% of the country. The country will be hit with a huge debt problem at that time (baby boomers retiring, its not difficult to predict) and we will be hit with a situation where the Senate won't be able to do anything major.



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18 Oct 2022, 12:56 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
stratozyck wrote:
I wish we had a multiparty system. We really need about 4. You'd have two right of center and 2 left of center, and one of the left of center and one of the right of center ones could end up voting together on some things.

Problem is, given the overall structure of the American electoral system, it is simply not feasible to have more than 2 major parties.

Multi-party systems can work well in parliamentary systems with proportional representation by party (e.g. in Israel and in some European countries). This system naturally results in lots of small political parties that then form coalitions as they please.

In the U.S., on the other hand, political parties have no official constitutional role. Members of Congress officially represent districts, not parties. Political parties have power when, and only when, they can win the majority of votes in a given district. Hence a political party is worthless unless either it already has a majority or it has a strong chance of becoming a majority. Given these constraints, a two-party system is the only feasible outcome.

While I'd support proportional representation, it isn't actually true that the US system makes it impossible to be a minor party. For example, the single most talked about politician in this thread is not a member of either party. Other examples are the UK and Canada, which both have multi-party democracy despite having FPTP.



stratozyck
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18 Oct 2022, 9:49 am

The_Walrus wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
stratozyck wrote:
I wish we had a multiparty system. We really need about 4. You'd have two right of center and 2 left of center, and one of the left of center and one of the right of center ones could end up voting together on some things.

Problem is, given the overall structure of the American electoral system, it is simply not feasible to have more than 2 major parties.

Multi-party systems can work well in parliamentary systems with proportional representation by party (e.g. in Israel and in some European countries). This system naturally results in lots of small political parties that then form coalitions as they please.

In the U.S., on the other hand, political parties have no official constitutional role. Members of Congress officially represent districts, not parties. Political parties have power when, and only when, they can win the majority of votes in a given district. Hence a political party is worthless unless either it already has a majority or it has a strong chance of becoming a majority. Given these constraints, a two-party system is the only feasible outcome.

While I'd support proportional representation, it isn't actually true that the US system makes it impossible to be a minor party. For example, the single most talked about politician in this thread is not a member of either party. Other examples are the UK and Canada, which both have multi-party democracy despite having FPTP.



Both parties agree on a two party system. They set the rules so that is impossible for a viable third party to gain traction.

With a winner take all approach and private funding for elections, you need billions of hundreds of millions of $ to start a viable third party. Only person that can do it is your Ross Perot types. But why would you do it? Its risky and likely to fail - as it did.

To have a viable multiparty system we need proportional representation and probably true national level elections for at least the House.

Yes, we are talking about Bernie but remember he joined the Dems when he wanted to run. He had no chance otherwise. Plus given the nature of our two party monopoly it really is a gift to the other side to form a third party and siphon off votes.

Without Ralph Nader we would probably not have had the Iraq War version 2. Without Jill Stein, who knows if the last 6 years happen as they did.

Without proportional representation and ranked choice voting, forming a third party is basically a way to spoil it for the side you supposedly find less evil. I remember Ralph Nader prior to 2000 saying both Dems and GOP were the same. I never heard him asked after Iraq War if he thought that Al Gore would have done both wars.



himmellaufen
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18 Oct 2022, 7:49 pm

stratozyck wrote:

- Recycling paper is stupid, stop doing it to save trees. It does not save trees. Trees are a farmed product. If we waste more paper, they plant more trees. Again, I'm not saying I like fajitas here - don't waste paper to cause them to plant more trees.



in California too? in sahara too?

What if there aren't enough trees around? what it consumption of paper overtakes the rate the trees grow-not globally, but in the state/country in question? wouldn't it be therefore better to preemptively save paper to prevent such a situation from arising in the first place, then cry and moan over spilled milk so to speak?

What about environmental destruction? You think that chopped out forest is just removed trees, what about ground water level, what about animals who lived there? a new forest won't rise up instantly. you know that most of the world, including USA and Europe, has severe water shortages during recent summers because there aren't enough trees holding ground water levels up and the heat is too high?



stratozyck
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18 Oct 2022, 8:00 pm

himmellaufen wrote:
stratozyck wrote:

- Recycling paper is stupid, stop doing it to save trees. It does not save trees. Trees are a farmed product. If we waste more paper, they plant more trees. Again, I'm not saying I like fajitas here - don't waste paper to cause them to plant more trees.



in California too? in sahara too?

What if there aren't enough trees around? what it consumption of paper overtakes the rate the trees grow-not globally, but in the state/country in question? wouldn't it be therefore better to preemptively save paper to prevent such a situation from arising in the first place, then cry and moan over spilled milk so to speak?

What about environmental destruction? You think that chopped out forest is just removed trees, what about ground water level, what about animals who lived there? a new forest won't rise up instantly. you know that most of the world, including USA and Europe, has severe water shortages during recent summers because there aren't enough trees holding ground water levels up and the heat is too high?


Finally, someone gets to the heart of the controversial statements.

They plant it, its a farmed product. The major difference is the time horizons are longer. So they will forecast what is needed in the distant future, and paper demand is pretty stable.

Its not like they are going out and just chopping wild forests down. There is even a formula for when to cut your trees down: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faustmann%27s_formula

Basically, when the growth rate of the trees slows down to the current interest rate, you cut. There are whole journals of economics dedicated to Forestry Economics.

If you are in an area with no trees, you have to factor in import costs, but either way you cut it you still end up taking wood from farmed trees.

By the way, its funny that his name is "Faustmann" we used to call him "forestman".

There is also a "Slutsky equation" - https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~jkennan/teaching/Slutsky.pdf

and an AIDS model (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almost_id ... and_system)

It came out right before HIV/AIDS became a thing.



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18 Oct 2022, 8:33 pm

What would be your take if the US hypothetically abolished most other taxes and instituted one based on, say the sale price of buying anything that had a screen on it?



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20 Oct 2022, 1:26 pm

Hollywood_Guy wrote:
What would be your take if the US hypothetically abolished most other taxes and instituted one based on, say the sale price of buying anything that had a screen on it?

This would be a regressive tax. In today's world, EVERYONE needs to have at least one device with a screen on it.

What we need is to find ways to tax the rich more than anyone else, to keep inequality from spiraling even more out of control.


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20 Oct 2022, 1:40 pm

To stratozyck:

I would be interested in your thoughts about the following: Skanda Amarnath is figuring out how to fight inflation while keeping people employed by Dylan Matthews, Vox, Oct 20, 2022: "The head of Employ America has swiftly become one of the most influential voices lobbying the Federal Reserve to save workers."

Quote:
In the summer of 2022, President Joe Biden had a problem. Gas prices had been soaring for most of 2021 and 2022, due to a combination of overhang from reduced production during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And American voters hate when gas prices go up. Biden’s approval rating plunged over his first two years in office. He needed some kind of policy response to address the problem and prevent his party from getting slaughtered in the midterms.

The plan he ultimately arrived at entailed massive releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve combined with a new policy of buying oil futures to provide producers with an incentive to pump more in the near to medium term, preventing another shortage from arising. This approach followed very closely a proposal put out in March by the advocacy and research group Employ America, written by its executive director Skanda Amarnath and his colleagues Alex Williams and Arnab Datta. The Employ America plan explained how the administration could use the petroleum reserve to durably lower gas prices, while also setting a price floor so the cost of gas didn’t fall so far that it imperiled the transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy.

And then… gas prices fell. While teasing out causality is hard, it’s likely both the petroleum releases and the new futures approach played significant roles in this turnaround. And as counterintuitive as it sounds, this news is a triumph for the fight against climate change. If the gas price problem had worsened, the result likely would’ve been a Republican landslide in the midterms ending the possibility of any meaningful US action on climate change at all. Instead, the fall in prices coincided with Sen. Joe Manchin’s decision to pass hundreds of billions of dollars in climate subsidies. Without signs inflation was abating (signs like the falling gas prices), it’s doubtful Manchin would’ve come around and become the climate hero he became.

All this news also represents a major triumph for Amarnath and Employ America, which launched only three years ago. Most of the group’s work focuses on the Federal Reserve, pushing for the institution to prioritize job creation ahead of a narrow focus on preventing inflation. And Employ America and its allies essentially won that fight, as the Jay Powell-led Fed bumped trillions into the economy in 2020 and effected, by far, the fastest fall in the unemployment rate the US had ever seen. Amarnath became a ubiquitous presence in business media, pushing on a staid audience of financiers the notion that sustaining a high-employment economy is not only possible, but desirable.

Amarnath and Employ America were put in a bit of a bind in 2021-22, as the inflation problem in the US became increasingly severe. That reality threatened to discredit the ideal of a high-pressure, high-employment economy that the group had embraced and lobbied for, by suggesting that employment rates this high could only be sustained through rapid price increases. Many groups, in such an environment, would feebly deny there’s a problem and dig themselves in deeper. Amarnath and co. did not make that mistake. Instead, they devised policies like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve plan to reduce inflation without reducing employment too, making themselves useful to policymakers and helping rescue their vision of the economy in the process.

Key to the group’s powers is its obsession with the arcana of how institutions like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve or the Fed actually work, producing a depth of knowledge that lets them propose solutions that are genuinely novel and which figures like Jay Powell or Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cannot get from anyone else. Amarnath, who was a founding staffer and recently took over the executive director job from fellow founder Sam Bell, was a key factor in building out that strategy and executing it. If you have saved money at the pump lately or if you care about keeping unemployment and inflation both low, you owe him a bit of thanks.

I hope this article is correct that a substantial bite has been taken out of the recent inflation, without risking high unemployment. I don't know about gas prices because I don't drive, but I sure hope food price inflation slows down ASAP.


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