Wednesday assorted links


Why no comments?

Too busy eating our McWhoppers while praying for potholes

No. 6. Calling Art Deco or one of his online or real life personas..

The silver story is fascinating - can anyone vouch for the gist of it?

I don't know about the 1930s, but China's history getting screwed by silver reserves goes back even further. From 500 to 1600 China ran a massive trade surplus with the West. There was high demand for Chinese pottery, and little demand for any Western products in China. This was back in the day when "fine China" was big business. A significant portion of many monarchs wealth was tied up in their table ware. For example Frederick the Great financed his wars of expansion by selling a lot of the state serving plates.

Silver was the primary monetary instrument then. There was a general economic crisis that the Western powers were depleting their monetary reserves. However with the discovery of the New World silver flooded the market. Gold became relatively scarcer, supplanting silver as the primary monetary base. Imperial China's silver reserves plummeted in value, and they hardly held any gold. A thousand years of accumulated savings was obliterated in a few decades.

That doesn't sound right. I thought the crisis of the 1640s was due to a relative shortage of silver in China. And why would it matter if the silver dropped in value if Chinese didn't want to import anything?

"A peculiar combination of developments in Spanish America with the particular setup of the Chinese monetary system acted as a ‘Trojan Horse’ precipitating de-silverization of China after the 1820s. The turmoil in markets, business and relative prices across goods and means of payments that this situation caused ought to have greatly prejudiced the pace of economic growth and integration that China had enjoyed throughout the 18th Century. Unsurprisingly, the economy imploded and there was a massive social unrest, political turmoil and markets disruption in the mid-19th century."

As Daniel points out, we can't really talk about China's silver "reserves plummet[ing] in value" when China was on a silver metallic standard and did not import much from the West. Silver increased in circulation in China and this resulted in inflation, sure, but I don't know that this was a net minus for the Chinese economy.

Moreover, it is not the case that China had been using silver continuously for a thousand years. China had a disastrous experiment with paper money and its massive demand for silver at around the time of the discovery of the New World was probably related to the drive to mint silver coins and get them into circulation. Kenneth Pomeranz's "The Great Divergence" covers this in some detail.

I don’t understand the complaints in the Obamacare article. Basically, the exchanges will pass the expenses onto the individual. And tax vouchers should keep premiums affordable to those with lower incomes. What is the problem here? Federal taxes may have to go up, but they would go up far less than they would with a single payer system. This is the ideal compromise, shared responsibility (public and individual) for a very complex and sensitive issue.

"Affordable," because the state knows every individual's valuation of his money and his plans.

"I don’t understand the complaints in the Obamacare article. ... Federal taxes may have to go up, but they would go up far less than they would with a single payer system."

The complaint being that people don't want to pay additional taxes to give sweetheart deals to government employees. If the local governments who employed them don't want to pay for the promises they made, why the hell should I have pay more on my Federal taxes to make those promises good. Basically, Federal tax payers would be forced to cover the empty promises local politicians in other jurisdictions made to buy the government workers union endorsements.

So no, the proposal won't get my vote and I'll gladly donate to politicians who oppose it.

And boy are some of these deals sweethearts. I listen to a financial planning show on the week-ends in a state capital, and the people who call in who are living large and plan to retire at age 58 or 61 just blow your mind. Who know county government was so lucrative!

So you're saying the Koch brothers brainwashed you!

No, it's didn't take anyone to convince me that a third person, who will probably retire at an earlier age than I can afford to, shouldn't get a subsidy from my tax dollars.

I don't get it either. It seems the choices are 1. Do nothing...then raise taxes when the government employee health fund goes bust (will need a trillion or so eventually). 2. Fund the retiree health care fund now, using tax money (1 trillion). 3. Set retirees loose to purchase health insurance on the exchange. The wealthier ones will pay out of pocket. Less wealthy ones get subsidies.

I choose 3.

Option 2 would (or at least should ) be that the local government that made the promise raises their local taxes to pay for the promises they made. Option 3 Federalizes the problem and implicitly penalizes the populace of every local government that didn't make promises they couldn't pay for.

Option 3: is just spending Other People's Money (OPM).

All 3 options require some opm, but #3 requires somewhat less as not all premiums would be subsidized.

There's no reason you couldn't fund Option 2 to exactly the same amount as Option 3. Federalizing local debts is going to bankrupt Obamacare within a decade. Assuming it doesn't go bankrupt before then, of course.

It won't bankrupt Obamacare, because you're only Federalizing those who fall below the income threshold to receive vouchers. The rest of it comes in the form of premium hikes to individuals who are above this threshold. Once again, this will never be perfect, nor make everyone happy, but the it's the only option (other than single payer) we have to eliminate the free rider issue and cover the uninsurable (high risk pool). We can mollify this whole problem by increasing immigration and creating a much larger, younger (hopefully healthier) working tax base.

"It won’t bankrupt Obamacare, because you’re only Federalizing those who fall below the income threshold to receive vouchers."

You're substantially increasing the expense without any increases in revenue. Is there some kind of dynamic taxing mechanism embedded within Obamacare that will further raise taxes if there are higher than expected subsidized enrollees?

"but the it’s the only option (other than single payer) we have to eliminate the free rider issue and cover the uninsurable (high risk pool)."

That's just a blatant false dichotomy. There are an innumerable amount of potential health care systems you can theoretically design. To say that the choices are limited to just Obamacare or single payer is inaccurate.

Increases in taxes are expected as demographics change...or you can always make things revenue neutral by cutting other areas of Fed gov. (defense, agricultural subsidies)...I guess, I should rephrase...the entirety of Obamacare is not the only other option...the individual mandate and regulation of insurance policies (meaning that they should cover a bare minimum of services) are what is needed to take care of the two issues I mentioned...I don't see how any other system (other than single payer) can accomplish this. I have my issues with Obamacare too (the regulation of small businesses is the biggest one, totally unnecessary if you accomplish the goals of creating a proper marketplace and have sufficient vouchers).


You are ignoring that older people tend to be sicker, so this would add huge numbers of expensive customers to Obamacare without adding more young people: worse risk pool, more expensive.

Also, they can only be charged 3 times a young person, so young people's insurance goes up even more - regardless of subsidy.

The real fact is that its very Greece like to let county and state workers retire in their late 50's. They should not be allowed to retire.

pras -- There was never a large pool of uninsurables, the HHS estimates of this problem turned out to be around 50x too high. And it seemed like every time we got a heart-wrenching campaign anecdote, it turned out they either had insurance or were eligible for Medicaid already. Many of the high risk pools closed in 2014 because no one signed up.

Premiums in some areas are already entering a death spiral. A massive influx of state workers in their 50s... not gonna help.

Single payer would be more expensive, but so would sending them to a lunar colony. Both make about the same amount of sense.

The obvious solution is for state workers to keep working past 50 like everyone else.

I completely agree with you that ideally the states should figure out how to keep these people from retiring or honor their commitments, if there is a legally binding contract. The influx of the old will not help premiums. But neither will the influx of the old into Medicare. We have to pay the piper one way or another. The ACA helps at least a little bit by mandating the young to get insurance. Premiums will go up to cover these people in the gaps and taxes will go up for the medicare influx. Now the goal is to figure out how to keep costs down: smarter medicine, more immigrants, more doctors/nps, opening up restrictions on drug imports etc.

It is more BS that the exchanges rely on young healthy when they actually rely more on old healthy. Best ignore it.

Your live chat is at 1:30 EST, but we're currently using Daylight time...

This is why you just specify "eastern time."

5. A republican presidential candidate and genetics lab have combined the hair of an orangutan, the brains of jellyfish and the herd mentality of sheep to form the TrumPet. Currently not available in Mexico.

Tamagotchi markets in everything

I'm waiting for a creative genetics labs to combined the hair of a silver backed Gorilla, the brains of jellyfish and the herd mentality of sheep to form the BidenPet. The TrumPet vs BidenPet cage matches will be Epic.

The silver story ignores the more important story of how silver ruined China.

China demanded payment of taxes in silver. China had very little domestic silver and needed to import it from other countries.

The UK wanted to trade with China but started running a huge trade deficit, draining silver from the UK economy.

Britain needed a product to sell to China in exchange for silver to pay for other imports. That product was opium, grown in British colonies.

China's government didn't want to import opium (for obvious reasons). The UK launched the Opium Wars. China lost.

#1 Gee, can't think of any confounds there....

"We measure political culture using the political contributions of top managers, firm PACs, and *its local residents*."
The first two may be "speculative," in Prof. Cowen's argot, but the third is simply bullshit.

in re:5, if only in-n-out would collude with a chain offering better fries - and expand nationally. ditching the God-bothering on the packaging would be nice too.

Chick-Fil-A should partner with a secular organization so that they're open on Sundays goddammit.

The "God-bothering" helps identify people who whinge like a three-year old every time they are confronted with opinions or ideas which are different than their own, so I kind of enjoy it even though I ignore it myself. But yeah, better fries would be nice.

When I can get a Double-Double with Jack in the Box Curly Fries in the same drive through, the world will have reached peak enlightenment.

God, now I'm famished - just add in McDonald's mocha frappe to the order and it's a done deal

"Jackson MS has the second largest African American population in the country but a relatively low rank by violent crime rate."

And remember the poorest county in the USA.

A Village With the Numbers, Not the Image, of the Poorest Place

So I would say maybe you should leave the Jackson MS Mayor Tony Yarber alone.

Perhaps crime is low because there isn't that much to steal.

not so much to prey on as a result of prayers?

The numbers are fraudulent. Those haradi pervert halacha.

It's got a murder rate that sometimes exceeds Detroit's (although it is typically more like 3/4 as high)

Low violent crime rate?

Did not pay to read the paper in #1, but I would really like to see how the authors handled sector differences. If their results are driven by natural resources and manufacturing leaning Republican and having labor and environmental issues, and tech and finance leaning Democratic and having securities and IP issues, then I think the causation runs the other way.

It's free

Bob, you can use either of two blue buttons right above the abstract to either download the paper directly or open it in your browser -- either way for free.

If you're having difficulty, just drop me a line and I'll send you a copy.

3ish: What affects does the Chinese devaluation of the Yuan have on their US debt holdings? Are they better off now that they have a weaker currency and the dollar is stronger? Was this more of a strategic move then they are letting on or am I having another paranoid fantasy?

2 - the point of bitcoin is not don't being governed?

Bitcoin is an option (caveat emptor) we didn't have before, that's all . . .

5. It is hilarious watching leftwingers that don't know the difference between accrual-based accounting and cash-basis accounting complain about the former.

I assume you are referring to 6 rather than 5, but counting is not one of my strengths either. As for accrual accounting, I would clarify that it isn't always a more accurate (honest) depiction of what's likely to occur in the future, as it is often used to exaggerate earnings now that are unlikely to be realized later. "The devil made me do it" is the usual excuse from accounting (i.e., temptation). I follow the sage advice given to Holly Golightly by Sally Tomato: "It's better to operate on a cash". But what do I know, it's not like I'm an accountant or anything. Cash basis government accounting, brought to you by the same people who brought you unauditable Central Banks and Defense Departments.

"5. It is hilarious watching leftwingers that don’t know the difference between accrual-based accounting and cash-basis accounting complain about the former. "

No, I think you are ignoring the motives. Left wingers generally want the government to provide additional benefits. It's much easier to convince people to vote for an additional benefit if the cost appears to be low. Accrual-based accounting would undoubtedly show a much more accurate (and more costly) picture of the future costs of adding additional benefits today. And thus it would make it harder to get additional benefits passed into law.

So, Leftwingers are incentivized to attack accrual-based accounting because it's going to make their politics less effective. So, it's not any kind of mistake on their part, but instead the logical conclusion driven by their incentives.

Also, these wikis contain many wonderful sentences.

#6 unbelievable. A black Democrat fighting a budget deficit by raising taxes on rich people still gets flogged by Progressive brethren because he believes in God and professes his faith publicly. This pastor seems honorable enough, but I will vote for no Democrat under any circumstance until the Progressive Movement gets kicked out. Let the wanna-be socialists form their own stupid party.

1. "firms with Democratic culture are more likely to be the subject of
litigation related to securities fraud"

Projection, lefties.

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