Arrived in my pile

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America and inequality: the contradiction that is America is reflected in its founding documents, equality promoted in the Declaration of Independence and property rights of the wealthy protected in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence motivating ordinary men and women to fight and die for the cause of freedom, the Constitution the product of wealthy elites who mostly sat out the war of independence, the Declaration of Independence an aspirational document for all, the Constitution a practical document for the few.

'The Future of the Professions' looks like a good book.

Do we need a Henrich/Shenkman debate?

Klepper taught me econ 100, and had a brilliant and brilliantly interactive method for doing so. Every econ professor could learn from him. RIP, his was a terrible loss. I did not know others at CMU had edited his work into a book. I will buy it on his name alone

The Fatovic book: If it is "class warfare" to attack the gap between the rich and the poor, is it not then also "class warfare" for deep pocketed donors and corporations to try to tilt the system relatively in their favour?

I'm of the view that all interests (namely, producer, worker and consumer advocates) should have roughly equal ability to pull the strings of power, and therefore support heavy restrictions on campaign donations, such as in Canada where both corporate and union money is banned from political campaigns, and third parties are not allowed to spent on political advertising during election campaigns.

One citizen, one vote. If any group as "too much" influence on policy (e.g., by million dollar donations to campaigns), we can only expect that they will try to tilt the system in their favour.

One citizen one vote one tax rate

One algorithmic tax rate is one tax rate. It is only capricious if it singles out an individual or ethnic group.

From a utilitarian perspective it's pretty hard to uphold the idea of one tax rate. For a millionaire, the marginal thousand dollars is a meaningless drop in the bucket, whereas for others it might turn their entire year around.

You need to re-define the utility. The utility of a flat tax is minimizing the societal and institutional damage caused by having a large portion of the populace voting themselves benefits that they don't pay for. Historically, "voting themselves the treasury". Less politely: "makers and takers".

Gochujang:

I'm curious how a top quintile average individual income tax rate hovering at 14-16% since 1979, with the average income tax rates for all other quintiles markedly decreasing, and the rate in the lowest quintiles becoming significantly negative is anything other than "voting themselves the treasury". It's generally better to look at the data before you link to it in an attempt at snark.

We were talking about tax rates and progressivity, weren't we? That page full of data (but especially Total Average Federal Tax Rate) does not show increased progressivity, it shows a decrease, as well as a broad decrease in taxation across the board.

Something else is happening ("let's all not pay tax!") rather than some class warfare narrative.

And no, your cherry-picking a minor element in the broad trend does not negate the deserved snark.

I think Tyler posted an argument a year or so ago that much campaign finance reform was merely serving to redirect political donations to interest groups that contribute to growing polarity. I.e. give money to the GOP and they'll balance disparate donors' interests and cleave to the middle to win elections and keep their jobs, give money to anti-abortion or anti-immigration groups and they'll pull apart your party from the fringes. Business money finds a way to politicians one way or another, admitting it and letting it flow where it does the least harm is probably the best policy. (I think the original gist of this argument was that the way to decrease political polarity is not to elect more moderates, but to reduce incentives to be more polarizing). I'm not enough of an economist/politician/whatever to validate this argument, but there is a certain logic there.

such as in Canada

Yeah. Look how well that worked.

A system that elects an intellectually-limited part-time drama teacher is useless.

Canada looks like a system to avoid. Even looking at the US field.

I see you've been reading Conservative talking points.

For a man who speaks unscripted from the beginning to the end of just about every day, he says remarkably few stupid things. If you dig deeper than the Conservative spin, most of the "stupid" stuff he's said were actually quite sensible if you expand beyond the 1.5 second micro-bit and look at the actual context, even so much as the complete sentence.

For example, if I was an expert in Canada, Conservatives, looking at the previous paragraph, if they wished to use me as a source, would have completely turned the meaning upside down and quoted me as saying "he says remarkably ... stupid things". It was really that pathetic, but it took a long time for the word to get out and how outright dishonest they were being with the sound bites.

Since when is teaching math, French and drama a poor preparation for politics? Compared to the previous one man show, it's far better to have a man who recognizes his limitations, and is able to be an effective leader by a) taking criticism seriously and b) delegating responsibility, both of which have been absent at the federal level for nearly 10 years.

Don't trust the Canadian Conservative coverage of this man. They have played every trick in the book and more, spending greater sums of political money than ever in Canadian history over the course of five continuous years, with no other purpose than to drag this guy's name in the mud for the most tenuous of reasons.

You're too smart to take fact-poor attack ads and partisan propaganda at face value.

Nathan W December 30, 2015 at 3:46 am

I see you’ve been reading Conservative talking points.

I seer you remain the most reliably and unthinking liberal here.

Since when is teaching math, French and drama a poor preparation for politics?

Well it didn't work out well for Cambodia when they last had a leader with that background. Nor for China although Mao did not teach French. Nor for Vietnam. Nor for Germany given Himmler's only other paying job, besides being a chicken farmer, was as a school teacher.

Compared to the previous one man show, it’s far better to have a man who recognizes his limitations, and is able to be an effective leader by a) taking criticism seriously and b) delegating responsibility, both of which have been absent at the federal level for nearly 10 years.

And yet there is precisely nothing that would suggest Canada's new Prime Minister will do either. He is not smart enough for the first and he has never needed to do the second. Better how? It is hard to think of how Canada could have been better run than under Harper. He did an excellent job.

You’re too smart to take fact-poor attack ads and partisan propaganda at face value.

And yet it seems you are not.

Non-Fiction Books: Why All of Them Have Subtitles Now

Re Caroline Freund, assisted by Sarah Oliver. Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging-Market Tycoons and their Mega Firms. - (book jacket) "And more often than not, the new billionaires are using their newfound acumen to navigate the globalized economy, without necessarily relying on political connections, inheritance, or privileged access to resources"

You gotta be kidding me...which countries is Freund, a Peterson (rich Greek) scholar, surveying if this is true? Certainly not China nor Southeast Asia, from my understanding.

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