Tuesday assorted links

Comments

You should do a dedicated post on that Pseudoerasmus piece. It's a long one, but very much worth reading in full.

Tell me, does it come to the conclusion that Trade Unions are - or were - on the whole, a Bad Thing?

It should come to Mr. Harman's conclusion: "When we take over, you know you'll be the first to go, don't ya?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY82mEkFC4c

(Mr. Harman, representing the most appealing element in British society, appears at the 5 minute mark).

The Most cucked element of British society you mean.

A dildo appeared on the ground, where he thought a check might be on the top sill in Jerome's closet. The dildo was large and plastic and it appeared aggressive in it's curvature and Kenny felt frightened for a moment but the plastic was also garrulous and bilbulous so he felt calm and then he thought he saw hair on the ballsack but it was the carpet but the carpet was not hairy so it was perhaps his own affectation. And the dildo was on the outside of the line of the door line, the door half open and his hand on the knob, Kenny could not bring himself to move the door, to the touch the wood to the plastic, and thus to sweep the dildo inside, where he felt rather dutifully that was where the dildo belonged.

here is my reply to the poor lost little soul who likes to snap at everybody, as often as he or she can, with his stupid little "cuck" routine: Pornography is a snare of the devil, my poor friend. I am guessing you are addicted to watching porn (I hope that guess is wrong and that you believe you represent those who are appalled by the prevalence of pornography, but, to tell the truth, I doubt it). If I am correct, and you have been traumatized by your addiction to porn, do not lose hope, my friend! There are many resources available for your addiction, if that is what it is: even if you live in a small town, there are social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and clergy of all the major faiths, willing to help you. Reach out and seek help! The commenters and posters here are kind and gentle people, you do not need to apologize for your efforts to make this a worse place: we all want the best for you. No apologies necessary! Seriously, renounce your addiction to porn, you have the opportunity to be the sort of person whom many people respect! There is a woman out there - if you are male - or a man out there - if you are female - who wants you to become the decent loving person that we all hope that you will become! Nobody will read these words even a week from now, my friend, I am not trying to embarrass you: Good luck, and God Bless!

You have done much better in the past: you seem to be regressing. Reread the great works of the civilization into which you were born. You have potential!

you should have said that civilization

no I got it right. English comes easily to me. "That civilization" would have been totally U/non-U and beneath me. Good luck!

articles are beneath me. They are romance-driven and I am platonic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Oedipus#/media/File:Richard_Lindner_-_Boy_with_Machine_(1954).png

You are wrong. To say "articles beneath me", as a person who pretends to speak in a human language, is like saying "singing in tone all the time" is beneath me, for a person who likes to sing, and who likes to sing well! Everybody knows that, so I will assume you were kidding. Anyway, please join me in praying for the sad "cuck" person: I know dozens of elderly nuns who are praying for him at my request, and, to be honest, all I need to do is ask and there will be hundreds of decent people praying for the poor little fellow, with his pitiful compulsion to be rude: a compulsion which he can leave behind as easily as a grasshopper leaves one leaf of grass for another: and I have asked his guardian angel to pray for him: and if "clockwork orange" prays for him, too, there may be a day not too far in the future where he is once again what God wanted him to be. Good luck! By the way, all internet names are evanescent: whatever the phrase 'clockwork orange' may mean to you, there is for some of us a sub-tone of childish menace to those of us who were friends with Burgess, or who read his words - a sub-tone that I believe you do not intend: time flows quickly in the internet world, and nobody would care if you changed your name to something that Anthony Burgess would be more proud of. The future awaits and waits not on clocks: God Bless!

By the way when someone tries to help you, it is customary to say "thank you." If you did not want the help, you are free to say /// "thanks, but ....". Just saying. God bless!

Janacek is singing in tone all the time. Haydn is singing in tone all the time. Tonic & dominance is for ipso facto tautologists. The photograph is singing in tone all the time for a photographer who is capable of finding line, which is not hard at all. I will offer 50 goats for Cuckmeister-General on the veranda of Christ Church by angel in kishna. If you know south, I need not say anymore. I offer salient prayers in the form of animate object because Isaac received sheep, did he not?

Czech intonation is not easy to understand if one is not Czech, so good for you. Haydn went by the book sometimes and while his main line was always in tone his chord changes were often a little ahead or behind the beat - even in the last 12 symphonies there are extended measures where he completely lacked inspiration: you could say it was in tone, but boredom is never really in tone. Thanks, but no thanks, on the goats: this is 2017 and nobody anywhere has the right to sacrifice a goat: the goats, too, are our friends. But I assume your heart was in the right place. Earlier today there were a few dozen ants trying to make their way into my dining room: One by one, I let them crawl onto an old receipt from a local store (where the workers kindly greet me) and I carried them, one by one, onto the patio and blew them off the receipt and into the relative, at a minimum, and absolute, one hopes, freedom of a patio (as it would seem to an ant who was wandering, incorrectly, inside of a home that was no real home to an ant). This was my little recreation of Dunkirk: one ant after another, from inside a house where they could have been sprayed with Raid, was carried to the patio where they rejoined the world where an ant can be an ant. It is no small thing to be a friend to someone who never had a friend in this world.

#1. A demonstrably poor research model leads false conclusions which lead to headlines that perpetuate sexism against men and now the left moves to destroy the target of the researcher who produced the lies in the first place. Sad.

Sexism against men?!?!

Seriously?

Only men should be paid?

A few leftist feminists in econ departments resented that EJMR was anonymous, primarily male, and not dominated by feminist leftism. One of them created malicious and dishonest research for leftists in media to flog around insisting that EJMR was racist/sexist/homophobic/white supremacist/actually Hitler. The goal was to create public outrage that could then be forgiven by appointing the aforementioned feminists to moderate/administer EJMR. That failed so now they are lobbying Econ departments to boycott EJMR based on the same dishonest "research". One of the feminists celebrating this boycott on Twitter used to post here but left because she was treated the same as any other commenter here; intelligence insulted, sexually harassed, laughed at, etc.

It has long been known that EJMR is a cesspool of racial bigotry and sexism. This study just confirmed it. To be honest, I'm surprised it needed proof, since everyone in economics has seen it first hand for years.

What we're seeing here is that the cave-dwellers at EJMR can't handle competition from real sources of information. As a result, they lash out. As they say, shine a light, and the cockroaches scatter.

The study design is flawed to the point that malicious intent is implied. I know you are a leftist and so mood affiliated, but reverse this event. Men’s right advocate PhD candidate with axe to grind conducts study of popular feminist forum using methodology imbued with word association bias, and concludes that the forum is sexist and racist. Media applauds results and top Gender Studies departments make moves to boycott/isolate/attack the targeted website.

1. Would be stopped at the advisor/journal/media/university committee levels.

2. Your mood affiliation wouldn’t be there to prevent you from identifying sexism in action.

Word clouds are just as sciency as p values.

#2: an opinion journalist for The Atlantic cycles through her rolodex to find people who have as much disdain for local control as she does. The moderator's reaction is about what you'd expect given that he thinks those in the employ of North Carolina's permanent government should face fewer hassles from elected officials than they already do.

In my experience there is a lot more corruption at the local level.
Some of the worst examples of regulatory capture involve local zoning and building codes and developers.
You would think that local control would make things more accountable, but most people just don't pay that much attention to local politics. Voter turnout in local elections is even lower than national turnout.

n my experience there is a lot more corruption at the local level.

Really? You've been attempting to bribe local, state, and federal officials to see who's easier to buy?

Voter turnout in local elections is even lower than national turnout.

The core electorate is about 37% of the adult citizen population, and that's who votes in Congressional midterms and local elections. You only see national turnouts higher than that in our idiot presidential elections.

s. You would think that local control would make things more accountable, but most people just don’t pay that much attention to local politics. Voter turnout in local elections is even lower than national turnout.

Most people do not. They do sometimes. The key is that officials are drawn from a pool of local burgesses and do encounter their victims in meatworld. The contrast with federal judges could not be more stark.

If you want to improve public interest in local elections, scrap special-purpose grants-in-aid in favor of general revenue sharing, rein in the courts, reduce the number of elected offices, and sort elections into dedicated berths in a quadrennial cycle.

No, I just read the newspaper.

It doesn't seem to occur to you that about 60% of all public employees work for local governments, and a higher share of elected officials. Many more stories to run.

More stories to investigate too. Newspaper resources are limited. Do you publish the story about small-time crooks on the local city council or big-time ones in the FDA?

You have sources in city government. In the FDA, not so much.

Make the case local control results in Alabama and Mississippi being superior places to be born and raised than California or New York or Massachusetts.

They don't have any more local control (nay, less) in Alabama and Mississippi than they do in New York, California, and Massachusetts, so how is one supposed to 'make the case'?

Mississippi graduates more kids from high school, and is within $1600 of California for GDP per capita adjusted for PPP.

A key part of finding corruption is oversight, and local newspapers have discovered that nobody reads local news anyway: This leads to low, if any, practical oversight.

In US metro areas, we also get into bonus situations where the people that suffer the consequences of a regulation are not voters, because they only work, or shop, in the municipality. Using eminent domain to mark a subdivision of people that don't vote for you as blighted and building a strip mall instead was a classic around here until the financial crisis left us with gigantic amounts of real estate.

Those local governments gain bonus insulation from their corruption by adding more forms of revenue that don't involve taxes to voters. It's not just sales tax incrases, which mostly affect people that can't vote in said municipality, but there's also the fun of local police departments that are purely revenue generating, in areas that don't affect residents all that much. 'Let's stop all black people that pass nearby' is a classic tactic. The judge normally works there 1 day a week, and lives in a different municipality anyway, so they still don't meet constituents in meatspace. In exchange for mostly free local services, voters just are OK with the corruption: and if they are not, the local government will find ways to harass them.

All of this makes local governments in midwestern metros into a very unfunny joke.

Care to explain how fantastic Alabama or Mississippi is as a great place to live compared to New York or California because local control of Federal welfare spending plus low taxes has eliminated virtually all poverty in Alabama and businesses have rushed to open businesses in Alabama to sell to all the typical $100,000 mean income families living well in Alabama and Mississippi ?

I find it wonderful how the poor States getting far more in Federal spending than they pay in Federal taxes and fees are subsidizing the wealthy States like California by way of exempting State and local income taxes from the double taxation of Federal income taxes.

After decades of a tracking double taxation, now the GOP is arguing double taxation is fairer that taxing income only once.

In any case, if Obama had so much power over the entire economy, why are Alabama and Mississippi so poor? Obama hates black people?

But why did Obama force white Kentucky to pay more health care workers to help residents but fail to force whiter West Virginia to pay more health care workers to work helping the sick and disabled poor? Was the difference between Kentucky and West Virginia local control?

Are Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia great States because workers are paid so little keeping labor costs low?

Mulp, please explain how substantially increasing labor costs in Alabama will help the state be more competitive in the global economy and attract more outside investment.

Obama might not hate black people, but he doesn't have the magical powers to make black people behave like white people anymore than any white President does.

Prior to emancipation Alabama and Mississippi were some of the wealthiest and most prosperous states. The single wealthiest county in the country in 1860 was Adams County, Mississippi. Today Adams County's median income is nearly three-fifths below the national median.

West Virginia's dysfunction is a considerably more interesting story than the Deep South where the cause is obvious.

#6: an eldercare attorney of my acquaintance had this piece of advice: "Whatever you do, avoid seeking a guardianship".

Probably a good idea to get one of your children, who you trust, power of attorney to establish the relationship. My brother took over doing all of my mom's taxes long before her death, so obviously that made him the natural choice. If the court sees that so and so has power of attorney and has been managing your financial affairs, then they are less likely to consider giving a guardianship to someone else.

Probably a good idea to get one of your children, who you trust, power of attorney to establish the relationship.

Ha ha ha

Art, those of us who have kids usually love and trust them. Being childless yourself, we don't expect you to understand this.

Some people have shitty parents, and other people have shitty kids.
If you trust a stranger more than your own children, well, may be you can shop around for a trustworthy attorney and give THEM power of attorney instead.
Point is to give someone who is competent and trustworthy legal authority before someone else does it for you.

"a trustworthy attorney": are there still such?

Point is to give someone who is competent and trustworthy legal authority before someone else does it for you

Again, there's a reason people do not do this when they're of sound mind. You're telling me, Hazel, that the way to fix this problem is to fix this problem when an unwillingness or inability to fix it is why they're in the soup.

And the impediment to fixing this problem is not necessarily (or usually) 's***ty' kids but failures emanating from one side or the other in this transaction even though both parties are more or less normal range. The most wretched example I can think of in my social circle was a woman who had a raft of possible choices among her proximate relations and years to prepare. She was eventually persuaded to sign a PoA by a financial professional she knew and assigned the function to the child she most loudly distrusted. There was nothing terribly wrong with her as a person.

No, I'm just saying that it's probably good advice to give someone power of attorney when you start getting to that age, so you don't end up in a situation like the people in these article.

5. When you said noisy I thought you were being metaphorical. How wrong I was.

#6 is absolutely horrifying

It's likely also cherry-picked and spin-doctored.

Could you explain more?

Indubitably the situation varies from state to state. It was explained to me that obtaining the appointment of a guardian is a cumbersome and wrenching procedure (in New York) and one you simply must avoid. How you could have some scam artist obtaining an appointment with a letter from an RPA is beyond me, and I suspect that's because salient details were left out which would detract from the author's point.

I suspected that, too. But when I googled "April Parks Las Vegas" and saw all the stories about her, I thought, wow, Paddock wasn't the only monster in Vegas.

I'm glad NV yanked Parks back from her new hunting grounds in PA and threw her in jail.

Yeah, it's one of the scariest things I've read lately.

It seems like lots of publicity is the one potential remedy. If the judge has reporters following him everywhere asking questions, he's more likely to think about what's good for the elderly people. Also, this seems like a very good issue for AARP.

That should have been, "It seems like lots of publicity is one potential remedy." (Rather than "...the one potential remedy.")

#6. I'm confused as to why the court appointed a commercial guardian rather than their daughter, who clearly has an interest in checking on them. Guardianship should ALWAYS go to a direct relative or spouse first and only to a paid person as a last resort if all relatives are deemed incompetent or refuse.

The daughter might just have been untrustworthy. Been known to happen.

The article shows that was not the case. I

Yes, the article has the court-appointed guardian (Parks) claiming that the daughter was a "reported addict" who "has no contact with the proposed ward".

As the article notes, the daughter is:
A fifty-three-year-old mother of three sons, she and her husband run a small business designing and constructing pools. She lived ten miles away and visited her parents nearly every day, often taking them to her youngest son’s football games.

and

When Belshe called Parks to ask for the court order, Parks told her that she was part of the “sandwich generation,” and that it would be too overwhelming for her to continue to care for her children and her parents at the same time.

So, basically Parks (the guardian) was saying two different things to the courts and to the daughter. Telling the daughter that she was too busy to care for her parents while secretly telling the court she was a drug addict who never spoke to her parents.

"The daughter might just have been untrustworthy."

Yes, less trustworthy than April Parks, who could be counted on to move them out of their house against their will, and to take all their money.

There are two layers of judicial oversight failing here. There’s this Norheim fellow, who is acting as a kind of magistrate, who rubber stamps the applications from the private guardians and presents them to the judges as his recommendations. Then there are the family court judges, who make the actual rulings, but who always follow Norheim’s recommendations. The reasons for this behavior are left as an exercise for the reader. You might assume corruption, and you might be right. But it could also be a type of regulatory capture. The private guardians are repeat players, they build rapport and trust within the system, and eventually the folks running system start thinking of the guardians as clients to be served.

#5: As someone who holds some shares in an Australian equity ETF, I can tell you the answer is no. Everybody already knows how mediocre it is.

#2) Thinking of the 'Laboratories of Democracy' case for 'inefficient states'. Believe there is a reasonable argument to be made between short cycle efficiency and long-cycle efficiency.

While states may be less efficient in the short run, the evolutionary process of competition between states could drive greater political innovation and national resilience over longer time frames - survival of the fittest.

In this model, the Federal government should serve primarily as a regulatory agent to ensure fair competition, through statutes like the interstate commerce clause, freedom of movement etc. in an effort to reduce negative externalities from inter-state competition, as well as playing the role of a transmission agent between states to promote more rapid adoption of successful policies and prevent overly destructive policies from proliferating.

One reason for federalizing everything was liberals were upset some states didn't have welfare and people were moving to northern states with generous social policies. Alabama can be very efficient when it eliminates most social spending. And if Mississippi is corrupt, that's Mississippi's problem, not New Hampshire's. The false assumption made by the centralizers is that there is a "we." Especially odd because they've spent the past 50 years destroying "us" and implementing multiculturalism and diversity, which if anything calls for an even more radical decentralization. Muslim led areas will look like the Middle East and African areas will look more like Africa. Chinese can recreate the Beijing skyline all along California's coast. That's the beauty of diversity!

One reason for federalizing everything was liberals were upset some states didn’t have welfare and people were moving to northern states with generous social policies.

I think the court decisions by liberal judges arbitrarily denying states a franchise to impose residency requirements came later. I suspect the inclination to supplant the discretion of state governments was derived from a distaste for that exercise generally and a contempt for the political class in those states.

I doubt Alabama gains much in pareto efficiency from it's welfare spending pattern. However, that spending pattern does (in a very rough and ready way) reflect Alabama priorities and not Boston priorities, and that's a no-no as far as social policy mavens are concerned.

Some sorts of spending are properly federalized. Social Security requires tracking people over the course of their worklife (which may range over a half-dozen states), unempoyment compensation is a sort of automatic stabilizer during recessions, and a negative income tax can only be implemented where a jurisdiction has such a tax. When you're talking public medical insurance, the utility of a national policy is less pronounced (though some states make suboptimal units for a that). Ditto your child protective service and your schooling.

State level competition sounds great... except, in practice, whether a place is desirable or not has a lot less to do with the laws, and a lot more to do with the people that are already there. If we went by growth, that would mean that San Franciso, and then California government, are near the top of the nation in quality. At the same time, no amount of magical performance in Nebraska government will make the state competitive.

Given how small the signal of good local government is, a competition model just doesn't make any sense.

The Republican attempts to shift programs from federal to state and local governments is just a way to destroy social programs. The prime example was Reagan eliminating the federal governments role in mental health coverage with his promise that the state government would take care of it. Of course they did not. One of the consequences was homelessness. Most homeless people have major mental problems that the federal government addressed before 1980. Now it is largely the responsibility of the state and local prison systems and they do virtually nothing.

Just as an aside. Maybe, if Reagan had not eliminated mental health care, the nut that tried to assassinate him might have been receiving treatments rather than roaming the streets with a weapon.

Nah, I'd still have gotten him to do it.

The Republican attempts to shift programs from federal to state and local governments is just a way to destroy social programs.

An admission on your part that your preferred policy objects depend on social and geographic distance between policy-makers and tax payers.

The prime example was Reagan eliminating the federal governments role in mental health coverage with his promise that the state government would take care of it. Of course they did not. One of the consequences was homelessness. Most homeless people have major mental problems that the federal government addressed before 1980. Now it is largely the responsibility of the state and local prison systems and they do virtually nothing.

The federal government never operated asylums except in locales which were federal subsidiaries, like DC. Only a single-digit minority of the vagrant population consists of released mental patients. The Reagan Administration did not invent vagrancy. The media's interest in vagrancy ebbs and flows according to whether or not a Republican Administration is in office. The Reagan era was the occasion for a lallapalooza of propaganda, including the media passing on Mitch Snyder's fabricated claim that there were 3 million 'homeless' in the country. (The Urban Institute estimated 600,000 and the Census Bureau could not locate more than about 230,000). In a free society, some people will fail at life dramatically. Nothing you can do about that but provide in-kind benefits so they can keep body and soul together, a project sufficiently small-scale that it can be handled by local charities if the local police provide security.

Just as an aside. Maybe, if Reagan had not eliminated mental health care, the nut that tried to assassinate him might have been receiving treatments rather than roaming the streets with a weapon.

You fancy Mr. Reagan was able to 'eliminate mental health care' during the ten week interval between his inauguration and when John Hinckley put a bullet in him and 3 others?

removing the mentally ill from institutions and returning them to society was a liberal idea. the thought was that new psychiatric drugs could get people to lead normal lives and get them out of snake pits.

Presumably they assumed that the loonies would vote for Democrats.

"One of the consequences was homelessness. Most homeless people have major mental problems that the federal government addressed before 1980. "

There were plenty of homeless people before 1980, and, in any event, im not sure that the mental health system really did help the homeless in any appreciable way. I know this is a bit of 'accepted' truth now adays, but i think this whole comment needs a [CITATION NEEDED]

In addition to doctors over-promising on the effectiveness of drugs, ACLU-types have lobbied and litigated to empty mental institutions by making involuntary commitment virtually impossible. And it was Governor "Pat" Brown, not Reagan (I thought that liberals were nostalgic for Reagan because he allegedly could not get nominated by today's Republican Party), who began kicking the mentally ill to the curb:

"In California, for example, the number of patients in state mental hospitals reached a peak of 37,500 in 1959 when Edmund G. Brown was Governor, fell to 22,000 when Ronald Reagan attained that office in 1967, and continued to decline under his administration and that of his successor, Edmund G. Brown Jr. [aka Gov. Moonbeam, part 1]. The senior Mr. Brown now expresses regret about the way the policy started and ultimately evolved. 'They've gone far, too far, in letting people out,'' he said in an interview.'" http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/30/science/how-release-of-mental-patients-began.html?pagewanted=all

IIRC, Fuller Torrey estimated that about 1/3 of the schizophrenic population were properly cared for in institutional settings. That would amount to about 750,000 people as we speak. Had the asylum population grown pari passu with the general population the last 60 years, we'd have 1.65 million committed therein. In the intervening decades, we've constructed a considerable network facilities better adapted to people's particular problems, e.g. nursing homes and group homes. Nor is there a terribly compelling reason the insane need be cared for by state employees unless they're part of the criminal population as well. State-finance of long term care which has philanthropic asylums as an option could do passably. And, of course, a great many schizophrenics do not benefit from institutional care to the degree necessary to justify its expense (over 100,000 a year per client). Expending 100,000 a year on 24-hr care when your subject is a loser who might benefit from a meal, a bed, and a shower to be had for 1/10th that cost is wasteful.

ACLU-types have lobbied and litigated to empty mental institutions by making involuntary commitment virtually impossible

#6 basically shows why making it easy to involuntarily commit people is a problem.

Australia and New Zealand have a brutal skills shortage for skilled technology professionals. This is basically the single biggest indicator of whether an economy is going to succeed or fail in the near to middle future. It's why the US/China/Vietnam/selected European economies are the ones to bet on.

"Vietnam"

LOL.

I dunno, Vietnam has a pretty low base, and it wouldn't take much of a tech hike to make a real increase in their GDP.

Yeah, if you're talking % it's not a horrible bet

No they don't.

You're full of shit.

6. The guardianship/power of attorney horror stories induce the legislature to adopt extreme measures designed to protect the elderly but end up resulting in much more complexity and higher fees; it's good intentions gone awry. While the horror stories are the exception, they result in complex and cumbersome rules and higher fees for the vast majority of routine cases. As an example, my state's new durable power of attorney statute (it's "durable" because it survives the disability of the one signing it) is so complex that even my relatively young and sophisticated clients roll their eyes in disbelief. It's become routine for legislatures to adopt highly complex laws addressing what are extremely rare cases, the exceptional overwhelming the typical. Of course, that phenomenon is not limited to laws related to the elderly. As for guardianship, it's the default in the absence of proper planning, to be avoided if at all possible. But that reminds me of an experience many years ago with a small town lawyer. He and I met to review my draft of a purchase and sale agreement (I believe for a citrus grove). He flipped through the pages and looked at me and asked if the contract had to be so long. I responded that many of the provisions were what I call litigation avoidance provisions. He looked down at the contract, flipped through the pages again, and then asked "Why would we do that?" Why indeed.

rayward gives a little evidence to my observation that many on left support more government is areas but the one that they are most experienced and expert in.

People are always conservative in their area of expertise.

#2
Take the Social Security Administration, as slender and effective a bureaucracy as exists on earth.

1. They may be efficient at what they do but as someone who has had to deal with them, they are nightmare to deal with.

2. Most (90%?) of the money goes to people who would and not need if the program did not exist. A large percent of the people who eventually get Social Security would be better off if it did not exist.

#2 Nevertheless if the feds are more efficient than the states they should take over the regulation of health-care or send the money that they would have spent on health-care to the states.
It seems to me that incentives will be better aligned if the government level pays for a thing also regulates that thing.

Agreed, Social Security is a weird example to use.

The program does a poor job of providing retirement security and it is so simple that overhead costs were bound to be low regardless of who managed it.

If we had invested the Social Security trust fund surplus in more profitable asset classes, the overhead costs would have risen but so would the investment returns. Would that really be a bad deal for retirees or taxpayers? I think not.

Sometimes we overemphasize "administrative costs" in determining efficiency.

A UBI would have a low administrative burden but it would do a poor job of allocating resources to the neediest people.

I disagree. Social Security seems to me the model of the one thing government got right in the 20th century. Fundamentally, it's an ants over grasshoppers program- behavioral economics ahead of its time. Almost all of us need to make some provision for retirement out of current income, but those grasshoppers...

12.4% of pay isn't cheap, but it's the right ballpark (includes death and disability benefits). Benefits are meaningful for most retirees.

If you work to age 70 and retire this year making $75,000, Social Security pays you an inflation-indexed annuity of $35,000. This is a sizeable stream of income for almost anyone I know.

At the low end, something like 1 in 4 retired Americans rely on Social Security for at least 90% of retirement income. And poverty among the elderly is below the level of the general population, whereas in 1935 it was higher in a much poorer country.

As far as investing assets, Social Security ran for decades on a pay as you go system, so it wasn't sucking assets out of the economy. To deal with the Boomer bulge, Social Security did accumulate a couple trillion surplus in recent decades, but again, the investing decision wasn't a problem, since income tax payers were more than happy to allow these surpluses to finance lower taxes than otherwise necessary. So, the money was left to the citizenry in the form of lower taxes, and God only knows what people did with it, but it probably comes down to ants and grasshoppers again.

" since income tax payers were more than happy to allow these surpluses to finance HIGHER SPENDING than otherwise necessary."

Complicated programs usually have high administrative burdens. It usually does not matter what administrative entity is responsible for providing the benefit. For instance, one simple way to increase program efficiency (by, say, reducing payment error) would be to turn a targeted program into a universal benefit.

The question is, therefore, what is the point of the program? If the point of a public health program is to efficiently transfer resources to the poor (or at least those in poor health) to increase their purchasing power, neither the Federal government nor states are particularly efficient. For instance, under both Graham-Cassidy and Obamacare, the insurance companies receive the direct benefit in exchange for providing health insurance coverage.

The only real difference being that under Graham-Cassidy the states receive the money from the Federal government (i.e., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) before the money is transferred to insurers. At first, this may seem like an additional added inefficiency.

However, the primary inefficiency added by state governments comes into play when they have (a) an incentive to maximize Federal revenue coming into the state, and (b) when the penalty for gaming the Federal revenue streams is not only non-existent. The current Medicaid program exemplifies such as design flaw.

Many health consultants have made lots of money teaching little tricks to state administrators that allows them to overbill the Federal government and then use the extra money for all sorts of other projects. This is one reason why hospitals and other interest groups have come out against fundamental changes to the current financing system. They are not against Graham-Cassidy because it cuts back on the Federal spending (it spends more than Obamacare in the short term). It is that Graham-Cassidy largely stops states, hospitals, and other groups from colluding to play the financing games to maximize revenues from the Federal government.

re 5:
...After all, the economy has a head start with 2.5 percent growth virtually baked in -- 1.5 percent from population gains that are among the developed world’s quickest...

I don't know how anyone except an economist could consider 'growth' as a result of population expansion any sort of indicator of national success. The pie is getting bigger; the pieces stay the same. Who cares?

While I agree that policy should primarily be assessed as GDP per capita, one reason for considering GDP is that it provides a measure of immediate national resources, not just wealth. Military spending might be 2% of GDP, then GDP growth will increase Australian military spending compared to rivals (which matters) without increasing it per capita (which doesn't matter). It might matter to investors too - Icelanders and Australians have similar wealth, but if setting up a national office incurs certain fixed costs, the pool from which to recover those is 70 times larger in Australia.

Bullseye, P.

Economists are usually the ones focused on GDP per capita. This is just a poorly constructed article, even if its main point is correct.

1: Tyler's link induced me to go to EJMR for the first time in at least 2-3 years. Each time that I've peeked at it at the past, it was a clusterf**k of trolls and flames, with an abysmal signal-to-noise ratio.

I only looked at a few thread but the place seems to have calmed down. I barely ever glanced at the site; apparently some guy Kirk runs it (as a private for-profit operation?), and moderation of some sort was instituted? And jobs and their search status are listed in a wiki.

I don't know that I'll visit the site regularly, but it has at least improved from what it used to be, a site that I knew to avoid. Sure, there'd be an occasional interesting thread or expose, but if it was noteworthy enough it would pop up here and on other sites, and thus I could read about it without wading through dozens of empty posts of sound and fury.

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