Monday assorted links


#6. "Make Honduras Great" I love the title. And I love the idea of making Honduras a prosperous, desirable place to live, instead of just moving the population to the US.

I skimmed the PDF paper, I could find no sign of a mechanism to prevent Honduras from confiscating the majority of the wealth that could be created.

Unless the charter city is established with contractual terms that will be enforced by a regional power strong enough to crush the Honduran regime, it would be irrational to invest.

Given the prominence of bad actors like AOC and Nancy Pelosi, the USA might not be a credible guarantor that the terms are enforced according to the original contract.

@Viking - right. That's why Cuba's 'free enterprise foreigners zone' where sales of real estate are allowed --Cuba being a country I've visited several times, for the girls--are not that popular. In the end you still have to deal with Castro.

I think this is a real great blog post.Thanks Again. Cool.

AOC is prominent only in her rent-free apartment in your head. Yeah, don't invest in a charter city because of some kid in the Bronx.

The problem is not AOC, the problem is the populace that's impressed by her. For example my friend who is both compassionate and a landlord, and think that Marxist airheads are good for the country, because compassion!

Yes because we are such a credible guarantor with a bona fide con artist at the helm. Hahahaaaaaahaha.

We could give them a mortgage with Honduras as collateral. If they no pay, we takey away.

Is honduras a good place to grow bananas?

If one moves Hondureans to the USA, Honduras can be prosperous.

"And I love the idea of making Honduras a prosperous, desirable place to live, instead of just moving the population to the US."

So, you are sending money to Honduras to build roads, water, sewer, utilities, housing, built by Hondurans who then use the wages you pay to pay the rents and fees that generate the reward for you paying all the Hondurans to build a city for Hondurans?

If the charter city is not for Hondurans, but for immigrants who pay no taxes, how is that different from the US anti-immigrant claims that immigrants don't pay taxes and thus are bad and costly to the native people?

My guess is 90% of illegal immigrants would love to pay more in taxes than Trump, Bill Gates, Wareen Buffett, or even Warren Buffett's secretary who I believe is very wealthy by common standards, because she has not been selling her small, relative to Warren, BH stock to get the low capital gains rate, instead paying the flat tax plus progressive tax on only her entire earned income.

My taxes fell by 80-90% from 2000 to 2005, because i lost my over $100,000 plus benefits job. I paid taxes on savings invested in stock I sold, or no taxes at all on cash savings or stock that had no gain or that fell in price.

I would been much happier to have paid $20k or more in Federal taxes every year since 2001 than the average of under $2000. That would have meant my taxable income and benefits were at least $75k and my saving would have grown by $40k per year instead of decreasing by over $25k per year.

Note, I paid an average of $7000 annually in "no tax" NH property taxes. If i wasn't paying those taxes, my house and land would be worth a fraction of its current price because there would be no road, no schools, no fire and emergency and police, no utilities on the public right of way, no water.

"My taxes fell by 80-90% from 2000 to 2005, because i lost my over $100,000 plus benefits job. "

I'm utterly shocked.

If you have no critics you'll likely have no success.

Charter cities might be fine, but I worry about why people fantasize about them, as if they were going seasteading or something. Yo, ho.

Better governance should be a more basic and a more universal goal. There are tools for this kind of thing.

Honduras is down from 61 days to start a new business to just 13. Shout it from the rooftops.

(Voice recognition first recorded that as "white people fantasize about them" which is kinda funny and kinda true.)

For once, we agree. Charter cities are a libertarian fantasy.

Murder rate is trending downwards as well. Still basically a failed state. As it will continue to be.

Per capita income PPP: $4500. Yikes.

For reference Taiwan is $49,900. Recently a dictatorship, population comprised of war refugees.

That's racist!

One of us supports allowing all Hondurans to immediately immigrate to the US.

One is terrified of Honduran moms with children in tow.

But ok.

Are all Vikings this stupid or just you?

First comment was sarcasm. Second was explaining the reasoning to someone clueless. Is this the real Dick, or a sockpuppet?

IQ has been disproven many times by Vox, the New York Times, and MSNBC.


Surely you're joking Mr. Mouse!

Ha ha ha ha! 😂🤣🤣

Behold the Republican Party of the 21st century in all her glory. Anti-science and anti-fact.

'disproven' and not 'found at' are two way different things.

Buuuuuurn! Those people are idiots!

If Trump is serious about Central American immigration, how about coming up with a plan for economic development? A prosperous Central America is in the interest of everyone, left to right. We can pay for it by cutting the billions of dollars we give to the far away regimes in the Middle East. I think that is a fair deal and much better than a wall. #MHGA

F*ck that! Build a wall and give 'em nothin. Those thugs that run that sh*those country are their sons, brothers, uncle's, and fathers.

I don't think they are fixable.

The problem is you cannot help Peter by robbing Paul. Those who think they can are naïve. But what is worse is you create more freeloaders when you give them free stuff.

5. “Curing diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia can lead to a compounded output increase of 5.4% while improving welfare for all agents.”

We can reverse this one.
In my hometown, the meth epidemic is costing us 5.4% and is thus the likely cause of poverty around here.

#2 I read this as Billionaires bad, but not our billionaires

#4 If true then I see this as a positive. All children should be a conscious planned decision.

#5 Cure the disease (if possible) or more investment in Robot/AI senior living assistants? Pursue more cheap immigrant labor? I get the feeling that the Robot/AI living assistants will emerge as a clear efficiency leader moving towards 2096. Call it a hunch.

2 - Exactly right. Most billionaires are Dems, and therefore Forces of Purity and Good.

If most billionaires are Dems, why doesn't your team support a billionaire's tax? Wasn't that the idea behind limiting the SALT deduction?

"If most billionaires are Dems, why doesn't your team support a billionaire's tax? "

Or you could rephrase your question as: ""If most billionaires are Dems, why does their team support a billionaire's tax? ".

The answer is the same either way. Both major parties are populists. For the Democrats that means demonizing billionaires, for the Republicans it means demonizing Hollywood and the MSM.

“Hollywood and the MSM.”

What a novel and interesting spelling of “Latinos, African Americans, sexual minorities, and (don’t forget!) transgender war heroes.”

10% of Medal of Honor recipients in the current forever war are either transgender, homosexual, or women.

Most Medal of Honor were white and of Irish ancestry. Many (Irish) fought and died in the Civil War to free blacks they didn't like. Isn't that what you tellectual folk call irony?

They were also Catholic, and Catholics need not apply to the SCOTUS, according to the Kamala mala.

You had to reach back 150 years to find white Irish winning awards.

I said the global war on terror.

I don't care what the mouse thinks.

"Of the 3,464 Medals of Honor awarded as of September 17, 2009, an estimated 2,021 have been awarded to Irish-American recipients, more than twice the number awarded any other ethnic group; 257 Irish-born Americans have received the Medal of Honor which represents more than half of foreign-born MOH recipients."

Using the Civil War is typical Trumpian innumeracy.

Try the recent 18 year long war. Hint: your orange despot was “for it, fore he wa’ agin’ it”

I was for it until I was against it. There is nothing wrong with that - it's called learning from experience. I will also change my mind if I see good data that contradicts my current beliefs.

I think Afghanistan is a lost cause.

Most loud opinionated billionaires are Democrats, those with opinions close to that of the Koch brothers wisely keep their opinions to themselves.

Still wondering why the Reps don't want to soak those Dem billionaires, if most of them are. Or maybe TPM was wrong per usual.

Thomas Frank has analyzed this to death. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s racism and misogyny.

Republican rank and file are bought off with the promise of keeping Latinos out of America, dark skinned Americans from accessing government assistance, and women barefoot and pregnant. Democrats are offering unemployed white trash Christian climate change deniers with cash assistance, free healthcare, food stamps, job training, WIC, you name it.

They refuse because blacks would get assistance also. They refuse because gays would have non discrimination laws. They refuse because affirmative action might mean a black kid goes to Harvard. They refuse because they are insane and think they might be a billionaire on Duck Dynasty. They refuse because women who can buy condoms at 7-11 will have a choice of whether to get pregnant.

White male hate prevents progress. If we removed the hate we would be on the road to, if not utopia, a country much closer to true equality of outcome.

Paradise lost.

Time for your meds mousey! 😂🤣

Man, you really are a bigot! You believe all those horrible things about people based on the color of their skin.

And yes, Thomas Frank has analyzed the decay of the Democrats - his book "Listen, Liberal!" describes the Democrats fall from Grace very well.

How far down can you fall?

Harris/Fauxcahontas 2020!

Is this what they call the "locus classicus"?

"Radical movements in capitalist societies ... have typically been supported by a few wealthy individuals ... - by a Frederick Vanderbilt Field, or an Anita McCormick Blaine, or a Corliss Lamont, ... or by a Friedrich Engels. This is a role of the inequality of wealth in preserving political freedom that is seldom noted -- the role of the patron." (Capitalism & Freedom).

I honestly have no idea whether billionaires trend democrat or republican. If you look at the top 7, I believe Ellison and Koch are Republicans. Ellison is the only one I have doubts about, the others are clearly 5 Democrats and one Republican.

If you look at the top 20 from a few years ago, political donations seem somewhat balanced, the Waltons seem to be leaning Republican, and some of them are still in the top 20s:

The direct answer is that republicans would be spiting too many important Republican donors by robbing the billionaires.

On a household level, Trump primary voters averaged 70K/year, Kasich $90K/year, Sanders & Clinton primary voters in the $50s/year somewhere.

While it is true that blue states have higher incomes, it is unclear that Democrats cumulative tax burden is higher. The rich blue states are magnets for the lumpen proletariat, so many of the excess Clinton votes came from poor households. While white collar workers skew democrat, and some fields like University professor, school teacher and journalist are incredibly lopsided, lots of income is generated by small businesses, where republican owners outnumber democrat owners more than 2 to 1.

In fact, this points to the 2017 tax bill, where the net profits of small businesses are reduced 20% prior to calculating tax liability might be the only way other than increasing payroll taxes to skew the tax payments more towards democrat voters.

I was supporting my assertion that the political bias of billionaires is unclear, by referencing a webpage that shows the top 20 richest billionaires have 7 supporting only democrats, 7 supporting only republicans, 5 supporting both parties, one did not make political donations.

This link caused my message to be rejected, probably because it came from an Alt-right blog.

Here is an alternate link, from a neocon blog:

So Howard Schultz can get 4% of the vote. How much could Tom Brady get? Bill Belichek? Bill Cowher? Unlike a Barack Obama, a billionare has the luxury to be whatever bent they choose at whatever time, even if the principles they hold to are not great or even stable. It's a weird trade-off. Then again, a billionare usually has the common sense to stay away from politics given its treacherous nature.

No matter how many loud mouth billionaires the Democrats have, the billionaire with the biggest and loudest mouth of all time is still Donald Trump.

He's certainly the billionaire who is President, unlike a lot of wannabes. But who knows what the future will hold. I suspect that if the tax the rich rhetoric gets too serious on the Democratic side, will see a few billionaire Democrat's running and a lot of behind the scenes money will prop up the non-populist candidates.

@ #2 - "And for the richest 1 percent of Americans to own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, up from 33 percent in 1962, is corrosive and unhealthy" - wrong! This author is appealing to his non-1%, 99% readership. Either stick to your guns or not, you cannot straddle the fence. Hypocritical. I unabashedly say the 1%--which I am a member of--are an unalloyed good for society. Period. No qualifications. "Unhealthy" is wrong. As a society gets richer, through the laws of statistics you'll have more outliers that will slowly own more and more of the wealth a society produces. It's a natural law.

That post kinda read like the essays they used to put on the side of Dr Bronnners soap containers.

It was Milton Friedman who made cut tax rates and eliminate tax loopholes who killed of jobs in the US making yachts.

High tax rates on individuals created incentives to create jobs building yachts which were owned by both businesses and individuals for business entertaining, etc. Yachts were a small part of busindess expense tax dodging, dwarfed by the 3 martini lunch which paid lots of cooks, bartenders, wait staff.

As Milton Friedman pointed out, the 50% to 70% to 90% tax rate meant individual business men and boards of directors were happy to allow lavish travel and entertainment spending for high gross margin businesses because the IRS and other tax men paid half the cost of luxury. Of course, government played both sides, with States and Federal collecting sin taxes, and local government collecting meals, rooms, sales taxes, so the higher the spending the better.

Milton Friedman was clever in getting liberals to be outraged by the lavish tax dodges that paid so many working class people. Conservatives were always happy to kill jobs and pay workers less.

Remember, the biggest tax dodge for income taxes is paying workers.

Granted you need to be rich to dodge high income taxes by paying workers, but even Reagan's tax reform that hiked rates back up in 1986 and raise capital gains rates created opportunity, but lobbying easily restored the biggest dodges by pointing to the businesses that were going to or had laid off high percentages of workers. One group of workers were recreational boat, ship, yacht builders in the US. Another group of workers were in private planes and jets.

The tax dodges were restored, but the lower tax rates increased the cost of entertaining, and "wasteful" became attached to paying workers in entertainment and travel, so the bean counters forced traveling employees to ride cattle class. Solved by creating business class, which was the same as "luxury" first class, then a few seats were called luxury by serving champaign, and providing hot towels, at twice the price. With "clubs" to upgrade full fare business class and frequent business flyers.

I knew lots of sales and supoort people who traveled in the 60s 70s into the 80s 90s, and occassionally traveled myself. And traveled on occassion by corporate jet to customers. Being flown in by corporate jet signalled to customers the corporation understood our products had a problem doing what we sold them for.

But by the 90s, bean counters were happy to screw workers by making travel unpleasent, and have the sales manager twist and then lose the customer to a competitor. Bean counters prefer low cost customers, low cost workers. If revenue goes down, that's some else's problem; they maximize profits. They like stock options/grants. Where the stock comes is the BOD's problem. Just don't pay cash to or for workers, directly or indirectly.

Low tax rates and eliminate the tax dodges for paying workers is the best way to kill jobs and slash wages in the US. Cost cutting is never about cutting profits, always killing jobs and slashing wages.

I figured as much.

Most of the "inequality as physical process" papers I've seen would center on the natural state of the wealth distribution being an exponential distribution (justified as a plausible starting point by the one-dimensional Boltzmann distribution with wealth as energy), with the outcome that the fraction of wealth held by the top n% does not vary with mean wealth.

#2 is deliciously clueless. I think this is my favorite genuflection: "To state the obvious, we at The Post feel fortunate to have a wealthy owner, Jeffrey P. Bezos, who has given us the space and time to find our footing in the digital age."

Man, you can't buy that kind of coverage lol.

"Man, you can't buy that kind of coverage lol."

I see what you did there LOL

It is like reading the Pravda circa 1936. Is that what America has become? A 21th Century Soviet Union?

#2...Hence the old adage, "Nothing makes a man wiser and more virtuous than becoming a billionaire." House of Lords anyone? They're impartial, you know.

As Brazilian writer Millôr Fernandes reported, "my friend is a millionaire. How wonderful, intelligent and skilled my friend is!

"Man, you can't buy that kind of coverage lol."

Thread winner!

"The first thing I bought with my compensation money was a bag of apples. Sure did. ..Luck had me a role in 12 Years a Slave. Yes, indeed. I identify with that story." Gregory Bright

"5. Curing diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia can lead to a compounded output increase of 5.4% while improving welfare for all agents.”

I realize you included that for tongue-in-cheek reasons and there are various other Straussian readings but my God that sentence makes me legitimately sad.

2. Billionaires are people too. Or something. Fred Hiatt (the author of the article at the link) makes the point that resentment of the rich has for a time been a feature of the populist right, but claims resentment of the rich is now "sizzling on the populist left, too, with the premise that “every billionaire is a policy mistake”.' He is quoting Annie Lowrey. What Lowrey means is that we've spent 40 years implementing policies that favor capital over labor based on the notion that doing so will cause a flourishing of the economy that will benefit both capital and labor. Well, it's definitely benefited capital, but at best the jury is still out over whether it has benefited labor. Of course, there are the usual suspects who argue that our policy mistake is that we haven't favored capital enough, and if we just add a little more sugar for capital all will be well in the village. Probably not. Raghuram Rajan: “One of the big issues today is the rising anger in different countries. Not just the West. It is also in India, in China. A lot of it has to do with jobs, not enough high-quality jobs. My worry is we are paying too little attention to this, saying that this is just part of the cycle. It’s not about the cycle. As economists, we need to think about what can we do to essentially diffuse this kind of anger and protect the system. Forget the ups and downs. The system itself is being challenged today.” Well, economists need to think about more than how to diffuse the anger, they need better economic ideas. Many if not most economists have been stuck on the same policy idea for 40 years. That's not the fault of billionaires, that's the fault of economists. Maybe the anger of the populist right and the populist left should be directed to them.

The Republican party has always been the party of 'trickle down economics', "what's good for General Motors is good for America", even well before the reign of Reagan. As well it should be.

By "before Reagan" you mean before the financial crisis of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. What followed was the adoption of the New Deal, social welfare programs, and government regulation, and an eventual long period of shared prosperity that included 70% to 90% marginal income tax rates on the wealthy. That ended with the Reagan era of tax cuts for the wealthy and tax increases for the working class and the long period of un-shared prosperity enjoyed by the capital class, the financial crisis of 2008, the great recession and slow recovery, the rise of populism on the right, and the election of a carnival barker as our president. As well it should be.

"That ended with the Reagan era of tax cuts for the wealthy..."

Taxes were cut substantially during the 1960's.

"President John F. Kennedy brought up the issue of tax reduction in his 1963 State of the Union address. His initial plan called for a $13.5 billion tax cut through a reduction of the top income tax rate from 91% to 65%,"

So, don't blame Reagan, blame JFK & LBJ.

JFK's proposed tax cut, lowering the max. marginal rate from 91% to 65%, later adopted after his murder and adopted, lowered the max. marginal rate to 77% and then to 70%. So you believe a 70% marginal tax rate is okay?

"So you believe a 70% marginal tax rate is ok?"

No, much like segregation, environmental pollution, restricting women's opportunities, the Vietnam war and smoking on airplanes, the 1960's is best viewed from 50 years away.

Reply to rayward -

Beginning with Kennedy’s tax cuts, all four major tax categories (individual, corporate, capital gains and estate taxes) have seen rates fall.

Casualties include democracy, national debt as a share of GDP, middle class wages and share of income for the bottom 95% of tax filers.

Trust in government (we the people) dropped from a high of 77% in 1964 to 10% after the Great Recession. Debt as a share of GDP increased from 31% in 1981 to 104% in 2016. Everyone knows about forty years of wage stagnation. The share of income for the bottom 95% of tax filers fell from 80% to 63% following estate tax cuts.

#5. But what will happen to the jobs of all those nursing home assistants? What about the resulting economic dislocation and skills mismatch?

2. Gates is a good guy, but I like that I spotted the vibe from the zeitgeist a week or two before it became overt.

America is falling out of love with billionaires, and it’s about time (LAT)

Trump has been off Twitter all day, with the exception of one prepped announcement, and Lindsey Graham is trying to line up all Republicans for an emergency declaration.

So some shit may go down. I'm not sure what that means, probably merely bad, as opposed to very bad, or terrible. But who knows? YOLO!

State of the Union tomorrow is what's going down

TBH, I thought that was next week. Still, SOTU + Emergency Powers = Some Risk

Down to the wire, maybe

"McConnell has told associates he thinks Trump's staff has failed to adequately brief the president on the perils of an emergency declaration. As many as 10 Senate Republicans would join Democrats to reject the move. ⁦@GlennThrush⁩ ⁦@ESCochrane⁩ "

#1) The background music is lightly pastoral as we see Lord Snotsworthy enjoying a morning of cross-country skiing across a pristinely snow-white British field.

But the music turns ominous as a crunching sound begins to build. Lord Snotsworthy suddenly looks off to the side in panic. Close-up of his scream, and a sickening thud as the camera shudders and hits the ground...

The music is light and pastoral again as we see an extreme aerial shot of the virginal white meadow, marred only by the nobleman's crumpled body. A long, narrow, mysterious trail in the snow leads to and from the corpse. Episode title -- A Snowball's Chance -- forms on the screen.

Lord Snotsworthy just happens to be a crucial member of British Intelligence. Steed and Mrs. Peel are called in to investigate this most puzzling affair.

6. Can we make Honduras minimally livable before we make it great?

It was paradise on earth until the arrival of whites.

Then it was great. Until the arrival of white US marines.

Then it was okay. Until the arrival of La CIA.

Maybe you can just stop terrorizing Hondurans.

The only people terrorizing Hondurans are other Hondurans. It has never been occupied by the Marines, btw.

Try knowledge this time, Trump supporter.

Fact check

tut tut

Occupation by the US Marines did wonders for Japan, so clearly it is not necessarily true that US military occupation is the cause of Honduran pathologies.

Honduras is being destroyed by it's own men - it is a patriarchy that adores machismo.

Honduras has been stewing in it's own sh*t for a long time, and will continue to do so.

Once again, we see in Honduras more detritus left behind by the disastrous colonization by the Spaniards. They went looking for gold and left devastation in their wake.

It is just too bad Honduras wasn't bought by the US - they could have been part of the Anglosphere. You don't have to be Anglo to be part of the Anglosphere.

UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Honduras (not!) ...

Honduras coulda been a contendah!

Amazingly nuanced!


1. People will believe just about anything. Lots of folks fell for the cryptocurrency scam, which, unlike the snow roller scam, cost them dearly.

#2-- What a stupid argument.

It's equivalent to saying, "Look, I understand the impulse to condemn slavery and slave-owners, but *some* slave-owners do good stuff, too, like treat their slaves well, or EVEN free them after their death!"

The fact that *individuals within a given system* may act to the greater good *despite the structural incentives of that system* does not imply that that system is itself good for society.

Why is Tyler falling for this unsound argument?

2. At one point didn't people make much of the fact that Trump and his cabinet had more net worth than any preceding administration?

So at the end of the day, what did they do, help you and me, or pursue their own class interests?

'Thou knowest no one, my friend, I believe, but Adam and Eve.' No one restrained himself any longer, but loud laughed out then with the maidens. Loud laughed out the boys. The old man held his sides for his laughing. - Goethe

The facts are what they are. Economic growth has been exceeding expectations (remember when we were told to get used to 1% growth as the new norm?), unemployment is at historic lows, and wages have been rising for low-income workers.

Stop taking credit for the Obama recovery.

"So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight." -Paul Krugman

Partisan logic: If the other side has a booming economy, it's a result of my sides policies, if it sucks, it's because of their policies.

I just decided to respond in kind, to the very common idiocy the Trump economy is all his own.

Trump himself is quite expansive on his recovery as I'm sure you know.

I mean if you guys had started with a business cycle theory I might have continued with that but you didn't did you?

I think the Washington Post files all their 'bad takes' Op-Eds under Fred Hiatt's name. Actually, I don't think Fred Hiatt actually exists. He is just a name used to allow the Post to publish terrible pieces.

#1 Snow rollers may be rare in the UK, but they are very common on glaciers in British Columbia in the springtime.

#4. I think it's weird, and inappropriate, to use the word 'fertility' here. They are obviously reporting on the reproduction rate. Being infertile, or less fertile, is generally regarded as a bad thing, so by association anything that lowers fertility is perceived as being a bad thing. Phrasing it like this is political propaganda and should not be acceptable to a scientific paper. We should not ignore obvious connotations of words when perfectly suitable objective alternatives exist.

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