Saturday assorted links

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About time Greta started using IP protection.

"“I assure you, I and the other school strikers have absolutely no interests in trademarks. But unfortunately it needs to be done,” she said on the social network."

Revealed preferences says she does have an interest in trademarks.

How *dare* you!

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But as an EU citizen, she and the EU can not dictate to the UK, so Boris can own Greta(tm).

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#1 For a moment I thought the paper was about bees.

The paper does drone on.

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1. So the Monarchy is one-part Christ figure and one-part scapegoat (in the biblical sense).

On thing seems obvious, the whole arrangement probably made more sense back when the life expectancy of a ruler was between two weeks and five years. Back then, there were avenues of ascension besides birth order, which also served to keep everybody sharp.

The US could use a hapless (if not expensive) figurehead to cling to during times of strife. Instead we turn to authoritarian sociopaths. Some sort of doddering Pope, uttering vague platitudes while waving harmlessly from a bubble car would be great.

Trump would be harmless as a figurehead monarch, though it wouldn't help this country's reputation.

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5–The public option is just as dumb as Medicare for All (M4A) although it at least sounds more reasonable. So in America we fund our health care system with what amounts to a VAT. The VAT revenue is controlled by employers and the respective state governments and the vast majority of Americans are satisfied with this program. So a public option would undermine that system by replacing it with a program funded by federal deficit spending controlled by the federal government...which makes no sense in light of Americans being satisfied with the program we are actually paying for.

Now the M4A program that makes most sense is for a state to take the initiative to start a M4A program for all the residents in the state. Vermont attempted to start a M4A program but it failed because they wanted it to be more like a public option instead of true M4A which eliminates private health insurance. If the goal is eliminating private health insurance M4A is extremely easy to implement.

"So a public option would undermine that system by replacing it with a program funded by federal deficit spending controlled by the federal government...which makes no sense in light of Americans being satisfied with the program we are actually paying for."

Most Americans want the public option.

Only because it sounds reasonable. But when you explain to them that it would undermine the existing health care system they oppose it. In fact during the debate over Obamacare the public option was rejected for the very reason I provided.

So the stakeholders involved in health insurance believed the status quo was worth preserving while acknowledging Americans under 65 years of age without employer provided health insurance needed a better option than the existing individual market. So Obamacare is a fix to a system which attempted to “thread a needle” of solving a problem without disrupting the existing system...it largely succeeded.

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True, but the question is never paired with funding. Ask the average American is they want a public option if their taxes are going up $500 per year even if they don't use it? Then see what the response is.

Anything that is being paid for with "other peoples money" is always popular. Or conversely someone could propose a Public Option that doesn't require a subsidy.

You do realize that that question is deliberately misleading, don't you?

Yes,in multiple ways. Hence my comment about not including likely costs.

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Keep in mind that the majority of Americans’ health care spending is funded by what amounts to a VAT. So every product and service we purchase in America funds someone else’s health care costs. Considering none of the Obamacare taxes will ever be implemented and Medicare Part D didn’t include a funding mechanism I doubt anyone’s taxes would go up if a public option was passed. So it would be funded by federal deficit spending just like those two programs. So if it undermined the employer provided health insurance system then we would be reducing the amount of the VAT that funds health care and replacing it with deficit spending.

So you think it is better to gove the wealthy taxbreaks instrad of treating sick people?

First off I support Obamacare.

I actually believe a public option would lead to well off Americans getting a tax break because the VAT we currently pay reduces corporate profits and then the more one consumes the more of the VAT one pays.

Give the public the choice to not be in the public option.
Give a public option paid for by those who choose it.
Problem solved.

"Give a public option paid for by those who choose it."

That would be fine, but I don't see any major Democratic candidate going down that road.

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Seems to me that premiums and deductible/out of pocket spending already qualifies as individual deficit spending for many people.

JWatts isn't worth the effort, but it seems possible that you (GF) understand that increased public spending under government funded program would be accompanied by a offsetting corresponding decrease in private spending (let's not argue about the degree of offset for the moment). On net, the per person spending would be balanced to one degree or another.

George, I do understand that...which is why I believe M4A makes more sense at the state level. So Warren’s student loan forgiveness plan is an indictment of any new program based on federal deficit spending.

I'd be curious to hear you develop your case for a state program.

PS. By VAT, what you mean is that with the employer pays for all/some of the premium, so that gets added to cost of products/services (or reducing direct wages)? So in the end, the health insurance premiums serve as a sort of an involuntary blanket transfer skimmed off the top of prodcution?

I have long argued that there is a conservative/libertarian rationale for decoupling health insurance from employment, but curiously little agitation from businesses to do so. So we must presume they like the arrangement. There is no doubt it distorts decisions about employment, workforce size, character of employment interrelationship, entrepreneurialism, small business growth, etc. Hell, even the big companies manage their workforce scheduling largely around avoiding benefits triggers.

Everything in your last paragraph is 100% correct. So this begs the question why I support the employer provided health insurance system?? Because the logical health care system is single payer government run program. So by sheer dumb luck the UAW and New Deal Democrats created a health insurance system that has some semblance of free market forces in it. So generally I think some free market forces are better than none especially because Medicare and Medicaid can use the employer provided health insurance market to help set prices and allocate resources.

Here is how a state run M4A program would work. First off every state already runs a Medicaid program. So the state Medicaid office simply goes to state employees and university employees and says instead of handing health care spending over to Aetna and Humana give us that money to start a M4A program. So those people have good health insurance so you start with the people with the best health insurance and prove you can deliver health care not only better than Aetna but also more cheaply. So once the state Medicaid office proves that other employers will want to hand over their health care spending to that state agency. The process would take about 5 years with in the final year the state agency gets Obamacare and Medicare funds and at that time they offer anyone living in the state coverage in the program. I would keep deductibles and copays and premiums with CSR payments like Obamacare so no new taxes are necessary. Vermont got in trouble by offering the public option first and with that route the state needs a revenue source to fund the program, but by starting with state employees no new revenue stream is necessary for the program.

I don't see much evidence of market forces in the current system, except around the edges.

Some people will argue that this is government's fault, and if left to themselves, the health care system would impose competition on itself. Some people also believe that Elvis is still alive.

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This is only possibly true in period 1. The issue with government isn't that people have good ideas when they're implemented, but rather that there is no competition to discipline them in the future. Costs will quickly spiral out of control and services will stagnate, just as in public education.

Hmm, interesting idea. But perhaps a thread about health care costs is not the ideal place to discuss market cost discipline. The incumbent providers are rather a living refutation.

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As if most of them even know what Medicare-for-all or a public option would entail.

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"The VAT revenue is controlled by employers"

Value is defined by the price paid by consumers. The price paid by consumers is increasingly driven by government cash welfare, eg, tax preferred temporal transfers, debt never likely repaid, and then wages after taxes.

Presumably direct government payments would be declared zero value no matter the price, thus not tax generating.

Thus government would determine value, and the tax revenue, not employers, nor consumers.

The beauty of VAT is labor and capital are taxed at the same rate, so not paying workers (profits) does not reduce taxes. A fact that outrages Trump, et al, who want profits from US capital never taxed by the EU, but is then outraged that neither EU labor or capital pays EU taxes when sold in the US where US labor is heavily taxed and capital lightly taxed, but still taxed more than EU production sold in the US.

VAT adopts the Friedman definition of value, rejecting cost in an ideal free market as the definition of value. (Ie, the price is always labor cost of operations, inputs, capital). While adopting price as value, conservatives object to taxing value, wanting only costs, always labor, taxed.

America’s health care VAT is controlled by employers AND state governments because of how heavily regulated health insurance is in every state. The reason I would oppose more VATs in America is because of how important (and expensive) health care is and so adding more VATs would encroach on health care spending. Plus the health care VAT has some beneficial effects for employers with things like “job lock” with employees not wanting to change health insurance networks...so employers don’t mind paying it.

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Male royals in millitary garb look particularly clownish. Who was the last prince or King to actually risk life or limb in combat? Ibn Saud maybe.

Prince Andrew took part in the Falklands campaign in 1982 as a helicopter pilot and was exposed to the same dangers as his nonroyal colleagues. He was 22.

Including flying helicopters as decoys to protect the ships from Exocet missiles.

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Prince Harry served in Afghanistan twice - serving as a machine gunner and as a pilot of an attack helicopter.

I should add that Prince Philip, who was then a prince of Greece and Denmark, served in the British navy and was in combat in WWII.

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3. Isn't that a coincidence: foreign students enrolling at state universities as state legislatures were reducing funding to state universities. What this study seems to be implying is that the former is related to the latter. Of course, we know American firms were selling out American labor during this period (by shifting production to China), but could it be true that American politicians (i.e., Republican politicians) were doing the same (by reducing funding to state universities)? Fortunately Trump has come along to rectify this.

Foreign students ( especially at the graduate level ) have been a cash cow for universities for a long time. I recall that something like 5% of graduating undergrad CMU CS students are considered eligible for assistantships. And CMU is supposed to be a good program ( I rather have my doubts about that , but CS just has a lot of problems , mainly caused by it being the magic degree to have).

Most of the magic fairy dust that comes from modern CS doesn't really help much with the construction of correct programs. Some of it does, a bit.

CS doesn't teach you how to write correct programs any more than astronomy teaches you how to use a telescope.

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Scandal in Utah: there have been complaints that BYUTV, Brigham Young University's TV, has recently aired comedic sketches where actors crossdress. For example: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LWR_eiYLizw&t=113s If you oppose this, please contact the university.

It is kinda shocking. I did not know such things were happening.

To be frank, I do not think they mean any harm.

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#4. Clearly Greta learnt something at the Davos.

at least she didnt resort to #realgreta

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3—This along with the college admissions scandal is more proof that tuition is actually too cheap! Jack up the price of tuition and then use FAFSA to funnel scholarships to students from middle class families and you have a tax increase that the well off and foreigners would gladly pay.

In the Univ of California system,, out of state (and country) tuition is $39,602. In state is under $13,000. So there is already a very substantial out of state premium.

The college admissions scandal shows non billionaire wealthy Americans were willing to pay up to $500k in tuition.

Indeed. But that's the desperation rate.

Interesting thought exercise, would the parents pay that much if their kid had the chops to make an elite school through the front door? Or would they discount their willingness to overpay due to a lower perceived bribery component?

The question begged by the tuition scandal and the older donation system is how it manifests in grade inflation once the kids are there. Presumably the school provide provides a floor so the kids don't get flunked out. I would assume the graduatation rate is high for that cohort, and pretty well uncoupled from niceties like attendance or performance.

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...or just raise taxes and skip the FAFSA.

Or just skip the FAFSA and tax increases and let students pay for themselves.

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All of this is ignoring the core issue. The University system has (as a system) realized that on average its degrees are valuable and they are trying to capture as much of that value as possible. They are greedy to increase their share of the degree value and decrease the students share of the value.

Hence, they have raised costs at a rate much higher than CPI rate and are raking in the revenue. Student loans aren't the issue. State funding isn't the issue. Much like the medical system, the root cause is the rapid costs in university education and the lack of effective competition. The natural competition (community colleges, etc) are hampered because employers value the signalling over the actual knowledge from the degree.

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6. My first thought was that this was bad, and that "passive" designs, with no fuel, should be fine. But then "running" in rollerblades might be fine? So sure, there is a line somewhere. Maybe it's not an important detail which "shoes" are on which side of the line.

And of course if an especially competitive shoe had patents, that might encourage standards committees to put it on the other side of the line.

See also "Reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms."

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5. Other countries have things they call public healthcare, which are cheaper, so obviously with sufficient political and social will, we could too.

https://www.businessinsider.com/cost-of-healthcare-countries-ranked-2019-3

To be fair, lack of will comes in two forms. There is unwillingness to try, but there is also unwillingness to restrain costs.

To really do it, both those problems would have to be addressed.

Medicaid and Medicare account for $1.35 trillion dollars annually.

Private insurance is about $1.2 trillion.

So a lot of it is already public spending on healthcare.

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With sufficient political and social will, we could also have a free market in healthcare, and you seem to be the hold-up, so get onboard so we can get a healthcare system that actually works, please.

See the controversy and government response to the surprise billing issue. A "free market" in emergency health services is nonsensical. Even for non-emergency care, hospitals were effectively allowed to lie about being in the network of certain insurance companies. This problem doesn't need to be solved by $900 / hr lawyers, a simple government regulation would do the trick.

A free market implies that fraud is punished.

+1, this and that there is pricing transparency

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A free market in healthcare includes this:

tech company gave doctors free software — rigged to encourage them to prescribe opioids, prosecutors say

The hard market view, and I'm not sure you are suggesting it, is that the invisible hand brings all benefits to all consumers. Obviously not. Sometimes the invisible hand pushes drugs.

And again, I'm reminding of actual international comparisons, and not just trading in theory.

There's less of a problem here than you seem to think. Nothing wrong with pushing some drugs maybe the customer will like them.

To the extent it's a problem it's a very very small one compared to the benefits.

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Public healthcare 'saves' money but simply not delivering healthcare. Inferior outcomes across the board.

There is a rational time to not deliver healthcare, for instance to hypochondriacs or cosmetic surgery addicts.

Yep it’s hypochondriacs and cosmetic surgery that drives the cost of healthcare.

It's that last 6 months of care before death...we actually need death panels.

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#6) If having a better shoe is unsportsmanlike, then why were these shoe companies allowed to innovate to begin with? Like, it was ok before for shoe companies to try to innovate as long as they weren't actually successful at it, meaning as long as one shoe wasn't better than the others. As soon as one shoe company became successful, then that innovation had be be outlawed? Then, why not just require everyone to wear the same shoe and tell the shoe companies to stop trying to make better shoes?

It would also be interesting to hear any backstories/culture/politics behind this decision. For example, if some company other than Nike had developed the "magic shoe", would it have been outlawed? I know nothing about elite running culture and politics.

Pro cycling banned recumbent bike designs in 1934 because the wrong manufacturer was winning races. But cycling was young then and technical innovation was central to its story.
For running, I have sympathy with those who want to preserve resemblance to footraces run seriously by ancient Greeks and casually by children. Something would be lost if the marathon became dominated by people wearing spring-loaded carbon fiber stilts half a meter long.

So that is the path you want our society to go down: Diana Moon Glampers, Wesley Mouch. Punishing the successful for being successful.

They can fork off and form another sport, "enhanced running" or something like that.

I believe 'extreme' is the moniker, or, perhaps: 'Xtreme'.

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In your view then, it's just lack of imagination that keeps a typical middle schooler from smoking Usain Bolt by bringing their 10 speed to the 100 meter dash?

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Honestly that sounds way awesomer than pro cycling. If they're good enough for Amee Mullins, why can't we all get ourselves a pair?

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There was a bathing suit that gave a substantial advantage and it was banned in competition. The Speedo LZR full body suit. It was considered to give an advantage through flotation, which was considered an advantage that wasn't coming from the athletic ability of the swimmer.

It seems that this shoe is similar to that.

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Rowing shells with sliding riggers are illegal.

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There's also the example of chess where the major tournaments level the playing field by requiring the players to use their own wits to win. But there's also advanced chess and freestyle chess where computers are explicitly permitted and part of the competition is to have the best computer program (as well as the best human player).

Some running races could be "unlimited" or "freestyle" where the runners can use whatever equipment they want while the Olympics and other major events would presumably continue to have regulations such as the ones described.

But even in an unlimited footrace, presumably skates, bicycles, and for that matter automobiles would continue to be prohibited. Just about all competitions have to have major constraints on what's legal for competitors to use versus what's illegal, otherwise the competition quickly become silly, such as entering the Boston Marathon using a bicycle instead of running shoes.

"such as entering the Boston Marathon using a bicycle instead of running shoes."

or riding the subway...

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It's the same as banning corked baseball bats. Innovation isn't really the right concept here in a sports match.

Bring back barefoot running, naked grappling, and the shot put. Everything else is a sham

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He adjusted the voltage and wire speed per a set circumference the sparks should occupy. He walks outside and smokes a cigarette and sits Indian style, blowing in between in his knees, perches back and looks up beside a cherry thicket, a green shadow and a moon glow. He looks up for the first time and sees four black hawks on their side, they flatten out and cross each other, and then there’s two red hawks, intersecting the four until one appears to fall. Harry stands now Now NOW and looks up higher like a spider climbing his web, he reaches his hand out and a leaf blow into it.

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