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That Wacky Colorado Weather October 10, 2019

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Yesterday’s High: 79°F

Yesterday’s Low: 22°F

The Racism Trap October 9, 2019

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Just reading Campus Reform’s article on San Diego City College’s flyer for their “Confronting White Supremacy through the Arts” event (H/T to Instapundit). The flyer included this graphic:
SDCCRacism
There are obvious and detestable incidences of racism (Housing Discrimination, Hiring Discrimination, etc.) mixed in with ridiculous items such as “But we’re all just one human family.”

But trying to sum up the the philosophy of the graphic, I come to these conclusions:

  • A non-POC cannot contest any points made by the racism cottage industry, or you’re a racist
  • There is no solution to racism, because the racism cottage industry is about browbeating, not racial harmony

Note the way the points in the graphic fence the non-POC individual in:

  • You can’t try to help (“Self-appointed White Ally”; “White Savior Complex”)
  • You can’t try to treat everybody equally (“Colorblindness”)
  • You can’t try to enjoy/integrate other cultures (“Cultural Appropriation”)

So all of the paths to a solution are cut off. Even trying to propose a solution makes you a racist.

The only “solution” that the racites seem to entertain is perpetual racial navel-gazing on a finer and finer scale, accompanied by wealth transfer based on race.

That approach means that there will never be a solution to racism.

Taxing Wealth, Part IV October 2, 2019

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OK, all the distractions are gone and I can finally keep my promise and talk about the Cato poll. This study focused on trying to determine the importance of compassion for the needy vs. resentment toward the rich in defining attitudes on wealth and capitalism.

I think the most telling chart was this one:

Cato Poll Billionaires Immoral.GIF

Compassion for the needy is actually slightly anti-correlated with the acceptability of billionaires, while resentment of the wealthy is high correlated.

So Bernie and his Bros are really just envious of wealth, and looking to cut the legs out from under those who are wealthy.

Attitudes Toward Capitalism. It has long been my thesis that those who hate capitalism are those who suck at it, and who envy those who don’t. As the poll results below indicate, the level of  compassion you have for the unfortunate is more weakly correlated with hating capitalism than is harboring resentment toward the rich:

Cato Poll on Capitalism.GIF
Obviously resentment/envy isn’t the only reason people don’t like capitalism, but it’s just as obviously a leading cause.

Taxing Wealth, Part III October 1, 2019

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Before I get to that Cato poll, I remembered that I forgot to address one of Bernie’s points from the NYT article (discussed in Taxing Wealth, Part I):

Mr. Sanders is blunt about his desire to reduce the size of America’s biggest fortunes, even highlighting how much individual billionaires would have to pay in taxes under his proposal. He said last week that he did not believe billionaires should exist in the United States.

“There’s no question to my mind that the United States is moving toward an oligarchy,” Mr. Sanders said. “This is an issue that has to be addressed, and this wealth tax begins to do that.”

The thing about oligarchies is: they need a source of power. In this case, the power of the billionaires is derived from their influence over the government.

geoff’s First Axiom (of the day, that is): The only way of reducing the power of the oligarchy is to reduce the power of government.

Taxing the wealthy and giving the money to the government does not reduce the influence of the billionaire class on government, it just gives more resources to government for them (the billionaires) to influence and control.

So Bernie is doing the exact opposite of what he should be doing.

And I’ll be getting to that fershlugginer Cato poll tomorrow morning, it looks like.

Taxing Wealth, Part II October 1, 2019

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As I mentioned in the previous post, the Cato Institute conducted a poll to ascertain why people supported wealth taxes and opposed capitalism. Before I talk about those results, I’m going to tell you why people support wealth taxes and oppose capitalism.

It’s because this is their conception of rich people and their money:

ScroogeMcDuck.jpg

They’re thinking, “Why not take some of that unused money out of those vaults and give it to the poor?”

That would make an immoral kind of sense if that was what people were doing with their money, but as we know, probably only George Soros has a room like that. The rest of the people are investing their money in a variety of financial instruments, and those instruments generally provide needed funds for loans and investment.

The rapid increase in the ultra-wealthys’ share of the nation’s wealth has come under scrutiny, but it’s direct evidence that a significant fraction of their wealth is invested in the stock market.

Which is a good thing for everybody.

OK, I’ll really really get to the Cato poll in the next post.

Taxing Wealth, Part I October 1, 2019

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A couple of articles about wealth today: the first was from the NYT, discussing Warren’s and Sander’s notions of wealth taxes and curbing the fortunes of the ultra-rich; the second described the results of a Cato poll which looked at the motivations of the wealth-taxers. First let’s look at the plans from the Democratic candidates (descriptions of the plans are from the NYT article):

Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders
“Ms. Warren…would impose a 2 percent tax on net worth above $50 million, and a 3 percent tax on net worth above $1 billion.” “Mr. Sanders’…tax would start out at 1 percent on net worth from $32 million to $50 million, and it would top out at 8 percent on net worth over $10 billion.”

These plans seem naive, damaging, and dangerous. Here’s why:

  • Naive:
    • Wealth Taxes Aren’t Constitutional: …at least the way Warren and Sanders are envisioning them.  The Constitution requires that wealth taxes be apportioned per the states’ populations, so that poor and rich states with similar populations would be required to pay the same tax. That’s not workable, so an amendment would be required.
    • The Rich Ain’t Gonna Pay: The ultra-rich always have financial resources and options that allow them to avoid the impact of taxes, such as hiring the law-writers to find loopholes or moving their assets overseas. They can lobby lawmakers to create loopholes or soften the taxation terms. Bottom line: Warren and Sanders will never see the revenues they’re expecting.
  • Damaging:
    • Wealth Taxes Inhibit Investment: …just as capital gains taxes do (which Dems are also interested in increasing). I think most people are familiar with the concept of the return on investment (ROI), which is basically how much money you can expect to get back on your investment. ROI projections are calculated carefully (in most business plans they’re wildly optimistic, but still…) to convince investors that they have a good chance of making money on a venture. Risk and taxes mean that a higher ROI projection is required to convince an investor to pony up. And discouraging investment hurts innovation and economic growth.
    • Impact on Charities: Every dollar taken from the wealthy is a dollar less of their discretionary spending. Charities will be the first entities impacted.
    • Wealth Taxes Have a Questionable Morality: All the wealth accumulated by the ultra-rich has been, or will be, taxed already. Their income and capital gains were taxed, and the appreciation on their real estate will be taxed. Appreciation on items is also taxed. Saying that you’re going to add taxes simply because somebody owns something (unlike real estate property taxes, which are to support public services) makes me queasy.
  • Dangerous:
    • The Slippery Slope: It’s well-known (and griped about) that: “The original income tax was 1% for the bottom bracket, which was comprised of income up to $20,000, and 7% for the top bracket which was comprised of income over $500,000.” Sounds kind of like Bernie’s plan, doesn’t it? And like Warren’s? Do we really think that the average joe is going to be immune from wealth taxes 20 years from now? The 1% tax for the bottom bracket was doubled 3 years later, and 4 years after that it was 5%. I can’t imagine that our modern government will be any less avaricious.
    • Control: The income tax evolved from a simple money-collection mechanism into a tool to encourage/discourage social and economic behaviors. This, despite the fact that the government and its advisors have shown no particular competence in defining good and bad behaviors. Giving them more knobs to turn seems like a bad idea, given that they can’t properly use the current ones.

I’ll talk about the second article in a following post. This one kind of got out of hand.

Nutritional Science Finally Gets It Right October 1, 2019

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In the world of nutritional advice, you only need to wait long enough until you get the answer you want. And this week our nutritional ship has come in:

You DON’T need to cut out red meat: Scientists say official advice on eating less beef, pork and lamb is based on bad evidence and having it four times a week poses ‘NO cancer risk’

It also poses no additional risk for heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.

Now I just have to wait until the truth about the nutritional benefits of ice cream are revealed.

Breathtaking Fraud September 22, 2019

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Doom, Despair, and Agony on Me! September 20, 2019

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I just can’t even:

Jamie Margolin, a high school senior who sued her home state of Washington for its role in causing climate change, said: “I don’t think a lot of people in Congress understand the conversations that are happening every day in American high schools.”

In response to a question about how American children are having their lives impacted by climate change, Margolin spoke about deep despair and nihilism felt by younger generations:

“Kids are joking, like, what is even, like, the point [if] the world is ending,” Margolin said. “What are we studying for? What are we doing?”

These tykes seem to believe that they’re the only cohort that has faced prognostications of doom, giving them special whining privileges.

I refer them to the Cold War, where the threat of global nuclear war and the postulated nuclear winter meant that life on Earth would be largely eliminated almost overnight.

Yet despite living under the shadow of the ICBM/SLBM threat, we managed to hunker down and study, never succumbing to despair. Wasn’t even that hard.

Can’t imagine how pathetic the current generation of students would be under similar circumstances.

Bernie & Teacher’s Salaries September 13, 2019

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The second part of Bernie’s statement at the debate last night was:

We have teachers in this country who are leaving education because they can’t work two or three jobs to support themselves.

Is that true? Well, some teachers are, apparently, working at least a second job:

Nearly 1 in 5 public school teachers have second jobs during the school year, a new analysis of federal data shows.

Across the country, teachers who work a second job earn an average of $5,100 to supplement their incomes.

Meanwhile:

The average public school teacher salary for 2016-17 was $59,660—up from $58,353 in 2015-16.

So on average those teachers are working an extra 4 hours per week. Yawn.

And how underpaid are teachers, really?

Forty-five percent of public school teachers said they are satisfied with their teaching salary, while 55 percent said they are not satisfied, according to data from the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey

That’s terrible! Except for the fact that hardly anybody is satisfied with their salaries:

According to our findings, less than 1/5th (19%) of the people surveyed are comfortable with their current rates of pay. In fact, when asked to put a number on how much more they would need to feel comfortable, more than half (60%) of Americans say that they would need to earn at least an extra $6000 each year.

Looks like teachers are already way ahead in salary satisfaction.

Finally, how many teachers are leaving teaching due to salary issues? Well, the article about teacher’s having to work second jobs found . . . one:

“Working two jobs and trying to maintain a balance with teaching, it does take a toll, especially when you have a family,” said Joe Reid, who until recently was a middle school language arts teacher in Hebron, Ind.

Reid resigned from his teaching job at the end of this school year.

Looks like another manufactured crisis.

Bernie & Child Poverty September 13, 2019

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Bernie Sanders at the debate last night:

“We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. And yet, we have the highest child poverty rate of almost any country on Earth,” he said.

What he meant to say, I’m sure, was “almost any developed country on Earth.” But if we spot him that, how much of a problem is child poverty?

Well, from this year’s Census Bureau report on Income and Poverty in the United States, we have this lovely chart, showing childhood poverty (the blue line) is as low as it’s been in almost 40 years:

CensusBureau2019ChartofPovertybyAge.gifSo, while having any children living in poverty is a tragedy, it’s not a new emergency.

Why is the child poverty rate as high as it is? Well, a Heritage report looking at 2015 data noted that:

Around 70 percent of child poverty occurs in single-parent families. Children in single-parent homes are about five times more likely to be poor than are children in married-couple homes. Most non-married fathers are employed and typically have higher incomes than the children’s mothers. If poor single mothers were married to the fathers of their children, about two-thirds would immediately be lifted out of poverty.

Lifting 2/3 of 70% of children out of poverty means that you would cut the poverty level in half, with no cost. Eliminating illegal immigration and limiting legal immigration to those who can demonstrate self-sufficiency (per the old immigration standards) would cut poverty still further.

But I’m guessing that Bernie would rather spend other people’s money rather than promote nuclear families, limit immigration, or address other root causes.

Imaginary Commuting Inequities September 10, 2019

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Beto O’Rourke keeps flailing about trying to get some traction in his anemic presidential bid. This time he’s seized upon mixing rich people and poor people neighborhoods together so that poor people can live closer to their jobs:

“Living close to work shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich. It’s a right for everyone,” the former Texas congressman tweeted Monday evening.

“Here’s the tough thing to talk about, though we must. Rich people are gonna have to allow — or be forced to allow — lower-income people to live near them, which is what we fail to do in this country right now,” Mr. O’Rourke says in the campaign clip.

Mr. O’Rourke then claims lower-income Americans must drive “one, two, three hours in either direction to get to their jobs, very often minimum wage jobs, so they’re working two or three of them right now.”

Well, first of all, getting to live in a primo spot is not a fundamental right. If it was, we should kick out the current residents and start a lottery for people who want to live on the beach, or in Aspen, or in Manhattan, or in…

Second, do the poor really suffer more than everybody else in terms of commuting time? Naw, in actual fact, they have slightly lower commuting times:

Commuting Times

As you can see, a higher percentage of low income commuters have a short commute, and a lower percentage have a long commute. But the differences aren’t dramatic, and certainly not anything requiring corrective government action to reduce commuting inequities.

I know Beto doesn’t care, but the most effective approaches to reducing commuting times would be:

  • Reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the country
  • Limit future immigration until we adjust the population size such that the infrastructure can cope
  • Improve telecommuting interfaces so that employees are more effective and easier to manage
  • Get Elon Musk to tunnel under every city and build his subterranean commuting systems

The first three would reduce our carbon footprint, and the first two would lead to wage increases for all workers, but especially lower income workers.

But Beto would rather violate actual natural rights to satisfy an imagined right which hasn’t been wronged.