Marc Levinson’s selective education

Levinson’s inability to perform a Bohm-Bawerk grade undermining of Schiller is shameful and the attempt appalling

Marc Levinson’s article, linked below, offers details about the post WWII “golden age” which are thorough for casual interest readers to understand and to gain insight as to events which may have cause and effect relationship related to modern economic conditions and how to proceed. However there were key places Levinson chose to selectively not educate the reader. One, he fails to discuss financing the “golden age” with taxes on income 25x poverty levels. Though realistically everyone paid higher rates to help finance the needs and support structures he thoroughly describes as essential to the success during that period. Continue reading Marc Levinson’s selective education

Placebo Goods (There is nothing but profit in the basket)

Okay this is an exceptional thirty-four page download to read and review regarding export and derivatively global business strategy. Thanks to r/economics for this nugget of intellectual activity.

I found myself oscillating between ‘yep’ and ‘uggh’ trying to determine my ethical integrity when it comes to trade and trade law. Outcome: I’m not cut-throat from behind.

The article certainly paints a bleak picture for American greed based Capitalism cannibalizing itself thanks to being outwitted by the global community.

However should the consumer financially survive – a more pure, not quite laissez faire, Capitalism can thrive and reintroduce consumers to actual goods and choice rather than what, after reading this, I would effectively call placebo goods.

Generation X defers loss of subsidized savings accounts

Despite unified recommendations from 101 economists, reminiscent of service puppies for public administrators, the 2018 Cadillac Tax has been deferred to 2020. Among these economists was 2015 Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton. The opening statement from health economists and policy analysts, addressing senators and representatives, cited the unlimited exclusion from income and payroll taxes as being economically inefficient and regressive. The statement concluded that without the Cadillac Tax, government subsidized healthcare would be inevitable.

General public criticism of the Cadillac Tax is that more Americans will be uninsured. However, professional analysis by Moody’s Investor Services indicates that healthcare payer participation will increase as a result of the Cadillac Tax.

As the tax reads, individuals and employers not moving to lower-cost plans will be progressively included into a 40% tax rate. However, the tax is not designed to raise revenues to cover healthcare costs, it is designed to influence greater participation in lower-cost plans which reduces premiums and overall healthcare costs. These reductions allow participation from uninsured individuals, effectively reducing healthcare costs twice.

Without the Cadillac Tax’s design (lower-cost plans and increased participation), healthcare costs will inflate at least $4000 by 2028. In 2013, per capita healthcare expenditures were over $9000, when the poverty line income was only double that amount. That same year, 14.5% of Americans were impoverished. Greater participation from this group, first quintile earners, is necessary to reduce inflationary costs attributed to low participation and bad-debt, of which the latter efficiently increases both direct costs and premiums.

Third through fifth quintile earners in high-cost plans must shift to low-cost plans in order to increase affordability for first quintile earners and their participation. The reason for this, as previously explained, is to prevent the $4000 increases on current participants which would effectively reduce payer participation.

The Cadillac Tax, as noted by the economists, will remove healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) from healthcare plans. FSAs, generally owned by third through fifth quintile earners, act as a government subsidized savings accounts. FSAs are tax free, a $750 savings per year, and allow for accrual of interest to providers. This regressively pays upper quintile earners for having money in the FSA, especially when compared to a traditional savings account ($25 earned per year). Neither of these accounts are likely owned by the uninsured, notably the lower quintile earners, and the savings from FSAs will be outpaced by inflationary increases.

The Cadillac Tax allows the stability designed within the Affordable Care Act to progress efficiently and to non-governmentally finance healthcare. Financing affordable healthcare has been generationally deferred. As the 2020 deadline approaches, and with 80% of Boomers having insufficient financing for healthcare, this is undoubtedly the reason economists implore the U.S. to provide more affordable healthcare.


The U.S. Debt, unlike the South – it will rise again

[Note on Image: picture the reverse as well but combined – fiscal cliff?]

A view forward to 2020 there will be an increase in entitlement spending as noted in the article per one of the President’s within the Federal Reserve district banks. With Baby Boomers moving to peak in claiming Social Security and Medicare benefits coupled with rising interest rates, my previous prediction of a rough year approximately 2019 doesn’t seem so radical.

IMO 2019/2020 also aligns with a roughly typical 10-year cycle of consumer tentativeness, increased investing, and then fear brought about by roughly steady years of growth (albeit this time slow, low, and difficult to accept as rebounded). I like to think of this as a revolving Jungian Cycle limited to Summer and Autumn.

I know there is plenty of debate on these issues but the economy has recovered to the point we’ve increased interest rates and with the entitlement wall approaching fast, beware the scare.

Affordable Care is a beast and not quite perfect but in this humble opinion it is the one thing going to keep the Baby Boomers from a scary end and I for one am willing to swallow the dark, expensive pill as a Millennial, will you Gen X?

The U.S. Debt: Why It Will Continue To Rise

by Forbes Contributor Mike Patton

slower gdp growth IS NOT A BAD THING

An excellent view on why GDP growth is not a good measure for economic health likely cannot be better worded than is in an article by the Harvard Business School: “Other activities included in GDP, such as health care costs, do not reflect the fact that spending more on health care is, in John Caddell’s opinion, “in general not good for the country.”

spending more on health care is in general not good for the country

More to my person opinion, measuring GDP growth as a measure of the economy disappoints me because this suggests to me that we are in a consumerist economy.  I have no issue with people desiring whatever goods are desired however attributing these to the health of the economy appears problematic; not all goods are necessary for life and including the unnecessary should not indicate a general higher national economic well-being.
Authors from Boston University provided The Pardee Papers, specifically issue number four from 2009, as an early look into the need to change how we measure GDP. From the abstract: “We critique the inappropriate use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of national well-being, something for which it was never designed.” The authors help readers to understand that measuring GDP as a measure of well-being is problematic by offering the analogy of a building using electricity and that the more electricity used does not necessarily indicate higher quality of life. I find this to be a weak analogy – however it does begin the process of recognizing certain things – as suggested before higher health care spending does not imply higher quality of life. Link to PDF follows.
One alternative measure is examined by Senior Fellow at New America: Georgia Levenson Keohane in an article posted by Time in which a Social Progress Index measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens. The SPI was developed by the Social Progress Imperative and is based on the writings of Amartya Sen, Douglass North, and Joseph Stiglitz. From this list I’ve read three of Amartya Sen’s books and have concern about inflationary aspects of his lending practices if applied globally, however I take no issue with his belief in assisting the extremely impoverished. It appears the SPI has been in use since the beta version launched in 2013.
Several other alternative measures are reintroduced in a January 2016 article by CBSnews which provides a re-listing and link to a 2008 article from The New York Times.


Political Communication – Why we struggle to communicate

Milton Friedman is a renowned economist. Many people reference his views on Capitalism, Freedom, Free-Trade, and smaller Government as the entire picture in defense of points of view. Line of sight is incredible and advantageous; in fact simply taking a tiny segment of a conversation or debate to create an impenetrable defense works many times over as most people are too busy with their personal lives and struggles to dig deeper and look at the whole Friedman picture. Were one to do so they would see that Friedman supports Government spending on Public Education, both Secondary and Post-Secondary, to create Civic Leaders and a more educated Government – he goes so far as to indicate this is in part what public education was created to do. Imagine education through a college degree to become a politician (local, state, federal) and that is the baseline, minimum wage to the politician. If you desire to have any other degree it becomes an out of pocket expense. Everyone has an education to have government employment and if you desire private sector work you either use this knowledge to become employed or you pay for education related to your desired employment interest. Now that to me is exceptional – from this point of view, minimum wage work is in politics (why not, we’re the boss – shouldn’t our employees make minimum wage).

If you were to ask people who know me they would suggest my super-power is tangents; at the same time if you were to ask who the superhero tangent man is they would not recognize that person as the same as me (nor would I). But it’s the same as Clark Kent and Superman; a pair of glasses and a uniform can make all the difference. I have enjoyed the experience many times of working at a job and shopping at my work and people suggesting they didn’t recognize me until they were directly in front of me. This is not unnatural nor am I offended, instead I recognize that people have their own lives and own perspectives and categories. “Jerhail, that’s the guy I work with,” and not, “Jerhail is Jesse,” truly it’s only simple when you are looking and as simple as no one actually knows me but me – the same is true for each of you; you are you and no one knows you as you but you.

If you didn’t follow that don’t worry, I’m tangential and not offended. I respect that I won’t understand your perspective either, but sometimes I’m happy to listen and try to understand. When I ask a question it isn’t to be degrading or disrespectful, I am curious and completely respectful as I attempt to know you better. But perhaps the glasses Clark Kent wore are the same for me except my glasses don’t give me a different view of humanity instead they are ‘rose-colored glasses’ meaning that I am optimistic but not that kind of optimistic – the simplistic kind of optimism. I am terrible with curves and three dimensions; instead of visualizing the curve, I work diligently to make an excessive amount of small straight lines but when I step back I can see that it appears to be a curve to my eyes and perhaps even yours. Perhaps we both see the little straight lines I drew but we both see the curve, or perhaps you only see a curve; and even better, if you were to show me the drawing a few years (more likely weeks) from now I would see only a curve and forget all the straight lines or that it was even my drawing.

Tangentially tired? I like to picture the Wright Brothers drawing many, many straight lines to create their first flight above the ‘smooth’ surface of the planet only to fly above it and see a smooth planet. Were I to run along the planet there would be plenty of me twisting and turning following straight paths around difficult terrain but if I weren’t to deviate entirely, from high above in a plane, it might appear I were traveling along a smooth path.

I’ll attempt to get to the point. I believe the struggle to having a successful discussion between people about politics, economics, from left, right, conservative, liberal, progressive, democratic, republican (it doesn’t really matter the perspective or pov, los) there needs to be a baseline understanding. I think the big miss is as simple as everyone’s favorite (sarcastic – though it is actually one of my favorites and many others) Mathematics.

So allow me to show you my perspective on why people struggle to have a conversation via mathematics.

Taking the total amount of money supply (wealthy + middle class): 4 + 4 = 8

This is one perspective and glaringly obvious is we’re missing the lower income: 4 + 4 + 0 = 8

No big deal right? (and please be patient as I know the number isn’t zero).

This is where we get to actually talk about what the argument about equality comes in:

Four and four are two numbers, but zero is also a number; equality would be representing them equally. This means that each counts as one (1 + 1 + 1) not that the two fours should give to the zero (not just yet conversationally anyhow).

So why does this matter? Because of divisibility (and in a minute additionally); eight divided by two is much different than eight divided by three.

Not only do I believe there are differing perspectives about how to add and subtract with regard to people but I think there is a huge gap conversationally about what this means when we look at multiplication and division.

Tired yet, too bad 😛

I really believe that people are so busy working on their own lives and struggles/enjoyments that they forget about the zeros and multiplication and division. Please allow me to express my meaning.

I think when we draw a ‘smooth curve’ people think we’re making it up, we’re being theorists or conspiracy driven.

Not so, it comes down to perspective. 3 x 3 = 9 is not theoretical nor is it a conspiracy, 3 + 3 + 3 = 9 is simply the perspective you might be taking, some of us just using different methodology. Now I’m not saying people don’t know multiplication I’m saying that people forget approaches, or never learned approaches, to political points of view and economics as others have not forgotten or learned. Some people literally need to see that 3 + 3 = 6 first and then that 6 + 3 = 9. This isn’t a problem until two people try to have a discussion.

Cool so far (and bored or like this Jerhail is kind of a jerk – that’s okay, I’m at least trying). Please hang in there, I’m coming more to the point. This multiplicative perspective applies to addition and subtraction more so than previously indicated and here it is.

Money supply: 4 – 3 + 5 = 6, which is awesome, 4 became 6, but wait a minute in order to get there we need to look at some other perspective. 4 – 3 =  1 and wow this is not good. 4 became 1 and this is awfully negative (ha, love jokes). That’s okay, you’re right! 4 did become 1; so what do we need to really look at in discussions because going negative could be negative no matter how much it will become 6. Your point of view is just as relevant as someone who jumps right to 6.

This is why it matters (and how). The big question is how long did it take us to subtract and how long did it take us to add. If within six months we subtract 3 and stay at 1 for ten years, it’s totally relevant that maybe this isn’t good no matter how good it is that it becomes 6 after ten years.

Have I made sense? I don’t know but it seems incredibly important to be able to see each others perspectives conversationally because if we don’t then we don’t get anywhere except into disparate categories; especially if you are the 1 and the 3 which were taken away were from the other three of the original 4.

I said I’d get back to it so I will with regard to the zero. Sometimes people ask how is it possible that 3 + 2 = 4; someone must be embezzling (well maybe) but for now let me look through the other type of rose-colored glasses and suggest we aren’t and in fact that when we look we see that it is actually that third category was missing because we took the other approach: 3 + 2 = 5 (not four) but we didn’t take the next step which is that maybe there is a negative one which we didn’t get to yet. 3 + 2 – 1 = 4.

And this is where it can get messy in conversation. But that negative one might represent government spending on people in the third group who are trying to make it in life beyond get a job, you know from the job tree. Perhaps I’ll climb into my job cannon and get shot out into the job world and just get a job (and yes this is a perspective by some). But what if the just as before it takes longer to add than subtract. Or maybe we have two separate math problems and one is population + population growth. And the other is jobs + job growth. And in the one case the addition takes longer than in the other – this would be an incredible problem. One is growing faster than the other so maybe I could shoot myself out of the job cannon but the job tree is relatively empty and even worse maybe the jobs available only sustain 75% of the ability to live (similar to the car insurance commercial about three-fourths of a vehicle). Yes 75% is better than 0% but that’s kind of a jerk move (which clearly I’m familiar with being a jerk – sub what word you will) when you’re asking a person trying to find four-walls, transportation, work, food, and all the like to cut out 25% for the time being. That’s stressful and here’s me being a jerk: guess what, not everyone is you. Not everyone can get over it or make the tough decisions as quickly. Sometimes the flower blooms late or not at all. And my favorite reply back (especially from ‘Christians’) is “survival of the fittest.”

LAWLS and seriously WTF; “I don’t have time to tell you how wrong you are.” … “Wait, it’s going to bug me if I don’t.”

Do you seriously think people dying on the streets is going to be better than handing out money to aid in their recovery thus creating the negative one.

People will take advantage you say? Well how about this – I put on the rose-colored glasses for embezzling so how about before we get into the argument, you just predict what the math will be if you compare embezzled money to free-riders.

Now, I don’t want to walk outside and see that the homeless population is growing and ‘encroaching’ nor do I wish to see you spend your money on gating your community to keep the ‘rif-raf’ out or “secure your privacy.”

The same as Friedman, you might not understand exactly what racism is. The same as you might not see how class-ism is nearly exactly the same as racism except it’s ‘less-visible.’

Racism, Class-ism, Sexism, most of the –isms; tend to be more problematic than just getting over it. Friedman suggests that a black can grow grain and sell bread and anyone would buy, economics is color blind. Not true, if the wheat farm can’t find a purchaser of wheat because of racism that means the wheat farmer must now become a flour maker (or et al) and are still prone to the same issues of racism. This does cross apply to the –isms and we all know it; the problem is sometimes we need to go slow and explain the three step mathematical process rather than jump ahead because we didn’t receive (or recall) the same education.

Please, all sides, slow down and do a perspective check. Thanks for your time today.

Sincerely the jerk,

Jerhail 😛


Poverty is a deficiency.

I have been asked to define poverty as I am of the belief that we need to reduce world poverty. Poverty is challenging to define with any specificity due to perspective being key to ‘AN’ understanding for a definition and so aside from the $1.90 per day border to extreme poverty we read about now, I will try a more generalized idea before pursuing a more specific definition. Poverty is a deficiency.

poverty is a deprivation of time…a lack of autonomy

Poverty sits on the one side of equality. Wealth is an excess on the other side of equality. I believe that the action behind this idea is time. I believe that poverty is a deprivation of time that some would call a freedom but I would like to describe it as autonomy. To me poverty is then defined as a lack of autonomy.

a minimum standard of living should be recognized and realized as we globally approach equality

Within this scope I believe a more specific definition can be explored reaching closer to the idea that a minimum standard of living should be recognized and realized as we globally approach equality.

culture defies the ability to create equality in nearly every aspect

The major challenge in doing so is recognizing that culture defies the ability to create equality in nearly every aspect. In fact, culture almost assuredly requires any creation of equality to be that of cultural autonomy and in this sense, there remains poverty within each culture. I refuse to suggest that there are correct cultures and incorrect cultures but I do suggest that within each culture there is an equality that can be reached and within this scope we can establish minimum standards of living by culture. I recognize that there are groups and international organizations working toward these ends so I’m simply seeking to explore how we can move more quickly in the direction of global equality and a severe reduction in poverty. To me this begins with education and education in cultural diversity. The more anyone can understand a culture, the easier it is to understand how to work within the culture to attain equality. I believe this is challenging to conceptualize as I do not wish to bring a change to a culture that isn’t the culture’s own, but with each person added to a group of philosophers or thinkers, the greater the chances of discovering or recognizing opportunities for growth, development, and change. This is why to begin, a great test would be to recognize equality at home and abroad; certainly there is no shortage of poverty within the United States which needs to be reconciled (and we should continue to work on this) but perhaps there are other cultures in other parts of the world that have greater inequality than here.

how dare we not help when there is greater need elsewhere…how dare we help elsewhere when there is still need at home

There are always two sides; on the one side, how dare we not help when there is greater need elsewhere. On the other side, how dare we help elsewhere when there is still need at home. I believe this is in large part why as part of international organizations we have a strong obligation to participate and at the national level we need to recognize our neighbors and communities and try to work at the municipal levels as well as the state levels to accomplish a strong reduction of poverty as defined most simply and generally as insufficient autonomy. I will continue with the specifics of autonomy in a following piece.

Monetary Policy and Low Interest Rates

I believe that from the article it is clear that two things are happening with regard to low interest rates. First, the general population is being placed into slow-motion, allowing people to organize and adjust to their current situation. This time allotment can provide a good opportunity for people to assess their financial status and make plans before moving forward. A slow down from the need to make quick decisions regarding finances could lead to long term growth and stability. Second, investors aren’t seeing the long term trends which were previously forecast and so there is a great frustration with this slow-motion as returns aren’t actualizing. I worry that this group is going to push for things to move along at an earlier time than people will be prepared for in the hope of setting new long term forecasts that are more palatable to their previous forecasts. If we move too quickly, the long term growth and stability that everyone from all groups is looking for may not be recognized.

Article: Do ultra-low interest rates really damage growth?

by D.D. | LONDON – The Economist

Economics Analysis and Manufacturing

Economic Analysis may be using outdated information with regard to conditions over time. Authors point to manufacturing as a share of GDP and U.S. Energy Production suggesting perhaps 1980 and 1998 may be better start years for analysis on current years with regard to trends over time.