This is B Wilds's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following B Wilds's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
B Wilds
Recent Activity
A recent Pew Research Center poll found that for the first time a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. Indiana Governor Mike Pence is not among them. With the rest of the United States moving towards relaxing marijuana laws, Indiana seems to be bravely marching into the past. The Hoosier State's penalties for marijuana are getting tougher after Gov. Mike Pence requested, and was granted stricter laws for low-level cannabis offenders. In Indiana lawmakers have gone so far as proposing that felony charges for possession be extended down to cover one-third of an ounce of marijuana, down from 30 grams or one ounce of marijuana. More on the direction Indiana is going and why in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/07/indiana-marijuana-laws-step-back-in-time.html
1 reply
In the last decade, due almost solely to the surge in drug-related arrests, U.S. prisons are massively overcrowded and underfunded. The rehabilitation aspect of incarceration is slim to nil. Marijuana constitutes almost half of all drug arrests, and between 1990–2002, marijuana accounted for 82% of the increase in the number of drug arrests. In 2004, approximately 12.7% of state prisoners and 12.4% of Federal prisoners were serving time for a marijuana-related offense. Today more than ever, the fear that President Carter voiced in 1977 that penalties for drugs are doing more damage than drugs themselves rings true. More about the massive cost of our war on drugs in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/09/war-on-drugs-is-far-too-costly.html
1 reply
In many ways society is encouraging young people to take on this debt and to hock their futures. This is akin to the, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" way of thinking. While it serves the propose of keeping large numbers of young Americans off the unemployment roles, it promotes a huge negative we can not ignore, much of this money is being poorly spent. I personally have witnessed several of these students rent an apartment, fail at school, and then be forced to move back in with parents when the money ran out. Sadly like the gifts from pawn brokers and pay day loan sharks, many of the borrowers will live to regret taking this easy money. More on this subject in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2012/04/students-borrowing-against-future.html
1 reply
Another quick thought. In reference to the statement "many formerly powerful corporations have vanished after they no longer performed well. These include Lehman brothers, A&P Groceries, Wong computers, Bethlehem Steel, and Woolworth." It should be noted these companies vanished a lot quicker than many governments. Governments tend to hang around much longer after they become inefficient. While it seems politicians at times have painted themselves into a corner they also have super powers that allow the constant creation of new exits. Pray tell what you might ask. The power of the pointed finger and the placing of blame should never be underestimated for they are indeed magical.
1 reply
Recently many people have latched on to the idea that raising the minimum wage will help to lessen inequality. The President has made a lot of noise with this "populist issue" declaring it only fair. Unfortunately raising the minimum wage will make America less competitive and it will reduce opportunities by giving employers less incentive to hire. It will cause small businesses to cut hours and reduce the number of employees working at any one time. Shorter hours and a drop in service will add to the reasons that small businesses often fail to compete and are forced to close their doors. I content the link between minimum wage and inequality is very weak in the post below and it is a distraction to take our eyes off more important issues. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2014/02/minimum-wage-weak-link-to-inequality.html
1 reply
Part of the problem is government jobs often pay more and provide benefits, security, and pensions that the private sector cannot afford to meet. An unhealthy system supports this, politicians give raises to government employe unions that in turn support the politicians reelections so they can get further raises, this has created a ugly cycle. This should be the crux of the discussion about the economy going forward, the size of government must be contained and reduced. More on this subject and how a government centered economy distorts the private market in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2012/06/government-centered-economy.html
1 reply
The large number of government programs that have failed to carry out their duties and the dim view many Americans have towards Washington may be starting to take its toll on those who think big government is the answer. The Democratic Party has long been thought of as the party of "big government" filled with believers that government can solve and is the answer to curing many of our woes. Sadly cost and reality are quickly beginning to show the flaws in this theory, government is far better at providing access of citizens and good at passing popular laws, but the private sector tends to be more efficient and better at controlling costs. More on the subject of the "flawed concept of big government" in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/11/flaws-in-big-government-concept.html
1 reply
Society must find a better way to distribute labor and the rewards of labor. This would give more people a path to finding real and fulfilling work. The cost of inequality is taking a toll on our culture. Robots and new technology have streamlined and increased productivity and at the same time eliminated many jobs. Big business is good for big business but not necessarily for the masses. Consolidation often means a gain in efficiency, but this often comes at the cost of losing diversity and a "robustness" to both society and the economy. The benefits of efficiency sometimes have a huge hidden cost. How the fruits of labor are divided is important, this includes not just the wage deserved by a common laborer, but how much CEO's, those in management, and those that can't, or choose not to work, receive. While we have become far more efficient in producing goods, all people should in their lifetime contribute to the good of society and the economic pie. More on this subject in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/04/society-must-better-divide-labor.html
1 reply
Japan is the poster child and living proof that low interest rates do not guarantee economic growth and prosperity. Years ago before the "Bernanke has all the answers" era, many of us criticized Japan for failing to own its problems. Many people thought Japan should face up to the mess it had created and do the right thing. Broadly accepted was the concept that only by letting its zombie banks and industries fail could Japan clean out the system and move forward. While they claim otherwise, in many ways Bernanke and the Fed have put America on a path that mirrors the same unsuccessful path taken by Japan. A path that avoids real reform and bails out the very people that caused many of our problems. More on this subject in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/11/we-are-on-path-to-lost-decades.html
1 reply
The large number of government programs that have failed to carry out their duties and the dim view many Americans have towards Washington may be starting to take its toll on those who think big government is the answer. The Democratic Party has long been thought of as the party of "big government" filled with believers that government can solve and is the answer to curing many of our woes. Sadly cost and reality are quickly beginning to show the flaws in this theory, government is far better at providing access of citizens and good at passing popular laws, but the private sector tends to be more efficient and better at controlling costs. More on this subject in the post below. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/11/flaws-in-big-government-concept.html
1 reply
Society must find a better way to distribute labor and the rewards of labor. This would give more people a path to finding real and fulfilling work. The cost of inequality is taking a toll on our culture. Robots and new technology have streamlined and increased productivity and at the same time eliminated many jobs. Big business is good for big business but not necessarily for the masses. Consolidation often means a gain in efficiency, but this often comes at the cost of losing diversity and a "robustness" to both society and the economy. The benefits of efficiency sometimes have a huge hidden cost, in the 1993 movie Demolition Man, "everything is Taco Bell". How the fruits of labor are divided is important, this includes not just the wage deserved by a common laborer, but how much CEO's, those in management, and those that can't, or choose not to work, receive. While we have become far more efficient in producing goods, all people should in their lifetime contribute to the good of society and the economic pie. More about how all this dovetails with the need for government to step in, the effects on our culture, and the path to happy and fulfilling lives in the post below. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/04/society-must-better-divide-labor.html
1 reply
Becker says, "about one third of black men and one eighth of white men in their mid 20s to early 30s were not working or looking for work even prior to the Great Recession. These percentages are considerably higher for younger men without much education or skills. So many of these men are not in the labor force partly because real wages of unskilled males have fallen appreciably during the past 30 years. Many decide not to look for jobs with low pay." A factor many people overlook is that society has layered government support program upon government support program. This means if you qualify for one program additional assistance may most likely be available. In this case people receiving help or aid often double or triple dip, a plethora of "additional help" options exist. From food stamps, free phones and internet, help paying for utilities, medicaid and medical assistance, Pell Grants, programs to pay for school books, and free lunch programs and others.It is not uncommon for someone on aid that has spent all the money they receive to approach a non profit or quasi-government agency and ask for "special assistance" and help till they get back on their feet. The post below delves deeper into why many people chose not to work. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/06/living-on-dole.html
1 reply
Society must find a better way to divide labor and give more people a path to finding real and fulfilling work. The cost of inequality is taking a toll on our culture. Robots and new technology have streamlined production increased productivity and eliminated many jobs. Big business is good for big business but not necessarily for the masses. Consolidation often means a gain in efficiency, but this often comes at the cost of losing diversity and a "robustness" to both society and the economy. The benefits of efficiency sometimes have a huge hidden cost, in the 1993 movie Demolition Man, "everything is Taco Bell". How the fruits of labor are divided is important, this includes not just the wage deserved by a common laborer, but how much CEO's, those in management, and those that can't, or choose not to work, receive. While we have become far more efficient in producing goods, all people should in their lifetime contribute to the good of society and the economic pie. Below is the remainder of a post I wrote on how society must better divide the fruits of labor. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/04/society-must-better-divide-labor.html
1 reply
If people were willing to work for a little less money, a great number of jobs would be created, these jobs are needed at a time that many Americans claim they have been looking for employment and will do almost anything for work. Unemployment remains high, yet the President wants to raise the minimum wage. So what gives? How do we reconcile these strange reports? This is my take on this phenomena, it could be called a "tale of two cultures." It could be that the crux of the employment problem, is cultural and structural in nature. It may be based on unrealistic expectations created over the last decade by our growing government centered economy. Government employees are often paid better then in the private sector because government does not need to make money to exist. The remainder of this post can be found below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/02/raising-minimum-wage-mistake.html
1 reply
I predict a third proposal will slowly be looked at and considered. Most people would prefer to live a long life, but not too long. There is nothing wrong with a dignified death after a long life. The mores of America are rapidly changing according to those who only a decade ago thought that gay marriage and gays in the military would never become accepted. Sadly ideas like euthanasia and even discrete breastfeeding in public still drives many Americans crazy. With people living longer and technologies ability to extend a persons life well beyond where they feel it has any "real quality" the issue of euthanasia will not go away. Below is a recently written post about this subject. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/12/dignified-death-after-long-life.html
1 reply
As for my reaction to the first comment made which starts out, "I agree that something like this has to be done, but note that the policy is extremely racist." All I can say is, you have to be kidding. This comment is a perfect example of tunnel vision and why it is so hard to develop consensus.
1 reply
Many are finding the new healthcare more expensive and harder to implement then first thought. When it comes to healthcare people wonder what we are facing in both care and cost, what I see as the crux of the issue is who will be paying these bills. Giving people an incentive to be responsible is a good starting point. Americans spend more on healthcare then people in other developed countries, but with very poor results. When all is said and done the issue is how can America cut healthcare cost and get more and better coverage for the money spent. The post below delves deeper into this issue. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/05/healthcare-going-forward.html
1 reply
Capitalism may of survived but it is wounded and we again see its flaws when poorly administered. Over the last several decades we have created entitlement societies on the back of the industrial revolution, technological advantages, capital accumulated from the colonial era, and the domination of global finances. They were built on the assumption that those advantages would continue in both Europe and US, and that ever greater prosperity and entitlements would be sustained through debt financed consumption growth. In that eerie fantasy world, debt fueled consumption was to be the catalyst to bring about ever more growth. Now reality has begun to come into focus and it is becoming apparent that this is unsustainable. The entitlements and promises that have piled up have become overwhelming. The populations of the worlds most advanced nations were led to believe the good times would never end, but suddenly their core advantages in technology, capital, and productivity have started to erode. Now they find they are lagging behind several emerging countries. Manufacturing jobs have steadily gone elsewhere, replaced by low skilled service jobs, this has removed the supports from our debt fueled prosperity showing it to be unsustainable and flawed. We are facing harsh adjustments ahead, more below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-crux-of-our-economic-woes.html
1 reply
The red line was crossed in Syria, but few people have yet to talk about the most likely and only real solution which is to break the nation into two parts. If Assad remains in power those who have suffered and been displaced will never forgive him and live under his rule. A change in ruling factions is also not a viable solution in that it would probably unleash a wave of killings, and reprisals. Remember the Shiite-related Alawites rightly fear an Al Qaeda led triumph as the worst possible outcome, they would make the mass killing of Alawites their first priority. The secular leaders of the Syrian rebels, clustered in the exile group known as the Syrian National Council, also must worry about the extremist threat they themselves would face if the Assad government fell. The crux of the problem is how it end the violence and allow refugees and the rest of Syria to go about rebuilding their lives. Life in a refugee camp will have a long-term negitive effect on these people and especially on the children. The people in this part of the world are a hardy bunch seasoned by hundreds of years of war, but millions living in tents and bombed out buildings is saddening and heart breaking. Again I return to the message at the beginning of this post, few people have yet to talk about the most likely and only real solution, that is to break Syria into two parts. More about this bad situation below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/09/syria-must-be-split-in-two.html
1 reply
The crux of our economic woes lay in the fact that over the last several decades we have created entitlement societies on the back of the industrial revolution, technological advantages, capital accumulated from the colonial era, and the domination of global finances. They were built on the assumption that those advantages would continue in both Europe and US, and that ever greater prosperity and entitlements would be sustained through debt financed consumption growth. In that eerie fantasy world, debt fueled consumption was to be the catalyst to bring about ever more growth. Now reality has begun to come into focus and it is becoming apparent that this is unsustainable. The entitlements and promises that have piled up have become overwhelming and even if unpopular we must face this fact. The remainder of this post can be viewed below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-crux-of-our-economic-woes.html
1 reply
Inequality is linked to the way we are taxed. The special breaks and deduction that make up Americas tax code are massively confusing. Most people are totally ignorant of tax law and have no idea what they are talking about when they express an opinion on what policy changes should be made,or how they will effect the economy. In 2003, President Bush proposed to eliminate the U.S. dividend tax saying that "double taxation is bad for our economy and falls especially hard on retired people", this is questionable. He also argued that while "it's fair to tax a company's profits, it's not fair to double-tax by taxing the shareholder on the same profits." This formed the bases for the following tax table that can be found on my blog with a post on this subject; http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2012/12/dividend-and-capital-gains-tax.html It is important to note that what happens to the tax rate on dividends and capital gains will have more effect on "high income earners" that receive this type of income then the tax rates on their earned income that is often the center of political debate.
1 reply
The government effects the cost of higher education in many ways. State governments subsidize the budgets of public colleges and universities and federal and state governments give money to students through programs like Pell Grants and the American Opportunity Tax Credit. A below-market interest rate for Stafford Loans is just another subsidy mechanism. Like the government programs involved in supplying people with paid healthcare making cheap government loans available for education encourages people to consume more than they otherwise would. While many would argue that this is a good thing when it comes to education the policy also causes some negative distortions in that it encourages students at the margin, to choose more expensive educational institutions than they otherwise would, and to finance more of their education with borrowing. These incentives leave students burdened with debt and also makes them less focused on price than they should be. More on the subject of student loans and the cost of education can be found in the post below. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/07/interest-in-and-on-student-loans.html
1 reply
Society must find a better way to divide labor and give more people a path to finding real and fulfilling work. The cost of inequality is taking a toll on our culture. Robots and new technology have streamlined production increased productivity and eliminated many jobs. Big business is good for big business but not necessarily for the masses. Consolidation often means a gain in efficiency, but this often comes at the cost of losing diversity and a "robustness" to both society and the economy. The benefits of efficiency sometimes have a huge hidden cost, in the 1993 movie Demolition Man, "everything is Taco Bell". How the fruits of labor are divided is important, this includes not just the wage deserved by a common laborer, but how much CEO's, those in management, and those that can't, or choose not to work, receive. While we have become far more efficient in producing goods, all people should in their lifetime contribute to the good of society and the economic pie. In the following post I go deeper into this issue. http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/04/society-must-better-divide-labor.html In principle, for any nation seeking fairness and equal opportunity for its people to grow and prosper, inequality is indeed an issue. Wage stagnation in part contributed to the financial crisis. The Bush-era answer to stagnating wages was cheaper credit that papered over the problem for a while and set America up for a terrible crash. Avoiding a repeat requires fixing the structural drivers of widening inequality. This means raising wages at the low end of the scale but a legislated rise in the minimum wage is not the answer. The only way a hike in the minimum wage “works” is if it creates incentives to increase labor productivity.
1 reply
While the subject of the budget has dropped off the radar for a bit as the focus of the American people has wandered off to subjects like NSA surveillance and the death of a black teenager in Florida it seems the budget is about to raise its ugly head again. Sadly little has changed, we have been lulled with the rest of the world into complacency as we have kicked the can down the road and as a nation feeling little pain from the sequester. Not dealing with what we were told was a massive problem has only reinforced the idea that far too much has been made as to the ramifications of an out of control budget going forward. A resent post on my blog site talks about how this topic will soon be front and center, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/08/budget-woes-approching-very-fast.html
1 reply
All booms start out legitimately but that does not prevent them from developing into bubbles that pop disastrously in the end. The bubble forming in China is no exception to this pattern. Fast growth can and does mask many ills.Central planning always sounds good, logically, it would seem reasonable and efficient, but it has an Achilles heal. Often companies intertwined with government run on razor thin margins, with creating jobs almost a priority over making a profit. This is an incubator for corruption. A fair number of articles were written on this subject in the middle of 2011, but concerns abated as central banks across the world unleashed massive quantitative easing. I suspect that the problems have not been corrected and the bursting merely delayed. I would also like to point out that China is an American product, by this I mean we developed the country as a counter weight to the Soviet Union, it looks like we may of done to good a job. More on this subject can be found on my blog site in the post below, http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/02/china-bubble-yes-it-is.html
1 reply