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jim kirby
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I don't get it. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania share borders with Russia--meaning that NATO is now ZERO kilometers from Russia.
Whether your parents are Catholic or Jewish, you are still born an atheist, subject, unfortunately, to gummint-approved indoctrination. If you are a boy born an atheist to a Jewish family, you will suffer Male Genital Mutilation for sure. If born an atheist to a Catholic family, you might excape genital mutilation, especially in Brazil or Mexico.
"...politicians and consumers to try and understand..." is not English. In English, we say "...politicians and consumers to try to understand..."
Wrong. We could justify opening trade with Cuba if and only ir we were to compensate those whose lives, health, opportunity and wealth were stolen by the Cuban Commies. The Cuban people would gain immensely by open trade, and Amerikans would gain as well. The Cuban people are way too poor to offer restitution, but Amerikans are not. The path to peace and prosperity is for Amerikans to give restitution to those wounded by Castro and to then open the borders. There's nobody who'd object to this, save haters of the Cuban people.
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Wrong. The Cuban Americans, not to mention citizens of other countries, had their wealth stolen by Castro, just as the Nazis stole the artworks of the Jews and others. Justice demands that restitution first be made; then we can talk about opening doors to Cuba. It is not important that the restitution come from Cuba, a totally impoverished country, but it would be in the interests of all Amerikans to pay restitution to all those whose wealth was stolen by Castro. Then we can talk about opening trade with Cuba.
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I don't get all this talk about treating "addiction." If a person spends all his time sleeping, playing video games, eating or copulating, we don't normally call him and addict or consider fines, imprisonment or AA meetings. I condemn fellow Amerikans for addiction to religion, dogs, cats, work, new cars, recycling and organic food, but I wouldn't think of fining or imprisoning them. What's the deal, Becker? Is an "addict" merely someone who obsesses about something you disapprove of? Carlson is a chess addict, after all, as was Bobby Fischer, who went so far as to learn Russian to support his addiction.
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I fail to understand the argument for continuing to punish producers and purveyors of marijuana. Like the day-after pill, once we decide that a woman has a right to get it, we should praise, not condemn, anyone who helps her get it.
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Yo Fredoom, Immigration from Mexico makes perfect sense. What we get from Mexico are educated, potty-trained workers with a great work ethic. What we need to curtail is the rampant breeding here in the USSA: every kid costs $10,000 to birth and $150,000 to mis-educate in our public schools. Do you understand economics at all?
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This focus on "social mobility" is pure nonsense. What we want to promote is a meritocracy--a society in which the cream can rise unimpeded, unfettered by rules regarding nobility, wealth of parents, college degree, occupational licensing, color, race, sex and so on. In distant times, Amerikans like Franklin, Washington, Ford, Carnegie, Wright Bros, Edison, Firestone and numerous others did not have to have college degrees or be licensed to practice a profession. Nowadays, you can't cut somebody's hair without a license. Social mobility would serve meritocracy nowadays in allowing the cream to rise and the milk to sink. It would be a positive thing. Social mobility is of no use, and would indeed be negative, if we did have a meritocracy. I would be useful to list those things that nowadays do work to impede the social mobility we need in pursuing a meritocracy: public education, backward parenting, religion, licensing, restriction on immigration, and censoring of speech.
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It's hard to accept all this "social mobility" talk at face value. However the bell-curve of social position looks, it seems that for every increase in position of a person or persons, there is a corresponding decrease in position of others. In income, in wealth and in social position. I imagine that what needs to be encouraged is meritocracy, which implies that those more meritorious will advance while those less meritorious will decline. This would amount to an increase in the upward position of the meritorious and a decline in the position of the slouches, by whatever measure. What is then so great about social mobility? What makes it different from meritocracy? And there's the greater question: why the hell do we fight and sacrifice to maintain public mis-education, which mainly succeeds in hammering down the nail that sticks out?
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Once quality improvements, like healthy longevity, are monetized, the measure of economic success is not GDP, but GDP per capita. I don't get it, but economists like these two continue to talk about how to raise the GDP, ignoring entirely the denominator of the equation. In other words, economic success could be achieved at low cost by putting a stop to all the breeding. If I'm trying to make it though the winter in a snowbound sailing ship together with 10 dogs and 10 cats, all breeding away, it should soon occur to me to: first, stop their breeding; second, start killing them off to lower the competition for food; third, start eating them. Folks like Shackleton have actually done this. Now I don't (yet) recommend killing or eating Amerikan kids, but we sure as hell could put a stop to all the gummint policies that encourage breeding. If we needed workers (sometime in the distant future), we could turn to importing potty-trained workers from nearby countries who are ready and willing to contribute to the GNP without our having had to spend over $10,000 each over 13 years to give them a public mis-education. A sure road to economic disaster is to continue to overtax the producers among us in order to support the indigent unemployed that go on breeding away.
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In the meantime, Amerikans can benefit from the medical care and dental care that cost less than 1/3 what we pay north of the Rio Bravo. Not to mention the fact that prescription drugs can be had over the counter there, cutting out the doctor-middleman and Obamacare.
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The goal was the summit of Everest. The prize, contested by others, was world dominion. Our group set out full of hope and faith, but some dropped out along the way. Less prepared, less daring they were--who knows? As the rest of us went on, they settled down and built shelters, draining some of our energy, and some of them married, draining more. Some bred, draining even more. As best we could, we staggered on, forgoing food and missing family, some suffering and even dying along the way, but a few of us fought on until we were in sight of the summit, when we had to turn back. It was a damn shame, considering all the lives, time and treasure expended since we had begun to plan our enterprise, not to mention the threat we faced below. On the way down, we met up with the laggards, of course. We held no rancor, since we recognized them as weak and indolent, and, after all, they were only responding to grand incentives imposed by the gods. Once we escape from our prison, however, we will wreak vengeance upon those gods.
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Estonia, home of Skype and other advanced products, has a tax rate of 15%. Similar are Hong Kong and Singapore. When I'm at my home in Rio, my taxes are very low, except for the taxes and Obamacare obligations I have back in the States. No Amerikan services, including Obamacare or Medicare, are available in Brazil, by the way. Good reason to seek citizenship outside Amerika. Depardieu, Assange, Snowden and numerous ex-Amerikan millionaires understand! Right: Einstein, Bohr, Meitner and many others were refugees from fascism; we Amerikans will be refugees from socialism, it appears. Sad to have expended so many lives and so much treasure to win the cold war, only to have become them.
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Well, Jack, I won't take your bait on sounding "disconsolate and bitter." My heroes, Martin Luther, Werner von Braun, Bohr, Einstein Lise Meitner and many others were "driven from their careers." For Luther, von Braun, Bohr and Einstein, things arguably turned out better, which is the reason I mention the option of leaving a stupid country to seek your fortune elsewhere. For Lise Meitner, it turned out not so fortunate. She had a good reason to be "bitter." Anyhow, all that has nothing to do with the loss suffered by the stupid country that tries hard to alienate productive folks. The Catholic church continues in decline after expelling Luther; the Nazis lost the bomb by alienating Bohr, Einstein and Meitner. And Amerika gained a lot by hiring the true-blue nazi von Braun.
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No, I don't agree with Posner. First of all, a whole lot of redistribution is NOT from the rich to the poor, but from producers to non-producers in the same social class. A young, child-free man or woman is heavily taxed to support non-productive lifestyle choices, like marriage, breeding and the public mis-education of the brood of others. Child-free men and women are also denied welfare benefits, at least in Texas. Wealth is redistributed from renters to homeowners, from frugal homeowners to barons of huge mansions, from risk-takers to the superstitiously insured, who even lack the enterprise to leave a bad job for fear of losing health insurance or a pension. We are talking about poor-to-rich, not rich-to-poor, redistribution here--redistribution of a type that specializes in rewarding non-productive lifestyle choices. My personal experience sure belies Posner's assertions. I'm single and childfree, and I started out working as a rocket scientist. Once I figured out that tens of thousands of my dollars were being redistributed (stolen) annually to others of my same social class, I quit working as an employee and became an independent contractor. I shunned all jobs that came with benefits, including vacation. I eventually quit doing rocket science, finding it much more lucrative to improve property and live off capital-gains proceeds, which carried less tax and no FICA obligations. The sad truth for society is that I could have skipped much of the 27 years I sat in classrooms, almost completely at gummint expense, very little of which is needed to develop property. Most people will not be turned from rocket scientist to property developer by the tax code as I was, but they will find their own ways of avoiding taxes to the detriment of society. Of course, our tax policy will guide a young man to save taxes by marrying and by breeding. It will force him out of apartment living into ever bigger houses to accommodate the ever-growing number of gummint-subsidized brats. Now he's really trapped: he can't quit that lousy job because of the mortgage payments, loss of health insurance benefits and kiddie expenses. He eventually becomes a divorced drone, long ago having lost interest in learning languages, traveling or working in a less rapacious country. Indeed, a young, single and child-free rocket scientist today would have ample opportunity to sell his services to a country that actually rewarded building ICBMs, anti-tank rockets and nuclear warheads above breeding.
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Both Becker and Posner fail to mention the effect of the one-child policy on skewing the male-female ratio of babies. Since the Chinese favor a boy over a girl if they can have only one, fewer female fetuses survive to adulthood. A more human policy would be to allow couples to have as many babies as they wish until the first baby boy is born. This would preserve the sex ratio and amount to less than a doubling of the TFR. Becker's statement that China's one-child policy "has done more harm than good" is his opinion. To me, breeders in a packed world suffering fuel, water, food and air shortages are to be discouraged. For every happy parent, there are a couple of us footing the bills for breeding and subsequent education of kids who will compete with us for scarce resources.
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Under Obama, we are enjoying the non-wartime growth of fear and are losing our rights. Eleanor would have understood.
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I agree that something like this has to be done, but note that the policy is extremely racist. When SS was instituted and until recently, Black men in Amerika had a life expectancy of below 65, so that they could toil lifelong, earning low wages, denied visits to national parks and forests, and then die at 65, leaving their contributions to the lifelong non-contributing or indolent spouses of White men. Black women, to a lesser extent, suffer the same disadvantage, especially when you consider that both Black men and women are less likely to be married and as singles paying even more to support the indolent White spouse. It is thus beyond ironic that now as the Black man has attained a life expectancy of around 70, we should raise the retirement age to 70!
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It must be that a lot of folks who earn $150,000 and beyond have very little earned income, so that the proposal to deny them SS and Medicare benefits based in income would depend on considering unearned income as well. And a guy like Warren Buffet could avoid all earned and unearned income by living off loans secured by his wealth, having no income at all and thus qualifying for full SS and Medicare benefits until the day he dies. What a country!
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It seems to me that the curve of employment vs. minimum wage has to be monotonically descending with a flat horizontal stretch at the beginning, after which it descends rapidly all the way to $100/hr and beyond. If so, raising the minimum wage will have negligible effect up to the knee, after which the effect will be ever more drastic. If the knee in the curve is at $10/hr, a raise fromj$7.25 to $1.10 will have little effect, while a raise to $15 might have drastic effects. So the pronouncements by economists that raising the minimum wage has no effect on employment might well be true now, whereas in 1968 a raise would have been devastating to employment. Nobody knows where that knee is, of course, which makes the economic theory of minimum wage vs. employment just another one of many with a foundation in sand.
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I know that in Brazil, the wages of high-earning workers and even other market prices are established based on the minimum wage (which is a now equal to about $300 per month), with the result that raising the minimum greatly affects pricing in general and the average wage, reducing the wage compression typical in the USA. Is that good or bad?
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Regarding "benefits from college, including the greater earnings, health, and even marriage rates of college graduates," it seems that Becker has just crawled out from under some religious rock. The smartest and best-educated people I know here in Texas are those who have never married. Even Jesus and St Paul wouldn't have agreed with him that marriage is some sign of wisdom, education or success. Maybe he's referring to gays who recently have voluntarily submitted to the miseries of marriage?
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Garrett: the proper term is "competitive advantage." Comparative advantage means something different. The problem with increasing breeding is that rearing them requires that present wealth be sacrificed for future gain. Those of us who are childfree have already voted against such a sacrifice and don't care to be taxed to support others' interest in the future.
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Right, the Commies provide all sorts of "equalizing" social measures. The effect has not been to bring the needy up to the level of the well-off, but to make the well-off also needy. Need I cite Russia, Cuba, North Korea? And MoreThoughts: why do you think we need to encourage more breeding, with the $10,000 plus for expended perinatal care and the $150,000 plus for bad education of EACH child, only to end up with an indolent teen-ager or an unemployed lawyer, when there are loads of bi-lingual potty-trained young adults ready to immigrate and "work like a Mexican"?
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