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John M
Houston, TX
Recent Activity
Beware of all or nothing thinking. Was the "major legislation" a strong protection, or a weak protection? Ie. was it really major legislation? How about Obama going after and prosecuting the crimes? How about Obama breaking up too-big-to-fail banks? Or simply doing anything significant about them? While we were talking, were they shrinking or growing? A New York regulator who was determined to go after the New York banksters was lured into a Federal position created for him. What kind of staff and resources did he get? The people who went after the S&L fraud got a thousand or so agents, and other resources. How many agents did he get? Unfortunately, I can't remember or find his name. I don't think it was "Eric Schneiderman".
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Darwin Visits Wall Street at Economist's View
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> “It takes a theory to beat a theory,” Lo quips. Thank goodness it's a quip. I've heard that claim before, and anyone who takes it seriously is an idiot. What kind of theory beats the theory of conventional Astrology? I have heard of a theorem from classical economics, the No-Trade Theorem. That is, nobody would buy or sell simply because they think the price will go up or down. Someone selling would require someone else buying, which would mean that two perfectly informed, perfectly rational, actors came to opposite conclusions. Under classical economics, gamblers don't exist. Of course, it never rules out selling stock to purchase something else, such as a house or college education. He would have to sell at slightly below the equilibrium price, to get a buyer. This might lead the rational actor to the conclusion that the equilibrium price will go down -- so everyone would want to sell, and then... Then, of course, we have the various rational actors who know how to make money, and who devise new ways of making money. They might not be totally rational, or perhaps totally informed: they may be unaware of the large tails of a probability distribution, and correlations in those tails. Alternatively, they may be perfectly rational and acting in ways that harm others. They may be ignorant or aware of the harm done. Perfect information means they know perfectly well. Perfectly informed and perfectly rational mean, of course, that nobody could be duped. It also means that there can't be any educational institutions -- or for that matter, education.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Darwin Visits Wall Street at Economist's View
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I think it would be possible, and even desirable, for the government to run without borrowing. But it appears literally impossible to persuade many that it can be done. The only way one can do it is by either trying it and showing that it works, or by explaining -- and when you're explaining, you're losing. And one can't try it until one understands it. If only Obama hadn't been so damnably willing to give away the store at the start of his negotiating position, perhaps he might have been more effective in fighting the Republicans when it counted. He might even have minted the trillion-dollar coins, demolishing the debt limit once and for all.
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I agree, we prefer vile and incompetent over vile and effective. But unfortunately, at some point, incompetent may actually do something -- and the rest of us will suffer for it. Or the incompetent may let vile underlings go their own way -- again, millions will suffer. I flip back and forth on this question, but I think that overall, Trump as President is marginally better than Hilary Clinton as President. As (who? West?) put it first, the question is who the more effective evil is.
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Sigh... One can increase productivity by reducing the number of workers. Supply vs. demand: demand for work is explicitly inversely proportional to productivity, consequently we should expect increased productivity to push down wages. If production increased with productivity, then labor demand would remain unchanged and wages would go inversely with the pool of labor. Ie. inversely with population. Why the heck would anyone believe that (for example) increased speed would imply increased time? Or that increased density would imply increased volume?
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Oh really?
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Reply with insults. Who is the ignorant one, or the stupid one? We don't know what this character is supposed to be thinking, so we don't know which. Of course, I was assuming that the readers knew perfectly well the sabotage -- minimal debates, scheduling them during football, giving questions ahead of time to Clinton, barring Sanders supporters. How about the long lines in poor black precincts in Arizona? (With no attempt to redress the problem by the DNC.)
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"But future historians may well record that American democracy died in May 2017." I would really hope that historians, with longer memories, would record that American democracy died in December 2000.
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“Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the F.B.I. and still does to this day,” he said, adding that “the vast majority of F.B.I. employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.” Interesting. I think back a quarter century earlier. Someone would have said something similar in the LAPD: "Chief Daryl Gates enjoys broad support within the rank-and-file police officers of the LAPD." As for Russia "hacking" or "influencing" or "subverting" the Presidential election, I can recall only one act they were accused of: releasing emails showing that the DNC and Democratic Party leadership sabotaged the primary to ensure Clinton's nomination. We know they did, and Russian involvement in releasing the emails has been debunked. I also recall FBI lower officials having tried to persuade Comey not to comment on the email-server investigation just before the election. Comey appears to have been rewarded as a traitor deserves, for "hacking" and "subverting" the election as the FBI director.
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If the Illinois law banning recording of police action hadn't been ruled unconstitutional, the passengers who recorded the acts on their cell phones would have been committing a felony. People, please challenge all Illinois legislators who voted for that law, and work to defeat them. This should be expanded to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2017 at Some Random Nobody
"In 2015, the Conservatives spun the line that Labour profligacy had messed up the economy, and they had no choice but to clear up the mess. In short, austerity was Labour’s fault." Anyone notice the egregious contradiction in this pair of sentences? Was "austerity was Labour's fault" an accurate summary of the Conservative campaign? Or did the author of this piece slip that in?
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I think it's more that Ryan is a flim-flam artist, and also a conservative ideologue: he doesn't want services for the poor or needy.
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"Ideally all three sets of data should be consistent, but they are not. The total flow of income reported by households in survey or tax data adds up to barely 60% of the national income recorded in the national accounts, with this gap increasing over the past several decades." One might question everything. It's possible that they shouldn't be equal or consistent. One might question whether they know how to measure anything. Are the measurements properly calibrated? Are there any malfunctions in the measurement devices (or procedures)? (Proper calibration should eliminate many malfunctions.) Inconsistent measurement results are a red flag that something has gone wrong. Things go doubly wrong when one does not see a problem with the inconsistent results. Things are triply wrong if the inconsistency is pointed out and still ignored. Unfortunately, one can't distinguish between bad faith and incompetence. It gets worse when those we ask, demand, beg do something about it are part of that crowd.
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"You know what really gets me? Even among the millionaires, repeal will only net them about $50,000." For one with a million dollars in assets, that's five percent. Not so chump change.
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No.
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Nancy Pelosi? I hope not... Military-Industrial complex and all that, along with numerous one-sided wars. I assume, of course, that she'd be better than Paul Ryan.
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* I don't know whether you are missing this feature of evolution-based beliefs (or evolution-based motivation): evolution-based beliefs and motivations are non-proximate. The actual evolutionary basis for beliefs is unrelated to a person's own basis for his beliefs. * To illustrate: the incest taboo and the Westermark Effect about relationships with siblings and parents. The evolutionary motive is to avoid pairing harmful recessive genes. The actual conscious, instinctive reaction is Squick. That reaction came because the more a person was squicked by the conduct, the less he or she was likely to engage in the conduct. "How might you get to optimal beliefs? You start out with an optimistic assessment of how easy something will be, and then you kind of think about it a little bit and if the costs of being wrong are significant, you start to downgrade your optimism." * I see a chicken-and-egg problem: in order to apply this to one's beliefs, one has to have beliefs about the costs. * I see another issue with beliefs: how is this theory consistent with one's experience teaching a subject? I assume that the huge difficulty many students have in learning physics and math might occur because they see no major cost in being wrong about them. But there is a huge cost: someone who can't learn physics or math simply can't figure things out accurately. * What about the costs of being wrong about smoking, global warming, nuclear war, overpopulation, educating our children, lead poisoning, etc.? What about the beliefs in the the dangers of Hell, Social Security going bust, the Federal Government running out of money (and its ability to borrow money), etc? For that matter, contrast the views on the sustainability of Social Security and national deficit, verses the very real dangers of nuclear war, global warming, resource depletion, etc.
Toggle Commented Mar 21, 2017 on Optimal Beliefs at Economist's View
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No-no-no-no-no-no-no. Chaos doesn't address the "mutual attraction of all bodies", that's gravity. And no, mass was never time. (Mass is energy.)
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First, I'm not "John H". Second, would you care to tell me what in my post indicates "no brain"?
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"Second is to call bullshit. [gives example] ... For better or worse, a large part of my job is in fact intellectual garbage disposal." Good thing to do, but so far, hasn't succeeded. Tactics need to be reconsidered.
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Third party -- will it hurt or help? I see one tactical advantage of pushing for third parties: they may have standing to fight voter suppression in the courts. Republicans thrive on voter suppression and gerrymandering. National Democrats persist in blindness to it, probably because they thrive on it in the primaries. That might be a good reason to go for a third party, despite the (possible) disadvantage. Sue over voter suppression in the courts.
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Thanks. So some portion of the per-capita growth is lost to population growth (on average, but average may be meaningless). Interesting to see population growth dropping from about 1%/year to (say) 0.6%/year over the past 16 years. We might be below population reproduction, and the population increase might be due to the baby boomers not yet dying off. (The oldest are in their lower seventies.)
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"I have harangued reporters on this point for decades. No reporter has ever tried to argue that any significant share of their audience had any idea of what these large budget numbers mean. Yet, the practice persists." This is Dean Baker's quote. Has he actually personally harangued reporters, or does he merely do it publicly? Or just on his own blog? Did he ever tell a reporter, "Dammit, you did it again!" Reporters never explain the news blackout of Lori Klausutis. (Explaining it violates the blackout.) I call it the fnord effect. (They never deny seeing "fnord" either. Denying it would be admitting it.) We can't demand anything without some kind of enforcement -- some way to make it hurt to do otherwise.
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What the heck is this about? What's the trollish aspect of pgl's post?
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"The labor market remains near its sustainable, full employment level. January’s unemployment rate of 4.8% is close to 5%, our estimate of the natural rate of unemployment." How about the underemployment and the despairing-of-jobs fraction -- is that down as low as before when the unemployment rate was down this low? Also, is there any way to get the natural rate of unemployment back down to 2% or 2.5%? "Real GDP grew at an annual pace of 1.9% in the fourth quarter of 2016, consistent with an ongoing moderate expansion. Going forward, we expect GDP growth to continue at a similar rate, between 1½% and 2% over the next couple of years." How about per-capita growth? How about a standard deviation or some other measure of inequality in growth? (Ie, is 80% of the growth to the top 1%, 25% to the next 19%, and -5% to the bottom 80%?) "[T]he Federal Reserve’s 2% objective" for inflation: Any statement declaring 2% inflation as the Fed's objective is a blatant falsehood. The true objective is at most 2%, not 2%. (Well under 2% is considered meeting the objective.)
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