Sunday, December 31, 2017


As we used to say about SMSG Some Math, Some Garbage.
These are SWSG

The Earth Tribe:
Note to self:
You can't control how other people recieve your energy.
Anything you do or say gets filtered through the lens of whatever shit they are going through at the moment.
Which is not about you.
Just keep doing your thing with as much integrity and love as possible.
- Nanca Hoffman

Edit J'C

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pascal's Wager

A guest post from beliefnet

fler0002 1/15/2004 11:15 PM

And we also discover that only those who believed in God and gave their lives to Him will enter into heaven and those who didn't will go to the torment of hell... what then??

What is it that you find to love in a deity that threatens you with eternal torment if you make one wrong decision?

Does a perfect deity sound like one who feels that it is just to torment you forever because of a choice you made based on the limited knowledge, and some erroneous knowledge, that you had when you made the choice?

Or does it sound like a shell game designed to play upon your fears in order to persuade you to believe?

Does it sound like a policy that benefits the church more than it benefits the believer?

Does it sound like a plan to intimidate the uncertain by depicting their 'loving' deity as one that is bigger, stronger, and incomparably more vicious?

Does it sound like a plan that not only creates fears of what happens after death, but also creates in humanity fears of each other? Fears of any tolerance for anything other than what is sanctified by the church. Fears that turn into hatreds. Fears that turn into witch hunts. Fears that turn into jihads, crusades, and terrorism. Fears that turn into sexual abuse.

You are welcome to indulge yourself in all those fears. I for one have chosen to use reason to dispell them. I don't have to live with those fears, and consider Pascal to be a coward.
 If Pascal had a delete button he would have used it for this brain fart.  If I were guaranteed an eternity of bliss worshiping the glory of God, it is still a bad bet. Even if I bet on the right God. And spent the right amount of time learning how to worship the glory of God. What do I win? An eternity of more of the same. Talk about SSDD."

 The only life that counts is the one that begins with birth and ends with death. It is the only one we can be sure of, and Pascal's wager fails on the plethora of possible God bets each with different rules for living. So we live as if the only important contribution we can make is by living according to the best interests of our chosen society. The agnostics among us suggest that if God is the Maitre d' in the afterlife that is all Hesh would care about anyway.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mansplaining Modern Patriarchy

 There has never been a reasonable moral argument for Patriarchy.  From the beginning it exploited women as breeders of cannon fodder to prey on more stable egalitarian societies or weaker paternalistic and feudal societies. Pragmatically it was one solution to maintain population in spite of inherently high human maternal and infant mortality rates.  It was successful in spite of or maybe because of the resulting excess of poor young adult males. 

 The industrial revolution further enabled patriarchy by removing the father from the home leaving mom holding the lunch bag, the wash bag, the shopping bag and all of the other bags associated with running a household.  The flip side of that was that the man was socially required to provide for his family. Unskilled jobs were paid enough to support a household minimally even at the entry level. The pay envelope went to mom who was expected to manage with what was in it.  Women who did not wish to play the paternalism game were relegated to "women's work" nursing, teaching, and pseudo-housework where the pay was not expected to support a family and sex was not an option.     

 In the West Prior to WWII infant and maternal mortality, lack of household appliances, and wrong information on natural birth control propagated by churches, insured that women's economic contribution to the society was homemaking.  Supporting a man in the workplace by providing meals, clean clothes, and relieving him of all child care responsibilities for his (presumably) genetic line, and networking for him at church and business functions was a respectable and necessary career for a married woman with several children. 

A good Mrs. was a valuable degree.  The men did all the work and the women ran the society. When women were trapped by biology and custom to Kinder, Küche, Kirche, finding a skilled, hardworking, husband and pushing him to success and a nice house through the "right Church network" was the Western woman's dream.  She had plenty of credit, it was in her husband's name but she did the banking.  It wasn't until women got control of their fertility that other options opened for them.  Even today a Mrs. from a top university is a reasonable choice for a woman that can't hack the academic and social pressure of independent living.  A strong Mrs. from anywhere is still a reasonable choice for many women who choose not to be independent.  Contraception under her control gives her considerable leverage over the paternalistic provider.  

 Women may choose to partner with a man for companionship or sex or possibly a business deal, but few men can get past their patriarchal channeling and assume that providing any income to the partnership or paying their partner anything in a business deal gives them their patriarchal rights to sexual abuse as part of the deal. In all too many professions, the assumed inferiority of women gives the patriarchy considerable leverage in providing opportunities in exchange for abuse.  In some instances "The casting couch" was part of the vernacular long before anyone thought it was anything but a perk of the patriarchy.  

 The real problem with the transition, which we are still in, to full gender equality is that the supply of candidates for the Mrs. status is dwindling rapidly while the demand for the services provided by the Mrs. has remained constant.  In addition the social pressure to treat women with the polite respect necessary to attract the attention of the Miss to become a Mrs. has for a number of reasons become negligible.  Compounding the issue is the fact that many women have separated the functions of the Mrs. and rejected the dependence on the income of the male as a condition for any of them making the traditional Patriarchal mating dance useless for the swain, who has no training in treating people, especially women as human and he reverts to the traditional male power games for all. be continued....

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Public Figures, Private Lives, and Sexual Issues.

 I evaluate authors, artists, and publishers on their public works not their private lives. In particular the scandal sheets and tabloid reporting. There are damn few people, maybe even me, who could stand a tabloid report on their private lives. If you are one of them go ahead and shit on anybody's private life you want to. We will see what the tabloids say when they get you on the cover. 

 When autobiographical data that I disagree with creeps into art or fiction, I will criticize the character or art as inappropriate or socially dysfunctional, but even if there is credible evidence that the artist is similarly dysfunctional, that is herm privilege, and only those close enough to be affected have the right to comment.  

 This is one of the reasons that when I quote authors, whenever possible I quote the character, with proper annotation of the work and the author and date.  People who allege that an author believes something and quotes a character to prove it I will shout bullshit, even if there is evidence that the author in fact does believe something like it.  If one wants to shit on an author's beliefs, better get and cite the source of the direct quote by the author.  

 There is a current trend in virtue signaling to claim that personal behavior even after the fact revelations of the creator taint the value of the work which quickly turns artistic discussions into gossip sessions. This consigns many excellent works to the dustbin of public opinion when the behavior of the creator had no apparent effect on the message or the value of the work.   

 11/21/17 update.  Finally women are speaking out about sexual assault by public figures, as they should, but removing the public figure from herm public position is the wrong solution.  These public figures should be held accountable in a court of law, civil or criminal depending on the statute of limitations on the crime or violation, with witnesses given appropriate protection from retaliation, and cross examination limited to veracity and consistency.  External considerations such as "enticement via dress or behavior" should be explicitly excluded.  The law should provide appropriate sanctions but loss of position should not be one of them unless associated with a felony etc. where a felony is a disqualification.  

 Public opinion may affect ratings and votes, but it is the ratings and votes that should determine the fate of the public figure not the allegations.   

 In spite of the failure of Title IX the in camera fact gathering feature of the system encouraged women to come forward with allegations of harassment, assault and retaliation for speaking out.  The failure was in the fact that there was no similar in camera for the accused to respond before the allegations became a public issue as institutions responded to the allegations before proper investigation of the situation was made and the "Believe the woman" brought the whole issue before the court of public opinion with disastrous results for all involved including the complainant who inevitably will be outed when the shit hits the fan.  In one University case I followed the Title IX administrator, several high ranking officials, and the original complainant all left the university "early" in the face of public displeasure at the outcome of the case.  


Friday, July 28, 2017

Solar Roof Tile Demonstration Project

 Now that Tesla's new Solar Tile System is actually working on a couple of real roofs, anybody considering a new roof, especially on new construction, should get on the list now!  If you need the new roof sooner cheap asphault with conventional solar at the same time should be considered.  If you don't need a new roof get solar anyway before the incentives run out in 2019.  The money you save is huge.  

 A hidden savings of a solar house in sunny, hot climates--that is most of the West--is that the 40% will be on the south and or west side and use most of the sun's energy for power and the rest of the roof radiates or vents heat. The savings on AC costs are huge. With solar on only half of my south and west facing roof our house stays cool on the hottest 100+ degree days (Mediterranean climate, cool nights.) The convection wind in my attic as the heat blows out of the East (hot) vent is actually strong at the roof peak. 

 Tesla (Solar City) has a perfect demonstration project for their cooperation with utilities right in their back yard.  There is a fallow suburban solar farm in West San Jose, Santa Clara, and Cupertino that is waiting to be developed.  

  The area was developed as single family large homes in the 1950s and most of the homes are oriented east-west with large south facing pitched roofs many of which are in need of new roofing.  All are grid connected and there are several PG&E substations that can site industrial Powerpack load management systems to deal with the solar hockey stick in the evening.

 Tesla should combine with PG&E to offer free south roof replacement using the just announced attractive solar tiles.  Each roof would generate a large excess of peak power on 263 (average per year) sunny days even if the homeowner is given free power in exchange for the roof easement.  Tesla and PG&E might also consider offering a Powerwall  to each homeowner to provide distributed management of the hockey stick peak reducing the distribution losses.  Off peak power and weather backup would still be provided by PG&E from current wind and conventional generation.  

 The whole project could be phased in as tiles become available on a worst roof first basis, with early load managed installations heavily advertised by both Tesla and PG&E to build local and remote demand. Regular solar panels could also be installed as an interim solution.  

 A suburban solar farm has none of the environmental, visual, and distribution issues of a remote solar installation, and the maintenance infrastructure is already in place.  

 Disclaimer: I am a minor stockholder in Tesla and am not a candidate for the program as I already have solar power.  

Literacy Is a Political Disability

The Nation
  • In a study of literacy among 20 ‘high income’ countries; US ranked 12th
  • Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children
  • 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level
  • 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level
  • 44% of the American adults do not read a book in a year
  • 6 out of 10 households do not buy a single book in a year
 Tweets and memes scrolling under the news are current political currency.  They are all that the voters can understand.

 Trying to articulate spell out a policy idea in words small enough for the votors is a lost cause.  Likewise trying to prove a meme or tweet is a lie in one meme or tweet.  Lies gather no moss.  The truth accretes moss of literacy until it is invisible to even mainstream media these days.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Collection Post for Basic Income and Living Wages

This post is a working collection of blue road thinking on UBI and LW.  It is subject to additions, editing and other annoyances.  A more readable version an be found at which is also a work in progress but updated as comments and careful thinking refine the blue road thinking here.

Once again a guest post to start things off.  

July 19, 2015 at 4:43am

The biggest reason I support UBI (Universal Basic Income) has nothing to do with our possible automated future, as labor becomes less essential, or at least as we need much less of it, though that's a great reason to support it. It's not even about eliminating poverty or making the unemployment rate a non-issue, though those are very good reasons too.

The reason I want a UBI is to make work at least -technically- optional. I want this because so long as work is not optional, so long as it is mandatory, it is coercive. I want UBI so that every low wage worker whose boss screws them on hours, who reprimands them for taking sick days, who asks them to work too fast in unsafe conditions (see the current fast-food lawsuit), every young employee whose boss secretly grabs their ass while no one is looking, who's constantly making lewd comments, or racist comments, or any other sort of hateful bullshit... So that every employee who finds themselves trapped in the fiefdom of some petty little tyrant of a boss, which is actually The Majority Of Low End Workers, so that they can say:


So that they can really, truly, meaningfully walk the fuck away. And not have it mean they end up on the streets or their kids starve or they find themselves turning tricks to keep the water running and the lights on. Or for that matter just ending up in yet another job with a slightly different petty tyrant. And they can do this, deal with this, without having to deal with lawyers or Union Reps, who though are better than -not- having them it'd be nicer to just be able to do it ourselves. Because if -enough- of them (us) say 'NO' to this petty fucking bullshit, then firms will be forced to stop letting the petty bullshit happen (those who fail to will simply not get workers), and work in general will end up less awful for everyone.

Because the ability to say 'NO' to someone who's actively abusing you... that should be pretty high on the list of 'Liberties' worth defending. In my mind.

GDP is ultimately people buying goods and services from other people. Somebody has to flip those burgers the basic income recipients are buying. 
Since low income people spend locally and buy from people they know (not robots) the income from outside the local economy stays in the local economy and all are better off. The multiplier effect of the basic income or entry wage dollar is nearly 3 times. That is, the burger flipper who is paid somewhat more than the basic income or hesh wouldn't work, spends most of herm income on local goods and services, creating more local demand for those goods and services.   Also some basic income recipients will use their time to pursue a dream of artisan goods production, a local service like a band or restaurant or performance venue.  Some will succeed and generate more local income. 

Eliminating corporate welfare in the form of support for inadequate wages for minimum wage workers would be the first step to a more equitable distribution of the GDP.  Instead of welfare to supplement inadequate earned income each adult citizen or green card holder would be provided with one half the income necessary for housing, medical care, education,  and local transportation for a family if married, less if single.  This assumes that a two parent household is preferred for raising children.  Single mothers would be encouraged to partner up with an interested co-parent of any gender to form a family unit enabling the larger per person payment. 

Eliminating welfare with all its administrative costs would more than pay for the BI for those unable to work or have better things to do with their time than unskilled minimum wage labor. Those with better things to do will probably provide taxes and purchase goods and services which will cover their BI. Everybody wants to start a restaurant, or write a graphic novel, or sing a song. Some of them would actually succeed if they didn't have to worry about feeding the family first.

It wouldn't take much transfer of wealth from the hoarders to have a profound effect on the GDP. If the corporate welfare queens had to compete for unskilled labor with a UBI minimum wage laws would be anachronistic. Market wages and working conditions for unskilled labor in a competitive market for those willing to work at those jobs would move even unskilled laborers into the low middle class.

The economic argument for a UBI is that it is outside money to low income people who spend locally for necessities provided by mainly other low income people. The bodega proprietor, (there would be food trucks on every corner) and other neighborhood business would thrive and economic benefits would trickle UP to landlords, food truck lessors, food truck builders, etc. They might even buy a solar food truck with a Powerwall 2 from Tesla if they are really successful.

Another opportunity for recipients of UBI would be intermittent garage sales of art, crafts, artisnal foods, etc.  Advertising would be social media to regular customers who would avoid the gallery markup and have the same choices.

 About those "worthless idlers" living off the UBI as couch potatoes.

 People work. Even if it is only knitting at a boring meeting, and some of it will rise to saleable art. I am caregiver and supporter for a disabled person who assumes household chores and does them well even though hesh does not need to and does not get paid explicitly for them. Unpaid volunteer workers now could choose to be idle but work anyway. Why would that not become a way of life for those with no saleable skills? Also most people I know in the class of comfortable retired people are still working hard at something paid or otherwise. Only the trust funders are sailing and golfing their lives away.

Some work will be more useful economically than other work and it will be paid. Many "unskilled" jobs which need human attention will be filled inexpensively (to the employer) since they will be optional and provide incremental income for a slightly better life style. Those that do it well will necessarily be paid more as the market will be competitive. 

The few couch potatoes living off the stipend are probably just as well off the streets and not making trouble to survive. They still are consumers that drive the economy. They still eat, buy couches, TVs, and pay rent. If we make the "idle" comfortable enough to live a decent, if not easy, life what they do with their life is of no consequence to society.

Work for income or medical insurance is almost by definition meaningless, whether it is on an assembly line, coding for a rich guy, or flipping burgers. What the progressive left (no relationship to the Neolib democratic party) wants is optional work, where basic income, medical care and education as far as they qualify are rights and any work for supplemental income (taxed) is chosen in a competitive market where skills are rewarded and "Take this Job and shove it"--thanks Nyah Wynne--is a given for meaningless work.
If basic needs are covered people will work at something meaningful to them whether it is needlework, carving, artisans of all kinds, even coders and inventors. If the work is saleable they get extra income to support the local economy and the Government. If not they can try harder or learn to do something else but in any event they subsist and don't die and will work at something saleable or not. 

Those who want to work will have plenty of opportunities under UBI. There are many jobs that require human input. But a job, which is working for someone else will be only one option, and an option at that. Employers will have to compete on working conditions as well as pay to attract those who wish to work for others if basic needs are covered by UBI. If a restaurant owner or retailer needs people, hesh will have to make the job more attractive than opening a lunchroom or storefront shop. 

Job availability will exceed demand, given the "Be your own boss" drive most people have. If a tradesperson with a truck can supplement UBI working for herm neighbors the job premium would have to be very attractive to drag herm across town instead. Keep in mind that any income above UBI is disposable income in the economic sense.

 A note on what basic income would cover. UBI would be based on the needs of a family of whatever size is considered optimal by the goverment split between 2 adult citizens independent of relationship status or child care choices.   Basic housing, basic food, a local bus pass, HMO premiums and public education costs would be included. Infrastructure, and government costs would be abbsorbed by the government.

 See Maslow needs pyramid. Once physiological and safety needs are met (UBI and Medicare for all) and you find a friend or two, prestige and accomplishment become critical human psychological needs. Or why Grandma Moses learned to paint and why rednecks whittle.

Assuming UBI and Medicare for All, now dead rural suburbs will become vibrant villages of local commerce and art most of which will generate excess funds for local amenities. UBI is an external source of resources for the community which will be subject to the economic multiplier by those providing services to the UBI recipients.  Assuming an income tax the multiplier will be reduced a bit from a pure subsistence economy, but if the tax rate is progressive the reduction in the multiplier should be minimal for in community services as these services will be provided on narrow margins as the providers will be recipients of UBI as well.   

Social Security and Medicare for ALL.
Social Security at $1200/Mo Grandfathers Grandfathered in at current rate. No Cap on Social Security Taxes and Medicaid payments. Work optional till dead. All income taxed. Self employment income taxed once.  

Merge Federal SSA, Welfare, Unemployment, and let employees sort themselves out. 


J'Carlin said...
Why it is worth the daily slog through facebook.
J'Carlin said...
I learned about the TTJASI from a mentor at Pan Am. His advice: As soon as you save up enough "Fuck You Money" you can begin to do your job right. In a sense privilege, and/or another livable income in the family gives the same work freedom as FYM which is after all a relative term, but UBI puts a safety net under all who wish to "do their job right."
J'Carlin said...
Nyah Wynne Yes! Definitely. That's probably my number 2 top reason, in part because it's talked about very little. There are huge numbers of activities that people can engage in that are of real meaningful value to society that don't translate well into market value. Experimenting with art is a major one. Art sometimes pays off, sometimes doesn't, but all too often ends up either compromising itself in order to sell better or having to be fit into someone's spare time while they work some non-career, low end, dead-end job to survive. Other things include many sort of research, as finding grants can be as troublesome as trying to fund art. Care of children and the elderly sometimes pays but only if the ones being cared for can pay. In fact any sort of general service to the community tends to be deeply undervalued. The market values service to people according to their ability to pay, so serving the needs of 100 poor people is worth less than serving the whims of 1 wealthy person. There are all manner of truly valuable activities one can engage in that the market deems worthless.

UBI and Economics (Collection Post)

 GDP is ultimately people buying goods and services from other people. Somebody has to flip those burgers the basic income recipients are buying. 
Since low income people spend locally and buy from people they know (not robots) the income from outside the local economy stays in the local economy and all are better off.  The multiplier effect of the basic income dollar for a relatively closed local economy without box stores or Franchises to siphon off money is nearly 3 times.  The burger flipper in a local lunchroom who is paid a competitive if marginally so wage in addition to the basic income or hesh wouldn't work, spends most of herm income including UBI on local goods and services employing other local workers, creating more local demand for those goods and services and more workers to produce and vend them.  
 Assuming UBI and Medicare for All, now dead ex-urban and rural suburbs will become vibrant villages of local commerce and art most of which will generate excess funds for local amenities. UBI is an external source of resources for the community which will be subject to the economic multiplier by those providing services to the UBI recipients.  Dispersal would solve the "BMR" housing issue as only those needing to be close to cities would compete for high end suburbs and high density city housing.  Note that minimum wage jobs in high density areas would no longer be attractive to distant UBI recipients.  There are many things they could do with the costs in time and money of a multi-hour commute. 

 The car based infrastructure will once again become a valuable resource for infrequnt visits to friends and relatives and occasional visits to urban centers for shopping and entertainment.  The car will remain as the personal status symbol for rich and poor alike.  Although it will be autonomous and electric it will still use the roads and freeways unclogged by commuter traffic.  That racing striped Camaro shell will be on a Spark chassis, but hesh will be as devoted to it as before with the big Hemi.

 National box stores and franchises subsidize low prices with subsistence wages.  The only outside money to generate a multiplier is welfare which combined with subsistence wages makes artificially low prices necessary and the multiplier is close to negative. With UBI subsistence employees would be hard to find, and working conditions would have upgraded to attract employees.  Wages could still be low, but equal low wages at local businesses would allow them to compete on price and service effectively and low income people tend to buy from people they know.  With the geographic dispersal of low income UBI recipients box stores would be restricted to the mobile middle class and above. 

 Some basic income recipients will use their time to pursue a dream of artisan goods production; a local service like a band, restaurant, or performance venue; or a mercantile service.  Some will succeed and become tourist magnets generating outside dollars for the community. 

 Assuming an income tax the multiplier will be reduced a bit from a pure subsistence economy, but if the tax rate is progressive the reduction in the multiplier should be minimal for in community services as these services will be provided on narrow margins as the providers will be recipients of UBI as well.   

From Facebook:

FC It's all great until you examine the macroeconomic effects....
J'C PUOSU Throw out a macro effect other than fucking the oligarchy that will be a problem .

FC Hyperinflation?
 Particularly, hyperinflation of pricing on necessities that have a strict supply constraint.

Mind you, this is NOT a "don't" argument. This IS a "can't handwave at it" argument, or more like a "don't cut off your nose to spite your face" argument.
J'C How? UBI is spent on goods and services locally that generate taxable income. The only necessity that I can think of with supply constraints are medical care and drugs which come under the category of fuck the oligarchy. The rest of the world seems to do better with that constrained resource than we do. I am open to other suggestions.
FC Off the top of my head, it's partially a simple supply/demand dynamic, particularly aimed at something with a very limited supply (most notably, physical space).
I don't want to be too strong in my criticism because I AM a UBI crank, but I also don't want to blindly run into something likely to have a spiraling pattern.
J'C Limited space, for housing as an example, is a political not an economic problem. With UBI now dead suburbs and exurbs would be viable for artisans, self employed, and couch potatoes. All create taxable revenue for suppliers of goods and services who would follow them. There would be plenty of space in existing cities for corporate and government employee housing. Facebook is showing how to build a city in a suburb in spite of the political NIMBY flak.
Limited space, for housing as an example, is a political not an economic problem.

Stockton CA experiment @ $500/mo beginning next year.  Good links to other programs.

Top 5th Percentile Mobility for the Rich and the Poor.

Stop Pretending You're Not Rich 
New York Times

 The difference between the rich and the poor in the top 19% (excluding the 1%.) collectively referred to in some circles as "Gentry" as in gentirfication is significant in ways the above piece totally ignores and significantly affects the mobility of the next 30%. The meritocracy Reeves sneers at is in fact a reality for the poor getting into the Gentry and for the top school-top job nuveau Gentry and is probably a major cause of the rich losing their place there. The top fifth does not rule. They do protect their privilege with the help of those who do. There are major holes in their safety net in both directions. 

 Poor by my definition is an attitude not an amount of income. The poor distinguish between wants and needs and buy wants only when they can afford them from current excess resources. They retain that attitude even when they make it into the Gentry.  Many of the Gentry were poor once, and still live like it other than eating better. They still save something for the next meal that might not be as good. Depression era parents are classic examples for the new gentry. I grew up in a house where "Hide-a-bed Hash" was generic for saving for a luxury purchase.  That Gentry is smart poor people with decent jobs who watch their expenditures, chose their homes carefully and use their mortgage and tax deductions, 401ks, IRAs, and 529s to provide for their future. They may have a low end status car but they drive it to COSTCO from their good school neighborhood which they got to by buying before the kids were school age into a gentrifying neighborhood with bad schools; trading up with low end purchases in upcoming neighborhoods; and building equity. Cheap home prepared meals are their main nourishment (everybody cooks), and thrift stores and their closet their source of clothes. Entertainment is online, TV, reading and home grown music, with music lessons the only luxury. 

 Rich people buy what they want where they want to buy without regard to resources at any income level.  They generally have a relatively high debt to income ratio, and are frequently a couple of paychecks or a major financial setback away from losing their place in the Gentry.   

 I would suggest that your "different Gentry" ie. the good school-good job Gentry is a relatively small part of the Gentry we are talking about.   They grew up feeling rich even though their parents are probably in the poor Gentry or even in the achieving poor in next 30%. This privilege is reinforced especially in the top schools where they mingle as equals with rich kids and the good job gives them the income level to buy directly into the Gentry particularly when both partners (generic) work at high level jobs as most do early in their careers. The Mrs. degree is fairly rare in the top colleges as only driven achievers can get past the glass ceiling in the admissions department.   

  The mortgage deduction provides minimal tax relief for the rich but is a major source of mobility for the working poor. A maxed out mortgage is a debt trap for the rich who can't maintain a rich person's income level as they believe they can.   A 1.1 million dollar house with a million dollar mortgage works only if income stays above $150K. That same house with a conforming mortgage works at $60K. Flipped up several times from a house in a poor but stable neighborhood. This flip up is usually primarily for schools, but works even better for the childless as public school taxes are low in high end developments where private schools are the norm for families with children. At $60K a conforming mortgage deduction reduces taxes significantly. Even if mortgage insurance is needed for the first house.

  If you are at $150K that Yale legacy preference Reeves toots is worth less than a HS All American in any sport or talent and is worth even less if the kid barely meets the academic threshold. Education is the great equalizer in the top 19% and many of the top schools are "need blind" for admissions so that any student qualifying, admittedly a tiny percent of any population, can qualify for entry into the 19% regardless of family income if the field of study is chosen carefully. Only the rich can afford worthless majors. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Providing for a Sustainable Lower Class in an Economy of Abundance

 A Universal Basic income should be provided for all adults, but not children, which should be designed to cover basic housing, food and recreation needs for a family of 3 split between two adults.

  Jobs are a necessary part of a sustainable lower class. There are many semi-skilled jobs where human interaction is a necessary part of the job: servers, basic care workers, custodians, etc. These jobs would pay enough to justify leaving home and accept the responsibility of showing up for work.  The wage would be incremental to the UBI and thus affordable to employers.  Probably on the order of the current minimum wage.  A 36 hr. work week, 4 10 hour days with breaks would become standard.  Parents could alternate shifts, or work days to provide for parenting needs, or one parent could choose basic income instead of work. 

 Upward mobility would be provided by supervisory positions and skilled work as the employee qualifies for them.  The "minimum acceptable wage" would establish a wage floor and time committment for all productive work. Any skilled job would be paid at competitive rates

  Medical care, education, and basic transportation needs should be part of package for both basic income and employed citizens. Medical care would be on the HMO model with a small copay for illness to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Basic transportation needs would be met by no cost local mass transportation facilities, and low cost interurban ground transport.

Taxation could be income based if politically necessary, but ideally all taxes would be consumption based with a progressive value added tax.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Religious Politics in the US

 It is not a left vs. right issue; it is a fundamentalist vs. liberal religious issue. Fundamentalists of any Abrahamic faith are generally hate filled bigots intent on treating non-fundamentalists of their religion as less than human and therefore worthless as anything but dead and can barely be defended as humans let alone as Jews or Christians or Muslims or whatever. Another facet of these fundamentalists is Paternalism to be polite but generally sexism or misogyny is the better term.   By the way, this is my argument against the "New Atheists." They treat all religious people as fundamentalists treat others and sexism is part of the package.

 Many "liberals" in those religions are so wedded to "Traditional Values" that I find it hard to defend them as Jews or Christians or Muslims. I will defend them as humans with misguided values, as I will defend most decent humans with misguided values. But if they are hate filled bigots I will call them out on their bigotry not on their religion as I cannot distinguish one religious bigot from one of a different religion.