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OldGimletEye

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About OldGimletEye

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  1. OldGimletEye

    A question to capitalists; how much should we fear AI?

    I'll assume for the sake of argument, that AI technology reaches the point where it is nearly substitutable for most human labor. The traditional economic case against income taxes is that it distorts labor supply decisions ie higher taxes cause people to work less (though empirically that argument made by libertarians and conservatives is pretty empirically dubious). The traditional moral case is that income taxes "punishes people for their success". But if we reach the point where machines are doing most of the work, then both the traditional economic and moral case against higher income taxes falls apart. People aren't going to flip off their AI machines because of higher taxes because their will be no disutility from work. And I'd assume, AI machines would virtually work 24 hours a day. And if machines are doing most of the work, then John Galt type arguments would have no basis in reality. If we reach this point, then there will be little excuse where people live in degrading poverty, and lack things like heath insurance and so forth, though I'd imagine here in the US, at least, the Republican Party will make up some bullshit justification. At this point, perhaps the only human labor that will be involved is figuring out how to use AI technology to make new products or services. Accordingly, capitalism to some extent might possibly survive. On the other hand, AI technology makes "socialism" more viable. In the meantime, I'd say maintain full employment policies because we've learned that the "skills" business say they need, often depends on the state of the business cycle (ie a lot of business people peddled bullshit about the "skills gap"), and spend resources on job training, social insurance, education and so forth.
  2. OldGimletEye

    US Politics: Shutbound & Down

    Woods is about as sharp as a marble.
  3. OldGimletEye

    US Politics: Shutbound & Down

    I really like AOC pushing the "Overton Window" to the left and I think she raises a lot of important issues. The days of a liberal being somebody that won't take their own side in an argument need to be over. That said, I'm not the hugest fan of Modern Monetary Theory. I think MMT theorist have made several key insights (or perhaps made them more well known), like money primarily gets its value because it because it can be used to pay taxes. And, obviously, I have the same Keynesian heritage. Like MMT theorist, I do not believe that full employment or full employment of resources is a given. The unemployment during Great Depression was not the result of a spontaneous vacation. And the unemployment during the GFC was simply due to lack of aggregate demand, and all the other reasons, like "the skills gap", or "ACA did it", or "Obama's Job Killing Regulation" are all a bunch of horseshit, and I'd hope the people that spewed that garbage would see the errors of their conservative ways. I believe that a key insight of the General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money is that the heart of economic trouble is the demand for liquid financial assets, in particular money, which governments can create. One could imagine, I think, an institutional arrangement, where governments did not issue bonds and there were no central banks. Under this arrangement, both fiscal authority and money creation authority would be vested in one institution, and theoretically I think it could work, which I think MMT theorist are basically saying. Though as a practical matter I think it would be unwise to give both fiscal authority and money creation authority to the same institution. Assuming full employment, which is often a political choice, resources do bind. And when resources do bind choices have to be made. The point here is that I don't agree with the MMT theorist that as a practical matter that debt or deficits never matter. Do I agree that there had often been too much debt/deficit hysteria. Sure. According to the CBO, the debt / GDP ratio is supposed to be something like 145%. That number to me isn't really all that scary. What is more scary is that r > g, which means the debt is not on a path to converge at some level. Another issue I have with MMT is that it makes it too easy to ignore supply side issues, and not in the sense that Republicans usually talk about (ie cut taxes). For instance, there is something very wrong with US healthcare system, given that it is about the most expensive in the world, and reforms need to be made to fix it, like say taking a look at some of intellectual property laws and so forth. Education is another issue where the supply side of the market needs to be looked at, as the real price of a college education has grown a whole bunch since the 1970s. MMT isn't the answer to the problem of expensive housing in urban areas. I believe in universal healthcare and I believe we need to make educational opportunities cheaper and more available. I just don't think MMT is the answer to these issues. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-01-17/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-s-big-ideas-for-taxes-and-medicare Of course no post would be complete without taking the opportunity to say, "Screw Norquist, the 'libertarian' clown."
  4. OldGimletEye

    US Politics: Shutbound & Down

    Democratic military service doesn't count. Just Republican military service does. And Republican draft dodging doesn't count. Just ask Dick Cheney or Bolton.
  5. OldGimletEye

    US Politics: Shutbound & Down

    Well, I think Dimon kind of serves as a spokesman for what a lot bankers or finance people think or argue. And I think he is that kind of Wall Street Democrat, that a lot of progressive or liberal Democrats are getting tired of and with good reasons. On several technocratic issues, Dimon has simply been wrong. For instance, there is about zero evidence that higher equity capital requirements hurts bank lending. In fact, the evidence seems to point the other way. I'm not against banking per se. It plays a vital role in our economy. But, often what bankers or finance people say, just isn't our best interest.
  6. OldGimletEye

    US Politics: Shutbound & Down

    I would hope not. But certainly, Wall Street and Bankers will always try to get legislation passed, that will benefit them, but not promote the cause of financial stability. And they have enormous amount of money and influence. And they need to be watched carefully. We have entire generation, Millennials, whose lifetime incomes will likely never recover from the last financial blow up. You'd hope we'd learn some lessons, but I don't take that as a given.
  7. OldGimletEye

    US Politics: Shutbound & Down

    If we're talking about having worked on Wall Street, then I won't hold that against candidate because as FDR basically said when he hired Joe Kennedy to run the SEC, "if you want to catch a crook, then hire a crook." But if we're talking about a candidate who basically repeats Jamie Dimon's nonsensical whining about equity capital requirements and so forth, then I will hold that against them.
  8. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    Misguided "Centrist / Washington Beltway" opinion: Skills Gap Edition Okay, I know I've ranted about the skills gap before. But, this was something that truly drove me nuts. Not saying that investing in job training is not a good idea. It is. But the whole skills gap meme, promoted by the likes of Jaime Dimon and other "reasonable centrist", missed the bigger issue about the job market. It was a case of "reasonable centrist" being just completely out to lunch, but thinking they were something else. To the extent that a skills gap was the main issue, most likely it was the case of people like Jaime Dimon not having the right skills. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/01/14/skills-gap-is-fixed-because-there-was-no-skills-gap/ Or maybe it was the case of everyone just deciding to take a long vacation at once.
  9. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    I'd say at a minimum you really can't be a centrist and then consider something like the Green New Deal as being something that is crazy, given what we know about climate change. If you do, then you are just putting on airs of being the "reasonable centrist" but not really. Yes it is a genuine question. And of course, when one speaks of being a "centrist", they probably ought to state in reference to what. In an absolute sense or the American sense. I consider myself to be relatively centrist, if not in the American context, at least on economic matters as I'm not a full blown Marxist or anything. But the problem I have with many other centrist is they often take positions that are nonsense in order to look "reasonable". They are just doing "middle splitting" and I think it's pretty lazy intellectually. Think of the people that gushed over Paul Ryan's allegedly being a "serious conservative" or the people that think something like a New Green Deal is just a complete wacko notion. Or those that gushed over the Bowles/ Simpson, when we had bigger fish to fry at the time. I'd say the thing that needs to be pulled off in American politics is nudging centrist opinion to the left, while getting enough of their votes to actually win elections. There is an underlying tension there, and where the appropriate balance is, I'm not really sure, though it's something I think about often. `The irony of this situation, I think, is the longer we delay in dealing with something like Climate Change, the more heavy handed government involvement will likely have to be. The people that will complain the most about government interference in the "free market" will have only themselves to blame because of their foot dragging and sandbagging. Interestingly enough, there is a debate on the left whether growth is possible, while combating climate change. I tend to come down on the side, that yes it is. But, of course, the sooner we get started, the less drastic government actions will have to be. Procrastination is like masturbation. At the time you are doing it, it feels good, but in the end, you're just fucking yourself. As Krugman often says, reality often has a left of center bias.
  10. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    "The only people we hate more than the Romans, are the fucking Judean People's Front." This quote is from the Life of Brian, where The People's Judean Front are enemies of The People's Front of Judea. The joke of course is how those on the left tend to eat each other alive, often over relatively small differences. What makes the whole gag funny, like most jokes that are funny, is that it contains an element of truth.
  11. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    On the left engaging in crazy ideas, according to certain sorts of "centrist": Green New Deal Edition. According to some centrist, the idea of a Green New Deal is out in crazy land. But, here is what is really crazy: We've known about climate change for a long time. We had a chance when there was a worldwide thirst for safe financial assets around the world, to cheaply finance investments in Green technologies, but didn't do it because according to centrist, fiscal debt was our biggest issue. That was crazy.
  12. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    Certainly by American political standards, I sit on the left. That said, I don't think I sit to the furthermost of the left, as I would describe myself as left of center. That said, the problem with a lot of "centrist" is they don't have a clue to what they are talking about, often just pulling "centrist" positions randomly out of their asses. There is nothing crazy about a Green New Deal. Nor is there anything crazy about higher marginal tax rates on the wealthy as a matter of policy. Nor is it an unpopular idea.
  13. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    I'm pessimistic about it too. I'm old enough, it may never happen in my lifetime. But, you do what you can, I guess.
  14. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    Yeah, I think if we are going to be stuck with just two parties, it's not a desirable state of affairs, to have just one party capable of governing reasonably, while the other is completely out to lunch.
  15. OldGimletEye

    U.S. Politics: Phantom of the Emergency

    My reason for not voting Republican is that I don't think that party will change, until it starts losing massively. So I do what I can, to punish that party. I know its sounds a bit mindless, but all I really need to know about a candidate is whether they have D or R in front of their name. The Republican Party needs to change badly, and I don't think it will until massive pressure is brought upon it. Like you and others here I started off life as a moderate Republican and changed my views as I got older, to the point I'm outright hostile to that party.
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