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23 May 2015


Michael R. Kesti

Please, George, the FTA would properly be the Federal Teat Administration.

Todd Juvinall

I am back from party hearty time for my birthday and have been reading the threads. Kesti is doing a great job! Patricia is clueless and Gregory is the smartest guy. Me, not so much.

George Rebane

MichaelK 357pm - True enough. But I chose the less pretentious spelling for broader appeal to those for whom it would provide succor.

Michael R. Kesti

George Rebane 23May15 04:02 PM



Here's a Scottish tit:

No need for a NTA, we already have a federal bureaucracy in place that can do the job, the IRS.

Michael R. Kesti

Gregory 23May15 04:56 PM

Haven't you heard, Gregory? The IRS is to be abolished!

When I was a boy my grandfather on my mother's side had a rubber stamp that read "Repeal Income Tax". He would apply it, using red ink, to the envelope of letters he'd send, usually below the postage. I didn't know what it was about at the time and just chalked it up to one more oddity from a kind of eccentric old guy. In later years he told of the time when the Chicago Post Master asked him to come to the Post Office and discuss the matter. His reply was that he would be pleased to meet at the office of his attorney. The Post Master did not again contact my grandfather, who had never spoken with an attorney in his life!

I've often thought of having a stamp with the same legend made but I send so few letters via the USPS these days that it would not be worth the cost.

Account Deleted

Look George - I understand the idea of simply handing money to folks instead of funneling it through wasteful bureaucracies, it gets more money into folks' hands at less cost. But - "a somewhat lean, mean, and very focused bureaucracy..."
Say what? You know perfectly well that is a total fantasy. Such a thing has never, ever existed and never will.
The blood is already being spilled in the streets by folks that have far more material goods than I ever dreamed of when I was young. I don't recall rioting on my part - because I had a different attitude. These rioters have no hope because they have an entitlement attitude. They will never be satified because what they seek can never be bestowed by the govt. And so we descend as a country into a left wing materialistic nihilism.
Where does the money come from to hand to folks that aren't producing enough value to pay for it and never will since there is zero incentive to get to where they will? Just saying that it's cheaper than the cost of mass rioting and revolution is a tell that this is just a cop-out to stave off reality until us farts die and dump the problem on the next gen. I've got grand children and I'd like to see them have a future of something better than Greek-sized debt and 3/4 of the population a thinly bought off mass of half witted zombies.

George Rebane

ScottO 615pm - Right, no one (except the leftwing retards) knows where the money will come from; all we know is that people will not quietly starve to death while watching their brethren enjoying life. The "total fantasy" is that our grandchildren (and my great grandchildren) will not "have a future of something better than Greek-sized debt and 3/4 of the population a thinly bought off mass of half witted zombies." It's gonna happen, America will have to pass into an unimaginable darkness because providing 'bread and circuses' at no cost to the great unwashed has always brought down empires. While an exceptional country, we will not be excepted from that fate.

Attributes of an albeit low probability solution inevitably include population reduction on a massive scale as technology advances. The alternative is to build massive structures housing millions of cacoons of humans living in virtual worlds as shown in 'Matrix'. But even that dystopia did not make a plausible case for why those humans needed to be kept alive in the first place.

As I've said many times here, no one knows how to structure a sustainable GNI, but everyone knows what happens with an excess of starving hopeless people. How do you tell a fellow human that he is unredeemably redundant on this planet? Perhaps a post-Singularity intelligence or the Second Coming will crack this catastrophic conundrum which humanity ignores as it marches into the future.

Account Deleted

"starving hopeless people"
I have yet to see one of the street rioters that look like they have missed a meal for the last couple of hours.
Hopeless? Absolutely - I agree. Your plan does nothing to aliviate that problem.
"How do you tell a fellow human that he is unredeemably redundant on this planet?"
Govt programs scream that to them daily. And the proles know it.
They aren't redundant - and a free market will encourage them to know it.

George Rebane

ScottO 653pm - I don't have a sustainable plan, never had one, never claimed to have one - we are beyond the tipping point. If the population keeps growing, my Non-profit Service Corporation is merely a palliative to hold off the coming troubles as long as possible.

You are talking about the street rioters of today; I am talking of the street rioters of tomorrow - they will look different.

However, you do sound like you have a plan based on a free market. Is that correct?

Account Deleted

So it sounds like we agree. To a point.
My 'plan' would not be to simply stave off social armaggedon, but to keep it from happening. Will it work? It has the best chance. The chance is skimpy to put it charitably. But it beats simply giving up and trying to put off disaster. I agree that in many ways we are past a tipping point. Many different political ideas will simply no longer work.
Now - do I believe there are enough other people that will agree with me to make it go? No. So you may well ask why I persist. Because I see no point in a plan that by your own admission does not solve the problem. I think that is our point of disagreement.

Douglas Keachie

A nit at a loss here.

Do we have 125,000 jobs at $10/hr?

Or 12,500,000?

We certainly can't have 125,000,000 such jobs.

Now I do realize that you are talking about productivity, not wages, but this does bring up an interesting question. We seem to have a lot of folks who are producing 4 to 5 hundred an hour, but far fewer who actually see very much of that output as income? Who made up this chart?

George Rebane

ScottO 753pm - I think I missed what your plan is Scott. My approach to creating NPSCs is a temporary 'fix' to perhaps give wiser heads, or the Singularity (with transhumanism) or even the Second Coming a chance. If you got something better, spill it.

DouglasK 849pm - Sorry to have feigned too much realism in that figure. As mentioned in its original piece, these distributions are just meant to correctly illustrate the qualitative measure of the systemic unemployment problem, not to give an accurate quantitative picture of it. Hope that helps.

Bill Tozer

From Buffet's opinion piece:
"The brutal truth is that an advanced economic system, whether it be geared to physical or mental skills, will leave a great many people behind.
In my mind, the country’s economic policies should have two main objectives. First, we should wish, in our rich society, for every person who is willing to work to receive income that will provide him or her a decent lifestyle. Second, any plan to do that should not distort our market system, the key element required for growth and prosperity."

Yes, I wish (to use Buffet's own words) for everybody WILLING to work to have a decent lifestyle. We all wish that, just like wishing you could hold back diarrhea. Good wish. I noticed Mr. Buffet bent over backwards to repeat several times the phrase "willing to work". Willing to work as opposed to wanting to work. The old saying on the Mayflower was if a man will not work, he shall not eat. Yes, there is a huge difference between will not work and cannot work. The cannots already are covered, but the will nots should not be given much, maybe just enough to eke out a miserable existence without rotting in the streets and having passerbys step in what's left of them.

But, as Mr. Buffet clearly stated, any plan must not distort the market system, the KEY element REQUIRED for growth and prosperity. Let's not slay the goose that lays the golden eggs or else we are all doomed. The Left's solutions do more damage than the problems. Let's not distort the market.

With the risk of brutally paraphrasing Churchill and mangle one of his best quotes, I will proceed. Churchill said in effect "that he knows a place where all are given shelter and housed, fed daily without want, and have access to 24/7 free medical care. That place is called prison.

Account Deleted

My plan would involve having a free market. I've outlined in the past most of what that would entail. It seems a truely free market scares the heck out of most folks. It does not mean 'no regulations' and it doesn't mean I would have it kick in all at once tomorrow. It would eventually ruin a lot of speculators and bring bankruptcy to a whole host of businesses. There would be decades of nothing but hard work for almost everyone. The world has had fun with daddy's credit card. The party is over. Told you it's not popular. But all other ways lead to an even worse future, so it's the most humane solution. It seems to me that your plan is to accept that we will be 'redistributing' income, so we may as well do it in a much more efficient way. There's a lot to be said for it. It might get more folks into the work force and get them used to that life style. It does buy time - but while we might hold the fort for a little longer, what cavalry are we awaiting to save the day? We can hope a plan works, but hope is not a plan. It seems that the Singularity would probably not be the answer as it would just make humans even more redundant. If labor becomes much, much, cheaper it would actually push off the coming of the Singularity.
Anyway, my plan doesn't have much in the way of popular support, so no worries.
We'll just elect Hillary and muddle along towards the future. Enjoy.

George Rebane

ScottO 815am – I’m not comfortable that I’ve communicated well enough for you to understand my position of hope and dread. I have never advocated anything save a sparsely regulated free market as these pages and my credo attest. However, such a free market will ruthlessly segregate workers according to the actual value their labor can deliver to their employers and/or customers – in short, compared to today, income inequality would soar and continue to do so as capital uses advancing technology to substitute for human labor.

The figure in this post says it all as the green distribution takes off to the right, and the red distribution lags ever further behind. Economies with such inequalities are intrinsically unstable, and historically have been and are stabilized by the gun held by government or crooks (often the same crowd). Again, I’m not smart enough to figure out a benevolent social order for a large population with an equivalently large spread of inherited smarts and corresponding skills all competing in an environment where capital (not labor) is king. It’s easy (e.g. for the Left) to propose dysfunctional social orders on such populations that immediately sink to tyranny. This is the direction we are now slowly heading, with our socialist brethren doing everything to speed up the process.

So that’s the dread part. The hope part is that H. Sapiens can ‘climb aboard’ or integrate with super-intelligent machines . This is the benevolent, post-Singularity, trans-human future in which we will be smart enough to devise and work plans to 1) limit population, 2) spread through our solar system, and 3) prepare to go to the stars. Somewhere along that wonderful road, I believe it is very likely that we will be contacted by another successful post-Singularity civilization that is ahead of us.

So any successful pre-Singularity plan should enable us to get through the Singularity as species worth saving and being saved.

Bill Tozer

posted by Gregory, 5th comment on this post: Gregory, it is most out of character of you to mess up and make such a glaring omission. Where is its mate?

Bonnie McGuire

Interesting discussion. I'm so glad to have observed and experienced all sides of our economy. I realize those who haven't don't understand the basics....especially today. Our society is composed of employers and employees and do nothing's. We've been mentally conditioned to think the worl owes us a living. I remember employees resenting their employers for not paying them what they thought they were worth until there was no employment. The high risk and 24 hours per day concerns required to run a successful business is unknown to most employees who put in their required time on the job and go home. Those who are psychologically wise in socialism rely on this ignorance to stir up division between the two factions....the haves and have nots.

Watching what was going on here just before the economic downturn was a real eye opener. Beware of those promising something for nothing. The something has Gov strings attached that may just strangle the Golden Goose. http://www.mcguiresplace.net/The%20Laws-Seeds%20of%20Economic%20Failure

Account Deleted

from George: "...– in short, compared to today, income inequality would soar and continue to do so as capital uses advancing technology to substitute for human labor."
I would strongly disagree. Most of the uber wealthy these days derive their riches from govt intrusuion into the market. The stock market has proven to be a bonanza (for now)due to the govt destroying the value of the dollar. Dick Blum gets another huge windfall from the CA govt choo choo train. Big banks see the govt destroy their smaller competition and reap the benefits. Soros makes billions on markets roiled by govt ham fisted policies. Endless regs from all levels of govt continue to drive smaller businesses out of business and enrichen the larger chains.
Increased competition lowers costs. Get rid of all sorts of needless govt regs and costs will lower. Stop the govt subsidies of colleges and 'free' tuition and suddenly colleges will have to compete and lower their costs to true market levels. Once the kids going to college learn they have to earn the money to pay for their time in the ivied halls, they'll be a lot pickier about their majors. Many will find college a needless expense and skip it. Many more folks will have jobs as they are free to cost their employers only what is agreed to by both parties. Lower labor costs will greatly slow the race for automation.
Why pay a huge cost upfront for a burger flipper that needs expensive maintenance when a kid down the street will do it for what ever the market will bear? It is a mistake to worry about income differences, as the real problem is how many jobs are available for the masses and what is the cost of living? If I have a job I like and can afford food, housing and medical, what do I care how much the Koch bros make? Our govt is hell bent on increasing your cost of living mainly because it's in their interest to do so. You need more income and more folks in the house working and guess what? The govt makes more off of income tax. And everything costs more and you have to pay more sales tax. More folks are unable to keep up and need govt assistance. The more folks are dependent on the govt, the bigger and more powerful the govt gets. Anytime it's you or the govt, it is a zero sum game, because the govt gets all of it's money from you. If you are concerned about increased automation removing jobs from humans, then having the govt increase the cost of labor is the worst possible thing.
But - as I've said before - this ain't happening. I agree with George that we are beyond the tipping point and most folks think the govt is their provider. A free market is now the scariest thing in the world for most people. History has shown that people would rather live miserable lives of poverty under govt care than try to live in freedom.

Bill Tozer

Scott said we are beyond the tipping point and most folks think the gov't is their provider.

True, especially the very poor and possiblibly the very rich in some antidotal cases. This link got me thinking. I once was living in my car and went to a spaghetti feed. Think it was two bucks, but I only had a dollar and the nice motherly lady at the door took one look at me and waved me in anyway and handed me a raffle ticket. I won an electric toaster or maybe it was a crock pot. I laughed. No running water, no electricity, no nothing, and I won a kitchen appliance. This one lady saw the look on my face and wanted the toaster or wok or whatever it was and traded with me. I walked out with a pair of handmade nice women's earrings, that I promptly gave to the lady at the door, lol.

So, giving the poorest folk free solar panels in The Golden State, hmm. It's only fair and equatable. Hope they are not homeless or have leaky roofs. Wouldn't that be something. Maybe they can trade them for more urgent needs.


Account Deleted

Yep - free, at no cost to anyone. They can mount them on top of their cardboard boxes. Then they could get a small fee for charging up the swells' Teslas around town. Better than washing car windows at the intersections and parking lots. Don't forget the new reduced fees for traffic violators who don't have 'white' skin. And the Dems have suddenly discovered that most po' folk don't have 10 or 12 grand for their new Obamacare Insurance. Why! It's just not fair! So they're now trying to find a way to pay for that as well. Great fun! Chasing their tails into financial oblivion.

Bill Tozer

Oh my, UC Berkely has released a pretty fair study. Stagnet wages and low paying jobs is the culprit, exactly as Dr. Rebane has been writing about for many moons. On the other hand, that will only affect the working (part time?) poor, and Goverment, and all 50 State treasuries. The tax man cometh and boy is he grumpy.


Bill Tozer

Full disclosure: funding for the study referenced above was provided by the Service Employees Union,. Had to go to the bottom of the study to find that gem. Still, it's nothing new under the sun. Guess having 85% of employees receive health bennies through their employer and of that 85% more than 80% really like their employer sponsored healthcare, whatz da problem?. If you like it, you can keep it.

Nah, it's broke. Let's fix it, again and again and again. Hey idiots, low low low paying jobs don't provide bennies. But if we just could get these part-times a higher wage and, of course, get all employers to provide good healthcare insurance, then that would free up cash so the government can spend it on other things. These other things are not mentioned. Once again, that is left up to the wonderful imagination. Don't think paying down the debt is what politicians or The Service Employee Union has in mind.

Account Deleted

Paying down the debt? But, but, we thought interest rates would stay at zero forever! I think it's a new human right. The Dems just discovered it. Anyway, in CA they're whipping up all sorts of new ways to have 'fair' taxes. Apply sales taxes to services don't you know. And wait until Sanders etal, git a going with their stock transaction taxes. Only hurts the Koch bros - no one else.
Poverty has been eleiminated in LA with their new minimum wage, so we know the social service offices will be shutting down. Right?

Paul Emery

George, Scott

Does your definition of Free Trade involve doing business with countries such as Malaysia that use forced, slaved and child labor as well as engaging in human trafficking. Doing business with Malaysia will be codified into law with the passage of the TPP if Paul Ryan and the House get their way . What's to keep American corporation from setting up shop there to manufacture their products to be sold in the American market?

"The House, according to sources familiar with trade deal negotiations, plans to strip Senate language from fast-track legislation that would ban countries that are the worst human-trafficking and forced-labor offenders from being part of big trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. "


Bill Tozer

Oh Paul, you are such an Islamophobe. Malaysia is a new kind of Muslim country. They even tolerate Daoists and Hindus and the few remaining Christians. Of course everyone over 21 has to carry an ID card stating Muslim or Non-Muslim. So, what is exactly wrong with a little human trafficking here, a bit of child forced labor there, some slavery now and then, and some discrimination against non Muslims?? They are toleratant peaceful devote followers of the Religion of Peace. I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that you have exhibited such xenophobia and down right protectionism by dissing Mayalsia and the Islam way of doing things. Shame, shame I say shaking my index finger back and forth. Paul railing against a peaceful tolerate Muslim country just because their culture is different than ours. Who would have thunk this possible??


Account Deleted

Paul - I was talking about a free market. In this country. We can't change the laws of other countries. I also said I was against the TPP.
It's funny you should single out Malaysia. If you care to look around the world, there are abuses everywhere. In Iran and other Muslim countries, they openly rape women and murder gays. And the left doesn't seem too bothered by how cozy we are supposed to be with them.
And in this country, the govt disobeys the law and steals from innocent citizens. Do you advise other countries not to trade with us?


Who on the left proposes open and fast tracked free trade with Iran without conditions? No one.

George Rebane

I'm still not sure everyone here understands the difference between a process of negotiating trade agreements, and a specific trade agreement that may or not fall under such process.

Do I support free trade? Yes, as long as it doesn't involve our surrendering our sovereignty to our trading partners. And does that include trading with countries that don't adhere to our values and mores? Yes it does, and it always has included such countries. Do I want to American to use trade as a means of building nations in our image? Not necessarily, let's examine it on a case by case basis and see how our national interests are served.


Free trade hasn't been working in our favor. We have been getting the shitty end of the stick. Our own U.S. companies have paid the price. U.S. steal was a big loser when foreign, cheap, stuff got dumped on our markets.
Hawaii has suffered as well. Just look in the grocery stores. What we used to see coming from the islands now comes from South of the boarder.
Even now Ca.'s water problems are good news for Mexico and points South. That's where our food will be coming from. And just wait for the price to go up. They will charge it, because they know they can get it.


On an aviation email list populated by a number of airline and retired airline pilots and others with China business ties, I recently got an earful of Chinese steel industry practices... that if a US project doesn't have quality control testing each batch (for example, massive bolts, say for bridges, or rebar) for the specified characteristics, and reject every batch that doesn't pass... they'll keep shipping crap that will get worse. And that a lot of untested Chinese steel went in to that new bridge over SF Bay.

Time will tell.

Bill Tozer

And guarenteed healthcare for all.


Ben Emery

What Mr Buffet and Rebane's Ruminations fail to factor into the equation are the conditions that caused blue collar jobs to exit the US. Workers are the same as they have always been. The difference was prior to the 1980's we protected manufacturing jobs for workers that allowed the lower educated workers live a decent standard of living. Since 2000 over 50,000 factories have left US soil along with 8 million living wage jobs. I don't have the numbers from the 90's when this really started to take off.

Clothes still need to made, cars still need to be put created, and all the other products we used to make in America still need to be made. Trans national companies control the US government therefore control our trade and tax policies. So instead of making profit while supporting the US middle class these companies make insane profits while exploiting wage slave labor and unregulated pollution/ destruction of the natural environment.


Posted by: Ben Emery | 31 May 2015 at 07:33 AM

What Mr Buffet and Rebane's Ruminations fail to factor into the equation are the conditions that caused blue collar jobs to exit the US.

Incorrect Ben. We know pretty conclusively why the jobs left and why they aren't coming back. We also know that with automation a significant percentage of those "off shored" jobs are going to be switched from people in foreign countries to machines in the very near future.

Todd Juvinall

Ben Emery, you are wrong again. I recall the turmoil way back when the steel industry was going belly up here. Rather than sit down with owners to work out the details of maintaining the industry itself, the unions said screw you and so over the seas it went. That was the beginning of the end to private industry unions here. Also, you must admit labor is a "cost" in the manufacturing of anything and as such is dealt with simply as a component of the process in real life. Only progressives like you think a business creates a job to become a nanny and protector to those working for them.

George Rebane

BenE 733am - This entire post does nothing but factor in "the conditions that caused blue collar jobs to exit the US." What you present is the leftwing narrative that counters the reality of technological advance, globalization, and the destruction of our education system's ability to provide sufficient workers for 21st century jobs.

Don't get me wrong, your illustrative comment is an important one that sheds light on the manifest contributions of socialist thought to America's decline. We will not be able to recover through going back to making our own shirts and shoes by hiring millions of the unemployed, and paying them a 'living wage' that will price such finished goods out of all markets including ours.

America, and possibly the world, now has more people than are required to make the things and grow the food we need to live. Admittedly, it is a difficult concept to wrap one's head around, especially when that head embraces stasist ideas about accelerating technology and the educability of a competitive workforce.

Bill Tozer

Whatever we do to increase equity, it won't be enough. And it won't keep up with inflation. Boy, things are going to get real expensive for those who work full time pulling the cart.


don't think there is enough money to make 'em all happy.

Russ Steele


Consider this:

Public sector jobs are in decline, and one community has been hit particularly hard: African Americans. Historically, the black middle class has relied on the government for good jobs. One in five African Americans are employed by the government, making them more dependent on public sector employment than whites and Hispanics. But those jobs are disappearing. . . .

The loss of these jobs has and will hit the African American community hard, putting it in an even more economically precarious position in the coming years. But there’s no reversing the economic and technological trends of the last half-century that have eroded the blue model and employment it generated. These jobs are gone and it’s futile to lament the end of the glory days of peak blue—or strive to bring them back.

Instead, those concerned for the welfare of the black middle class should be putting more energy into considering what the high-wage middle class jobs of the future will be.


"As such, workers do not need to live in constant fear that their job will be eventually replaced by robots. In many instances their careers can become more productive and rewarding as a result of technology. Just ask any farmer in the US, where grain harvesting equipment has become a marvel of sophistication. Moreover, while computing power has been rising exponentially for decades, a robot’s ability to do manual tasks remains limited. For one, as far as we know making a robot “see” remains an unsolvable problem.

Unfortunately, not everything is rosy for workers. One thing they should be greatly concerned about is the law of unintended consequences – especially resulting from the policies implemented by the very people claiming to be helping them.

There is ample evidence of this in both developed and emerging markets:

In the US, by cheapening credit to levels never seen before the Federal Reserve has made capital highly affordable, skewing the economics against hiring people. Exploding healthcare and other regulatory costs can only make things worse. No wonder this recovery has been one of the worst ever in terms of job creation.

Workers in China are suffering from an even more aggressive monetary policy, which inflates their cost of living (thus requiring higher wages just to get by) and cheapens the relative cost of capital. Chinese factories employing robots (in some cases exclusively) regularly make headlines these days. The resulting gains from productivity improvements thus become less available to workers as a whole.

In other words, in a technologically-advanced economy, cheapening capital by central bank decree can actually destroy jobs rather than create them. Try wrapping your head around that one Thomas Piketty.

It seems that many of our jobs are under threat as a result of policies that create severe economic distortions, much more than the robots per se."


George Rebane

Good points by Messrs Tozer, Steele, and fish. Yes, paying rent for a place that maintains our high QoL will be a problem. No one has a solution for a GNI that maintains the accustomed lifestyles of Americans. And yes, government is the employer of last resort for most (overwhelming number) of its workers, which includes the minorities that have been most screwed by unionized public education. But the most fundamental tool that the Left uses to keep their voters on the plantation is fiat-based cheap capital (fish 919am) that plunders the job opportunities for all classes of workers, hitting the lowest the hardest.

And the problem is compounded by the unskilled also being the uneducated who are not smart enough to vote for better government, therefore condemning themselves and America to the ongoing (now eternal?) quest for collectivist solutions where there are none.

Ben Emery

You don't know what you are talking about. If the Unions said "no" then the companies were screwed or they would have to pay the tariffs to move out of the country. The tariffs are gone and any incentive to keep factories in the US is also gone.

Ben Emery

You are just plain wrong. Look back through history at how the English became a super power and then the US and now it is China's turn. It is through being the manufacturing giant on the block. Unfortunately that leads into the trap both England and US have walked right into trying to hang onto the world super power, imperialism. China currently is buying up the resources with its insane trade surplus with the home nation of the world currency. The time will come where there will not be enough resources on the market and we will then see their military grow and start expanding.

Or we will see an alliance like the BRICS nations have different roles of a superpower and maybe it will be Russia that will be the enforcer.

George Rebane

BenE 1146am - Don't exactly know about what in my 936am you are contenting, but your attempt to compare the world's commercial and imperial orders of the 18th and 19th century to that of the 21st century does reek a bit of the stasism upon which you progressives tend to build your sandcastles (cf my 811am).

Todd Juvinall

Ben Emery, you were not alive at the time I am speaking of. I lived through it and paid attention. You must be hallucinating since you really have no clue about what you are talking about. Try harder, do some reading about the times I am speaking of.

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