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Showing posts from February, 2019

What Inflation Exposes About Government

The oft-repeated objective of monetary policy — or monetary inflation — is to “stimulate the production of goods and services,” or more broadly to increase preoccupation, which says nothing at all in the way of improving the general standard of living.  Of course, the object of any number of parties involved in any series of transactions is to improve their lives, respectively.  This aim tends to coexist with greater measures of productivity and the overall proliferation of goods and services, but the end goal is the optimization of one’s personal standard of living.  While there may appear at first glance to be no discrepancy between this objective and the goal of “stimulating the production of goods and services,” there is one major caveat, and it just so happens to illuminate one of the many capacities in which government fails miserably.  That one caveat is this: those goods and services have got to be the appropriate ones, those valued and sustained by the market.  On t

How the Minimum Wage Harms the Intellectually-Disabled

A wide range of research demonstrates a dearth of employment options for individuals operating at an IQ below 87. A great many psychologists have staked the claim that society must work to address this problem.  Given that 15 percent of the population operates below this level, this is a pressing issue meriting serious consideration. Fortunately, we could resolve a great measure of this problem overnight, but unfortunately political considerations will prevent us from doing so.  How could we do it overnight? Simply, by abolishing the minimum wage .  Persons with IQ below 87 would stand a far greater chance of securing employment if the minimum wage were simply eliminated.  While many intellectually-disabled individuals are exempt from the minimum wage, many are not — for a lack of eligibility or for unawareness of their respective disabilities — while those who are exempt are often placed in group employment settings by vocational rehabilitation service providers that furn

Homelessness More Lucrative than $150,000/Year Job in SF Bay Area

Most people in the United States long for a $150,000-per-year salary. This makes sense, as the nation's median personal income is roughly 80 percent below that mark.  It's a lot of money.  In fact, this income level qualifies for the top 4 percent of Americans and the top  0.1 percent of the world's population; it is 109 times the global average. If this is true, how could an unemployed homeless person possibly make more money? Well, the federal, state and local governments: that's how! Let's take a look at the numbers. A single Bay-Area Californian earning $150,000 per year pays an effective income tax rate of 32.23 percent: this figure is inclusive of a 7.20-percent effective state income tax (and 9.30-percent marginal rate), an 18.27-percent effective federal income tax (and 24.00-percent marginal rate), and a 6.76-percent effective rate for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes.  In addition to income taxes, the homeowner incurs an annu

Michael Richards' Downfall and the Sterilization of Society

The fallout after Michael Richards' on-stage breakdown ironically showcases a kind of intolerance that stands beyond reproach: intolerance for honesty and expressed emotion in a solitary moment of vulnerability.  Despite a decades-long career devoid of any gaffes or blemishes, one isolated moment would ultimately define Richards' career and his legacy in the minds of many: that moment on stage when he shouted pejoratives at hecklers during his performance at Hollywood's Laugh Factory in 2006.  Of course, those of the school of reason see it very differently.  Every person is uniquely imperfect, and those imperfections are merely accentuated by one's placement under the spotlight.  The average person lives out his entire existence outside the limelight, in the sanctuary of his home, the comforts of his selected social group, and the confines of his preferred echo-chamber.  The average person, therefore, avoids the sharp scrutiny of being nakedly human under t

Who’s to Blame for Poverty?

Social media has become the circus of lauded illogic.  A post from a popular political page recently published a poster that reads, “Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we can’t satisfy the rich.”  This assessment is clearly incorrect, but it is easy to understand why so many people might see it that way.  There are scientific principles that have led a great number of people to false conclusions about the nature of wealth. In physics and chemistry, the law of conservation of energy states the the total energy of an isolated system remains constant.  Likewise, the law of conservation of mass states that, for any system closed to all transfers of matter and energy, the mass of the system must remain constant over time.  A great number of people, quasi-academics among them, have adopted the belief that wealth remains constant over time; t hey might label this their law of conservation of wealth .  Of course, this principle is deeply flawed and,