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Comment Re:Collateralized vs Non-Collateralized Loans (Score 1) 461

No problem here. They'll find something else to do.

OK, so you don't care about efficient allocation of resources. Fine. There go half your economic beliefs. Or you just don't care when that resource is educable labor? Why the discrepancy?

Not at all. When you don't have government running up the cost of education several fold, it'll become quite affordable for the people who want an education to get an education.

I question this pithy assumption, big-time. And even if it were true, it would still limit education on the basis of access to capital, so it doesn't solve the problem, it simply shifts it a little.

A lot of the current problems are due to the dismal performance of public education. When a diploma isn't worth the paper it's written on, then employers are going to look for stuff that is, such as college diplomas.

Which just reinforces my point that public college education is necessary, and useful, both to individuals and to employers.

Comment Re:neither should receive government support (Score 1) 461

So, the question is, what justifies the cost of the raise by that much?

In my state, a lot of it is decreases in state funding. Interestingly, the peak state funding for Rutgers in NJ was in 2000, around when you went to school. Now the state funds less than they did in 1995. Not sure if other states have similar trends as NJ in funding higher education, but it wouldn't surprise me at all.

Costs are up in other ways, too... inflation hits the budget of colleges and universities as much as individuals.

Comment Re:Collateralized vs Non-Collateralized Loans (Score 1) 461

We have to pay high interest to cover losses to people who rack up debt studying things like art history, anthropology, and underwater basket weaving.

Not true. The loans are guaranteed by the government; there are no losses to lenders that you have to cover.

You pay a high interest rate simply because lenders have friends in Congress who fix the interest rate to ensure high profits.

Comment Re:Collateralized vs Non-Collateralized Loans (Score 2) 461

If an education is really that valuable, then they'll find a way to pay for it.

And those who are unable to find a way to pay for it don't get educated. And businesses who need educated workers will be unable to find them.

Seems to me like that's a piss-poor way of allocating at least one resource: the workforce. Simply through lack of access to capital, you'd limit the productivity of the workforce.

This problem is why we have public education, and why it's a good thing (even for those at the top of the economic pyramid).

Comment Re:LOL! American "priorities"! (Score 1) 461

I'm on board with nearly the entirety of your post. However:

ignoring options like scholarships, grants, less expensive school choices, or part time work during college.

One of the issues is that financial aid packages assume loans will be taken out. So if you skip the loan, and work more instead, you may be able to cover the expense. But what happens next year? Oh yeah, your grant is reduced because of the amount of money you made this year. So now you have an even bigger funding gap to close.

Also, the scale at which students take loans means that colleges and universities have no issues raising tuition. College tuition is increasing far faster than inflation -- which already outpaces earnings growth for part-time workers.

Comment Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

I was making a case for entitlement cuts?? Didn't know that...

Don't try to walk it back, here is what you wrote:

Note that Medicare/Medicaid(Fed only)/SSA is ALREADY the majority of the budget - it's not going to get any better without a painful revamp of the way we do things.

You directly linked Medicare/Medicaid/SSA with "a painful revamp" required to fix the budget issues.

The fundamental assumption on the left is that we could balance the budget by reducing military expenditures and raising taxes.

That is nowhere close to a fundamental assumption by the left.

You're tilting at windmills, buddy.

Comment Re:How did this moronic submission make it here? (Score 1) 466

We're on hydro-electric here. Our CO2 doesn't change a lick if we turn out our lights in the PNW.

Umm, bullshit. Hydro produces only about 40% of evening electric supply in the PNW (though at peak demand, hydro is about 70% according to PNWR, an industry lobby group). Fossil fuels are responsible for a higher percentage of evening power consumption than hydro.

At best, a few 'regular people' -might- think about the environment for a few days (or hours), akin to the hype around St. Patty's day this year.

That's not the best-case scenario. Earth Hour a couple years ago is what prompted my wife and I to implement a plan for reducing electricity consumption every day, year-round. This multiplied by thousands (or even millions, in the long run)is the best-case scenario.

Comment Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

Note that Medicare/Medicaid(Fed only)/SSA is ALREADY the majority of the budget

No they are not. SSA plus Dept of Health and Human Services (which includes Medicare and Medicaid) for 2012 totaled 1.701 Trillion, while the total enacted budget was 3.796 Trillion.

As to raising taxes and/or reducing the military, neither is going to have a huge long-term effect on the deficit.

What? If we reduce spending on the military by 200 billion/year, that will definitely have a long-term impact on the deficit. If we raise revenues by any appreciable amount, the same is true. Yes, there is disagreement about how much extra revenue will be raised by tax increases... but that does not mean its impact would be negligible.

The real deficit driver for the foreseeable future is Medicare spending (which is expected to be the majority of the budget within a couple decades).

Medicare expenditures are currently roughly 3.6% of GDP, in the 500-600 billion range. They are expected to increase to 6% of GDP as the baby boomers age, then level off around 2040... which would make them about 1.2 Trillion on this year''s budget. This is much less than half.

Furthermore, the ACA and the recession have reduced the rate of growth of Medicare expenditures, and now Medicare costs are growing at the same rate as the rest of the economy. The CBO forecast is confident that this decrease in growth rate will last at least a few more years, and many experts think this reduction in growth rate is somewhat permanent.

In short, you exaggerate in order to make the case for entitlement cuts. Boo on you.

Comment Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

Commercial facilities ARE installing solar as fast as they can import the panels. One of the reasons solar prices continue to be high is limited supply, which allows the producers to peg the price pretty much at the breakeven on ROI.

Unfortunately, the high startup costs for solar panel production mean we won't see a huge bump in supply or competition anytime soon... the current producers have no incentive to sell at a lower price, since they are already running their plants at max capacity and selling every unit immediately.

There's no technical reason solar can't produce cheaper electricity than generic electric company electricity... but there are microeconomic ones.

Comment Re:If you wanted to know about humans, (Score 1) 450

Perhaps people in Europe and the UK who do bathe everyday don't feel the need to wear chemical antiperspirants?

Hell, for that matter, I've ridden the subway and the Path train in NY/NJ many thousands of times, and I've noticed a *strong* smell of BO. And the Path train is noted for being the cleanest mass-transit system in the US!

Comment Re:Furthering class warfare (Score 1) 376

Such a patent-less system undoubtedly favors the wealthy who have access to the means to do such things.

From the perspective of many economists, this is not a problem for the overall economy. I've noticed that they tend to view consolidation as a good thing, as there are increased efficiencies due to economies of scale, etc -- i.e., better to have a big company with massive capital roll out an invention quickly and effectively than to waste capital and labor on a start-up doing the same thing and making tons of mistakes along the way, etc.

Comment Re:NB4 too much regulation (Score 1) 470

GS did nothing illegal, and there was no embezzlement or fraud


Recommend to your customers they buy an instrument YOU OWN, that you know is going to fail, to offload the risk from your own portfolio? Not revealing a conflict-of-interest to people who pay you for investment advice is fraud.

Of course, the US government is too chicken (or too in bed with GS) to prosecute this. But it happened.

Comment Re:NB4 too much regulation (Score 2) 470

but there are ways that the markets could be fixing these problems themselves but many financial products used today have not matured enough to be "market monitored".

Mature markets mean little profit, so there will always be the incentive to create new products and profit off them before the market matures. The more complex the products, the better -- this way, it is more likely you can fleece your victims due to their own ignorance.

but newer instruments like mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps do not have such standards or openness to allow the broader market (through research or statistical/heuristic analysis) to judge the products.

Another problem here is that all the people valuating these instruments were using a bad risk estimate. This was a mistake that propagated through the financial industry because (1) as you say, the products weren't mature enough for informed analysis, (2) There was financial incentive to keep the calculated risk low, in order to be able to sell the product and remove the risk from your portfolio, and (3) there was a systemic risk that was missed, in additional to the risk of an individual instrument would fail (if one goes bad, they all go bad).

The other problem, and one that Greenspan has copped to, is that we assume entities like banks will self-regulate due to self-interest. However, the decision-makers are individuals, not entire banks. For the housing meltdown that Greenspan talked about this, individuals made decisions that profited them personally... but were risky to the banks and to the economy as a whole. Self-regulation (and/or market regulation) fails when (1) the decision-makers are not the same as the entities whose behavior we wish to regulate and/or (2) the entities in question are so large that punishment for bad behavior threatens the economy as a whole.

If you want markets to self-regulate, you need to at least tie individual compensation to long-term profitability, and you need to lower compensation to the point that loss of compensation would actually hurt the decision-makers. Someone who has already banked $200 million isn't badly impacted by loss of new income.

Comment Re:Limited Government and Unlimited Companies. (Score 1) 470

I agree with your premise to a certain extent... but not wholly.

Think for a moment how peaceful the world could be if America was giving Israel tractors and farm equipment to build up Palestine with, instead of guns and missiles to enslave it.

It would be peaceful, because Israel would have been eliminated in the 1950s or 1960s.

The US simply doesn't have the wealth to buy the friendship of every nation on the planet,especially when there is competition (look what China is doing in Pakistan and in Africa). And even if we did, we could never eliminate hostilities between all of our friends. So instead we strategically pick and choose who our allies are, and make sure they can defend themselves... unfortunately sometimes not in the most preferable way.

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