Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:What have they shown? (Score 1) 51

This is a real concern, as opposed to bullshit "ethical" concerns which are just there for the group circle-jerk.

We live in a world where people define right-and-wrong separate from a group of procedural rules that tell them when to ignore those right-and-wrong things and declare non-wrong things inappropriate while doing non-right things because it would be unethical to not commit some atrocity.

Ethics are why we don't abort a non-sentient blastocyst with no brain, instead demanding it develop into a heavily-neglected child of an abusive welfare family that tried to do the right thing by avoiding creating an animal that would just grow up to be a tormented drug criminal raised in an addiction household.

Ethics are why we don't experiment with *cells* because they happen to be *human* cells, even though such experimentation could save lives and end real suffering (caveat: embryonic stem cell research is, thus far, patently useless and has little potential to cure anything; adult stem cell research has provided a great deal of medical advances).

Are they seriously preparing an argument against cheap food and the alleviation of poverty because it would be unethical to create an animal that, were it not SLAUGHTERED FOR FOOD, might not live a full life? Meat chickens are slaughtered after what, 42 days? Cornish hens after some 21 or 26 or something. The damn things live for 6 years; who cares if the clones are only capable of living for a year and a half? They'll be rolled in the eleven herbs and spices long before then!

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 108

"Making money laundering harder" isn't really sensible. All implementations are hubris and rather inconvenient for model-citizens.

In the United States, carrying a certain sum of cash is indication of criminal activity. This is done to combat money laundering and drug trade. They might not be able to charge you with a crime, but they can seize your cash; it's called asset forfeiture. In Alabama, if the police pull you over for a broken tail light, they can demand you display your wallet contents (notably by way of demanding to see your license), and seize any cash if you have more than $100. United States border control looks for "large sums", which might be $2,000 or $5,000, notably if you don't declare that you have a "large sum"; the official definition is $10,000, but smaller sums become large sums by way of fuzzy laws (i.e. if you pull $9,995 from a bank, the bank has to report that you seem to be skirting the mandatory reporting law for transactions over $10,000, even though you didn't actually pull a legally-defined "large sum", because you seem to have specifically avoided pulling a large sum).

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 1) 342

Hmmmm, repeatedly insisting that a solution that has failed to work repeatedly over the decades is the answer to all our problems.

Overland transport failed to work for thousands of years. Too expensive. Making steel was laughably labor-intensive--some time in the 1800s, we invented a hot-blast furnace, and suddenly the same wages that paid for 400 tonnes of steel were all that the making of 84,000 tonnes of steel incurred. Once that happened, someone invented a cheap way to roll steel into rails, and we got railroads. Why do you think moving things by truck and train is called "shipping" if ships aren't involved?

Feudalism was the only viable system in extremely-poor economies.

Inflation has eaten our economy alive.

My Universal Social Security is funded by a separate flat income tax on all taxable income. This automatically adjusts for inflation, but not for productivity: it's always the exact same proportion of the per-capita income, and it increases in buying power year over year.

I know how all of this works. I've done back-projections to show when and why the plan I developed doesn't work, when it became viable, and what long-term behaviors it shows over time in real-world conditions using real-world populations and total incomes.

You still seem to ignore the whole "taking $1 trillion of tax burden off the middle- and lower-classes" thing. Are you in favor of taxing the middle classes as much as you can squeeze from them?

Comment Re:Moronic argument (Score 1) 1140

How about instead of "giving" them money we continue to have jobs so that people can work.

Jobs are paid for by the consumer. Jobs are created by consumer capacity to buy. Consumer capacity to buy is a factor of the consumer's income (paid for by other consumer spending) and the cost of goods (which, at a minimum, must cover the wages of the labor-hours involved in producing those goods).

Unemployment baselines are a natural part of an economy that's grown population until it hit scarcity, then stopped growing. New technology makes products cheaper, moving some people out of their jobs temporarily, then allowing the consumer to use the extra money left over after prices (eventually) come down (fail to keep up with inflation) to buy new things, creating replacement jobs. When new technology also allows scaling production up without scaling the required labor *faster* (15% more workers to make 10% more goods), scarcity is uncapped, and the population can again grow.

Fiat currency is backed by production. It's backed by the useful output of labor. That whole pile of income rolled over every year represents everything that was made and sold. Print twice as much money and make (and sell) twice as much stuff and you have zero change in the buying-power of a dollar; print twice as much money and make the same amount of stuff and your dollar is worth half as much.

Why did they make SNAP all card based and put restrictions on what you can purchase? Because an extremely large percentage of people were not purchasing food for their kids, they were drinking and smoking the money away.

This is why I specify against a cash payment per child, and instead for an EBT system for children of low-income families: avoids *increasing* the risk in a basic income system above current baseline. This risk is low (and more personal) for individuals receiving payments for themselves: when it's their own stomach that's rumbling, they'll look for food.

Taking from the productive people to give to the unproductive incentivizes non-productivity.

Current welfare is taken away when you become productive. That means you might get $10.50/hr of welfare services and have FedEx offer you a $10.75/hr job; that's a quarter an hour, and fuck that. Universal Social Security continues to pay, and the top tax bracket is still only 40%, so a $10.75/hr job is still actually adding more than $8.50/hr to your pocket after taxes versus not working.

Mind you, I'm working off a model that costs $1 trillion less, counting the downward movement of income as a "cost", so the taxes taken are relatively close to the modern model and the final result is *much* less taxes retained. A single individual with a $150,000 income has $3,800 more money per year under my system.

Comment Re:Soros? (Score 1) 1140

far less than the $3.2 trillion per year needed to provide every American with $10,000/year stated by an earlier poster. So that's already $2 trillion unaccounted for right there.

Essentially, those numbers are ludicrous. When including a public aid system cut back to give EBT covering children of low-income households (rather than just handing out more cash every time you pop out a baby), the burden to taxpayers (counting money moving downward from rich hands into poor hands as "burden on taxpayers") is a trillion dollars lower.

Is $10,000/year even enough to live on in the US? [] lists the price of a one bedroom apartment outside the city center as $900/month, i.e. around $11,000/year.

You're thinking in terms of today's market. There's a huge amount of overhead in cost of risk that doesn't scale downward to small income demographics, because those demographics have unstable risk. I talked about this.

There would be no money left over for food, education, medicine, etc.

Medical and education are separate considerations. We have entire budgets and even economic debates over those; I understand both sides of the education economic debate, and I stand on the side that workforce development branded as "education" is an economically-harmful practice that creates a lot of waste in training excessively-large skilled workforces and flooding the labor market (I'm the guy who invented that argument in the first place; it takes several pages to explain).

so anyone who is poor today would still be poor under this new system - and living out on the street. Well, nicely done - you did not eliminate poverty after all

Checking my models.

National average HUD eligibility for extremely-low-income households for 1, 2, and 3 persons are $12,650, $14,200, and $15,800. These households's after-tax incomes would increase by approximately $7,250 for single-adult households and $14,500 for two-adult households. For just low-income households, incomes are $29,450, $33,700, and $37,900. Their incomes increase by just under $7,000 for single-adult households and just under $14,000 for two-adult households. Again: each of these households also gets an EBT-mediated public aid for any children, for any service for which they qualify (WIC food assistance, etc.), currently a state service and likely run as such for the foreseeable future.

The bottom 5%, 10%, and 15% of incomes are $7,100, $12,300, and $17,100. Such single-adult households would increase after-tax income to $13,800, $18,000, and $22,000, each above the Federal poverty lines for 1, 2, and 3 individuals, respectively. Two-adult households at these income levels would increase to $21,000, $26,000, and $30,000, above the Federal poverty lines for 3, 4, and 5 individuals.

The median Single Father household would increase its spendable income by $6,400; the median Single Mother household would increase its spendable income by $6,900.

Two-adult, married-filing households at $600,000 income would have about $30 more spendable money; two-adult, married-filing households at $700,000 income would pay $370 in additional taxes. Your average 1-adult, single-filing household is less-advantaged, with $200,000-income households retaining $1,000 more in spendable income, $300,000-income households paying $1,000 more.

Among the less-advantaged 1-income households, the top 1% income level of $330,000 pays $1,600 more in taxes. The 0.1% level of $1,700,000 pays $8,504 more in taxes. A household with $10,000,000 of income would pay $41,700 more in taxes.

These tax increases represent around $20 billion of a $1,000 billion reduction in tax burden, and can be eliminated by adjusting the general income tax (progressive). Currently, the total top-bracket income tax in my model is 40.0%, compared to 39.6% in today's tax brackets; a lower income tax is desirable.

So no homelessness, no hunger, child welfare covered no worse than the current system, no qualification for adults (meaning those welfare households are 100% guaranteed to *receive* the aid provided by UBI, rather than having to qualify for HUD vouchers and food stamps for the adult members of the household), and immediately stronger financial position for current welfare-qualifying households. I'd call that "solving poverty", since suddenly nobody in America is deprived of the basic needs of food, shelter, clean water, clothing, and personal care consumables.

Comment Re:Yes it is a straw man argument (Score 1) 1140

So now we are down to $500 billion in extra costs, which is a much more realistic figure.

$1 trillion less in costs to the tax payer.

I pay a little over $30k per year in federal income taxes

I assume that puts you in the $110k-$130k range? My current models compute that you'd take home between $5,300 and $5,000 more income at the same salary level, assuming you're single in a 1-adult household. For a 2-adult household, you must be in the $130k-$140k range, which means your household would take home between $8,900 and $8,600 of additional spendable income per year.

You're *still* paying for someone else. The average per-person is almost $7,000, and you're "getting" $4,300-$5,300 per person under my tax scheme. That other $2,700-$1,700 is coming out of your pocket and going to some other bloke; it just happens to be less than what's coming out of your pocket currently.

Comment Re:Soros? (Score 1) 1140

The extra medical support is excludable (it's either not feasible *or* you should have a separate medical care system).

As for the rest--food, housing, utilities, clothing, personal care--it's actually doable in (today's money) just under $7,000/year. The big problem is housing, and it's complex to cover; food, clothing, and personal care are easy, although a lot goes into settling out the risk.

My first attempt with this used a 2013 model and a split budget for food, clothing, and personal care of $100, $35, and $35. In 2016 I was able to model day-to-day meals in California, Washington, and Maryland on the order of $25/month for 30 days at 2000kcal/day, including beans, rice, bread, eggs, vegetables, and the infrequent rotisserie chicken (2-3 per month). Nevertheless, I found the $100 budget staggeringly difficult to work with, largely due to bootstrapping (I put pans and utensils under the Food budget, and I was going on bulk buy of beans and flour--because 50 pounds of flour costs $6.82 and 5 pounds of flour costs $3.50). With clothing and personal care being overbudgeted and more flexible (you can skip new clothes this month; you can't wait for the end of the week to get food!), I switched to an integrated $170/month budget for all three. It's $181/month in 2016.

Housing is more complex than that.

The simple analysis is that low-income areas range rents from $0.66/sqft to $1.10/sqft, with about $1.02/sqft as a common median. That gave me a 224sqft unit with a 33% risk reserve at $1.33/sqft, or a $300/month single-person low-income unit. It works, and it covers risk with a shitload of money; but that's not good enough.

I had to first prove the model. New single-bedroom units cost about $58,000 to build, so I used charts of apartment costs supplied by various local governments to remove the cost of fixtures (counters, stoves, sinks, bath tubs, toilets, cabinets) from that figure, and then cut the remaining cost down to a 224sqft unit and added back the fixtures (which aren't per-sqft). That got me $23,000-$26,000 per unit; packing in heavy insulation (R-23) added up to $150 of material and 2 hours of labor (~$100), which was a concern with utilities (I've heated spaces that size in under $30 with less insulation). We may need regulation mandating proper weather-sealing construction for newly-remodeled or constructed units under 600sqft.

The next was a risk evaluation. This is the theoretical basis. Essentially, when you target lower-income demographics, risk increases: low incomes are less-stable, and increase the frequency of costly evictions and empty units. To stay in business, you have to distribute that risk among your tenants; landlords can take alternate routes, such as reducing rent in exchange for a high security deposit on a case-by-case basis, essentially removing that tenant from one risk pool and putting him in a different one. All of this means people whose minimum-wage job may cut hours or vanish entirely and, especially, people on unemployment who may hit the six-month term without finding a job are likely to cost you money, and thus you must charge them higher rent to offset that likelihood; at a point, the minimum-viable rent is higher than the demographic can afford.

A guaranteed basic income (such as a Citizen's Dividend or Universal Social Security) can't go away.

The risk of eviction or vacant units due to tenant non-payment via tenant loss of income goes away. The tenant may still *fail* to pay, but he won't become *incapable* of paying nearly as frequently. That reduces the cost of risk, allowing for smooth scaling of rent prices without a reduction in profit margin. This, the 33% risk reserve ($1.33/sqft projection when median prices are about $1/sqft), and other potential strategies (e.g. a landlord-tenant agreement in which Social Security directly deposits the rent to the landlord, and immediately informs both parties if either cancels the recurring deposit) reduces the risk to the landlord and the risk to the tenant (razor-thin income margins mean slight overspending or unexpected costs leaves you unable to pay bills, hence the padded budget).

So yes, it's entirely feasible for $7,000 today ($6,557 in 2013) to cover all those things. More importantly, the impact on household incomes of low-income families more-effectively stabilizes their finances, and has greater reach (HUD only pays out to 1/4 of all HUD-qualified families; the rest go on a waiting list and never receive benefits). We'd have to grandfather current retirees and new retirees for some time; and after about 15 years, we can just leave new retirees with the smaller Universal Social Security figure, as this lifetime payment gives them more money (in much of the middle-class, it's several thousand dollars more money per year), which they can save or spend based on how much money they want on hand in their retirement.

It's really an engineering problem.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.