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Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 257

That is another reason why my tax on rent and interest is good: it discourages accumulating wealth beyond the point that it's directly useful to you (i.e. buying stuff for its use value, not as an investment), so if you still have income and nothing more you need to save up for, instead of hanging onto that money so that it will make you even more money for nothing, there's no point but to spend it, on paying people to do things you want since you've got all of the stuff that you want already, which increases other peoples' employment and thus income, naturally redistributing wealth from those who have it to those who lack it as a naive free market theory would expect. It's the mechanism of rent and interest that breaks that expected behavior, so until we can get rid of that mechanism entirely, counteracting by making it bear all the tax burden helps a little at least.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 2) 257

What we need to do is somewhere in between: tax income from wealth, minus expenses on lack of wealth. That is to say, tax based on your borrower/lender (including renter/landlord) status. If you're getting free money just from already having money, you get taxed for that; meanwhile if you're paying money just because you lack money (like because you don't own a home, and you can't exist nowhere, and wherever you do exist someone is going to charge you for that privilege), that counts against your taxable income. You're free to make whatever money you can make from your own labor and to save as much of that as is personally useful to you but as soon as you start turning your accrued wealth toward generating an unearned income they you get hit with taxes.

Comment Re:Poor life decisions (Score 2) 257

Or you know, people were born and raised and schooled and have all their family and friends and careers in a place and just would like to not be forced out of it. Like the 30 million or so people, 10% of Americans, who were born in California where the average income may be 20% higher but the average home price is 200% higher. Those tens of millions of people should all just move so far away it may as well be another country -- just like all the poor in the UK should all move to Russia where they can afford to live, right? Population sizes, areas, and distances there are all comparable to California vs midwest.

Comment Re: Ontario, largest subnational debtor on the pla (Score 1) 486

If people have to give up basic amenities to pay for video games, then they cannot really afford the video games. And if they don't have to give up the basic amenities to pay for video games, then it isn't a BASIC income.

The point is that the cost of a video game is noise lost in the cost of something like rent. Basic amenities don't cost a strict fixed amount that's exactly the same for every person at all times that a basic income can pay out exactly. It needs to pay out something in the ballpark of around what basic amenities cost with enough margin for error that people aren't constantly finding themselves one of today's unlucky fraction who end up not eating or out on the street, and the cost of a video game is a mere blade of grass on the edge of that ballpark, easily covered within the other end of that margin. You're doing the equivalent of complaining that they can afford to put salt on their food, the luxury! when the cost of salt is absolutely trivial next to the cost of the food.

Not to people living on UBI, and not to a very large number of people today. You find it useful, I find it useful, but like is not need.

Unless you want people living on UBI to be trapped forever living on UBI, they need to be able to apply for jobs and otherwise avail themselves of various forms of communication that are increasingly done over the internet. The point of an UBI is not to have a terrafoam box that you stuff all the world's poor into and wait for them to die off, it's a safety net to keep anyone from falling completely through the cracks, and for it to function as such, people caught in the net need the means to start climbing out of it if they try. If you only pay enough for burlap sacks of dry rice and beans and the sacks also have to double as their clothes, you're going to have a perpetual underclass with no hope of ever making something of their lives, completely opposite the point of an UBI.

Comment Re:Landlords are not middle class (Score 1) 106

The median personal income for the united states is approximately $25k. The mean personal income is closer to $50k but that's not the kind of average people usually use in statistics like this because it is skewed way upward by the concentration of income at the top. The median american household income is also around $50k but the median household also has about two people in it so of course that is twice the personal income, there are twice the persons. And I'm not saying making $50k makes you upper class, just that that is far from a low income statistically. Owning multiple homes (somehow, despite the income you deride as low) is what makes you upper class. Raw income is irrelevant to class; borrower/lender or renter/rentier status is what matters. Do you have so much wealth that you can make money letting others use it, or do you have so little that you have to pay to use others'? That is what matters.

Comment Re:Landlords are not middle class (Score 1) 106

If you are mortgaging then you have lower class borrower status partly cancelling out your upper class rentier status. Your renter status pulls your overall class down too. But if on the whole you are making more from people paying to borrow your capital than you are paying to borrow others', that puts you on the upper side of the class line. Raw income does not define class because it may be coming at the expense of great sacrifice (of time and energy and opportunity, or of goods already owned) and it may largely go to providing other people free income that spares them such sacrifice, that is, in paying rents or interest. Class is determined more by wealth than income, by the capital that you own or not, and consequently what you have to borrow or rent or can afford to lend or rent out. You personally have a complex mix or borrowing, renting, and renting out going on, but if on the whole you are making more from renting out than you pay in interest and rent then you are upper class. And it sound like you at least are aiming for that status if you don't have it already.

Comment Re:Landlords are not middle class (Score 2) 106

$50k is twice the average American's income. I make around that much, and it's going to be a lifelong struggle to ever own a FIRST home before I die. That you've apparently bought at least four homes (your own, the rental, the one you flipped, and the one that burned down) makes you spectacularly rich beyond my wildest dreams, and I'M already spectacularly rich by most Americans' standards. Like someone else in this thread already said, I can easily afford anything I want -- except a house. If you've got several, you are rich, period.

Comment Re:Choices. (Score 1) 106

Rent in general does this same thing already. People buy up properties just to rent them out which forces home prices up which makes it harder for people to buy and forces them to rent from the people who started that cycle by buying up the housing to rent it out.

That exact mechanism, generalized to all capital besides just real estate, is exactly what causes the runaway concentration of wealth that breaks a truly free market and turns it into capitalism.

Comment Landlords are not middle class (Score 1) 106

If you own property and make money from renting that property out to others you are not middle class, you are upper class, by any measure.

The proper middle class barely own property enough to not have to borrow it from others.

The statistical middle class can only dream of such luxury as not borrowing housing, never mind lending it.

Comment Re:This thread makes me think (Score 1) 288

The experience of un-evaluated perception of reality.

This phrase really jumped out at me as an accurate way of describing the kind of "wow insightful" mindset I'm sometimes (less often nowadays) able to get into, always without drugs. I see that as a very positive thing. It feels like the ability to, metaphorically, move around and manipulate conceptual space, to look at ideas from new perspectives, take them apart, put them back together again, freely and without any constraints. Writing this now kind of reminds me of the stereotypical first stage of a business brainstorming session where everyone is asked to throw out ideas and refrain from telling anyone that their idea is wrong... yet.

In those brainstorming sessions, the "throw out anything" phrase has to be followed by a more critical phase, and likewise I find that the ideas that I reassemble and turn around in that metaphorical conceptual space need to be tested in a different, more critical mindset afterward. (Although the freer mindset is itself also useful in finding flaws in preexisting ideas, ones that never face certain tests in routine real-world usage but easily fall apart when poked and prodded in novel ways in that free-floating conceptual space, revealing vulnerabilities that could one day be exploited in real usage). It reminds me also of an evolutionary algorithm, or real evolution itself: generate lots of variations and possibilities in phases of relative freedom (e.g. a time of plenty that allows a population to spread and mutations to survive and accumulate), then cull everything that you possibly can leaving only the strongest to survive into the next phase.

If some people have trouble reaching that freer state of mind that lets them generate possibilities without using drugs, then I guess more power to them for their drug usage. But that kind of mental freedom can't be the end of the story. Clear thinking requires an open mind but also a critical mind, one willing to entertain any possibility that hasn't been eliminated, but one also willing to discard those that it has to. If the takeaway these drug users have from their experience is all openness all the time and never any criticism then they've just swung from one end of the horseshoe to the other.

Comment This thread makes me think (Score 1) 288

Some of the comments in this thread have been kind of offending me. But that offense has made me think.

A bunch of comments above from people who've done LSD talk about the mind-blowing experiences they've had on it, and put down people who don't want to try it, or who poo-poo it, as some kind of beings of lesser consciousness. As someone with no interest in doing LSD, those comments kind of offend me, largely because the mind-blowing kind of stuff they describe sounds like the kind of state I used to operate in almost all the time, full of off-the-wall crazy insights, constantly finding interconnections between seemingly disparate things, and new angles on everything, way back before life beat the fuck out of me and I had to adopt a much more pragmatic and guarded mindset most of the time. But I still get get into those states now and then, and yeah it's this exhilarating thrill that feels like OMFG I suddenly understand the meaning of life the universe and everything. A lot of what I come up with in those states of mind can, later, in a more sober state of mind, be turned into something more productive, and the insights I find and refine that way continue to positively shape my worldview for the rest of my life. A lot of the other stuff is utter crap, and sometimes it may take me years of sober reflection to realize how crap it was, while other times it's obvious the next morning.

All that makes it seem to me like these people, the ones bragging about how LSD opened their mind and how people won't try it are squares or whatever, seem like they are the lesser-minded beings who need drugs to achieve what seems to me like a natural healthy state of being I've never needed drugs to achieve, and have only found difficulty achieving after years and years of trauma. (Trauma which, as a relevant aside, feels like it is gradually making me more and more like "normal people", which has made me long suspect that maybe what we think of as "normalcy" is the effect of pervasive early trauma in most people's childhoods that I was somehow able to avoid or resist for longer).

But then all that makes me think. Switch out the LSD discussion for one about an anti-anxiety medicine, and instead of talking about having these big open-mind higher-consciousness experiences, let's talk about comfortably socializing with large groups. Now imagine naturally sociable people putting down anti-anxiety meds. And people with social anxiety disorder speaking of how the anti-anxiety meds have transformed their lives, how they could just be social and it wasn't scary or challenging and they just got it. And then the naturally social people looking down on them in turn for needing drugs to achieve what seems to them like a natural healthy state of being they've never needed drugs to achieve.

Those people kinda seem like dicks. Some people just aren't naturally able to do those things, and the drugs transform their lives by allowing them to. But at the same time, other people are naturally able to do those things, and the drugs don't unlock any thing special that they're missing out on without them. And the drug-users suggesting they are missing out on that are also kinda dicks. So maybe let's not be dicks to each other and just accept that different people have different brains, that for some people certain drugs will have dramatic transformative effects on their lives, and yet other people have no need for those drugs to achieve the same things.

Comment Re:Let them all go (Score 1) 477

If his sexual preference was for young children, he's breaking the law.

To nitpick, merely having that preference isn't breaking the law, acting on it is. Child molestation is a crime, pedophilia is just a mental disorder, and it's not illegal to have a mental disorder, even if that mental disorder disposes you to commit certain crimes. Until you actually commit the crime no crime has been committed.

Comment Re:What about if he donated to the wrong ideology? (Score 1) 477

It was a politically contentious issue, there was a reasonable case for the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, and even many mainstream Democrats at the time had not come out in support of gay marriage (quite the opposite in some cases), and only changed their position when it became political expedient to do so.

As someone who thinks there really never was a reasonable case: it still doesn't matter, firing someone for having the wrong opinions is bad. You can believe in your heart of hearts that 2+2=5 for all it matters, so long as your job doesn't hinge on your arithmetical abilities even being that obviously wrong still shouldn't get you fired.

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