Thursday, November 06, 2014

Can you advocate for both a universal basic income AND increased immigration?

SG, a loyal KPC reader writes to me, "How is it possible to provide a basic income and universal healthcare and at the same time increase immigration? To me it appears unsustainable. Too many people would want to immigrate to the US under those conditions. Furthermore single-payer universal healthcare would appear to me to increase government interference in our lives, not lessen it. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this"

I actually think single-payer would result in less overall interference as it would just be one layer instead of the system we have now where the Government is regulating/paying off insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, medical device manufacturers and us.

I would prefer to bust up the AMA cartel, somewhat deregulate the practice of health care, increase the supply of doctors (through immigration), and have a free market in health care, but I still prefer single payer over the ACA.

Turning to immigration, we can always place some limits on entry if mooching is thought to be / turns out to be a big problem. There is a very large area in between where we are now and an open border "free for all".

For example, if we gave green cards to all foreigners who earned graduate degrees here in the US, they would probably not increase use of the welfare state. Or we could limit UBI to citizens if there were strains on the system.

We are just shooting ourselves in the foot by turning away hundreds of thousands of talented people each year.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Middleman Economy

Article by Kristen Brown in SF Chronicle.  She was kind to let me think out loud a bit, but the story is generally well done.  She came up with some pretty cool insights...

Kozmo, the dot-com era darling that promised one-hour delivery of everything from DVDs to Starbucks coffee, famously went bust after raising $250 million in funding, expanding to 11 cities and filing for an IPO. 

But technology introduced since then, such as smartphones with GPS, has made the prospect of on-demand delivery much more simple — and therefore with more opportunity for profit. “As transactions costs shrink, more and more transactions become 'profitable,’” said Munger. “And there are more and more ways to 'sell’ reduced transactions costs.” 

Companies like Instacart and Curbside, then, are not so much “disruptive” as they are part of a natural evolution of a market economy. Munger imagines that this kind of logic will continue “way down the chain,” with profitable companies emerging that perform even more niche tasks than picking up an order from Target and delivering it to the store’s curbside. 

"A power drill only gets used 10 minutes in its life, for most people,” he said. He can see a day when Uber will carry more than just people. “I don’t need to buy a power drill, I can get one on Uber. Value of the transaction: maybe only $3. But if we can reduce transactions costs enough, that transaction comes in as a money-maker.” The idea that we might not physically visit the grocery store or own the drill is what Munger says could create such a huge shakeup in the economy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Today I am not voting.

Of course I am a devotee of Gordon Tullock and have fully taken on the insight that in any conceivable election my vote is extremely unlikely to make a difference, but let's grab this elephant by the other end here this morning.

People, I am in favor of legalizing drugs, same sex marriage, LBGT rights, and a vastly smaller military. I am also in favor of increased immigration, increased trade, and drastically less regulation on economic activity. I favor increased funding for research into alternative energy, but I do not favor specific investments in specific companies. I favor abolishing the TSA, the BATF, and the Department of Agriculture. I am against the militarization of local police forces. I am ashamed of the size and racial makeup of our prison system. I despise constant government led erosion of our privacy. I would like to replace our weird, patchy safety net with a guaranteed basic income. I favor a single payer approach to providing universal health care. I would love to see substantial, revenue neutral, carbon tax.

Oh, and did I mention I live in Oklahoma?

Exactly who am I supposed to vote for?

Monday, November 03, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  Plants know when they are being eaten, and they do NOT like it.

2.  Markets do not create jobs, governments do.  Poor Hil, having to deal with E. Warren.  But she is just making campaign ads for the Republican candidate in '16.  Of course, the Repubs will likely choose such a horrible that she'll still win, in spite of this.

3.  Heroic American officials manage to stave off cheap sugar from Mexico.  Or, more accurately, the U.S. is now the OPEC of sugar.

4.  On GamerGate.  It's a long story.... one entry point. A different, rather breathless, view. Here's an origin.  Not "the" origin, but an origin.

5.  Halloween candy causes global warming.  Something else scary about Oct 31.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The FInal Countdown

In what is becoming a KPC tradtition, we post a link to one of the most self-important, grandiose music videos from a self-important, gandiose decade, the 1980s.

Because this is the "Final Countdown" to what remains the biggest monument to self-importance:  the American election.

There is not much more pompous than the phrase "Swedish Supergroup, Europe!"  But "American election coverage" beats it, hands down.

(I do like the Dragonforce precursor guitar solo about 3:25)