Thursday, October 26, 2017
Does free speech mean not having to lie? Or does free speech allow lies in the name of belief? Does freedom of speech entail the freedom to lie? Does anyone expect honesty from speech once it becomes politicized? Everyone may be entitled to their beliefs, but are they entitled to lie? Are they entitled to force others to listen to them? Is there anything free about forcing others to listen? Shouldn't listening be as free as speech?
Monday, October 23, 2017
A great many say not at all, that is, 0%. But what are we as individuals and households but businesses without license or incorporation? Should none of us pay taxes? How will we raise the taxes necessary to operate? It may be preferable to tax consumption more and production less, but even that requires distinguishing consumption from production, not that easily done. Much consumption is necessary for production and much production throws off consumptive benefits, and consumption can occur at a basic level of necessity to an extraordinary level of opulence, just as production can maximize profits or growth or minimize them in favor of non pecuniary benefits. Consumption also varies much less than production and so requires much higher rates to generate the same in taxes. Higher rates mean more is spent in avoidance and evasion. While taxing production sounds bad as it can lead to less of it, production being highly unequal, leads to further inequality, which leads to corruption and distortion of the political system in its favor, not just output but rents as well. Ability to pay is more important than willingness to consume for taxation.
Monday, October 2, 2017
People generally prefer compromise as long as it is someone else doing it. Less so when it is themselves. In this country, super majorities are necessary to accomplish anything and super majorities can only be assembled through compromise. When assembled at the ballot box, compromise may only be needed within one party though it is always wise to attempt compromise beyond it if at all possible to increase the possibility of compromise beyond it when needed, but super majorities rule. While compromise beyond it is desirable, it is not necessary, and if no compromise is possible, that cannot stop their duty of proceeding. Minorities must know what they want, what they can do without, what they can accept, and what they can't. They need to know what the majority wants, what they can do without, what they can accept, and what they can't. The latter is usually better known as it is embodied in legislation. Facing a super majority, minorities must realize they have already lost, the super majority will have its way, and the only possibility is to salvage what they can. They may be able to make some minor improvements or forestall some of the worst, but they can only do this through compromise, and their position is one of weakness. They must accept not everything will go their way and they will not win every battle. They cannot dictate terms beyond those the majority can accept. Complaints about lack of compromise of the majority by the minority is that of sore losers. Complaints about lack of compromise of the minority by the majority may be accurate but is irrelevant. Majorities unable to assemble the necessary super majority will fail to accomplish what they want without compromising more. They must realize they are losing, the minority will have its way, and the only possibility is to compromise more if they are to succeed. They may be able to provide some inducements or offer some concessions, but they can only do this through compromise, and their position, though a majority, is one of weakness. They must accept they will not get everything they want and may have give up more than they would like, or accept losing. They can dictate terms but the minority can reject them. Complaints about lack of compromise of the minority by the majority is that of sore losers. Complaints about lack of compromise of the majority by the minority are justified unless a super majority. To compromise is to not expect you will get all you want and to expect to give up more than you would like to accomplish something. No compromise is necessary if you don't want to accomplish anything. To compromise is to win some, lose some, and move on.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Persuasion is much more effective when focusing on similarities than differences, and while similarities are more common than differences, differences at the margin of agreement are often most salient at the margin of change, discussion, and policy. It is possible to both assume more similarity than exists and think most reasonable people think how you think, and that differences are greater than they are and engagement useless. It is possible to both ignore similarities and adopt opposing views simply to forestall agreement and paper over differences that are real and significant and believe similarity exists where it does not. Reasonable disagreement requires reasonable discussion, a desire to seek common ground, identify disagreement, an openness to new facts and information, a willingness to reveal our true objections, and to not letting our objectives blind us to our operation or vice versa. Most of all, it takes two. If one side isn't knowledgeable or interested in learning, isn't interested in common ground or seeking agreement, is not open to new information or self examination, that only repeats discredited assertions or makes false arguments, the most that can be done is to imagine the best case an opponent could make. Naturally, this is very difficult and will always seem unconvincing since if they thought as we do they would believe as we do. The more important task is to make our case the best we can and expose the falsehoods and weaknesses of our opponents. Opponents interested in reasonable discussion will welcome the chance to correct misconceptions and improve their arguments. Those who aren't will avoid substantive discussion and declaim on their opponents character and how they are being treated unfairly.
Friday, September 29, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Another post mostly wrong. Some want unlimited care. Most just want to not end up bankrupt. Some don't want to pay, just trivializes the discussion. Most would be unable to pay for a catastrophe, and insurance is expensive not because it covers everything but because catastrophes are insanely expensive. Ending up unconscious at the emergency room is not a small portion. Vegetative care is insanely expensive even though uncommon. Belief untested is just doctrine.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Economists do favor math, mostly for screening, but I think most economists recognize how politics can skew policy to both more regulation favoring powerful interests and to less regulation when it runs against them, but their job is to attempt to let the cards fall where they will unless their paycheck depends on their acting otherwise.