Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Asked and Answered...Well, Kinda

Also, preemptively.  So I admitted some confusion regarding people (anyone, really) purchasing luxury goods.  I still think that it is a broadly stupid thing to do--even for wealthy people--but there is a logic presented in this piece to poor people buying expensive [designer] goods that makes sense.  I don't really like that it makes sense.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why Not Buy the Teams?

I read things like this--and I've heard/read about this issue many times over the past decade or so--and to the extent that major league teams are good for a city, the city should own them.  Having wealthy, capricious owners who can hold cities hostage is bad on so many levels.  Think about it this way: would you pay $100M to help a business out without getting some stake in that business, or at least a whole lot of guarantees that you'd be paid back?  That is exactly what is happening with these teams.

It seems to me that that would be a lot easier to sell to taxpayers/citizens: "We're going to spend $600 M to own the Orioles" instead of "We're paying $600 M to the Orioles' organization in return for which they may not leave the city for now."  Then make a handful of the trades/drafts/deals up for a vote, and if it ends up not working out, no problem: they can always sell the team down the road!

Note: I actually do see lots of problems with this proposal, and don't think it would fly for reasons beyond even those, but I don't know why I haven't heard [anything] like it.

Food for Thought

Ever accidentally swallow a bit of seawater?
Now some people would probably look at that and think "cool" or "sure, what'd you think was there?" but then there are those who try and sanitize everything they can.  I envision them either fainting or throwing up a little at the thought of downing that tiny menagerie...and I laugh.

The world is full of life, most of which we are not even a little bit aware of.  An entire world in a drop of seawater.  Also, I now wonder about seasalt: do they filter the water before drying?  If so, how fine?  Do the diatoms get through...how 'bout copepods?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Student Loans

I still think the Federal Reserve should use its awesome power to buy up all the student loan debt and make it go *poof*.  More money for mostly younger people who will tend to spend it, or maybe take the chance to strike out on their own.  Right now, it may mean extra presents for the holidays.


That's what a person is who takes a sledgehammer to homeless people's personal possessions.  Also, too: criminal.  He should be arrested.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ok, I Don't Get It

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the minimum guaranteed income, but I don't get Tyler Cowen's "problems" at all.  All of them stem from:
Must a guaranteed income truly be unconditional?  Might there be circumstances when we would want to pay some individuals more than others?
and my answers are simple: "yes" and "no".  My understanding is that the minimum income is just paid out to everyone [who files a tax return].  So everyone gets, say $1000/month check to do with as they please, and that doesn't go down if they happen to work so work = more money!  Depending on the level it was set at it may be able to replace food stamps and/or cash welfare and/or housing assistance but there is no good reason to drop medicare/medicaid/social security, as those are highly efficient, targeted programs that both do good and are very popular.

(Yes, I suspect that "getting Republicans to go along with this" would probably mean cutting or eliminating those programs, but that certainly shouldn't be considered a problem with min income itself, rather a politics problem.)

I would think a bigger issue is that it would likely push up inflation at the bottom end of things (particularly low end rents and eating out would be likely to go up), though that means an even greater incentive to work for low income individuals.  In the middle it would serve as extra savings or allow a bit of extra extravagance, and at the top it would be pretty much useless, particularly as it would be way more than offset with the higher taxes required to afford it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Luxury Goods

I don't really get pretty much any luxury goods.  I'm willing to spend more on a good quality suitcase, and whenever I get around to updating/renovating my kitchen I will likely buy a refrigerator that is both of good quality and that looks good. Still, there's a world of difference between a high quality carry-on suitcase and this or even this.  (Also, while I'll admit to having spent way too much going out to dinner on occasion, it was nothing like these burgers.)

I do understand paying more for quality and style, and I understand paying for something a bit different/unique, but with the variety of options out there I don't understand anyone spending outrageous sums of money for, really, anything (worst: people who spend tons to get the exact same stuff as other rich people...what a weird mindset).

I suppose that this is the reason I drive a 10 year old compact station wagon (albeit a kinda sporty one: Mazda5), and why I got a house that is less than 1500 sq ft.  I could be given millions of dollars and I still wouldn't see much need to get a new car or a new house (though, yes, I would renovate, but I'm planning on doing that anyway).

So a $6000 smart phone?  Sure, why not?  I'm not their target any more than I am Bentley's.  While I may think it a pretty stupid thing to do, the people who would buy that, buy plenty of other things I consider very stupid...and someone needs to take their money away from them since the government won't.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


I have actually wanted to get some Amazon.com stock for some time, but I really, really can't figure out it's price point so I haven't (current P/E is 1200!).  It is a scary company in a lot of ways but there are not many things that I don't look there first when I want to buy, and in most cases: that's where I do buy.  I really like that they exist, but they are a danger to lots of businesses in ways Apple and maybe even Google never will be.

The Mind Boggles

I know Richard Cohen is a pretty crappy person overall and should not be allowed to communicate his drivel to the masses, but, really?  He really didn't know that slavery was actually quite terrible?