Some Wednesday Links-Taxes, Jobs, Love & Death

-Richard Aldous and Dennis Staunton discuss what might be next-‘Episode 134: Ireland, Apple, and Taxes, Oh My!’ (~22 min)

The EU is going where the money is.  They’ve got to be seen doing something these days…

-Mike Rowe is working with Charles Koch to actually start addressing the skills-gap, and connecting people with jobs.

College isn’t really, nor should be, for everyone, which means a lot of complex things for our Republic.  Practical solutions to current problems, addressed as non-politically as possible, are a great start.

-Saul Bellow wrote a novel ‘Ravelstein,’ which is pretty obviously about Allan Bloom.

Bellow reads from the book here,(~1 hour) and a discussion here (some hurt feelings, ~1 hour 50 min)

As previously posted:

Quite a varied discussion on Bloom’s surprise 1987 bestseller: ‘The Closing Of The American Mind

Does rock/popular music corrupt the souls of youth in preventing them from evening-out the passions; from pursuing higher things that a quality humanities education can offer?

Might such a lack allow political ideology to offer young people something to do, something to be, and something of which to be a part?

A questioning of premises, with varied disagreement, including that from an Emersonian.

Related On This Site:

Heather McDonald At The WSJ: ‘ The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity’

-Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

Repost-From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘Nietzsche–Aristocratic Radical or Aristocratic Liberal?’

-Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

Various Products Of Radical Reason And Reactions To Them- John Gray At The New Statesman

Repost-Roger Scruton At The New Atlantis: ‘Scientism In The Arts & Humanities’

Globalization Is Having Consequences: Larry Summers & Piketty-Some Wednesday Links

Larry Summers via the Democracy Journal has an easily-accessible review of Piketty’s ‘Capital In The Twenty-First Century‘, called ‘The Inequality Puzzle.’

Among other interesting thoughts, there’s this:

‘…there is the basic truth that technology and globalization give greater scope to those with extraordinary entrepreneurial ability, luck, or managerial skill. Think about the contrast between George Eastman, who pioneered fundamental innovations in photography, and Steve Jobs. Jobs had an immediate global market, and the immediate capacity to implement his innovations at very low cost, so he was able to capture a far larger share of their value than Eastman. Correspondingly, while Eastman’s innovations and their dissemination through the Eastman Kodak Co. provided a foundation for a prosperous middle class in Rochester for generations, no comparable impact has been created by Jobs’s innovations’

Eastman Kodak is going through Chapter 11, as those Kodak innovations have been surpassed as well (I remember family gatherings around the slide projector, holding strays up to the light).

It seems there’s a race on right now for political, policy, and ideological means of explaining and adapting to the dislocation and rapid changes going on in our lives. Changes like immediate access to global markets and to relatively cheaper foreign labor. There’s also, as Summers points out, a lot of automation coming down the pike. The erosion of manufacturing jobs and the coming of robots, 3D printing, automated cashiers etc. will continue to shake things up across our society, altering how we work and live.

As for Piketty’s reception in the States, I’m guessing those who share in more basic assumptions (often anti-capitalist) about r > g being not only a potentially valid empirical observation, but a likely fatal flaw and nearly cosmic affront to justice within the capitalist system, they naturally welcomed the book. There aren’t a lot of card-carrying Marxist economists left, but there are people sympathetic to manifestations of Left-liberal thought which would harbor many…sympathies, especially in the political realm: Union organization and protectionism, the pursuit of social justice and redistribution of wealth, the genuine cultural Marxism of some feminists and some disgruntled reds who’ve gone green, a mild to virulent anti-corporatism in favor of a more collectivist Statism.

On that note, is the constant hammering of inequality in progressive fashion a winner for Democrats politically? Megan McArdle argues perhaps not on the city/country divide: ‘Inequality’s A Loser For Democrats.’

‘You can make a case that the difference between the Republican and Democratic politics of wealth lie in the difference between who tends to make up “the wealthy” in their districts. The rich of America’s affluent urban areas tend to be the beneficiaries, one way or another, of a global tournament economy in which markets are often close to “winner take all,” and vast sums can flow to people who are just a little bit better than their competitors. The wealthy in Republican districts, on the other hand, are more likely to be competing in local or national markets, not glamour industries, where sales are ground out one at a time. Because the sums involved are smaller, the wealth gap is also smaller — and business owners are less likely to be sympathetic to the idea that their success has a huge luck component.’

I wonder about a correlation between mobile capital, access to global markets, high-rates of immigration and more redistributive policy solutions in major cities?  There certainly are very ambitious and talented people drawn to New York and San Francisco, for example, and more extreme examples of rich and poor (usually along with a lot of political corruption, higher crime etc).

But does cosmopolitanism naturally lead towards policy solutions which favor redistribution of wealth, or some overall regulatory framework?

A greater likelihood to recognize that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good?

Have global markets untethered even American companies more than previously from local responsibilities and tax obligations?

Readers of this blog know I like the idea of Burkean conservatism: Family, friends, churches, Little-league, the Rotary club, good ole American volunteerism in small town fashion are what form much of America’s backbone, and are vital to securing our liberties. Yet, they too are subject to global markets and subject to the changes going on right now. (I’m also fond of a kind of Jeffersonian liberalism, which perhaps while not religious and socially conservative, can protect individuals from large institutions and state structures and the excesses and over-promising of Statists and progressives).

There’s a lot to think about these days, especially where globalization and technology meet economics and political philosophy.

Tell me what I’ve got wrong. Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Addition:  Richard Epstein-Piketty’s Rickety Economics.

Martin Feldstein at the WSJ (behind a paywall)-Piketty’s Numbers Don’t Add Up.

Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?Why Do People Move To Cities? From Falkenblog: ‘The Perennial Urban Allure’

Technotopia And Politics-Jonah Goldberg At The National Review Online: ‘Minimum Wage And The Rise Of The Machines’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Piketty’s Tax Hikes Won’t Help The Middle-Class’…David Harsanyi: ‘What Thomas Piketty’s Popularity Tells Us About The Liberal Press?’

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.  Technology is changing things rapidly, and maybe, as Charles Murray points out, it’s skewing the field toward high IQ positions while simultaneously getting rid of industrial, managerial, clerical, labor intensive office jobs.  Even so,  we can’t cling to the past.  This is quite a progressive vision but one that embraces change boldly.  Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell Mead

The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

From CATO@Liberty: ‘The Obama Administration’s Health Care Taxes: An Update’

Full post here.

It’s still not clear which states are going to set up the insurance exchanges, and which will not, and how the government will respond.

‘There have been several developments with respect to the Obama administration’s attempt to impose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer-mandate penalties and individual-mandate penalties where it has no authority to do so.’

I still think it’s entirely reasonable to say that some people have wanted such a law for years, and they cobbled something together and passed it in haste as Obamacare, with no one, not even the authors knowing entirely what’s in it and what it means for people, employers, hospitals and government employees.

I still think the goal is to get to single-payer.  Health-care is too important to be left to the market will be the refrain, with many still arguing that it’s a right, and rights need to be secured by government.

Addition:  What is the role for government in health-care?

Related On This Site: From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’From AEI: ‘Study: ‘Obama Healthcare Reform Raising Costs, Forcing Workers Out Of Existing Plans’

A Few Health Care Links: “The Individual Mandate Survives As A Tax”

Reason has some links.


National Journal.

Washington Post.

It seems the individual mandate will now be a tax, while the law will mostly stand as it was passed and signed for now.

I still don’t see how we afford another unfunded liability, and how we insure 30 million with a good budget in mind.  People who work for bureaucracies often have incentives to avoid innovation, avoid hard decisions, protect their own, and always meet the budget regardless of performance (among other things).   We will be placing serious restrictions (through the tax) on many people’s freedom, in order to redistribute their tax money to others, while this tax money is funneled through a few (of course what goes on in health insurance companies isn’t lovely, and similar in many ways, but this the ACA is likely a worse evil because there are fewer alternatives, if any).  This will likely increase the size and scope of government a good deal in America, and dramatically change the nature of the social contract.  I’d like to think I’m consistently worried about to whom we’re giving power, why, and how such ideas will end up working in practice.

There will obviously be some winners though, and some benefits.  The “ideal” and more fair, just society however, will remain forever out of view on the horizon…a promise on the lips of those with skin in the game.

My two cents, as it remains to be seen how this will all play out.

Update: The Roberts long-view theory, more here from Paul Rahe, or just the Supreme Court staying out of politics.

Related On This Site: From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’From AEI: ‘Study: ‘Obama Healthcare Reform Raising Costs, Forcing Workers Out Of Existing Plans’

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