It’s all fun and games.

I had to post this here, it just seemed too fun not to.  Monopoly has a reputation as a wrecker of friendships and families, a wasteland of destruction for relationships.  I cannot really recall having that experience, but I didn’t play it a great deal after about age 10.  In the scenario below, if you follow the link, you’ll find something where I would quite happily sit back and watch while munching on a bag of chips.  It certainly would beat the Oscars or Academy Awards for me.  You see terms like Socialism and Communism bandied about a lot right now. but honestly, they’re largely being used incorrectly with their implied associations.  Opponents to the ACA and similar programs yell, “Socialism!” while ignoring how our government and tax structure work, but what I think they’re really recalling to mind, if they are truly recalling anything, is a weird fusion of Stalin/Marx/Hitler’s Germany as well as probably a few others thrown into the mix with a slight hint of Mccarthyism to flavor the stew.  I’m not sure Marx or Engels would have recognized what passes for the idea of Socialism/Communism here in the US.  But I digress, enjoy the comic and the anarchy that follows.

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/159

A take on the healthcare plan

Economix had a fun tear down of the current plan put forth by the President and the GOP to replace the current ACA.  The author’s politics run counter to Trump’s and the far right, but he does a pretty good job of keeping it real from an economic standpoint.  He also points out that one of the big issues of repealing the ACA is how much of it was based on Republican ideas.  If you’re protesting your own ideas, your alternative options tend be even more limited and extreme.

One of the things he briefly touches on, but doesn’t really address, is that success is sometimes measured by how we failed less than previously.  Specifically I am speaking about the rise of costs and premiums, which continued to rise at rapid rates during the ACA, with many traditionally conservative states seeing the largest increases.  The success is that some of the increases were less than the increases seeing prior to the ACA.  That kind of measuring for success works in the short term, but if you’re measuring against a flood, either do something different or build a boat…
Another thing the author glosses over is the use of subsidies.  Although he points out that the Feds will subsidize the premium for the States, which he uses as an argument for why some states should have adopted the ACA, he ignores their premise for why they might have rejected it in the first place – It doesn’t matter whether the Federal government or the State government subsidizes the premium, it’s still a redistribution of wealth.  If you’re opposing the ACA, or any similar plan, because of your opposition to Taxation, any argument involving subsidies is going to fall flat.

Take the analysis for what it is, a visual breakdown of the shortcomings of the current and proposed plans, as well as a bit of insight as to why things might not be working as they could.  It’s a fun read and he lists his references, so if you disagree with a particular point, you can at least see what he based his argument on.

No Longer Economically Viable

There was this Michael Douglas movie back in the early 90’s- Falling Down, where an out of work defense worker spirals downward after he is let go by his company.  In their words, his skill set and position were no longer economically viable for the company to continue employing him.  In the 20 years since that film was made, in one variation or another, this has become an increasingly heard line.  Computers, AI, automation, efficiency, downsizing, up sizing, globalization – whatever the term, the reality for many is that their job is longer there, and probably won’t be in any human form as this trend continues.  As we continue to innovate and upgrade our technological capabilities, we have been able to downgrade our workforce.  We can do more with less, a lot less, and in many cases, those less no longer have to be human.  What happens when even many of our skilled trades no longer need to be staffed by a human agent?  What happens to our workforce, our population, our economy?  Corporations don’t have to pay robots and networks, and the increase in profits that they realize from the improved efficiency and lower labor costs will eventually be overtaken by the reality that their customer base is no longer employed.  Sure, as science, technology and society progress, there will be new vocations, new disciplines that will employ some people, but that come close to employing our growing population?  I don’t think so.  I think we will need to answer these questions, and sooner rather than later.  At a time when the United States cannot even bring itself to admit that their government and economy are anything but pure democracy and capitalism will now need to answer questions that make such things passe’ in comparison.  I am still young enough that, one way or another, I may live to see the answer to the question as completely relevant…

Accidental Success

I think this current administration may end up one of the more successful ones in history. Not because of great leadership, Trump is a lousy leader. And not because of his deft skills, I think he’s proving rather unqualified, so far.

No, it’s going to be great by accident, as a by product of him being himself. I may be wrong, President Trump has shown a penchant for learning on the job- right before he goes and shoots himself in the foot, but I digress.

One of the reasons I say this is President Trump’s relationship with the media, or lack there of. He has managed to insult and alienate most legitimate news sources, angering them and forcing them on the defensive. The media has enjoyed a fairly easy relationship with most recent presidents. They were courted, treated nicely. Trump has provided a rather rude awakening for them, and this is a very good thing. Surrounded by plenty of web sites willing to print false news to either benefit or disparage the current president and gain those oh so precious page views, the Press is now forced to go on the offensive, rooting out every story and making sure they have the facts right the first time. President Trump is under the magnifying lens of a group that hasn’t had to work very hard in generations – but they still remember how to do their jobs.