Thursday , November 14 2019

Odds and ends

Summary:
This caught my eye: Chicago’s guaranteed annual stipend level as of now is ,000. The new funding model begins next fall and will take two years to fully adopt. Once it is in place, all students will have paid health insurance premiums and full tuition coverage, in addition to the guaranteed stipend. What!?!?! For all you millennials who think we boomers had it so much easier, here’s my experience at the UC during the late 1970s.  A total stipend of 00 for three years, vs. ,000 today.  No health insurance.  I had to pay full tuition.  I borrowed the money to pay my tuition and worked a job to pay for my food, rent, clothing, health costs, etc.  (No money from my parents.)  I bought almost no clothing during my three years there, my diet was basically hot dogs and

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This caught my eye:

Chicago’s guaranteed annual stipend level as of now is $31,000. The new funding model begins next fall and will take two years to fully adopt. Once it is in place, all students will have paid health insurance premiums and full tuition coverage, in addition to the guaranteed stipend.

What!?!?!

For all you millennials who think we boomers had it so much easier, here’s my experience at the UC during the late 1970s.  A total stipend of $1000 for three years, vs. $93,000 today.  No health insurance.  I had to pay full tuition.  I borrowed the money to pay my tuition and worked a job to pay for my food, rent, clothing, health costs, etc.  (No money from my parents.)  I bought almost no clothing during my three years there, my diet was basically hot dogs and bread, and I cut my own hair to save money.  I eventually paid back all of my loans.  So excuse me if I don’t get out in the streets and march in favor of forgiving all college debts.  

White supremacists sometime argue against interracial marriage, worrying that it will dilute the gene pool of their precious white race.  But it looks like multi-racial kids might be better students than white kids:

Odds and ends

Here’s a story out of Indonesia:

Ivon widiahtuti’s job is, on the face of it, straightforward. As an auditor at the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Assessment Agency (lppom), an organisation in the leafy city of Bogor, Ms Widiahtuti reviews the applications of companies hoping their products will be deemed halal, meaning that their consumption or use does not break any of the strictures of Islam..some applications concern products that aren’t edible. As she lists the musical instruments and sex toys that she and her team have inspected recently, she giggles at the absurdity of asking: is this vibrator halal?

This is rather surprising:

All of the world’s 73 residential towers over 250 metres high were built after the year 2000. Another 64 are under construction.

This is obvious when you think about it, but still seems odd:

The result is a paradoxical relationship of the left to industry and industrial workers. Democratic votes today, Rodden shows, are geographically correlated with manufacturing employment a century ago, while Republican votes are correlated with contemporary manufacturing.

From the same issue of the NYR of Books, there’s an interesting article on a white nationalist who later rejected this hateful ideology. Unfortunately, his family did not:

The redemption story of Stormfront’s former crown prince has been a quiet one. Derek Black still sees his parents, although there are deep strains when they talk politics. He has chosen to continue his graduate studies in history rather than, as so often happens in America, to make a new career out of his extraordinary change of heart. But he did allow himself to be interviewed on radio and television several times when Saslow’s book appeared, soberly taking responsibility for the violence he had helped stimulate earlier in his life, and saying that he was not entitled to any praise merely for having ceased preaching hate. In one TV appearance, he mentioned that his parents were now frequent viewers of Fox News: “My family watches the Tucker Carlson show once and then watches it on the replay because they feel that he is making the white nationalist talking points better than they have and they’re trying to get some tips.”

The Economist recent had a thoughtful and well-written piece on poverty, which still ended up being rather disappointing:

Severely reducing or eliminating child poverty through the simplest means imaginable—unrestricted cash transfers—can seem starry-eyed until one studies the details. David Grusky of Stanford University says that the state of California, which has the highest share of poor people after accounting for taxes, transfers and cost of living, could end deep child poverty with targeted cash transfers that amount to a mere $2.8bn per year. This is “insane”, he adds. It is a quarter of the sum the state spends on prisons.

I have a different view. I think it’s “insane” to believe that after everything we’ve learned since the 1960s, throwing money at poverty will solve the problem. It is insane to believe that a state that spends $600,000 building housing units for homeless individuals will be skilled enough to cure child poverty. Having said that, if they want to release every drug crime prisoner in California and divert the money to poor children, I’m all for it.

From the same issue of The Economist:

Yet all that is less reassuring than might be hoped. Post-crisis, both governments and markets have proved surprisingly tolerant of risky borrowing. Despite household deleveraging, companies have taken on enough debt to keep private borrowing high; at 150% of gdp in America, for instance, roughly the level of 2004. In America the market for syndicated business loans has boomed, to over $1trn in 2018, and loan standards have fallen. Many loans are packaged into debt securities, much as dodgy mortgages were before the crisis. Regulators have declined to intervene—remarkably, considering how recent was the crisis.

Remarkable? I suppose it seems that way if you believe the myth that the 2008 crisis was due to “deregulation”. I happen to believe that government regulators in the US like it when banks make lots of risky loans, which is why in the early 2000s the entire financial system was set up to encourage risky lending, and still is.

The 20th century really was special:

In no previous century had the human population doubled. In the 20th century it came within a whisker of doubling twice. In no previous century had world gdp doubled. In the 20th century it doubled four times and then some.

I suspect that in no future century will the world’s population even double.

In the UK, authorities recently discovered 39 dead bodies in the back of a truck. To people like Trump these illegal migrants are scum, lots of “rapists and murders” or “people from shit-hole countries.” But regardless of your view of illegal immigration (and there are good arguments on both sides) it’s important to be aware that these are real people:

The UK police had given “an initial steer” in the early stages of the investigation that the victims were believed to be Chinese nationals. But on Friday, Hoa Nghiem, a Vietnamese human rights activist, said that one of the people found dead in the truck might have come from Vietnam.

She said she had been contacted by the family of Pham Thi Tra My, 26, who were trying to determine whether she was among those in the truck after receiving text messages from her saying that she “can’t breathe” and was dying, saying: “I’m sorry Mom. My path to abroad doesn’t succeed.”

Just heartbreaking.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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