Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Today must be April 15

April 15th, 2013 Comments off
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Not-So Progressive Shares of Tax Burden

April 5th, 2013 Comments off
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Stock (market) Wealth by Quintile

March 12th, 2013 Comments off


From WaPo

stock wealth by quintileHere’s what that means in dollar terms: “In 2010, according to Wolff’s analysis, the stock holdings of the middle fifth were worth about $9,000. The holdings of the top 10% were worth $500,000, and those of the top 1%: $3.5 million.”


Categories: Charts, Economics, politicas, Uncategorized Tags:

Someone Should Tell the Republicans

January 18th, 2013 Comments off

From Wapo:

The progressive project of building a decent welfare state is giving way to the more technocratic work of financing and managing it. How government is run, more than what exactly it does, seems set to be the main battleground of American politics in coming years.

Unfortunaely, a certain element of the Republican Pary doesn’t agree: they want to dismantle the social welfare safetynet.


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More on Fracking

January 14th, 2013 Comments off

Well, we can use the Bayes Probability Theorem to figure out how likely is is that fracking will pollute our water supply.

Suppose the probability of fracking polluting the water supply in any one spot–say, within 500 yards of the fracking site–is originally estimated, before any evidence of pollution has been found, to be only 0.5%.

Now an event happens, such as the real event: water coming from a tap in a house, which draws its water from a well, starts to ignite when an open flame is brought near it.

What are the chances that the fracking caused the pollution?  We can estimate that there is about a 40% chance that fracking is the cause.  We can also posit that, without the fracking, natural causes might cause the water to become polluted; but it’s very rarely that a water supply spontaneously becomes flammable, so let’s put that possibility at 0.05%.

Plugging these values in to the Bayesean Theorem; x=.5, y=50%, z=0.05%

Bayesean Theorem:  P = xy / xy + z(1-x)

Solving for P :  There is a 83% chance that fracking will pollute the water supply.

That is not a trivial possibility.

You can play with these figures, using my Bayesean Calculator, at .  In any case, you will not find the possibility of pollution from fracking to be anything but frightening.

Hey, nothing wrong with that, right?

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Bayesean Calulator

January 14th, 2013 Comments off
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Entitlement Reform?

January 13th, 2013 Comments off


When politicians talk about cutting old-age entitlements, they are really talking about denying health care and social security benefits to poor old women.

Dr. Robert N. Butler, quoted in Never Say Die by Susan Jacoby

fracking and the economic meltdown

December 26th, 2012 Comments off

I’m feeling today quite a bit like I did back in 2006, the year before the economic meltdown– like doom is just around the corner–or at least lurking in the neighborhood.  But it’s not financial missteps that are the cause of my sense of impending doom; it’s fracking.

I can’t help but feel that the country is kind of like a heroin addict; we’re addicted to extravagant use of energy, especially liquid extractive fuels.  We are set on a path of sticking holes into the ground, much as a heroin addict sticks the needle into his body, and injecting poisons; even though we will get a significant rush at first, in the longer run, the body will be ruined.

In 2006, I knew that we would not be able to retire and live in Florida in the new condo we had recently bought, and had to sell that.  It was clear to me that the housing market was about to crash.We did sell it, at a good profit, and used the proceeds to buy our townhouse in South Carolina.  We also were able to sell our house in Vermont, just in time; the realtor kept telling us to hold out for a higher price–but no one was offering a higher price, and I just felt that we better sell while we could; we got what I feel was the best price possible aat the time, and used the proceeds from the sale to invest in our retirement account ( a mixture of bonds and securities).

Sorry, but that’s what the country should be doing now: investing in renewable energy sources–not just for today, but for the inevitable day in the future when we have poisoned our water tables, and the rivers are unpotable.

Why we’re sick and tired

December 19th, 2012 Comments off



Gun Maker to Be Sold. Okay now?

December 19th, 2012 Comments off

Oh, great: The conglomerate, Freedom Group, that includes Bushmaster (who made the AR-15 used to slaughter 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CN) and at least six other armaments manufacturers, is go be sold by private equity investment group Cerberus:

Cerberus said that it was putting the Freedom Group up for sale….

Cerberus signaled that it wanted to remove itself from the uproar over the nation’s gun laws in seeking to sell Freedom, which makes the Bushmaster rifle used in the massacre.

from Mother Jones

So Cerberus won’t own Freedom Group, but will sell it.  Won’t stop making the awful things, just doesn’t want to be so closely connected to them.  I think this is technically called “washing one’s hands”.

And to whom will Freedom Group be sold?

Several foreign gun manufacturers, including Forjas Taurus of Brazil and Heckler & Koch of Germany, could be possible acquirers, according to a banker familiar with the weapons industry.

Terrific; some Brazilians or Germans will now resume flooding  America with assault weapons.  I feel so much better now.

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