shredislove-shredislife asked:

Do you support free or at least drastically reduced college tuition? I'm more Republican alinging, but I'm also living just above the poverty line, so on that particular issue I tend to side with the Democratic thinking.

I don’t support free college tuition and here is why:

  • The average person goes to college for a 4-year degree, usually starting at age 18
    • Since I couldn’t find the amount of US citizens aged 18-22, let’s assume they take advantage of the free college system and go for a 6-year degree instead. 
  • The US census says there are  27,143,454 people in the US aged 18-24. 

Let’s say that we provide a free 6-year degree for all of these people. 

  • The college board reports that a "moderate" college budget  for an in-state public college for the 2014–2015 academic year averaged $23,410.
    • This includes room & board, various fees, tuition cost, and books to name a few. 
    • Does NOT take into account that some majors cost significantly more than others 

Now we need to find out how much it would cost to provide these people with a free 6-year degree

  • We multiply the amount of the education per person by the  27,143,454 people aged 18-24 (to get the total cost of educating all these people for 6 years), and you get the grand total of $ 635,428,258,140 per year
    • Assuming that all these students attend an in-state public college with a moderate budget. 
  • Distribute that cost among all 117,00,000 US taxpayers and it amounts to $5,431 per taxpayer per year. 
  • According to basic math and the current US tax brackets, taxes would be raised between 17.1% (lowest range of the middle class) and 83% (highest range of middle class). 

That’s WAY too much of a tax increase on our middle class, assuming that the students go to in-state public colleges with moderate budgets. Not everyone will go to in-state public colleges, and not all of them will have moderate budgets. 

This statistic doesn’t take into account the following:

  • Private colleges, which are around twice as expensive.
  • Cost of building new colleges and dorms to accommodate the greatly increased amount of students
  • Dropout rates

TL;DR

There’s no real way to do that without drastically raising taxes on everyone else to pay for it. In theory, it would be nice, but in reality, it wouldn’t work because it’s too expensive. However, I would support going through the university systems and eliminating excess costs. I’m sure that there are many things that the university system spends money on that are unnecessary and I’m all for eliminating those inefficiencies. But I am not for spending taxpayer dollars to reduce college education when it’s so expensive to do so.

Value for  money: The players

I’ve done another experiment. This one is in the same vein as the value-for-money posts from before, but broken down by player rather than by position group. The idea behind this analysis is to find which players on Arsenal’s squad return the most relative to the investment.

The metrics are simple and imprecise. I’ve used wage numbers from google search results. Of course, these should be taken with a grain of salt as there are likely very few people outside the players, their agents, and the club who really know what the players take home each week in wages. That said, these numbers are probably decent at least. The wages numbers I found from multiple sources online were pretty consistent, and where they weren’t, I threw out outliers and averaged results to get something in the middle.

In the same way, the values assigned to each player are the ones supplied by transfermarkt.com, which—while being a brilliant source—isn’t perfect, and is often about six months behind the curve. Players coming off a particularly meteoric year may not have had their values skyrocket the way they do in actuality.

The experiment is quite basic: I divided the value assigned to each player by each’s  annual wages, leading to what I am calling the “value coefficient” (“value+”). This gives us a number that we can use to understand each player’s value relative to their wages.

One thing is immediately evident from this experiment: value+ is not a good metric to measure who the best player at Arsenal Football Club is. The highest value+ is not going to be Alexis Sánchez or Mesut Özil or Aaron Ramsey. That’s not the point. The point is to find who at Arsenal is valued very highly relative to their respective wage demands. The data table is below:

Keep reading

At Vatican press conference, Canadian anti-capitalist Naomi Klein lauds Laudato Si’, urges full read of text

“Read it and let it into your hearts. The grief at what we have already lost, and the celebration of what we can still protect and help to thrive.”

“I have spent the past two weeks reading hundreds of reactions to the encyclical. And though the response has been overwhelmingly positive, I have noticed a common theme among the critiques. Pope Francis may be right on the science, we hear, and even on the morality, but he should leave the economics and policy to the experts. They are the ones who know about carbon trading and water privatization, we are told, and how effectively markets can solve any problem.

I forcefully disagree. The truth is that we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us badly, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom. They produced models that placed scandalously little value on human life, particularly on the lives of the poor, and placed outsized value on protecting corporate profits and economic growth.”

Cardinal Turkson has asked Klein to join him at upcoming Vatican summit “People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course,” which will take place in Rome July 2-3. 

oann.com
For New York Puerto Ricans, debt crisis begins to hit home
By Edward McAllister and Sebastien Malo

Before this week, Harriet Richardson’s retirement dream was still intact: work a few more years in the United States before heading back to find a quiet, ocean-front house in her native Puerto Rico. Now she’s not so sure.

Over a plate of fried plantains and rice at El Nuevo Bohio restaurant, a lunch spot popular with Puerto Ricans in New York’s Bronx borough, Richardson, a corrections officer, said Puerto Rico’s debt crisis may derail her plan.

“I wanted to be a beach bum, have a house by the ocean,” said Richardson, 46, one of the thousands of Puerto Ricans who migrated to the mainland United States in recent decades.

“If it doesn’t get any better, then I will think about somewhere else.”

Richardson isn’t alone. In interviews across New York this week, Puerto Ricans expressed weary frustration at the U.S. territory’s $73 billion debt burden and fiscal crisis.

Many Puerto Ricans said they expected more would leave for the United States because of the crisis, including family members, potentially accelerating a growing number of migrations in recent decades. Others have begun sending more money home to family and friends.

Puerto Rico’s troubles came to a head this week as it faced a deadline to repay its debt and as a report from former International Monetary Fund economists said the commonwealth was in dire need of economic reform.

3

“It doesn’t matter whether a person is poor or rich,” says local entrepreneur Becker Muzeau. “Once people see good service, they continue to come to you.”

After decades of public and private disinvestment, many black neighborhoods in Chicago struggle to attract financial institutions, big-name retailers and restaurants, often getting stereotyped as too poor or too dangerous to do business in. But despite higher-than-average rates of #poverty and #crime, areas such as Woodlawn do contain pockets of middle-class residences and an underserved consumer base who are often forced to leave their neighborhoods for basic shopping needs.

Reporter Adeshina Emmanuel talked to entrepreneurs who have established thriving businesses on S. Cottage Grove Avenue, a commercial corridor that mirrors the local economies that serve many SouthSide neighborhoods and black communities nationwide. Read his article on the potential for community revitalization here, and the challenges to stimulating growth:

http://chicagoreporter.com/in-chicagos-woodlawn-neighborhood-untapped-economic-opportunity/

(Photos by Max Herman)

The U.S. Department of Labor just proposed raising the overtime threshold – what you can be paid and still qualify to be paid “time-and-a-half” beyond 40 hours per week – from $23,600 a year to $50,400.

This is a big deal. Some 5 million workers will get a raise. 

Business lobbies are already hollering this will kill jobs. That’s what they always predict – whether it’s raising the minimum wage, Obamacare, family and medical leave, or better worker safety. Yet their predictions never turn out to be true.

—  Robert Reich on the new overtime rules in the United States.
afinetheorem.wordpress.com
On the economics of the Neolithic Revolution
The Industrial and Neolithic Revolutions are surely the two fundamental transitions in the economic history of mankind. The Neolithic involved permanent settlement of previously nomadic, or at best...

{snip}

It turns out that global “seasonality” – or the difference across the year in terms of temperature and rainfall – was extraordinarily high right around the time agriculture first popped up in the Fertile Crescent. Matranga uses some standard climatic datasets to show that six of the seven independent inventions of agriculture appear to have happened soon after increases in seasonality in their respective regions. This is driven by an increase in seasonality and not just an increase in rainfall or heat: agriculture appears in the cold Andes and in the hot Mideast and in the moderate Chinese heartland. Further, adoption of settlement once your neighbors are farming is most common when you live on relatively flat ground, with little opportunity to change elevation to pursue food sources as seasonality increases. Biological evidence (using something called “Harris lines” on your bones) appears to support to idea that nomads were both better fed yet more subject to seasonal shocks than settled peoples.

What’s nice is that Matranga’s hypothesis is consistent with agriculture appearing many times independently. Any thesis that relies on unique features of the immediate post-Ice Age – such as the decline in megafauna like the Woolly Mammoth due to increasing population, or the oasis theory – will have a tough time explaining the adoption of agriculture in regions like the Andes or China thousands of years after it appeared in the Fertile Crescent. Alain Testart and colleagues in the anthropology literature have made similar claims about the intersection of storage technology and seasonality being important for the gradual shift from nomadism to partial foraging to agriculture, but the Malthusian model and the empirical identification in Matranga will be much more comfortable for an economist reader.

Sterelny, writing in the journal Philosophy of Science, argues that rational choice is a useful framework to explain not only why backbreaking, calorie-reducing agriculture was adopted, but also why settled societies appeared willing to tolerate inequality which was much less common in nomadic bands, and why settled societies exerted so much effort building monuments like Gobekli Tepe, holding feasts, and participating in other seemingly wasteful activity.

{snip}

People are very simply tired and exhausted and angry with austerity measures that have devastated Greek society.
—  Costas Panayotakis, author of “Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy.” Watch his interview on Democracy Now! today.
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Greece’s crisis has hit a new low, as fear of a total financial meltdown grew so widespread that Greeks emptied over a third of the country’s ATMs on Saturday in a desperate attempt to pull out as much money as possible before the banks collapse.

The crisis is at a pivotal moment now, but it has been brewing for years. Despite what you may have heard, it’s not happening because the Greek government spent beyond its means and now is suffering the consequences. It’s happening because Europe isn’t sure whether it wants to be one country or many, and has in the meantime adopted policies that have created a humanitarian catastrophe for the Greek people.

The Greek crisis: 9 questions you were too embarrassed to ask

youtube

Here’s What You Need to Know About Greece’s Financial Crisis

Long story short -  you cannot spend yourself into solvency and you cannot have more takers than makers.  This affects you because you have morons who are running for the highest office in the land, like Bernie Sanders, who do not understand this basic economic principle and our country is starting to look a lot like Greece.

The “8888” Uprising refers to a series of protests that took place in Burma during 1988 that culminated on the date 8/8/1988, hence the name. The student protests that evolved into the nationwide uprising were sparked by (Dictator) General Ne Win’s decision that the Burmese government would no longer recognize the newly replaced currency notes, 100, 75, 35 and 25 kyats, leaving only 45 and 90 kyat notes. They were left, it is believed, because 45 and 90 are divisible by nine. General Ne Win was notoriously superstitious and he considered nine a lucky number. This wiped out people’s savings overnight and Burma, already poor and underdeveloped, was given Least Developed Country status by the UN.