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Official BBO Hijacked Thread Thread No, it's not about that

#3521 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-03, 08:27

In Watching the California Fires Burn In Real Time, Rebecca Lai at NYT explains how a network of cameras that serve as mountain-top lookouts is being used to detect and monitor fires in California.
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#3522 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-03, 08:46

I thought The Onion was satire, not news:

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WASHINGTON—After realizing there were still judicial appointments that needed to be filled during a meeting with the conservative think tank, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly pointed to a valet in the Heritage Foundation parking lot Thursday and asked him if he wanted to be a federal judge. “Hey, kid, how’d you like a lifetime appointment on the Ninth Circuit, huh?” asked McConnell, interrupting the 19-year-old temp worker’s protests that he didn’t know anything about the law to tell him that all he needed was “wipe that dumb look off your face” and he could be delivering rulings by the end of the week. “You over 18? You got an ID? That’ll do. Now just hop in this car with me and we’ll head over to the Capitol right now. Remember, abortion’s bad, corporations are good, and as for everything else, you just shut the ***** up and do as your told. Got it?” At press time, after the valet nervously informed McConnell that he was hungover and had illegal drugs in his system, the laughing Senate leader assured him that wouldn’t be an issue.

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#3523 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-03, 10:43

 Winstonm, on 2019-November-02, 08:40, said:

In my view, a national problem is conflating "regulation" with government overreach. There has been a hard sell from the right that business should be free from oversight because we are capitalists, yet there has been no corresponding messaging about the need to provide for the public's safety.

The failure of laissez-faire to provide for public safety was the initial reason for many regulations that are being rolled back or eliminated. Commercial banks were barred from risky investments because they were entrusted with public's funds; government was charged with the safety of the food we buy.

Somewhere along the way we forgot this message. We also forgot that without enforcement regulations are meaningless.

Conflating regulation with overreach is a basic tenet of neoliberalism. But even William Ruckelshaus, Nixon's head of EPA, makes a good case for "a strong and credible regulatory regime" in his March 2017 NYT Op-Ed titled A Lesson Trump and the E.P.A. Should Heed:

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A strong and credible regulatory regime is essential to the smooth functioning of our economy. Unless people believe their health and the environment are being safeguarded, they will withdraw their permission for companies to do business. The chemical industry executives who came in to see me that day felt this loss of public support and were asking me to reassure Americans that the government would do its job to protect them.

Our collective freedom and well-being depends on a set of restraints that govern society and how it operates. Those restraints need to be clear and effective. They were not in 1983.

Congress and the FAA would also do well to heed his advice. The restraints he argues for were obviously not effective on March 8, 2018 either when the Boeing 737 Max was certified (the day after Ruckelshaus' op-ed was published).
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#3524 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-09, 21:26

From Antonia Noori Farzan at WaPo:

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Benjamin Schreiber is very much alive. But that hasn’t stopped him from arguing that he died four years ago.

After the convicted murderer collapsed in his prison cell in 2015, doctors restarted his heart five times. Recovering back at the Iowa State Penitentiary, Schreiber filed a novel legal appeal. Because he died before he was resuscitated, he had technically fulfilled his life sentence, he claimed.

Judges, however, aren’t buying it. Dying for a brief amount of time doesn’t amount to a get-out-of-jail-free card, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday, saying that the 66-year-old will remain in prison until a medical examiner determines that he is dead for good.

“Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot,” Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote.

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#3525 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-10, 21:37

Twitter comment by Elizabeth May:

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The problem with the argument, “Bill Gates does more with his money than the government would!” is that we cannot and *should not*, base tax laws on how we hope rich people will spend their money. Tax laws are not case by case basis. We’re trying to have a fu#king society here.

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#3526 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2019-November-12, 14:06

Has the phrase "Eat *****, Bob" has become commonplace in the USA courtesy John Oliver's latest salvo?
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#3527 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 16:24

Noah Smith @noahpinion said:

On the World Bank's new measure of harmonized test scores, the U.S. comes out looking really good. We're well ahead of China, and about equal to Sweden.

Hmm, maybe our education system isn't as bad as people say. ;-)

http://blogs.worldba...ional-education

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#3528 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 16:45

From Comment on “Progressive Wealth Taxation” by Saez and Zucman by Wojciech Kopczuk at Columbia University:

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The paper is accompanying political proposals that have been picked up by two of the front-runners in the Democratic primaries. It makes a heartfelt case for a wealth tax that’s appealing to many politically. In my view, the economic case for it is overstated though. The data that underlies the revenue and progressivity impacts of the proposal has large margins of errors. The tax is unlikely to fare well on administrative grounds and, in my view, the economic case for it over a mix of capital income and estate taxation is weak. A much more productive effort would be to focus on feasible and necessary fixes of the existing U.S. taxation. My short list of such changes includes the removal of step-up in basis at death; modification of tax treatment of charity (including the ability to transfer unrealized capital gains); moving away from realization and toward accrual taxation, in particular by considering mark-to-market of capital gains where feasible; and reversal of preferences for pass-through businesses introduced in 2017.

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#3529 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-18, 13:53

Natasha Sarin and Lawrence H. Summers at taxnotes.com, on 11/18/2019, said:

The IRS recently released its most recent estimates on the tax gap — the difference between what was due to the IRS and what it collected.1 Between 2011 and 2013, the IRS estimates that it failed to collect more than $380 billion in taxes per year, across all tax categories.

Extrapolating this estimate to the present to allow for inflation and income growth, in 2020 the IRS will fail to collect more than $630 billion, or nearly 15 percent of total tax liabilities, and that the tax gap will total $7.5 trillion over the 2020 to 2029 period.2 The sheer magnitude of the tax gap suggests that there is substantial revenue-raising potential from shrinking it through well-targeted enforcement measures. Even so, recent policy discussions on how best to reform the tax code tend to ignore this most straightforward approach to revenue-raising — ensuring that the IRS collects taxes already owed.

It’s impossible to calculate with precision how much of this could be collected. Our estimates suggest that it’s reasonable to anticipate that with feasible changes in policy, the IRS could aspire to shrink the tax gap by around 15 percent. This would require increased investment in compliance efforts in the range of previous IRS budget outlays. Assuming immediate implementation, our estimates suggest it would be possible to generate around $1.1 trillion in additional revenue in a decade.

This short article represents an attempt to quantify the benefits of substantial investment in tax compliance. We proceed in three parts. We first provide background on the tax gap, noting that the benefits of noncompliance accrue most to high-income earners, and that the resources the IRS has at its disposal to tackle noncompliance are at historic lows. This suggests that there is substantial low-hanging fruit to be garnered from adequate investment in the IRS, and that investments in reducing noncompliance are likely to be progressive. We then argue that adding resources for examinations (particularly of high-income earners), increasing cross-party reporting requirements, and overhauling outdated IRS technology will enable the IRS to shrink the tax gap by around 15 percent in the next decade. These estimates seem substantially optimistic relative to what the Congressional Budget Office estimates an increase in IRS appropriations would raise; however, we show the two can be reconciled. Further, we point out that agency scorekeeping guidelines discourage compliance investment by limiting the extent to which the gains from additional tax collections can be included in official scores of enforcement initiatives. We conclude by noting that our estimation is naïve and that more formal revenue estimates are desirable. However, we find it probable that scorekeepers will come to the same basic conclusion: Restoring the IRS budget to previous levels is likely to pay for itself many times over.

https://www.taxnotes...019/11/15/2b47g

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#3530 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-20, 12:23

I went to a restaurant yesterday that offered a free egg roll if you ordered the calamari: it was a squid pro quo.
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#3531 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-November-20, 12:55

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-November-20, 12:23, said:

I went to a restaurant yesterday that offered a free egg roll if you ordered the calamari: it was a squid pro quo.


Went in to a restaurant and saw a sign saying "Oasis soup", so I asked the waiter what that was, and he said you got a roll with it.
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#3532 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-22, 08:16

From Mike Ives at NYT:

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How would you spell ‘Київ’?

This week, The Times adopted a new spelling for Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the Romanization of the Ukrainian Київ.

The previous version, Kiev, is a transliteration from the Russian: Киев.

The Times is rarely an early adopter in altering place names, waiting until there is a sense that most readers would be familiar with the new word. For instance, the paper quit using Bombay only in 2004, almost a decade after the Indian authorities officially recognized the city as Mumbai.

Craig Whitney, a former foreign correspondent who went on to become our standards editor, recalled that airline flight information had been listed as Mumbai for years. “Clearly,” he said, “we waited long enough to see if it was sticking.”

Most Americans were introduced to Ukraine’s capital during the Soviet era, so they’ve seen “Kiev” for decades. But the U.S. Board on Geographic Names switched to Kyiv in June, and U.S. diplomats have been widely heard in the impeachment hearings in Washington using the Ukrainian pronunciation (or at least coming close with “Keev”).

Chicken kiev, however, will probably stay the same.

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#3533 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-23, 07:22

From Taxing wealth by taxing investment income: An introduction to mark-to-market taxation by
Greg Leiserson and Will McGrew at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Quote

Why might policymakers adopt mark-to-market taxation?

Reforms to the taxation of investment income could raise substantial revenues from the wealthiest families. The highest-income 1 percent of families receives 75 percent of the benefit of the preferential rates for capital gains and dividends under current law. Moreover, adopting a mark-to-market system would be a relatively efficient way to raise revenues, as the current system of taxing investment income allows wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying taxes by taking advantage of deferral, step up in basis, and other tax preferences. A mark-to-market system would scale back or eliminate these preferences and thus sharply reduce tax avoidance. Policymakers looking for a progressive tax instrument that raises substantial revenues would find mark-to-market taxation an appealing option.

How much revenue could this type of tax reform raise?

The revenue potential of reforms to the taxation of investment income in the United States is large. Under current law, long-term capital gains and dividends are taxed at a 40 percent discount, relative to ordinary income. Moreover, tax planning strategies that take advantage of deferral, step up in basis, and other preferences for investment income mean that much investment income simply does not appear on tax returns at all.

Estimates of the revenue raised by reforms to the taxation of investment income are uncertain, as they depend on both the detailed specification of the tax and assumptions about how families would respond to the tax. But previous estimates suggest that mark-to-market reforms that also apply the tax rates on wage income to capital gains and dividends could easily raise $1 trillion over the next decade—and potentially much more, depending on how widely the higher tax rates are applied and what accompanying reforms are included.8

The revenue potential from increasing the capital gains tax rate in isolation is likely much smaller. The ease of tax avoidance under current law, such as the ready opportunity to defer tax by not selling assets and potentially avoid tax entirely through step up in basis—all while simply borrowing against these same assets to finance any spending—means that taxpayers may substantially reduce realizations in response to an increase in the capital gains rate.

A recent Congressional Research Service analysis, for example, suggests that taxpayers might avoid as much as 50 percent of the tax liability that would otherwise result from a 5 percentage point increase in the capital gains rate through avoidance.9 The report also highlights that some analysts might conclude that an even higher share of revenue would be lost through avoidance. Robust reforms to the tax base such as those discussed in this brief, however, would sharply limit these avoidance strategies and yield much higher revenues.

How could a mark-to-market system exempt middle-class taxpayers?

Mark-to-market taxation could be adopted as the universal approach to taxing investment income. Current proposals set forth by U.S. policymakers, however, have tended to apply the system only to wealthy taxpayers. Two approaches policymakers have suggested they might use for this purpose are a lifetime exemption on gains and an asset-based threshold for applying the tax.

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#3534 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-24, 08:20

Sasha Cohen:

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"The ultimate aim of society should be to make sure that people are not targeted, not harassed and not murdered because of who they are, where they come from, who they love or how they pray." he said.

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#3535 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-November-24, 09:05

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-November-24, 08:20, said:

Sasha Cohen:




Did you mean Sacha Baron Cohen ? (the Baron is part of the surname, not a rank or anything)

Much deeper thinker than he's often depicted, I was a schoolfriend of his 2 older brothers.
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#3536 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-24, 12:53

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-November-24, 09:05, said:

Did you mean Sacha Baron Cohen ? (the Baron is part of the surname, not a rank or anything)

Much deeper thinker than he's often depicted, I was a schoolfriend of his 2 older brothers.


Yes

https://www.adl.org/...n-anti-semitism
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#3537 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-27, 14:38

Here's a fascinating idea:

Quote

....high pay in the dominant sector drains talent from other economic sectors, from government and from civil society. Brilliant people who might have discovered a malaria vaccine or designed effective financial regulations, instead get rich working for an oil company, or trading in risky financial derivatives. Investment is lured away from low-return activities like manufacturing, towards high-return ones, like trading in oil derivatives. When oil, or finance, dominate an economy, government officials turn away from the tough challenges of nation-building and instead jostle to get rich, often via a revolving door of influence between government and the dominant sector. This jostling also promotes corruption, and helps the dominant sector ‘capture’ policy-making too.

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#3538 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-27, 18:01

The article you linked continues:

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The message is simple: tackle the curse of oversized finance, to boost prosperity, to reduce inequality – and to curb the inner socio-cultural decay that fosters fake news. In this simple, hopeful message lies a winning political formula.

I suspect you also have to tackle the Curse of Bigness and the curse of Citizens United which big corporations and oligarchs rely on to buy seats in Congress.
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#3539 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-November-28, 07:23

View Posty66, on 2019-November-27, 18:01, said:

The article you linked continues:


I suspect you also have to tackle the Curse of Bigness and the curse of Citizens United which big corporations and oligarchs rely on to buy seats in Congress.


I like to think I will actually read this! Wealth and power are of course very closely related but my first worry is about the concentration of power. I suspect Wu might agree. At any rate, it sounds like an important book.

Ken
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#3540 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-29, 09:46

Fun read for foodies: https://www.theparis..._eid=cda01666e9

I like the way the author points out gaps between romantic myths and reality without letting reality keep her from enjoying the myths.

I fell hard for her writing after reading this simple description of the results of her corn nixtamalization experiment:

Quote

The cleaned kernels in milk tasted mild and toothsome, with an intriguing finish of corn and cinnamon. If I could produce them in bulk, I would. The taste was special enough to have been worth the two days of effort.

I've never had vinegar pie. My wife says it's good stuff and is in the same family as lemon chess pie and pecan pie.

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