Category Archives: Politics vs. math

The math behind Elizabeth Warren’s “wealth tax”

Elizabeth Warren has come out of the presidential primary gate swinging with a proposal for a 2% wealth tax on assets over $50 million, rising to 3% on assets over $1 billion. Despite the freak-out by conservative pundits, I’d like, in this post, to put these numbers in perspective with a bit of basic math. This, in short, is not… Read more »

Parsing policy proposals – Defense

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This is the third in a series about how to parse the varying policy proposals for the United States government emerging in advance of the 2020 election. The subject here is how to weed-whack your way through the often-inflated rhetoric on defense and defense spending to find the meat of the proposal. Parse #1 – The great Keynesian jobs program… Read more »

Parsing policy proposals – Healthcare

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This is a second part in a series where I am looking at the “parsing” process I go through in evaluating stated policy positions from the various candidates or interest groups. The direction of healthcare will be front and center in the 2020 election, and we are finally beginning to see some proposals with meat (and a lot of proposals… Read more »

Parsing policy proposals – Revenue

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Well, we are off to the races for the 2020 elections. My hope against likely reality is that the media would focus on policy proposals by the candidates rather than personality, but so far the new year is starting on the latter trend. This is the first post in a series that will look at my own process for parsing… Read more »

Posts that the internet missed – part 2

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In the prior post I brought back some of 2018’s posts from this blog that should have had more internet traction. In case you missed them, here are a few more: Government budgets are moral documents It looks like a real U.S. budget from the dysfunctional Congress will not be a Paul Ryan legacy. He should have read this post… Read more »

A year of rolling the dice

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I started this blog in early 2018 as a place to post some pieces I had developed over several years looking at how probabilistic randomness and other mathematical realities affect everything from the way we vote to our scientific and religious understandings of the “human condition.” Some blog posts achieved more web penetration than others, and so this post is… Read more »

Net metering and the politics of utility pricing

I think it is safe to say that most utility executives detest net metering, in which any excess electricity generated by solar panels and other home-based “green technology” is “bought back” by the electric utility at the same rate charged to that home for using electricity. I sat on a “green innovations” committee for my small Iowa town for a… Read more »

The anniversary of a big experiment in randomness

December 1, 2018 is the 49th anniversary of a major sociological experiment in randomness conducted by the United States government, and it is one that changed the fates of hundreds of thousands of young men and their families. On December 1, 1969, the first televised Selective Service draft, also the first nationwide randomized draft since World War II, was conducted… Read more »

Listen to the actuaries if not the scientists

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While I still don’t understand why most Republicans continue to see science and scientists as the enemy, especially in the area of climate change, let me suggest that if you don’t want to hear what the scientists have to say, would you perhaps listen to the actuaries instead? I’ve known a number of actuaries over the years, and I have… Read more »

Are there viable alternatives to the university diploma?

Are there viable alternatives to the credentialing/degree system widely employed in American higher education? Is there innovation in the wings that both enables a more cost-effective education credentialing process and also puts at risk scores of traditional educational institutions? That is the subject of this post. In earlier posts I have been exploring the financial implications of “free college for… Read more »