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Politics and Economics

How to Pay for The Adult Student Basic Income

Poverty, income volatility, job instability, and lack of social mobility are real problems in the US. While most Americans manage to climb the socioeconomic ladder to achieve a decent version of the American Dream, some get stuck on the lower rungs. They need help.

What To Do With Extra Tax Revenue: Some Suggestions

This post is not about tax rates. Higher tax rates don’t necessarily translate into additional tax revenue, because tax rates interact with economic behavior in complicated ways. That discussion is for another post. This post is about how to use the gift of extra tax revenue.

What To Do About Chronic Homelessness in California: A Suggestion, Part II

Now for the pricing plan. HUD already has rent-subsidy programs that cover up to a third of rent. The big California cities also provide rent subsidies. For instance, in the opening quote, Major Breed’s rent subsidy plan worked out to $6,000 per year per housing unit. That’s pretty reasonable. But subsidizing residential hotel units would be even cheaper. Check it out…

What To Do About Chronic Homelessness in California: A Suggestion, Part I

Consider: San Francisco had 65,000 residential hotel units in 1910, compared to around 19,000 units today. These were teeny rooms (typically 8 x10 feet) with barely enough space for a bed and a dresser (bathroom down the hall) but at least they offered shelter and safety from the streets. Many of the individuals who lived in these units were single men with problems that plague the chronically homeless today: substance abuse, mental illness, disability. Just like today.

The difference is they had a place to stay.

The Dark Side of Empathy

Empathy is also associated with ingroup bias and outgroup antagonism. One is more likely to feel the joys and sorrows of some people more than others, especially if they’re the same ethnicity.

How Much Do CEOs Get Paid And Why

Per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 195,530 chief executives in 2018, with a mean annual salary of $200,140. That doesn’t seem unfairly high, given that the mean annual compensation for physicians in 2018 was $299,000.  But the CEO pay that gets people riled up isn’t what run-of-the-mill chief executives get, it’s the CEOs pulling in millions working for the top companies. For instance, the $14 million average annual compensation paid to S&P 500 CEOs…

Behind The Headlines: Are Millennials Being Crushed by Student Debt?

The basic theme in these stories is that college has become so expensive that students increasingly rely on loans to fund their education and the resulting burden of student debt has kept millennials from realizing the American Dream of home ownership and wealth accumulation…. I decided to investigate the matter further.  

Behind The Headlines: Private Healthcare Plans Pay Hospitals More Than Twice The Medicare Rate

RAND Corporation analyzed the cost of hospital care across 25 states and found that hospitals, on average, charged the privately insured 2.4 times what they charge Medicare patients. A separate study by West Health found that private insurers paid California hospitals more than two times as much as Medicare paid for similar services. Private non-profit hospitals charged the most for privately insured patients.

Cross-Country Comparisons, Part I: Economic Freedom Rankings

Note that economic freedom and government regulations are perfectly compatible, as long as the regulations are “necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself”. Of course, that wording invites a whole slew of questions, such as…

Moral Outrage and Governing Wisely

Moral outrage makes ends absolute: This must stop! That must happen! No ifs, ands, or buts…. Governing wisely is about setting priorities, a process that assumes scarcity: the principle that valued ends require scarce resources with alternative uses.

Housing the Chronically Homeless, Part II: A Possible Way Forward

The problem: chronic homelessness, defined as being without housing for at least a year. It’s estimated that almost a third of the homeless are chronically homeless.

The mission: Figure out a way to house the roughly 10,000 chronically homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A possible solution: …

Housing the Chronically Homeless, Part I: Context and Considerations

According to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, there are roughly 28,200 homeless people in the California’s nine-county Bay Area, which includes San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Extrapolating from previous research, I’m guessing about a third of these individuals are chronically homeless, defined as being without housing for at least a year. This is a tough bunch to help: between mental illness, physical disability, substance abuse, lack of social skills, a fierce independent streak, and/or neurocognitive disorganization, the chronically homeless are often unable to live normal, productive lives. No, most of these folks can’t “just get a job”.