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The structural problem with heath insurance

So here’s the dirty secret about health insurance companies: They don’t really care what the rules of the marketplace are. They are insurance pools. They will price their policies based on whatever it costs to pay out the claims and have a little left over. (Health insurance companies average about 5% profits, FWIW). Change the rules so the pools are full of sick people, and they will adjust prices upwards...

Thoughts on Income Inequality

In an article so blind to the obvious that it might as well be willful, The Wall Street Journal opined, “Americans Are Richer Than Ever, But They Don’t Feel That Way: U.S. household net worth is expected to hit another record, but that won’t mean much to most people”. And not once does the article mention income inequality. Boiling the problem down to the simplest example, let me point out that, between us, Bill Gates and I...

Unintended Consequences of Mass Deportations

Conservatives were once famous for embracing the principle of the Law of Unintended Consequences. It was usually from the conservative side that any radical change was opposed with the common-sense observation that the change may well unleash a host of second-order consequences well beyond what was originally intended. Our political discourse is littered with warnings from the right about the dangerous consequences of all...

Bannon and Strauss-Howe generational theory

Strauss-Howe generational theory is in the news lately, if not in the headlines. Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign strategist and primary advisor, gave an address at the CPAC (that is the Conservative Political Action Committee convention) in which he laid out his vision. And the vision that he laid out included a reference to Strauss-Howe generational theory without specifically naming it. An analysis I read by an opinion...

How to make a difference in politics: A practical ...

A democratic Republic such as ours is a large and complex system. So the very first thing you should give up is the idea that you will quickly and easily make a huge impact. I know it is disappointing, but the system isn’t quickly or easily changed, and that is ultimately good thing. That said, there are three paths along which you can, over time, make a difference: activism, operative, and elected office. Let’s take these...

Why I don’t trust our society to run nuclear...

The social problem with nuclear power is this. If some fool blows up the economy (or if a perverse structure of incentives drive a whole herd of bankers to blow up the economy) we all suffer for a few years, or even decades. But our grandchildren will be ok. If the same dynamic leads to a full reactor meltdown somewhere, then you could have 1% of the US uninhabitable for the next ten millennium (to say nothing of premature...