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Bills

this is a reposted comment from here:

Is there a way for the government to help?

What springs to mind:

1.) Providing a small fixed amount directly through a “social bank” (say 1000 USD). The bank can also collect small forced savings in 1 year time deposits, so it can fund itself and help building saving habits. In times of crisis the amount can be extended (like that FLOC idea).

2.) Also don’t have poor people pay (the same) tax on their bills, or reduce their taxes in other ways. And France actually pays 40% of the utilities bills of its poor.

However this puts in place some bad incentives for the environment - if electricity is too cheap, people will not insulate their houses.

Interestingly you are talking about bills and poverty a month after the austerian government of Bulgaria resigned over it faced huge and bordering on violent protests over electricity prices.

* In BG the electricity is taxed heavily, which makes it a huge expense for the poor, both working and unemployed.

* people are convinced that energy monopolies adjust their bills to be higher, while the government has provided no assurance of protecting their rights as consumers.

* unemployment is 12% (thank you currency board and deficit-reducing government)

* We also have a faux flat-tax system, where income and corporate taxes are at a flat rate of 10%, and they provide just 14% of tax revenue.

* The only progressive tax are the payments for social insurance, but they are capped at 2000 BGN (€1000), which provides a third of tax revenue, the rest of the revenue is from 20% VAT and various types on excise taxes on fuel, electricity and others.

* The end result is obviously a regressive tax system and very low income for the middle class.

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The Economist magazine - no analysis and cowardly opinion.

Centrism and charts without context instead

This is a comment prompted by yet another useless arcticle from this magazine. I won’t bother to link it.

The Economist isn’t really good and I don’t mean this only because I disagree with some of their positions. Its because they don’t really have a position or analysis. They simply like to repeat conventional wisdom and compromise solutions (see  ‘Politicians from both right and left could learn from the Nordic countries’) instead of either novel reporting or useful analysis.

Their reporting is generic to the extreme. For example their favourite word is ‘reform’. It appears 6 times in this article, a bit less than once every paragraph, sometimes replaced with ‘modernisation’. The Economist is always for reform, but rarely specifies what this reform is exactly. Success is supposed to pop-out of magic reform dust and failure from incompetent, hapless corrupt politicians not doing enough reform.

They make an effort to appear balanced - they talk about the inequality of the USA, they dislike Berlusconi and snicker when American conservatives go too far in their fanaticism. But they still have a bias. They apparently don’t like spending and corporate taxes. Is this a problem? It isn’t a necessarily bad position to take. I don’t disagree that spending can reach an unsustainable level and crowd out investment or cause inflation. However, it happens under specific circumstances and they never bother to mention what those circumstances are and why do they apply to a particular case.

They do list lots and lots of numbers. But, why and for what those rates matter? And why should we care for example about Spanish Debt-to-GDP when it is lower than one Germany has, the current favourite? And why are corporate taxes aren’t weighted together with other taxes, such as VAT (which doesn’t exist in the USA) and payroll taxes? Don’t hope to find answers to these questions in the Economist.

Since they do not explain anything and do not recommend explicitly anything they are hard to criticise.  It is cowardice and laziness. But their supposed centrism is the proverbial beard that doesn’t make the sage.

However, they will counsel citizens of every country from a position of anonymous authority and cowardly argumentation. They always endorse centre-right politicians, in every country. They love politicians that pose as serious and technocratic reformers.

They never question their track record. Merkel is supposedly a great champion of austerity in Germany, but in fact during her first term the country had huge stimulus package that dwarfs the spending reduction that followed. It has supported ‘technocratic’ governments all over Southern Europe through and through; they are always the good guys and the people who oppose them are populists. Again you will see no discussion of their actual track record or the reasons people go out to oppose them on the streets.

The Economist at least has no party loyalty; it has endorsed ‘centrist’ Democratic and Labour politicians in the admittedly centre-right Anglo-Saxon world. But don’t let the magazine fool you this is because this is because they did any analysis on their policies or because they are truly balanced in their evaluation of different parties and leaders or because they will put some charts as decoration for their boring articles. It is biased from a position of vanity and serves the sole objective of building a brand of punditry that is immune to criticism. Which apparently sells somewhat better than the noisy news which provide no opinion and op-eds that do provide an opinion, but do carry a risk of disagreement.

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The White Stripes - Blue Orchid (live From The Basement, November 2005) (by PresenceRO)

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Where are the austerity successes? Britain? Ireland? Keep looking.

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"It is sometimes remarked that the British are the only people who indulge in schadenfreude – pleasure derived from another’s misery – about themselves, revelling in stories of national decline."

Investing in UK prosperity: skills, infrastructure and innovation

Tim Besley, John Van Reenen, 31 January 2013

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Числа

Та, колко е населението на София? На маса преди мнението беше, че е 2 милиона, а след като хората свикнаха с това число според някои стана дори 2,5 или дори 3. Според НСИ: 1 208 097 Всъщност София освен прилив на имигранти от цялата страна има и много емигрирали към чужбина. Тя изглежда много по-населена от преди, защото вече повече семейства живеят в собствени апартаменти (а не с родителите си и бабите и дядовците си) и много повече хора имат коли.


Наскоро по новините са казали: “вече сме под 7 милиона”, така че вече за много хора населението на страната не е примерно 6,9 млн. д. ами.. 6.


Обичам да казвам че вр. Мусала е 3000 м, при което всеки ме поправя: тя е 2925!

Tags: числа
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Really funny, thats how people suffering from Krugman Derangement Syndrome might see him at night

Really funny, thats how people suffering from Krugman Derangement Syndrome might see him at night

(Source: nasacaused2012)

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thegeektrader:

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Glenn Beck Calls Harvard Economics Professor Stalin (by dortez)

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Расизъм в новините?

Расистка статия: http://news.ibox.bg/news/id_1673921483

Само за мен ли е изключително гнусно? По съдържанието:

  • Не били гласували някъде в референдум в който и без това почти няма гласували

  • Някаква жена се изказала за нещо, нейното мнение явно според автора за целите квартали и целия етнос.

  • поднасят ни се като “факти”, за това колко деца имали, как не плащали ток и как не гласували без изделия направени от кайма.

Има ли някакво съмнение че медиите имат език на омразата и че раздухват всички етнически конфликти в страната?

много лош ден за news.bg:

_ Циганите от махалите в Пазарджик, Пловдив и по-отдалечените села обявиха бойкот на референдума. В пловдивската “Шекер махала” до 13:00 часа не е имало нито един гласувал, а в “Столипиново” са пуснали глас около 1% от избирателите.

Оказа се, че от медийните обяснения циганите разбрали, че ако гласуват, ще им вдигнат тока, съобщава snews. “А ние сега не плащаме, щото сме безработни, а сега ще ни искат пари”, заяви Стоянка Васева от пазарджишкия квартал Изток, майката на 5 деца.

Такова е положението и в циганските махали на селата край река Марица и в по-близкото Черногорово, където циганите масово заявиха, че няма да гласуват за нищо, докато не им донесат кюфтета.

По традиция обаче вотът в ромските махали се очаква да се оживи към края на изборния ден, след като циганите вече са се „спазарили”. Тогава обикновено пред изборните секции се извиват опашки и дори се стига до бой.

_

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Има ли голяма мистерия за инфлацията в България?

Леко плагиатстване на Tim Duy: http://economistsview.typepad.com/timduy/2013/01/is-there-a-big-inflation-mystery-in-greece.html

Аналогичните графики за България:

Разликите с Гърция - понеже не практикуваме “фискална строгост” (fiscal austerity) в техните мащаби, не удряме ново дъно и нямаме дефлация. За горивата - причинено е повишение на цената на тока под натиск на Тройката.

Това което твърдя от доста време:

  • всеки анализ за инфлацията от последните пет години който не включва нивото на потребление и инвестиции е не особено полезен. Чуждите инвестиции и имотния и строителен мехур силно ускоряваха инфлацията преди кризата, а не европейска конвергенция. След техния отлив имаме голяма рецесия, но и ниска инфлация.

  • Горивата, храните и тютюна поскъпват, но не достатъчно да формират измерими очаквания.

  • Имаме ниска инфлация, покриваме критериите на ЕС за ценова стабилност (за разлика преди 5 години). Нямаме дефлация, основно заради нееластичност на заплатите към понижение в търсенето (downward wage rigidity). Ако има по-лош удар върху търсенето и повече съкращавания сред държавните и общински работници, това може да се промени.

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Goldman Sachs o’ Beat - Mr. Saxobeat spoof - ORIGINAL (by GoldmanSaxoBeat)

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Jack Whites Great Solo (HD) (by MaxPro91)

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lessig:

Boston Wiki Meetup

(Some will say this is not the time. I disagree. This is the time when every mixed emotion needs to find voice.)

Since his arrest in January, 2011, I have known more about the events that began this spiral than I have wanted to know. Aaron consulted me as a friend and lawyer. He…