Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maybe Milton Friedman was on to something on the Depression after all

For what it is worth for today's puzzles:
I just read in Richard C. Koo's book, "The Holy Grail of Macro Economics" (the explanation for our Great Depression) that Milton Friedman may have got the cause of the Great Depression right -- shrunken money supply -- but Friedman and everyone else missed the key -- monetary policy is helpless to maintain (or expand) money supply as long as corporations are not borrowing, are paying down the balance sheet deficits instead of borrowing, which is what happened here in 1929 and in Japan in 1990.

When corporations stop borrowing for years while they pay down debt -- what Japanese corporations have been doing since the real estate crash in 1990; just coming out of the woods now -- is what happens. If you make 1000 yen and save 100 (typical Japanese) the bank normally keeps the 100 yen in circulation by lending it -- and somebody somewhere earns 1000 yen. If the bank doesn't, somebody somewhere earns only 900 yen and saves 90. Some other body earns 810 and saves ... etc.

So the Japanese government has been using fiscal policy since 1990
-- borrowing vast sums and running a vast debt (commercial land prices in six major cities dropped 87%), but has avoided 1929; not that the Japanese government knew what it was doing according to Koo --
to make monetary policy work. Took both Milton. Surprise; Milton was on to something.

So the way to avoid a depression -- in a contraction -- is for government to become the borrower of last resort? Hey; that's Milton Friedman (almost?) Republicans.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Surprised on 9/11/2001 -- more surprised on 9/11/2011

Surprised on 9/11/2001 -- more surprised on 9/11/2011

I was shocked on 9/11 to read that only 7 fighter pairs were on scramble alert in the whole continental US. I was raised under the Russian bomber threat back in the '50s and '60s when the US had 1000 dedicated interceptors -- dedicated meaning they were not designed to handle dog fights or bombing, only bombers: huge F-89Ds in the '50s, first, with 6 20 mm cannon, then, upgraded to 104 2.5 inch rockets and the biggest radar and (analog?) firing computer available at the time. Later 1000 supersonic F-102s took over, then filled in with 400 F-106s.

Russians bombers are long ago but getting down to 14 planes that could not cover our largest city or capital city in time is just out of proportion. Didn't we just purchase 3000 F-16s and F-15s starting with Reagan era, not to mention Navy F-18s and F-14s? Only 7 fighter pairs?

Now comes a bigger surprise. The two F-16s designated to take down Flight 93 -- the one that crashed -- were on a suicide-crash mission because no missiles or bullets were available! !!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Teen sexting and the First Amendment -- just an idea ???

Just had a First Amendment idea on teen sexting. Suppose a straight girl sends a pic to a straight girl or a straight boy to a straight boy (maybe just to make a joke of the statute -- sounds like the kind of stunt I would have pulled around 1960).

Fear it is going to end up in the hands of somebody else -- a homosexual male? Sounds a bit of a stretch to set the First Amendment aside for. ???

What legislatures had in mind banning child pornography was the harm done to the child by the act of the adult taking the picture of a naked child for prurient reasons. That is what the gargantuan penalties are for. That is what excepts child porn from the First Amendment.

A girl sexting a picture to a boy she can legally have sex with is not what the legislatures had in mind either count: the picture taking harm or the giant penalties. That would be enough for me not to apply the law to teens if I were a judge instead of a cabdriver -- without the First Amendment, just doesn't apply to what the legislatures had in mind. When sex is not even involved (how about those bruised behind paddling pictures that make the news) that should make three not to apply the harsh laws to teens -- the latter the First.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What every desperate federal student loan debtor desperately needs to know

What every desperate federal student loan debtor desperately needs to know:
Partial contents below:

How do I qualify?

You must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for IBR. You can use TG's IBR calculator to help you determine if you may be eligible for this program. If it appears that you are eligible, the calculator will provide you an estimated monthly payment amount under IBR.

What kinds of loans are eligible for IBR?

IBR is only available for federal student loans, such as the Stafford, Grad PLUS, and certain Consolidation loans. It is not available for Parent PLUS loans, Consolidation loans that include Parent PLUS loans, non-federal student loans, or defaulted loans.

How long is the repayment term for loans under the IBR plan?

The repayment term for loans paid under the IBR plan may extend up to 25 years. Any outstanding principal and interest still owed after 25 years of qualifying payments will be forgiven and may be taxable.

A couple of universal dental care equations

Dentists -- oral surgeons for sure -- seem to have doubled their prices in real terms over the last 15 years. I had root canal done for $500 around 1996. At the same place it was $1400 for the exact same procedure recently -- which seem universal; I checked for a cheaper price around the country.

Maybe dentists watching medical prices double and redouble because of new treatments figured they could double theirs for the same old and nobody would notice. ???

Crazy idea: freeze today' prices and then tax enough off those prices to put dental coverage back in Medicaid. Better yet, government dental insurance for all back at the old price level (allow for average income increase since 1996 -- which average I suspect medical doctors have not kept up with since the early 70s; which may be why cutting doctors fees are the wrong place to look for Medicare and Medicaid savings) paid for with a dental tax that would take less than they pay from everybody on the average.

Good idea for a dental care dictator. For current democracy: make enough stink about doubling dental prices -- looking like under cover of exploding medical prices -- and something like the above might get done (whenever Democrats go back to being 1960 Democrats)

Just a couple of crazy equations.