The Government Budgets


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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This morning when I woke up I saw this tweet by The Gotham Gal.

My friend Mark Glennon of Wirepoints wrote his monthly column on what just happened in Illinois. Illinois politicians are lying to the public again, and most of the media is enabling them. The media went to journalism school and not business school. There also aren’t a lot of math majors among journalists. They are bereft of principles. Springfield Republicans are enablers.  They just go along and get along.  They don’t provide a lot of leadership.

Newly elected mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is looking at raising all kinds of taxes to fill the budget hole left by almost a century of governing from corrupt Democratic Machine politicians.  People are already fleeing Chicago.  What’s going to happen Continue reading “The Government Budgets”

Cloudflare’s Galileo Project Turns Five


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


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Our portfolio company Cloudflare provides a suite of mission critical security services, and increasingly other services too, in the cloud to their customers. Among the most well known of these security services is DDOS protection (aka denial of service attack protection). A DDOS attack is a massive traffic burst aimed at a website to take of offline.

Among the most vulnerable and attacked websites are those belonging to non-profits and other organizations doing work that upsets those in power.

So Project Galileo is Cloudflare’s effort to provide security services to these sorts of organizations for free so they can stay online and continue to do their work.

And Galileo turns five years old this week.

Matthew Prince, Cloudflare’s CEO and co-founder, wrote this blog post yesterday celebrating five years of Galileo and he explains why this is so important to Cloudflare, the Internet, and the world.

Climate Change and What We Do About It (If Anything)


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Listen to this podcast.   It’s super interesting.  The Climate Change debate has devolved into two factions.   Part of it is the “believers” have denounced the “deniers” as anti-science and Luddites.  The Climate Change people I hear in the media, and run into in my personal circles have a fanatical religious belief about it.  The only path is to use wind or solar energy and end fossil fuels, full stop.

The politicians traipsing through Iowa right now are trying to scare everyone.  As if the reason farmers can’t get their crop in this year is climate change.  It’s been extremely rainy and cold.  They forget that years like this happen from time to time and have all through history.

Lomborg deconstructs the issue through the use of really good data.  He’s not “for or against” climate change.  For example, we know Continue reading “Climate Change and What We Do About It (If Anything)”

Coase And The Wall


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Yesterday I was at a Chicago Booth event and I just happened to sit down next to Sam Peltzman.  We didn’t talk politics.  I asked a lot of questions about economics.  We talked about Ronald Coase.  He knew Coase very well, and he edits the journal Coase used to edit until he passed away at 102.

Sam mentioned that even to this day, most people don’t really believe in or understand Coase.  It’s true.

It’s a very tricky theorem because it goes against a lot of internal confirmation biases in people.  It makes them feel uncomfortable.  It also often is applied to issues that are deeply emotional since it is alternatively known as a theory that solves problems in social costs.

A lot of people want the government or some authority to solve a problem when effective bargaining can do it for us. Continue reading “Coase And The Wall”

The Two Tribes


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Was talking to someone the other day that was part of a different tribe.  They heard about a billionaire moving out of state and couldn’t understand why that billionaire would make a charitable contribution to a local charity in their new locale and not to something on the west side of Chicago.

This is a tangible difference between the two tribes.  One sees it as a duty and responsibility to give money to the government for redistribution-or to participate in a public/private partnership the government controls for redistribution.  The other sees it as their money they earned and they are free to choose to do with it what they wish.

I was appealing my property taxes and a clerk briefly lectured me on how I drive on government roads…..

In Illinois, 99 cents of every dollar of any tax increase go to pay public pensions, not roads. Continue reading “The Two Tribes”

Corporate Fascism


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Salesforce told anyone that uses its product that they cannot use it for sales of firearms. That’s corporate fascism. If I were any gun retailer or wholesaler that used Salesforce I would sue them for antitrust, and sue them civilly for damages.  The way I’d drop the suit is if Salesforce made my data portable in an easy format so I could hop on a competitive system.

YouTube, a property of Google, is investigating a conservative journalist. Again, corporate fascism.  They never seem to investigate the other side.  It sure seems like YouTube attacks conservatives and limits their reach on their platform a lot more than liberals.  If you wonder why people might have this perception, think back to the day after Trump was elected President.  Google top management, including the founders, held a meeting about it.  A lot of folks are upset about Continue reading “Corporate Fascism”

Drones


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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I don’t know much about drones.  I have tried to fly them on a couple of occasions and never got the knack.  They are intriguing to me though.  I see a tremendous amount of use for them.

I am up in the Northwoods for one more day.  I am not hanging around up here because the black flies came out and they are infernally frustrating little buggers.  We put permethrin on a lot of our clothes and they still bug you.   Took this photo with my iPhone of a little male hummingbird that has staked out some territory on our deck.  He fights like heck for it and battles other hummingbirds to defend his turf.  The way hummingbirds move reminds me of a lot of drones.

When we had a house in Geneva, IL in the pre-drone era, there was a kid

Continue reading “Drones”

50 Years Till Blowup


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Was chatting with a friend about the federal deficit.  Seems everyone that has been elected talks a good game about the federal deficit but does nothing about it.  The thought going around Washington DC today is that America has about 50 years until the deficit becomes a problem we cannot handle.

No one wants to default on debt.  However, no one seems to have the political will to deal with the main drivers of the deficit.  The biggie is entitlement spending.  For example, when Social Security was instituted, people lived far shorter lives.  When Federal government retirement ages were established, people rarely lived a few years beyond retirement.  Try to monkey with changing those ages when benefits are received and all of a sudden you are Satan.

Layer on the crappy policies that are deeply entrenched in the federal budget like subsidies, grants, Continue reading “50 Years Till Blowup”

Dark Patterns Are Insidious Or Are They Harmless?


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Do you know what a data pattern is?  Digital companies use them all the time.  I didn’t know what they were called until I went to the Stigler Center Conference.  Dark patterns are powerful.  They combine what we know about behavioral economics and put it into a digital format with instantaneous clicks and responses.

Should we regulate their use?  If so, how?

However, there are two schools of thought on them.  In my discussion below, I will highlight what digital companies are doing but also mention ways physical experiences mimic things that are happening on the web.  If we regulate the web, should we also regulate the physical experiences?  You will notice that the academics that are offering conflicting views teach at the same university.  They aren’t living in a bubble.

University of Chicago Professor of Law Lior Strahilevitz made the Continue reading “Dark Patterns Are Insidious Or Are They Harmless?”

Is There A Tragedy of The Commons In Big Tech?


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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The tragedy of the commons is a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.

We have seen “winner take all” in a lot of big tech.  The companies most often cited when we think about “winner take all” are Google, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook.  Apple to a certain extent though they have plenty of competition from both Google and others.  Both political tribes in the country are talking about regulation and antitrust to reign them in.  From the right side of the aisle, it is mainly because the Big Tech companies internal corporate culture is so discriminatory which has given rise to groups like The Lincoln Network.  On the left, they are so ticked off that Trump utilized

Continue reading “Is There A Tragedy of The Commons In Big Tech?”

Should We Establish A Digital Authority?


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Spent much of the last two days at the Stigler CenterProfessor Luigi Gonzales organized a pretty powerful conference.  It was a lot to take in, and in the University of Chicago tradition, it wasn’t just one opinion being spouted.  People had to defend their ideas, and there was consistent debate.  As a passive audience member, some of my assumptions were challenged.  It was a lot to take in and frankly, I am still taking a lot of it in.

One of the ideas that came out of the conference was that some sort of digital authority should be established to police digital companies.

I don’t think I agree with this conclusion, but I certainly understand where it comes from.  Digital companies can do a lot to put chokepoints in distribution.  Once they attain market power, they are hard to dislodge.  The Continue reading “Should We Establish A Digital Authority?”

Why Is There Wealth Inequality?


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




It’s not a huge statistic but there is wealth inequality all over the US.  There is all over the world.  In some places, it’s because of caste systems or because one political class inflicts its will over another like in Venezuela.  In the US, it’s not as clear.  It troubles me because in the US, while we always have had different outcomes, the opportunities for getting wealthy are harder to see.

In the book “Alienated America”, a lot of people feel like there is no American Dream. This is sad. I understand why they feel that way.  The American Dream does live and you can find several examples of it.  The other interesting part about wealth in America is it is more fluid than other countries.  Once you earn a lot of money doesn’t mean you will always earn and have a lot Continue reading “Why Is There Wealth Inequality?”

State of Illinois, Deliberately Stubbing Its Toe


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Yesterday in Illinois, the Illinois Senate approved a massive income tax increase.  We will go from 4.95% to 9.5%.  Others have covered the particulars of it all here.

Here is a different way to look at it.  Let us look at it relative to the Big 3; California, New York and Illinois.  Really we are looking at LA, San Francisco Bay Area, NYC, and Chicago.

If we look at competing states with big cities and big economies, New York and California stand out.  Sorry about the formatting.  There are slight differences for filing single or married filing jointly but they are tremendous.  You get the gist.

Here is NY.  Recall NYC tacks on a city income tax as well.

$8,500+ $17,150+ 4.50%
$11,700+ $23,600+ 5.25%
$13,900+ $27,900+ 5.90%
$21,400+ $43,000+ 6.45%
$80,650+ $161,550+ 6.65%
$215,400+ Continue reading “State of Illinois, Deliberately Stubbing Its Toe”

Not Green, Smug


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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The other day, a study came out that showed that electric cars weren’t as green as their owners thought they were.  They also are not as green as the media or uninformed public think they are.  What they are are virtue signalers.  They are smug.

A number of years ago, I got a ride from my friend who is an economics professor.  We saw a Prius and laughed because it was plastered with stickers saying how “green” it was.   At the time, we were living in apartments that were 2500 sq feet or less.  No Al Gore mansions for us.  Our apartments used hot water heat, which is incredibly efficient.

The professor remarked, “They don’t realize where the power comes from when they plug it in to charge.  They also don’t realize the amount of environmental damage mining for battery components is, nor do they realize how toxic disposal Continue reading “Not Green, Smug”

Do The Right Thing


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


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Airbnb has been operating in NYC and NY State for about ten years now and yet we still don’t have comprehensive home sharing legislation on the books in NY State. The reason is that the enemies of Airbnb, mostly the hotel employee unions, have been fighting Airbnb’s existence in NY State very effectively in Albany.

Many of the largest cities in the US and around the world now have comprehensive home sharing legislation on the books. It makes sense. It allows homeowners to share their homes legally and earn extra income but it also protects neighbors and neighborhoods from bad actors who abuse the system.

It is time for the folks in Albany to join that group and put fair and balanced and serious home sharing legislation on the books.

The good news is that we have good comprehensive bills before both houses of the state legislature right now.

Assemblyman

Continue reading “Do The Right Thing”

Free Stuff; Loan Forgiveness


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Lately, if you listen to Democratic candidates for President, you hear the word “free” a lot.  Free health care.  Free tuition.  Everyone has a job at full employment.  If you have college debt, debt forgiveness.

None of the candidates are dealing in reality.  All those policies are integral to societies that collapsed.

But, let’s say you work in health care and think there should be socialized medicine. Single payer, government administered.

Are you willing to work for free or a fixed wage?  Are the landlords and REITs which support socialized medicine that own the properties willing to give health care operations space rent free?  Free utilities?  Free parking?  Are nurses and doctors that support the programs willing to work for free?  Is there no difference in the skill level of anyone?  Are some facilities better than others?

Are college Continue reading “Free Stuff; Loan Forgiveness”

They Are Out and Out Lying


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Yesterday, CBS Reporter Charlie De Mar released texts of Chicago Attorney Kim Foxx on the Jussie Smollett case.  You can read through them on his Twitter feed here. The Chicago Tribune published everything here.

Pretty damning.  Chicago citizens saw right through the case from almost the very beginning.  Chicago politicians want to protect power so they aren’t doing much about it.  It’s a travesty.

I wish more reporters would do reporting like this.  Here are a couple of other examples.

Crain’s published an article by a couple of union mouthpieces defending the progressive income tax proposal in Illinois.  It’s full of lies. They state that Illinois budget deficit is only around $3.2B dollars.  It’s more like $10B to $15B.  But the elephant in the room is pensions and medical deficits which are around $237B in the red.  Fortunately, the guys

Continue reading “They Are Out and Out Lying”

Get Your Message On Mobile


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


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I finally got around to reading the Political Advertising Report from Tech For Campaigns. My conclusion is we are going to see our phones light up with political messages over the next year and a half. Here is why:

Only Trump spent a percentage of total spend on digital that is close to what companies do
When you buy Facebook ads, you are buying mobile ads
The older you are the more likely that you click on ads on your phone

So let’s brace ourselves for the messages that are going to start coming into our phones from politicians over the next 18 months. Mobile advertising works.

I am closing comments to this post because I don’t want to turn this blog’s comments into a soapbox for certain people and we all know who they are.

Ending Remittances Is Not A Good or Sustainable Idea


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Chris Kobach the former Secretary of State in Kansas wants to end remittances from the US to Mexico to stop the crisis on the border. I get where he is coming from, but ending remittances is not a good idea. It is guaranteed to fail.  It is pure desperation.

It reminds me of what Senator Barney Frank said about the oil market.  Oil prices were high and he wanted to rig the market to have low oil prices.  He wanted to regulate the heck out of futures, cash, and over the counter trading.  The problem with that idea is all oil trading would go underground and no one would have a clue on what was going on.  The lack of price transparency would cause more dislocation in the market, making the commodity even more expensive.  Barney was desperate and didn’t believe in supply and Continue reading “Ending Remittances Is Not A Good or Sustainable Idea”