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w.heinlein 117 posts  |  Last Activity: 14 hours ago Member since: Oct 8, 2007
  • Q: What is the difference between Donald Trump and the Hindenberg?

    A: One is a flaming Nahtzee gas bag and the other one is a dirigible.

  • Reply to

    Demography is Destiny/Chinese edition

    by w.heinlein May 25, 2016 4:12 PM
    w.heinlein w.heinlein May 26, 2016 2:51 PM Flag

    Population stability is not the same thing as population decline. Japan will have 40 million fewer people in 50 years with the highest median age in the developed world. China will be close behind. On the other hand, India will have nearly twice as many people as China, about 1.5 billion. The United States can have the best of both worlds: small family size and a growing population by adjusting its immigration policies to let in more people, especially more young people. With the unemployment rate nearing historic lows, labor shortages showing up across various business segments, and median wages rising, the idea that increasing immigration will take away American jobs doesn't look so compelling.

    Right now Asian immigrants are the fastest growing group and that trend is likely to continue. Immigrants from India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand etc are already enriching the country and bringing more will make things even better.,

  • An article in the current Atlantic Monthly really caught my attention for what it projects about the near-term future of China. Because of the "one child" policy that has been in effect for the past half century, the age distribution of the Chinese population is wildly skewed. As a result by 2040, only 24 years from now, the following changes will have taken place:
    From 100 million retirees today to 330 million retirees then
    From 5 workers for every retiree today to 1.6 workers for every retiree then
    From median population age 30 today to median population age 46 then.
    Add in the fact that the population of China is expected to fall from 1.2 billion to 750 million over the next 75 years, and you have a recipe for a decline of unprecedented size and speed.

    China is on the same negative growth curve as Japan, but the consequences for the world are much more profound. For cultural reasons, neither country is willing to accept significant numbers of immigrants. With birth rates far below replacement level and no immigrants to swell the population, decline is inevitable.

    What about the USA you ask? For the country as a whole, birth rates are already below replacement level; Among recent immigrants, birth rates are higher than replacement level somewhat offsetting the effects of low birth rates among existing citizens. IF (as we should) we increase immigration rates to the levels that Ronald Reagan would have liked (about 3 million a year today) we will grow while China shrinks. Obviously, we should be somewhat selective about the skill sets we would like to see immigrants bring with them, but as a general proposition, more immigration is better,at least till we hit that 3 million annual level. And of course I'm not arguing for illegal immigration but for a policy of increased legal immigration.

  • Get over yourselves. Bernie is not going to be the nominee. If that hurts your feelings, too bad. Hillary may not be the candidate you want, but do you really want Trump? A man with a significant following in the fringes of the far right? A man who has zero qualifications for the job of President, whose domestic policies are incomprehensible and whose foreign policies are dangerous? It was bad enough when the fringes of the GOP were reviling Obama with racist caricatures and birther idiocy, but at least his Republican opponents were not stooping to that level. Trump IS that level, he embraces and encourages the crazies. George W.Bush, whatever his failings as a President, is a decent man. Trump is not a decent. He is a slimeball and if the GOP leadership had even the tenets cojones they would call him out. But they don't and they won't.

    So put your egos aside, accept the fact that Sanders is not going to be the nominee, and get out and work to defeat Trump. Because if you don't, and that sleazed somehow ends up as President, you will have only yourselves to blame.

  • Nate Silver has done an interesting analysis of the Sanders voters based on exit polls. Among Democratic primary's voters who describe themselves as Democrats, Hillary Clinton has been supported by 85%. But among Democratic primary Voters who describe themselves as "independents" Sanders has been supported by 65%. Since Sanders is to the left of Clinton on almost every issue, these voters are mostly disaffected Democrats who want to see the party move left and blame Bill Clinton for having made it a centrist party. Between now and November, Clinton will have the opportunity to win these people's votes. The question in the general election will be whether they come out to vote for her or stay home. They almost certainly won't vote for Trump.

  • Reply to

    Is Trump Immoral or is he Amoral???/

    by baggerssuck May 19, 2016 12:58 AM
    w.heinlein w.heinlein May 19, 2016 4:09 PM Flag

    Trump is a BS-er. Unlike a liar, who knows that what he says is not true, the BS-er does''t care if what he says is true. Everything is said for its immediate effect, which is why Trump can contradict himself from one day to the next without any apparent strain.

  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 19, 2016 4:04 PM Flag

    He was talking about Ivanka, his daughter with his first wife, Ivana. By most accounts, Ivanka is the brains of the Trump family.

  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 19, 2016 4:00 PM Flag

    Did you ever read Kevin Phillips' book on the Bush family? Phillips is a life-long Republican, a patrician conservative in the mode of George Will, and his history of the Bushes is just devastating.

  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 19, 2016 2:51 PM Flag

    Donald worked his way up from the top. His father Fred Trump became a multi-millionaire by building thousands of middle-income apartments in Queens. Donald moved into luxury buildings in Manhattan as well as all the other kinds of deals you mention. I don't know that his failure rate was greater than average of for speculative real estate deals but he certainly managed to accumulate his share of failed deals. However, none of that really matters. What matters is that he is the most spectacularly unqualified person to head a national party ticket since Warren Harding and compared to Trump, Harding looks like Winston Churchill. The thought that this vapid, preening, ego-maniacal boob might actually become President is mind-boggling. And the fact that he has brought the worst of America out from under their rocks and shadows, the neo-Nazis, #$%$ members, skinheads, survivalists and other neo-Fascist groups who are supporting him is scary.


    Donald Trump on Wednesday fired back at Hillary Clinton, remarking that he would likely nominate Supreme Court justices who “would look very seriously at her email disaster.” . . .

    “Well, I’d probably appoint people that would look very seriously at her email disaster because it’s a criminal activity, and I would appoint people that would look very seriously at that to start off with,” Trump said in a phone interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “What she’s getting away with is absolutely murder. You talk about a case — now that’s a real case.”

    Yes, I think the most essential quality of any Supreme Court justice is that they commit to persecute the set of people that the President considers his enemies.

    This race is completely beyond parody. There’s really no difference any longer between The Onion and the mainstream media.

    And top GOP officials are endorsing this guy? Everyone assumes he’ll start acting sane once he’s got the nomination wrapped up. But what if this is the real Trump? What if he’s too dumb to fake being qualified for President?

  • Reply to

    Republican Reminders

    by northvisitor34 May 17, 2016 10:57 PM
    w.heinlein w.heinlein May 17, 2016 11:43 PM Flag

    I would amend your number 6 by adding "or pluck their chickens or pick their crops or clean their hotel rooms or do any other demeaning low wage job without benefits"

  • w.heinlein by w.heinlein May 17, 2016 7:13 PM Flag

    Reactionary scare mongers (Donald Trump prominent among them) are fond of claiming that the rapid demographic changes taking place in the United States will result in social and political upheaval, crime, unemployment, and white flight from minority areas They point with alarm at a projection from the Census Bureau that while non-Hispanics will be a minority in this country by 2060. Here's that projection:

    United State Population By Racial Group 2060
    Non-Hispanic whites 43.6%
    Hispanics ----------- 28.6%
    Blacks -------------- 13.3%
    Asians -------------- 9.0%
    Multirace ----------- 4.6%
    Other -------------- 0.9%

    Scott sumner comments:
    So that's the horror story that we are all supposed to fear. Then I looked for a state that had some similar demographics right now, to get a sense of what it would be like to live in this sort of dystopian nightmare. And I found one---Texas! Indeed the Lone Star state is even "worse" from a neo-reactionary perspective:

    Texas Population by Racial Group 2016
    Non Hispanic whites 43.5%
    Hispanics ----------- 38.6%
    Blacks -------------- 11.7%
    Asians -------------- 4.4%
    Multirace ----------- 1.3%
    Other -------------- 0.4%

    Of course Texas is witnessing rapid population growth, white influx, falling crime rates and low unemployment. If also votes redder and redder. Maybe the racist scaremongers should rethink their story line.

  • Reply to

    Doesn't it bother you liberals

    by rahtexas12 May 16, 2016 6:11 PM
    w.heinlein w.heinlein May 16, 2016 7:37 PM Flag

    Last time I looked, Hillary Clinton had received more total votes and had more elected delegates that Bernie Sanders. Leaving out the super delegates, who are heavily leaning toward Clinton, she would still hold a delegate lead over him going into the convention, though she wouldn't have enough for a first ballot victory.

  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 16, 2016 7:34 PM Flag

    Joe McCarthy learned more than half a century ago that one sure road to political oblivion is to peddle outrageous lies about the military. Well, the Republican members of the Benghazi Committee are following in Crazy Joe's footsteps. In order to smear Hillary Clinton they found it necessary to smear the army; bad judgment all the way around. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch...

  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 16, 2016 1:28 PM Flag

    That's why I left the WTO out of my reply to you. I think the trade rules raise issues of national sovereignty as you suggest. I don't believe that membership in the WTO can override American labor and environmental laws, but I also have to admit that I don't know enough about the details to reach a reasoned conclusion.

  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 16, 2016 12:16 PM Flag

    Today is my day to disagree with you it seems. It is an axiom of the economics profession that free trade enriches all participating countries. It is also true that free trade does not affect all people in those countries equally.

    Maybe a simple example will make this clear. Suppose there are just two countries, A and B. A can produce more wheat than its citizens can eat but cant' make enough bicycles. B can produce more bicycles than its citizens can ride, but can't grow enough wheat. If A and B freely trade with each other, A will swap its excess wheat for B;s excess bicycles and both countries will be better off, meaning that everybody will now have enough wheat and enough bicycles.

    But there will be losers in this deal: the bicycle makers of A and the wheat growers of B will both suffer from "cheap imports". and their jobs will have been "exported" to the other country. That is what has happened to jobs in this country as a result of free trade. Entire industries have been wiped out as a result of trade. A the same time, huge numbers of jobs have been created in other industries. As American manufacturing jobs have declined, jobs in banking and finance have soared, such that banking and finance now accounts fo 18% of US GDP, double what it was 30-40 years ago.

    In short, your conclusion stated in the topic line is correct, but your idea that trade deals are bad is wrong.


  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 16, 2016 12:03 PM Flag

    America has a large and growing shortage of engineers and other skilled tech professionals. The H1B visa program is a response to that shortfall. If ou ended the program tomorrow, you wouldn't have a single additional US citizen engineer, but you would have a huge hole in the engineering staff of numerous companies, both large and small.

    The interesting question, to which I don't have an answer, is why the United States can't produce enough technical professionals to meet the needs of American business.

  • w.heinlein w.heinlein May 12, 2016 10:53 AM Flag

    I may be the only person on this board who was actually involved in a business deal with Donald Trump. It was at the beginning of his career as a mogul in the mid-1970s and while I can't reveal the details both to protect my own privacy and that of others involved, I can say that his major contribution to the partnership was his ability to get action from the state and city agencies who needed to act to make this deal come together. He pulled political strings, called in favors, and used government action (or the threat of government action) to bully reluctant individuals to accept the contract terms they were offered. He was effective, but he is not a nice man, to say the least.

  • Trump proved the truth of this old saw when he pointed out that the USA can't fail to pay its debts because it can print its own money. Although reality isn't quite that simple, that's close enough to the truth for government work. And it effectively throws Paul Ryan and the whole army of debt scolds under the bus. The GOP used the totally spurious threat of debt default repeatedly to leverage Obama into accepting one or another of their pet schemes when the truth is that there is never any reason to fear that America will default as long as (1) world trade is carried on in dollars and (b) the USA prints all the dollars. Of course there are negative effects associated with running the printing presses to avoid a debt default; but they can be managed using other tools in the federal tool box. So the next time a talking head goes on about the looming debt crisis, just remember what the Donald had to say: there can be no default so long as we print our own money.

  • w.heinlein by w.heinlein May 10, 2016 6:05 PM Flag

    With his approval ratings now well over 50%, significantly higher than either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, President Obama is already making us feel nostalgic. Given a choice between a robotic careerist and a crazy ego-maniacal narcissist, I'lm already longing for a clam, level-headed, thoughtful President with an impish sense of humor and the ability to laugh at himself. Whereas Hillary's campaign slogan might be "My resume is longer than yours" and Trump's apparently is "My baby maker is bigger than yours" Obama's could and should be "My brain is bigger than yours." He has outwitted the GOP at almost every turn, and managed to govern effectively even in the face of rabid opposition from them. Now it appears that he will leave Hillary a booming economy, fully recovered stock and real estate markets, and a new Supreme Court Justice. Well, here's a virtual toast to President Obama: thanks for setting a standard that neither of your potential successors is likely to achieve. I miss you already and you're not even gone.

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