Scientists find more evidence of a ninth planet in our solar system 

Tallbloke's Talkshop

The hunt for 'Planet 9' [image credit: Caltech] The hunt for ‘Planet 9’ [image credit: Caltech]

Still no guarantee that such a planet exists, but the signs seem promising.
H/T Daily Mail Online

Since its discovery at the beginning of this year, the mysterious ‘Planet Nine’ has had scientists looking for the signs that could confirm its existence.

Now, astronomer Mike Brown of Caltech, one of the scientists behind the January announcement, claims he’s found further evidence to support it. The giant hidden planet is thought to sit on the edge of our solar system and is 10 times more massive than the Earth, gaseous, and similar to Uranus or Neptune.

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@garethmorgannz’s #UBI finishes the job on #GenerationRent @JordNZ

Gareth Morgan revealed today a hitherto unnoticed design feature in his Universal Basic Income of $11,000 per annum. It will be phased in over a long time. That will mean that Generation Rent will continue to pay taxes to fund a universal old age pension for their parents and grandparents, but will not be fortunate enough to receive that themselves.

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Source: Morgan Foundation (2016) Taxpayers Union Critique of the UBI just bonkers – again

They are not left of their own devices. Generation Rent  is expected to save the Universal Basic Income they receive over their working lives to avoid living in poverty in their retirement. Does not strike me as a political winner.

The Morgan Foundation does not understand the implications of time inconsistency for retirement savings policy:

  • Which is better? Save for your retirement through the share market or save to own your own home and then present yourself at the local social security office to collect your taxpayer funded old-age pension?
  • Under this fine game of bluff, you bleed the taxpayer in your old age and pass on your debt-free home to your children.

This strategy of not saving much for retirement is rational for the less well-paid. The family home is exempt from income and asset testing for social security. If you lose you bet, sell your house and live off the capital. For ordinary workers, this is a good bet. The middle class might prefer to live in a more luxurious retirement.

For ordinary workers, whose wages are not a lot more than their old age pension from the government, a government funded pension is a good political gamble. The old-age pension for a couple in New Zealand is set at no less that 60% of average earnings.

Edward Prescott argues for compulsory retirement savings account albeit with important twists because it is otherwise irrational for many to save for their retirement against the background of a welfare state:

The reason we need to have mandatory retirement accounts is not because people are irrational, but precisely because they are perfectly rational — they know exactly what they are doing.

If, for example, somebody knows that they will be cared for in old age — even if they don’t save a nickel — then what is their incentive to save that nickel? Wouldn’t it be rational to spend that nickel instead?

…Without mandatory savings accounts we will not solve the time-inconsistency problem of people under-saving and becoming a welfare burden on their families and on the taxpayers. That’s exactly where we are now.

Labour’s UBI

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Creative destruction in digital media time

Still struggling to grasp the UBI

The best way to talk yourself out of a Universal Basic Income is to take the advocates at their word and read their own costings.

It always involves a great big new tax to just leave the existing people who depend upon the welfare state to get by to break even. Given that, what is the point?

Ooops! Alarm over ‘sinking Islands’ premature as sea level falls at Kwajalein Atoll

Watts Up With That?

David Burton writes:

Remember this little article by Nils-Axel Mörner, not quite three years ago?

The Marshall Islands and their Sea Level Changes

He discussed Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, where there’s a tide gauge that seemed to be measuring accelerated sea-level rise:

Of course, the Climate Community sounded the alarm. “Sinking islands call for NZ action,” trumped the New Zealand Herald. “Low-lying islands face existential threat from rising sea levels,” declared the Bangladesh Daily Star.

But Nils warned against drawing panicked conclusions from just one tide gauge. He pointed out that the apparent surge in sea-level at Kwajalein was atypical, and thus unlikely to herald an acceleration in global sea-level rise. He speculated that it could be due to local factors, such as subsidence caused by local construction projects. “In conclusion, don’t “hang your hat” on the Kwajalein graph,” he wrote.

Willis Eschenbach then

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Pfizer’s Inversion Is Good News for American Workers, American Consumers, and American Shareholders

International Liberty

I’m never surprised when politicians make absurd statements, but I’m still capable of being shocked when other people make outlandish assertions.

Like the leftist policy wonk who claimed that capitalism is actually coercion, even though free markets are based on voluntary exchange. Or the statist columnist who argued people aren’t free unless they’re entitled to other people’s money, even though that turns some people into unfree serfs.

Now I have another example of upside-down thinking. It deals with the “inversion” issue, which involves American-chartered companies choosing to redomicile overseas.

A column in the Huffington Post implies that Pfizer is some sort of economic traitor for making a sensible business decision to protect the interests of workers, consumers, and shareholders.

Pfizer…wants to turn its back on America by claiming to be an Irish company through an offshore merger, giving it access to Ireland’s low tax rates. The…

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The brutal utilitarian calculus of @NoahSmith @livingwageNZ @berniesanders

The bleeding heart concerns of the Left for job losses from economic policy changes such as from trade liberalisation disappears as soon as they discuss the losers from a living wage increase.

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Instead of may the heavens may fall but a manufacturing job must not be lost from trade liberalisation, a brutal utilitarian calculus overtakes Noah Smith and the living wage movement about the small number of job losses that result from modest increases in the minimum wage.

Most are those who support the minimum wage shift gears their applied welfare economics in all other social context to emphasise how the losers should be given priority and greater weight when adding up the social gains and social losses of economic change.

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The social cost of the minimum wage is not discussed in this way: how many jobs are lost and that these job losses are much more important than any gains to society.

All that is done is the number of jobs lost is compared with some other social metrics such as how much the wages go up for those that still have a job and that is enough to conclude that there is a socially beneficial change from a minimum wage increase.

Any low paid workers affected by the minimum wage increase are just reduced to numbers and added and subtracted with great ease and few moral compunctions about interpersonal comparisons of utility.

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A minimum wage increase is not free if one worker loses their job. The Paretian Criterion states that welfare is said to increase or decrease if at least one person is made better off or worse off with no change in the positions of others.

As Rawls pointed out, a general problem that throws utilitarianism into question is some people’s interests, or even lives, can be sacrificed if doing so will maximize total satisfaction. As Rawls says:

[ utilitarianism] adopt[s] for society as a whole the principle of choice for one man… there is a sense in which classical utilitarianism fails to take seriously the distinction between persons.

Minimum wage advocates fail to take seriously that low paid workers who lose their jobs because of minimum wage increases are real living people who suffer when their interests are traded off for the greater good of their fellow low paid workers, some of whom come from much wealthier households.

As Rawls pointed out, a general problem that throws utilitarianism into question is some people’s interests, or even lives, can be sacrificed if doing so will maximize total satisfaction. As Rawls says:

[ utilitarianism] adopt[s] for society as a whole the principle of choice for one man… there is a sense in which classical utilitarianism fails to take seriously the distinction between persons.

Minimum wage advocates fail to take seriously that low paid workers who lose their jobs because of minimum wage increases are real living people who suffer when their interests are traded off for the greater good of their fellow low paid workers, some of whom come from much wealthier households. Obviously the teenagers and adults thrown onto the scrapheap of society by an increased minimum wage don’t count in the brutal utilitarian calculus Noah Smith and the living wage movement employs.

The Stranglers – Skin Deep

1-Year Impacts of Charter Schools on Math & English Scores @GreenCatherine @DBSeymour

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Source: Fourteen Economic Facts on Education and Economic Opportunity | The Hamilton Project.

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