Thursday, December 27, 2018

Obama baked the economic recovery cake, Trump adds frosting; wants more frosting

Mr. Trump fears that our country could be sliding into another recession and that's why he would like the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low; like maintaining a sugar high of printed money. Problem is, that's not very sustainable in the long run, tho we've had rock bottom interest rates for may years, during several administrations, Obama and Bush included.

I think one problem is the combination of cheap money and Republican policies of low domestic spending. Cheap money can drive up house values, while tight spending policies means less money for programs such as HUD's affordable housing. This adds to homelessness.

We could print money and spend liberally on the social service side, but if we do that too much, we end up in a real mess; like happened in Venezuela. Somehow, we need to find sustainable and equitable balance.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Can geoengineering address climate change the way fracking reduced the energy crisis?

When I was in college, I thought, for sure, we were running out of oil. Pretty much everyone thought that with the gas lines and price hikes of the 1970s. I was looking forward to a future of bicycling and public transit. Liquid petroleum was running out and oil shale was expensive. Back then, they thought the shale would have to be dug up from mines, crushed and cooked. Gasoline prices would be through the roof and we'd have to go solar.

Little did I know that they found an answer. Fracking. Oil is now cheap, compared to the rest of the economy, but today's worry is global warming. There's still plenty of fossil fuel in the ground, but carbon emissions are changing the climate.

As with the oil running out, it seems like an unsolvable problem, but maybe they will find another workaround? Geoengineering? Will we do something like put artificial sunshades above the earth? Solar energy is getting less expensive as well. Who knows.

Back in college, I was hoping the automobile would die along with it's highway traffic death toll of 30-40 thousand Americans per year. Little did I know that the self driving car would come to the rescue, or at least I hope it comes to the rescue. I'm almost always for accepting change.

Monday, December 17, 2018

In Canada, they don't have the Obamacare Mandate. It's just universal care and the mandate is taxes

People grumbled about the Obamacare mandate that everyone had to have insurance. Mandating a purchase was thought to be unconstitutional.

In Canada, they don't have the mandate, they just call it a tax. In Canada, the taxes are a bit higher, but everyone gets health coverage. It's a system of universal coverage. Single payer, for the most part. Down here it looked like people were being forced to buy a product they didn't want because it was called a premium that's paid to private companies. In Canada, it's a tax.

In both countries, the system works best if it's pretty much universal. That's because when people are given a choice, they wait till they are sick or high risk to buy insurance. This drives up the premiums.

Without the mandate, Obamacare becomes more unstable and the recent court decision, in Texas, is attempting to scrap the whole program. That means pulling the plug on millions of people. Even hardened Republicans, including Trump himself, must realize that pulling the plug is really "staring right into the abyss."

That is why even Trump says Obamacare will keep going until this can get sorted out. He wants a "replacement for Obamacare." Problem is there's probably no way around the need for higher income people to pay more so lower income people can still afford healthcare. This is especially true with the income gap being so high in USA.

The only other alternatives, that I see, would be figuring out how to drastically reduce the cost of healthcare. If people, on average, were healthier and used the system less often, and/or if the system wasn't so expensive, it might work. I don't see the politicians talking that much about strategies for accomplishing that.

How about my bicycling lifestyle, but I realize that doesn't work for everyone. My health is, most likely, a combination of choice and luck. To be honest, luck is part of the equation. A friend of mine attributes his health, in part, to choosing good grandparents. "Choosing?" The genetic lottery.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

I've heard the phrase, "a watched pot never boils."

I hear that dating is pretty much totally on-line these days. I've never really dated tho. I guess one bad thing about dating and especially on-line dating is that the focus is totally on trying to find a mate. Ironically, its often more likely to find a quality mate when one is not expecting it. When people meet for other reasons, they can sometimes grow on each other; so to speak. They find out how much they like one another given time. In some cases, the mate might not even be someone you would expect on first impression. You might not give that person a chance from just the impression when looking for a mate, but as people mingle, over time, they can learn more about each other. They can grow and change together. The situation can evolve. Maybe they do decide to be mates, but that isn't necessarily the original intent. The pragmatic goal of procuring a mate isn't the main focus, but ironically that might be the best strategy. I use the word "procure" as it does seem like a lot of people's focus when they are mate shopping is too pragmatic, rather than broad minded.

Friday, December 07, 2018

A refute for the "nature causes climate change anyway" argument

People who think global warming doesn't matter because nature changes climate every so often anyway are kind of blowing off civilization as if civilization doesn't matter. Yes, maybe nature wipes the slate clean every once in a while with things like ice ages, asteroid strikes and times when there are palm trees at the Arctic Circle. Would we want big changes, like that, in the next few decades? Those changes happened thousands and millions of years ago; before civilization as we know it.

Going forward, nature may have not scheduled changes, like that, for a few thousand more years. Our modern civilization has only been around, maybe 200 years. Given nature, we could go another thousand, or so, years. That is if we don't blow it ourselves. Think of all the things we've accomplished in the past 200 years. What could we accomplish in just another 200 years? Do we really want to wipe the slate now?

Yes, nature could wipe the slate with something like an asteroid strike in the next few decades, but that isn't very likely. Nature works on a different time scale than our "flash in the pan" civilization. Still, I like our civilization. It would be nice to keep it around for another few hundred years at least.