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March 29, 2021

Comments

Not to distract from the direction the thread has gone (and I'm not being sarcastic), but I'd like to step back a bit just to see where we have come from vis-a-vis the starting point about the center:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/trump-and-the-trapped-country

So my IRA constitutes hoarding??? I'm getting really confused here.

Below is a possible explanation. The Dow Jones is currently close to a record high in spite of economic damage done by the pandemic.

"But why did the velocity of money fall? One possible explanation is that, as the money supply increased, the increase went largely into exchanges of financial assets rather than exchanges of goods and services. If this is what happened, then we should see an increase in the prices of financial assets rather than an increase in the prices of goods and services. Because prices of financial assets are not included in inflation calculations, we would not observe an increase in the official inflation numbers.

Indeed, market watchers have been wondering how it can be that stock prices fell with the advent of COVID lockdowns, but then recovered almost half of that decline within three short weeks. The longer the lockdown drags on, the greater the number of bankruptcies there will be.

Given that it’s unclear how long the lockdown will last, and that the economic ramifications become more dire with each passing week, one would expect stock prices to continue to fall so long as the lockdown remains.

A possible explanation for why stock prices partially recovered, and have since remained relatively stable, is that the increase in the money supply made its way into financial markets—putting upward pressure on stock prices—rather than markets for goods and services, leaving prices for goods and services unchanged or falling."
Massive Inflation May Be Coming, Because the US Government Has Cornered Itself into a Fiscal End Game: Years of deficit spending has made monetary policy a slave to fiscal policy. (May 21, 2020)

The Dow Jones is currently close to a record high in spite of economic damage done by the pandemic.

Stock prices (not just the Dow) are in a classic bubble. As an instant's glance at the price/earnings ratios will show. The wonder is that it hasn't burst already.

Why? is, as usual, a good question. My guess is that it's the classic fear of missing out on the (crazy) gains. Especially while intetest rates are low. Personally, I shifted towards things like municipal bonds a while back.

Why? is, as usual, a good question

It's Different This Time.

I could be wrong, but the impression I had was that the big banks were taking all the money the Fed was handing out over the last decade or so and trading with it.

When I was younger, a depository bank that took money from the Fed could do a limited number of things with it. They couldn't send it out of the country because of capital flow restrictions. They couldn't trade with it. They had to make loans. And those loans largely resulted in more salaries and wages being paid: expand a business, construction, etc.

Choosing good loans to make is a lot of work. Far easier to hand the money to the non-depository side of the business -- since that's allowed now -- and let them make up exotic financial instruments to sell to the rubes.

I could be wrong, but I don't think excess reserves are doing anything at all but sitting with the fed and earning something like a quarter of a percent of interest. Investment banks and depository banks are no longer distinct as they once were by law or regulation, but I don't think that means excess reserves are being used to buy stocks and such. If they were, they wouldn't be reserves.

It's Different This Time

Yup, it always is.

wj: "I shifted towards things like municipal bonds a while back."

I prefer old-fashioned, classic investments:
TULIPS.

I prefer old-fashioned, classic investments

In hindsight. I wish I had plowed every dime I could get my hands on into Turkish cymbals, Fender guitars and tube amps, and a duplicate still-in-shrink-wrap copy of every vinyl album I ever bought.

In hindsight, my brother and I wish we hadn't abandoned our baseball cards in our parents' basement until our mom threw them out when they moved.

There's a long list.

I should have loaded up on Bitcoin when it was $0.06.

Some cars from when I was young have achieved ridiculous values today, too.

The real question is, what could I buy today that will similarly appreciate beyond all sanity?

Trump bling?...

real estate

I should have kept up with my cat-juggling lessons. Not the same sort of investment, but I'd be making some sweet moolah on the calico circuit.

plastics

You'll need authenticity certificates for the plastics though. There is quite a lot of new retro bakelite products for example.

i predict the real big bucks are going to be in selling "conservatives" hot steaming culture war stories.

if you could get something like PornHub for "conservatives", where they could explore all kinds of graphic, hardcore stickin-it-to-the-libz fantasies from the safety of their own bedrooms, you could make a fortune.

"But why did the velocity of money fall? One possible explanation is that, as the money supply increased, the increase went largely into exchanges of financial assets rather than exchanges of goods and services. If this is what happened, then we should see an increase in the prices of financial assets rather than an increase in the prices of goods and services. Because prices of financial assets are not included in inflation calculations, we would not observe an increase in the official inflation numbers."

The obvious answer is that too little money was in the hands of those with a marginal propensity to spend/consume, and too much in the hands of the investor class.

Maybe some day we can try something other than this continuing concentration of wealth and income.

if you could get something like PornHub for "conservatives", where they could explore all kinds of graphic, hardcore stickin-it-to-the-libz fantasies from the safety of their own bedrooms, you could make a fortune.

You could get something rather like that, it's called Fox News, and Rupert has made a fortune. And I notice that the Lincoln Project is currently going big on the "Rupert made billions destroying our democracy" story, whereas I wonder what their take on Rupert and Fox was when Steve Schmidt was pushing Palin and Fox wasn't targeting the founders of the Lincoln Project. But perhaps I am being too cynical.

"But why did the velocity of money fall? One possible explanation is that, as the money supply increased, the increase went largely into exchanges of financial assets rather than exchanges of goods and services...

This is back to front. Money supply was increased in response to the fall in velocity,

It's no secret that in the years before 2007 banks were very heavily engaged in the securitization of loans, especially mortages.

That is, when they made loans, they packaged them up into bonds and sold them on, then made more loans with the proceeds.

That's high-velocity circulation of money.

And then the music stopped, repackaging of loans stopped. Velocity fell. Govenments and central banks sensibly increased money supply to try to compensate.

Additionally, to reduce the likelihood of future bailouts, regulators insisted that banks increase their reserves. So that's what banks did.

This is back to front. Money supply was increased in response to the fall in velocity

If we put on our neoclassical/monetarist hat, and posit that MV=PV, then V, velocity of money, is inversely proportional to M, the supply of money. Increasing the supply of money will, ceteris paribus, reduce the velocity of money.

So I would be inclined toward the Carroll Postulate, i.e., if you shift income upward, other things being equal, then you should observe a decline in V. (but this is not a hill I would be willing to die on, LOL).

I sense a Nobel coming for Lewis.

Don’t disagree with this. I’d probably find a 91% tax rate as a problem, for that matter.

Well, it was a marginal rate, so for me it would depend in part on what the threshold was, especially in relation to the curve of after-tax incomes.

OT Matt Gaetz LOL.

Re Gaetz
HTF did he not get hammered with this sooner?

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/01/politics/matt-gaetz-photos-women/

Hey, y'all need to read this. I think you'll like it:

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/04/02/john-boehner-book-memoir-excerpt-478506

Later.

in 1952, there was a 92% bracket. it started at $300,000 for 'head of household' filing. that's about $3M today.

for married filing separate or single, it started at $200,000. (~$2M today)

HTF did he not get hammered with this sooner?

he's been the subject of several ethics investigations but he keeps winning his district by huge amounts because the GOP likes that he's a mini-Trump more than anything else. it's all theater.

I think you'll like it:

hot damn. that was satisfying.

I’d probably find a 91% tax rate as a problem, for that matter.

If we were talking about a 91% rate on all your income, I'd understand completely. And agree. But as the marginal rate on income above several million? I'm finding it hard to see how that would impact anyone's quality of life.

This is fun
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/01/telnaes-cartoon-republicans-coronavirus-wwii-posters/

Looks like law enforcement and the media are trying to cast light on Gaetz in such a way that his shadow looks far larger than just the sleazy individual he is.

if the sense of the room is that a 91% bracket at nosebleed levels of income make sense, I will not stand in the way.

:)

A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way.

that's a funny line.

Looks like law enforcement and the media are trying to cast light on Gaetz in such a way that his shadow looks far larger than just the sleazy individual he is.

Or, maybe he's just an entitled sex-trafficking MDMA-popping pedophile asshole pimp who likes to share pictures of naked women with hula hoops with his fellow legislators.

He's a Florida man, after all.

He doesn't look like a Florida man...

True, Charles. But an orange jumpsuit will solve most of that.

Some captions from the Florida man link...

• Florida man accused of throwing pancake batter at woman arrested
• Florida man arrested after hitting girlfriend in the face with a burrito
• Florida man arrested for slapping girlfriend in the face with a cheeseburger
• Florida Man Arrested for Throwing Cookie at Girlfriend
• Florida man charged with battery for giving girlfriend ‘Wet Willy’
• Florida man charged with pouring ketchup on girlfriend
• Florida man steals goods to pay for ankle monitor fee
• Florida Man Throws Toilet Through School Board Building Window in Illinois, Is Arrested Sitting on Another
• Florida man with no arms charged with stabbing Chicago tourist
• Florida man worried about vampires intentionally burns down his home

The food assaults are a bit disturbing and distasteful. But they predominated in the less revolting category.

Gaetz is a complete sleaze, no doubt about that. But, just as a matter of interest, if the youngest girl he had had sex with was 17 (I'm not saying it is so, I haven't followed the story closely), would most (or any) of you consider him to be a pedophile? I ask because, no matter what the power differentials are, and other differences between partners, in the UK the age of consent is 16 (with no state line stuff to take into account) so consensual sex with anybody that age or above would not constitute pedophilia. Which, by the way, explains some of the slight apathy here around Prince Andrew, where the girl in the photo was 17 at the time. The moral questions are different, and Gaetz's other alleged behaviours are a separate issue, but I am just particularly interested in this one about what constitutes pedophilia.

US law and opinions can be pretty twisted when it comes to sex. Like an underaged woman being arrested for making child pornography if she takes and distributes nude pictures of herself.

In the US, tne age of consent is typically 16. So Gaetz having sex with a 17 year old would not, in itself, be illegal. Having sex in exchange for money (i.e. prostitution) is illegal outside Nevada** -- although typically the seller is prosecuted, not the buyer. All matters of state, not Federal, law.

But what Gaetz (and the other guy) is accused of is transporting a minor (i.e. someone under 18) across a state line for sex. Which is a violation of Federal law -- as a matter of interstate commerce, if you will.

** Since prostitution falls under state law, whether it is legal or illegal is a local choice. Nevada has chosen to make it legal, but regulated, everywhere outside its two largest metropolitan counties.

plus, ya know, fuck Matt Gaetz:

“Hey @MichaelCohen212,” Gaetz tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”

I withdraw the accusation of pedophilia.

He's just an entitled sex-trafficking MDMA-popping asshole pimp who likes to share pictures of naked women with hula hoops with his fellow legislators.

oops, forgot about the incident cleek links to.

He's just an entitled sex-trafficking MDMA-popping witness-tampering asshole pimp who likes to share pictures of naked women with hula hoops with his fellow legislators.

And TBH the fact that he's from FL is kind of beside the point. Gaetz would be all of that no matter where he came from.

And now, Major League Baseball has moved the All Star Game out of Atlanta.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/04/02/mlb-move-all-star-game-atlanta-voting-law/

How many smacks up side the head will it take before the Georgia legislature gets the message? This particular action is more form that substance, given the the economic downside will mostly hit non-Republican Atlanta. But still, the gesture of being rejected by baseball, baseball!, has got to hurt.

wj, what I was asking about was whether the ObWi commentariat considered that Gaetz having sex with a 17 year old was sufficient grounds to call him (morally, as it were, not legally) a pedophile. But russell's withdrawal seemed to be an answer, at least from him. And FWIW, I do agree with the rest of his characterisation of Gaetz.

Mind you, I realise my question was pretty incoherent (done at speed, before zoom call deadline) so no wonder it was confusing!

GftNC, in general, I would apply the term pedophile to someone having sex with someone pre-teen. But wouldn't object if someone argued for including 13-14 year-olds. Mind, I think someone over 20 having sex with someone under 17 is prima facia coercion at some level. And thus immoral. But there are levels of immorality.

(Hope that wasn't too incoherent.)

Pedophile, hebephile, ephebophile: three distinct classifications for the younger end of chronophilia.

Pedophilia is attraction to pre-pubescent minors.

Hebephilia is attraction to early-pubescence minors (Hebe being the Greek goddess of youth).

Ephebophelia is attraction to late-pubescence minors (ephebos being the Ancient Greek word for the candidate for adulthood who has not yet passed the rite of passage). Ephebophelia is not considered paraphilia because the individual involved appears sexually mature on a physical level in a way that the object of the hebephile's attraction does not.

And since we are discussing gray areas, one wonders what to do with the late-pubescence emancipated minor or the late developing individual who is over the age of majority.

(Another one of those topics I know a bit about because a Victorianist friend wrote about it for their dissertation.)

Mind, I think someone over 20 having sex with someone under 17 is prima facia coercion at some level.

Is that assuming that the elder party is initiating the sexual contact, or is that regardless of initiator and/or knowledge of the minor's true age?

Thanks for the link McT, I especially liked this

"There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz."

Looks like law enforcement and the media are trying to cast light on Gaetz in such a way that his shadow looks far larger than just the sleazy individual he is.

It looks to me that no one was willing to call him out and kick his ass out, so the campaign had to be broadened. 'he's an asshole, but he's our asshole' kind of sentiment.
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/01/politics/matt-gaetz-photos-women/

And this seems to be the straw
https://www.thedailybeast.com/these-text-messages-led-the-feds-to-matt-gaetz
but from 2018!

I get that it can be difficult to get people on elaborate charges as this Time article points out
https://time.com/5952314/matt-gaetz-scandals/

If he is so sleazy, why does it take making his shadow so big to get him out?

Huh, interesting both. Thank you.

Is that assuming that the elder party is initiating the sexual contact, or is that regardless of initiator and/or knowledge of the minor's true age?

As a rule of thumb, I would say that the adult is responsible (which is what being an adult is really about) regardless. And I have a little trouble (ancient that I am) with the idea of having sex with someone that you don't know well enough to have a clue how old they are. I've met a lot of teenagers who thought they could simulate being adults; very few who could do so convincingly. And those few inevitably had sufficient maturity to see no need to chase after older folks.

If he is so sleazy, why does it take making his shadow so big to get him out?

In D.C. it's easy for a merely sleazy individual to get lost in the crowd...

I have been teaching long enough at a university to have had students that were 16 or 17 years old in my classes who were also living in the dorms. I only knew that they were underage because I received a FERPA notification when they enrolled. Every one of those classes had students in them who were over the age of 20, and what my students get up to after class is not something I am interested in knowing.

And I know precious few college students who can simulate being adults even after they technically become one, so...

Real talk.

As with many things involving humans, there's a significant grey area. And occasional exceptions beyond that. Still, I would think it reasonable to ask for a convincing tale as to why the adult claims to have been under the misapprehension. Beyond just "Well, she said she was...."

In D.C. it's easy for a merely sleazy individual to get lost in the crowd...

Has it not always been thus? Perhaps we now straddle two stools of how we undertake elite reproduction, while not getting the full benefit of either one of them.

Is the age of consent now uniform in the US? And what does everything think it is?

The situation in Japan is interesting. You'll see from a quick google that it is 13, but that is from the 1907 Penal Code and each prefecture has a variety of laws that make that moot. As one would suspect, there is a lot of prosecutorial discretion involved, and the various ages make it difficult to say there is an understood age.

Plus Japan just lowered the age of adulthood to 18. https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/japan%E2%80%99s-legal-age-of-adulthood-dropping-by-two-years-but-do-teens-understand-what-that-means

However, the celebrated age is 20, when there is a seijinshiki on the 2nd Sunday of January, where there is a ceremony and all the kids dress up in kimono.
https://www.nippon.com/en/features/jg00064/

Kitakyushu, about an hour away from me, is renowned for the wild fashion they do for that.
https://soranews24.com/2020/01/14/seijinshiki-2020-kitakyushus-coming-of-age-ceremony-dazzles-in-the-year-of-the-rat%E3%80%90photos%E3%80%91/

All this makes 'age of consent' a complicated topic here.

But perhaps there is a third stool. Letters of reference are used, but as identifiers of merit, not calls upon favors. Whereas the patronage system incentivizes returning favors, and punishes failure to do so, this system would incentivize accurately identifying merit, and punish misstating the candidates abilities: "You can't trust his judgement!" would get punished. Impersonal tests could be folded into the system, but without over-weighting test sophistication.

Age of consent still varies in the US by state.

Is the age of consent now uniform in the US?

IANAL.** That said, I believe it is fairly generally 16. (In practice, if not always in strict legal terms.)

With a caveat if both parties are of similar age, lack of coercion is assumed. Thus if one party is 15 and the other is 16, the law will ignore the fact that one is "under age."

I do recall hearing that some rural, or perhaps just Southern, states put it as low as 12. However I'm guessing that was basically just a slur.

** No doubt the lawyers among us can weigh in. But that's my understanding as a generally law abiding citizen.

Historically a number of states had low ages for marriage- Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year old cousin. Sex outside of marriage with a 13-year old would have been statutory rape.

So, they couldn't consent to sex, but they could consent to marriage. They double-think there is impressive.

Thus if one party is 15 and the other is 16, the law will ignore the fact that one is "under age."

No links, but I'm pretty sure this is not reliably true. This country is squirrelly about sex.

Chart of minimum age for marriage with parental consent. Before you peek, we should have a contest to see who can guess which state has the youngest age(s). And for that matter which comes in second.

I looked this stuff up when we had the first same-sex marriage referendum in Maine in 2009. Just for the record, Maine made men and women equal partners in marriage in IIRC 1967. Some guy was moaning in an op-ed about how we gay people had no compassion for the fact that he was no longer going to be able to call himself a husband (?!?!?!?!?). He taught con law at Colby College and he had no clue that the Maine marriage law didn't mention that word, or "wife." And of course he invented his self-pitying notion about losing his status as a "husband" -- idiots, idiots everywhere.

Sorry, veering off topic with that, and also this: ages for compulsory schooling also vary by state, including when you're allowed to quit without finishing, and who must give permission at different ages if you want to quit before the age at which you're allowed to do so with no one's permission. States also differ in terms of the age at which kids *must* enroll in school. In Maine, at least when my (mostly homeschooled) kids were young, it was 7. School people don't want you to know that kindergarten isn't actually compulsory. (This may be the one topic where CharlesWT and I are in somewhat the same ballpark. A big ballpark, I suspect, but still...)

There are traditions of marriage without consummation before reaching the age of maturity, i.e. marriage takes place pre-age-of-consent but the couple is not allowed to have sex before both are of age.
That's of course arranged marriages* in the vast majority of cases.

That's not something I'd approve of but it's at least a model that avoids the most controversial aspects.

*in extreme cases before the kids are even conceived (I know of both Jewish and Indian traditions there. The nobility in many places acted that way in the past too).

we should have a contest to see who can guess which state has the youngest age(s).

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have no real insights to offer when it comes to the Age of Consent (is it followed by the Age of Aquarius?). Naturally, this leaves me no choice but to throw something else out there.

(this also relates to the original topic insofar as if the "center" doesn't get its head out of its ass, we will be dealing with climate change at an existential level).

The next time somebody yaps at you about "The Green New Deal" not having enough specificity to change their mind (har har), you can show them this. My thanks to Farhad Manjoo for bringing this to my attention.

Enjoy your Easter weekend.

NC is 14 in cases where the woman (err, girl?) is pregnant. there's a push to get that changed.

we should have a contest to see who can guess which state has the youngest age(s).

Yup, I wouldn't have guessed New England. Although in retrospect I can speculate that the laws in those cases are simply unchanged from colonial times. I wonder what today's Massachusetts legislature would do if the issue came up.

about "The Green New Deal" not having enough specificity to change their mind

You know there's no sweet spot. Straight from "not enough detail" to "micro-managing" without anywhere in between.

NC's reasoning cited @cleek is, I suspect, the reason for the NE ages, and I would also guess that @wj is right that the laws are a survival from colonial times.

If a child was raped (by our standards, if she's 12 it's a rape) and pregnant, better to marry her off to the rapist than to have an unmarried mother (oh, the horror!) in the community.

They didn't call themselves Puritans for nothing.

Actually, per Wikipedia, it looks like they didn't, at least originally, call themselves Puritans, it was a pejorative term applied to them by other people. Whether they took it on later, like LGBTQ+ people took "queer," I haven't read enough to find out. Hey, it's maple sugaring time, I got stuff to do.

The point about 12-year-olds holds whatever they called themselves.

As to the horror, I'm not sure which was worse, the unmarried mother or the bastard child. Someone had to "give the baby a name," right?

I'm not sure which was worse, the unmarried mother or the bastard child.

Quite possibly the latter. The mother, after all, could eventually marry and change her status. But the child would be a bastard forever -- even though he had no control over events.

Truly biblical. The LOrd also loved to punish people through making their children suffer (and their offspring too). The infamous 'curse of Ham' was not actually against Ham but his son Canaan and David's sinning with Bathseba got punished by their infant kid's death. Let's not forget the firstborn of Egypt either.

to have an unmarried mother (oh, the horror!) in the community.

Cancel Culture sighting!

IIRC, regarding statutory rape, some (all?) states' laws include an age difference clause: a 5-year or more age difference is criminal. A 16-year old fooling around with 20 year old might be OK, but not with someone who's over 21.

When I was in my late teens (quite a long time ago, when many things were different), I preferred men in their 20s - or even 30s - on the basis that they probably knew more about sex and would be better at it. I had little interest in my fellow teenagers.

In one of history’s ironies, most of the Puritan congregations in New England evolved into Congregationalists, and from there to Unitarians.

The Mathers no doubt spin in their graves.

The law in England and Wales (my understanding is that Scotland and Northern Ireland have closely similar laws, separately enacted) says that:

- penetrative sex with a person under 13 is an offence punishable by life imprisonment. It's not a defence to say you thought they were older.
- for a person A over 18, sex with a person B under 16 (and over 13) is an offence punishable by 14 years' imprisonment. It is a defence if A reasonably believed B was over 16.
- for a person A over 18, sex with a person B under 18 (and over 16) is an offence punishable by 5 years' imprisonment, if A is in a position of trust in relation to B, their schoolteacher for example.

The last provision does not apply if A is married to B. The youngest age for marriage is 16, and parental consent is required up to 18.

The definitions of sex are the same for males and females in so far as anatomically possible.

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