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Thread: Tucker vs. Diblasio

  1. Default Tucker vs. Diblasio

    yeah, I'm feeling a bit frisky, so here goes......

    I know it's not good to start contentious threads, but I saw a video by Fox (ahem, Faux) news, and it was a pretty fascinating discussion.

    They talked about the threat of automation, "robot" taxes, the consequences of a basic income scheme, and the current state of NY city.

    I gave the nod to Diblasio on this debate, Tucker just couldn't respond with anything but smart-aleck one-liners. I'm no fan of "Hizzoner" and I disagree with most of what he stands for, but he made valid points. Strangely enough, Diblasio and Tucker agreed on most points, but it seemed like Tucker was spoiling for a fight, so he threw some cheap shots at Diblasio toward the end of the interview to stoke the boiler, as it were. Diblasio is currently running at 0.5% in the polls, so this mini-debate probably won't throw him into contention (since most of the watchers would be repub's anyway), but it might give him a boost.

    What does everyone think? Should we tax robots to pay for unemployment for workers displaced by automation? How about a basic income for every household? I won't get into the debate about how good/bad NY city is, the people that live and pay taxes there to decide this, they can pay their money and takes their pick, and whatever happens, happens.

    I'll start it off: I think robot taxes are silly, how do you define a robot and what's to stop tech giants from building machines that technically fall outside a legal definition of a "robot", but still do the work of one? And you don't need many of these robots to do most jobs these days, so the tax on any single one would have to be enormous to make any difference. I think the robot tax is a more moderate variation of the basic income. The basic income couldn't work, as the economics just don't support it. Any reasonable scenario you could concoct involving such a scheme would require 100% income tax rates and lead to galloping inflation, followed shortly thereafter by a hype-rinflationary spiral, since the government would have to print money to provide the income. We'd be following Venezuela down the drain. We clearly need to do something or we are "all screwed" as Diblasio candidly admitted.

    My idea is a bit wild, but I think we should go back to doing something that we started to do 50 years ago - reach for the stars and use public money to encourage tech start-up's that can develop the propulsion and life-support systems needed for us to reach the stars. Any funds should go to smaller start-up's, not tech giants, since these companies are too big and powerful now (personally, I think they should be broken up, they're all virtual monopolies now). If we succeeded, the benefits would overwhelm the costs involved, as we would be harvesting rare earth metals, new fuels, and all sorts of things yet undiscovered that could change our lives for ever. More importantly, we could spread out and get off this rock we're on. How long can we stay here with population growth continuing, before everything falls apart? 50 more years? 100? Sooner or later, we're going to outgrow earth. We may have already.

    Anyway, it was a fascinating discussion, any opinions?
    Drug criminalization is modern-day slavery.

  2. #2
    There's already atomization, pure and simple. Things can and do fall apart--and definitely will and always have. The center definitely will not hold, and already isn't. Even the dinosaurs were recipient of an asteroid, I believe.

    I'll watch the youtube tomorrow, interesting about tax on robots, I have as of yet no idea what that means. Is the 'basic income scheme' the one Andrew Yang is proposing?

    Bill de Blasio has been a fine mayor in many ways, but some are not what non-residents would experience so 'in the skin', viz., his managing to freeze rents on rent-regulated apartments for the last couple of years, which lead to the bill signed by Cuomo bringing vast protections to tenants that I never would have imagined possible. Previously, it had been being chipped away at little by little, but it was usually only the rent-controlled big apartments that had to forfeit--and they often needed to. Some had 10-room apartments for $1000 a month, another had a small palace on Park Avenue for $1200 (they were murdered in a quite scandalous early 90s cesspool-story, but not because of the rent-control, they started 'circling the drain' and became semi-criminals themselves); with vacancy decontrol, that particular one would have gone up to something like $1,000,000 a year at least--not unlike the minor English royals the Kents, who were paying 69 GBP a week for 5 rooms at Kensington Palace--till the proverbial public outcry, now 200,000 GBP a year, as well they should. Although the Kents aren't criminals, and the Princess is one of the few accomplished Royals (I've heard her art history lectures), but that's neither here nor there.

    This matter of 'robot taxes' can't be limited obviously to NYC, can it? Surely not. I wonder why de Blasio and Carlson were talking about this too. Maybe to do with de Blasio's ill-conceived idea that he ought to run for President. But he has definitely been a good mayor in a city that more and more oppresses with commercial rents that have run out almost all the small businesses I was aware of 40 years ago, and now an incredible number of supertall-skyscraper projects that are literally exhausting to look at, and they are everywhere, seemingly suddenly sprouting up if you weren't watching one particular day. So that, along with protections for residents (unlike the phenomenal commercial rents, which have even started running luxurious restos, etc., out of business), it was very good to keep Amazon out. That was too good to be true as well, and I guess AOC had something to do with that as well. Otherwise, it's mostly the accumulations into a few big firms, including supersized art galleries, and reductions of small new ones opening already, just as with giants everywhere--that are definitely not getting broken up yet. And probably won't. It still seems astonishing that Amazon was refused. Very good.

    Off-topic, sorry, but de Blasio deserves a lot of credit, I can vouch for it with the fact of my own personal continuation being possible because of what he's worked for.

    I've been watching those NOVAs on 'The Planets', which are gorgeous. I don't even know how to ponder how we'd live on any of them, although with such things as 1/2 of all species lost since 1971, we're definitely not doing too well on 'this rock' as you call it. I think it's still the media giants who will likely get the power even from governments, as with Google and Facebook. Shoshanah Zuboff's 'The Age of Surveillance Capitalism' is definitely the best on what has been 98% shrunk-up since 2002. Shocking, but she's no amateur. NYT's huge 'Privacy Report' has good things on this too. I don't see how robots providing income for the unemployed would be anything TPTB would care to do for any human being, given that the human is being devalued daily and digitized and reconstructed, so we should be pleased to be all the sheep, and the Zuckerberg and Page and Thiel aristocracy can go ahead and make the world even more deficient (but that will just turn them into cryonauts and singularitarians like Ray Kurzweil--and I don't for a minute believe that 'living on disk' is a form of greater sophistication), but I'll listen to the debate tomorrow. Thanks for bringing it to our attention--that is, people like me who hadn't even heard of it.
    Last edited by toby; 09-08-2019 at 01:12 AM.

  3. #3
    That was quite a spectacle, with Tucker merely obnoxious and not even knowing what he's talking about; and de Blasio, though not right for the presidency, sits patiently and puts up with him. Has definitely gotten handsomer then even he was--does gymming every day in Brooklyn, for which he's gotten criticism.

    Carlson did not even know that surprising figure, that New York has actually grown in population. It was long the biggest city, but had stayed about the same from the 50s through the early 00s (or late 90s, not quite sure). Now people really want to live here--this is the one where those from the suburbs want to move back in when they have the money, and tons of rich Europeans are always now coming--and nobody was more surprised than I was to hear suddenly (it seemed) how much larger the population is. The city is definitely safer, but that was well-known as beginning with Giuliani, even though he was this unpleasant tough guy in many ways (destroyed the one beach here I loved, and some other Draconian things, but was effective with the quality-of-life projects to a major degree), and the fact the NYC is the safest big city has a lot to do with the fame and prestige, of course--other cities, big, but smaller, like St. Louis and certainly Detroit, are not safe at all, and that's where the high homicide rates are, although we've got plenty of ghetto crime still. One can see why this is not thought fair (sometimes referred to as an 'unprincipled exception', long not uncommon in countries which aren't embarassed to give to the center, as with Paris), although I don't know how it works. But when he says he is supportive of 'working people' he means it more than anybody, god knows Bloomberg wasn't. And de Blasio is not a wealthy man by the standards of Guiliani, much less Bloomberg.

    My intuition about the robot tax I still think is right--given the current grotesquerie that the country now is now awash in, the individual human being is nothing, and a kind of 'genocide' of poorer people can be effected by gradually taking away all entitlement programs, food stamps, medical care (although NYState is obviously one to expand Medicaid unlike the red states, which refused--their genocide is more along racial lines often). The cultural landscape is not in any way humane, such that getting people out of work is to make more profits and use of unpaid technological workers, viz., robots, but not to compensate those who lose jobs. Those people were always expendable in the US, this is not in any way the humane kind of society enjoyed in Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and France and Germany to a lesser degree.

    Which is why de Blasio is so important: It is stunning that he has made lower-income people protected in a national atmosphere such as we live in today. LA and San Francisco still have rent control, as do D.C. and Oakland, but not Boston and, in fact, not most of them. This ability to fight total corporate takeover in the 'Wall Street City' is just something I couldn't have imagined, even if the commercial rents are not so blessed. If it were not for de Blasio and now Cuomo, despite the fact that they famously are always fighting, I wouldn't be able to live in one of the 2 best neighbourhoods in the city: In fact, if I tried to find one in the furthest reaches of the outer boroughs at this price, I could not, i.e., it's cheaper as a result of these protections to live in one of the finest neighborhoods since I've had it so long and the incremental rent hikes have been very minimal before they were, in fact, frozen for the last 3 years--than it would for me to live in crime-ridden slums or the various crisis communities of especially dreadful Staten Island.

    Carlson also is incorrect about the city getting dirtier. It's always been dirty because of being so clumped together, claustrophobic. But his harping on one man defecating on the subway is going to happen when there is any sizeable homeless population. And, as of this July, the homeless suddenly impinged upon the hubs of Penn Station and Port Authority, to much dismay.

    But as to your main point, I just think the logic is a disintegration of the valuing of the human being at an increasingly rapid rate--getting exponentially more so every day--so tell me why you think, which does de Blasio have to not think because he is not one of those non-humans despite his follies--is a real and serious progressive--how the only logical conclusion if the current wave continues, would not simply be to dispose of these dispossessed workers rather than support them. They'll be called 'useless eaters' and plans are always in the works to reduce Medicaid and health care in general. Some of the top Dems could fix some of this (Warren is the most capable if she's electable, in my opinion--the smartest), but things still have a lot more 'going south' to do before the 2020 election. De Blasio made Carlson look like some petulant, punkish runt, which was amusing that he could do while being constantly interrupted by someone who didn't know what he was talking about. The biggest surprise for most of us was that we did not think crime statistics would continue to fall even if we weren't exactly 'in love' with Bloomberg or Giuliani.

    Anyway, thanks, I have never actually seen Fox News, and just read about it and its obvious corruption. I don't watch interviews with Kellyanne Conway, etc., it's bad enough to have to read what they said at a remove.
    Last edited by toby; 09-08-2019 at 06:47 PM.

  4. #4
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    Deblasio seems like a big jerk to me. He is very unlikely to get reelected mayor and 0 chance of becoming president. As for robot taxes and guaranteed income, this is coming some day. Its a form of socialism, socialism = communism light. Yeah we have social security but its not really socialism, you have to put in to get out and more in = more out though not exactly, some get more some less than they put in

    What happens when 1 bot can do the work of 100 people? we already have that and more but only certain jobs that do not require a lot of human thought. Like for example assembling a product, machines can do it like lighting 24/7. But if they have to figure out what goes where like something with a lot of variability, it often takes a human to make the decisions. But computers and machines get better and better and take over more jobs.

    This is good because it increases productivity. But what if all workers get laid off, who buys the products? This will be the challenge of the 21st century and beyond. Even doctors can be replaced with an AI program and automatic testing. They are using it now. Customers service used to be only human but you ever saw those kiosks in mcdonalds? That is primitive to what we will have some day.

    Not a robot tax but maybe a product tax. Make manufacturors give 10% of output which is distributed to those who can't afford it. Eventually a whole new economic system will be developed but not right now. Eventually even whole factories will be automated and make whatever goods the nation needs. More efficiency and if 1000 times the productivity of a human then there is lots of room to do things with it

    I do not cheer the rent fixing scheme. Look at it from the point of view of an investor. If via rent control he can make only 3% a year and can make much more elsewhere, he will not invest. Look at builders, if they know their apartments will have to obey some silly limit and few if anyone will buy the building because its not profitable to run they will not build. Banks will not lend to them. That is the problem of communism, oh I mean socialism and rent control.

    Its nice if you are a renter and can get into one of those bargain apts but there is a long long waiting list from what I hear. Its like in the soviet union when they fixed prices, prices were low but no product available or its rationed out. Same with rent control, rents are great but you can't get one unless you know someone or pay a huge "key" fee to the super or whoever decides who gets the unit.

    San fran is a sh!t hole and literally so. Its not just one person doing his business on the sidewalk its the hordes of homeless, more than any state. LA the same portland getting there too, baltimore is rat infested.
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  5. #5
    "baltimore is rat infested."

    Har har.

    My own building has about 7 rent-stabilized or -controlled apartments left from long ago. The rest--about 23--are decontrolled and the rents are way higher than they are worth, and raised every year--has purely to do with desirability of location and rich young people who have enough money to take something quickly and for awhile, and there's fast turnover, after which they always raise the rent about $200, above the $4000 they're already paying. So this building is still very profitable, and the rent-regulated tenants are not harassed. Other buildings are smaller and with mostly rent-regulated apartments, and those are the ones that are bad for investment--and where the huge efforts to evict are always being done. I don't know of any of these 'waiting lists' for rent-regulated apartments existing at all, I've never heard of such a thing, don't know anyone who has ever been on one, and definitely there is no such thing applicable to my building. I imagine there are some 'mixed' buildings like mine, and certain landmark buildings have been preserved because of it, but that is not of interest to any developer.

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