Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Robert Frank on Luck and Dilligence

Robert Frank on Luck and Diligence

I like Robert Frank and I want to agree with him and I like a progressive consumption tax but I think he is badly off on Education and infrastructure.

I just read that USA infrastructure is good, better than it has ever been.

AND middle of the pack for the industrialized countries. That matches with my experience also. How much does the U.S. spend on infrastructure compared to the rest of the world?
It's in the middle of the pack. Between 2001 and 2011, annual public investment averaged 3.3 percent of gross domestic product, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The average OECD nation spent 3 percent of GDP over the same period.
AND anyway transportation is only 3% of the federal budget doubling spending on it would not be that big a deal.

AND further more, roads should be paid for with the gasoline taxes and airport with usage fees to the airlines.
  Frank and I really disagree on education. I think school spending should be cut in half. Spending above 1965 levels seems to not have much effect.

Related excerpt:   
The achievement decline cannot be blamed on inadequate spending. Between 1960 and 1995, annual per pupil spending in the United States rose from $2,122 to $6,434 in inflation-adjusted 1995 dollars.3 By 1999, the United States was spending an average of $7,397 per K–12 student. Spending in other industrialized countries averaged $4,850. Only Switzerland, at $8,194 per pupil, spent more than the United States.4 In industrialized countries, student scores on the Third International Mathematics and Science Studies tests are uncorrelated with spending. Though per capita U.S. spending is high and the academic achievement of its fourth-graders is above average, its eighth-graders score in the middle of the pack, and twelfth-grade achievement is consistently among the lowest of the countries studied.
Even Franks example:
and if they do that and I don't do that, then my kid goes to the school with a metal detector out front.

That is bad students not bad schools. I went to schools with metal detectors and they were good schools with some bad students. You cannot get away from bad students! In the "bad school" that I went to teachers would bend over backwards to help any student who showed a little interest I think because so few students did.

Here is a related blog post by me.
Also I think we could get to a progressive consumption tax by removing the cap on the IRA and removing the penalties for early withdrawal and taxing people on any earnings not put in the IRA plus any withdrawals from the IRA.

Finally we USAers are a great and wild and diverse lot. We are not all northern Europeans and the northern European model does not even work so well in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. My mothers family is from Sicily and they brought with them a little of Sicilian attitudes and paranoia. Those attitudes seems to hang on through the generations. Those types of attitudes make the northern European model not work. As it seems to not even work so well for Arabs in Belgium and France.

I say considering the mix of people we have the USA does incredibly well. Much better than the Northern European model would work here. Continued immigration may eventually make it fail even in Northern Europe.

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