Friday, December 31, 2021

More Statistical Ignorance

More statistical ignorance from here.

In a 2015 YouGov survey, respondents reckoned that 32 percent of Democrats are LGBT, 29 percent are atheists or agnostics, and 39 percent belong to unions; the right figures are really 6, 9, and 11 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, they estimated that 38 percent of Republicans earn over $250,000 per year, 39 percent are over age 65, and 42 percent are evangelicals; actually, just 2 percent earn that much, 21 percent are senior citizens, and 34 percent are evangelicals.

Look how far off people's beliefs are from reality.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Blessed are You Poor

People are low income for many reasons on one hand things like bad health, lack of valuable talent for earning money etc. and many other's but also for sloth and criminality (crime usually does not pay very well), inability to work with others etc.  

I see dichotomy when I consider the contrast between the story of the good Samaritan, were the man who is poor, is only temporarily poor because he was robbed and hero really helps in a bog way in contrast to the verse below which to me implies a chronic problem but that we are called to continually tend to. 

Matt 26:11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.

That is why it seems like amazing grace to me that Jesus says:

Luke 7:20 Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

God has a grace for you, it seems, even if most of you poverty is self inflicted. 

I like to link to this to make a point that if you take the group of people who are poor for religious reasons they do not produce children whose average behavior is not similar to the average behavior of other poor people, who often bring poverty upon themselves through things like crime and pride, nevertheless it seems clear to me that we should help them and long term. 

All the more amazing Gods grace. 

One might point to:

2 Thess 3:10 KJV: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

So if a healthy man refuses to do any work he should not eat, nevertheless I think we are to help the poor even when self inflicted. Maybe in the case men we should provide work that the can an will do.

There are the deserving poor and the not so deserving poor, help them both.

Grace, grace, grace.


Why Do the Poor Commit More Crime?

Household Poverty and Nonfatal Violent Victimization, 2008-2012

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Freddie DeBoer agreeing with Arnold Kling, Bryan Caplan and Me

Here is communist Freddie DeBoer agreeing with Libertarians; Arnold Kling, Bryan Caplan and me on school quality:

Indeed, I am on record as saying that I don’t think there’s really such a thing as school quality, and that while teacher quality may be a real and meaningful variable it is likely confounded to hell and there may be interaction effects. 

There are not a significant number (more than 0.1%) of schools in the developed world that are significantly (10%) worse that the rest. We could save a lot of money if we admit that. You could use the saving to help the poorest among us if you chose.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Crime and Poverty

William Barr, William Scott Dwyer, and Patrick Fagan all agree that poverty is not a cause of crime (5; ÒPart 2Ó, 1; 3). Poverty does not directly cause crime; instead, it is a factor in the cause but, independently, it is not the root source (Barr 5). During the Great Depression, poverty levels were much higher than they are today, but crime actually declined (Barr 5; Fagan 3). From the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, income was on the rise and crime moved right along with it (Fagan 3; Dwyer Part 21). In 1990, the income level was much higher than in was in 1903, but the murder rate in 1990 was ten times higher than the murder rate in 1903, which was at 1 per 1000 inhabitants (Dwyer Part 21)

Another argument presented by Barr and Dwyer, inverts the poverty/crime relationship by stating that crime actually causes poverty. One of the premises for this argument focuses on businesses and how crime deters potential employers from establishing them (Barr 2; Dwyer ÒCrime and Poverty, Part 1Ó). One reason for this is that crime against a business reduces revenue, raising prices in impoverished neighborhoods because merchants have to make up for any losses caused by theft. These high prices also suppress the standard of living in the community, as the income in the community cannot keep pace with the rise in prices. Blacks living in high crime areas suffer from poverty because they pay higher prices for food and other goods than do whites in neighborhoods with less crime (Dwyer ÒCrime and

Poverty, Part 1Ó). Crime also decreases the likelihood that an area sees improvement; Barr describes a Òsmall contractor who tried to rehabilitate inner-city housing for low income tenants. He had to give up because drug addicts would break in, rip out his improvements, and sell them for drug moneyÓ (2).

Voters Need to have Tax Incidence Drilled into their Heads

The Democrats are proposing new taxes but Aswath Damodaran calls it: The Billionaire Tax: The Worst Tax Idea Ever?:

Voters need to have Tax incidence drilled into their heads. If we raise a tax and raise some spending, who consumes more goods and services and who consumes less. If you tax unrealized capital gains on billionaires and spend it on a child tax credit, low income families with children will probably consume more goods and services BUT because billionaires consume so small a percent of their income, they will not consume less. So who will consume less, middle-class families will. How this works through the economy is hard to see, but they surely will. That may be OK but it would probably be much more efficient to do that through other means and I think as much as is reasonable possible people paying for something should know that they are.

Progressive consumption taxes and LVT (land value taxes) taxes seem to be the best ways to raise revenue if you need to do that, BUT the bigger problem is, too much taxing the non poor and inefficiently spending on the non-poor.


Social Security should pay $240/week to all retirees (better yet $240/week to all adult citizens instead).

Medicare should not pay for any treatments that the UK NHS does not provide and there is a lot of it, and UK NHS does not provide it because the cost is not close to worth the benefit. (Also an alternative less controversial way to cut medicare and other medical spending: This is an improved version of my idea for supporters of single payer healthcare.)

Military spending should be cut in half and spent without regard to congressional district.

Get that done and then if you still need more revenue we can talk.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Lower Taxes Higher GDP

This is from Scott Sumner here

While rich countries often have fairly high taxes (i.e. Sweden), between two otherwise similar rich countries the one with lower taxes usually has higher per capita GDP.  (And even Sweden’s economy improved after it cut back on its extremely high tax rates during the 1990s.)  That’s one reason why America’s per capita GDP is higher than Europe’s—we have lower tax rates. In general, rich countries with lower taxes (the US, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Ireland, Singapore, etc.) tend to be richer than those with higher taxes.

People look at Sweden and say it has a good Government but I think that they get a bad deal, the USA voters do too but less so.

Governments are very inefficient and only certain east Asian countries seem to do significantly better that the USA. We can think of ways to do things much more efficiently but not with politics. 

For example Social Security looks like a simple efficient transfer but if it did not exist only maybe 10% to 20% of old people would be in bad shape, so a program that exists to help 10% to 20% of old people, mostly from the bottom 30% of earners, pays more money out to higher earners. 

That produces a lot of dead weight loss of taxation. Plus sub-optimal living and daycare arrangements. Even in healthcare where Sweden looks better than the USA, IMHO they pay for a lot of care that does not come out positive cost benefit. They spend much more than Singapore, with little to show for it.

Were the Crime Statistics Reliable Before 1970?

 I read that the crime statistics (including murder) for blacks before the mid 1970's were very unreliable. That the police would record a likely murder of black citizen as death from natural causes to avoid paperwork. 

According to Thaddeus Russel who studies vice, majority black areas were lightly policed and that was one of the reasons that the black caucus pushed the way Jason said they did.

That would undermine the story that the black crime rate was lower. On the other hand if Thaddeus is correct but police properly recorded the great majority or murders correctly them maybe defunding police would not result in a large (say up 50%) increase in murder. 

Is there proof either way?

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Improving the Idea for Single Payer Supporters

 This is an improved version of my idea for supporters of single payer healthcare.

1. I had earlier proposed that we leave Medicare as it is due the political difficulty of changing it but this idea seems like it would appeal even to seniors on Medicare.

To give better incentives to Medicare recipients, we try giving Medicare recipients at age 65 a health saving account funded with $30k for them and then at 70 years old they get to keep what is left if anything but if they go over Medicare will pay for all of the overage, then again at 70 fund their health saving account with another $30k for them and then at 75 years old they get to keep what is left. Etc. until death.

2. Since it would be relatively cheap, and it’s among the most effective healthcare, and makes the plan more workable, the Government would cover children from the time that their mother gets pregnant until they turn 18 years old with only small copays like $20 visit to prevent abuse.

3. For each citizen turning 18 years old the Government would fund a medical savings account with $100,000 (this number might be too low or too high). Money from that account would be spent on any medical care that normally UK NHS provides for UK citizens. If an individual’s spending goes over $100,000 between the ages of 18 and 65 the Government pays for all the overage. When people reach age 65 the money left in the account would be theirs to keep.

4. If someone is diagnosed with diabetes or some other costly chronic disease before age 18 we might want to add some amount of money to their account.

5. We might have to do something to prevent people from delaying care when they are close to 65 years old.

Only increase the amounts for inflation by vote in hopes that due to this system healthcare spending would lag inflation.

Why this? Because too many USA citizens feel no compunction stealing from Government AND/OR insurance companies.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Heckman on Denmark vs the USA on Intergenerational Income Mobility

James Heckman on Inequality and Economic Mobility

Some comments on the econtalk podcast with James Heckman about his paper looking at intergenerational income mobility in Denmark vs the USA.  It seems it is reasonably close to that in the USA.

I’ve been following this debate for a long time and I feel I have a lot to say. This may not be the right forum so sorry.

First, I think Denmark is an odd selection. Italy and Spain have lower murder rates, less child abuse, and higher life expectancy. The difference in length of life between Italy and Denmark is about as big that difference between USA and Denmark. Also the Inuit (Greenland is part of Denmark like Puerto Rico is part of the USA). But the people talking about Denmark like the Government policies of Denmark and the Government of Italy and Spain are not so respected and they talk bout Denmark. If you rather talk up Italy and Spain you tend to not think it is there great Governments.

It seems that even since ancient times some have known that what people need to live a good productive life is wisdom. Like the wisdom in the Bible book of Proverbs, be diligent, save, don’t drink to much or do drugs too much etc.

Finally I am a UBI/NIT supporter because I think it can allow us to have a better welfare system and maybe even spend less Government money but some of my allies UBI/NIT supporters seem to think it will make the poor be much better people, that is, they’ll go and get better school, drink, commit less crime and take drug less. But IMHO there is only 1 reason to enact a UBI/NIT and that is to all the lowest earners among us to consume more goods and services and it might have corrosive effects among some of the poor. Even most of the poor today are richer than the middle class where in not so distance past so why think giving people more money will be revolutionary. Is it poverty that causes the lack of skill, drug use and crime or is it the lack of skill, drug use and crime that causes the poverty?

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Scams and Education

I have for maybe 40 years believed that to fall for some scams one has to have a certain level of education. Organic food being the one that comes easiest to mind. The scientists who study fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides acknowledge that they are very safe and have greatly helped mankind. Yet the among those with post secondary education organic food s are quite popular even while among the less educated they have little draw.

BUT I realized that I have not applied that to my own beliefs about governance.

I support a UBI but less educated working people seem to think it will lead to bad outcomes, to too many people not working and perhaps getting high and drunk first thing every morning.

I support full legalization of all drugs except antibiotics without prescription. That includes heroin and even fentanyl. I think legal companies would dose more accurately. But most people think this will lead to more death and abuse.

I'm sticking with may positions but with a little less confidence. 

Added later:

I just (08/19/2021) ran into this: 

The most vaccine-hesitant group of all? PhDs 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Gun Control and Police

Many Democrats believe that 1-3 percent of police are corrupts/arrogant/racist etc. They also want more gun control which would need to be enforced by those police. 

So the assumption must be that the gains from more gun control laws would out weigh the costs of having he police we have enforce the laws by a good margin. 

I'd like to see their estimates of the costs of gun control particularly to young men and young black men.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Female Education not Income is the Most Reliable Correlate of Low TFR

A comment on said:

 Female education is the most reliable correlate of low TFR

it looks like
 children get in the way of schooling AND school gets in the way having children, and that makes more educated women end up having fewer children and more educated women tend to be richer but it's not that they are richer.

I agree with the above comment and IMO it shows a lack of confidence in men and marriage. Especially when they are encouraged to study fields where there are well paid jobs, like accounting.  I understand that because the idea is so popular, it is very risky to go rogue.  Nevertheless I'm amazed at the attitudes toward this and the modern idea that getting pregnant and then marring the father is compounding the mistake, in my very conservative fundamentalist church. All the parents want their daughters to get a money earning education and I once brought up for discussion the idea that a girl getting pregnant and then marring the father is compounding the mistake and everyone agreed that it was indeed not good to "compound the mistake". I myself am not so sure, many men/families do well in such situation, but everyone else seemed all in and automatic on the modern idea.  My Grandfather sent back to relatives in Italy to send a suitable wife which they did and they had a good marriage, so I think marriage is more random that folks think anyway.


Disclosure I have no daughters just 2 sons.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

David Goldhill's 3 Great Points

 David Goldhill make's 3 great points that I've not read elsewhere.

  • That emergency care is not so expensive to deliver. He says if you don't believe it, go to an emergency room and look around.
  • The fact that on an annual basis healthcare 90% of healthcare is purchased by 10% of people is not unlike many other products. Like homes, refrigerators, cars etc.
  • One out of five 90 year olds will have surgery on the year of their death, when no surgery is recommended for someone over 90 years old.
I believe he has said some wrong things also.

Here is an idea that fits with his view of healthcare. 

And here is the one guy trying to explain why we put up with the craziness in medical care.

Time for the Federal Government to Step in and Force California to Liberalize Building

Time for the Federal Government to step in and force California to liberalize building, it has the best weather in the USA. The Feds have the right under the the commerce clause. Governments in California are in effect restricting trade between states and denying people's right to build on their own land. 

The Feds also need to step in on stadiums and tax breaks to attract businesses.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Freddie deBoer Proposes Allowing Children to Drop Out of School at Age 12

Freddie deBoer proposes allowing children to drop out of school at age 12 

Wow drop out at age 12.

I like it but i'd guess upper class Democrats won't.

He goes not to lament the lack of family supporting jobs for those without school credentials. He claims there used to be those great factory jobs in the past but now there are no options for them. On that he is ignorant, in free to build areas, like my city Gainesville FL, blue collar high school dropouts can and do do better than those with their schooling ability ever did. My son hated school and after High School took a job as a laborer with a plumber. He now make about the median income of the USA and owns a home outright he is 27 and is close to having enough money to retire.

Restricting building is a double negative for High School dropouts. It eliminates the jobs of building and pushes up home prices and rents. It also creates jobs for lawyers fighting to get permission to build. 

It is the biggest Government sin of our time.  

Some evidence that dropouts can do great if they have a little wisdom and live in free to build areas:

The Amish generally drop out of school at 16 and do fine.

The Hasidic Jews do great on low income

Meanwhile many college grads struggle made worse by there debt. The student loan program being another bad sin of Government. (That and the 30 year mortgage.) Neither would not exists without Government backing.

DeBoer needs to get out an look at the world. Wisdom trumps smart even today. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

An Idea for Single Payer Supporters

 I have an idea for supporters of single payer healthcare.

1. Since it would be difficult to change Medicare much, we keep it as it is.

2. Since it would be relatively cheap, and it’s among the most effective healthcare, and makes the plan more workable, the Government would cover children from the time that their mother gets pregnant until they turn 18 years old.

3. For each citizen turning 18 years old the Government would fund a medical savings account with $100,000 (this number might be too low or too high).  Money from that account could be spent on any medical care that normally UK NHS provides for UK citizens.

4. If an individual’s spending goes over $100,000 between the ages of 18 and 65 the Government pays for all the overage.

5. When people reach age 65 the money left in the account would be theirs to keep.

6. If someone is diagnosed with diabetes or some other costly chronic disease before age 18 we might want to add some amount of money to their account.

7. We might have to do something to prevent people from delaying care when they are close to 65 years old.

Why, because too many USA citizens feel no compunction stealing from Government AND/OR insurance companies.


We might at some point try to get Medicare recipients on a similar program. Perhaps funding a health savings account for each person each 5 years and letting them keep unspent money at the end of each period.

Monday, April 5, 2021

People have no Idea of the Contributory Relationship in Social Security

From Chris Pope via twitter 

People have no idea of the contributory relationship in Social Security. The median beneficiary believes that an extra $1 of payroll tax contributions will get them $1 more of benefits in retirement (37% believe it will add $0). The reality averages.

Friday, March 26, 2021

A Response to David Cross': Why America Sucks at Everything

A Response to David Cross: Why America Sucks at Everything

1. Anyone who sites life expectancy as an indicator of poor healthcare has not been following the data.

It is very hard to compare life expectancy across nations but, Life expectancy in the USA, net of homicides, accidents and drug OD's is probably higher in the USA than Denmark. That is because Healthcare beyond the cheap basics, that everyone gets (vaccinations, antibiotics, trauma care), has very little effect on Life Expectancy (which BTW should be current average life length) and USAers are a bit wild. More and better police would have a bigger effect on Life expectancy than Single payer would. (Look up the Rand health insurance experiment)

2. The income life expectancy gradient is steeper in Canada than in the USA.
Indeed, the health-income gradient is slightly steeper
Now as I said above I think (and most people who study it agree) that healthcare beyond the cheap stuff (vaccinations, antibiotics, trauma care) that everyone gets, has little effect on Life expectancy BUT some of those who believe it does a significant effect, say that the health-income gradient is slightly steeper in Canada than the USA because in the USA the people in the system look at a low SES person and see dollar signs but in Canada they just see a low SES person who, in their mind probably brought it on themselves. (As much as good people should and often do resists that thinking, we are all subject to BTW.)

Monday, March 15, 2021

Important Statistics and Frequently Wrong Perceptions

I plan to periodically update this post as I see more in formation.

I recently read the the following:

55% of Democrats think Russia "tampered with vote tallies to get Donald Trump elected." (page 163) and 59% of Republicans believe that "millions of illegal votes were cast in the election." (page 161)
Here is some information on Democrats and Republicans perception of each other. 

Which got me thinking about people's beliefs verses some of the most measurable statistics.

Global Poverty Is on the Decline, But Almost No One Believes It
Did you know that, in the past 30 years, the percentage of people in the world who live in extreme poverty has decreased by more than half? If you said no—if you thought the number had gone up; that more people, not less, live in extreme poverty—you aren’t alone. According to a recent Barna Group survey, done in partnership with Compassion International and the new book Hope Rising by Dr. Scott Todd, more than eight in 10 Americans (84%) are unaware global poverty has reduced so drastically. More than two-thirds (67%) say they thought global poverty was on the rise over the past three decades.

Global Poverty has dropped by 50% but,  Ask most people about global poverty, and chances are that they’ll say it is unchanged or getting worse. A survey released late last year found that 92 per cent of Americans believe the share of the world population in extreme poverty has either increased or stayed the same over the last two decades. 

Americans generally overestimate, to a significant degree, the percentage of the U.S. population that is either black or Hispanic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.3% of the U.S. population is black, and 12.5% is Hispanic. Gallup Poll results from March 26-28, however, show that slightly less than one in 10 Americans can accurately identify that the population of either blacks or Hispanics in this country falls between 10% and 14%. The typical American estimates the percentages of blacks and Hispanics in this country to be more than twice as high as they actually are.
On average, Americans say that 33% of the U.S. population is black. In fact, a majority of Americans (56%) estimate that the percentage of blacks in this country stands at 30% or higher. As many as 17% of Americans say the percentage of blacks is 50% or greater. Only 7% accurately state that the percentage of blacks falls between 10% and 14% of the entire population.

People say that the rich should pay more taxes but when asked what the top marginal tax rate should be they say 30%.   The top tax rate in 2018 is 37%.

More on that here:

What is the maximum percentage of a person’s income that should go to taxes – that is, all taxes, state, federal, and local?” The mean percentage for 2009 was 15.6 percent, up slightly from 14.7 percent in 2007. A plurality of those polled, 42 percent, felt that the maximum income tax rate should be between 10 and 19 percent. In 2007, a whopping 47 percent of those polled said that the maximum income tax rate should be between 10 and 19 percent.

Of course concerning the above most people greatly underestimate how much the rich earn.

And from here:

The two most commonly cited sources of crime statistics in the U.S. both show a substantial decline in the violent crime rate since it peaked in the early 1990s. One is an annual report by the FBI of serious crimes reported to police in approximately 18,000 jurisdictions around the country. The other is an annual survey of more than 90,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which asks Americans ages 12 and older whether they were victims of crime, regardless of whether they reported those crimes to the police.

Public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data. Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up nationally, even when the data show it is down. In 17 Gallup surveys conducted since 1993, at least six-in-ten Americans said there was more crime in the U.S. compared with the year before, despite the generally downward trend in national violent and property crime rates during much of that period.
This is an enormous gap between what the average person believes and reality:
The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans' 25% estimate in 2011, and only slightly higher than separate 2002 estimates of the gay and lesbian population. These estimates are many times higher than the 3.8% of the adult population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Gallup Daily tracking in the first four months of this year.

For these below I don't have poll data to show we are off but I think we are:

On Abortion people seem to not understand how much it fell. See here.
As for abortion, pregnant women—married or single—are less likely to obtain an abortion than they were before the Roe v Wade decision. That decline also reflects the declining stigma around unwed childbearing and a drop in unintended pregnancy. Since at least the early 1980s, a rising share of births from nonmarital pregnancies are from pregnancies that were intentional; today, half of births from nonmarital pregnancies are intended.

Modality of Monogamy

Figure 1: Men’s Reported Lifetime Number of Opposite-Sex Partnersmen.jpg

Figure 2: Women’s Reported Number of Lifetime Opposite-Sex Partners



More on that here and here, and yes many of your high school and college friends were lying.

I just saw this one on twitter. Evidently women think women are murdered more than men but in reality men are murdered much more than women.

The vast majority of immigrants in the U.S. are in the country legally – but fewer than half of Americans know that’s the case. 

Everybody Always Thinks Inflation Is Higher Than It Really Is

Prices for U.S. consumers rose by just 1.4 percent over the past year, according to the consumer price index numbers released this morning. In other words, inflation is very low.

St. Louis Fed
If this comes as a surprise, don't be surprised. In study after study, in country after country, economists have found that consumers overestimate inflation.
    Also from the same article:
But gas accounts for only 5 percent of the average household's budget, while groceries make up 9 percent.

Corporate profits...

Asked what do you think the average profit margin is, the average USAer says30%. In reality it's about 8%.

Hispanic immigrants:

"But now look at the negative stereotypes on the right. 62 percent (!!) of whites stereotyped Latinos as being "mostly illegal immigrants"! (Which of course is not even remotely close to the truth.)"  Economist Noah Smith
          Best estimates are less that 25%

Crazy Tweet:

Wow, this totally wrong tweet got 187K likes and 64K retweets!

It is so wrong that it is actually funny.
How are retirees doing:
Ok, America: The results are in. To recap, the question asked current retirees to describe how well they are managing financially. 51% of you thought that 30% or more described their financial situation as "Finding it hard to get by."
The real answer: 6%.

Public opinion:
A good thread on the subject of Public opinion here
People in every country are happier than people think: In every single country, the average estimate of happiness is far lower than actual reported happiness. Every single country!

Women POTUS:
Seventy-four percent of respondents claimed they’re comfortable with a woman president. But only 33 percent believe their neighbors are, and a middling 57 percent said their spouse or immediate family are.

What Republicans and Democrats believe about each other:

Republicans believe that only half of Democrats are “proud to be American.” Actually, 8 out of 10 are. 
Republicans also believe that only 3 in 10 Democrats oppose open borders. Actually, 7 in 10 do. 
Democrats believe that only half of Republicans favor "properly controlled" immigration. Actually, 8 out of 10 do.  
Democrats also believe that only half of Republicans believe that racism still exists. Actually, 8 out of 10 do.

Poll: Americans underestimate how many people pay zero income taxes

The poll gave respondents four options -- 39 percent said that only 11 percent of Americans pay zero or negative income tax, and 31 percent said that only 27 percent pay zero or negative income tax. Only 21 percent got it right -- right now, around 45 percent pay no federal income tax.

Here is a chart of people guesses about school spending verses reality:

Here is a chart of a religion poll:

Here is quote from Russ Roberts. Keeping mind these are college students.

I look at economics, economics data. The public perception, say--my favorite example of this would be what percentage of the public earns the minimum, of the workforce, earns the minimum wage or less?

When I would survey journalists, the median answer would be 20%. Pretty consistently by the way. The actual answer at the time was about 2%. And that's way off, by people who are supposed to be educated. These aren't arts critics by the way.
 What actions do people think will reduce Global Warming.

From Twitter in August 2020:

New national survey asked respondents to guess average teacher salary Average Guess: $42,816 Average Actual: $61,018 Average teacher salaries are 43% higher than people's estimates.

The same national survey asked respondents to guess how much we spend on K-12 education Average Guess: $8,140 Average Actual: $14,504 We spend 78% more than people think.

Also From Twitter in August 2020:
'Lived experiences' aside for the moment, empirical numbers DO matter. When I ask Black students/buddies how many unarmed Black men they think are killed annually by police, the 1st answer is ALWAYS 2-3,000. Hearing that the figure is "nine" causes a paradigm shift in thinking.


How Informed are Americans about Race and Policing?

1. The available data on police shootings of unarmed Black men is incomplete; however, existing data indicate that somewhere between 13-27 unarmed black men were killed by police in 2019. Adjusted for the number of law enforcement agencies that have yet to provide data, this number may be higher, perhaps between 60-100.  

• Yet, over half (53.5%) of those reporting “very liberal” political views estimated that 1,000 or more unarmed Black men were killed, a likely error of at least an order of magnitude(see Figure 1). 

2.The available data suggest that 24.9% of people killed by police in 2019 were Black. However, across the political spectrum, survey participants overestimated this number. 

• Those who reported being “liberal” or “very liberal” were particularly inaccurate, estimating the proportion to be 56% and 60%, respectively(see Figure 2) 

More from Wilfred Reilly 

A recent report by the heterodox but respected Skeptic Research Center found that 31 percent of individuals who identify politically as very liberal believe that “about 1,000” unarmed black men were killed by police just during 2019, and another 14 percent believe that “about 10,000” such men were killed. Conservatives did a bit better, but, among ordinary mainstream liberals, the equivalent figures were 27 percent and almost 7 percent.

To put these astonishing (if hypothetical) figures in context, the total number of specifically unarmed, specifically black citizens killed by American police during the year in question was 13, as per the Washington Post. Similar extreme confusion surrounded perceptions of the percentage of police-shooting victims who happen to be black: This number was estimated at 60 percent by leftists and extreme liberals, 56 percent by liberals, 46 percent by moderates, and 38 percent even by conservatives. In fact, the actual figure, taking into account the full data set of racially identified and non-identified cases compiled by the Post, seems to be about 25 percent. When our fellow citizens riot and burn whole cities, or left and right fight viciously in the streets, the passions driving this regrettable violence are literally more likely to stem from fiction and fantasy than fact.

From Eric Kaufmann 

Eight in 10 African-American survey respondents believe that young black men are more likely to be shot to death by the police than to die in a traffic accident; one in 10 disagrees. Among a highly educated sample of liberal whites, more than six in 10 agreed. In reality, considerably more young African-American men die in car accidents than are shot to death by police.


Black respondents in a 2005 survey said that the U.S. was 38% black rather than the actual 12%, and Hispanics said that the country was 39% Hispanic rather than 13%.[16]


In terms of racial discrimination, a 2019 study asked people how many résumés a black person would have to send out to get a callback from an employer if a white applicant gets one callback for every 10 applications. It found that Democrats thought that a black person would have to send 26 résumés to get one callback, while Republicans said 17. The correct answer was 15. Overall, blacks were not significantly more likely than whites to overestimate discrimination: partisanship, rather than race, is what apparently led to misperceptions.[17]


These results echo those that recently found that only about a fifth of liberals but close to half of conservatives gave the right answer to a question on how many unarmed black men were killed by police in 2019. Fully 54% of “very liberal” Americans thought that more than 1,000 were killed compared with the actual figure of between 13 and 27.[33]

It's not just USAers:

Britons overstate the proportion of Muslims in their country by a factor of four, according to a new survey by Ipsos Mori that reveals public understanding of the numbers behind the daily news in 14 countries.


The actual percentage of Muslims in the UK is 5%, but those surveyed by Ipsos Mori said they thought it was 21%.


But each country has its blind spots. Germans think teen pregnancy is 35 times worse than it is (0.4% of girls aged 15-19 give birth each year there). South Koreans believe their life expectancy is 89 (it’s actually 80) and Spain is the only country to underestimate its youth unemployment rate, which stands at a pretty extreme 56%.

More Funding for the NHS (in the UK)

"If you asked if people agree “The NHS needs reform more than it needs extra money” then people agree by 43% to 23%. However, if you ask if people agree with the opposite statement, that “The NHS needs extra money more than it needs reform”, then people also agree, by 53% to 20%"om/archiebland/status/1161197265555509248?s=20

An interesting article on the subject here.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Over Performance in One Area

Thought experiment:

If you had 2 demographically similar cities of 300K residents.

  • City A is sports crazy and on average produces 4 professional football and/or basketball players each year.
  • City B is not sports crazy and on average produces 1 professional football and/or basketball players every 5 years.

 Which city do you expect to produce more successful people in areas other than sports?

Worst Case vaccine Discussion

This is from here. I consider this the most important information for covid vaccine hesitant people to hear.


And let us recall the big boogeymen of failed vaccines past: using a completely different process over 60 years ago Cutter Labs failed to inactivate polio and just injected it straight into kids (i.e. a failure mode not physically possible with current technology), some weird autoimmune interactions in the 1970s gave us 1/100,000 rates of GBS (i.e. not even a rounding error in the Covid death toll), ADE in dengue vaccines in the Philippines (maybe, the official lookback could not definitely tell if a couple of dozen kids died from ADE induced by the vaccine or if that was just dengue being its normal malevolent self), and a small increase in bowel obstruction with rotavirus (1/12,000, only seen in one variant and not observed in other rotavirus vaccines). We could have had all of them in the Covid vaccines and they would still be an order of magnitude safer than the status quo. And they would still be an order of magnitude safer than the status quo for the under 50 crowd.

Yes, I get it, there is some tail risk that somewhere out there might be something new we have never seen before. I cannot tell you that I have absolutely zero uncertainty that something completely new will rear its ugly head here; but that same uncertainty exists for the status quo. Will lockdowns lead to delayed mental health issues? I don’t know, but the indicators I see right now are not pretty. Does shafting childrens’ educations for more and more months have lifelong impacts on things like suicide risk, IVDU, CAD, and the rest? Cannot say for certain, but I see no reason why it doesn’t unless you have an extremely dim view of education’s ability to impact on life outcomes. Delayed cancer screenings, deferred elective surgeries … the uncertainty in the NPIs easily dwarfs that of the vaccines.

Minimum Wage

Assorted thoughts about a minimum wage increase:

  • USA voters have decided that we should do most of our charity through government, presumably to force everyone to ante-up so it seems that we should not push caring for the workers with the worst options on to those who are already doing something we want, which is hiring the workers with the fewest options. If they are making a killing hiring those workers we have progressive taxation to get some of t back. Of course only in the short run the increase will be paid for by employers and in the long run by those who buy from those employers.
  • Someone in favor of increasing the minimum wage says:

I would gladly pay more for a burger if it meant that the people behind the counter don't have to sleep in their cars to get by.

In a free to subdivide and build areas, people making $7.25 live in small cheap apartments and mobile homes (not bad really I lived in one).

In a supply constrained areas how much will be captured by landlords?

  • I kind of want them to do it but all at once with a few months of the law passing, that way we can get some good data.

Of course I think it will be better for me because:
1. I will not get laid off.
2. I prefer the experience at In-N-Out to Popeye's but the food is much better at Popeye's, and I think a $15/hr MW would cause the worst employees to be laid off a Popeye's improving the experience.

  • Steelmaning the other side: 
Interesting MW question:
If all the employers in industries with over 30% of employees earning less than $15/hr could vote on the $15MW, would they vote for it thinking as long as my competition must also pay it we'll all raise our prices and be in the same position?


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

More Money More Children Repost

I'm reposing this. It's one of those things people continue to get wrong.

More Money More Children

At any given education level richer people have more children.

Once school is completed educated women have children at the same rate as uneducated women but they have fewer years at it.

Most women still say that they want to have 2 or 3 children but educated women are more likely to fall short of their own stated desire.

Note that if a woman get pregnant she is likely to drop out of school and that same woman has zero chance of never having a child. 

So it looks like children get in the way of schooling AND school gets in the way having children, and that makes more educated women end up having fewer children and more educated women tend to be richer but it's not that they are richer.

Colleges might want to cater more to married with children students.