Yapping Yak


Tag Archives: economics

Eliminate Minimum Wage and Wall Street “Minimum” Pay

Wow, they said it before … in Jan. of 1987, and we still have a minimum wage law. I don’t understand how sitting at a place doing nothing, purely serving as a human fixture, sometimes can earn you the minimum wage, and working hard like a dog as a young lawyer earn you 5 bucks more than minimum wage.

R has disseminated this idea in a bar talk over left-over nachos and crappy draft, which I mentioned here.

I know there are an infinite number of chain loops between overpaid min wage earner and sad aspiring lawyers, but

1) I believe in the organicity? organism in the societal economics; it’s a formed opinion, and I don’t have evidence ready to back it up;

2) the big firm’s “min wage” of 160k for the undeserving lucky few (not really, some are really brilliant, but 160k still lotsa money for the work they do), works in the same manner as higher min wage being a barrier for the entry-level people.

Not that I don’t want buckets of money. So reform after I got a job. Thanks!

What Kills You and What Makes You Stronger

what didn’t kill you makes you stronger, and what made you stronger may eventually kill you.

- Yapping Yak

If I were to die in the next minute, I would be a very pessimistic and sorrow soul. Not because of the perpetual singlehood or unemployment. I have bigger things to worry about, including but not limited to:

Does man have a future?

I have been reading up on behavioral economics and cognitive bias. Daniel Kahneman and this boring dude called David DiSalvo (I don’t understand why this dude got 5 star reviews on Amazon. He makes me really start to think I should stop reading books by science journalists and whether I should quit trying to be one). Also there are ideas from my Financial Products Taxation class, the professor of which is a disciple of Nassim Taleb  (Kahneman cited Taleb in his book actually). I am still at the intro part of all the books (thanks Kindle!), so hopefully I will have some sort of clear idea when I finish the books (and correspondingly get a poor GPA due to lack of focus).

From DiSalvo I learned: 1) like all muscles or any organs, our brains tend to shift towards a “happy”/uncomfortable state. 2) the happy state may not produce good results.

(Reason why I dislike DiSalvo’s book is that it makes me feel like I am reading a term paper, a mediocre one (so far). It basically builds on the innovative ideas from Kahneman and throws in a bunch of “real-life” examples, many of which are cliche. A nice intro read I guess)

From Dahneman’s book I learned: we are all biased. The automatic fast actor System 1 in our brain is the default mode, which gives us essential surviving skills yet can make blunders, while System 2 needs to be activated and is lazy and slow to reaction, upon which we need to rely on to make careful decisions required by many complex tasks.

They say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Totally makes sense. From all the surviving struggles humans become beings that possess unparalleled capability to navigate through complex world and thrive in it; however, this surviving got so good, that it muffles the alternative. Supposedly during a certain period of time, this strong skill enabled us to prosper, but when the times come, calling for alternatives, we find it is so hard, biologically, to become “naturally” good in a different kind of scenarios.

So basically, what makes us stronger, may eventually kill us. Like how arrogant people would trip on small things, and the old Chinese saying “it is those who are swimming masters tend to drown”.

Is this bias predisposed? Can it be compensated, if not solved? Because, I really can’t muster enough interest to solve all the financial/tax stuff, if all we know is, damn we are gonna screw up again, even harder.

Hence the sorrow.

The Facts about Tax Progressivity

The Facts about Tax Progressivity

1. Do not conflate tax progressivity with fair fiscal redistribution

2. U.S. does have a pretty progressive tax system

3. But this system does not achieve redistribution well, for several reasons.

Anyway, do not conflate those two.


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