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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: Today at 04:08:52 pm
Varoufakis: "I'll Resign If Greece Referendum Is 'Yes'"

Surely this is the most compelling case for a Yes yet?

Unless you happen to be an economics student at the University of Athens. In which case you would, probably, do anything to avoid him coming back.
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: Today at 04:05:10 pm


...would like to see all of us, lazy southerners, washing dishes or wearing livery.

...

Enjoy your hatred, folks.

Well, you've asked for it. If you noticed, I am Mexican.

You, guys, have won a lottery.   I have lived in Madrid: I have seen that metro system, AVE rail,  those highways - all built, largely, with European money. You have free mobility with some of the richest countries in the world. When trouble comes, you get to count on the ECB saving your banks.

We, in contrast, have to have a visa to so much as stop to pee in the airport of our big northern neighbor. US may, on occasion, contribute a bit to our military to go on fighting the drug cartels for them. And, yeah, there was that bailout when shyte hit the fan in 1994 (USD$50 bln dollar credit line - never fully used and fully repaid in some 5 years). We would never get anything like the ECB guarantees you get. But we still are grateful - it was very kind of our neighbors to, actually, save us. They did not have to - and we know that.

What is Spain without Europe? A poorer version of Mexico - without natural resources and with a special propensity for military dictatorships. As recently as 40 years ago more people were migrating to Latin America from Spain than the other way around (and that has always been the norm). It is Europe that made you ino the "First World".

All your concern about solidarity and justice stops at the Mediterrainean (ok, at the gates of Melilla). Why should the German money be used to build up YOUR subway, and not that in Casablanca? What is the difference between you, who can go to Amsterdam and work without any need for a permit, and that Nigerian or Syrian guy who takes the leaking boat - or my compatriot, who right now walks across the Arizona desert, hunted by the border patrol and dying of thirst? And you are going to talk to me about justice?

You won the lottery. And you dare complain that the money might run out. And you are upset that people do not feel very sorry for you. Well, here is why.
3  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: Today at 12:47:59 pm
Another thing: if every one in the middle class took ag's advice and only went to cheap state schools (which, BTW, are getting less and less cheap by the year), those expensive private schools would become even more a preserve of the 1% than they already are.  The negative ramifications of that shift for social mobility and society at large are left as an exercise for the reader.

I do not know of many Harvard grads who suffer so much paying out their debts: Harvard degree is money (and, in any case, if you do struggle you are not doing much for social mobility). Most poor souls who paid fortune for college and struggle with debts went to very different kinds of schools. No disparagement intended, but I see no reason to borrow so much in order to attend Hofstras and Adelphis of this world.
4  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: Today at 12:43:38 pm
*For the record, and not to get too personal, that is in fact the exact road I went down (going to an expensive school that was particularly well-known for producing PhD students, with an eye towards becoming one myself), though I realized too late that academia was not going to happen for me.  Ergo I very much don't exactly take kindly to the suggestion that I deserve debtor's prison for decisions I made when I was 16/having to change gears.  Thanks.

Well, I, actually, went to a non-prestigeous private undergraduate residential college, which would have been expensive, but I got a scholarship (I was not even eligible for any of those nice loans, being a foreigner - and I had exactly no money to pay cash). Out of, literally, thousands of students in my graduating class, exactly 3 went for a ph.d. (and that was considered a very successful year in this respect). Nobody had gone for a Ph.D. in my field from that school in years. It was not at all a problem getting admitted to a good grad school - with full funding. You do NOT have to go to a prestigeous undergraduate school to get to a pretty good doctorate program. You just have to be decent and know what you want.

Anyway, if you want to go for a ph.d. in economics in the US, just learn Spanish and come down for your undergraduate to us here in Mexico. We charge less than USD$10 grand a year and send more students for a US ph.d. than all but a handful schools in the world. And living costs here are low Smiley
5  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: Today at 12:51:32 am
Not if they didn't go to college

Are you suggesting that those who did not go to college should be wards of the state?
Im suggesting that a child trying to finance college may have parents who didn't go to college and thus don't have any rubric to make a judgment on when considering the where and how much.

He has school councelors, teachers, etc., etc.
6  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 11:38:34 pm
Not if they didn't go to college

Are you suggesting that those who did not go to college should be wards of the state?
7  General Discussion / History / Re: Would you have supported the Vietnam War at any point? on: July 01, 2015, 11:33:28 pm
Unfortunately, yes. I would have been wrong - but politically I am far too similar to a lot of people who got the US in. And they were better informed than I would have been.
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: ISIS threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza on: July 01, 2015, 11:18:17 pm
A different shade of the same horrible grey.

That is exactly what I think about Limas and Hakud, or whatever they are called.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 01, 2015, 11:13:33 pm
I think even Athens has begun to grasp in the 24hrs exactly how little interest Germany has at this point in Greece remaining within the Euro.

At this point, I am afraid, Mr. Varoufakis should be standing on his knees in Berlin, pleading with Mme. Merkel for European solidarity and promising to personally wash dishes in the Bundestag cafeteria.  He does not have many other cards to play.
10  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 10:47:53 pm
You assume that everyone thinks as rationally as you do about financial decisions when it comes to paying for college.

What do yo mean by "rationally"?

And if they do not "think rationally", this is, basically, an invitation to lock the young people out of college: stop subsidizing all thos cheap loans, and they will go work in McDonalds, as they should.
I know a lot of smart kids that are choosing to go to more expensive private colleges out of state rather than take great deals at decent in state public universities because the private college is ranked higher by US News. I am not taking that route, but it would be easy for me to get into most private colleges, and if my parents cosigned on loans, I could get all the money I would even need to attend school. Of course, I would have considerable difficulty paying it back, but for some, the temptation to go to a more expensive private school is just too much.

Well, that is why you have parents. They, somehow, brought you up alive - they should be able to consult you on this.
11  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 10:46:17 pm
City College is not what it once was, I'm afraid. That is in a good way- it no longer has open admissions, for example.- but it is mostly in a bad way.

It is a lot better than quite a few private (and, especially, for profit schools). If you cannot get into Stony Brook, tell me, which school is going to be a better deal than City or Hunter?
12  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 10:45:14 pm
What do yo mean by "rationally"?
In this instance rationality means financial literacy.  Most people aren't as financially literate or informed as you seem to be.  Although I suppose you think these people have it coming.

There are many other decisions people do without being experts. Choosing the major, for instance, is almost as momentous. And then a job. And a house. Perhaps, the university should have mandatory placements and the municipal authority should determine which house is appropriate for you.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 01, 2015, 10:41:35 pm
Thing is, it was the EU who were the first to declare that a No votes means exiting the Euro, not Syriza. They can say they're being forced out by creditors who don't want to properly negotiate, even though they want to stay in

Obviously that's not accurate- but the Europeans have shot themselves in the foot by coming out and saying No means leaving first. If they didn't, they would have forced the Greek government's hand if No won.

Shot who in the foot? Who do they have defend themselves to on this?

They have to defend themselves to the Greek people, if they want a Yes victory on the 5th. Making declarations such as No means Grexit, however true they may be, only plays into the government's argument that the creditors are trying to intimidate the Greek people into submitting to their demands.

And, finally, if the Greeks decide to cut off their ears to spite the grandma, it is up to them. The old lady merely told them not to play with the knife.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 01, 2015, 10:40:41 pm
Thing is, it was the EU who were the first to declare that a No votes means exiting the Euro, not Syriza. They can say they're being forced out by creditors who don't want to properly negotiate, even though they want to stay in

Obviously that's not accurate- but the Europeans have shot themselves in the foot by coming out and saying No means leaving first. If they didn't, they would have forced the Greek government's hand if No won.

Shot who in the foot? Who do they have defend themselves to on this?

They have to defend themselves to the Greek people,

Most important, actually. They do not have to. Greeks do not even elect a non-voting member of the Bundestag.
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 01, 2015, 10:39:24 pm
Thing is, it was the EU who were the first to declare that a No votes means exiting the Euro, not Syriza. They can say they're being forced out by creditors who don't want to properly negotiate, even though they want to stay in

Obviously that's not accurate- but the Europeans have shot themselves in the foot by coming out and saying No means leaving first. If they didn't, they would have forced the Greek government's hand if No won.

Shot who in the foot? Who do they have defend themselves to on this?

 if they want a Yes victory on the 5th.

Do they?

Remember: for Germans it is a relatively minor issue. Your average Bavarian voter might only be happy that a house on Mikonos is cheap.
16  General Politics / Economics / Re: How economists think differently from other humans on: July 01, 2015, 07:20:19 pm
Ok. Now on to "rationality". When an economist is saying that an individual is "rational" s/he means, basically the following.

1. She means that individuals can make statements of the sort "apple is better than orange" about consumption bundles available (preferences)
2. She means that this individual can, in fact, compare in this way any two bundles out there (preferences are complete).
3. She means that if for some individual apple is better than orange and orange is better than banana this must logically imply that for this individual apple is better than banana (preferences are transitive).
4. Finally, she means that when making choices this individual maximizes his own preference: i.e., chooses the best bundle available according to this preference.

That is it. This is the only meaning of "rationality" that a trained economist will recognize. In a more general setting with time and uncertainty, a few of other assumptions would be a part of a "standard" model, but rationality is just this: maximizing a complete and transitive preference relation.

Now, these four assumptions are highly non-trivial (of which later). But, for the moment, the question for us will be, what are their testable implications: i.e., what do we need to observe to be able to claim that "rationality failed" to explain behavior.

To be continued.
17  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 07:12:40 pm
You assume that everyone thinks as rationally as you do about financial decisions when it comes to paying for college.

What do yo mean by "rationally"?

And if they do not "think rationally", this is, basically, an invitation to lock the young people out of college: stop subsidizing all thos cheap loans, and they will go work in McDonalds, as they should.
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 01, 2015, 07:08:50 pm
This guy is bluffing with a very poor hand. When everything is over, he will have a lot to respond for.

Not sure about that.   What he is really saying is that the EU is bluffing which in theory still could be correct although it is unlikely.   If the vote is No and entire Greek financial system melts down and is forced into its own currency, he can still claim that this is the acts of a vengeful Merkel led cabal that is stopping the EU majority that wants to renegotiate with Greece with new compromise terms.   A rational EU, he will claim, would have realized their bluff failed but he is dealing with an irrational EU leadership.


He can claim this, of course: to his students. The question is, will anybody take it seriously.

He is, at best, holding his own people hostage: give me what I want, or I will shoot these nice old Greek ladies. He simply has no other cards to play with.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 01, 2015, 07:07:48 pm
Thing is, it was the EU who were the first to declare that a No votes means exiting the Euro, not Syriza. They can say they're being forced out by creditors who don't want to properly negotiate, even though they want to stay in

Obviously that's not accurate- but the Europeans have shot themselves in the foot by coming out and saying No means leaving first. If they didn't, they would have forced the Greek government's hand if No won.

Shot who in the foot? Who do they have defend themselves to on this?
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 01, 2015, 06:30:06 pm
Yanis Varoufakis' 6 reasons to vote NO on Sunday

Quote from: Yanis Varoufakis
1. Negotiations have stalled because Greece’s creditors (a) refused to reduce our un-payable public debt and (b) insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren
2. The IMF, the United States’ government, many other governments around the globe, and most independent economists believe — along with us — that the debt must be restructured.
3. The Eurogroup had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure
4. Since the announcement of the referendum, official Europe has sent signals that they are ready to discuss debt restructuring. These signals show that official Europe too would vote NO on its own ‘final’ offer.
5. Greece will stay in the euro.  Deposits in Greece’s banks are safe.  Creditors have chosen the strategy of blackmail based on bank closures. The current impasse is due to this choice by the creditors and not by the Greek government discontinuing the negotiations or any Greek thoughts of Grexit and devaluation. Greece’s place in the Eurozone and in the European Union is non-negotiable.
6. The future demands a proud Greece within the Eurozone and at the heart of Europe. This future demands that Greeks say a big NO on Sunday, that we stay in the Euro Area, and that, with the power vested upon us by that NO, we renegotiate Greece’s public debt as well as the distribution of burdens between the haves and the have nots.

I've bolded five because..... he doesn't really believe that, does he?

This guy is bluffing with a very poor hand. When everything is over, he will have a lot to respond for.
21  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 05:34:38 pm
1. Why are those flagships "not an option"? Because one cannot get in for academic reasons? Ok, fine. CUNY runs open admission. CUNY City College is 3 thousand dollars a year for city residents. And that is the City College - most certainly, you are better off there than in many private schools. And community colleges of some sort exist throughout the country: if you are not very smart (could not get into a decent public four-year college), you will not do any worse by going there than by paying tuition at a private residential college. And if you are smart, you can always transfer from a community college to a better school - saving on the first two years of tuition.

2. If you are planning, say, an academic career (the one that will not pay high sallaries), there are multiple options out there that would allow you not to get that debt. I know: I did it (and I went to both college and to grad school in the US, without being eligible for any in-state tuition, or whatever).

3. A 17-year old can choose to go to war. In many countries at the age of 17 you are supposed to choose whether you are going to study chemistry or romance languages for the rest of your life.  In this particular case you, actually, need consent of an adult. I simply do not see what is the problem.
22  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 04:59:18 pm
the idea for the ECB is to have Greece as an eternally depressed, slave state, and a vehicle for transferring wealth to foreign creditors.  I believe the number is 8 of 9 Euros worth of loan/"aid" to Greece go to foreign creditors.  the idea is to keep this going for eternity.

in this sense Greece's situation is akin to an American's with $200k in 8-11% interest student loans.  they're designed to not be paid back, but to take a cut of your paycheck (including your Social Security check in 40 years -- or even if you get disability payments).

Then why did you get those loans? Your friendly local community college, most certainly, did not charge 50 grand a year.

I wasn't speaking in the first person -- but it is telling that you seek to blame the market-sense and rationality of a 17 or 18 year old before you think of the social structures and situation than makes $50k/year loans to 18 year olds widespread.

17 year olds sign up for loans without talking with their parents?

no, they generally need a "co-signer".  the loan is also immune to bankruptcy protection and collection rates on defaulted loans is close to 90% (compared to a fraction w/credit card debt).

the alternative path for people in the situation is to work a low wage job for eternity.

1) So, you have an adult to take the decision - no issue of a 17-year-old's financial wisdom.

2) Are you saying that the debt is worth it, because without it you are financially worse off? Because it sure seems like that.

3) Are there no schools that charge less than $50 grand a year for tuition during the 4 years? In-state tuition and fees in Rutgers is about $14 grand, and Rutgers, surely, is a decent school. And Stony Brook is $4.5 grand in-state ($12 grand out of state). Don't like any of that? Berkeley is $14 thousand dollars. Live in the South? UNC is $8.5 thousand dollars a year in tuition. UT Austin is about $ 5 thousand a year in-state (or $17 thousand out of state).  Midwest? Wisconsin Madison is $4.5 thousand in state ($12 grand out of state). I was just randomly looking up state schools - no real selection here. And, note, all these are very good universities - I am not talking community colleges (though, why not save on the first two years by going to a cheaper place?). And all that is without scholarships, etc.

Ah, Harvard degree is better value (see point 2)? Ok, fine. But then... what exactly, you say is the problem?



23  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 01, 2015, 11:27:26 am
the idea for the ECB is to have Greece as an eternally depressed, slave state, and a vehicle for transferring wealth to foreign creditors.  I believe the number is 8 of 9 Euros worth of loan/"aid" to Greece go to foreign creditors.  the idea is to keep this going for eternity.

in this sense Greece's situation is akin to an American's with $200k in 8-11% interest student loans.  they're designed to not be paid back, but to take a cut of your paycheck (including your Social Security check in 40 years -- or even if you get disability payments).

Then why did you get those loans? Your friendly local community college, most certainly, did not charge 50 grand a year.

I wasn't speaking in the first person -- but it is telling that you seek to blame the market-sense and rationality of a 17 or 18 year old before you think of the social structures and situation than makes $50k/year loans to 18 year olds widespread.

17 year olds sign up for loans without talking with their parents?
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Election Night 2020: Scenario President Cruz re-elected on: June 30, 2015, 11:16:59 pm
Campaigning for a Mexican-Chinese and Mexican-Indian visa-free-travel agreements Smiley
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Jeb had a different Last Name on: June 30, 2015, 11:05:57 pm
He still hasn't been governor in 10 years.

However, he could've been a strong candidate in '08 or even '12 without the last name.

Yep. If he were not a Bush, he would have run earlier.
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