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HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Economics of Love

Barry, My Liege:

Since you are the world's most famous living economist, you know that traditional economic theory is based on the concept of 'homo economicus', or economic man. In short, economics bases all its theories and predictions on the idea that everyone carries a calculator in their brain which is constantly deciding whether any action's expected benefits outweigh its costs.

You and I know that's a crock, but it is still the basis of economic decision and policy making today.

But, that idea goes a long way toward explaining why our current economy has abandoned a large portion of our population. Roughly 15% of our population - the real unemployment rate - has lost hope that they will do better in the future or that they will enjoy a comfortable life free from crippling fear and worry about financial issues. They can be called the 'excluded'. It is worse in Europe and simply unimaginable in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia.

While there are several intriguing alternative economic theories under active discussion today, none of them actively addresses the needs of the 'excluded'.

Just because a portion of the population is unable to secure its basic needs from our economic system does not mean that those needs disappear. The needs are still there. Health care, medication, food, shelter and clothing are all needs which some portion of our population cannot access.

Unless those needs are met somehow, the proportion of the population excluded from the system may increase to the point that the system itself is threatened.

As an example of unmet needs, take a look at healthcare. Under our current system, healthcare is largely financed by for-profit insurance companies. These companies have an incentive to deny treatment to sick people or to deny coverage to sick people trying to buy insurance. Their profits increase when they don't pay claims.

Under the most optimistic of assumptions, your current proposal of mandating insurance coverage may provide health care to some portion of the excluded, but it is unlikely that it will cover all people. Covering all people would require a single payer system and our political system is unlikely to allow that.

The Economics of Love would create health clinics staffed entirely by volunteers and available to all comers without any cost. Such a clinic would provide health care outside of the current economic system to those people who are already outside.

The incentive for health care professionals to volunteer in such a clinic is the ability to show their love to many sick people by providing their services. Of course, such a system requires that the health care volunteers donate only a portion of their time since they need to receive a paycheck from some other position to provide for their families.

The wealth created would be the huge satisfaction of helping real people with real needs.

For example, a practicing dentist, physician or nurse could devote four hours per week to providing free care. That's about 10% of a 40 hour week. With ten such dentists, each of whom provides four hours per week, the clinic could treat hundreds of people. Or, some might choose to volunteer the time they have free from their part time job.

In our climate of need many health care professionals will be willing to devote a portion of their time to helping the less fortunate. It requires some organization; but, there are many highly qualified people in the excluded who will be willing to help organize such a venture.

Other needs such as office space, insurance and supplies can be met with donations from civic minded suppliers. For those items which require cash payment, surely some charities can be located to fund a specific part of the clinic.

It is a simple matter to form a 501(c)3; that would enable any donors to take a tax deduction for their donation.

My Liege, since we have a system that excludes a significant share of the population, we need to find mechanisms outside of the system to address the needs of the unfortunate.

The Economics of Love does that - the free market does not.

Your faithful servant,

Friday, April 6, 2012

USA Rebellion's Coming

Barry, My Liege:

Our situation today is analogous to the situation in England in the 14th Century.

John of Gaunt was England's Head of State for both the Good Parliament of 1376 and the Bad Parliament of 1377.

They are of interest to the United States today because the Bad Parliament gave rise to Wat Tyler's Rebellion of 1381.

Although that Rebellion did not succeed in over-throwing the English feudal system with its near slavery, it did signal to the gentry that real changes were needed; thus, it was the beginning of the end of feudalism in England.

John of Gaunt was the richest man in England and as Head of State, he consented to several popular reforms put forth in the Good Parliament of 1376.

But, subsequently he stacked the 1377 Commons with his retainers and proceeded to undo all the acts accomplished in the 1376 Parliament.

He granted pardons to all the people convicted of crimes by the previous Good Parliament, he impeached the leaders of the reform movement, then he convicted them of crimes based on old or false charges and had them imprisoned, he installed a Poll Tax, he reinstated his mistress as an influential member of the King's household despite the fact that the previous, Good Parliament had impeached her and he annulled most of the acts of the Good Parliament.

The result was that crowds of people sacked his properties and forced him to flee the capital. Eventually, Wat Tyler led the unsuccessful Rebellion of 1381. Wat Tyler was killed in a battle.

Well, My Liege, this relates to the United States today in a number of instances. Poll Taxes are being installed in several states. The right to vote is being limited to people of means. Congress is stacked with retainers of rich people who vote their master's interests. Criminal bankers walk the streets while continuing their past practices. The incomes and assets of middle class citizens are being drained while the rich among us grow richer.

But, the question is this: Will we have an armed rebellion?

Although we have not seen any armed conflict, your department of Homeland Security is concerned that the Occupy movement will become a violent rebellion. Possibly due to fear of any protest, the HS folks are militarizing local police forces.

However, the current protest movement is overwhelmingly non-violent. Occupy people are those who have been driven out of the economic system and who have lost hope for a better future.

While there are a few violent, Black Bloc anarchists who try to associate themselves with the Occupy demonstrations, they do not speak for the movement. Your HS department makes a grave mistake when it concludes that all protest may be a violent revolution.

A more likely future is that the Occupy movement may morph into a system that delivers services on a non-capitalist, voluntary basis to those who desperately need assistance.

We have the right to petition for a redress of our grievances, so long as we remain lawful. The danger is that the panic of law enforcement as seemingly encouraged by your HS people may well instigate violence against the protests and then use that violence as an excuse to deny us our right to petition.

Barry, My Liege, it is time to change our system so that it meets the needs of the entire population.

Your faithful servant.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Barack H. Obama. Ph.D. (Economics), Hon.

Barry, My Liege:

Although I do not represent any institution which has been granted degree conferring powers by any accrediting agency, nevertheless and by authority which I wrongfully assume, I hereby award you the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Economics with a special emphasis in United States of America Federal Government Fiscal Policy with all the privileges and responsibilities appertaining thereto.

Your dissertation on the Federal Budget and political process as delivered in a public address at the Associated Press luncheon [http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/04/03/president-obama-speaks-associated-press-luncheon] was very impressive in demonstrating your thorough grasp of basic economic theory as well as applied Fiscal Policy mechanisms.

This award is made to recognize your considerable accomplishments in applied and theoretical economics. Further, it is hoped that this award will provide you some additional credibility in your forthcoming political debates. Please feel free to mention this award whenever and wherever you so choose.

If you so desire, I will be pleased to present you with a document suitable for framing granting the aforementioned honor. Of course, this is entirely complementary.

Your faithful servant,