‘Death elasticity’ and more scenes from the class war

CNBC’s John Carney discusses “death elasticity” in response to changes in the estate tax.

“Death elasticity,” Carney writes, “does not necessarily mean that greedy relatives are pulling the plug on the dying or forcing the sickly to extend their lives into a lower taxed period.”

“Not necessarily,” but apparently this happens. The rich really are different.

Carney says “death elasticity” in response to estate-tax changes is measurable:

Economists Wojciech Kopczuk of Columbia University and Joel Slemrod of the University of Michigan studied how mortality rates in the United States were changed by falling estate taxes. They note that while the evidence of “death elasticity” is “not overwhelming,” every $10,000 in available tax savings increases the chance of dying in the low-tax period by 1.6 percent. This is true both when taxes are falling, so that people are surviving longer to achieve the tax savings, and when they are rising, so that people are dying earlier, according to Kopczuk and Slemrod.

If I understand that correctly, “every $10,000 in available tax savings increases the chance of dying in the low-tax period by 1.6 percent” and thus every $10,000 in additional tax costs decreases the change of dying in the high-tax period by 1.6 percent.

So all we need to do is raise the estate tax by $625,000, and rich people will never die.

* * * * * * * * *

I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio.”

“For Santorum and the conservative media, however, the question was not who would win or lose, but rather, how might they generate the most revenue.”

“I think when you define people who look differently than you as illegal aliens, and use that term over and over again, and talk about self-deporting them, that’s a tolerance issue.”

“Pardon me, madam, but I have been in your country of Australia for ten days and the only Aborigines I’ve seen have been drunk on the street, and at least if we were in my country they would be serving the drinks at this conference!”

“I’d still be leeching resources from a healthy body if I’d behaved myself.”

“The senators of the Mid-Atlantic did not vote against disaster relief for the Gulf Coast or for the people of Joplin, Missouri or for dealing with the Colorado wildfires or for flood victims along the Mississippi River.”

“If there are things we can do with the cheap money the world is flinging at us that would make the U.S. economy more competitive in the longer run, we should take advantage.”

The best plan for reducing the debt is full employment.”

“Come Dec. 31, Washington’s inaction could push the country’s milk prices to as much as $6 to $8 per gallon unless Congress passes a farm bill renewing federal support for agriculture programs.”

“The Senate version of the farm bill passed with relative ease over the summer, but House Republicans haven’t even brought a competing proposal to the floor for a vote.”

“As the defined benefit pension paradigm fades away, the natural and proper thing would be to rely more on Social Security as a vehicle for ensuring adequate living standards for senior citizens.”

“For 200 years the existence of the union movement has been wedded to the rise of democracy.”

“GiveDirectly remains an outlier in the development arena, perhaps the only organization that distributes private donations, made online, directly to the poor with no strings attached.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, actually, what it would be is a really good way to ensure that only kids of rich parents get educated and nobody at all gets national parks.

  • wendy

     the railroads were massively overbuilt as a result of subsidies. People loved being able to travel there was no reason for Washington to get involved at all.  they sold themselves, like crack

    That has to be the stupidest thing you’ve said all year, just ahead of the deadline.

    Decades before the invention of the automobile, vast swathes of continent with nothing even vaguely resembling pavement, a railroad was the only way to travel faster or farther than your horse could run, or with more luggage than your horse could pull. So many determined armed “protesters” it took a whole Army to hold them back. More construction supplies than were needed to build the largest city in the hemisphere. Years of work by tens of thousands of laborers. And even when it was done, it was a full day of travel (via horse) to get to the train station. Because, again… it’s a really big piece of territory they were making transversable. 

    Nobody but a government has that kind of capital. And there’s not that many people wanting to travel, it was farmers and ranchers who eventually needed to move their goods to market that eventually made railroads a profitable ongoing endeavor. Eventually.

  • EdinburghEye

    Smartest thing I’ve read in 2013.

    Anyone who thinks taxes are bad and everything should be private enterprise should get the hell off the Internet.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    edinborough – the internet would be useless and or an elitist tool  if private enterprise hadn’t brought the price of PC’s down. You could probably get into a chicken/ egg argument with that one though. The prices came down in no small part because of the popularity of the internet.

    I reject the argument anyway though. Having computers interact with each other is a good idea for dozens of reasons. The government was using it for military purposes but that only accounts for a fraction of it’s current uses.  

    Wendy – You could build a railroad going from one location to another. You wouldn’t have to build a massive interstate railroad all at once.  

    recent example: The federal government wanted to to build a high speed rail in Florida between Jacksonville and Orlando.  Locals knew there was no demand for such a project but it was being sold largely as a New Deal type make work thing. So politics got in the way of logic and having a high speed rail between two random cities has no value in and of itself. 

    if there’s money to be made people will want to make it. if not, it is probably for some nefarious purpose like vote buying.

    Ellie- we didn’t build the national parks! I live an hour from Purgatory chasm http://activerain.com/image_store/uploads/2/3/0/4/9/ar125150536194032.jpg

    Other than a couple of signs that say “don’t be drunk here” and so forth it is just what was there hundreds of years ago. They’ve commercialized it a bit with a playground and some picnic grills and they have a donation box, but it’s all free and easy. Somehow the world hasn’t spun off it’s axis.

    Also, former Romney advisor Dan Senor is Brainy Smurf in human form

  • EllieMurasaki

    You honestly gonna tell me that the wonders of private enterprise want the Grand Canyon as is, rather than with a thousand little businesses along both edges where their main selling point is the view of the canyon?

  • P J Evans

    A measure of the importance of railroads is the description my mother had of Radical, Kansas: ‘it died because the railroad missed it’.

    In a lot of places, there was inter-urban rail; you could ‘take the cars’ to the nearest city or larger town to shop, or work. People traveled by rail a lot, before 1950.

  • P J Evans

    He’s wrong about computers and the internet, too. But what else is new….

  • EllieMurasaki

    I figured, but I didn’t feel like looking it up.

  • wendy

    You could build a railroad going from one location to another. You wouldn’t have to build a massive interstate railroad all at once…. (snip) if there’s money to be made people will want to make it. if not, it is probably for some nefarious purpose like vote buying. 

    In 1853, the Northern Light set a world speed record sailing from San Francisco to Boson in only 76 days and some hours. On the transcontinental railroad in the 1870′s, the journey was less than 4 days, and less than 1/10 the cost per ton of freight. Obviously, the benefits to businesses at both ends (not to mention the farmers and ranchers in the less populated zones between) was enormous. Even so, it took fifty years for railroad profits to cover initial construction costs. If the railroads had had to also pay market rates for the land they were built on and the Army that kept the land’s previous residents out of the way, it would have taken 150 years to get any return on investment. 

    Nobody would have invested in that. Nobody. No person, no group of persons, no consortium of banks and industrialists, nobody. Only a government can afford to plan that far ahead. And BTW, the above-mentioned farmers and ranchers… they also didn’t pay money for their land, nor for the Army that made their farms and ranches possible. Government handouts to the citizenry, of territory acquired by government action. 

    This is how we came to be a rich and powerful nation. It didn’t happen by the unregulated magic of the free market or by God’s divine decree. It happened because lots and lots of people combined efforts and resources to create a central government that meddled pretty regularly in combining those efforts and resources. 

    on National Parks… okay, sure, we didn’t “build” them. We built the legal system that could declare and enforce a boundary within which the land would be mostly preserved as it had been before we got there. Where we could all go see it and it wouldn’t be broken up into a series of condo developments. 

  • depizan

    I just really wish people who don’t like taxes/government/civilization would go off and try living somewhere without them before attempting to bring about their paradise here.  Maybe they’d find that it’s as awesome as they think.  Somehow I really doubt it.

  • depizan

    and am now playing Star Wars: ToR (Bioware, I hate you as much as I love you)

    I’d hate to derail this thread, so… is there anywhere we could burble about SW:TOR that wouldn’t be a derail.  I’d love to know what you love and hate.  *loves, and frequently headdesks/rants about, SW:TOR*

  • Lori

    I’m back to thinking that Chris Hadrick is a Poe. No single person can be so consistently ridiculous on so many issues. Right?

  • wendy

    Somalia! Libertarian paradise!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDv4sYwjO0

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And if that isn’t sufficient there are also many weakly governed areas of Africa that could qualify as a close approximation. Guess what? Warlords usually rule the roost in such areas.

    Or take the former Yugoslavia. A man named Fikret Abdić carved out a little chunk of Bosnia for himself in the early 1990s.He was only able to do that precisely because the national government no longer functioned.

  • The_L1985

     Er, you do realize that vegetables come from farming just as much as dairy, right?  “Agriculture” = FARMING of all kinds, not just dairy.

  • P J Evans

     Wheat for the bread he eats, too. And all the food for the cattle and sheep and chickens and turkeys. Grain to go into beers and hard liquors; grapes for wine and brandy.

  • The_L1985

     You are opposed to ALL taxes?

    Then I guess you’re opposed to all roads, postage, schools, city electrical grids, city sewage and plumbing systems, firefighters, police officers, libraries, telephone lines, and all forms of safety regulation and enforcement that ensure that your food isn’t full of rats and their droppings, your daily vitamin isn’t actually poison or cocaine, your car doesn’t randomly explode, and your computer isn’t made of components that will kill you?

    After all, every single one of those things is paid for with our taxes.

  • The_L1985

    Baby steps.  If he doesn’t realize that veggies are farmed, then the fact that all the rest of what he eats and drinks (except water, unless he hunts for food) is farmed as well is going to go right over his head.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Anyone remember the time when Chris said we should lay off all of our firefighters, because we’re in a recession and besides, he’s only seen like two fires his whole life?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Heh. I’m probably going to post about SW:TOR on my blog pretty soon. Though I have been severely lacking in spoons lately (translation: in tons of pain), so “soon” may be relative.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    And he said that while the fires in Colorado were still raging and while knowing people close to other posters had lost everything they had because of said fires.

    I don’t know why he does it, but I do know the effect Chris Hadrick has. He invariably derails the conversation and gets lots and lots and lots of attention for his wacky and offensive ideas. What I’m saying is, Chris Hadrick lives under a bridge and eats billy goats.

  • Tricksterson

    If the government didn’t protect the national parks (except for the parts they don’t, I’ll admit there are big chunks of government land that are “protected” only in the sense that they’re rented out for grazing or logging) Any or all of the following would happen:

    A:  They would be a lot smaller

    B:  They would be logged and stripmined to the ground (which to a certain limited extent the government does anyway as admitted above

    C:  They would be the private preserves of the rich

    D:  They would be commercialized and Disneyfied to within an inch of their lives

    I’ve been where you are and when I saw enough of life I realized that the opposite of some government intervention isn’t an idealistic anarchist paradise it’s either MADMAXland (which depending on my mood I often root for, IMHGO Escape From LA had a happy ending) or feudalism, which I know enough about history to realize sucks.

  • P J Evans

     True. But I figure even someone who doesn’t eat veggies will eat bread. Or some kind of meat or poultry.

    Home gardens come under ‘environmental horticulture’.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- God made the Grand Canyon not the government.

    l1985- I got carried away there. I’m not opposed to all forms of taxation, just the income tax.

    rhubarb- people were using cheap tactics to try and justify the state not having to experience the downturn it caused. Everyone is broke but cops and teachers can get pay raises because they’re “vital”. as if none of us are.

    trickerston- bah.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/coleen-rowley/only-one-good-way-to-brak_b_2384964.html

    ^ something all of us can get behind? except Ellie “wars are jobs” can’t spell her last name

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, that was seventeen million years of the Colorado River. And Theodore Roosevelt made the Grand Canyon National Park. Which is why we still have a Grand Canyon with a phenomenal view, not a Grand Canyon where one side is all winter homes of the sufficiently wealthy and the other side is all tourist attractions and nobody at all has the view of the canyon that the developers and businessowners are advertising.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    My grandfather told me about seeing TR out these digging what had been flat marginal land “one day this will be a canyon, a grand one”.

     I’m not advocating people building on beautiful national parks or selling them off. I’m saying they are there now, they don’t need to be created. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you’re willing to reap the benefits of government spending but you don’t want the government to have the money to continue that spending?

  • Turcano

    people were using cheap tactics to try and justify the state not having to experience the downturn it caused.

    Wait a cottonpicking minute.  You honestly believe that the government caused the latest recession and not the banking industry that drove two simultaneous market bubbles (real estate and credit default swaps), lobbied for the removal of regulations that prevented them from doing so, and then lobbied for massive bailouts when they burst so it wouldn’t have to “experience the downturn it caused?” And not only the government, but the collective state government, who has no control over the financial sector and actually hires police and firefighters?

    Oh, who am I kidding.  Of course you do.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Is there another Ellie that Chris would expect us to know? Because given the bit he attributes to Ellie with the unspellable last name (even though he certainly has c&p capability), he can’t possibly mean me.

  • Lori

    Everyone is broke but cops and teachers can get pay raises because they’re “vital”. as if none of us are.   

    Are you a state or federal employee Chris? Because if you’re not then your raise or lack thereof is in the hands of the Almighty Market. By your own lights the amount of money you make is what you’re worth. No raise means not worth any more than you’re currently making, right?

  • Lori

    Everyone is broke but cops and teachers can get pay raises because they’re “vital”. as if none of us are.   

    Are you a state or federal employee Chris? Because if you’re not then your raise or lack thereof is in the hands of the Almighty Market. By your own lights the amount of money you make is what you’re worth. No raise means not worth any more than you’re currently making, right?

  • Daughter

     Oh come on, Chris. Of course the land formations are natural. It’s both keeping them that way (rather than being turned into developments) and keeping them accessible to the public and not just the wealthy, where government is involved.

  • Daughter

     Oh come on, Chris. Of course the land formations are natural. It’s both keeping them that way (rather than being turned into developments) and keeping them accessible to the public and not just the wealthy, where government is involved.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In a recession, cops and teachers are even more vital than in economic expansions:

    1. Crime tends to go up as people resort to petty theft, fraud, etc to keep their wallets full and this means law enforcement needs to be on the ball.
    2. People tend to spend longer in school when there’s an economic downturn. This means teachers need to be kept on and trained. (Even for K-12 this is true; parents who can’t afford daycare can try putting their kids in early kindergarten, or even encouraging their kids to participate in school-sponsored after-school activities.)

    You’re such a fucking five-year-old, Chris Hadrick. It’s all about YOU and YOUR squalling little tantrum over taxes and the government.

    If you really were five, it’d be your chores and your parents.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In a recession, cops and teachers are even more vital than in economic expansions:

    1. Crime tends to go up as people resort to petty theft, fraud, etc to keep their wallets full and this means law enforcement needs to be on the ball.
    2. People tend to spend longer in school when there’s an economic downturn. This means teachers need to be kept on and trained. (Even for K-12 this is true; parents who can’t afford daycare can try putting their kids in early kindergarten, or even encouraging their kids to participate in school-sponsored after-school activities.)

    You’re such a fucking five-year-old, Chris Hadrick. It’s all about YOU and YOUR squalling little tantrum over taxes and the government.

    If you really were five, it’d be your chores and your parents.

  • P J Evans

     Or keeping them from being strip-mined or turned into oilfields. Because of course profits are more important than preservation. If you’re a fool.

  • P J Evans

     Or keeping them from being strip-mined or turned into oilfields. Because of course profits are more important than preservation. If you’re a fool.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- It was on the other page sorry. 

    PJ- you could have private ownership of those lands and laws against using them for those purposes. 

    Turcano- It was a combination of Wall Street and Washington and when you get down to it, really in the area in between those two entities in the form of people like Alan Greenspan. The real estate bubble was like a religion for them, it was all their illusions rolled into one big thing. Thus it must have made perfect sense for Greenspan to essentially create the bubble by keeping interest rates so low for so long. 

    The dark pools and whatnot did have alot to do with the escalation of it but at it’s root it was something Washington encouraged and Wall Street carried out. 

    That said police and firefighters are not better than other people. They aren’t worse either but if the country is in a recession the WHOLE country should be in one including military contractors, presidents etc . DC has been totally insulated from the recession. Jonathan Chait wrote as much a while back. 

    What we saw in Wisconsin was that blue collar sort of government jobs aren’t DC bigwigs but they aren’t really “us” either. It’s a gray area.  

    neutrino- So if I’m a teacher who cares about a recession you’re benefits and salary will stay the same, enjoy your three month vacation.  If you run a pizza shop you’re expendable go die.  Obviously there is a difference between a cop and a cupcake shop, but you are in danger of a monarchy like situation with the mobs dying in the street while the King has feasts. DC is the King. 

    Lori – That’s right . I can’t vote myself a pay raise.  federal employees aren’t subject to market forces. The Pentagon is an obvious example. They have Rolls Royce budget which made no sense even in the best of times but we can’t not buy Pentagon hamburgers or unsubscribe to their newspaper. 

    daughter- At Purgatory Chasm they have a porta potty which is fine though I wouldn’t use it if you paid me, a decent playground and some picnic tables. I have no problem with any of that and we even left a donation in the thing. 

    So I was willing to pay for what was provided by the entity that provided it who happened to be the local government. Point is, people will pay for things they want including parks. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    you could have private ownership of those lands and laws against using them for those purposes.

    And from whence the paychecks of the people making and enforcing those laws?
    So I was willing to pay for what was provided by the entity that provided it who happened to be the local government. Point is, people will pay for things they want including parks.

    Precisely. Which is WHY the Grand Canyon would, were it not a national park, have one side all winter homes for the sufficiently wealthy and the other side all tourist attractions for the people who can scrape up enough money for a vacation every other year.

  • P J Evans

    Not much for brains in that sub-pontine resident. Hse can hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time, and never notice that they are contradictory.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Fuck off until you know a damned thing about what you’re saying. I’m not a government employee, but I work with them. And over the past three years, I have watched some of the most talented, intelligent individuals I have ever know, who work long hours doing work essential for keeping this country running — for keeping private business running — get passed over for raises and promotions over and over again because the budget is only going to cover promoting one person this year.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ross= Why don’t they quit? Oh yeah they can’t because there are no jobs! passed over for a promotion? I heard some of them are have even struggled to make a payment on their beach house. 

    Ellie- They have stuff like that at grand Canyon. There’s a thing where you can walk over the canyon on this invisible porch thing.  All sorts of touristy stuff there. and getting you out there on buses and whatnot. It’s not some pure thing that’s being saved from voracious capitalists.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I guess if people here will argue with the likes of Winston Blake, then arguing with Chris Hadrick isn’t so terrible in comparison.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Clearly I need to break out the diagrams.

    (what the fuck photobucket I do not WANT the new version especially if it does not come with the pop-up-on-hover link provider)
    http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff111/chibicallisto/grandcanyon_zps8f91de6b.png
    The top half is Grand Canyon National Park. The black lines are the canyon edges, the red dots are park buildings.

    The bottom half is Libertopian Grand Canyon. The green dots are the winter homes of anyone who wants and can afford a canyon view, the blue dots are restaurants and such where the main selling point is the canyon view.

  • Turcano

    Blaming Greenspan for the financial crisis does nothing to help your case; if there were ever a believer in the Invisible Handjob, it would be Alan “I Was A Randroid Before It Was Cool” Greenspan.

  • Daughter

    you could have private ownership of those lands and laws against using them for those purposes.

    Doesn’t that violate the libertarian principle that you can use your privte property however you wish?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And Greenspan has had no shame in adjusting his political views to conform to the ideology of the present rulers in society.

    When Wall Street wanted easy money to keep the stock market going, Alan Greenspan happily began talking up the “new economy” and all but ignoring the NAIRU as he kept interest rates low enough (with the occasional “warning shot across the bow” rate increase just to keep people believing he was being tough on inflation) to push easy money into the hands of stock market speculators who were willing to believe any old story a dot-com flimflam artist could come up with if it meant rocketing the Dow up another 100 points.

    Then when Shrub came into power, all Alan Greenspan’s careful pronouncements about the need to keep eliminating the national debt to allow him to keep interest rates down went out the window when it was obvious that stamping his imprimatur on Shrub’s ginormous tax cut program would ease the road to an uneventful renomination if he wanted to stay on as Fed Chairman. So Greenspan happily talked up the importance of tax cuts and came up with ridiculous scenarios of what would happen if the national debt were to vanish, such as the idea that the US government would have to start buying stocks in companies to keep government spending going and that would be omgsocialism.

    (The notion that maybe all that extra cash could go into increasing Social Security payments doesn’t seem to have even blipped on Greenspan’s radar)

    So Greenspan, for all his Objectivist credentials, had no problem conforming to the ideology of the day to keep his job.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Daughter- I haven’t a given a ton of thought to it honestly.  National Parks are not as bad an idea as prohibition, I’ll admit that. 

     I don’t think anyone would do any of the stuff people are talking about to the grand Canyon anyway because it’s a cash cow.  Why would you build a waterslide park there when you could just rent a couple of buses and count your money? Plus, it would be bad publicity if you did some really tacky crap.

    I really doubt anyone would buy Purgatory Chasm http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/purg.htm  and destroy it because there is plenty of local land that is cheaper and you wouldn’t have to do anything to it to build on it and it wouldn’t piss anybody off. If they bought it and tried to charge admission no one would pay it. 

    Turcano- The entire notion of a Federal Reserve is un libertarian. earlier in his career when he was in Rand’s weird cult he had championed the gold standard but moderated his views for personal advancement as Neutrino points out very well.

    Libertarians hate Alan Greenspan. “End the Fed” and all that. 

    Ellie- you are all about doing this and that for “society” yet you block me on twitter. unbelieveable!

  • DorothyD

     I don’t think anyone would do any of the stuff people are talking about to the grand Canyon anyway because it’s a cash cow.

    Ever been to Niagara Falls? 

  • Ross Thompson

    Ellie- you are all about doing this and that for “society” yet you block me on twitter. unbelieveable!

    Blocking people on Twitter is incompatible with believing in society? How so? What does that say about people who don’t even use Twitter?


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