We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, April 4. 2014
Chart above via Carpe Diem
Circumcision rates declining in U.S., study says
No, It’s Not Safe to Pee in the Pool, Says Science
Spam makes a comeback
Millionaire Farmers Need Your Help
Amazing Graphic Shows Chicago’s Middle Class Disappear Before Your Eyes
The Chinese Are Buying Large Chunks Of Land Across America
Diverse Sweden Rushes to Embrace (and Become) a Third World Culture
Combat Has Little Or No Influence On Suicide Rates Among U.S. Troops And Veterans
CAIR-MI Fails to Silence TMLC President
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i thought DON'T PEE IN THE POOL was going to be about domestic swimming pools being infested with candiru
HFT isn't a situation of "this is all bad" as Lewis suggests, or "this is all good" as the Post article suggests.
There are varying degrees of benefit to the practice. The real issue, as I see it, is that HFT can be a destabilizing situation in the market and occasionally scare capital from entering, while incrementally raising the cost of purchase.
HFT thrives on volume - the margins are so slim, the more often you trade and the larger volume you trade, the more you stand to make. For the larger, more tech-savvy, firms and traders, there is opportunity to create a new revenue stream (witness the reports that some brokerage firms never had a single trading day loss over the past year! That is only possible in a rigged market). HFT is market rigging.
But it is a useful tool, just like options, shorting or any other trading tool available. The question is how to make it more strategic rather than simply trying to keep scaling it up (which is how it is done now).
The answer is the one thing I firmly believe can eliminate income taxes - financial transaction tax. By lowering the margins on HFT, you make it a strategic tool rather than strictly a volume tool. Firms have to carefully weigh the factors going in to upcoming trades to determine when HFT is going to logistically benefit them. Right now, the answer is almost always "every trade benefits if we jump in early". With a financial transaction tax, this ceases to be the case, and it benefits the smaller investor, who typically is in the market for the longer haul, rather than the trader and the big lot movers and shakers.
I've always felt the attempts to control markets are wrong - you can't control most things in life (I like to ask my boys what is the only thing you can control entirely? Yourself and your thoughts/actions).
But you can influence and manage anything outside yourself. It is better to manage than control. And if things become unmanageable (as they sometimes do), that usually indicates you've done a poor job OR a phase transition has taken place and you need to revisit your management technique.
The same is true in markets. Simple answers usually provide larger, more complex solutions.
HFT is conducted in violation of the rules of the exchange. Orders are placed with no intention of them ever being filled.
That the order exists for a fraction of a second does not change the fact that some traders are being allowed to break the rules for their own advantage.
The proper word may not be “rigged”. How about “corrupt”. A clique of insiders gets to operate by a different set of rules.
If the practice lowered costs of transaction (and it does) more than it increases the price of the share exchanged (which is minimal), then there is a net benefit to allowing HFT.
However, as anyone knows the issue isn't that the net benefit takes place, but that it never accrues to the small investors.
There are good reasons why the rules preventing HFT should be changed. However, the net benefits need to accrue to the proper places. They don't. As a result, I'll stick with the term 'rigged' because I think the current set of SEC regulations rig the game for a different group of people, anyway. The SEC itself is corrupt.
"Millionaire farmers need your help"
We should of course enforce our immigration laws and that would be the best solution to this problem. But there are a couple of very simple things we could do to solve this even if we choose not to enforce our immigration laws:
1. Require the employer of illegals to pay a price for that cheap labor. A reasonable fee paid to the state and federal government to offset the huge cost of the illegals to the taxpayer. I suggest $10 an hour for each employee to be used to pay for medical, K-12, prisons, SNAP, welfare, etc. costs the illegal use.
2. A fine on anyone employng an illegal. All Americans are required to prove to our employer that we are legal citizens so if an employer chooses to hire an ilegal to enhance their profit a fine of $1000 a day for each illegal might induce the employer to hire a legal citizen.
Neither of these efforts would totally reverse the illegal immigration but would certainly remove a lot of the incentive for illegals.
That sounds like a good plan to me.
It confuses me why people say our immigration system is broken. Exactly what is broken about it? Is it because there are a lot of illegal immigrants in the country? That would mean that the enforcement system, not the immigration system is broken. Is it because there are so many low skilled immigrants and not enough high skilled ones (this seems to be the argument that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg make). If that's the case, then why is Washington trying to give citizenship to so many low skilled workers (I don't think there are many software engineers or other professionals sneaking across the Mexican border)? It can't be the other way around - there are plenty of low skilled workers who are already citizens who don't appear to want to do that work. Non of this makes any sense.
No, Gone's idea is not good. It is far too complicated and it would take another army of gubmint workers to enforce. Gubmint workers who already don't do anything. Waste of money. Nothing substantial needs to change to fix the worst problems.
To begin with, the prospective workers need to get identification and worker permits. Then, they are 'legal' and in the system. But not citizens. When they get a job, they can get taxed at something like 500 per year more than the average low skilled worker. Who pay around 900 per year. Thus, they are legal, they are accountable and they pay for the basic services they need to have. At a slightly higher rate than citizens. We can't let them be easy victims of crime or die in the streets like dogs. And they won't be rounded up and deported no matter how much some crazy people scream about it. That just won't happen, wake up and smell those burritos.
This alone solves most of the concerns. The border controls need to be tightened, we do need to have real border control, the flood of Muslims needs to be stopped and the path to citizenship for Hispanics needs to be meaningful. By meaningful, I mean not super easy or free. I mean include things like honorable military service, education, language skills, bank accounts here, etc.
One last thing, I'm tired of the frantic calls to deport all of the Hispanic 'illegal' immigrants. Most of the complainers use them for yard work. I see them every day in front of those pretty homes. The day middle and upper middle class America stops hiring cheap labor for their yard and kitchen work is the day I start listening to those lazy, cheap ass xenophobes. I'm comfortable knowing that day will never come.
Not complicated. The employer sends in a form 941 to the federal government periodically (quarterly for smaller companies, monthly for bigger companies and for some employers it is weekly). As soon as the 941 is processed the government knows you have an illegal alien and if you didn't send in your fine and or $10 and hour with the form 941 then they issue an arrest warrant. After a few employers get arrested for "tax evasion" pay court costs and additional fines they will: A send in the money or B hire an American worker. One clarification. One the 941 gets processed they know the SS is wrong as in it belongs to Jane Doe but the name attached to the form is Selena Quintanilla-Pérez or Yolanda Saldivar. It would then be up to the employer to attest that it is a mistake and correct it or acknowledge it is indeed an illegal using someone else's SS# (a felony for you and me if we were to do it). The computer system already knows all the illegals hired "legally", it wouldn't take much to print out a list and kick out a letter to the employer.
While it may gross you out, pee in the pool will not create harmful gases. ArsTechnica (link below) did a breakdown of the chemical equations from the pee in the pool study and found that "...we need a pool that is two parts water to one part chlorine and would probably burn the eyeballs out of your sockets and make your skin peel away from your bones (this calls for a pool boy who can only be criminally sadistic). If you and three million other people could get at this pool and unload your pee into it before your bodies melted, before the crowd crushed you to death, and before you drowned from the massive tidal wave of pee... yes, you could feasibly die of cyanogen chloride poisoning originating from chlorinated water and pee."
"Combat Has Little Or No Influence On Suicide Rates Among U.S. Troops And Veterans"
This conclusion is based on a small, hand picked portion of suicides. Copied below is the pertinent quote.
"The 2001-08 study looked at a small portion of the thousands of suicides among active-duty service members and veterans during that time."
This alone means the conclusion is invalid. Really not much of a conclusion to begin with. The increased suicide rate is real enough, what did cause it? We have no idea, they just wanted to reach a conclusion that would screw vets out of benefits. Crappy study, another waste of time and tax dollars.
Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters
God made us omnivores. I'm pretty sure He knew what He was doing.
Right you all are. I'm on the old side of young and most of the people I knew in my age range who were obsessed with supplements, vitamins and vegetarian crap are dead. The shaved head punks selling flowers and albums in the airports and bus terminals were vegetarians I think. It looks like they all died. That's all the proof I need.