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Volume 19: The Efficient Market Hypothesis

It's Why You (Probably) Can't Beat the Market “The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient,” – Warren Buffett As a society, we have decided to invest our time, our currency, and some of our greatest minds towards the task of beating the market. Teams of Ph. D’s sit in New York, Chicago, Greenwich and elsewhere, looking for any tiny edge they can exploit. They combine form a giant machine, taking in information, spitting out predictions for asset prices. As our knowledge base becomes larger - satellite pictures of Iowa cornfields, micro-data on consumer spending, professional “Fed Watchers” – this machine is able to incorporate more information, faste

Trump-proof Your State

Let's forget, for a second, what an awful human being Donald Trump is. It's hard, I know - I mean the guy has literally sanitized neo-Nazis. I thought we had all agreed that Nazis were bad 70 years ago, but apparently the "debate" goes on. In any case, on top of his general awfulness, and some childish temper-tantrum policies (did he really have to allow airlines to not disclose what their baggage fees would be?), the Trump-Republican Party has and will put through some major policy changes that cause true destruction. Fortunately, if your state is governed intelligently, it can - nay, will - take a few small steps to soften the blows for those within its borders. Riffing on (and borrowing f

Getting Selfish on Taxes

I pay a lot of tax. Being a relatively high earner, entirely through earned income, while living in New York State and New York City, you probably know few people who have a higher overall tax rate or a higher marginal tax rate. As much as, like most others, I roll my eyes when I see the overall tax bill, I am self-aware enough to know that I make out like a bandit via government services. Without roads, electricity, water, internet and health care, I both wouldn’t be able to have much of any income, and little ability to enjoy that which I did receive. All of these things are only possible because of the requirement that we all pay taxes. That being said, a bill passing Congress precisely s

Cut Corporate Taxes, Discourage Hiring

Once upon a time, somebody proposed the elimination of the charitable deduction against income for US Federal income taxes. Doing so makes a lot of sense; it has little economic rationale, exists largely to benefit the very wealthy, and the "charitable" label is used to reduce taxes for many reasons that are not very altruistic. In any case, this proposal was never more than symbolic; the charitable deduction is the true third rail of our politics. But the resultant cries of the non-profit industry got me thinking - if eliminating the deduction would reduce giving, wouldn't increasing marginal rates increase giving? No reason to think this isn't the case, and we have as evidence the heavy us

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