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Author Topic: What's to be done about homelessness?  (Read 3647 times)

Ghostmaker

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #60 on: January 22, 2021, 12:12:25 PM »
Yes, California has a problem with its pension system - but lots of states have different financial woes. In general, blue states are not financially incompetent. On average, blue states have higher GDP per capita and household income than red states. They host dominant financial institutions like Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley. There's plenty of problems in blue states to nitpick, but overall, their finances are no worse than red states.

In terms of general debt, California is roughly average in debt as a percentage of GDP, and less than, for example, Texas.

https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/state_spending_rank_2021pH0C
14% of $3.1 trillion is about $430 billion. Yet here's a source that says California's debt is $1.3 to 2.3 trillion, with pensions alone accounting for $1 trillion:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasdelbeccaro/2018/04/19/the-top-four-reasons-california-is-unsustainable/
I'd bet that 14% doesn't include unfunded liabilities. Which private companies are required to include on their balance sheets, by government regulators, because it's just common sense to include legally promised future commitments. But which the government frequently doesn't include on its own balance sheets, because they're trying to hide their own failures to control costs.
Yup. Jhkim is cheerfully quoting statistics that are, how shall we say, 'massaged'. Hence why I'm not really paying much attention.

And of course, the proof is in the pudding; why else would California be trying to pass blatantly illegal tax codes targeting people outside its jurisdiction?

Yeah, the proof is in the pudding. When it really comes down to it, what matters to people's lives is proposed laws that haven't been passed.

Oh, wait. No, that's not the proof.

The proof is in actual results - in how people actually live. Things like GDP per capita, average lifespan, poverty rate, suicide rate, violent crime rate, and so forth. Yes, California has problems - but so do all the other states. When we compare *proven* results, California mostly does better than average. Regarding the statistics - if you have a comparison of unfunded liabilities by GDP per state, I'd love to see it. I didn't see a comparison of that in my search.
Pat's already linked you to one.

How many people left California last year again?


Pat

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #61 on: January 22, 2021, 12:29:01 PM »
Yeah, the proof is in the pudding. When it really comes down to it, what matters to people's lives is proposed laws that haven't been passed.

Oh, wait. No, that's not the proof.

The proof is in actual results - in how people actually live. Things like GDP per capita, average lifespan, poverty rate, suicide rate, violent crime rate, and so forth. Yes, California has problems - but so do all the other states. When we compare *proven* results, California mostly does better than average. Regarding the statistics - if you have a comparison of unfunded liabilities by GDP per state, I'd love to see it. I didn't see a comparison of that in my search.
Except the discussion wasn't about California, overall. It was about California's government. You're trying to switch topics to defend something indefensible. It's like something telling you they're dying of cancer. And you saying no, that's silly. Because they can still run as fast as they ever did, and they make lots of money. And that's what important. That's the big picture. Not the cancer.

GDP per capita is important. Really important. Take all the other metrics and throw them away important. It serves as a reasonable proxy for the standard of living for each individual citizen, and also for power and influence as a whole -- that's why countries with small GDPs regularly beat countries with large GDPs, if they have higher per capita GDP.

(Parenthetical aside: One metric for measuring government power I've run across recently is to multiply GDP by GDP per capita -- in other words, China isn't as big a threat to the US as doomsayers claim, because while they're roughly at parity when it comes to overall GDP, China's wealth is spread across more people, so a higher proportion goes to basic subsistence and other forms of upkeep. They don't have anywhere near as much discretionary economic power to throw around.)

And California has a high overall GDP and an even higher GDP per capita. So yes, it does very well by that measure. But they're also doing poorly by other measures, like government management of the homeless, government interference in housing, government imposed taxes, and government debt. And some of those are creating long term problems, that will impact the future GDP per capita. A small percentage of the taxpayers in California pay a very high percentage of the taxes, and they're starting to flee. The wealth has also largely been produced by a few specific sectors, primarily technology. But Silicon Valley is losing its stranglehold as more companies and looking toward places like the Northeast and Texas, and the increasing focus on remote work means even the native companies may start to hollow out. The massive government debt is forcing the state to look to raise their already obscenely high taxes, and even tax people out of state, which will accelerate the flight. That lowers their GDP per capita, and will reduce their future tax base, compounding the problems with the debt.

The question isn't whether California is rich. It is. The question is whether they're sowing the seeds of their own destruction. The Magic 8 Ball says maybe.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 12:30:48 PM by Pat »

jhkim

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #62 on: January 22, 2021, 01:56:00 PM »
The proof is in actual results - in how people actually live. Things like GDP per capita, average lifespan, poverty rate, suicide rate, violent crime rate, and so forth. Yes, California has problems - but so do all the other states. When we compare *proven* results, California mostly does better than average. Regarding the statistics - if you have a comparison of unfunded liabilities by GDP per state, I'd love to see it. I didn't see a comparison of that in my search.
Pat's already linked you to one.

How many people left California last year again?

Most recently, Pat linked to an opinion piece which showed a number of worrying stats on California - but it did not provide any comparison to the same from other states. For example, will California have problems with infrastructure in the future? Sure it will. The question is, relative to its size and economy, how *much* trouble will it have compared to other states? I don't know that.

My point is - when we say "the proof is in the pudding" - that implies looking at actual results, not an opinion piece on what the future might be.


GDP per capita is important. Really important. Take all the other metrics and throw them away important. It serves as a reasonable proxy for the standard of living for each individual citizen, and also for power and influence as a whole -- that's why countries with small GDPs regularly beat countries with large GDPs, if they have higher per capita GDP.
Quote
And California has a high overall GDP and an even higher GDP per capita. So yes, it does very well by that measure. But they're also doing poorly by other measures, like government management of the homeless, government interference in housing, government imposed taxes, and government debt. And some of those are creating long term problems, that will impact the future GDP per capita. A small percentage of the taxpayers in California pay a very high percentage of the taxes, and they're starting to flee. The wealth has also largely been produced by a few specific sectors, primarily technology.
Quote
The question isn't whether California is rich. It is. The question is whether they're sowing the seeds of their own destruction. The Magic 8 Ball says maybe.

I won't argue with the Magic 8 Ball. It's quite possible that California will falter at points in the future - nothing lasts forever. And I have plenty of criticisms of California. But I also take known results as a more definite indicator than Magic 8 Ball.

Pat

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #63 on: January 23, 2021, 09:03:32 AM »
Most recently, Pat linked to an opinion piece which showed a number of worrying stats on California - but it did not provide any comparison to the same from other states. For example, will California have problems with infrastructure in the future? Sure it will. The question is, relative to its size and economy, how *much* trouble will it have compared to other states? I don't know that.

My point is - when we say "the proof is in the pudding" - that implies looking at actual results, not an opinion piece on what the future might be.
An opinion piece about finances from a respected financial source (Forbes), and I didn't cite any of the opinions in the article. I used it as a source for concrete numbers about the state's finances, all of which the article attributed and linked to the original studies, and which massively contradict your numbers. And your reply is just that the future is unknowable. There's room for divergence of opinions, but you're denying there should be an opinion on the topic.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 09:24:44 AM by Pat »

jhkim

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #64 on: January 23, 2021, 08:33:44 PM »
An opinion piece about finances from a respected financial source (Forbes), and I didn't cite any of the opinions in the article. I used it as a source for concrete numbers about the state's finances, all of which the article attributed and linked to the original studies, and which massively contradict your numbers. And your reply is just that the future is unknowable. There's room for divergence of opinions, but you're denying there should be an opinion on the topic.

Sorry. I did not mean to say that there shouldn't be an opinion on the topic, and I do take respected opinion pieces seriously.

From what I saw of the article, it didn't contradict my source - it just was using different definitions. My source was looking at general debt - but most of the article was looking at future obligations - like infrastructure maintenance costs. Yes, California has obligations to pay beyond borrowed money, but so do other states. In order to compare apples to apples, one would need to look at what the expected infrastructure and similar costs like pensions are for other states.

Pat

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #65 on: January 23, 2021, 08:51:02 PM »
An opinion piece about finances from a respected financial source (Forbes), and I didn't cite any of the opinions in the article. I used it as a source for concrete numbers about the state's finances, all of which the article attributed and linked to the original studies, and which massively contradict your numbers. And your reply is just that the future is unknowable. There's room for divergence of opinions, but you're denying there should be an opinion on the topic.

Sorry. I did not mean to say that there shouldn't be an opinion on the topic, and I do take respected opinion pieces seriously.

From what I saw of the article, it didn't contradict my source - it just was using different definitions. My source was looking at general debt - but most of the article was looking at future obligations - like infrastructure maintenance costs. Yes, California has obligations to pay beyond borrowed money, but so do other states. In order to compare apples to apples, one would need to look at what the expected infrastructure and similar costs like pensions are for other states.
The article also looked at things like projected future infrastructure costs, but I didn't reference any of that. The part I cited was pure debt, i.e. existing commitments. Which worked out to $1.3 to $2.3 trillion, depending on the source, and that's far, far above the amount your source used. Vague and uncertain as it is (that's another problem), that's the real number.

That's because the government plays games with debt. Or be blunt, they lie. Because if a company promises to pay out $70 million dollars in pension funds, then they're required to put that on their balance sheet. This is a universal, basic accounting standard. But the government at various levels has exempted themselves from that requirement. Which doesn't erase the debt, so it means the official numbers are garbage.

At the federal level, look up the fiscal gap -- that includes all the promised future expenditures that have already been made for entitlements like social security and medicare. The already staggering official debt is a vast underestimate of the real federal debt, because it does not include those numbers. If you're interested, the GAO used to publish the real total, under an alternate scenario. But people started paying attention, so they just stopped publishing the numbers. But the last time it was published, the total was roughly an order of magnitude higher than the nominal debt.

California is playing the same games. Do you think they can just elect not to pay pensions to their workers? If you think that's nonsense, and you should, then you have ignore the official debt. It's simply not real.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 08:52:57 PM by Pat »

moonsweeper

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #66 on: January 24, 2021, 12:40:18 AM »
An opinion piece about finances from a respected financial source (Forbes), and I didn't cite any of the opinions in the article. I used it as a source for concrete numbers about the state's finances, all of which the article attributed and linked to the original studies, and which massively contradict your numbers. And your reply is just that the future is unknowable. There's room for divergence of opinions, but you're denying there should be an opinion on the topic.

Sorry. I did not mean to say that there shouldn't be an opinion on the topic, and I do take respected opinion pieces seriously.

From what I saw of the article, it didn't contradict my source - it just was using different definitions. My source was looking at general debt - but most of the article was looking at future obligations - like infrastructure maintenance costs. Yes, California has obligations to pay beyond borrowed money, but so do other states. In order to compare apples to apples, one would need to look at what the expected infrastructure and similar costs like pensions are for other states.
The article also looked at things like projected future infrastructure costs, but I didn't reference any of that. The part I cited was pure debt, i.e. existing commitments. Which worked out to $1.3 to $2.3 trillion, depending on the source, and that's far, far above the amount your source used. Vague and uncertain as it is (that's another problem), that's the real number.

That's because the government plays games with debt. Or be blunt, they lie. Because if a company promises to pay out $70 million dollars in pension funds, then they're required to put that on their balance sheet. This is a universal, basic accounting standard. But the government at various levels has exempted themselves from that requirement. Which doesn't erase the debt, so it means the official numbers are garbage.

At the federal level, look up the fiscal gap -- that includes all the promised future expenditures that have already been made for entitlements like social security and medicare. The already staggering official debt is a vast underestimate of the real federal debt, because it does not include those numbers. If you're interested, the GAO used to publish the real total, under an alternate scenario. But people started paying attention, so they just stopped publishing the numbers. But the last time it was published, the total was roughly an order of magnitude higher than the nominal debt.

California is playing the same games. Do you think they can just elect not to pay pensions to their workers? If you think that's nonsense, and you should, then you have ignore the official debt. It's simply not real.

I think the current total is estimated around 220 Trillion for the US.  Which would indeed be an order of magnitude. 
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Spinachcat

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #67 on: January 24, 2021, 11:53:35 PM »
How many people left California last year again?

Less than the number of people who will leave this year.

But it's important to note that LA's real estate market is absurdly hot right now. I don't pretend to understand the exuberance, but my realtor friends and acquaintances are unseasonably busy. Their best guess has been people are upgrading to houses from condos because they need more rooms since they plan to be in lockdown forever and never return to an office.


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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #68 on: January 24, 2021, 11:55:37 PM »
Do you think they can just elect not to pay pensions to their workers?

Once you steal a presidential election, you can do anything.

Dems are magical now.

moonsweeper

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #69 on: January 25, 2021, 01:16:35 AM »
Do you think they can just elect not to pay pensions to their workers?

Once you steal a presidential election, you can do anything.

Dems are magical now.

That means they have an asterisk next to their Hit Dice and are therefore worth more XP, right?  :)
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Pat

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #70 on: January 25, 2021, 05:07:17 AM »
Do you think they can just elect not to pay pensions to their workers?

Once you steal a presidential election, you can do anything.

Dems are magical now.

That means they have an asterisk next to their Hit Dice and are therefore worth more XP, right?  :)
Don't confuse them with the ones with an asterisk next to their names, that means they're immune to normal elections.

KingCheops

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #71 on: January 25, 2021, 01:28:59 PM »
How many people left California last year again?

Less than the number of people who will leave this year.

But it's important to note that LA's real estate market is absurdly hot right now. I don't pretend to understand the exuberance, but my realtor friends and acquaintances are unseasonably busy. Their best guess has been people are upgrading to houses from condos because they need more rooms since they plan to be in lockdown forever and never return to an office.

Probably  the same problem we have in Vancouver.  Chinese nationals looking to offshore money and have a bolt hole to run to.

Pat

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #72 on: January 25, 2021, 01:42:21 PM »
How many people left California last year again?

Less than the number of people who will leave this year.

But it's important to note that LA's real estate market is absurdly hot right now. I don't pretend to understand the exuberance, but my realtor friends and acquaintances are unseasonably busy. Their best guess has been people are upgrading to houses from condos because they need more rooms since they plan to be in lockdown forever and never return to an office.

Probably  the same problem we have in Vancouver.  Chinese nationals looking to offshore money and have a bolt hole to run to.
The real estate market is up, almost everywhere. Because of the pandemic, the number of homes for sale is low. And because of the pandemic more people are working remotely, so they need more space at home and they're moving out of densely packed cities. Demand up + supply low = prices rise. Areas around cities are going up fastest (Jersey shore just outside NYC is crazy), but overall prices are higher than they've been a long time. Don't know about LA in specific, but it's a very spread out city to begin with. Chinese nationals are a more long term trend.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #73 on: February 02, 2021, 02:32:12 PM »
Allow individuals to be incorporated and sell shares in their income. Then it can be the stockholders' problem and not the public's.

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Re: What's to be done about homelessness?
« Reply #74 on: February 18, 2021, 12:50:04 AM »
How many people left California last year again?

Less than the number of people who will leave this year.

But it's important to note that LA's real estate market is absurdly hot right now. I don't pretend to understand the exuberance, but my realtor friends and acquaintances are unseasonably busy. Their best guess has been people are upgrading to houses from condos because they need more rooms since they plan to be in lockdown forever and never return to an office.


I'm curious how much of this is renters seizing a once in a lifetime opportunity to not pay rent for a year, build up a down payment and buy a house to get out of the renting world.

Mostly though I attribute it to a much larger number of people who were happy in a smaller apartment suddenly not ever wanting to be stuck for an extended time there again.  A gym membership, a rent check, a sizable dining out budget can all be collapsed into a mortgage payment and hey you actually end up ahead financially.