Stream of consciousness – Wall St ed.

While the standard schtick against Wall Street goes on, whats happening in San Francisco is probably a better measure of increasing challenges in wealth inequity:
“The new tech-economy wealth is increasingly concentrating in the hands of relatively few innovators and financiers, leaving the middle class and its consumer demand lagging behind. What is the appropriate role of government in redressing this?

“An America-appropriate policy response to the inequality challenge needs to be focused on equalizing opportunities, not outcomes. At the very least, removing barriers to social mobility will require tax, regulatory and educational reforms to give people the qualifications and liberty to improve their lives in the new economy.”


“In only the latest cultural altercation between San Francisco’s tech workers and the city’s impoverished population, one tech worker has declared the homeless are ‘riff raff’ whose ‘pain, struggle and despair’ shouldn’t have to be endured by ‘wealthy’ people commuting to work.

It’s a familiar story. A male entrepreneur (some might even call him a “tech bro”) takes a moment to think about homelessness [and] publishes them on the internet. Justin Keller, an entrepreneur, developer and the founder of startup… published an open letter to San Francisco mayor Ed Lee and police chief Greg Suhr:

“We live in a free market society. The wealthy working people have earned their right to live in the city. They went out, got an education, work hard, and earned it.”
(There’s a narrative in the U.S. that “everybody starts out equally,” Emmons said. “The results that we keep coming across suggest that’s kind of hard to imagine.” It’s not as difficult to see how large wealth gaps can form and persist….)


Seems to be a pervasive knee-jerk bashing of individual financier’s (Warren Buffet, et al) lower tax rates (from capital gains v income), but largely a public relations pass to Tech companies’ practice of off-shore tax havens (proves, reasonably, that in corporate America, keeping happy consumers trumps being good citizens):

“[G]lobal laws create an enormous financial incentive for Apple to keep its profits overseas using sophisticated subsidiaries and offshore chicanery that ultimately vastly lower its effective tax rate. 

However, it is worth remembering that in 2012, a British parliamentary committee chided executives from large tech firms for employing such tactics. Margaret Hodge, the public accounts committee chair, slammed Google’s northern European operations chief, saying, “We’re not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral.”


Whatever your views, at least be consistent. 

Not just pro-/anti- this, but blind-eye-to that, when it suits your personal convenience/preferences.


I have tremendous respect for Tim Cook, but when it comes to being strictly legalistic when it suits Apple (corporate tax havens – Apple is just following what the law permits), but not so much when it doesn’t (court orders to assist law enforcement) – his bipolarism is weirdly reminiscent of someone you might never think to lump Cook in the same breathe with – Justice Antonin Scalia, and his selective textualism.

Richard Posner (no intellectual lightweight): 

Does an ordinance that says that “no person may bring a vehicle into the park” apply to an ambulance that enters the park to save a person’s life? For Scalia and Garner, the answer is yes. After all, an ambulance is a vehicle—any dictionary will tell you that. If the authors of the ordinance wanted to make an exception for ambulances, they should have said so. And perverse results are a small price to pay for the objectivity that textual originalism offers (new dictionaries for new texts, old dictionaries for old ones). But Scalia and Garner later retreat in the ambulance case, and their retreat is consistent with a pattern of equivocation exhibited throughout…


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