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Silicon Valley guy Sam Altman blogs:

American Equity

I’d like feedback on the following idea.

I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP.

I believe that owning something like a share in America would align all of us in making the country as successful as possible—the better the country does, the better everyone does—and give more people a fair shot at achieving the life they want. And we all work together to create the system that generates so much prosperity.

I believe that a new social contract like what I’m suggesting here—where we agree to a floor and no ceiling—would lead to a huge increase in US prosperity and keep us in the global lead. Countries that concentrate wealth in a small number of families do worse over the long term—if we don’t take a radical step toward a fair, inclusive system, we will not be the leading country in the world for much longer. This would harm all Americans more than most realize.

There are historical examples of countries giving out land to citizens (such as the Homestead Acts in the US) as a way to distribute the resources people needed to succeed. Today, the fundamental input to wealth generation isn’t farmland, but money and ideas—you really do need money to make money.

At minimum, we need to act like American citizens are stockholders in America.

 
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  1. That’ll certainly increase immigration rates.

    Meantime, your government is insolvent. So if there is to be a distribution it shouldn’t be from its net income – which is negative – but from its capital. Everyone should get a little bit of acreage in a National Park, and perhaps an equity stake in an Carrier strike group.

    P.S. It’s harder to sink a National Park.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wade

    That’ll certainly increase immigration rates.
     
    My thinking is that it would turn every American, whatever their race, especially lower income ones, into virulent immigration restrictionists to keep per capita GDP high. This would also offset some of the negative impact AI will have in the very near future.
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  2. I will happily take $1,000,000 of Mr. Altman’s money. Tax free, of course. That is nothing to a tech mogul and it should help him sleep better at night.

    Call me a humanitarian.

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  3. Open up Federal lands to harvest resources (lumber, minerals, energy) and give every citizen a royalty check. Allow people to sell their “shares” of royalty payments for a lump sum.

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  4. I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP.

    The idea that everyone would be entitled to a share of GDP is absurd. It would quickly create what economists call the “free rider” problem, where people who do nothing become incentivized to demand their share (and with the universal franchise, they would continually vote for increases), and people who produce wealth are disincentivized to produce it because it will simply be stolen by the voters.

    That being said, there’s clearly a problem of lack of access to the possibility of obtaining wealth by large numbers of people, and the working class is getting eviscerated. The beauty of the 19th century American economy was (to put it in Marxist terms) everybody had access to the means of production. Nothing was guaranteed, but if you were willing to work there would almost surely be a payoff. That ended with the closing of the frontier circa 1890 or so.

    In the 20th century, the beauty of the New Deal was not that it guaranteed a handout, but that it guaranteed a job that paid a decent union wage and guaranteed a retirement. Again, the American Way was that if you were willing to go to work, there would be a payoff — this time with the government backing you up — but you still had to work for it.

    A guaranteed income, or guaranteed share of GDP without working for it, would merely incentivize slothfulness and indolence. The problem is that unlike the agricultural economy or the industrial economy, the demand for labor in the post-industrial digital economy is rather low. There may not be enough work for everybody, even if we were willing to implement a policy that required them to work…

    Read More
    • Replies: @bartok

    The idea that everyone would be entitled to a share of GDP is absurd. It would quickly create what economists call the “free rider” problem
     
    The problem isn't free riders in this case, it's incompetents. Our complicated welfare system is made up of parts that help people dealing with various consequences of incompetence. This is why basic income can never replace welfare (as Altman claims it can): there will be just as many consequences of incompetence as before.
    , @415 reasons
    Yea I think there was a country where they tried a very similar idea...
    , @bomag
    The proposal here presumes that everyone is a cooperator.

    The problem is that a large chunk of today's demographic are abject looters.
    , @bgates
    In the 20th century, the beauty of the New Deal was not that it guaranteed a handout, but that it guaranteed a job that paid a decent union wage

    Which is why the economy achieved full employment almost immediately after Roosevelt's death (and coincidentally the end of World War II).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. The ascent of Sam Altman is truly amazing. His Sequoia-funded startup sputtered and was acquired by a random Sequoia-funded company (Green Dot).

    Then Sam became a young apprentice to actual genius Paul Graham. Graham had some minor run-ins with thought police, and decided to essentially retire ahead of the SJW wars. Altman becomes president of the enormously important tech incubator Y Combinator.

    Now it’s, “Jewish boy re-discovers Communism from first principles.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Space Ghost
    Agreed. The Altman thing truly is fascinating. I've often wondered if there is some Svengali/animal magnetism/latent homoerotic attraction thing going on there with Paul Graham.

    Check this essay from 2009: http://www.paulgraham.com/5founders.html

    Asked to name the "5 most interesting startup founders of the last 30 years", Paul Graham chooses to name the five who have influenced him the most. Let's go through his list:

    1) Steve Jobs - founder and CEO of the most valuable company in the world

    2) T.J. Rodgers - not as well known, but he founded a 5 billion dollar company and personally has some impressive technical accomplishments

    3) Larry Page & Sergey Brin: Founders of Google

    4) Paul Buchheit: Bit of a curveball, but this guy single-handedly created GMail, created the prototype of the billion-dollar business that is AdSense, and at the time of the essay had founded a startup called Friendfeed, which was acquired by Facebook in 2009 for $32.5 million in stock (that stock is worth approximately several billion dollars now)

    5) And finally...Sam Altman. At the time 24 years old, founder of a going-nowhere gay hookup app (that's what Loopt was really for...it was a proto-Grindr) that was eventually acquired for a pittance by Green Dot corporation (???). To this day has done nothing of note that wasn't handed to him on a silver platter by Paul Graham.

    Notably absent from this list: Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk...

    , @Dave Pinsen
    It's not communism. Share ownership is capitalism.

    And it's been linked to governments before, for example in the British East India Company, which was effectively a government as well as a company (although it didn't give shares to local residents).

    Sam's idea isn't a new one. I proposed it in a comment here on Steve's blog a couple of years ago:

    You could make citizens shareholders of the country. Have an IPO with two classes of shares: one with voting rights (A shares; every citizen gets one share. Transferable only on death or by an heir.), and one share class (B) without voting rights (can be bought by citizens or foreigners). Both share classes pay the same dividends when there’s a federal budget surplus. Owners of B shares are eligible for green cards.

    Would be the biggest IPO in world history: “The business of America is business, and now America just became a business. Own a piece of it.”. The US could issue 1 million B shares and set the initial price at $100k each. Immigration advocates could buy shares and give them to whomever they wanted, but the more demand, the pricier the shares would get.

    A-shareholders would immediately ban birthright citizenship to avoid dilution. Their heirs could either sell the extra A-shares they inherit, or they could keep them and have additional votes. The only way for someone to become a citizen, other than to be born to two citizen parents, would be to buy an A-share from someone who inherited it. Over time, those whose ancestors had been here longer could end up with more voting power than new immigrants/A-shareholders.
     
    , @AnotherDad

    Now it’s, “Jewish boy re-discovers Communism from first principles.”
     
    There is seemingly an endless stream of Jewish boys--with the occasional odd gentile thrown in--working out some new Rube Goldberg scheme to achieve "social justice", "social mobility", etc. etc.

    But the incredibly obvious--simple, low-cost, guaranteed to work--solution that made post-War America so darn nice for boomer kids like me--low immigration and a tighter labor market--never seems to be ever outside their event horizon.

    Since it's against the zeroth amendment engraved on the Statue of Immigration to restrict immigration, these "intellectuals" are forever repackaging the same old idea of reaching into my pocket even further to make for all the damage to employment and equality that open immigration does.
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  6. I think there’s something to this. Would Apple shareholders agree to give 50,000 random foreigners 100 shares each of Apple stock every year because That’s Who We Are? Probably not. But that’s exactly what the diversity visa program is.

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    • Replies: @415 reasons
    100 shares of Apple stock is only worth about $17,000. Surely a green card followed by a lifetime of much higher wages and government benefits is a windfall worth far more than $17k to a random third world migrant who wins the diversity lottery spot.
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  7. The government of America is $21 trillion in debt and has been running right around a $500 billion deficit for the past several years. I don’t want to be a “stockholder” in that.

    Meanwhile. the GDP doesn’t belong to “America” or “Americans” in a collective sense. It belongs to each of the individuals and businesses that works to produce that value. I already have a share of the GDP — it’s called my salary and my investment income.

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    • Replies: @bomag

    I already have a share of the GDP — it’s called my salary and my investment income.
     
    Excellent point.

    Sam Altman just wants to give your money away and buy some friends.
    , @AnotherDad

    It belongs to each of the individuals and businesses that works to produce that value. I already have a share of the GDP — it’s called my salary and my investment income.
     
    That's not who we are.
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  8. Billionaires like Sam Altman are always coming out with bullshit like this to make it sound like they care. It reminds me of Warren Buffet talking about how guys like him don’t pay enough in taxes, then you find out he spent years fighting the IRS over taxes they say he owed.

    http://fortune.com/2015/01/27/berkshires-netjets-defeats-500-million-irs-tax-claim/

    Read More
    • Agree: Barnard
    • Replies: @Forbes
    It would take a book-length explanation to share all the tax minimization schemes Buffet has employed personally, and at Berkshire Hathaway--all entirely legal, of course.

    He's an extremely good advocate for policy positions he favors--by focusing on singular and simple concepts that distract from the larger picture.

    For example, several years ago he claimed his secretary paid a higher effective tax rate than he did. He did this without noting the (from memory) $40 million in capital gains claimed that reduced his effective tax rate. The capital gains tax rate was roughly one-half the top marginal income rate.

    As Buffet has taken a $100,000 annual salary from Berkshire Hathaway, literally, forever, he hardly pays himself much more than his personal secretary. When one of the world's wealthiest tells a tax rate story such as this, it appears as unfairness--all while blatantly misleading.
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  9. @Dr. X

    I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP.
     
    The idea that everyone would be entitled to a share of GDP is absurd. It would quickly create what economists call the "free rider" problem, where people who do nothing become incentivized to demand their share (and with the universal franchise, they would continually vote for increases), and people who produce wealth are disincentivized to produce it because it will simply be stolen by the voters.

    That being said, there's clearly a problem of lack of access to the possibility of obtaining wealth by large numbers of people, and the working class is getting eviscerated. The beauty of the 19th century American economy was (to put it in Marxist terms) everybody had access to the means of production. Nothing was guaranteed, but if you were willing to work there would almost surely be a payoff. That ended with the closing of the frontier circa 1890 or so.

    In the 20th century, the beauty of the New Deal was not that it guaranteed a handout, but that it guaranteed a job that paid a decent union wage and guaranteed a retirement. Again, the American Way was that if you were willing to go to work, there would be a payoff -- this time with the government backing you up -- but you still had to work for it.

    A guaranteed income, or guaranteed share of GDP without working for it, would merely incentivize slothfulness and indolence. The problem is that unlike the agricultural economy or the industrial economy, the demand for labor in the post-industrial digital economy is rather low. There may not be enough work for everybody, even if we were willing to implement a policy that required them to work...

    The idea that everyone would be entitled to a share of GDP is absurd. It would quickly create what economists call the “free rider” problem

    The problem isn’t free riders in this case, it’s incompetents. Our complicated welfare system is made up of parts that help people dealing with various consequences of incompetence. This is why basic income can never replace welfare (as Altman claims it can): there will be just as many consequences of incompetence as before.

    Read More
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  10. @Dr. X

    I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP.
     
    The idea that everyone would be entitled to a share of GDP is absurd. It would quickly create what economists call the "free rider" problem, where people who do nothing become incentivized to demand their share (and with the universal franchise, they would continually vote for increases), and people who produce wealth are disincentivized to produce it because it will simply be stolen by the voters.

    That being said, there's clearly a problem of lack of access to the possibility of obtaining wealth by large numbers of people, and the working class is getting eviscerated. The beauty of the 19th century American economy was (to put it in Marxist terms) everybody had access to the means of production. Nothing was guaranteed, but if you were willing to work there would almost surely be a payoff. That ended with the closing of the frontier circa 1890 or so.

    In the 20th century, the beauty of the New Deal was not that it guaranteed a handout, but that it guaranteed a job that paid a decent union wage and guaranteed a retirement. Again, the American Way was that if you were willing to go to work, there would be a payoff -- this time with the government backing you up -- but you still had to work for it.

    A guaranteed income, or guaranteed share of GDP without working for it, would merely incentivize slothfulness and indolence. The problem is that unlike the agricultural economy or the industrial economy, the demand for labor in the post-industrial digital economy is rather low. There may not be enough work for everybody, even if we were willing to implement a policy that required them to work...

    Yea I think there was a country where they tried a very similar idea…

    Read More
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  11. @JerryC
    I think there's something to this. Would Apple shareholders agree to give 50,000 random foreigners 100 shares each of Apple stock every year because That's Who We Are? Probably not. But that's exactly what the diversity visa program is.

    100 shares of Apple stock is only worth about $17,000. Surely a green card followed by a lifetime of much higher wages and government benefits is a windfall worth far more than $17k to a random third world migrant who wins the diversity lottery spot.

    Read More
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  12. I have no delusions about the challenges of such a program. There would be difficult consequences for things like immigration policy that will need a lot of discussion.

    That is putting it mildly. No more chain migration or birthright citizenship. Either a total withdrawal from UN refugee resettlement programs or hard limits on how long refugees can stay with strict limits on what they are eligible for while they are here. We would need a level of very low immigration for at least a decade before something like this could even be considered. Public education would also need a complete overhaul with the current model of promoting victimhood replaced with a strong emphasis on civic responsibility. Even if all that happened I don’t know if this would work with the current mix of people that live in the United States.

    There are times I think people like this are too removed from the lower classes to truly understand how personally destructive they are. Altman talks about how “we would no longer motivate people through the fear of not being able to eat.” In most of the country, there are numerous ways for people to get free or very low cost food/meals. The idea that there exists this great mass of people who are starving and can’t get access to nutritious food is a liberal myth that will never die.

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  13. Altman was an annoying idiot from day one of his association with ycombinator [1]. His startup was a laughable joke, and his rise through the ycombinator ranks was a real headscratcher. I followed along closely at hacker news and no one could figure it out. Early on, Paul Graham listed the “top entrepeneurs of the 21st century” or some shit like that, and managed to leave out people like Jeff Bezos but put in Altman. Like…who? What?

    In addition, Altman aped Graham’s habit and format of writing short essays but they barely had college freshmen levels of quality. Again, the appeal is mysterious. Except: There’s probably a Michael Scott/Ryan Howard aspect to the entire relationship. I’ve seen that sort of thing in real life, and it’s always creepy, no matter the Hellenistic precedent.

    [1] Check out the cool popped collar:

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  14. @Dr. X

    I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP.
     
    The idea that everyone would be entitled to a share of GDP is absurd. It would quickly create what economists call the "free rider" problem, where people who do nothing become incentivized to demand their share (and with the universal franchise, they would continually vote for increases), and people who produce wealth are disincentivized to produce it because it will simply be stolen by the voters.

    That being said, there's clearly a problem of lack of access to the possibility of obtaining wealth by large numbers of people, and the working class is getting eviscerated. The beauty of the 19th century American economy was (to put it in Marxist terms) everybody had access to the means of production. Nothing was guaranteed, but if you were willing to work there would almost surely be a payoff. That ended with the closing of the frontier circa 1890 or so.

    In the 20th century, the beauty of the New Deal was not that it guaranteed a handout, but that it guaranteed a job that paid a decent union wage and guaranteed a retirement. Again, the American Way was that if you were willing to go to work, there would be a payoff -- this time with the government backing you up -- but you still had to work for it.

    A guaranteed income, or guaranteed share of GDP without working for it, would merely incentivize slothfulness and indolence. The problem is that unlike the agricultural economy or the industrial economy, the demand for labor in the post-industrial digital economy is rather low. There may not be enough work for everybody, even if we were willing to implement a policy that required them to work...

    The proposal here presumes that everyone is a cooperator.

    The problem is that a large chunk of today’s demographic are abject looters.

    Read More
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  15. @Cloudbuster
    The government of America is $21 trillion in debt and has been running right around a $500 billion deficit for the past several years. I don't want to be a "stockholder" in that.

    Meanwhile. the GDP doesn't belong to "America" or "Americans" in a collective sense. It belongs to each of the individuals and businesses that works to produce that value. I already have a share of the GDP -- it's called my salary and my investment income.

    I already have a share of the GDP — it’s called my salary and my investment income.

    Excellent point.

    Sam Altman just wants to give your money away and buy some friends.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
    Like all collectivists, Altman finds it very easy to be generous with my money.
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  16. @Dr. X

    I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP.
     
    The idea that everyone would be entitled to a share of GDP is absurd. It would quickly create what economists call the "free rider" problem, where people who do nothing become incentivized to demand their share (and with the universal franchise, they would continually vote for increases), and people who produce wealth are disincentivized to produce it because it will simply be stolen by the voters.

    That being said, there's clearly a problem of lack of access to the possibility of obtaining wealth by large numbers of people, and the working class is getting eviscerated. The beauty of the 19th century American economy was (to put it in Marxist terms) everybody had access to the means of production. Nothing was guaranteed, but if you were willing to work there would almost surely be a payoff. That ended with the closing of the frontier circa 1890 or so.

    In the 20th century, the beauty of the New Deal was not that it guaranteed a handout, but that it guaranteed a job that paid a decent union wage and guaranteed a retirement. Again, the American Way was that if you were willing to go to work, there would be a payoff -- this time with the government backing you up -- but you still had to work for it.

    A guaranteed income, or guaranteed share of GDP without working for it, would merely incentivize slothfulness and indolence. The problem is that unlike the agricultural economy or the industrial economy, the demand for labor in the post-industrial digital economy is rather low. There may not be enough work for everybody, even if we were willing to implement a policy that required them to work...

    In the 20th century, the beauty of the New Deal was not that it guaranteed a handout, but that it guaranteed a job that paid a decent union wage

    Which is why the economy achieved full employment almost immediately after Roosevelt’s death (and coincidentally the end of World War II).

    Read More
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  17. Instead, the idea is to make US citizenship about as exclusive as a library card.

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  18. Steve Sailer:

    “At minimum, we need to act like American citizens are stockholders in America.”

    Bad analogy. Stock holders own shares of a company because they give something for it, namely, money(value). Conversely, American citizenship to you is basically a free lunch. Get something for nothing. Be born in America and you are entitled to a job, a high wage and to pay less for the stuff that everyone else on Earth has to pay more for.

    Now, if you limited your stupid argument to the public sector, then you’d have some valid grounds with your argument: American citizens should, indeed, be the only ones hired by the American government, since the American Government is supported by the American taxpayer. You also have some grounds with rights of residency.

    But the problem is that you want to practice Peronist economics: limit immigration so as to force businesses to hire American workers at high wages. That is, artificially increase wages by limiting supply of labor. The problem here is that those wages are paid by private businesses that are competing in the global market. Forcing them to pay American workers 10 X more for the same job that anyone else on Earth can do would only result in those businesses going bankrupt. To avoid going bankrupt, they will move out of the country where labor is cheaper. This is simply logic. You then sat up import tariffs to punish those companies and the countries they moved to will respond by devaluing their currencies to make their labor even more competitive. You now got into a trade war. No one wins in a trade war, especially not labor as it drives the price of goods through the roof. Of course, this is basics economics, but you don’t know the basics.

    Of course, I could elucidate to you in detail why you’re wrong, but that would require you to understand concepts such as maximization of utility, supply chain theory, comparative advantage and division of labor. These concepts are pretty basic, but they are over your head.

    Besides basics economics I would also have to explain to you basic political theory as well. Citizenship entails right to residency in a certain nation and the right to fully partake in the political process. That’s it. It does not entail the right to a certain wage and other freebies. Now, if you want to set a certain wage by law, and then use the right of citizenship to preclude companies from hiring non-citizensthat are willing to work for less by keeping them out of the country, then you can do that. However, there is a price to pay for that. Companies competing in the global market cannot pay more for wages in a certain country because the law in that country tells them they must, because that would put them at a severe disadvantage against companies located in countries where there are no such laws.

    Your analogy between citizenship rights and owning stock is terrible, because shareholders actually contributed to the companies they own stock from by investing their money into those companies. Conversely, you want private companies to give workers more than they give to the companies for free. Big difference.

    What really angers me about your endless Catilinarians against immigration is that you don’t seem to realize how much immigration benefits you on a daily basis. Everything you buy, literally everything, is cheaper because of immigrants. Your own PPP per capita is much higher than it otherwise would be without immigrants. You are either a fool or a hypocrite. Probably both.

    Limiting immigration is something you don’t have the right to even suggest. Your ancestors were immigrants and got in with the good grace of native born citizens that were more tolerant than you. You also benefit from immigrants daily. Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going. Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.
     
    If it only kept YOU out, it would be worth it, idiot.
    , @ic1000
    > America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going.

    I'm excited by the thought that my grandchildren will only be able to afford chalupas and othe bean dishes.

    Why stop at 800 million? Surely there are enough tramp freighters to hope for more than that!
    , @Forbes
    Tiny Dick's alter ego...
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  19. Leftist are always full of great ideas for giving away other people’s money. If Altman wants to give away a portion (or for that matter all) of his assets to each person in America, great – he can do whatever he wants with his money. But no, he is full of good ideas for giving away MY money. He wants the government to forcibly take some of my hard earned money (even more of it than they already take ) from me and give it to other people who haven’t done any work other than being “shareholders in America”. No thank you.

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    • Agree: Johann Ricke, Forbes
    • Replies: @Brutusale
    They have the option to pay the voluntary "higher" income tax in the People's Commonwealth, but the lefty hypocrites just can't walk the walk.

    https://medium.com/@mysteriousrook/did-your-progressive-friend-pay-ma-s-higher-tax-rate-babe5a335729
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  20. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    But the problem is that you want to practice Peronist economics: limit immigration so as to force businesses to hire American workers at high wages. That is, artificially increase wages by limiting supply of labor. The problem here is that those wages are paid by private businesses that are competing in the global market. Forcing them to pay American workers 10 X more for the same job that anyone else on Earth can do would only result in those businesses going bankrupt. To avoid going bankrupt, they will move out of the country where labor is cheaper. This is simply logic. You then sat up import tariffs to punish those companies and the countries they moved to will respond by devaluing their currencies to make their labor even more competitive. You now got into a trade war. No one wins in a trade war, especially not labor as it drives the price of goods through the roof. Of course, this is basics economics, but you don’t know the basics.

    When they move out of the country, they open themselves up to even worse statist attacks and even more regulation. America from Teddy Roosevelt through LBJ was, for all its high taxes and regulation as compared to the First Gilded Age, a low tax and low regulation place as compared to most other countries, especially any others that had the same level of IQ workforce. Just try doing business in, say, France, or Italy.

    A reasonable level of tariffs creates an incentive to produce domestically. It does, of course, result in somewhat higher consumer prices, but it provides a lot more manufacturing jobs-jobs that people that don’t have the ability to go to Harvard do well with.

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  21. @Nick Diaz
    Steve Sailer:

    "At minimum, we need to act like American citizens are stockholders in America."

    Bad analogy. Stock holders own shares of a company because they give something for it, namely, money(value). Conversely, American citizenship to you is basically a free lunch. Get something for nothing. Be born in America and you are entitled to a job, a high wage and to pay less for the stuff that everyone else on Earth has to pay more for.

    Now, if you limited your stupid argument to the public sector, then you'd have some valid grounds with your argument: American citizens should, indeed, be the only ones hired by the American government, since the American Government is supported by the American taxpayer. You also have some grounds with rights of residency.

    But the problem is that you want to practice Peronist economics: limit immigration so as to force businesses to hire American workers at high wages. That is, artificially increase wages by limiting supply of labor. The problem here is that those wages are paid by private businesses that are competing in the global market. Forcing them to pay American workers 10 X more for the same job that anyone else on Earth can do would only result in those businesses going bankrupt. To avoid going bankrupt, they will move out of the country where labor is cheaper. This is simply logic. You then sat up import tariffs to punish those companies and the countries they moved to will respond by devaluing their currencies to make their labor even more competitive. You now got into a trade war. No one wins in a trade war, especially not labor as it drives the price of goods through the roof. Of course, this is basics economics, but you don't know the basics.

    Of course, I could elucidate to you in detail why you're wrong, but that would require you to understand concepts such as maximization of utility, supply chain theory, comparative advantage and division of labor. These concepts are pretty basic, but they are over your head.

    Besides basics economics I would also have to explain to you basic political theory as well. Citizenship entails right to residency in a certain nation and the right to fully partake in the political process. That's it. It does not entail the right to a certain wage and other freebies. Now, if you want to set a certain wage by law, and then use the right of citizenship to preclude companies from hiring non-citizensthat are willing to work for less by keeping them out of the country, then you can do that. However, there is a price to pay for that. Companies competing in the global market cannot pay more for wages in a certain country because the law in that country tells them they must, because that would put them at a severe disadvantage against companies located in countries where there are no such laws.

    Your analogy between citizenship rights and owning stock is terrible, because shareholders actually contributed to the companies they own stock from by investing their money into those companies. Conversely, you want private companies to give workers more than they give to the companies for free. Big difference.

    What really angers me about your endless Catilinarians against immigration is that you don't seem to realize how much immigration benefits you on a daily basis. Everything you buy, literally everything, is cheaper because of immigrants. Your own PPP per capita is much higher than it otherwise would be without immigrants. You are either a fool or a hypocrite. Probably both.

    Limiting immigration is something you don't have the right to even suggest. Your ancestors were immigrants and got in with the good grace of native born citizens that were more tolerant than you. You also benefit from immigrants daily. Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going. Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.

    Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.

    If it only kept YOU out, it would be worth it, idiot.

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    • Replies: @Alfa158
    I thought that Nick was doing great until this: "Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going". This is where Nick dropped a little "Easter egg" to tip us off on the inside joke. This sudden little bit of absurdity lets people who are reading carefully know that he isn't serious, he is just doing a much more sophisticated version of Tiny Dick's tongue in cheek spoofing troll. I tip my hat to him.
    , @Nick Diaz
    You dummy monkey, If that happened who would give jobs to white trash like you?

    Hey, Mr.Anon, you a-hole, go screw yourself.

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  22. @bartok
    The ascent of Sam Altman is truly amazing. His Sequoia-funded startup sputtered and was acquired by a random Sequoia-funded company (Green Dot).

    Then Sam became a young apprentice to actual genius Paul Graham. Graham had some minor run-ins with thought police, and decided to essentially retire ahead of the SJW wars. Altman becomes president of the enormously important tech incubator Y Combinator.

    Now it's, "Jewish boy re-discovers Communism from first principles."

    Agreed. The Altman thing truly is fascinating. I’ve often wondered if there is some Svengali/animal magnetism/latent homoerotic attraction thing going on there with Paul Graham.

    Check this essay from 2009: http://www.paulgraham.com/5founders.html

    Asked to name the “5 most interesting startup founders of the last 30 years”, Paul Graham chooses to name the five who have influenced him the most. Let’s go through his list:

    1) Steve Jobs – founder and CEO of the most valuable company in the world

    2) T.J. Rodgers – not as well known, but he founded a 5 billion dollar company and personally has some impressive technical accomplishments

    3) Larry Page & Sergey Brin: Founders of Google

    4) Paul Buchheit: Bit of a curveball, but this guy single-handedly created GMail, created the prototype of the billion-dollar business that is AdSense, and at the time of the essay had founded a startup called Friendfeed, which was acquired by Facebook in 2009 for $32.5 million in stock (that stock is worth approximately several billion dollars now)

    5) And finally…Sam Altman. At the time 24 years old, founder of a going-nowhere gay hookup app (that’s what Loopt was really for…it was a proto-Grindr) that was eventually acquired for a pittance by Green Dot corporation (???). To this day has done nothing of note that wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter by Paul Graham.

    Notably absent from this list: Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk…

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    To say nothing of this guy:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_H._Clark
    , @AnotherDad

    Notably absent from this list: Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk…
     
    For me it's Bezos. Jobs has obviously done design--and created a little iWorld around it--that a bunch of people seem to really like, but its really just the most successful version of what was/is going on anyway.

    Bezos actually created a big new distribution model, not just for Amazon but available to anyone. When Amazon IPO'd I was unfortunately too stupid to understand where the whole thing was headed. I thought "book seller ... who cares; Barnes and Noble can wake up and do it with scale and retail presence." Just didn't grasp that it wasn't books, but distribution platform for everything and open to everyone.

    AnotherMom's new travel pillow design idea couldn't have gotten off the ground without a platform like Amazon to sell out of. And if she couldn't offload all the web presence, order fulfillment, shipping, returns work off onto Amazon and their chain of giant warehouses it wouldn't be going concern today. Hundreds of thousands of folks--and their ideas and products--have been enabled by Amazon. Amazon has been a huge accelerator of other people's innovation and entrepreneurship. And at the other end, people can actually find pretty much anything, price it, compare it and get it in a couple days.
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  23. Wouldn’t acting like shareholders require selective immigration? Apple, Google, Microsoft, (((woke corporation))) do not hire anyone who manages to get into the lobby in order to maintain shareholder value.

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  24. anon • Disclaimer says:

    We live in a semi welfare state and every citizen and it seems resident — legal or illegal — is part of an entitlement system.

    Maybe we don’t have the welfare/entitlement system we need, but we have an expensive one right now.

    How is that not a share in the American GDP?

    We seem to have more than enough difficulty collecting it now. Any attempt to give a share of the GDP on top of our current programs mean extracting the current GDP from someone to give it to someone else. Who feels they are under taxed at the moment?

    I would be more impressed if he discussed how to collect it first and then we can have the conversation on how to spend it.

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    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Is it just me, or do a lot of aspects of American socioeconomics in the 21st Century seem to cherry pick and mix together the worst aspects of the private and public sectors?
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  25. @anon
    We live in a semi welfare state and every citizen and it seems resident -- legal or illegal -- is part of an entitlement system.

    Maybe we don't have the welfare/entitlement system we need, but we have an expensive one right now.

    How is that not a share in the American GDP?

    We seem to have more than enough difficulty collecting it now. Any attempt to give a share of the GDP on top of our current programs mean extracting the current GDP from someone to give it to someone else. Who feels they are under taxed at the moment?

    I would be more impressed if he discussed how to collect it first and then we can have the conversation on how to spend it.

    Is it just me, or do a lot of aspects of American socioeconomics in the 21st Century seem to cherry pick and mix together the worst aspects of the private and public sectors?

    Read More
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  26. @Mr. Anon

    Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.
     
    If it only kept YOU out, it would be worth it, idiot.

    I thought that Nick was doing great until this: “Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going”. This is where Nick dropped a little “Easter egg” to tip us off on the inside joke. This sudden little bit of absurdity lets people who are reading carefully know that he isn’t serious, he is just doing a much more sophisticated version of Tiny Dick’s tongue in cheek spoofing troll. I tip my hat to him.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dr kill
    I always enjoy reading Nick, it's great practice for listening to my sister on Christmas Day. Like Nick, she has a bad case of the Feelz.
    , @Forbes
    800 million is well beyond a tip off of an inside joke--it is an absurdity. It's the usual outrageous, over the top claim made as a distraction. It's used to get you to concede everything so as to discuss the 'correct' number of immigrants, rather than the abstract notion of keeping the economy going. As if Tiny Dick Nick Diaz is an authority on the economy.

    When you lie, deceive, mislead--make it a BIG one.
    , @Nick Diaz
    Why do you think that I am being sarcastic? America would actually benefit most from 2.5 billion immigrants. That's the kind of number America would need to truly have comparative advantage over China, and allow it a growth rate that would maintain it's share of the World's GDP that would allow the Dollar to continue being the World's reserve currency and keep it's PPP per capita as one of the highest in the World. The benefits of mass immigration are too many to list. Unfortunately, you cannot let in 2.5 billion immigrants because you would not be able to effectively run criminal background checks on those numbers. You do not want to let criminals and terrorists in, so 2.5 billion is not possible. But America letting in 800 million immigrants over the next 5-7 years is not unreasonable. America would then have techno-industrial advantages of a First World country with Third World labor costs. The advantages are unfathomable. Unfortunately, the political aspect of letting those numbers in is problematic, but that is only a political problem. The fundamental problem of America are not immigrants, but that that there aren't ENOUGH immigrants. Therein lies the problem.
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  27. @bartok
    The ascent of Sam Altman is truly amazing. His Sequoia-funded startup sputtered and was acquired by a random Sequoia-funded company (Green Dot).

    Then Sam became a young apprentice to actual genius Paul Graham. Graham had some minor run-ins with thought police, and decided to essentially retire ahead of the SJW wars. Altman becomes president of the enormously important tech incubator Y Combinator.

    Now it's, "Jewish boy re-discovers Communism from first principles."

    It’s not communism. Share ownership is capitalism.

    And it’s been linked to governments before, for example in the British East India Company, which was effectively a government as well as a company (although it didn’t give shares to local residents).

    Sam’s idea isn’t a new one. I proposed it in a comment here on Steve’s blog a couple of years ago:

    You could make citizens shareholders of the country. Have an IPO with two classes of shares: one with voting rights (A shares; every citizen gets one share. Transferable only on death or by an heir.), and one share class (B) without voting rights (can be bought by citizens or foreigners). Both share classes pay the same dividends when there’s a federal budget surplus. Owners of B shares are eligible for green cards.

    Would be the biggest IPO in world history: “The business of America is business, and now America just became a business. Own a piece of it.”. The US could issue 1 million B shares and set the initial price at $100k each. Immigration advocates could buy shares and give them to whomever they wanted, but the more demand, the pricier the shares would get.

    A-shareholders would immediately ban birthright citizenship to avoid dilution. Their heirs could either sell the extra A-shares they inherit, or they could keep them and have additional votes. The only way for someone to become a citizen, other than to be born to two citizen parents, would be to buy an A-share from someone who inherited it. Over time, those whose ancestors had been here longer could end up with more voting power than new immigrants/A-shareholders.

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    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
    Gee, if that's such a great idea, I wonder why Google doesn't make everyone in the world shareholders of Google ... only the people who pay for shares or provide benefit as employees?

    Also, the nation as a collective doesn't have any moral or legal right to the money that makes up the abstraction known as GDP. GDP is made up of the profits generated by millions of private individuals and businesses. Their profits are theirs and theirs alone.
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  28. When I saw Altman mentioned here, I assumed Steve would be writing about this:

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  29. @Alfa158
    I thought that Nick was doing great until this: "Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going". This is where Nick dropped a little "Easter egg" to tip us off on the inside joke. This sudden little bit of absurdity lets people who are reading carefully know that he isn't serious, he is just doing a much more sophisticated version of Tiny Dick's tongue in cheek spoofing troll. I tip my hat to him.

    I always enjoy reading Nick, it’s great practice for listening to my sister on Christmas Day. Like Nick, she has a bad case of the Feelz.

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    • Replies: @Alfa158
    Do you think he is really serious though? The "800 million immigrants needed" is too deranged to sound like anything but a parody of Leftist and Capitalist open border policy . It is similar to Tiny Duck. No one who really means what they are writing would pick a moniker (Tiny Duck = Tiny Dick) which is self-insulting.
    I know several open borders, veins popping out of the forehead, Leftists, and while they advocate for the free movement of people across borders none of them would go for that kind of numbers.
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  30. If I recall correctly, this was basically William Dudley Pelley’s plan back in the 30s.

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  31. This post brought out the muh bootstraps and muh hard earned money crowd.

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    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
    And? Do you have an actual argument to make?
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  32. @bomag

    I already have a share of the GDP — it’s called my salary and my investment income.
     
    Excellent point.

    Sam Altman just wants to give your money away and buy some friends.

    Like all collectivists, Altman finds it very easy to be generous with my money.

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  33. @27 year old
    This post brought out the muh bootstraps and muh hard earned money crowd.

    And? Do you have an actual argument to make?

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    • Replies: @27 year old
    No need. We will bury you, your children will be anticapitalist WNs :)
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  34. @Dave Pinsen
    It's not communism. Share ownership is capitalism.

    And it's been linked to governments before, for example in the British East India Company, which was effectively a government as well as a company (although it didn't give shares to local residents).

    Sam's idea isn't a new one. I proposed it in a comment here on Steve's blog a couple of years ago:

    You could make citizens shareholders of the country. Have an IPO with two classes of shares: one with voting rights (A shares; every citizen gets one share. Transferable only on death or by an heir.), and one share class (B) without voting rights (can be bought by citizens or foreigners). Both share classes pay the same dividends when there’s a federal budget surplus. Owners of B shares are eligible for green cards.

    Would be the biggest IPO in world history: “The business of America is business, and now America just became a business. Own a piece of it.”. The US could issue 1 million B shares and set the initial price at $100k each. Immigration advocates could buy shares and give them to whomever they wanted, but the more demand, the pricier the shares would get.

    A-shareholders would immediately ban birthright citizenship to avoid dilution. Their heirs could either sell the extra A-shares they inherit, or they could keep them and have additional votes. The only way for someone to become a citizen, other than to be born to two citizen parents, would be to buy an A-share from someone who inherited it. Over time, those whose ancestors had been here longer could end up with more voting power than new immigrants/A-shareholders.
     

    Gee, if that’s such a great idea, I wonder why Google doesn’t make everyone in the world shareholders of Google … only the people who pay for shares or provide benefit as employees?

    Also, the nation as a collective doesn’t have any moral or legal right to the money that makes up the abstraction known as GDP. GDP is made up of the profits generated by millions of private individuals and businesses. Their profits are theirs and theirs alone.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    Gee, if that’s such a great idea, I wonder why Google doesn’t make everyone in the world shareholders of Google
     
    This is a straw man for two reasons. First, I didn't suggest everyone in the world be shareholders of America, and I explicitly wrote about the need to avoid dilution.

    Second, Google (Alphabet) is a company, not a nation.

    Your claim that a nation doesn't have the legal or moral right to a slice of its economy is belied by the existence of taxes on economic activity in every advanced country.
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  35. @Jack D
    Leftist are always full of great ideas for giving away other people's money. If Altman wants to give away a portion (or for that matter all) of his assets to each person in America, great - he can do whatever he wants with his money. But no, he is full of good ideas for giving away MY money. He wants the government to forcibly take some of my hard earned money (even more of it than they already take ) from me and give it to other people who haven't done any work other than being "shareholders in America". No thank you.

    They have the option to pay the voluntary “higher” income tax in the People’s Commonwealth, but the lefty hypocrites just can’t walk the walk.

    https://medium.com/@mysteriousrook/did-your-progressive-friend-pay-ma-s-higher-tax-rate-babe5a335729

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  36. @Space Ghost
    Agreed. The Altman thing truly is fascinating. I've often wondered if there is some Svengali/animal magnetism/latent homoerotic attraction thing going on there with Paul Graham.

    Check this essay from 2009: http://www.paulgraham.com/5founders.html

    Asked to name the "5 most interesting startup founders of the last 30 years", Paul Graham chooses to name the five who have influenced him the most. Let's go through his list:

    1) Steve Jobs - founder and CEO of the most valuable company in the world

    2) T.J. Rodgers - not as well known, but he founded a 5 billion dollar company and personally has some impressive technical accomplishments

    3) Larry Page & Sergey Brin: Founders of Google

    4) Paul Buchheit: Bit of a curveball, but this guy single-handedly created GMail, created the prototype of the billion-dollar business that is AdSense, and at the time of the essay had founded a startup called Friendfeed, which was acquired by Facebook in 2009 for $32.5 million in stock (that stock is worth approximately several billion dollars now)

    5) And finally...Sam Altman. At the time 24 years old, founder of a going-nowhere gay hookup app (that's what Loopt was really for...it was a proto-Grindr) that was eventually acquired for a pittance by Green Dot corporation (???). To this day has done nothing of note that wasn't handed to him on a silver platter by Paul Graham.

    Notably absent from this list: Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk...

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  37. @Nick Diaz
    Steve Sailer:

    "At minimum, we need to act like American citizens are stockholders in America."

    Bad analogy. Stock holders own shares of a company because they give something for it, namely, money(value). Conversely, American citizenship to you is basically a free lunch. Get something for nothing. Be born in America and you are entitled to a job, a high wage and to pay less for the stuff that everyone else on Earth has to pay more for.

    Now, if you limited your stupid argument to the public sector, then you'd have some valid grounds with your argument: American citizens should, indeed, be the only ones hired by the American government, since the American Government is supported by the American taxpayer. You also have some grounds with rights of residency.

    But the problem is that you want to practice Peronist economics: limit immigration so as to force businesses to hire American workers at high wages. That is, artificially increase wages by limiting supply of labor. The problem here is that those wages are paid by private businesses that are competing in the global market. Forcing them to pay American workers 10 X more for the same job that anyone else on Earth can do would only result in those businesses going bankrupt. To avoid going bankrupt, they will move out of the country where labor is cheaper. This is simply logic. You then sat up import tariffs to punish those companies and the countries they moved to will respond by devaluing their currencies to make their labor even more competitive. You now got into a trade war. No one wins in a trade war, especially not labor as it drives the price of goods through the roof. Of course, this is basics economics, but you don't know the basics.

    Of course, I could elucidate to you in detail why you're wrong, but that would require you to understand concepts such as maximization of utility, supply chain theory, comparative advantage and division of labor. These concepts are pretty basic, but they are over your head.

    Besides basics economics I would also have to explain to you basic political theory as well. Citizenship entails right to residency in a certain nation and the right to fully partake in the political process. That's it. It does not entail the right to a certain wage and other freebies. Now, if you want to set a certain wage by law, and then use the right of citizenship to preclude companies from hiring non-citizensthat are willing to work for less by keeping them out of the country, then you can do that. However, there is a price to pay for that. Companies competing in the global market cannot pay more for wages in a certain country because the law in that country tells them they must, because that would put them at a severe disadvantage against companies located in countries where there are no such laws.

    Your analogy between citizenship rights and owning stock is terrible, because shareholders actually contributed to the companies they own stock from by investing their money into those companies. Conversely, you want private companies to give workers more than they give to the companies for free. Big difference.

    What really angers me about your endless Catilinarians against immigration is that you don't seem to realize how much immigration benefits you on a daily basis. Everything you buy, literally everything, is cheaper because of immigrants. Your own PPP per capita is much higher than it otherwise would be without immigrants. You are either a fool or a hypocrite. Probably both.

    Limiting immigration is something you don't have the right to even suggest. Your ancestors were immigrants and got in with the good grace of native born citizens that were more tolerant than you. You also benefit from immigrants daily. Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going. Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.

    > America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going.

    I’m excited by the thought that my grandchildren will only be able to afford chalupas and othe bean dishes.

    Why stop at 800 million? Surely there are enough tramp freighters to hope for more than that!

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  38. @Mr. Anon

    Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.
     
    If it only kept YOU out, it would be worth it, idiot.

    You dummy monkey, If that happened who would give jobs to white trash like you?

    Hey, Mr.Anon, you a-hole, go screw yourself.

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  39. @Cloudbuster
    Gee, if that's such a great idea, I wonder why Google doesn't make everyone in the world shareholders of Google ... only the people who pay for shares or provide benefit as employees?

    Also, the nation as a collective doesn't have any moral or legal right to the money that makes up the abstraction known as GDP. GDP is made up of the profits generated by millions of private individuals and businesses. Their profits are theirs and theirs alone.

    Gee, if that’s such a great idea, I wonder why Google doesn’t make everyone in the world shareholders of Google

    This is a straw man for two reasons. First, I didn’t suggest everyone in the world be shareholders of America, and I explicitly wrote about the need to avoid dilution.

    Second, Google (Alphabet) is a company, not a nation.

    Your claim that a nation doesn’t have the legal or moral right to a slice of its economy is belied by the existence of taxes on economic activity in every advanced country.

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    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
    This is a straw man for two reasons. First, I didn’t suggest everyone in the world be shareholders of America, and I explicitly wrote about the need to avoid dilution.

    I used everyone in the world because Google is a global corporation. What slice of non-contributing shareholders would you think would be beneficial to Google? I'm open to anything. Please explain why.

    Also, my apologies, your idea is completely different than Altman's. I didn't read your plan -- it was Altman's idea I was criticizing: "I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP." That is essentially the description of a UBI plan.

    Your plan appears to have no actual yearly dividend value except in the event of a budget surplus. I actually like your plan a whole lot better, as it's not tied to the GDP, but on the inherent values of U.S. citizenship, residency and voting rights.

    I have little objection to your plan. It's a pretty interesting idea. I think Altman's plan, like most UBI plans, is a recipe for disaster and an explicitly communist redistribution of wealth.
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  40. @dr kill
    I always enjoy reading Nick, it's great practice for listening to my sister on Christmas Day. Like Nick, she has a bad case of the Feelz.

    Do you think he is really serious though? The “800 million immigrants needed” is too deranged to sound like anything but a parody of Leftist and Capitalist open border policy . It is similar to Tiny Duck. No one who really means what they are writing would pick a moniker (Tiny Duck = Tiny Dick) which is self-insulting.
    I know several open borders, veins popping out of the forehead, Leftists, and while they advocate for the free movement of people across borders none of them would go for that kind of numbers.

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  41. @Dave Pinsen

    Gee, if that’s such a great idea, I wonder why Google doesn’t make everyone in the world shareholders of Google
     
    This is a straw man for two reasons. First, I didn't suggest everyone in the world be shareholders of America, and I explicitly wrote about the need to avoid dilution.

    Second, Google (Alphabet) is a company, not a nation.

    Your claim that a nation doesn't have the legal or moral right to a slice of its economy is belied by the existence of taxes on economic activity in every advanced country.

    This is a straw man for two reasons. First, I didn’t suggest everyone in the world be shareholders of America, and I explicitly wrote about the need to avoid dilution.

    I used everyone in the world because Google is a global corporation. What slice of non-contributing shareholders would you think would be beneficial to Google? I’m open to anything. Please explain why.

    Also, my apologies, your idea is completely different than Altman’s. I didn’t read your plan — it was Altman’s idea I was criticizing: “I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP.” That is essentially the description of a UBI plan.

    Your plan appears to have no actual yearly dividend value except in the event of a budget surplus. I actually like your plan a whole lot better, as it’s not tied to the GDP, but on the inherent values of U.S. citizenship, residency and voting rights.

    I have little objection to your plan. It’s a pretty interesting idea. I think Altman’s plan, like most UBI plans, is a recipe for disaster and an explicitly communist redistribution of wealth.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    I used everyone in the world because Google is a global corporation. What slice of non-contributing shareholders would you think would be beneficial to Google? I’m open to anything. Please explain why.
     
    I don't think Google would benefit from expanding its shareholder base at all. It doesn't need the capital, and it would lead to dilution.
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  42. @Cloudbuster
    This is a straw man for two reasons. First, I didn’t suggest everyone in the world be shareholders of America, and I explicitly wrote about the need to avoid dilution.

    I used everyone in the world because Google is a global corporation. What slice of non-contributing shareholders would you think would be beneficial to Google? I'm open to anything. Please explain why.

    Also, my apologies, your idea is completely different than Altman's. I didn't read your plan -- it was Altman's idea I was criticizing: "I think that every adult US citizen should get an annual share of the US GDP." That is essentially the description of a UBI plan.

    Your plan appears to have no actual yearly dividend value except in the event of a budget surplus. I actually like your plan a whole lot better, as it's not tied to the GDP, but on the inherent values of U.S. citizenship, residency and voting rights.

    I have little objection to your plan. It's a pretty interesting idea. I think Altman's plan, like most UBI plans, is a recipe for disaster and an explicitly communist redistribution of wealth.

    I used everyone in the world because Google is a global corporation. What slice of non-contributing shareholders would you think would be beneficial to Google? I’m open to anything. Please explain why.

    I don’t think Google would benefit from expanding its shareholder base at all. It doesn’t need the capital, and it would lead to dilution.

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    Indeed.
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  43. @Dave Pinsen

    I used everyone in the world because Google is a global corporation. What slice of non-contributing shareholders would you think would be beneficial to Google? I’m open to anything. Please explain why.
     
    I don't think Google would benefit from expanding its shareholder base at all. It doesn't need the capital, and it would lead to dilution.

    Indeed.

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  44. Doesn’t Alaska have something like this? Every “citizen” gets an annual check from the royalties remitted by natural resource extractors?

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  45. @Cloudbuster
    The government of America is $21 trillion in debt and has been running right around a $500 billion deficit for the past several years. I don't want to be a "stockholder" in that.

    Meanwhile. the GDP doesn't belong to "America" or "Americans" in a collective sense. It belongs to each of the individuals and businesses that works to produce that value. I already have a share of the GDP -- it's called my salary and my investment income.

    It belongs to each of the individuals and businesses that works to produce that value. I already have a share of the GDP — it’s called my salary and my investment income.

    That’s not who we are.

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  46. @Cloudbuster
    And? Do you have an actual argument to make?

    No need. We will bury you, your children will be anticapitalist WNs :)

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    If your kind do take over, you'll obviously be presiding over a third-world hell-hole at least partially due to your inability to think clearly and make coherent arguments. So have fun with that.
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  47. @27 year old
    No need. We will bury you, your children will be anticapitalist WNs :)

    If your kind do take over, you’ll obviously be presiding over a third-world hell-hole at least partially due to your inability to think clearly and make coherent arguments. So have fun with that.

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  48. @bartok
    The ascent of Sam Altman is truly amazing. His Sequoia-funded startup sputtered and was acquired by a random Sequoia-funded company (Green Dot).

    Then Sam became a young apprentice to actual genius Paul Graham. Graham had some minor run-ins with thought police, and decided to essentially retire ahead of the SJW wars. Altman becomes president of the enormously important tech incubator Y Combinator.

    Now it's, "Jewish boy re-discovers Communism from first principles."

    Now it’s, “Jewish boy re-discovers Communism from first principles.”

    There is seemingly an endless stream of Jewish boys–with the occasional odd gentile thrown in–working out some new Rube Goldberg scheme to achieve “social justice”, “social mobility”, etc. etc.

    But the incredibly obvious–simple, low-cost, guaranteed to work–solution that made post-War America so darn nice for boomer kids like me–low immigration and a tighter labor market–never seems to be ever outside their event horizon.

    Since it’s against the zeroth amendment engraved on the Statue of Immigration to restrict immigration, these “intellectuals” are forever repackaging the same old idea of reaching into my pocket even further to make for all the damage to employment and equality that open immigration does.

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  49. @Space Ghost
    Agreed. The Altman thing truly is fascinating. I've often wondered if there is some Svengali/animal magnetism/latent homoerotic attraction thing going on there with Paul Graham.

    Check this essay from 2009: http://www.paulgraham.com/5founders.html

    Asked to name the "5 most interesting startup founders of the last 30 years", Paul Graham chooses to name the five who have influenced him the most. Let's go through his list:

    1) Steve Jobs - founder and CEO of the most valuable company in the world

    2) T.J. Rodgers - not as well known, but he founded a 5 billion dollar company and personally has some impressive technical accomplishments

    3) Larry Page & Sergey Brin: Founders of Google

    4) Paul Buchheit: Bit of a curveball, but this guy single-handedly created GMail, created the prototype of the billion-dollar business that is AdSense, and at the time of the essay had founded a startup called Friendfeed, which was acquired by Facebook in 2009 for $32.5 million in stock (that stock is worth approximately several billion dollars now)

    5) And finally...Sam Altman. At the time 24 years old, founder of a going-nowhere gay hookup app (that's what Loopt was really for...it was a proto-Grindr) that was eventually acquired for a pittance by Green Dot corporation (???). To this day has done nothing of note that wasn't handed to him on a silver platter by Paul Graham.

    Notably absent from this list: Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk...

    Notably absent from this list: Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk…

    For me it’s Bezos. Jobs has obviously done design–and created a little iWorld around it–that a bunch of people seem to really like, but its really just the most successful version of what was/is going on anyway.

    Bezos actually created a big new distribution model, not just for Amazon but available to anyone. When Amazon IPO’d I was unfortunately too stupid to understand where the whole thing was headed. I thought “book seller … who cares; Barnes and Noble can wake up and do it with scale and retail presence.” Just didn’t grasp that it wasn’t books, but distribution platform for everything and open to everyone.

    AnotherMom’s new travel pillow design idea couldn’t have gotten off the ground without a platform like Amazon to sell out of. And if she couldn’t offload all the web presence, order fulfillment, shipping, returns work off onto Amazon and their chain of giant warehouses it wouldn’t be going concern today. Hundreds of thousands of folks–and their ideas and products–have been enabled by Amazon. Amazon has been a huge accelerator of other people’s innovation and entrepreneurship. And at the other end, people can actually find pretty much anything, price it, compare it and get it in a couple days.

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  50. @Harry Baldwin
    Billionaires like Sam Altman are always coming out with bullshit like this to make it sound like they care. It reminds me of Warren Buffet talking about how guys like him don't pay enough in taxes, then you find out he spent years fighting the IRS over taxes they say he owed.

    http://fortune.com/2015/01/27/berkshires-netjets-defeats-500-million-irs-tax-claim/

    It would take a book-length explanation to share all the tax minimization schemes Buffet has employed personally, and at Berkshire Hathaway–all entirely legal, of course.

    He’s an extremely good advocate for policy positions he favors–by focusing on singular and simple concepts that distract from the larger picture.

    For example, several years ago he claimed his secretary paid a higher effective tax rate than he did. He did this without noting the (from memory) $40 million in capital gains claimed that reduced his effective tax rate. The capital gains tax rate was roughly one-half the top marginal income rate.

    As Buffet has taken a $100,000 annual salary from Berkshire Hathaway, literally, forever, he hardly pays himself much more than his personal secretary. When one of the world’s wealthiest tells a tax rate story such as this, it appears as unfairness–all while blatantly misleading.

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  51. @Nick Diaz
    Steve Sailer:

    "At minimum, we need to act like American citizens are stockholders in America."

    Bad analogy. Stock holders own shares of a company because they give something for it, namely, money(value). Conversely, American citizenship to you is basically a free lunch. Get something for nothing. Be born in America and you are entitled to a job, a high wage and to pay less for the stuff that everyone else on Earth has to pay more for.

    Now, if you limited your stupid argument to the public sector, then you'd have some valid grounds with your argument: American citizens should, indeed, be the only ones hired by the American government, since the American Government is supported by the American taxpayer. You also have some grounds with rights of residency.

    But the problem is that you want to practice Peronist economics: limit immigration so as to force businesses to hire American workers at high wages. That is, artificially increase wages by limiting supply of labor. The problem here is that those wages are paid by private businesses that are competing in the global market. Forcing them to pay American workers 10 X more for the same job that anyone else on Earth can do would only result in those businesses going bankrupt. To avoid going bankrupt, they will move out of the country where labor is cheaper. This is simply logic. You then sat up import tariffs to punish those companies and the countries they moved to will respond by devaluing their currencies to make their labor even more competitive. You now got into a trade war. No one wins in a trade war, especially not labor as it drives the price of goods through the roof. Of course, this is basics economics, but you don't know the basics.

    Of course, I could elucidate to you in detail why you're wrong, but that would require you to understand concepts such as maximization of utility, supply chain theory, comparative advantage and division of labor. These concepts are pretty basic, but they are over your head.

    Besides basics economics I would also have to explain to you basic political theory as well. Citizenship entails right to residency in a certain nation and the right to fully partake in the political process. That's it. It does not entail the right to a certain wage and other freebies. Now, if you want to set a certain wage by law, and then use the right of citizenship to preclude companies from hiring non-citizensthat are willing to work for less by keeping them out of the country, then you can do that. However, there is a price to pay for that. Companies competing in the global market cannot pay more for wages in a certain country because the law in that country tells them they must, because that would put them at a severe disadvantage against companies located in countries where there are no such laws.

    Your analogy between citizenship rights and owning stock is terrible, because shareholders actually contributed to the companies they own stock from by investing their money into those companies. Conversely, you want private companies to give workers more than they give to the companies for free. Big difference.

    What really angers me about your endless Catilinarians against immigration is that you don't seem to realize how much immigration benefits you on a daily basis. Everything you buy, literally everything, is cheaper because of immigrants. Your own PPP per capita is much higher than it otherwise would be without immigrants. You are either a fool or a hypocrite. Probably both.

    Limiting immigration is something you don't have the right to even suggest. Your ancestors were immigrants and got in with the good grace of native born citizens that were more tolerant than you. You also benefit from immigrants daily. Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going. Limiting immigration is unfair, impractical, and frankly stupid as the losses for America would be much greater than the any potential gains.

    Tiny Dick’s alter ego…

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    Really disturbing obsession you have with dicks. Something you want to get out of your chest? It's ok. I don't judge.
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  52. @Alfa158
    I thought that Nick was doing great until this: "Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going". This is where Nick dropped a little "Easter egg" to tip us off on the inside joke. This sudden little bit of absurdity lets people who are reading carefully know that he isn't serious, he is just doing a much more sophisticated version of Tiny Dick's tongue in cheek spoofing troll. I tip my hat to him.

    800 million is well beyond a tip off of an inside joke–it is an absurdity. It’s the usual outrageous, over the top claim made as a distraction. It’s used to get you to concede everything so as to discuss the ‘correct’ number of immigrants, rather than the abstract notion of keeping the economy going. As if Tiny Dick Nick Diaz is an authority on the economy.

    When you lie, deceive, mislead–make it a BIG one.

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  53. @Alfa158
    I thought that Nick was doing great until this: "Also, America needs at least another 800 million immigrants in the next few years just to keep the economy going". This is where Nick dropped a little "Easter egg" to tip us off on the inside joke. This sudden little bit of absurdity lets people who are reading carefully know that he isn't serious, he is just doing a much more sophisticated version of Tiny Dick's tongue in cheek spoofing troll. I tip my hat to him.

    Why do you think that I am being sarcastic? America would actually benefit most from 2.5 billion immigrants. That’s the kind of number America would need to truly have comparative advantage over China, and allow it a growth rate that would maintain it’s share of the World’s GDP that would allow the Dollar to continue being the World’s reserve currency and keep it’s PPP per capita as one of the highest in the World. The benefits of mass immigration are too many to list. Unfortunately, you cannot let in 2.5 billion immigrants because you would not be able to effectively run criminal background checks on those numbers. You do not want to let criminals and terrorists in, so 2.5 billion is not possible. But America letting in 800 million immigrants over the next 5-7 years is not unreasonable. America would then have techno-industrial advantages of a First World country with Third World labor costs. The advantages are unfathomable. Unfortunately, the political aspect of letting those numbers in is problematic, but that is only a political problem. The fundamental problem of America are not immigrants, but that that there aren’t ENOUGH immigrants. Therein lies the problem.

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  54. @Forbes
    Tiny Dick's alter ego...

    Really disturbing obsession you have with dicks. Something you want to get out of your chest? It’s ok. I don’t judge.

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  55. @dearieme
    That'll certainly increase immigration rates.

    Meantime, your government is insolvent. So if there is to be a distribution it shouldn't be from its net income - which is negative - but from its capital. Everyone should get a little bit of acreage in a National Park, and perhaps an equity stake in an Carrier strike group.

    P.S. It's harder to sink a National Park.

    That’ll certainly increase immigration rates.

    My thinking is that it would turn every American, whatever their race, especially lower income ones, into virulent immigration restrictionists to keep per capita GDP high. This would also offset some of the negative impact AI will have in the very near future.

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