Friday, December 22, 2017

Bitcoin is worth more than gold

The value of an asset class is measured by the unit price times the total supply of units.  For bitcoin at current prices it is known to the penny ($313B when $18730/btc).  For gold, the total above ground supply is estimated as 187200 tonnes ($7.6T @ $1250/troy oz.).  Of this, $1.63T is the value of the gold private investment sector.  $1.28T is held in central banks.  $3.62T is held as jewelry.  Another $2.43T is held under ground.

Why is price of bitcoin less than gold if it is worth more?
First, what makes it worth more than gold is that there is no investment reason to choose gold over bitcoin even when their values will match.  But to answer the question, it takes time for prices to adjust.  Many people have ended up with 90% of their wealth in bitcoin, and even if they understand that its worth much more than its current price, some diversification, debt paydown, and life changing spending all contribute to supply meeting the adoption demand.  More importantly, bitcoin supply is currently growing by 4% (gold is only 2%), and miners need to take some profit to pay for electricity and equipment.

Also, the complaint that many people are rushing into bitcoin for fear of missing out, actually serves to reduce the volatility of the price, and slow down its price rise.  Most in this group who do not understand bitcoin are happy to get 20% return in a week, and then wait/hope that the price comes back down.

The fear spreading by financial industry deadenders that bitcoin price has risen too quickly can be motivated by hope of buying at a lower price, but its false on several counts.  First, when looking at a parabolic chart it is not appropriate to compare it to stocks (or NASDAQ tech indexes in late 90s), but instead to technology adoption curves.

Not listed on this chart is the deregulation of stock brokerages in the 1980s that allowed self-directed brokerages and lowered trading costs by 90% and increased trading volume by 2500% (just by 2004).  This democratized stock investment to attract people with much smaller wealth levels.  More wrongly than rightly, this allowed exhuberance in penny stocks with players having a few thousand dollars hoping to reach life changing goals with it.  Bitcoin as an investment has the powerful advantage of having large and small investors in the same asset, as opposed to segregating worst scams for small investors than lesser scams for large.  Most ICOs and many alternate cryptocurrencies are unfinished projects that include a portion of coins for management and marketing, and so not only lack the fairness of bitcoin, but the financial industry's mantra of "blockchain not bitcoin" is one of forming the same bribery promotion agreements for other projects.  The ICO markets are more prone to overhype and fraud than is bitcoin, and may lure in the smaller less sophisticated investor.

A little known key adoption metric is that daily crytocurrency trading volume has surpassed that of the NYSE.  Crypto trading is also for 7 days/week not just 5.

The intrinsic investment value of gold and bitcoin
At their core, both have value because they are expensive to mine.  Gold keeps its value (after inflation) because the mining expense mostly goes up with energy and labour inflation.  Bitcoin's mining expense goes up every 2 weeks (20% over last block period), and every 4 years, doubles in cost with a halvening-reward event.  Bitcoin will have a natural tendency to keep increasing in price due to the human nature of trading: Miners being predisposed to accept only prices higher than their cost (and even if out of desperation they'd violate the rule, they would stop producing), and buyers accepting that a reasonable and fair offer should consider those costs.  Once you are willing to accept that a mathematically formulated number is worth more than a penny or a dollar, there's no longer that argument that it should be worth less than a trillion.  You can't wear either price's "object" around your neck.

Other reasons that gold price upside is limited is that as price increases, more supply expanding mining ventures are made, and people with jewelry "cash it in" to also contribute to supply increases.  Even central banks can be net sellers of gold (2016 world bank reserves were 5500 tons below 1965 levels).  They don't yet have bitcoin to sell... only to buy.

The historical case for 10% of wealth in gold
Gold as part of a portfolio offers diversification benefits to stocks and bonds in that the latter's value are highly dependent on strong banks that do not require to withdraw from their client-frontrunned positions to bail out the relatively frequent failures of one of their other scams.  Weak banks can't keep funneling money too prop up the two main financial markets, and they tend to be net sellers of gold (to clients) as they usually seek holdings opportunities for earning interest or fees.

Similar to financial panics, gold is insurance against government failures/panics related or not to financial system failures.  This broadly affects banks, housing, and business throughout a nation, and gold at least goes down much less than the other asset categories, and if the problem occurs in a relatively unimportant far away land, gold will usually go up as it is demanded by those affected.

Gold is insurance against war and uninsurable housing destruction.  War is usually a much worse form of panic than simple government financial collapse.  Gold tends to go up in value due to demand for it being the only form of wealth in the area affected.

Gold is insurance against official asset seizure/freeze.  You might be able to escape bankruptcy or governments without there being an official trace of holdings.

The 10% of portfolio in gold advice is admittedly much higher than the 0.6% of global wealth in private investment gold sector.  It is also advice that is based/suitable for people highly concerned with preserving wealth as opposed to reaching for expected returns under the best case optimistic future scenarios.  The rationality line that separates these 2 groups is whether they consider themselves already rich.  For the latter group, lottery tickets are better investment choices than gold which is appropriate for reducing wealth variance over the broadest range of scenarios.

Bitcoin is a better investment than gold because

  1. It will go up in value in nearly all eventualities, including the eventualities that would propel gold's value.  Any eventuality that is good for gold is even better for bitcoin.   The new supply rate for bitcoin will drop to  2%  1% 0.5% 0.25%  on years 2020 2024 2028 2032.
  2. There is an estimated 4M bitcoins that has been lost foreever.  Gold is always recyclable (cost permitting, but technology can always open options) or findable again when it is lost.  The above supply growth rates do not take account of bitcoins lost due to death or innadequate backup procedures.  Global available supply may thus decrease within 6 years, even as adoption demand continues to increase.
  3. Technological improvements in bitcoin that permit widespread currency/transactibility applications and enhancements are likely.  Not possible for gold.
  4. Currency use is unimportant for value as long as you can "annuitize" your holdings.  Converting a small amount to fiat monthly to cover needs.  This is much easier with bitcoin than gold, and carries less fees/slippage and time costs.  Holding an asset that goes up significantly may not even decrease its remaining balance month to month.  Debit card products for some cryptos are also effective at "conversion on spend" transactions.
  5. Security/storage is cheaper and more effective, though it does require understanding good/best practices.  Its also more portable.  100 pounds of gold is worth under $2M.  You can have an unlimited amount of bitcoin on your phone.
  6. Both gold and bitcoin are better holdings than fiat, when fiat has negative nominal or real interest effects to holding them.  There is a good case for bitcoin being a better holding than long term government bonds.  The lower the interest rate, the better the case.  But also, where a high interest rate indicates default risk, that too is a good case.
  7. The advantages to personal investment are the same as reasons central banks should have bitcoin in reserve.  The most important being #1 (they will go up).  In the event of war or catastrophe, a state can pay soldiers or other payroll/social support in bitcoin.  Gold can be a liability for war, and historically has served as motivation for invasions.  Iraq had 6 tonnes of gold reserves in 2003.  Bitcoin is more flexible and with more long term value than holding individual nations' fiat as reserves. 
  8. Gold has been banned by governments including laws against hoarding in the US.  Transporting cash or gold even within the US is subject to confiscation, but even more opportunities exist to do so at the border.  The transportability feature of bitcoin is especially useful for oligarchs and heads of state that may be vulnerable to revolution or international persecution/war.
  9. Every other reason than #1, increases the expected value appreciation of bitcoin relative to gold, and so strengthens reason #1 which is the only necessary reason to choose bitcoin over gold.
Currency value of bitcoin
While already substantially higher than gold's ability to be used for purchases, and likely to improve, bitcoin has the significant current purchase utility of being able to buy/trade other digital assets and crypto currencies.  Alternative currencies have short term or speculative cases/stories that may create an expectation of higher value increase than bitcoin.  Bitcoin having a market value about equal to all other crypto assets combined , and having the highest trade volume provides liquidity and safe haven stability during market turmoil.

As bitcoin grows even more in value and trade volume it permits trade in digitized/blockchained higher value asset categories such as commodities and companies.  Amazon stock cannot be used as currency for purchases on Amazon (until it is blockchained, that is), yet there is still a value proposition for owning Amazon stock independently of its direct purchase power.

Several governments are planning their own digital currencies.  These will make great transactional mediums and retain value very close to the underlying fiat.  Goods and services will be priced in them.  It will be good for bitcoin in that it will create an onramp from the banking system to direct acquisition.  Some will prefer bitcoin holding to cash equivalents or to Amazon stock.

Bitcoin has greater value or safety than competing crypto currencies
  • Bitcoin was fairly distributed, with the very first miner(s) either losing, abandoning their coins, or potentially waiting to apply them to a large scale philanthropic goal.  There is legitimacy attached to being first as compared to what are mostly copies of it.  Alternate coins have had either pre-mines and/or pre-sales (with proceeds going to preminers) that provide insider benefits.  ETH has an undefined supply limit, and is focusing on utility rather than value.  
  • Bitcoin has the most studied and most certain cryptographic/economic soundness compared to newer claims of smaller projects.
  • Bitcoin has a decentralized governance process.  Coins with premines or backed by large holders have centralized governance.  Governance decisions will benefit the governors.  With centralized development controlled by the governors, for instance, a decision to expand the supply beyond the publicized limit in order to further incentivize development (possibly due to missed timelines) is a power that centralized developers could inflict on their community as leverage over the communitiy's dependence on them.  There is never a reason to buy a coin based on the reputation of its team/investors.  That reputation is currency to fuel scam.
  • Bitcoin has the highest mining costs and fees.  This is the single most important factor in protecting the value (preventing cheating) of the chain.  This makes the chain safer for receiving large transactions.  Low/no mining fee coins may lack incentives to sustain the chain under low activity or when its size increases greatly.
  • The highest valuation and trade volume makes it most suitable for the largest transactions, and wealthy players participating in the investment value.  Circularly, bitcoin should make up the largest portion of the largest portfolios for its liquidity benefit.
  • The suitability of bitcoin as the trading counterpart to other crypto (because its the largest and most liquid) makes bitcoin a safety destination when there is market turmoil, and so the safest crypto currency.  If any alt-coins or ICOs are scams, then their temporary value is a spring waiting to be dumped into bitcoin.
  • The high and rapidly growing cost of creating bitcoin means it has clear intrinsic value independent of its ease of transactibility or adoption.  Though the network effects of having heard of it, knowing how to receive it, or being able to send it do increase its utility and value.
  • The forks of bitcoin (copies that act as a dividend to bitcoin holders) create scaling capacity indirectly (and low fee transactable units) and provide bonus advantages to holding bitcoin.
  • If a competing crypto currency is successful because of a well implemented feature, then a new fork of bitcoin that copies that feature will reward bitcoin holders who bother to collect the new fork's value.  Bitcoin's widest adoption level would permit the fork to leverage the desirable feature more thoroughly than its innovator.  The ecosystem of transactibility services for bitcoin has a naturally easier time including support for one of its forks than a different coin.

Risk of government attack on bitcoin
Though a concern and something lobbied for by those scared of bitcoin, the risk may be overblown.

Stock exchanges and inter-bank remittance/settlement services are not big enough to own the politicians needed to counteract the large bank owned politicians to serve large bank's opportunities in wealth management, ICO marketing, and internal efficiencies from replacing those external services that fear blockchains the most.

There is an established infrastructure for dealing bitcoin off exchanges.  The advanced peer to peer cash network in China makes it especially easy there.  There would be rapid improvement to decentralized exchange technology that exists already, if the KYC/AML regulated exchanges were attacked.

Driving bitcoin underground would not successfully kill it, and in fact, any concerns for money laundering, terrorism financing or other stupidity a bought politician expresses as motivation for attack is increased by driving trade away from tracked and semi-regulated exchanges.

Fear of state/bank bans of crypto currencies is reason to buy in now.  Similar to fear of gun regulations.  Crypto to crytpo trading is much harder to prevent/control than the fiat gateways into the space.  Bitcoin (and drugs) is worth more in locations where capital controls exist or its access is persecuted.

Russia is launching the cryptoruble.  Venezuella a Petro (asset)  backed crypto currency.  France has authorized blockchains for trading securities as a fintech positioning measure.  Japan has taken a leading/enabling policy position on fintech/bitcoin.  For any government crypto fiat to be useful/have value, it must be free of capital controls and exchangeable for bitcoin or alts.  If the only fiat window into crypto is the Ruble or DPRK yuan, then those fiats will be used on the web and throughout world economies even if the only road back to fiat involves an intermediary from that country.  Any one state attack against crypto currencies is an isolationist and economically deprecating/supressing move that benefits those competing societies that adopt/embrace crypto. 

Deceitful bankster fuckfaces that call bitcoin a fraud, while being directly implicated in fraud findings, and promoting blockchain initiatives that are far more likely to be fraudulent insider rewards vehicles can't really do that.  You cannot be pro blockchain and anti bitcoin when bitcoin is the most decentralized blockchain that is free from unfair allocations of tokens.

Catalysts for futher increase in bitcoin's value
  1. Continued adoption as an investment consideration, and money inflows.
  2. Technology that lowers fees per transaction, eases decentralized trade, creates instant settlement channels, and sidechains with new features.
  3. Crypto debit cards and web payment cart options being more widespread.  Rents and taxes payable through web interfaces with banking independent options.
  4. Other applications of technology or adoption improvements include exchanges acting as a low fee banking/settlement network that provides an off chain (or lighting network) visa+ scale commerce platform. 
  5. ETFs on major stock markets that hold/buy bitcoin.
  6. China (and minor countries) unbanning cryptos again.
  7. Central bank reserves and corporate long term asset holdings.
  8. Banking system integration and custody/payment services.
  9. Recognition that bitcoin is a more suitable investment than bonds or stocks up to 50% of a portfolio.
  10. Even after all of the above adoption points/levels mature and level off, price will continue to increase above and beyond fiat inflation as part of the 4 year new supply halvings, and associated increased mining costs.

Next Price level threshold @17M bitcoins: $1.63T = $95.8k/btc
$1.63T is the value capitalization of gold private investment.  The logic for this valuation threshold is simply that if bitcoin is a better personal store of value than gold, then it is stupid not to make that choice, and so eventually all who made the wrong choice will move to the correct choice.  This doesn't imply that the entirety of the value is made up of "store of value private investment" purposes, but rather that this amount is a floor... a component of the total value.  But the number itself is a key milestone.

Unlocking further value increase thresholds
Central banks have gold reserves only because there is a private investment market for gold.  They, or the potential parties it would transfer to, are uninterested in opportunities for supplying the jewelry industry as a reason to hold gold.  The central banks assess the value of their gold reserves based on the private market price settlements.

Once bitcoin's market value reaches the above "gold private investment value" threshold, it becomes stupid for central banks to hold gold instead of the cheaper to secure, easier/faster more liquid to transact, and perpetually-value-increasing bitcoin.  $1.28T in "physical" reserves switching to bitcoin would add another $75k/btc ($170k/btc totalling above 2 "floors").  Further, the slower any one central bank is in adopting bitcoin as reserves, the higher price it will pay to join the club.

I suggest again that this is a "floor" component value based on the interaction of private and state investment consensus value.  I'm reluctant to quantify any competitive interaction between these 2 groups, but if bitcoin is worth more/is better than gold, then I'd expect that both of these groups would demand more of it.  If bitcoin's price is only $170k/btc, then close to 8M coins are to be taken out of private investment circulation (for central bank use).  This competition is likely to make the "floor value" higher.  

Other safe store of value investments
Real estate investment properties and government bonds are stores of value with the appeal of strong expectations of value retention (when no state or banking panic occurs) and a slight beat of expected returns over inflation.  When you (or widespread others) expect that bitcoin volatility is merely a short term phenomenon, and has high expected returns over the next 2 to 100 years, then a high proportion of portfolios should be allocated to bitcoin.  This applies both to short term volatility traders and long term wealth preservation investors.

There is a strong case for a 10%+ portfolio allocation amount for bitcoin, and a strong case for adoption rates to reach that 10%.  I would recommend accumulating bitcoin up to 10% of long term portfolio for any investor, and draw down for lifestyle improvements at 50%+ of portfolio, though debt elimination and food/housing supporting income streams or short term stable assets (cash) should be secured after bitcoin holdings reach 20% of portfolio, for nearly everyone.

Global wealth in 2017 reached $280T.  10% of that would be a $28T market cap for bitcoin.  A 50% of wealth levels in bitcoin would be $140T in 2017 dollars.  With 20M btc coin supply, this represents a price target range between $1.4M/btc and $7M/btc in 2017 dollars.  

Infationary effects of $1M/btc+ valuation
The QE/money printing response to the last global financial crisis is still ongoing, and from 2008-2016, resulted in over $12T new imagined money.  This money was directly gifted to financial institutions and billionaire bond investors, who then funneled it into broader stock market and housing assets.  The low interest rates and bank solvency created by QE further supported the housing and auto and student loan markets and continued broad economic participation even when wages and employment did not change significantly.

If we accept that the real economy has not changed much between the halfway point of 2007 and 2008 (pre/post crisis end of years), global wealth increased 27% over 2007 levels, and 50% over 2008. 33% over the midpoint, and that $12T of monetary stimulus created $86T of wealth inflation with at best minimal real economic growth.  Low interest rates are the most significant contributor to housing and securities price inflation.  The monthly debt payments are more affordable, and business earnings compared to low return bonds are more attractive.

If Bitcoin's value grows by $28T, it will have a similar effect to QE.  A big difference is that the profits will flow to some non-previously millionaires and billionaires.  They will be able to buy stocks and housing and gold without debt driving the price of those other assets up.  It could also keep interest rates low if the overall demand for debt grows down, but on the other hand, those left behind from bitcoin adoption will have to pay for those higher priced homes out of economic effort.

The important point of this section is that bitcoin value is entirely additive to global wealth, and not at all substractive.  Every fiat transaction purchasing bitcoin is fiat received by the seller.  So if 50% ($140T) of 2017 global wealth is added to bitcoin, the total global wealth in 2017 dollars would be $420T (280+140), and bitcoin's share of that $210T. $10M/btc+.

Just like QE (still aggressively ongoing in 2018), bitcoin value appreciation will boost other asset values and so global wealth further.  The key sustainability factor for wealth levels is low interest rates.  All assets including bitcoin, but especially real estate (still by far the largest wealth component), prices are significantly affected by interest rates and mortgage availability.

Even after maturing adoption and a $10M/btc price, there would be continued expected price appreciation equal to fiat inflation (assets and consumer prices) level.  Bitcoin appreciation will still maintain high wealth inequality levels.  But there will be a 2% group even more "unfairly" separated  from the 98% until fairness/UBI is instituted through higher tax rates.

The case for over 50% porfolio allocation to bitcoin
There is a high risk that Stocks, bonds and housing values will reach a high that is not exceeded again for 10+ years in the coming 36 months.  The recent US tax plan is destructive to growth.  Lies that it is pro growth are made for the exclusive benefit of pumping the stock market which this tax plan will have minimal effect on earnings, and as typically occurs, will lead to banking system failure.  The tax plan includes elements that will depress housing prices, and banking loan demand.  The effect on the US banking system will be for it to lower its net interest margins, chasing what little loan demand there is, which will expose the banking system to bankruptcy resulting from housing loan losses, and capital markets crashes.  Enough people can believe the lie a long time, and especially if further deficit fueled infrastructure and other spending does boost growth, interest rates will rise until it likely collapses housing and banks and auto sector.

Its still possible for there not to be a collapse.  More QE is a policy tool the establishment will reach for, and the quid pro quo between banks and central banks if it holds will stabilize the sector.  I can't know if unlimited, or double/triple QE programs are a problem, even if intuitively it should be understood as a shameful gimmick.  The reason the QE levels will have to be much larger to rescue the next financial panic is that government debt levels are insanely higher than in 2008.  QE is a gimmick to erase these.

Even under a no collapse/panic scenario, there is a better than 50% chance that bond prices will not reach the highest levels (lowest yields) seen in 2017 for another 10+ years.  The most likely scenario where that doesn't happen is one of a 2008 comparable panic that fuels more QE and near negative interest rates. There is some risk also that Stock indexes might also top out in 2018 or 2019.  A 5%-10% likelihood/risk of the main scenario I outlined should be appreciated (even if I am concerned the risk is higher).  A 5% chance of a near term 10 year top to stocks is a higher chance than seeing a 10 year top in bitcoin value in the next 100 years.  Under these criteria, bitcoin is a safer long term investment than stocks or bonds.

Collapse/panics will negatively affect the price of bitcoin along with every other asset class.  Like gold, it should be less so.  War and climate change risks will affect housing and banking/economic profits more adversely than bitcoin price..

The case for bitcoin over stocks and bonds with no collapse/financial panic events is that for, the next 10 years at least, while the adoption level is as steep as radio or cellphones were, and ample event catalysts for explosive upside remain unfilled, the expected investment returns are much higher.

Under this expectation, having a paid for house, and financial assets that produce $20k-$40k of income, enough gold to survive a year long electricity outage (5-12oz), and the rest in crypto currencies with a majority in bitcoin is a sensible portfolio regardless of how high the bitcoin percentage is.

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to destroy America

Use a catchy name such as Make America Great Again.  Then lower corporate tax rates.

Why destroy America
First, like climate change or exploiting whale oil, it is more a matter of whether there is a dollar to be made by ignoring the destructive consequences of that activity,  than seeking the destruction itself.  The republican party is owned by those wanting profit despite the consequences of destroying America.

The media wants to destroy America for its sensationalist entertainment value, but also because they are controlled by Republican destroyers.

What a destroyed America will look like
First a banking crisis with currency devaluation and economic decline.  Then the only technological progress being tools to protect the oligarchs from the poor masses, and ethnic/racial cleansing programs to address the concerns manufactured for the slightly less poor.  Greater totalitarinaism from government until it defaults on debt.

Corporate income tax cut to 20% will destroy America
A lower corporate income tax necessarily destroys jobs and business spending, because spending results in a tax reduction equal to the tax rate.  Lower rate means lower deduction.

Business spending is done in the anticipation of making more money.  The preferred source of that money is always current profits rather than dipping into business savings, and so if there is an idea that has hope of being profitable, it is invested in regardless of tax rate.  Also, regardless of tax rate, the after tax return is the same, but with a higher tax rate, there is lower risk:  The higher tax rebate is certain;  the future profits not.  This applies even in the rare cases that the investment comes from a dip into corporate savings.

The effect of cutting business tax rates is to provide incentives to cut costs in everything that doesn't obviously enhance profits:  Executive assistants, quality assurance, customer service, newer computers/phones, conferences in Hawaii... any cost cut that is theorizable to increase profits.  The cost of all business spending under a 20% corporate tax rate ($0.80/dollar) is 23% less competitive (more after tax) than under a 35% rate ($0.65/dollar).   Lower business tax rates shift the balance towards greed and away from ethics in all decisions.  Bribes, illegal immigrant cash paid exploitation, and other off-the-books payments are 23% more competitive.

Another provision of the tax bill also inexplicably increases risk of investment for no good reason:  A cap on business loan interest deductibility.  Normally, a restaurant owner that wants to expand to a new location could feel comfortable that the incomes from the new and old business would cover the loan interest.  Even if he hopes that it will greatly exceed the loan interest, as long as he's fairly certain that it will cover it, it makes sense to go with it.  With new rules, if the new restaurant doesn't meet high expectations, the business may owe taxes that exceeds its net income.  

When every business is directly incentivized to spend less, it is necessarily destructive of jobs and the economy.  Any people telling you different are either retarded imbeciles who should keep quiet, or actively lying and intentionally destroying America's economy in order to channel a larger share of the pie to their masters.  Even more simply, stock market salesmen use tax cuts as a good sounding story to get you to buy more stocks, even when the job creating story is a lie, and even the intrinsic effect on stock prices themselves is, in most cases, a lie.

Republican masters and desperation

The Koch brothers and other energy dead enders (climate destroying and murderous (polluting, explosions, geopolitics) energy that is already more expensive than renewables without even including the environmental restoration costs) are the key group intent on destroying America.  They and other billionaires are the ones pushing for this tax plan, really as a single issue for them, and are the corrupting influence that allows the republican party to remain influential.  They are also threatening to withdraw support for what will be difficult mid term elections if they don't get the tax plan they want.

The corporate tax cut, and estate tax elimination, electric vehicle credit, continued subsidization of carried interest and 401k plans for wall street, are the key aims of America's destroyers.  They want this tax plan, not because they wish to dip into their or their corporate savings to create jobs, but so they can die with more in savings.

Many key republican Oligarch minions have ties to Russian Oligarchs and/or mobsters.  Its my opinion, that though most of those relationships are to facilitate money laundering, the support that the Russians provide these minions and republicans is to facilitate their intended destruction of America.  At any rate, Americans should be more concerned about Americans trying to destroy America than whether Russian agents left a paper trail in assisting them, which since they could use their own money, is unlikely.

The foreign competitiveness argument
By leaving much of the transfer payment structure, there's no effect on tax competitiveness.  There continues to be opportunity to shift profit to low tax countries independent of where the revenue comes from, but a lower US tax rate encourages putting production expenses elsewhere.  There may be a bit more profit assigned to US jurisdiction as a result of this, there will be political grandstanding of HQ's announcing a move to the US, but the real spending of production may move to Europe if that makes sense (wage costs and talent usually much more relevant than tax considerations in where to produce).

Lying fuckface Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has made 2 disgustingly absurd statements in support of the parasitic oligarch destruction of America.

First, he's committed $1B to an investment fund as a purely political grandstanding measure he falsely claims is in anticipation of the corporate tax cuts.  Lying fuckface controls $270B in cash, and tax cuts have no bearing whatsoever on this political grandstanding.  He can make any investment he wants by borrowing against cash (/assets earning the same return as the loan) held overseas.  If those investments fail, he will reap a larger tax offset if the rates are lower.  Though this perfectly offsets the risk for paying taxes if the investment wins (and so the investment decision is completely unaffected by tax rate), if the investment pays off, its more cash for the hoarde regardless of tax rate.

Second, he's said "Why repatriate cash and pay 35% tax when we can pay 0%?"  So then why pay 14%?  Placing surtaxes on foreign subsidiary profits should shift more spending overseas to reduce overseas profits.  With blue state surtaxes, R&D should be shifted overseas where it will reduce profit at higher tax credit, and where specific research credits are available.  Arguably has a fiduciary duty to shareholders to do so.

An aside on the hamster wheel economy
The US QE money printing program was used, if  as we are told, to save civilization from collapse.  Though fundamentally similar to Zimbabwe monetary policy, the quid pro quo arrangement between the central bank and the banking system did successfully keep banks solvent, interest rates low, and asset prices high:  Banks and rich bond investors were offered the sure trade/free money. of buying government bonds ahead of the Fed.  That free cashflow and profits flowed down to other asset categories such as stocks and housing.  This further helped banks trading portfolios and loan collateral value.

Its entirely fair to resent the extreme inequality in wealth increases that the "recovery" permitted, but the lack of job and income growth would have been much worse without the resulting bank solvency, and relatively broad trickle down of asset portfolios that sustained some modest spending levels throughout the economy.

While this tax plan is also an attempted stimulus for the rich, it will lead to another banking and asset crash, and in fact harms every economic sector that isn't a monopoly.  The next banking/asset crash may be the last due to the high US debt/obligation burden.  Another round of significant QE and US currency devaluation may avoid public debt restructuring/defaults, but its more likely to take shape as QE for banks and cannibalism rather than QE for people and UBI.

Tying collapse to the corporate tax cuts
The US banking system is ultra competitive, but also very simple.  Loan rates are driven by Net Interest margin (NIM) targets (difference between saving or Fed rates and loan rates). At a 35% tax rate, a 2% pretax NIM results in a 1.3% after tax contribution.  At a 20% tax rate, there's an illusion that the after tax contribution can rise to 1.6%, but if a top tier bank was happy targetting $10B profit for the year under the old tax rates, then it is happy to lower mortgage rates from 2% old pretax NIM to a 1.62% pretax NIM to make that same 1.3% after tax NIM under the new tax rate proposal.  One bank cannot offer a 4.38% mortgage while its competitors offer them at 4% and keep business, so if any one bank targets the same profit shitload it was going to make under the old plan, all of its competitors must follow.

While lending is a bank's main business, its overall profits are significantly affected by trading and loan losses.  Lower pretax NIMs significantly increase the risk that loan losses overwhelm expected loan profits.  Higher tax rates reduce the risks of losses banks are particularly prone to from erasing its "trickle" loan income.  The flawed tax treatment for business loans is going to reduce demand for commercial lending, and so pressure lending rates to be even more competitive.

On the personal tax side, several provisions reduce housing affordability, and so necessarily decrease housing prices: caps on property tax and mortgage deductions, and expected interest rate rises.  Housing values everywhere in the world are a function of mortgage availability/affordability.  The US banking system is too fragile to stop the hamster wheel economy of perpetually increasing asset (mainly homes) values.

The 19th and 20th century economy are by far the dominant employers in the US.  For the most part are also highly competitive:  Auto, Aerospace/airlines, mining/materials, retail, packaged food, transportation/logistics sectors.  These sectors will also face the same gross margin compression pressures as banks while in an environment of high consumer debt levels, and disemployment related to a 23% cost competitiveness penalty for US expenses.  For multinationals, a 23% relative competitiveness improvement to any foreign production costs will mean less domestic production competitiveness and associated jobs, or more likely, a near 23% reduction in US dollar strength, spurring a race to the bottom in global currency valuations.

20th century economy companies are not doing as well as monopolists and the tech sector.  Lower gross margins, and lower value of accumulated tax credits in the old economy will risk bankruptcies and reduce the value of bailing them out of or persisting through the risk of bankruptcy and sustaining their labour force.  For those profitable tech companies, any foreign profit surtax encourages bringing foreign profits to 0 potentially by moving all R&D overseas.  The important jobs that determine long term international competitiveness should leave quickly if the intent of the ruling party to destroy America is understood.  Whatever California based protest and opposition funding there is will be irrelevant so long as gerrymandered voter suppression is processed by unaccountable voting machines installed by the more corrupt party or their foreign agent hires.

The false simplicism that a corporate tax cut will boost non-monopolist stock prices is a narrative the financial market salesmenship industry portrays in order to pump stocks.  Even in the case of monopolists, a $100/mo cable TV package or $1000/mo HIV medication doesn't do well in Somalia when few people can afford them.  In fact, the only rational value of a corporate tax cut push is the glorious opportunity generated by a false stock pump, where oligarch management has insider information for the appropriate timing of the collapsing dump, and in the ensuing "drowning of the collapsing government in the bathtub", in the desperate reach for social funding, gratitude from the politicans that stimulated the collapse, will hand out new privatized monopolies of government services to the oligarchs that sponsored their power to do so.  Collapse is in fact the only profitable rational intent of a corporate tax rate cut within the WTO-discretionary-profit-allocation.  A world where the S&P 500 pumps to 3500 before collapsing to 1000 is gloriously preferable for those positioned with insider information to guess the top than a hamster wheel world that tediously inches forward sustainably.  Oligarchs aside, small-proportion asset owners have a greedy impulse that prefers a collapsing unsustainable pump (followed by dump) relative to boring sustainability, as there is an overconfident tendency to anticipate the proper sell/dump timing.  Banking and stock panics always follow business tax cuts because of the widespread greed-blinding stupidity on this issue.

Risk of global race to the bottom and collapse
While Americans are disproportionately stupid, the huge investment in packaging lies to sell to Americans can be repackaged cheaply to sell to other jurisdictions.  Nations who've already invested in attracting meager HQ and international tax arbitrage jobs through low tax rates might be tempted to lower them more.  In fact, for multinational oligarchs with monopolist power, lobbying global politicians to sweeten their tax arbitrage opportunities in response to US move will come naturally.

To avoid this race to the bottom, just one nation needs to adopt natural/cashflow taxation as described below.

Natural/cashflow taxation permits a race to the top

Natural taxation is:

  • A flat business tax rate that applies to all cash inflows within the jurisdiction, and same flat tax deduction for all cash outflows including investments and dividends within the jurisdiction.
  • All payments/receipts have a counterparty in the same jurisdiction, so each transaction is at worst tax neutral.  No tax implications exist for transactions outside the jurisdiction.
  • The same flat tax rate + small surtax (0%-3%) applies to personal income.  A 10% surtax applies to personal investment profits.
  • No payroll taxes.
  • Basic income is funded from tax revenue surplus, thereby making the flat personal tax rate progressive on an effective tax basis.
The big difference for multinationals between natural taxation and WTO-discretionary-profit rules is that there is no discretion in taxes due.  Sell somewhere, and pay at that jurisdiction's rate.  Make somewhere, and receive a cash refund at that jurisidiction's rate.  Its no longer possible to sell cars in a high tax jurisdiction at low profit (due to made up expenses paid elsewhere) while selling the same cars in low tax jurisdictions for high profit (again with expense assignment discretion).  Panama/Paradise papers tax avoidance schemes are impossible.

The big difference for societies is that imports pay the full tax rate on their full revenues to their society, thereby participating in funding its programs or UBI.  Export oriented business models that spend more than they make locally are supported at near net 0 tax cost.  The 3% personal income surtax in fact ensures that the tax revenue generated by their activity in the local society is 3% of their spending.  But spending is always the entirety of jobs and supporting of more local spending.

UBI is also fundamentally a job creating program.  There's money to collect from UBI recipients by providing goods and services in exchange for it.  Everyone who wants a job has a much easier time obtaining one (if those who don't want jobs refuse to work), and the boost to innovation in addition to earning cash back on early year losses (tax credits) comes from the freedom to pursue ideas without starving, or having the fortune of a rich family patron.

Not only is this a fair and honest tax system made to dial in any desired growth/job creation/pro-wage (higher tax rate) vs wealthy paradise (lower tax rates that allow for lower consumer prices), but because the US is breaking WTO rules first, it can be launched to expand its viability for other nations.  Any competitive disagreement among trading partners is best addressed by matching the tax strucuture and setting  the tax rate to your own society's preference.  This mechanism could even be applied between US states to account for each's desire for fostering innovation and welfare

Saturday, September 2, 2017

UBI as a solution to the public pension crisis

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a cash dividend paid to society's members with the primary philosophical justification being that members own the society, and deserving an equal share of social revenues should be the primary purpose of those revenues.  Diversion of social revenues to fund public programs is appropriate when the programs are useful and efficient enough to convince the majority of social members to forgo a portion of their dividend in favour of funding that program.  When UBI is a sufficiently high amount, it also happens to eliminate poverty.

Political simpliciy of UBI
If the UBI amount is higher than the value of any government entitlement, then reform can eliminate that entitlement as part of the funding formula for UBI, without causing any harm to the beneficiary of the previous entitlement, and so no rational political objection to it.  A public pension is a government promise, and government promises are fundamentally entitlements.  So public pension funds become part of the financial/program pools available to convert into a  UBI amount.

Pensions are fundamentally ponzi schemes
For a pension system to stay solvent for 1000 years, it cannot use a defined benefit (promise of a specific compound annual return) system, and it cannot pool funds for general use (as opposed to segregating shares for individual entitlees), and it cannot be administered by anyone controlled by any motive other than protecting and maximizing all pension entitlee's returns, including the 1000 year sustainability mandate.

Public pensions typically fail all 3 of these tests, and all pensions fail at least one of them.  The defined benefit rule is always either a corruptibly unappealing too low of a return, or one that is unsustainable in the long run.  To sell a pension system to enrollees, it is necessary to lie about magnificent promised returns.  The reason you sell a pension system to enrollees is to control their money.  Buying debt or shares of the organization with their money in order to boost those values, is the typically envisioned use of that control.  Paying employees with future promises may also effectively augment their work ethic/devotion, using the tax code to induce them into accepting less pay in exchange for dubious promises.

Defined contributions (the alternative to defined benefit, where enrollees' entitlements are not a specific promised return, but whatever the returns happen to turn out to be) have their own problems.  The administrators are interested in fees or in fulfilling the motives of the controlling party.  Any friendships (bribery or corruption) they can form by utilizing the pension pool can provide better compensation alternatives than performance fees, though the latter can eat through returns well enough on their own.  The ideal performance fee structure is more complex than pension enrollees can understand, but is one that mirrors the defined benefit promises, while also encouraging capital preservation.  The better the pension administrator, the more power for the administrator to set a fee structure that benefits the administrator in deviation from the ideal.

The most important determinant of the ponzi scheme nature of every pension system is that there is no genuine concern for the 1000 year mandate.  At any slight performance or sustainability risk, protecting the benefits of the majority of entitlees (always the oldest) is the tradeoff chosen in favour of an eventual sustainability calamity/bankruptcy.  Ignoring sustainability issues such that bankruptcy occurs in 20 years is the preference of a 60 year old (with average life expectancy) compared to the alternative of taking a pension cut to ensure longer term sustainability.

A pension fund that invests in the organizations' securities is one that insures its bankruptcy's dependence on the organization.

Pensions as a corruption of democracy
A promise made 40+ years from now where no one today will be accountable if it is fulfilled or not is empty, even if it can be honest.  The important essay goes into detail on the incompatibility of pension systems with democracy, and also into details given in the next sections on liquidiating public pensions for immediate payout.

Immediate pension liquidation alternative to forseen insolvency
Although a pension ponzi scheme, like most investment offerings, is designed to take in money while taking every (legal) opportunity to avoid paying it back, a fundamental option satisfying the inherent rights of the entitlees is immidate liquidation proportional to the vested balance of each entitlee prorated to the fund's current solvency rate.  This is the fairest solution when worsening solvency fears exist, but its also a fair solution under any circumstance (a pension system is just holding money for you, restricting your access to the future, "for your own good".  Removing that restriction is still not a real harm to you.).  The relevance of "solvency fears" is that a wide variety of corrupt pension modifications are proposed in the face of these.  Invariably, the proposals of no change, or stealing from the benefits of younger enrollees to sustain older enrollees' benefits are both generational warfare solutions, as they harm those at the end of the entitlement line.

While public officials have the same corruptibility as private pension systems, and the desire to control their stakeholder's money as long as possible, it doesn't change the point that the only fair pension variance rule is one of immediate dissolution.

Non-UBI pension dissolution solution
Considering that pension enrollees may not need immediate access to funds, and that current tax policies favour ponzi schemes  (tax due when deferred income paid), dissolution of pensions into an on-demand withdrawal fund based on current market value (and so defined contribution based from hereon out), and asset portfolio is both fair, and avoids the costly rapid liquidation of the pension fund, satisfying concerns of the pension inflictor.

A UBI solution is preferable and applicable in the case of public pensions due to its inclusion in broader tax and institutional reform that is needed for many federal and regional organizational jurisdictions.

UBI as cooperation among levels of government
Though UBI is most often proposed as a federal program, it can be implemented at any social revenue  level, and is best implemented as contributions from all levels of government.  Program savings from UBI can be in social services, justice, education, health care, and if the savings created by UBI come to 3 budget levels, ideally, so should the funding.

In the context of eliminating pensions, that is a major UBI funding source, if the UBI level is sufficiently high to eliminate most pension obligations.   This implies funding participation by all levels of government in order that the total contributions of each can help discharge each's pension obligations.

Mechanism that UBI replaces an entitlement or pension oblligation
A UBI of say $15k can fairly replace a pension obligation if that pension obligation is either below $15k, or if the pensioner still receives the excess over $15k, if their pension entitlement is above the $15k UBI level.

Under UBI the pensioner receives everything they were originally promised.  Considering the sustainability jeopardy present in almost all public pension systems, UBI being a stronger and permanent entitlement makes it much more preferable to the pensioner than potential bankruptcy negotiated or politically dictated cutbacks.

UBI replacement is fair to both strong and weak pension funds.
While weak pension fund entitlees are gratefully bailed out by UBI conversion, strong pension funds provide stronger funding for their UBI pool.  Though not necessary for fairness, strong public pension systems could offer a politically motivated incentive to pensioners offering them their pension entitlements above say $14k on top of the $15k UBI (an extra $1000 for those with pensions worth more than $14k/year).

The idea of replacing pensions with UBI is a key affordability facilitator for UBI, and it is fair to deny public pensioner's the windfall of a supplementary entitlement above and beyond their pensions.

Amount pension replacement contributes to UBI
US state pension obligations are $4.3T,   US state and local pension assets are a bit under $4T.  These assets could be liquidated over a 10 year period.  Contributing over $560B per year (over $2000 per 227M adult citizens) with a 5% assumed return on the fund (conservative considering the economic growth impact of UBI).

This is a substantial contribution source that means UBI can be $2k higher at the same tax funded cost than any baseline amount.  Funding UBI is a simple sum of all funding sources, as was done in this tax-rate neutral plan for Canada.  An extra $2k per person in funding can be either $2k more, or $560B is a flat 3.1% lower tax rate on GDP, or 18% less needed (federal) tax revenue.

The pension crisis
The figures of $4T assets and $4.3T liabilities come from the federal reserve (and omit liabilities other than state pension funds).  With Federal reserve numbers, Illinois has a $114B funding of $247B liabilities ($133B funding shortfall, at a 46% funding level) as of Q1 2017.

Moody's assesses total public pension liability shortfall at $1.75T

This article highlights California's problems, and how the state politicians are assuming 8% perpetual future returns as a device to use pension funds for other purposes.

Previously apparently nearly solvent states (Minnesota) crumble when forced into appropriate accounting rules.

A portal devoted to the seemingly innescapable pension calamity with over 10 topical articles per day

Federal pension plans (social security, Canada Pension Plan) have similar solvency cliffs.  Population pyramids with low birth rates in generations following the baby boom are a root cause of funding deficits.

There is no pleasant or fair solution other than public pension elimination and liquidation with UBI replacement.  UBI solves the ponzi scheme nature of pensions by insuring short term budgeting (rather than 40 year or 1000 year) of its funding.  Any program or financial crisis management policy is a cost taken equally from every citizen (by reducing their UBI equally to pay for the program/policy) instead of an act of political favouritism that has one group made to bail out another.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

work ethic is a code word for slavery

Universal Basic Income (UBI) has the same rationale as Universal Health Care.  Provide the means to survive without a work requirement.  The recent legislation attempt in the US to replace the flawed ACA (Obamacare) health plan with an even more flawed and (lower quality) health plan that would push 24M Americans out of coverage, and failed to pass only because the so-called freedom caucus (a wing of Republican party) found the bill insufficiently oppressive. They used the language of "work ethic promotion" as code for "insufficiently oppressive".  Some Democrats share the Republican's deep hatred for the American people by not supporting the alternate "Medicare for all" bill.  Nanci Pelosi's voiced concern is that it would mean higher taxes.

Structural oppression to maintain the people's work ethic is fundamentally equivalent to supporting slavery.  Its a transformation of the unacceptable physical chains and abuse of slavery, with less visible, structural chains that force us to seek kind masters to alleviate our food and shelter (and healthcare in US) insecurity.  High abundance dictates that we should make the world/society more welcoming (easier) rather than harsher.

Work is awesome!!!!
It provides fame, fortune, a positive source of self identity, a feeling of helpfulness, pride of creation and responsibility, and the means to form a family, and/or buy boats, hookers and intoxicants.

The benefit of work sells itself.  For necessarily evil reasons, however, leaders and politicians wish to structure a harsh world such that those benefits need to be supplemented with harsh consequences for failing to do or find work.  Conventional thinking is that the labour market must be unfairly coercive towards labour suppliers and create a bias towards employers.

Slavery and oppression are awesome!
Most people support slavery.  Its not a rational support, but it is rooted in philosophical belief in the work ethic.  Still a significant number of powerful people do directly benefit from oppression.   If you want to buy a house, you will get a better price from a seller financially overburdened from owning another  house, or desperate to pay for a medical procedure.  Buy products manufactured in low cost third world areas because they are cheaper.  Forcibly manufacture desperation in your own society so that you can oppress your fellow citizens into conditions competitive with the third world, or to consider the military a sensible career choice.

Its only this last (very small numbered, but powerful) group that has a rational interest in opposing UBI.  For the rest, their position in the harsh hierarchical order is probably a zombification they prefer over unknown freedom..

Yet the necessity and desirability of having others to exploit decreases every day as machines grow more capable of following direction without question or relative expense.  Remote control of (military) murder weapons only needs to pay the operator enough to overcome the moral deficit of the actions without needing to convince them that the actions are more important than their fears.

The family farm - origins of the work ethic
Families are communes.  The wealth is shared within it.  But a family is also a hierarchy.  Parents teach their children a work ethic in order for them to help around the house/farm, respect for their creators, and aid them in their old age.  Developed nation birth rates declined in large part because of socialized eldercare.  There's less of a need for children to help.  The birth rate decline started with industrialization.

The freeloader problem exists (only) within communes.  A fixed amount of work is required to sustain the household, farm or commune.  All work that I avoid, you have to do.  Both of us are unpaid to do the communal work.  So work ethic is important to the household/commune to ensure a fair share of duties.

Outside of the commune, freeloaders are an opportunity (not problem) for you
If no one else in the world wanted to grow wheat, I would like to  grow it all because I love bread so much.  If no one else in the world wanted to bake bread, I would do it all because I love boats, hookers and intoxicants so much.    Extremely high wealth potential exists for any activity that other people are too lazy to do.

Outside of your commune/family, your work is paid for.  A small portion of your profits being used to pay for freeloaders (through taxes) enhances your wealth compared to an exterminist policy.  If 50 out of 100 social members are productive, and share the burden of socialized support for the population, then on average each productive person supports the subsistence of 1 other.

It does not take twice as much work for me to produce wheat for 100 vs 50 people.At the cost of just 2% of my production, I get to double my sales, and more than double my profits.  Other productive people and businesses support most of the "hippies".  The hippies can also provide me with hookers and intoxicants and entertainment.

"Teaching" work ethic to the hippies is counterproductive for me
If I am the only one growing wheat for a 100 people market, I sure as hell don't want to force anyone else into competing with me.  Even if I were lucky, and teaching/forcing  a work ethic upon the masses drove the hippies into bread baking or boat building, there is the much more important consideration that UBI supports them in the most (cost) efficient way possible.

Hateful work indoctrination programs such as conditional welfare, police and prisons to deal with hippie non-compliance (including survival motivated theft) means an even more expensive solution involving employing/forcing unproductive people to inflict unnecessary conflict and hate on the hippies. The conflict itself distracts from hippie productive pursuits.

Financial destressing/security helps the productive classes too
The most important obvious benefit of UBI, or anti-poverty programs in general, for the productive is that the poor spend it all, and so tax money flows right back up to taxpayers.  The less obvious, but even more important benefit of UBI specifically for the rich productive is that, UBI is a safety net for everyone.  Not just the poor.  This means that the only reason to have savings is having more wealth than you know how to spend. (An alternative reason to have savings today is an emergency/rainy day fund, or planning an early retirement, or funding children's early adulthood education or support )

Lower income variability, and assured future income subsidies means a lower need for emergency savings, and setting aside for children's adulthood (they will be able to pay for their own education through UBI), among productive people.  This necessarily means, more spending, and so more income for society as a whole as more work is needed to collect all of that spending.  Since income always flows up to those with more wealth than they know how to spend, this is a benefit to people at all income levels.

It is this point that UBI is an improvement to life for people at all income levels, and with all possible attitudes towards work, that leaves as the only rational opposition to UBI as the manufacturing of misery and desperation  for exploitation.

The right may have more evil motives for expolitation:  military service, slums, sweat shops, motivated servitude in pursuit of unethical behaviour, intentional destabilization of regions to promote violence and racial tensions.  But the left can also wish for exploitation to persist as it justifies hierarchical empires to combat it:  Union dues, government charitable services, unnecessary work.

Controlling the work ethic of others is a root of this irrationality
The need and acceptance of controlling others is a root of this root, but the thinking around coercing work ethic is clouded by misunderstanding society as part of the same family farm.  Other people's laziness (outside of our commune) is the source of our profits.  Oppression causes savings and hoarding (and therefore not trading for your profit) in defense against that oppression, and violence, fraud, and other costly antagonism in reaction to that oppression.

Coercing work ethic is necessary in forcing tax cuts for successful companies and people (where success is portrayed as work ethic).  It helps convince the public that the rich deserve to rape society, if other workers share a bit of the traits that are glorified.

Proof that UBI and higher taxes leads to more wealth and income for the rich
An empirical point is that the GINI coeficient (measures wealth inequality) for Denmark is (slightly) higher than that of the US.   Denmark is recognized as having a generous social safety net.  Logically this is explained by most people not needing to save in Denmark, and so savers are typically those with more wealth than they know how to spend.

In a simplified economy designed to approximate the US economy, with $10T consumer spending, 200M non-senior adults can be provided UBI of $16k/year, at an average tax cut of $4000 ($800B in  program cuts).  Couples with household income of $160k could break even taxwise, with those earning less getting a net tax cut, and those earning more a net tax increase. 

$2.4T in redistribution is accomplished (16k * 200M less 800B program cuts)  All of which is taken from savers and given to those with high propensity to spend.  Furthermore, households near the  $160k income threshold would typically save for kids college education and early retirement opportunities.  Both of these needs are significantly alleviated by UBI:  Kids will be able to fund their own education, and UBI income supplements significantly reduce the savings requirements for any sustainable income level.  So existing savings by those earning under $160k will be drawn down, and the increase in consumer spending will likely be greater than $2.4T.

$2.4T in increased consumer spending on a $10T base, is 24% growth.  Since all income flows up to rich savers, this will mean a greater than 24% increase in the incomes of the highest earners, and a much higher benefit than any tax increases they face.

More wealth for the rich should not be understood as negative under UBI.  They get rich by providing more value to lower income groups which have an easier opportunity to acquire that value.  Even though lower income groups will have less reason to save, they may still choose to do so in order to climb up the wealth ladder.  Poverty and lack of opportunity are real problems.  Wealth inequality is not a real problem.

Getting Business leaders advice on the economy is like getting polution and climate advice from coal miners

Business leaders have no goal for employment, research or investment.  All of which are necessary for economic health and growth.  Business leaders want to hire slaves, want to cheat customers without repercussion, pollute freely, have innovation subsidized, and bailed out by government when they fail.  They don't want money in order to do economically productive activities, they do econoomically productive activities because they want money. 

Business tax cuts directly reduce employment and other investment because lower tax rates means less of a tax refund for those activities.  Any filth that tells you differently, is lying, trying to steal from you, and trying to destroy your country.

If destroying the economic health of a society can be done while milking it dry for a greater share of the milk for business leaders, along with the opportunity to acquire the rubble at bargain prices, with a good share of the bailout subsidies meant to redress the destruction, then that path to destroying the country is the advice business leaders will provide media and political leaders, and the latter can often value the friendship of business leaders more than their constituents economic health.

Free and fair labour markets

UBI relies on the market principle that work will get accepted at a sufficiently high offer.  I recognize that slavery, and oppressive conditions approaching slavery, can motivate more work more cost effectively than fair markets can.

But the only change to labour markets that UBI causes is higher wage offers and better work conditions needed to be made to compete with the leisure or entrepreneurial options available to the worker with UBI.  Businesses are not at a competitive disadvantage with each other, and can just raise prices to pay for the higher costs.

There's also the potential for lower wages under UBI.  Labour regulations become less necessary.  If there are 1M applicants per job opening, but the applicant's needs are for beer money (because food and housing is covered by UBI), then some applicants may be happy with a wage offer that is for beer money.

UBI promises a happy society with high wealth inequality
Under UBI, the rich get richer by manufacturing the abundance for a very broad consumer base.  The poor happily trade their UBI money for those goods, secure in knowing more will come next month.  The alternative gets ugly:  culling people to save on taxes, similar to recent republican healthcare bill compromise to deny insurance coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions, exterminating them, so premiums can be reduced for the healthy.

Exterminism is the logical alternative to UBI

Automation in just transportation, retail, and food service will mean massive social disemployment.  Meanwhile, all of those industries need significant numbers of consumers with disposible income to survive and thrive.  The exterminism option is also the choice that ensures economic collapse.

The appeal of exterminism is that once "we" don't need people for military and police (especially), then exterminating anyone that might require social support saves the cost of that social support.  The seeds for this are already firmly planted.  First you come for the muslims and mexicans, and the nazis will cheer for it, for they are neither muslim nor mexican, but are too stupid to understand that genocide does not create jobs.  It creates empty housing and abandoned cars, and excess food capacity, then just scavenging for those goods. The weapons used to exterminate the early waves of undesirables can easily be turned onto expanded groups made desperately criminal by the spiraling collapse.

But before you start the explicit extermination on racial/ethnic grounds, you should destroy the social safety nets such as healthcare access and welfare.   Manufacture crime increases to strenghten police and prison resources, and show society how undeserving the criminally desperate are of social support.  An invisible sheppard's hand can manufacture hate and violence among the sheeple and the goats.  Short sighted cost savings are often mistakenly chosen despite the obvious economic benefits of population sustanence.

Greater than 50% chance that exterminism wins
US Republicans favour exterminism.  Climate destruction and war is one path to exterminism they favour.  But, even if we escape that fate, robocops can be as little as 10 years away.  Corrupt electoral and governance processes may make democratic opposition to exterminism irrelevant.

Even if there is a clear path towards great economic shared prosperity, there may be too many idiots who will follow those who see profit from actions directly leading to collapse.  For example, coal is a dead techology.  There should never be another dirty coal electric plant built even on profitability grounds.  But if someone can make a dollar keeping a coal plant from shutting down for 5 years, regardless of the destruction caused, he'll use that power to make a dollar.

Is a world based on slavery necessary?
There is obvious appeal to business leaders for creating and maintaining a desperate subclass for which work ethic is "whipped" up, and structurally shaping a labour market composed of desperate sellers forced to aggressively outcompete each other, and powerful buyers able to dictate oppressive terms

For UBI not to cause production collapse, the labour market would still need to function when people may refuse to work.  Employers offering better wages and work conditions is not a world collapsing situation.  Fairly power balanced labour markets exist in professional sports, entertainment, and have existed in stem fields and mid 20th century high demand conditions which gave rise to unionized manufacturing labour.  In the case of stem fields and manufacturing, industry was thriving when wages were higher.  Entertainment and sports are still thriving now.

Quite obviously, balanced markets work themselves out just as easily as coercive markets.  So there should not be a panic or opposition over allowing fair labour markets.

Automation makes slavery no longer necessary.
Forcing other people's work ethic only benefits the slavers, and threatens you with culling/extermination, not to mention increases the competition you face for work.

RoboCops, RoboSoldiers, RoboDrivers, RoboMiners, RoboBuilders, RoboFoodservice all promise to eliminate the need for slaves.  Unless immediate consciousness that renounces work ethic politics and the false notion that exterminating/deporting groups of people can ever create more work for the slavers' favourites, then your eventual extermination is threatened too.  When only white republicans remain, poor white republicans will be put up for extermination.

Liberating people from slavery (and letting them survive and thrive) with UBI, lets 9B people contribute to the improving abundance in the world.  Art, design, software, science are more useful and profitable and affordable the more people they benefit.  A robot is very useful in providing food for 1M people.  For 4 people, research into improved automation is not worthwhile.

Even if it should be obvious that more people helps all of us be richer, the stupid believe what they do despite reason.  Power rather than wealth can motivate slavery, and then when slavery is no longer useful, extermination rather than pursuing the market opportunities that UBI fed people would deliver for you.

Laziness, Greed, and Fear
  1.  Everyone is lazy.  Even the poor opt to pay for pipes to deliver water and energy (automation) rather than going out every day to collect it from nature.  (property rights/regulation may prevent that option in some places).  UBI gives everyone the means to pay for their laziness.
  2. Everyone is greedy.  No one would respond to a $5M offer for their house or their labour with an argument with the bidder for it being too high of an offer.  Where greed is destructive, is the use of coercive power to further accumulations.  Greed ensures, under UBI, that people will volunteer to permit other's laziness in exchange for their money.
  3. The overwhelming political majority can be made afraid of false phantoms as a result of the combination of relative stupidity and information imbalance relative to the wizards.  Jealousy, hatred, and envy are also easily manipulated negative emotions.  Where UBI equalizes opportunity, society can be much more harmonious, and individuals can look to themselves to improve their lives as they see best.  The significant difficulty facing the world is that political structure rewards manipulation with an objective of obtaining power to abuse power.  It is greedy to lie and distribute the spoils of victory to favorites, but why engage in difficult struggle if not to abuse the power of victory?  UBI as a social dividend is fundamentally incorruptible, and its appeal is based on avoiding the abuses of traditional political liars.
 The commonality of these 3 attributes is that none of them will ever be changed, but with automation and abundance, individual laziness becomes a positive for the rest of society as it improves "much needed" work opportunities.  Phantom manipulations of fear and hatred must be exposed because tax cuts for the rich and accelerated climate destruction is the straight line path to extermination.

Why mainstream political ideas are worthless compared to UBI
  •  Minimum wage:  accelerates drive to automation.  Eliminating jobs and leaving many more desperate to compete with others, driving them to unethical service or behaviour.
  • Job guarantees:  Force people to do useless work, based on work ethic retardation.  This leaves people too tired to develop themselves and/or produce something useful.
  • Infrastructure and government expansion:  Like the job guarantee, job-creation is the worst possible justification for programs or projects.  All programs/projects should be proposed solely on inherent value.  No one actually wants a job.  They want the wage.  UBI provides the job creation benefits while freeing up the time to do something useful or interesting.
  • Institutionalized retraining programs:  While there is a role for institutionalized education, large scale bureaucratic determination of your institutional attendance is far less productive than UBI.  UBI should be enough to get a computer, internet, 3d printer (or other tool), and pursue independent study of your choice that may be more relevant and interesting to you and your goals.  UBI should also be enough to enroll in structured education programs, without an institutional hand compelling you into them.  A bureaucratic/institutional bias towards education makes education more expensive and less beneficial to the institutionalized.
  • appeals to inequality:  Raising income taxes is needed and effective.  UBI doesn't reduce income inequality even if it eliminates poverty.  The latter should be the goal.  Shaming people into paying you more won't work.  Violence towards the rich will get you exterminated.
  • Politically established channels for labour empowerment:  Labour needs to have power to take power.  UBI gives them that power in that it is the privilege to refuse work, making it easier for those that want work to compete.  But a fight to help unionization is a fight against more powerful forces, and a fight consumers side against.  UBI is an individual's empowerment to collectivize or not collectivize in a way that does not impose the choice on the losers.
  • Minincome:  The sabotaged Ontario pilot that is designed to fail pays 0 net BI to those making over $34k, and includes clawback/deduction rates as high as 93% on some lower income brackets.  Minincome forces the poor to pay for all of the costs of BI.  High clawback rates force people to either work for nothing, or not work.  Extremely counterproductive.  The Ontario pilot further reduces the BI amount for couples, disempowering people from forming civil partnerships.  Minincome has important "cheating" problems as well.  Only corrupt vermin attempting to promote other failures in this list as an alternative to UBI design such brainlessly destructive policies to vilify the poor for not having the work ethic to take jobs with 0 takehome pay.
  • Higher Daycare subsidies: Meant to push people (women) into work, its not necessary under UBI.  The UBI is the daycare fund, and you only need daycare if you are earning income.  Though it generates tax revenue to force people into work and further daycare workers
  • Social housing and poverty programs:  has historically been a racist policy of ghetoization and poverty traps, that provide race bait resentment, that races other than their own are getting free stuff, despite the ghettoization, impoverishment and criminalization of those races.  UBI empowers people to live where they wish, and racist supremacists should see no objection, since no race gets more, and they are already convinced that their race will naturally thrive more than the others.
  • Higher conditional (need-based) programs: This is the fundamental problem with work ethic.  They are conditional based on the pressure to stop needing aid, but it is simultaneously a poverty trap in that work involves loss of benefits.  We don't need to force a work ethic on people because natural greed will ensure that, under UBI, people will work to take others' money.
  • Labour protections from robots:  automation is awesome when it saves you from doing needless extra work.  That makes it awesome for society and businesses so that they not force you to do useless work, useless by definition, if an automated process does it more efficiently.  Taxing business profits regardless of their level of automation captures the social value of automation, and those profits should be used to fund UBI thereby compensating all of those searching for useful endeavours.  Protection from robots is a dead end policy in that international competitors will not force their population to do useless work, but will be able to sell useful goods at better value than what the wasteful slavery produces domestically.
  • Wait until the robots come before UBI: is a recipe for exterminism.  Even when the US significantly outperformed OECD peers over the last 8 years, a highly exterminist republican regime gained power.  More tax cuts, and the necessarily ensuing economic destruction, is the only path they follow.  Exterminism is just further along the same path.   UBI while jobs are still available speeds up the automation path, but does so with economic growth and shared prosperity.  Once you start down a path where Robocops guard Detroit concentration camps with the economic power comparable to famine stricken Sudan, its easier to dismiss the value of economic support to the group to the same level of famine stricken Sudan.
Every idea other than UBI is terrible
UBI maximizes social prosperity and liberty,  empowers workers, lets everyone set the exact work-life balance they wish, reduces everyone's stress and their impacts on health and crime, and eliminates poverty.  Only petty and evil power strugles to fight for a better outcome for their narrow slice of society would get in the way of this.

The work ethic counterproductive delusion is the widespread complicity to the power struggle agendas that are likely to lead towards mass extermination, unless the delusion is broken.  Telling other people how awesome work is, just makes them compete with you instead of hiring you to do the awesome work.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Border adjustment tax and natural (cashflow) taxation

Republican House of Representatives are proposing the key element of a tax policy I've developed on this blog, and also framing it under the same philosophy of cashflow taxation principles.  This proposal should be supported by progressives, humanists, economists, and international trading partners, even if it is flawed for failing to fully adopt natural taxation principles.

Reasons to support
  • Border adjustments or cashflow taxation allows any jurisdiction in the world to unilaterally set their tax rates treating domestic and foreign production equally.
  • Higher tax rates subsidize production/investment and exports more than lower tax rates, thereby funding Universal basic income or refundable tax credits, and increasing jurisdictional competitiveness.
  • The alternative to cashflow taxation or border adjustments, to meet pissface's policy promises, would be tariffs.  These are supplementary taxes paid by consumers instead of tax reform.
  • Reciprocal policies by global jurisdictions will mean minimal disruption, if it is through tax reform rather than supplementary tarriffs.
  • It permits greater jurisdictional autonomy within economic and state unions.
  • It eliminates the roots of all tax avoidance strategies.
  • Retailer/importer/consumer punishment scaremongering is false.  Because other countries will copy the system in some fashion, importers /consumers will face similar pricing as foreign tax system subsidizes their exports.  US Retailer lobbying is entirely related to keeping their advantage for cross border shoppers who face a VAT/GST at home.
Border adjustment taxation is the gateway to the most progressive human development since the magna carta.  It would be a greater progressive achievement than the abolition of slavery or the advent of  representative democracy because it empowers regions to unilaterally determine the balance they wish to establish between production output, consumer favouritism, and social programs, by the simple adjustment of a single business income tax rate.  It will forever shut down the lie that lower business income taxes can ever motivate investment and production.

The regional control this empowers, directly empowers its human population to influence local policy to suit its economic interests in a way that democratic systems have never been able to achieve, and similarly, how the abolition of slavery was simply a minor shift away from oppressive hierarchical structures.  Corrupt states and regions will feel forced to match policies of humanist policy regions.
Natural/cashflow taxation
The best paper on the subject is I think easy to read and thorough, but still summarized as:

  • Business tax rate based on jurisdictional cashflow.  All spending and receipts is taxable to the receiver and refundable to the payer in the jurisdiction it (where the payer is) occurs.  Investment inflows (such as loans or share purchases) are taxable to the business receiving funds, and investment repayments such as dividends are tax deductible to the business paying them.
  • A flat personal rate equal to 0% to 10% higher than the Business tax  rate applies to personal income.  Progressive taxation is achieved through a flat universal refundable tax credit (UBI) which creates negative taxes payable for low and middle income individuals.
  • A personal investment surtax 0% to 10% above the personal income tax rate applies to investment profits.  This includes interest and dividends received, and may apply to rental profits.
Border adjustment tax differences
A decent overview of the republican proposal though with the usual media negativity slant on it. The proposal:
  • immediate tax deductibility of capital investments is a partial though principal move towards cashflow taxation.  The partiality causes incoherent elements in the plan such as not allowing interest payment deductibility.
  • Retaining payroll taxes is an unhealthy and unfair penalty on employment vs. other income.  It unnecessarily discourages employment from both the employer and employee sides. 
  • Its wrong to seek additional social revenue by forbidding interest deductibility as this uselessly depresses demand for capital.  The investment profits surtax is an appropriate means of enhancing social revenue because capital can always voluntarily choose to be kept under a mattress to both avoid investment profits and their tax consequences.
  • The export "tax freeness" and  import "non-deductibility" is not as disruptive as feared.  Reciprocity of some sort by other nations, preferably through pure natural/cashflow taxation is going to mean that US exports are taxed overseas, and there is likely to be some reciprocal subsidy of exports that limits significant change in consumer prices.
  • Violation of WTO rules is unimportant.  The WTO system sanctions the corrupt transfer pricing model, offshore sheltering, and tax inversion system.  The US violating the WTO, gives the remedy of everyone else abandoning it for a fair system.  Natural taxation does not violate the main WTO principle that domestic and foreign companies be treated equally.

The rest of this paper is going to detail why full cashflow taxation is better than border adjustments or tariffs.

BPI: 3 tax rates
(B)usiness, (P)ersonal, and (I)nvestment flat tax rates are used.   Each is greater or equal than the last.

Business tax policy has always been that of near 0 collections
Since businesses all end in eventual bankrupty, lifetime tax credits equal lifetime taxes paid less dividends paid which are often undertaxed at the individual level.  The tax code is complex only to allow difficulty in converting tax credits into cash refunds for businesses, but the complexity generates minimal social revenue.

Under natural taxation, business income tax revenue is 0 regardless of the tax rate
Since all business outlays are a tax refund to the spender, and an equal tax obligation to the receiver, net social revenue from business income taxes are 0.  Social revenue comes from:

  1. Private sector Salaries and wages generate P-B
  2. Government salaries and wages generate P
  3. Government and consumer purchases from  business generate B
  4. Personal Investment profits generate I
A 0% or low business tax rate is a bad idea
Even if it were to provide extreme reporting simplicity, and the same social revenue (assuming end user purchases taxed with a sales tax to cover point 3 above) as a higher business income, having both sides of a business transaction  account for tax effects has important motivational factors:

  1.  Higher tax rates encourage spending and investment (to avoid paying taxes) and significantly reduces the risk of business spending and investment (because of the certain tax rebate no matter the investment outcome) compared to lower tax rates.
  2. An incentive to repay shareholders since that provides a tax reduction.  It would not at 0 tax rates.  The incentive generates social revenue at rate I.
  3. A 0% business tax would raise 0 revenue from consumer purchases
  4.  Less disruption to price levels,  Somewhat minor, but a 0 rate would be slightly deflationary rewarding the wealthy/prior savers on purchases.  Though the business tax on consumer purchases may appear similar to a sales tax, the net price is the same as would be under current income taxes.  The cost base of goods can be modeled as being after input cost tax rebates, and so the after tax break even prices are the same under all models and tax rates.
  5. Having input credits and sales taxes allows for timing adjustments.  For instance the tax bill and deduction for investments could be applied over 2 years under the assumption that not all of it will be spent right away.  Limits on the percentage of personal (non investment return) income that is available to be deducted in any one year might apply.

Job creation policies require high business taxes
Lower taxes can motivate you to invest more of your time, but higher taxes motivate the investment of your capital/money for the simple reason that the investment provides a certain tax reduction.  This exists under existing income tax system for the most part, but exists perfectly, and is clearly obvious, under natural taxation.

In the case of time investment, the only rational consideration is the after tax expected income of a venture.  Lower tax rates reduce the incentive to hire you at all, and so there can be downward pressure on the wage offered you.  Higher tax rates reduce the importance of the wage, and the time/labour supplier can adjust their demands upwards to meet their after tax needs.

Why are pervasive lies in favour of  lower taxes perpetuated to be an economic/social benefit ?
Large successful businesses operate a profitable formula where nearly all investments are sure things that will lead to higher profits.  Tax rates don't affect whether McDonalds will open a new store.  The science of demographics and past experience, lets them confidently pursue new locations.

Large successful companies have a profit momentum from investment made 2 to 50 years ago.  Lower tax rates provide them with the opportunity to harvest profits instead of innovating and growing.  Lower tax rates also discourage upstart competitors from the risky investments that might challenge their dominance.

Companies have zero concern for general economic growth and sustainability, but politicians and demons whore themselves out to advocate for their selfishness.

Another important benefit of natural taxation is that companies obtain the natural tax avoidance process of repaying investors for a tax reduction instead of tieing up money offshore or through other avoidance schemes.  Business profits are taxed in investor hands.

Higher tax rates on a border tax system or natural taxation encourage domestic production
If it costs $100 (pretax) to make a phone in California and Alabama, and California has a 50% business tax rate, while Alabama's is 20% then:

  • After tax cost to make in California is $50.  In Alabama it is $80.
  • If the company wants to make $10 after tax on each phone, then it sells it for $60+tax from California, or $90+tax from Alabama.  
  • The California phone would sell for $120 in California or $75 in Alabama.
  • The Alabama phone would sell for $180 in California or $112.50 in Alabama.
Every company's production is advantaged by being located in the higher tax state.  There is no basis for trade disputes as each nation or state can just raise their tax rates to be more competitive.

Reasons to lower tax rates
To invite retail tourism (or discourage foreign state tourism) is a main one.  In above example people would visit Alabama to purchase their phone.  If no one would hire your population no matter how high the tax rates/incentives, then lower tax rates would lower cost of living.

The other reason to favour low taxes is to create misery and desperation so that it can be exploited for competitiveness.  Often with an export context, but also to subsidize conflict: police, prisons, and military career choice.  If Alabamans can be oppressed sufficiently to drive down the production cost (pretax) of the phone to $62.50, then it can be sold for the same price and profit in the Alabama and California markets as the California phone.

What to do with all of the tax revenue
The only valid criticism of income taxes is what they are used for.  An authoritarian deciding what's good for you.  Basic income and social dividends is the best governance organization because it allows market solutions for everything, without poverty, and including a fair labour market where participants are not coerced by starvation or healthcare into submitting to the first offer made.

Crude border tax system is close enough
It is better to replace the entire tax system than the limited border tax system which still maintains avoidance opportunities.  But border tax adjustments achieve the main benefits.  The white house's warming to this idea has focused on accusing Germany of leveraging its VAT system.  This is better than VAT as it is not separate from the income tax system.  Both have the advantage of unilateral settings, and total self reliance and responsibility for the economic results.

Payment processors as tax collectors
International/online retailing is already prominent and rapidly growing.  International adoption of this tax system will let online retailers price tax free, and payment processors including bitcoin options will simply add the tax based on the shipping address.

Natural tax allows tax rates customized to postal code
A 1 person UN department can maintain the system of tax rate updates.  Postal code individualization may be too narrow, but there is no technical or even political reason not to allow it.  Where narrowly customized tax policy makes sense is as part of a tributary tax system where sub regions contribute to larger associations

California Secession alternatives
Pissface is threatening the withholding of federal funds to California unless they form immigrant lynch mobs, and to prevent its rights to create regulation in addition to federal ones, specifically targeting its vehicle emission standards which would force Californians to burn more Oklahoma oil and cover the state in smog.

Secession is a human right.  It must be an option to participate in a democratic union, because if it is not, then there is a complete absence of democratic voice by the enslaved possessed colony.  Marriage without the option of divorce is slavery.  The United States, when formed, created the appearance of a voluntary union.

Secession does not need to be isolationist.  If in fact it is used in order to re-form a new voluntary union, then an alternative is to reform the existing union.  Polarized politics in a powerful empire with slave possessions creates a risk of fascism, but always unnecessary unhappiness.  Certainly, distinct red and blue Americas should be an alternative to forcing tolerance of opposing views.

A constitutional convention could explore a wide variety of issues that many states are open to:
  • State rights:  gun rights and abortion laws are polarising national political issues.  It is a small price to pay to let Kansas make the wrong choices in exercising their freedom if you are also allowed to exercise your own.
  • Interstate commerce and federal highway program:  is a source of unnecessary leverage over state rights (state funding is often threatened over it).  The highway system is already built.  Transferring ownership of the highways to the states, and letting them fund them.  New interstate infrastructure can be sponsored/negotiated by the affected states.
  • Tributary and border/natural tax system: A concession to poorer red states is to codify that richer states will contribute more taxes to the common union.  Ideally union contributions are spent almost entirely as a social dividend, but no matter how the federal/union surplus is spent, richer states would be contributing to union harmony where others success contributes to one's own success, though the only way for the stupid to grasp the obviousness, is through cash dividend entitlements.  Using tributary funds as a social dividend also puts upward pressure on oppressed state's wages, which simultaneously maintains rich state competitiveness and popular support/harmony for the union.
  • dissolution of the union:  The main appeal to most states would be to eliminate federal debt. obligations.  But this doesn't have to be the objective of the convention.  Rather, it can focus all stakeholders on the concerns states may have with the union.
 Even if the goal is secession or dissolution of the union, a constitutional convention where discontent states offer nazi republican states permanent freedom and subsidized support as part of decentralization initiatives is the right opening move, is constructive, and may produce tangilbe solutions that pacify secessionists, but also address the discontent that sympathises with secessionist motivation, but fears unknown change.

A constructive and concessional constitutional convention process pacifies any strong reaction against secession or federal tax non compliance, and is a path to compromise.

All immigration is economically constructive, and unless ALL of the immigrants admitted directly compete for your job, increase your employment prospects.   More people means more construction, teachers, medical, retail, and food production.  More of those jobs leads to auto and yacht production, as wealth trickles up the capitalist hierarchy.  Not all of these new jobs will go to immigrants.

That some states or societies wish to restrict immigration enriches the states and societies that won't.  There is no need to argue economics against hate if the enlightened and hateful can both get the outcomes they want.  The EU's surprising economic growth for 2015 and 2016 can be attributed to its large refugee influx.

European Union
Right wing stupidity threatens the union somewhat.  Natural taxation's international competitiveness focused based on higher taxation rather than current available manipulations to send capital/profits to lower taxes jurisidictions allows a system based on race to the top rather than race to the bottom.

Still, within the union, allowing poorer members to have a tax advantage (higher) in order to mitigate trade imbalances, and supporting union wide basic income is helpful harmonious policy.  The main reason for the EU to lead on natural taxation though is that the US is threatening trade wars.  Be proactive not reactive, EU first.... and any other slogans they use are all appropriate rhethoric.  A natural taxation approach offers a better, though similar enough, alternative to border taxation.  Since there is some necessary policy response to US action, the EU should both embrace and lead on natural taxation.

Basic income can be implemented with nationalist citizen-advantages/privileges.

Natural taxation and tribute-funded union wide basic income/dividend is  an ultra powerful and flexible policy tool that strongly promotes union membership and cohesion.  There's no longer any complaints about Brussels controlling everything, if Brussels just pays all EU citizens for being part of the union.  EU members with trade surpluses can let other members have higher taxes to help with both their fiscal problems, and trade/employment disgruntlements.

Climate change and pollution
The only possible successful action on climate change and carbon emmissions is a carbon tax.  To ensure popularity of the measure, proceeds from the tax should be distributed as dividend, and it empowers citizens to use the dividend proceeds to make better energy decisions that let them avoid the carbon tax.   A carbon dividend further mitigates other funding sources towards a basic income.

The Paris climate agreement is insufficient in that it relies on future carbon sequestration technology.  No matter how awesome that technology turns out to be, it will involve a cost (without monetizable benefit) per ton of co2 to remove, and so eventually a carbon tax will need to be diverted to equal the sequestration cost.  A dividend is useful to prime basic income, mitigate emmissions, and so buy time for technology magic to be developed.

Without a carbon tax, nationalist impulse to destroy the planet for immediate profit doesn't go away.  Denial is a human response of aligning beliefs with pocketbook interests.  A carbon tarriff has been brought up as a response to the US withdrawing form its Paris agreement commitments, and it is an appropriate response to willful subsidy for planet destruction.  Still, seriousness towards the Paris agreement goals requires carbon taxes.

Inter state harmony and happiness is not a universal goal.  Gun manufacturers thrive on misery, but more generally, destabilizing neighbour states through crime or armed government opposition, can be seen as competitive strengthening of neighbours.  This is easily done through subsidizing gun access in the target jurisdiction.

Basic income is a key policy in offering people with better life choices than engaging in gun violence, but anti-harmonious forces may still strive to disrupt your state.  Cash for guns programs are likely great investment for protecting harmony.  If the target is sure that its neighbour states are not doing a sufficient job in reducing the flow of guns in the destabilization attack, it can leverage its newly generated gun stockpile for cooperation under the implied threat of sponsoring a guns for toddlers program in their state.

The main key to interstate harmony is basic income, but alliances and treaties can replace an all powerful overlord guaranteeing safety from state sponsored conflict./aggression.   A large enough alliance is in fact equivalent to a protective dictatorial overlord, but alliance membership