• RT @isabelleboemeke: they always promise nuclear will be replaced with renewables. it never happens. indian point in NY was fully replaced…
    Binyamin Appelbaum Thu 16 Sep 2021 16:01
  • RT @DonFSchneider: FWIW here's Seth's chart again but after including SALT cap repeal (merging TPC & JCT data). Turns 200k-500k to a tax cu…
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 15 Sep 2021 21:35
  • Nice thread: Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 15 Sep 2021 21:30

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  • RT @portereduardo: More evidence that remote learning really hammered kids. Link https://t.co/gBgSPmj0Uw
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 15 Sep 2021 19:20
  • We explained in March why this change is so important. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 15 Sep 2021 17:25

    When the federal government started withholding income taxes from workers’ paychecks during World War II, the innovation was presented as a matter of fairness, a way to ensure that everyone paid. Irving Berlin wrote a song for the Treasury Department: “You see those bombers in the sky? Rockefeller helped to build them. So did I.”

    The withholding system remains the cornerstone of income taxation, effectively preventing Americans from lying about wage income. Employers submit an annual W-2 report on the wages paid to each worker, making it hard to fudge the numbers.

    But the burden of taxation is increasingly warped because the government has no comparable system for verifying income from businesses. The result is that most wage earners pay their fair share while many business owners engage in blatant fraud at public expense.

    In a remarkable 2019 analysis, the Internal Revenue Service estimated that Americans report on their taxes less than half of all income...

  • Why did @RepRichardNeal leave out such an important change that would help to ensure that rich people pay their taxes? Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 15 Sep 2021 17:20

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  • RT @clairecm: For context on this, we wrote about how the debate has not been over WHETHER mothers should work, but rather WHICH mothers sh…
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 20:34
  • How the British decoded Enigma messages during WWII is not really the point of my column today, but for those who are interested, War of Shadows, by Gershom Gorenberg, is a great read and, among other things, an accessible account of that achievement. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 20:14

    We were eavesdroppers, strangers reading stolen scraps of other people’s correspondence.

    —The History of Hut 3 (Top Secret Ultra)

    God delivers his will as visible in events, an obscure text written in a mysterious tongue. People toss off instant translations of it, hasty translations that are incorrect, full of faults, omissions and misreadings. Very few minds understand the divine tongue. The wisest, the calmest, the deepest, set about slowly deciphering it, and when they finally turn up with their text, the job has been done; there are already twenty translations in the marketplace. From each translation a party is born, and from each misreading a faction; and each party believes it has the only true text, and each faction believes it holds the light.

    —VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

  • Bitcoin purports to solve a host of problems with old-fashioned national currencies. It is designed to safeguard wealth against the depredations of inflation, public authorities and financial intermediaries. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 19:29

    It’s been a good month for Bitcoin believers. The currency of the future — or is it the future of currency? — became legal tender in El Salvador.

    Some might dismiss as a publicity stunt the embrace of a digital currency by a country where only a third of the population has internet access. Some Salvadorans took to the streets to protest. But let’s not minimize this moment. Esperanto, the language of the future, never managed to become an official language in any country.

    Bitcoin, for the uninitiated, is a technology that purports to solve a host of problems with old-fashioned national currencies. It is designed to safeguard wealth against the depredations of inflation, public authorities and financial intermediaries.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Some products become popular because they’re useful. Bitcoin is popular despite being mostly useless. Its success rests on the simple fact that the value of a Bitcoin has increased dramatically since its...

  • It is a pleasant illusion that the problems in the financial system can be solved by replacing it rather than doing the hard work of fixing it. That kind of escapism makes for entertaining chatter on the internet. National leaders should know better. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 15:04

    It’s been a good month for Bitcoin believers. The currency of the future — or is it the future of currency? — became legal tender in El Salvador.

    Some might dismiss as a publicity stunt the embrace of a digital currency by a country where only a third of the population has internet access. Some Salvadorans took to the streets to protest. But let’s not minimize this moment. Esperanto, the language of the future, never managed to become an official language in any country.

    Bitcoin, for the uninitiated, is a technology that purports to solve a host of problems with old-fashioned national currencies. It is designed to safeguard wealth against the depredations of inflation, public authorities and financial intermediaries.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Some products become popular because they’re useful. Bitcoin is popular despite being mostly useless. Its success rests on the simple fact that the value of a Bitcoin has increased dramatically since its...

  • RT @JStein_WaPo: Absolutely incredible: Census says poverty rate **fell** in 2020 ***during one of the worst labor market shocks in US hist…
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 14:18
  • I have not in fact seen The Imitation Game but I'm beginning to suspect that it may not be a completely accurate portrayal of historical events. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 14:13

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  • Boomers? Now that's a low blow. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 13:58

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  • I'll add one note for people misunderstanding the Engima/Colonial comparison. In both cases the government(s) gained access by obtaining the key. It doesn't matter how secure the code is. There's still a door and at least one person with the key.
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 13:43
  • And then 120 percent. And then 240 percent. And so on. (At any rate, I was talking about the people who try to use Bitcoin as a currency, not the speculators.) Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 13:38

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  • lol ok fair point Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Tue 14 Sep 2021 13:13

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  • RT @mattdpearce: what about the drivers
    Binyamin Appelbaum Mon 23 Aug 2021 11:18
  • In all seriousness, this is a great example of the value of politics/politicians. You don’t actually want the subject matter experts in charge of public policy. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Sun 22 Aug 2021 00:57

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  • The gig cos (Uber etc) spent $$$ convincing voters to pass special labor rules so they can stiff their employees. But those rules have now been thrown out bc they were extra-greedy and included a rule that basically said no one could ever undo what they’d done. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Sat 21 Aug 2021 03:51

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  • Wow Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Sat 21 Aug 2021 03:41

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  • RT @Noahpinion: Very interesting thread!!
    Binyamin Appelbaum Thu 19 Aug 2021 12:41
  • RT @zachdcarter: My favorite inflation sector is “musical instruments.” The price movements suggest that tons of people used the pandemic a…
    Binyamin Appelbaum Thu 19 Aug 2021 12:36
  • People Now Spend More at Amazon Than at Walmart Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 18 Aug 2021 15:30

    SEATTLE — Amazon has eclipsed Walmart to become the world’s largest retail seller outside China, according to corporate and industry data, a milestone in the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping that has changed how people buy everything from Teddy Grahams to teddy bears.

    Propelled in part by surging demand during the pandemic, people spent more than $610 billion on Amazon over the 12 months ending in June, according to Wall Street estimates compiled by the financial research firm FactSet. Walmart on Tuesday posted sales of $566 billion for the 12 months ending in July.

    Alibaba, the giant online Chinese retailer, is the world’s top seller. Neither Amazon nor Walmart is a dominant player in China.

    In racing past Walmart, Amazon has dethroned one of the most successful — and feared — companies of recent decades. Walmart perfected a thriving big-box model of retailing that squeezed every possible penny out of its costs, which drove down prices and...

  • It's not just Big Chicken. Harmful concentrations of corporate power increasingly are the norm across the U.S. economy -- especially in agriculture. "Nationally, the four largest dairy co-ops now control more than fifty per cent of the market." Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 18 Aug 2021 15:20

    In the spring of 2020, Dairy Farmers of America, the nation’s largest dairy coöperative, purchased Dean Foods, the country’s largest milk processor, for four hundred and thirty-three million dollars. D.F.A. formed in 1998, out of a merger of four regional co-ops. Last year, its members, more than twelve thousand dairy farmers, sold fifty-six billion pounds of milk, about twenty-five per cent of the nation’s total, and the organization as a whole brought in nearly eighteen billion dollars in revenue. With the acquisition of Dean, D.F.A. gained unprecedented power as both a milk supplier and buyer. Pete Hardin, the editor and publisher of the dairy trade journal The Milkweed, told me, “It’s the poster child for agricultural concentration—and what Big Ag has become.”

    For years, D.F.A. members and nonmembers alike have complained about the co-op’s growing market power. “The only reason I’m with D.F.A. is there’s no other place to go,” a dairy farmer from the Ozarks, who asked...

  • The economy is bigger than Big Tech, and harmful concentrations of corporate power are most often found in older and less glamorous industries. Link
    Binyamin Appelbaum Wed 18 Aug 2021 14:10

    President Biden wants to lead a revival of antitrust enforcement, a campaign aimed most obviously at curbing the behavior of feral tech companies.

    But Mr. Biden can’t achieve his goal of expanding fair competition in the United States solely by wrangling with Big Tech. To succeed, he’ll need to confront Big Chicken, too.

    Most chicken that Americans eat is processed by a handful of big companies because, in recent decades, the government gave its blessing to the consolidation of poultry processing, along with a wide range of other industries. The unsurprising result: In recent years, the surviving companies took advantage of their market power to prop up the price of chicken, overcharging Americans by as much as 30 percent.

    Evidence of the industry’s misconduct became so blatant — thanks in part to lawsuits filed by wholesale poultry buyers — that regulators were roused from complacency. Beginning in 2019, the government has filed a series of charges against...

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