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Defined benefit pension schemes like Social Security are grotesquely racist and sexist, because of life expectancy differences between demographic groups.

African American males have a life expectancy of about 73 years, while Asian American females can expect to live 89 years. The percentage difference between those numbers may not seem that large, but it means that the latter group gets 24 years of pension payouts (assuming a retirement age of 65), while the former gets only 8, a 3x difference. So if you look at a black man and an Asian woman who have the exact same career trajectory, SS pay-ins, and retirement date, the latter will receive a 3x greater benefit than the former.

Another way of seeing this fact is to imagine what would happen if SSA kept separate accounting buckets for each group. Since the life expectancy for black men is much lower, they will receive a significant benefit (either lower payments or higher payouts) from the creation of this barrier.

Defined-benefit schemes add insult to injury. The injury is that some groups have shorter lives. The insult is that the government forces them to subsidize the retirement of longer-lived groups.

In general, anytime you see a hardcoded age-of-retirement number in the tax system or entitlement system, the underlying ethics is questionable. Medicare kicks in at 65, which means that some groups get a much greater duration of government-supported healthcare.

Judging by the hammering that Meta's stock has taken over the last 5 years, the market really disagrees with you.

Here's an argument against radical VR transformation in the near term: some significant proportion of people have a strong anti-VR aversion. But the benefit of VR for meetings has strong network effects: if you have 6 friends you want to meet with, but 2 out of the 6 hates VR, that's going to derail the benefit of VR for the whole group.

The situation is not ‘handled.’ Elites have lost all credibility.

I think it's worth caveating this that not all elites have lost credibility. Elites in places like Singapore, Switzerland, and Finland have a lot of credibility.

Two possibilities:

  • The company figured out that men consume less health care than women, and adjusted their salaries to account for it
  • The company has a defined-benefit pension plan, and realized that this costs more to provide to women because women live longer. So they adjusted salaries to account for the difference in costs

I don't buy the housing cost / homelessness causation. There are many poor cities in the US that have both low housing costs and high homelessness. This page mentions Turlock, CA, Stockton, CA, and Springfield, MA as among the top 15 places with the highest homelessness rates; a quick Zillow search indicates they all have a fair bit of cheap housing.

The relationship between homelessness and state-wide housing costs is probably caused by a latent variable: degree of urbanization. Cities are both more expensive and have more homelessness, and states vary widely along the urban/rural dimension.

You also missed a strong countervailing factor which would tend to reduce SF's homelessness: demographics. SF is has fewer blacks than the nation as a whole, and blacks are more likely to be homeless. SF is also disproportionately Asian, and Asians are much less likely to be homeless.

I think SF's homelessness problem is caused by a very simple reason: SF is a relatively pleasant place to be a street person. This is partially because of the weather, as you mentioned, but also because the city is quite tolerant of the homeless population and has a lot of services for them.

Copied from a previous comment on Hacker News

I wish you well and I hope you win (ed, here I mean I hope the proposal is approved)

I am pessimistic though. I don't think people really understand how much current homeowners do not want additional housing to be built. It makes sense if you consider that the net worth of a typical homeowner is very substantially made up of a highly leveraged long position in real estate. If that position goes south - because of an increase in housing supply, or because of undesirable new people moving into the neighborhood - the homeowner's net worth could be decimated.

Now, most people will not come out and say directly that they are opposed to new housing for the obvious economic reason, because they don't want to seem selfish and greedy and maybe racist. So they have to find a socially acceptable cover story to oppose new housing - environmentalism, concerns about safety, etc etc.

Answer by DanBJan 10, 2022-1

End Social Security and Other Defined-Benefit Pension Schemes They are intrinsically racist and sexist.

Consider two people, Alice and Bob. Alice is an Asian-American female, while Bob is an African-American male. From the point of view of Social Security, they are identical in every respect: they are the same age, they make the same contributions of the same amount on the same date, and retire at the same time. For the sake of argument, suppose they begin taking SS payments at age 70.

Given that Alice and Bob have made exactly equivalent contributions to the system, you would expect their payout to be roughly comparable. This is not even close to being the case, because of differences in life expectancy between different demographic groups. Asian-American life expectancy is 86.3 years, while for African-Americans, it is 75.0 (source) Furthermore, women enjoy about a 4 year life expectancy advantage over men. So Alice can expect to live to about 88 years, while Bob can only expect to live to about 73. That means Alice receives a 6x greater benefit from SS than Bob - 18 years of payments vs 3 years, in expectation - even though they contributed the exact same amounts.

Having a budget where initial creation is essentially free (fun!) while maintenance is extremely expensive (drugery!) is a dramatic exaggeration for most software development.

My feeling is that most software development has exactly the same cost parameters; the difference is just that BigTech companies have so much money they are capable of paying thousands of engineers handsome salaries, to do the endless drudgery required to keep the tech stacks working.

The SQLite devs pledge to support the product until 2050.

Thanks for the positive feedback and interesting scenario. I'd never heard of Birobidzhan.

Thanks for the tip about Kusto - it actually does look quite nice.

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