[FoRK] Bar Stool Economics

Aaron Burt aaron at bavariati.org
Fri Oct 1 13:29:04 PDT 2010

(This does get less combative as it goes.)
On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 09:14:50PM -0500, Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Sep 28, 2010, at 18:49 , Aaron Burt wrote:
> > On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 08:37:19AM -0500, Jeff Bone wrote:
> >> 
> >> Take a gander at this:
> > 
> > Yes, you were shilling that one before.  Something about folks fleeing blue
> > states for red states in droves.
> First, the ATN post I was riffing off of is only a week old, and I only
> encountered it today.  New data.

Same data (IIRC), same thesis, new blog posts.  Quit squirming.

> Second, I'm pretty sure I have never couched this in terms as meaningless
> as "red" and "blue."

Both blog postings couched it as red/blue.  You said squat.  Quit squirming.

> >>  http://www.mytaxburden.org/migration/
> > 
> > Yay, actual (& allegedly accurate) data!  What does it tell us?
> > Well, when you subtract (exemptions) outflow from inflow and divide by
> > population ("%flow"), the thesis looks slightly less cut-and-dried.
> And there's the second mistake.  I would suggest you reconsider the
> dubious arithmetic you use to derive your synthetic "%flow" number.  In
> particular, perhaps you would like to think about whether the value
> yielded is something that can be meaningfully compared across states.  Is
> it a scalar?  Or, indeed, is meaningful at all?

I say it is.  Give me something better or stop squirming.

> And third, you might want to consider actually fiddling with the controls
> on the form in question.  For one thing, it DOES provide net numbers, to
> any given state for all states for any interval within the timeframe.

Yep, that's what I used.

> Also, in particular, contemplate timeframes; is 1993-2008 too broad to
> say anything about policy?

I'm working from the data and thesis espoused in the blog postings you were
expounding on and I was arguing against.  Seems like a reasonable timeframe
to evaluate policy (as opposed to shorter-term) impacts.

> If you want a meaningful comparison, you might want to look at
> state-to-state comparisons in absolute numbers, net. <snip>

That's what I did.

> Bottom line, while Texas grew by a net gain of 362,494 returns during the
> period, California shrank by 723,098.  For example.

Interesting examples, as Califoria and Texas are the 2 most populous states
in the US.  BTW, one of us is reading the inflow/outflow numbers backward.

> Those are scalars.  You can compare them meaningfully.  But even if you
> want to adjust by population for some strange reason, it's still
> meaningful.

Ah, so my numbers ARE meaningful?  Thanks!  They took whole tens of
minutes.  I still have the OpenOffice spreadsheet.

> If you really want to meaningfully compare the aggregations, you'll need
> to do some actual statistics.  You need to look at the shape of the
> distributions state-to-state, year-to-year vs. whatever timeframe you
> think is of interest.  I'm pretty sure that's out of scope, here.

One would need several things:
* A better thesis than "Them tax-and-spend Libruls are driving folks away!"
* Specific state-level policies to test, and dates they were enacted.
* A means to correct for demographic factors and immigration.
* A means to correct for state-specific businesses and their cycles.
* A good reason to re-do an analysis that nobody would pay attention to,
  since it doesn't support an ideology.  (Unless, "calm down, tax policy
  doesn't vary enough to matter in the US" counts as one.)

> > Less Planet Murdoch and more think-think,
> I wasn't aware that ATN or any of the referenced sources were Murdoch
> property.  (For that matter, my own profound disgust w/ Murdoch, Inc. is
> well-documented on-list.)

They're not Murdoch property.  They are from Planet Murdoch.  They play to
the Murdoch worldview, using Murdoch rhetoric to support Murdoch ideology.
It's a great way to drive traffic to one's site.  (Your own habit of
consuming Murdoch media and then parroting it is also well-documented
on-list.  You were a brave man to dive down the rabbit hole of Fox News,
but I don't think you've come out yet.)

> Less knee-jerk and more think-think.  And maybe a little more looky-looky
> at the webby-sitey before you run off and start figgerin'.

Yes, that would be good advice.

BTW, has Investor's Business Daily or Barron's stepped up to the plate now
that the WSJ has gone wacko?  I like FT, but it's a bit weak on US coverage.


Americans use enough plastic wrap each year to cover the entire state of
Texas, but instead squander it on their own private projects.

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