I’m back with new ideas and the methods to explore them. I have a paper on Shared Autonomous Vehicles (SAVs) in the works, gained experience in stochastic and optimization modeling, and learned to work with Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs).
IAMs can be used to model climate change, economic policy, and even energy systems. They will help in the exploration of the ideas below.
The ideal city design, coming soon as a first an optimization model then hopefully a stochastic or discrete choice model. Where the water and sewer pipes, power and telecom distribution, and the streets are all integrated with each other to reduce capital costs, but mainly to form the smart infrastructure basis of a dynamic smart city.
A card, similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus Card, every citizen of a city gets to ride the public transportation and pay their water, sewer, electric, and internet bills. Furthermore, the city would preload it with a certain amount of gallons, kWh, and GB, ideally close to national averages per capita, for free, paid for with taxes, provided that the pass is registered to housing inside the city.
This would ensure all citizens have the basics, the city has an extremely accurate picture of the housing environment and the demand for services, and give utility providers a solid picture of the demand for their products. I plan to examine it with a simple cost-benefit analysis.
Teaching apps and Google Classroom are slowly bringing education into the 21st century, but it isn’t very streamlined. Just about every subject or lesson has an electronic resource that teaches it in a creative way. Being able to assign these tasks to students as homework, assess how each student did, identify weak areas, and translate that into a new lesson with its own electronic resources would be extraordinary. That would reduce grading time for teachers, allow them to target specific areas, and personalize help for each student.
There are currently two problems not every app is streamlined for a teacher to get that data and its hard to connect a specific lesson to a corresponding relevant resource. Attacking these two problems and filling in any other gaps would help teachers, but most importantly students to learn on their own; furthermore, foreign students could learn in their own language (its easy to translate electronic resources to any language) while they adapt to a new environment. Using teacher’s time as the objective to minimize I can run an optimization model or use decision analysis to analyze the outcomes.
Medical Insurance Insights from the Singapore Model
United States’s medical insurance needs to increase incentives for reducing cost. Allow insurance only to be used for expenses over $10,000, but still provide the ObamaCare basics (free yearly screening, birth control, etc.) while having a mandatory medical savings account which starts with at least $3,000 every year.
Nurses Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Pharmacists should to be allowed to give primary care and prescription drugs would need to be allowed to be purchased abroad to provide more competition, but giving the patients the ability to shop around for basic medical needs should reduce costs. Using cost as the objective to minimize I can run an optimization model or use decision analysis to analyze the outcomes.
Create New Professional Associations and Weaken Old Ones
Unions are weakening, but professional associations have exploded in power. Leisure and Hospitality (restaurants, bars, hotels, etc.) and Retail Trade have the high concentrations of low wage workers, are nearly impossible to outsource, and constitute 2 of the top 3 industries by number employees in the US (health care services being the other). Having associations for these two industries that could coordinate basic training, maintain a database of skills, manage retirement and healthcare plans, and negotiate wages collectively would be a huge boon for a large contingent of America’s workers and employers.
On the other hand the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association need to have their power reduced. They no longer should be able to artificially limit the supply of their professionals or influence the price of their services either directly or indirectly. This is a bit harder to analyze the effects, but I could use decision analysis to determine if it is worth the risk.
Reduce Business Regulations to Limit Monopolies and Oligopolies
Exempting businesses, under an amount like $2 million, from most licenses or regulations, but not from liability, would allow small business to thrive. Monopoly enforcement has fallen off a cliff due to the nature of the new monopolies, but there is a simple solution: a tax. If one company has over 75% market share tax it an additional non-deducible 10%, if two companies have over 95% market share tax them both 10%.
If a market is stagnant exempt new businesses from regulations except safety and environmental ones for a certain period of time. Companies shouldn’t charge more to adjust to the tax due to the fear of losing market share so a stochastic model can show how the tax would encourage competition.
The new tax bill addressed profit offshoring by introducing a territorial system; this makes sense. However, whether you agree with the rate, the problem of what can be deducted remains. The biggest deduction, corporate debt, simply shouldn’t be allowed; it promotes excessive subsided borrowing.
Massive stock buybacks and dividend programs also should be banned. Limiting buybacks and dividends to 25% of a company’s yearly profit similar to how it was before Reagan is an easy fix.
Furthermore a simple cap of the value of tax deductions should be set, if something is integral to a business it should be labeled an expense. Using decision analysis I can analyze the outcomes and determine if the benefits are worth the risks.
Due to the nature of politics the US Tax Code is exceedingly complex, but simple changes would go a long way. Adding a millionaire tax of 45% for $1-5 million, 55% for $5-10 million, and 65% for anything above $10 million would help.
However, the biggest problem is determining what is taxable. Capital Gains above $50,000 in a given year, which requires nearly $500,000 in assets to produce, should be taxed normally and include FICA taxes. Tax deductions such as the mortgage interest deduction, state taxes, 401k, IRA, 529c, etc should have a combined cap of $25,000 or so per year.
If you are can deduct over $25,000 per year then you make enough money to pay the taxes. Capping how much people deduct from their taxes is simple and doesn’t require any repealing of popular deductions. Using decision analysis I can analyze the outcomes and determine if the benefits are worth the risks.
Reform Copyright and Patents
The purpose of patents and copyrights was to encourage innovation by providing a financial incentive to create new ideas. That has been lost as now they are a form of rent seeking. Patents and Copyrights probably can be eliminated all together, but should be at least reduced to 4 years. Any infringement that results in less than $100,000 and $10,000 in revenue, determined by the market price and number of customers for patents and copyright respectively can be ignored.
All patent and copyright holders should be forced to license their technology (for a reasonable price) to any company that wants to use it; however, any deals worth $1 million or more the patent holder has a legal right to bid on. Using decision analysis I can analyze the outcomes and determine if the benefits are worth the risks.