Idea Board 2019

A Page with Great Links and Ideas I’m Percolating

Organized as Follows

City Revitalization

Policy Links and Ideas

The Upper Middle Class (Elites) vs. the Middle Class / Boomer vs. Millennial

Various articles referencing the book dream hoarders and other sources which shows how the upper middle class blocks off access to their benefits like education and white collar jobs with things like zoning laws and favorable tax breaks like the 529c.

How the suburbs have become harder to be successful in the new era of work that requires two parents working.

How the Middle class and the American Dream have been hallowed out, changed, and redefined

The idea of Fiscal Equalization Federalism where poor states are subsidized so that they can compete with richer states

A group of articles countering the articles that are stating the fact that the top 10% is locking out the rest of America and instead our focus should still be on the 1%.

Articles discussing the effect of the boomer generation on present America

Basically, that what matters is prosperity not income inequality some truth, but hard to not see the correlations

Other measures of well-being other than money


How the loss of religion has led to dissatisfaction in American life areas such as work and how it also led to “new idols” such as partisan identity, work, and wealth accumulation

Rebuke to Andrew Sullivan’s view of new idols

An article arguing that secularization led to rapid economic development and religion actually holds back some societies


How Religious Americans view the parties and issues

how polarization is affecting foreign policy and nationalism

Unique Perspectives on the Rise of Trump and American Nationalism

How Creating a Campaign based on ideas that voters can trust is essential

Obama Accomplishments


Articles on changing demographics, race, relations, segregation, etc.

The Role of Social Clubs and Gathering Places in American Society

Articles on Workism, Work for Works Sake, the Future of Work and Productivity

Tax Reform and Anti Poverty Initiatives

EITC and how it’s the best anti-poverty program

the Child Credit and how it along with other policies can completely end severe Child Poverty and severely limit Child poverty

The history of capital gains special tax treatment and how it created the 1%

Using collective bargaining to replace a universal minimum wage in some cases

Creating a progressive tax structure to pay for new programs

Articles combatting old economic principles and wisdom

Affordable Housing Reforms and Ideas on All Levels

Mixed Used Zoning light manufacturing, commercial, retail, etc.

Ending exclusive single family zoning

How Using Housing as a investment device has perpetuated numerous problems between generations

Articles exploring different ways to encourage density from rezoning to land value vs. property value taxes

Post Office Banking

How post office banking can help the poor’s lack of capital problem

Social Security Reform

How increasing social security benefits by raising the payroll tax significantly hurts other tax revenue.

Split Social Security to a  universal payment at the poverty level and a savings account.

I like the universal benefit. But I would base the size of the benefit on time worked. And divide the entire size of the taxes revenue by the number of beneficiaries and make that the payment amount. The tax could be mandated high enough that it was at least at the poverty line, but from there there would be fights over how many benefits people deserved. This directly ties the productivity of the younger generation to the benefits of the older and gives them incentives to help them grow. Also paying there would need to be a way to slowly pay out the savings built by the trust over time.

Minimum Wage, Safety Net, Actual Spending

Places with Higher Minimum Wages

Article about who actually earns less than $15/hour

Stats on median and average wages over time

How people from different income groups spend money

How the government spends money

How safety net programs help people stay out of poverty

How Collective Bargaining should be able to override a universal minimum wage

Dramatic Solutions (job guarantee, universal basic income, social wealth funds, etc.)

Food Stamps / SNAP

Articles on how to make SNAP healthier

Medicare, Health Insurance, and Health Costs in General

Ways in which Medicare could save money

Why Medicare advantage works and could be a good basis for expanding the system

Direct Primary Care and Why it Saves Money

Why US doctors get paid way more here than anywhere else; it’s a cartel

Speculation tax, foreign tax, mansion, pied-a-terre taxes

These taxes are all means to control excessive home buying of second third fourth homes for the speculators and the rich .A big complaint of the pied a tire tax is that all these taxes will make them simply get a hotel room, which is the point to not buy houses and leave them vacant.

Articles about how these taxes are meant to reel in foreign investments in local real estate markets

Higher Highest income Tax Rates, Wealth Taxes, Etc.

Wealth Tax

These arguments say that the wealth tax is untenable, but its objectives could be accomplished by fixing the income tax.

    • -Make capital gains and dividends the same as normal income
    • -Repeal stepped up basis and tax unrealized capital gains at death
    • -But the third removal of deferral benefits, basically waiting to sell capital gains of assets until later allows a lower taxable basis, because of time value of money getting rid of that and taxing at the sale with interest on the basis of even appreciation

I tend to agree with the arguments that fixing our current income and capital gains tax is all that is needed. I’ve argued for it several times; however, I like the idea of a wealth tax that constantly tracks wealth and claws it back continuously rather just at death or during capital sales. Though, the way the TIME article sought to claw back deferrals is genius and I’d support it in any way.

Small vs. Big Business – Monopoly, Patents, Antitrust, Stock Buybacks, Debt Deductibility, Dividends

Articles that argue that big business as the primary employer is actually more innovative than small  business and the advantages small businesses get are inefficient.         

Article about how businesses have been consolidating and using their money not on R&D but on buying patents and other companies to eliminate competition not grow, and of course stock buybacks

An article defending stock buybacks

Articles on how monopoly power in the Us is holding back the economy

Opinion piece on how FDR used a public option to give Americans a variety of options in power, health, retirement, as an alternative to the private providers

Public Options for Internet and other stuff

How debt being tax deductible for corporations and peoples houses is very bad

How the new tech companies are a new type of monopoly that requires different handling

How the government funds big vs. small business

VCs and other means of starting start-ups and businesses


Purpose of Public Education

Why Tech Solutions Don’t Work (hint: Poor Children need money)

Why college costs so much

Open Syllabus to consolidate knowledge

Curriculum Debates and New Ways to Test Teachers

Tech in Education

Free or Reduced Cost College Plans

Arguments against public education, mostly high school and above when people could be doing productive things instead of school. Makes the case for allowing different types of school to be paid for other than college or even junior and senior year

I’d argue that we need less standardized testing and use it to set baselines. And make sure students are improving according to their baselines and not the universal one. This allows teachers to focus on areas students are weak and improve those rather than trying to make a one size fits all teaching method.

Act to expand public service loan forgiveness program

Mandatory Public Service or Public Service in Exchange

Articles supporting public service either mandatory and some in exchange for free college

Articles against mandatory service

Modern Justice

Articles on Mass Incarcerations

Articles that discuss criminal justice reform

Cap Maximum Sentences: Articles on jail as punishment vs. rehabilitation.

Articles on Drug Legalization

Articles about reforming or even abolishing bail

China and Foreign Policy

How China’s One Belt One Road Initiative is changing the world order

Africa the New Front for Us competition with China

Articles on the effect of the Trade War With China

Why China can’t control the rare Earth metal trade

Manufacturing and Trade

How the trade imbalance increases inequality, costs American jobs, and strengthens China

How much does the US manufacture and how many people does that employ

Other Foreign Policy

      Parliamentary Democracy vs. Constitutional

America as a Superpower

Trump foreign policy

Obama Foreign Policy

The immigration debate and how it affects foreign policy

How democrats embracing immigiration and diversity instead of celebrating what America is, is bad politics.


Liberal International Order, Pax America, and other Foreign Policy Agendas

How we have tried to make small Modular Ships for cheaper deployment and China has succeeded where we fail

Climate Change Policies by Cities, States, and Proposals from Candidates

American Infrastructure

Water Infrastructure Failures: Sewage


  • Melting Pot or Civil War?
  • Dream Hoarders
  • The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class
  • The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream
  • The first 20 hours how to learn anything fast

Reihan Salam

Writes about many of the same things I think about

How dems have become the party of the upper middle class who supports policies on the surface that help the poor but are at odds because the upper middle class doesn’t want to pay for them

An article on how the republicans can capitalize on the fact democrats have been courting upper class elites

Honestly a great idea that can aid border security and reduce massive rising cost.

Does China really use powerful elites to subjugate the poor? What about their middle class. Though it does bear mentioning their active crushing of dissent could be. Interesting though boosting their consumption would reduce their exports and increase their imports all good things for everyone but those who use lower to middle Chinese labor.

Engineering, Construction, City Planning, Sustainable Agriculture, and Other Science Ideas and Links

Modular Construction / Retrofits

How smart cities are using modular construction to build houses

Wood Based Construction

Food Forrest, Urban Gardens, Regenerative Agriculture

An argument countering the assertation beef isn’t efficient on a calorie or protein basis

A regenerative agriculture company wants to set up a carbon market to incentivize the transition to regenerative agriculture.

Vegetarianism vs. eating meat; depends on how sustainable the system is

An article and visualization about American land use

Solar Panels help Growth of Plants

Green New Deal and Regenerative Agriculture

What is Regenerative Agriculture and Who Started It

Smart City / Neighborhood

Designing a City

Grid and Superblock System

A plan to deal with the urban blight caused by hypervacanacy. This is an interesting idea to give home ownership to people and deal with vacant properties, but unless those people have some source of income via a job or a government safety net it doesn’t really address the root cause.

City Land Use

Zoning (or No Zoning) Laws

Ebikes and other commutes


Also put most cars in parking garages and severely limit the number of parking spaces for businesses

Parking Lots Current Use and Future Changes

How small towns can use density to help their economies.

Density of American cities

A Different way of measuring density

A different way to encourage density without mandating it

How Barcelona designer Cerda created urbanism and the ideal city

Row Houses / Walkable Cities

We have a model on how energy and water can be optimal in a neighborhood. Now need a model on how transportation and housing costs can go down in a community. Also a model showing how to maximize access to food and other services while minimizing cost. Look into idea of most roads being converted into car excluded zones dominated by PEVs. There are narrow car alleys and avenues around these blocks but inside the blocks PEV and walking “streets”

New Technology

Public Transit Options

Self Driving Cars effects on traffic and the environment


Data, ORIE, and Related Disciplines Skills and Resources

Classic Data Visualizations

Programming Learning

               My notebook pages

               R data visualization packages for different things

               Faceting in ggplot

               All the graphics in R

               How to animate R graphics

               Interactive R Documents (R Notebooks, Knittr, etc.)

               R for Science

               R with Optimization

               R in Parallel Computing and the Apply Family

               R fancy dataframes

               R with GIS

               AI, Neural Net, Reinforcement Learning, K-Means Etc.

               Getting started for Power BI

               Python Resources

Operations Research and Industrial Engineering (ORIE)

       Markov Chains and Stochasic Processes

         Probability and Statistics

          Computer Science


Combinatorial Optimization

Power Generation and Transmission

Construction Engineering and Project Management in CE

Urban Systems Engineering

Project Management

Building Information Modeling for Capital Projects

Writing and Storytelling

My Idea on Special Economic Zones

Use Special Economic Zones to promote American ideals, laws, and customs. They can improve our trade relation, foster innovation and development in other countries, and project strength in a more modern way

Rules and Goals

  • 20 – 25 year lease
  • No foreign ownership, but must be bought out at fair price that is confirmed with 3rd party auditors (de-facto foreign ownership)
  • Low business state tax (5%) for income above $5 million, 0% for under $5 million
  • Low property tax (1-2%) until lease is over and then the it is capped at 5%
  • Low VAT or GST tax (2-4%) on most good excluding food, medicine, public transport, etc.
  • Run by best labor and business laws
    • Small minimum wage
    • Have to have work contract if work for 200 hours for an employer
    • Set overtime wage
    • Patent Protections
  • Limit Criminality only to theft and violence, civil penalties for other infractions
  • Set up excluded Vice zones for gambling, prostitution, drugs, etc.
  • Export homeless to outside the zone
  • Low taxes fund public transportation, education, and basic city services
  • Has education system that promotes free thinking and global skills
  • Voting stations for the citizens who keep their original home are heavily encouraged
  • Votes are counted and verified by numerous third parties to ensure fair elections
  • Secured by US military
  • Free travel across border to home country
  • Extend infrastructure for ports and airports to receive trade goods
  • Extend infrastructure to connect the major cities of a country or region with the SEZ

Establish trade routes with developing countries that ship goods to a secure port and then a supply chain to take it inside the country.

US Patrol major trade routes

Vice Area

  • Includes sex workers, gambling, and illicit drugs.
  • Can only use their services with certain chips that you have to buy at a government kiosk
    • In order to get chips you must have a valid ID and be 21 years or older
    • There is a 20% tax on the chips so if you want $20 worth you have to pay $25
    • Only come in denominations of $5, $20, $100, and $1,000
    • You can only buy $2,000 / day most days and $20,000 / day in special cases; limit $50,000 / month
    • Can get waivers for high stakes poker or other expensive services
    • Only licensed establishments can redeem the chips for cash
    • 10% tax for establishments to turn chips back into money
  • Police, EMS, and medical clinic are on site
    • Cheap STD testing that could be used to get discounts on certain services
    • Also counseling on site
  • Sex Workers
    • Must urine test before and after work
    • Blood test weekly
    • The house takes a cut off the top, but cannot charge unless a worker money (i.e. no rent)
    • Encourage clients to put all their possessions including clothes in a locker, clean before, and wear a robe (which they can keep)
    • A menu of services is provided before hand and services are paid before
    • Can have a waiting room where you can drink (beer only no liquor license) might want to charge a fee for entry (house money only)
    • Condoms are strongly encouraged, but if a client shows he is clean other arrangements can be had
    • Can also let researchers do anonymous surveys to get information
  • Drug Dens
    • All drugs are legal in a den
    • Encourage clients to put all their possessions including clothes in a locker, clean before, and wear a robe (which they can keep)
    • Discourage the use of needle drugs, but mandatory clean needles
    • Every client BP, pulse, and other vitals must be taken before and after service
    • Certain drugs whose effects and recommended doses are known can be labeled as such
    • Drugs whose effects and dosage are less known are explicitly labeled as such
    • Clients are informed that they are assuming most risk for their usage
    • If a client has a medical problem that requires hospitalization arise on site or within 30 minutes of patronage, the den will pay a fine and for that client’s medical fees
    • All medical problems must be reported, but problems that don’t require hospitalization are not punished by a fine
    • If a medical problem arises after that 30 minute period the den is free and clear
    • Can also let researchers, research all sorts of things
  • Gambling
    • Pretty straightforward, basically just the Vegas model
    • Trade in the government chips for the casino chips
    • Pay out clients with checks or electronic forms only no cash
    • Have to get special permission for clients who want to spend more than 20 grand in a day or 50 grand in a month.

Proper Implementation of Green New Deal Type Investment

These ideas implement the investment that is needed in a cost-effective manner and in way that is fair to both urban and rural areas and fair for those who live in rich or poor States. It also seeks to improve educational outlooks and opportunities in new fields for every public high school in the country. Focusing on high schools also means that every community in America also gets to benefit from these infrastructural investments since every community has a high school.

Investing in All US Counties

$100 million to each country (prorated for counties with small populations maybe at least 25k people) whose (~3000 counties , $300 billion over 10 years, 30 billion a year)


  1. improve density in the urban core and near transit centers (e.g. stop single family zoning in the city center or near major transit stops, or have a minimum land tax to reduce speculation)
  2. Create infrastructure for alternative transportation (i.e. bike lanes and bike highways)
  3. Have the schools representative of the populous (i.e. have to be within 5% of actual city demographics).
  4. Improve energy profile either through efficiency standards (buildings, cars, etc.) and/or by getting more of your electricity from clean sources

Rural Towns:

  1. Encourage sustainable farming
  2. Regenerative agriculture, and/or
  3. Integration of energy tech alongside farming

Have State representatives who coordinate if the counties are implementing policies towards the right goals . Can only give a max of $25 million in a year so it takes at least 4 years to get the max and the program only runs for 10.

All US Public Secondary School Investment

$10 million to all public secondary schools to the following things (~24,000 secondary schools, $240 billion over 10 years, $24 billion a year)


  1. Create a microgrid to power their school and maybe some of the surrounding area powered by renewables: solar, wind, geothermal, etc.


  • Have some form of water recycling or rainwater harvesting that can be used for irrigation or actual potable uses.


  • Have some type of urban food garden or simply a garden.


  • Create a 4G LTE tower in order to broadcast internet to the school and surrounding area

Manufacturing and Tech:

  • Invest in some form of additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) and have computer kits for learning to code and have projects (i.e. Raspberry Pi)


  • Create bike roads that connect the high school to the surrounding area.

Secondary school is a broad term, but the main focus is on high school. For schools with low populace can incorporate their feeder schools (elementary and middle school) in the same funding. Want high schools so that you teach these skills of the future and improve infrastructural development in all communities. Same system with a state rep that sees the progress of the high schools and can only give a max of $2.5 million a year.

The elimination of single-family zoning in important city areas

City Revitalization

Revitalize sprawled cities, or historical city downtown with a certain number of houses and a certain number of large employers. E.g. San Antonio, put 20 skyscrapers 500 units down town (10,000 units) and 50,000 units of houses or apartments within 2 miles of down town. For a total of 120-180k people. Have large employers have around 30,000 jobs downtown serving about half the households. Loosen up zoning laws to allow other employers to make up the rest. Maybe restrict businesses in houses to M-F 9-5 only.

Build strong neighborhood communities. Build 10,000 units houses or apartments (about 40,000 people in neighborhoods) Have a large grocery/general store (HEB) with a bank and a few other shops for clothes and other stuff. Have an urgent care and a clinic. Decent sized office building, home depot like store for home stuff, top of the line primary and secondary schools, a community college, a large park with a library and community center in the middle. Have electric buses that run grid wise and give access to all of these major features.  The office building, high school and community college are the ‘large employers’ and should employ about 4,000 (40%) households. For the rest of the people commuting there should be direct routes to downtown and any other major employment area nearby.

AISD employs about 10,000 people for 80,000 students. If we use a 1:20 teacher to student ration and a 1:10 employee to student ratio. Assuming 2 kids per household. That’s 20,000 kids, 1,000 teachers, 1,000 support staff. So just the schools should give about half the workers. Add another 100 in government jobs for librarians, parks, bus drivers, utilities, police, fireman, etc.. The urgent care should employ about 200 and the clinic should employ another 200.  Another 500 for the community college. So the grocery/general store, bank, home depot, office, restaurants, other shops and businesses should come up with the remaining 1,000 jobs or more. The rest of the people can commute or run ancillary businesses.

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