Monthly Archive for December, 2017

The Tax Bill

Compared to an ideal tax code, it’s awful.

Compared to the pre-existing tax code, it’s a vast improvement.

Compared to my expectations going in, it’s a pleasant surprise. It required some real political courage to pass this thing, and political courage always surprises me. There’s also a lot of good sense in it, which sometimes surprises me even more.

Compared to what I suspect we could have had, if only that same good sense and political courage had been harnessed by a president who was capable of understanding the bill’s content, participating in its formulation, and selling it to the public, it’s something of a disappointment.

Scott Sumner does a superb job of summarizing the good, the bad and the neutral. Instead of quoting him extensively, I’ll (strongly) encourage you to go read the original. A few additional remarks:

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Matters of Money

I have some questions about how money works.

I’ll start by talking about Bitcoin, though my questions are more general than that.

As you are probably aware, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that is currently trading for US Dollars at the rate of (depending on the exact moment when you’re reading this) somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 per Bitcoin.

As you are somewhat less likely to be aware, Bitcoin Cash is another cryptocurrency that is currently trading for US dollars at the rate of something less than $2000 per Bitcoin Cash token. Despite the similar name, Bitcoin Cash is (now) entirely separate from Bitcoin. It originated in a “hard fork”, where each holder of Bitcoin was given an equal amount of Bitcoin Cash for free (so if you were holding, say 50 Bitcoins, you got 50 Bitcoin Cash tokens). After the fork, the two currencies have evolved, and will continue to evolve, separately.

The technology of Bitcoin Cash is very similar to the technology of Bitcoin. It offers the same sorts of anonymity, security, and so forth. There are some reasons to believe that in the future, Bitcoin Cash will be a bit easier to trade than Bitcoin (though that is not true in the present), and there are some other technological differences between them, but I’d be surprised to learn that those differences are accounting for any substantial fraction of the price differential.

The total supplies of Bitcoins and of Bitcoin Cash are currently about equal (because of the way that Bitcoin Cash originated). In each case, the supply will gradually grow to 21 million and then stop.

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