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Political Math and Creative Accounting

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Amazon recently had to abandon a major construction project in New York City because of various political protests. It's a great illustration of how politicians do math.


We have to get a few basic viewpoints and then we'll look at how the math is done. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo posted an "Open Letter From New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica Regarding Amazon" on his website last week. Here are a few pieces from it.

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"In my 23 years in the State Capitol, three as Budget Director, Amazon was the single greatest economic development opportunity we have had. Amazon chose New York and Virginia after a year-long national competition with 234 cities and states vying for the 25,000-40,000 jobs. For a sense of scale, the next largest economic development project the state has completed was for approximately 1,000 jobs."

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"Incredibly, I have heard city and state elected officials who were opponents of the project claim that Amazon wa…

The Legal-Moral Matrix

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This is a simple framework that allows us to think about what is ideal and what is not in our system of laws as a society, and our actions as individuals.


We all know that what is and what should be are not the same thing. It's easy to get lost when evaluating complex things or making complex decisions. These decisions can be especially hard when it's your moral system struggling with the legal system. Both individuals and societies have this same problem. These decisions and actions can fall into one of four categories. Thinking through this may help us to understand our situation and what we should do about it.

Legal and Moral

The first is the ideal. An ideal is not always achievable. That's not even the purpose of an ideal. The purpose of an ideal is to set the direction. We want to be moving towards the right thing and having an ideal helps us to do that. Ideally, everything we do is both legal and moral.

Legal and Not Moral

We can all think of things from history that w…

Two Problems with the Current Political Spectrum

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The current idea of the left and right political spectrum aligns perfectly with Marxism. That's one problem.


During the French Revolution the politicians "for the people" sat on the left side of the assembly. The politicians for the king sat on the right side of the assembly. Thus, another bad idea was born. And, another great way for politicians to manipulate people. (Notice that both sides were horrible options.)

The key idea of Marxism is that there is a class struggle between poor people and rich people. The middle class would be considered rich in this struggle, and thus destroyed. Obviously Marx's ideas have been proven wrong. Supporters of Marxism will deny this no matter what. Marxism is more of a religious movement than anything else. It requires faith and an absence of questions. (Marxism is popular in universities, oddly enough. And, the United States meets most of the qualifications for a Communist country contained in the Communist Manifesto by Marx and …

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