Category Archives: Letters

Comments to Republicans on Wealth Inequality and Corporate Welfare

My comments in response to Republicans for Trump, critical of welfare queens, who say people need to work hard to succeed, and who say Bernie Sanders wants to give everything away for free and ruin our country. (Mostly white seniors saying this, while on Medicare, Social Security, and having grown up in a different economy that was more favorable in several key ways.)

We have the greatest wealth inequality since the 1920s and the American dream is dead for many. Look outside your bubble a little bit. I’m not saying the economy isn’t strong but it’s not working for everyone and Trump is pouring gasoline on it with $1 trillion deficit spending per year and pushing the Federal Reserve for rock-bottom interest rates. It won’t last forever.

The 52% proposed tax is fake news. Bernie has proposed this tax bracket on the portion of income above $10 million per year or $20 million if married.

If you want to look at freeloaders look at your mega-wealthy and big corporations. They make the food stamps look like scraps. Under the new Republican tax law the top 379 profitable corporations paid 11.3%, not 21%. These are just profitable corporations. Others, like Amazon for many years, keep expanding or use tricks to appear unprofitable and pay a 0% federal corporate income tax rate.

On Behavioral Bias, Framing, Status Quo Bias, the “Socialism” Bogeyman, and the USA’s Present Lack of True Capitalism

My writings to two commentators on Facebook about Behavioral Bias, Framing, Status Quo Bias, the “Socialism” Bogeyman, and the USA’s Present Lack of True Capitalism.

Richard Thripp (Me): Libertarian principles sound good as ideals but don’t hold up well with actual humans. If you live in a food desert, you’ll eat more junk food. If not for Social Security, Americans will NOT put aside huge sums of money throughout their working career for their retirement.

Commentator: I know a lot of Democrats think they know better than the average person, and you very well might. But I would recommend that you don’t publicly admit that you think you know better than the average person.

Richard Thripp (Me): This isn’t about me at all. Please read a bit about behavioral economics, nudges, and psychology and get back to me. Take a cognitive psychology course… or even a free online course or watch some videos. People are vulnerable to psychological tricks like framing effect, anchoring, and so many others. It’s why As Seen on TV ads are so effective at selling junk at huge markups. This isn’t about being arrogant or superior. Even highly educated professionals are vulnerable to these phenomena. Ignoring them or wishing them away by pretending people know best is foolish.

Commentator: Dr. Thripp, I know you wrote your dissertation on this sort of stuff, I know you are literally an expert and that is fine. I know that you’re right, you’re missing my point. It’s not that you are incorrect. I’m stating that a message that can be distilled down to “regular people are too stupid and/or can’t be trusted to take care of themselves so the government has to do it for them” isn’t going to win you any votes that weren’t already going to vote Democratic in Volusia County.

Richard Thripp (Me): I wouldn’t phrase it that way but I suppose there is danger in the Republicans phrasing it that way or critical commentators doing so? But they would do that anyway and are already doing it. I would be more optimistic in saying when we set up people to succeed, they will make great decisions. The idea is that the naysaying logic of people being able to take care of themselves can be used against Social Security too… but we have Social Security, have had it for 75 years, and it works well and is very popular.

There is also a status quo bias favoring what already is happening and disfavoring any change. For instance, corporate welfare and giveaways to the rich are happening, so we get a lot of people saying its justified and they earned it. Even Michael Bloomberg is out-of-touch… in his first debate performance he could have been magnanimous and even inserted some self-effacing humor about his $62 billion fortune but instead he argued he deserved every cent… which could literally buy 1,250 Orange Avenue bridges in Daytona Beach, 6,500 Matanzas Woods Parkway interchanges on I-95, or 310,000 houses at $200,000 each. Is that fair?

Richard Thripp (Me) to another commentator who presents socialism as a bogeyman and Millennials as having a victim mentality and being lazy:

It’s not an either/or and even small business owners like yourself are getting squeezed when big firms, super-rich people, and big corporations get too many tax breaks, lack of enforcement, lobbying to get laws their way, privilege, corporate welfare, and giveaways. You can worry about the bogeyman of socialism by the government… and then your small business is crushed by Walmart, Amazon, Zillow, or some other behemoth that was created not by free-market capitalism, but corporate crony capitalism.

Discussing Medicare for All and Wait Times

My comment discussing wait times and Medicare for All with a friend who has Canadian friends who sometimes come to the USA and pay out-of-pocket for faster treatment:

I think Medicare for All will be better for everyone overall. Some reports being put out are backed by vested interests in the present system… they will say long wait times are inevitable with M4A but I don’t agree and other reports such as this one are more fairly written.

One item mentioned is that it would help if advanced nurses had more autonomy. In Florida presently they can only work in a practice overseen by a physician although a Florida Senate Bill is trying to change this.

Of course, if we stopped treating MDs and DOs so badly in terms of how much they have to borrow to get through school and low-paid residencies working way over 40 hours per week, that would help. As a PhD student I was fully taxpayer funded… but med students must pay huge bills? We about 1.1 million doctors vs. 1.35 million lawyers in the USA. Pretty ridiculous. This will take a while to change of course.

What kind of specialists are your Canadian friends waiting for? I think overall, Canadian health outcomes are better. From an NPR All Things Considered interview:

On the issue of long wait times and physician availability

I think its critical for people to know that when Canadians are seriously sick — when the issue is urgent — they don’t wait. So this myth that people are sort of dying in the streets, waiting for care is just that — a myth. Part of the reason that we know that is because our health outcomes are good. When compared to the U.S., outcomes for a whole variety of different diagnoses — including life expectancy, including infant mortality — all of these things actually, the Canadian system delivers as good or better care on average across the population than we see in the U.S.

But you are absolutely right, when people have a non-urgent issue in Canada, sometimes they wait. Sometimes they wait, in my opinion, too long. That’s something we’re really grappling with here is trying to figure out how we’re going to deal with that.

Some articles are from biased sources. For instance, Sally Pipes and the Pacific Research Institute are not neutral sources… They endorse libertarianist principles which don’t hold up well in the face of actual data.

A note on libertarianism:: Libertarian principles sound good as ideals but don’t hold up well with actual humans. If you live in a food desert, you’ll eat more junk food. If not for Social Security, Americans will NOT put aside huge sums of money throughout their working career for their retirement.

Update on My Campaign Thus Far, February 23, 2020

A Facebook friend asked me how my campaign is going thus far and I wrote this.

I think I’m doing pretty well being that I started as an unknown last month and have no staff or volunteers. I don’t have signs and haven’t begun to canvas. It’s tough because I teach online at UCF too and have a baby, and need to learn how to canvas and also handle many other items like getting logos designed, signs and literature, et cetera, plus I’m probably going to a bit too many Democratic club meetings and events. Of course, I need to improve my fundraising skills too. I did just get a $25 monthly recurring donation from a Daytona Beach lady and have raised $305 so far plus will put in $10,440 of my own money for the ballot access fee and some other monies not to exceed $10,000.

There are no other Democratic challengers who have emerged, so as-of present I am confident I will defeat Clint Curtis in the primary and become the Democratic nominee for Florida’s 6th Congressional district. Even if I don’t defeat Michael Waltz I’ll have a large platform then to help the Democratic nominee for president (most likely Bernie Sanders). Candidates must qualify by 4/24/2020 with their payment of $10,440 or 5,479 petitions submitted by 3/23/2020, and the primary is on 8/18/2020.

On Bernie Sanders’s Tax Plan vs. France’s Failed 75% Income Tax Bracket

A brief rebuttal to Jon Hartley’s article in Forbes about France’s failed 75% income tax bracket for income above $1 million Euros per year, in respect to Bernie Sanders’s proposed tax brackets and 4% Medicare for All income tax.

Well, we’re talking about 56% as the top marginal rate under Sanders’s plan at a much higher income ($20 million and above married), plus state income tax if any… California’s top bracket is 12.3% so that’s 68.3% combined. Other states have lower or no state income tax like Florida. The author of that Forbes piece is “a Republican economic-policy adviser” who writes for National Review. He even cites experts who say the correct tax rate is 50–65% to avoid capital flight in Europe, which is much higher than present U.S. top rates, and don’t forget that the wealthy tend to have a lot of income from capital gains that they can time disbursement of at their discretion.

Of course there are some prominent New Yorkers moving to Florida purportedly to escape taxes, but these are the people whose businesses are typically mobile and allow that. California is known for high taxes yet so many wealthy individuals and corporations are still based there. Why?