Nicholas D. Rosen's Journal|
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|Saturday, July 12th, 2014|
|Hurrah for DFW Airport
On my way to Orange County, I tried to use my iPadAir in O'Hare airport. It would have cost $4.95 or something, and I provided my credit card number, and clicked submit, but nothing happened, and I couldn't connect. Here in DFW, I can connect for free while I'm waiting for my plane.
|Wednesday, July 9th, 2014|
Having finished my account of last year's Georgist Conference, I'm gathering material at this year's conference. I'm in Newport Beach, California, to which I flew Monday.
|Sunday, July 6th, 2014|
I finished an Office Action on an amendment, and The Washington Post
printed a letter of mine (Saturday). They edited it slightly, but left my ideas intact; here's what they printed:Tax land for a stable economy
Robert J. Samuelson's June 30 op-ed column, "The business cycle, RIP?," recognized the importance of the financial cycle. The next step is to recognize that finance is secondary to the financial cycle; the tail that wags the dog is real estate, primarily land. Finance seems to boom so long as there is a speculative boom in land prices; financial crises follow when the bubble bursts and land prices fall.
Some people seem to think that we can create prosperity with a permanent boom in real estate speculation, for which they use the term "real estate recovery." A better idea would be to end the speculative boom-and-bust cycle by taxing land instead of buildings. If it became expensive to hold land on speculation, we wouldn't have speculative bubbles in the first place, and we wouldn't get crashes in collateralized debt obligations based on underwater mortgages because things would never get that far.
|Friday, July 4th, 2014|
|The Red Queen's Race
No new amendments this week, and I haven't finished dealing with any old ones, either, so I'm still at six. I do hope to finish an action on one soon.
Also, I did an Office Action earlier this week on a Continuing New case.
|Thursday, July 3rd, 2014|
|For the Fourth
Happy birthday to my country, may it finder wiser statesmen and climb out of the hole it has been digging for itself.
Happy birthday to carbonelle
, the admiral's daughter appropriately born on the Fourth of July.
|Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Forty-Five
Continuing with Lindy Davies's presentation on "Subway-Stop Taxpayer Lots in New York City," he said that there are many vacant lots or small buildings, where the assessed land values are much
lower than actual land values in the neighborhood. This is the root of sprawl, and you don't need to be a Ph.D. economist to see that there's a problem.
70% of 1.2 million parcels are single-family homes. These are assessed pretty accurately. Homeowners in the outer boroughs are paying their share; Manhattan real estate speculators are not.
Steps to sensible reform:
1. Higher tax on vacant land.
2. Shift class 1 property taxes off buildings and onto land.
3. Reform assessment of class 2 and 4 properties (large residential and commercial). (We can't tax land and only land until the assessments resemble reality.)
Lindy then referred to "In Your Face," the title of a post about a new skyscraper, "432 Park Avenue" -- that's the name of the building. A one bedroom apartment lower down costs $7 million. A god apartment higher up costs $82 million. There ninety-six storeys, and twelve foot ceilings. There's a tax break for condominiums, assessed as if rental apartments.
Lindy isn't angry about the luxury building; he's angry about the tax system.
There was discussion, and Lindy said that much of what he said and presented is publicly available information such as Geographical Information Systems.
And after this morning presentation, we had our farewell brunch, and went our separate ways.
|Tuesday, July 1st, 2014|
I don't spend all my time chasing the Red Queen, sleeping, or agitating for obscure ideas in political economy, y'know. I have recently read Multiverse
, a collection of stories set in the worlds of Poul Anderson (Greg Bear and Gardner Dozois, editors). S.M. Stirling has a Time Patrol story that feels genuinely Andersonian; Robert Silverberg has knew which doesn't, at least to my taste. C.J. Cherryh and Raymond Feist have stories showing different takes on Dominic Flandry and his descendants. Stephen Baxter has a sequel to "The Long Remembering." It's pretty grim, but then a great deal of human history and prehistory has been pretty grim.
If you're a great fan of the late Grandmaster of Science Fiction, Poul Anderson -- as I am -- then you want to see what a number of authors have done with worlds of his imagination. There are also personal reminiscences by Karen Anderson, Astrid Anderson Bear, and Jerry Pournelle. I found out from the last that I was not the only person in the world who thought Anderson worthy of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Bob Gleason at Tor sought to have him nominated, while realizing that politics made it very unlikely; still, as Pournelle writes, it would have been simple justice.
|Friday, June 27th, 2014|
|The Red Queen's Race
I got one new amendment this week, and I did an Office Action on my oldest amendment, so I'm back to six amendments in total.
I also did a first action on my oldest Regular New application, and I have started on my oldest Continuing New case.
|Thursday, June 26th, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Forty-Four
Saturday, August 10, 2013, began with an open mike session and unofficial chat. If anyone said anything worthy of note, I failed to note it.
Then Lindy Davies began his presentation on "Subway-Stop Taxpayer Lots in New York City." what is our most valuable natural resource? he asked. Oxygen or water, perhaps, but people don't usually pay much for those. They do pay plenty for urban land. Transportation is needed. The New York subway system carried 200,000 people per day before there were automobiles in the city. Some of the he highest real estate values in NY should be on street corners near subway stops.
There's 28th Street and Broadway, with a one storey structure valued at $2.9 million. The land value is $5 million. He provided other examples, such as a small building assessed at $1,725,000.
Land values are assessed way too low; buildings are assessed at implausibly high values.
McDonald's is a real estate portfolio. The franchisees flip burgers, and the corporation makes its money from real estate. Dividends are up 425% since [a year -- I think he said 2002].
To be continued.
|Tuesday, June 24th, 2014|
|Stephanie Kwolek, R.I.P.
The other day, I saw an obituary for Dr. Stephanie Kwolek, aged 90, the inventor of Kevlar. I remember learning about her because in the Patent Office complex in Crystal City, before we moved to Carlyle, there was a room named after her, with a plaque explaining the reason for her fame.
|Monday, June 23rd, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Forty-three
We had a banquet Friday evening (August 9, 2013), and I got to chatting with Lindrith Davies as we sipped drinks before the actual banquet. "Davies" is a Welsh name, of course, and Lindy is dark-haired and bearded, with what certainly could be a Welsh face, so I had assumed that "Lindrith" is an authentic Welsh name.
But no, he told me, "Lindrith" is a made-up name, and he wasn't born a Davies. Davies is his stepfather's name, which he and his mother acquired after she divorced his no-good biological father. Just one of life's little surprises.
Anyway, we feasted, and we heard a speech; awards were presented, and so forth. We conversed further -- everyone who wanted to, not just Lindy and I -- and in due course went to bed.
|Sunday, June 22nd, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Forty-Two
Continuing with the "Social Media Workshop," Jacob spoke about Google documents. People can join in, edit, or communicate. There was a dal-time demo, from several people in the room with laptops.
If Facebook isn't for you, Wikipedia is still important. You can add information, with citations, etc. Jacob Shwartz-Lucas summoned Mike Curtis, who edited the Wikipedia entry on Arden, Delaware
There was a brief guided to Google Hangouts, with video.
Video about why rent is high; it's unfinished, but an example.
And I believe that that was our last afternoon session on Friday, August 9, 2013. After that, we had a banquet in the evening.
|Friday, June 20th, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Forty-one
The next session -- still Friday, August 9, 2013 -- was our Social Media Workshop, to which people were invited to bring their laptops (I didn't have one to bring). Jacob Shwartz-Lucas spoke about Facebook. People liking and sharing things. Tagging people in pictures.
"Prezi" is like a PowerPoint presentation, but more sophisticated. Prezi is a website and platform for creating presentations.
E.g., a pictured of Karl Marx and Milton Friedman. Lindy Davies commented that this is the top of the funnel, getting people aware of the issue.
"Rent is the secret tax the wealthy charge the poor." -- Joseph Stiglitz.
There's an LVT discussion group with 547 people, and they're active.
To be continued.
|The Red Queen's Race
I got one amendment this week, and I turned in an Office Action on one of my oldest amendments, so I'm back to a total of six amendments.
I also did a first action on a Special Programs New case, and now I've started work on my oldest Regular New.
|Wednesday, June 18th, 2014|
|Freud's Last Session
I'm back from seeing Freud's Last Session
, a play depicting an imaginary meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, with World War Two breaking out in the background. They argue about whether religion is neurosis or the truth of the universe, whether suicide is a sin (Freud is dying of cancer), and related matters. If you get a chance to see the play, I recommend it.
|Monday, June 16th, 2014|
|End of the Quarter
I finished my last case of the quarter Saturday. Today, I began the first case of the new quarter. Also, the Patent and Trademark Office Society sponsored a Happy Hour at the Trademark Grill. It isn't my usual kind of thing, but I went, got a free glass of Guinness, and tried to chat with an examiness from another Technology Center over the noise. I guess I should get out of comfort zone now and again.
|Saturday, June 14th, 2014|
|The Red Queen's Race
I got one amendment this week, so now I'm up to six, since I didn't work on any amendments.
I did an Office Action on one of my Continuing New cases, and I'm working on another one. I'm not finished, but I've searched the prior art, and I know how I'm going to apply it to the inventor's claims; I've done some of the writing already. This is the final weekend of the quarter and my production for the quarter should be tolerable, if not as good as I would like.
|Thursday, June 12th, 2014|
There is an online memorial to my father at stanleyrosen.jimdo.com
. Anyone who is interested can read a bit about his life and work, and read a sample of his writing, telling of his time at the University of Chicago with Leo Strauss and other people. There are various pictures as well, including one showing me at the age of sixteen.
|Wednesday, June 11th, 2014|
|Extremism as a Variable
I remember a cartoon of Congressman Cantor as a crying baby because he wouldn't agree with Obama's plans to expand government rather than cut it. Now that he's lost a primary to someone more conservative than himself, we can expect to read laments about the good old days when we had halfway reasonable Republicans like Eric Cantor in office, instead of Tea Party lunatics like David Brat.
This isn't even getting in to questions like how the people of that district in Virginia should have voted, or what political goals ought to be, and what tactics are likely to achieve them.
|Monday, June 9th, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Forty
To continue with the discussion from "Transportation and Land Value," August 9, 2013, Rick Rybeck talked about different kinds of value capture from, for example, a lot near a subway station. One way is a development fee, where a vacant lot doesn't pay anything until it's developed, while a building pays heavily; another is land value taxation, where both lots pay the same.
Land value taxation encourages the development of high-value lots, instead of chasing development away to cheaper land.
Again, Rybeck has more at justeconomicsllc.com, clickable as http://justeconomicsllc.com
Then came a question and answer session, with further discussion.