View 728 Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I bought a new iPhone last week, betting that there wouldn’t be a big upgrade at the Apple Developer conference, and that seems to have worked out all right. The new Apple Mac Book Pro is a genuine improvement over the older ones, but it’s not an improvement I much need. It does have Thunderbolt, which would be useful, and it is certainly a much better machine than the Mac Book Pro I have: one of my Mac using friends says it’s the best Road Warrior machine around. Fast, vast memory, and capable of being used on the road for the kinds of things you could only do with big tower machines now – and with a terrific screen resolution. If you’re on the road a lot and doing high powered work, the new Mac Book Pro is what you need. For most of us, the Air remains the right machine to carry.
Regarding the new iPhone, I haven’t yet had time to try out Sari, the intelligent assistant. She seems daunting , and I have other stuff to learn first. Among them is scanning – it does that well, and I am now looking forward to getting the check deposit app working, which will save me so time getting stuff to the bank. Of course walking down to the bank is a useful form of exercise.
The camera on the new iPhone is wonderful, but when you’re in bright sunlight, you can’t see the screen: just point the thing where you think you want to photograph and snap away. The auto features work well enough. Inside you can see what you’re doing. I am told that some have decided they don’t need pocket cameras at all now, because the iPhone is more than good enough, but I am not convinced. The camera you have with you is the one you are going to use, and while the iPhone is always with me, it’s not really there in bright sunlight.
My ancient Sony pocket camera isn’t bad, and I can sort of see the screen in bright daylight unlike the iPhone screen. The iPhone is a much better camera, but I suspect I’ll replace the little pocket Sony with something in the under $200 class. I’m open to recommendations on that. I’ve seen some pretty good ones. I like the little flat Sony I have with its optical zoom but it is still thin enough to be in a pocket. Better would be something with a viewfinder, but I doubt there is anything like that that would work.
Anyway I’m looking forward new apps for my new iPhone.
Pictures from my new iPhone taken at the top of the hill, no shade available. Couldn’t see a thing on the camera screen, but sort of aimed it in the general direction and shot. Niven managed to get one of me that way.
It appears that the administration doesn’t know some pretty simple interconnected facts.
Government spending is taxation. It is paid for either by direct taxation (reduction of capital or income or both taken from the populace) or deficit financing. Deficit spending has to be paid for, and is almost always – we may as well say always – paid off in part by inflation. For all practical purposes, deficit financing is inflation.
Inflation is a tax on thrift, savings, and those who have annuities either as retirement funds or from direct purchase of annuities; in any event a tax on fixed incomes and savings. It can be quite drastic. In China not long after World War II there was an enormous overnight inflation that essentially wiped out the savings of everyone with money in the bank, from those with very little to multi-millionaires; it essentially ended the stake anyone had in the Nationalist government. No one had much of anything. And of course in Germany there was the hyperinflation that resulted in it being cheaper to burn banknotes for heat than to buy coal or kindling wood with it.
Any inflation is bad. As inflation approaches 10% it gets far worse. If you want less of something tax it: if you want less saving, tax it, and tax any income on savings. We’re doing that, and with deficit financing, which is inflation, we are doing a lot more although it hasn’t shown quite yet. It will.
This isn’t all that controversial. Nor are the facts on income disparity: confiscation of essentially all the top wealth won’t stop inflation. And a 10% inflation rate reduces the wealth of the poor at an extreme rate. So-called inflation adjustments to entitlements can hide that for a while, but since that too must be paid for by deficit financing it can’t go on for all that long.
We shake our heads at the plight of the PIGS, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain, but we’re not doing so well ourselves. We owe a lot of money to ourselves – “We owe it to ourselves” was the great cry designed to relieve concern about national debt back in New Deal days – but we owe a lot to others, too. That includes China.
The President is concerned that the public sector isn’t so good, because we’re laying off much needed government employees. The private sector is doing fine. We just need more revenue enhancement for the public sector. Where it will come from is one of those details we need not be concerned about. After all, the private sector is doing fine. I can pay more. It can pay its share. And we need no worry a bit about the growing national debt.
That seems to be the message we are getting from the White House.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. One way or another.
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.