It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Good idea 4427

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 28, 2013

It is obvious: solutions are difficult to come up with

If you put a set of rules or laws in place then 80% of cases fall easily into a law slot and cost nothing to deal with in any sense.  The other 20% take endless effort and cost to deal with.  It does not matter where you move the line.  Different entities are affected but most are no trouble the other 20% are a problem.  The only way to eliminate the cost is not to have the laws/rules…and then other problems arise also obeying the 80/20 rule.  So why bother – because we are not animals.

Human beings are very good at maximising their gain and minimising their loss.  The maximin approach.  You do not have to manage this as a government or society we all do it naturally…unless we are insane.  Of course as a government you can feed people false information and they will act against their best interest.  You can do it as a company as well and they do it all the time.

So it is that many laws and regulations can be simplified.  The cry from government is that there are a lot of cases to consider.  No there are not.  My favourite is taxation and NIC.  Why not give everyone a state pension when they are 65 or maybe 90 as we are moving towards.  Then remove NICs.  There will be other problems and certain classes will suffer.  So tell the population that NIC will be reduced by 2% a year until it is gone starting next year.  We will maximin and by the time NIC goes, the boundary will have moved and we will all have organised our affairs to stand on the right side of the boundary from our perspective.

Then we will have a society where £10,000 a year, if earnt, all goes to the person.  There is free medical care.  When you stop working money will still come in.  Sounds good to me.  We will need tax increases to keep government income up.  So add 1% to tax, or 2%, or whatever it takes.  The boundary cases will have 5 years to arrange their affairs to their best advantage.

I was dismayed that the government backed down from taking branding off cigarette packaging.  Cowardly, hypocritical, immoral.  They need more evidence.  Tosh.  It is advertising and costs so the cigarette companies would not do it unless it had a benefit.  The move will turn cigarettes into a low-cost, low margin activity.  There will be scope for more taxation without raising prices.  But a percentage of smokers will give up.  That is a price worth paying by our society.

However there is a boundary condition here.  Push prices up and at every increase some people will stop.  However some people will do something else.  They will switch to black-market cigarettes or move on to another drug.  So another approach is to make it very difficult to smoke.  Ban smoking within 10 yards of a doorway.  Ban smoking in parks.  Provide public smoking pits like loos.  Fill them full of psychological messages to encourage giving up.  Pass a law that lets cigarette companies make them but only government can package and distribute.  In the packaging factories spray the cigarettes with something that makes people who smoke them feel nauseous.  Nicotine patches are not sexy so subsidise them.  Throwing up in public is not sexy either.

It is obvious: solutions are difficult to come up with but improvements are easy.


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