An experiment in redividing the country
The eastern United States is like medieval Europe.
Thasos is at the vanguard of companies trying to help traders get ahead of stock moves like that using so-called alternative data. Such suppliers might examine mine slag heaps from outer space, analyze credit-card spending data or sort through construction permits. Thasos’s specialty is spewing out of your smartphone... Thasos gets data from about 1,000 apps, many of which need to know a phone’s location to be effective, like those providing weather forecasts, driving directions or the whereabouts of the nearest ATM. Smartphone users, wittingly or not, share their location when they use such apps... Before Thasos gets the data, suppliers scrub it of personally identifiable information, Mr. Skibiski said. It is just time-stamped strings of longitude and latitude. But with more than 100 million phones providing such coordinates, Thasos says it can paint detailed pictures of the ebb and flow of people, and thus their money... Thasos says it can count the phone-carrying shoppers who ditch their regular grocers when a new Whole Foods opens, or gauge drilling activity by sizing up the crowds at oil-patch bars. By identifying the census block where each phone spends the night, Thasos algorithms estimate how far customers travel to malls and shoppers’ incomes... Thasos won’t name its clients, but Mr. Skibiski says it sells data to dozens of hedge funds, some of which pay more than $1 million a year... This month, Thasos is set to start offering data through Bloomberg terminals. A measure of mall foot traffic will be widely available.. Mr. Skibiski and scientists at Sense studied movements of prepaid phones, looking for users who arrived at the airport on Monday mornings for business flights or dined in expensive restaurants... Census data is the model, Mr. Pentland said—detailed enough to have value, but not so detailed that individuals can be identified… In September, as Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolina coast Thasos watched evacuation zones and found that in well-to-do census blocks, 65% of the people fled, while only 39% left poor areas. Such information could inform disaster response or infrastructure spending, yet it might also have commercial value. “You might look at that and say, ‘Gosh, I could price insurance differently,’ ” Mr. Pentland said.
the top quintile of earners—those making more than roughly $112,000 a year—have been big beneficiaries of the country’s growth. To make matters worse, this group of Americans engages in a variety of practices that don’t just help their families, but harm the other 80 percent of Americans.
.. if we are serious about narrowing the gap between ‘the rich’ and everybody else, we need a broader conception of what it means to be rich.
the upper-middle class has pulled away from the middle class and the poor on five dimensions:
- income and wealth,
- educational attainment,
- family structure,
- geography, and
- health and longevity
.. They dominate the country’s top colleges, sequester themselves in wealthy neighborhoods with excellent public schools and public services, and enjoy healthy bodies and long lives.
They then pass those advantages onto their children, with parents placing a “glass floor” under their kids.
- They ensure they grow up in nice zip codes,
- provide social connections that make a difference when entering the labor force,
- help with internships,
- aid with tuition and home-buying, and
- schmooze with college admissions officers.
All the while, they support policies and practices that protect their economic position and prevent poorer kids from climbing the income ladder:
- legacy admissions,
- the preferential tax treatment of investment income,
- 529 college savings plans,
- exclusionary zoning,
- occupational licensing, and
- restrictions on the immigration of white-collar professionals.
.. As a result, America is becoming a class-based society, more like fin-de-siècle England than most would care to admit, Reeves argues. Higher income kids stay up at the sticky top of the income distribution. Lower income kids stay down at the bottom. The one percent have well and truly trounced the 99 percent, but the 20 percent have done their part to immiserate the 80 percent, as well
Reeves offers a host of policy changes that might make a considerable difference:
- better access to contraception,
- increasing building in cities and suburbs,
- barring legacy admissions to colleges,
- curbing tax expenditures that benefit families with big homes and capital gains.
.. Expanding opportunity and improving fairness would require the upper-middle class to vote for higher taxes, to let others move in, and to share in the wealth.
.. Prying Harvard admission letters and the mortgage interest deductions out of the hands of bureaucrats in Bethesda, sales executives in Minnetonka, and lawyers in Louisville is not going to be easy.
Highly educated professionals tend to lean Democratic, even though Republican tax policies would probably leave more money in their pockets.
Why do people vote against their economic interests?
.. “Partisan identification is bigger than anything the party does,”
.. it stems from something much more fundamental: people’s idea of who they are.
.. “It more or less boils down to how you see the conflicts in American society, and which groups you see as representing you,”
.. “That often means race, and religion, and ethnicity — those are the social groups that underlie party identification.”
.. That often leads people to say that they are independent, she said, but in fact most voters consistently lean toward one of the parties.
.. “Older voters who scored high on racial resentment were much more likely to switch from Obama to Trump,”
.. She believes that he successfully made a pitch to what she calls “white male identity politics,” convincing older, less-educated white voters that he would represent their interests.
.. Economic status, it turns out, is not so important in partisanship.
.. Mr. Trump was able to win the G.O.P. nomination even though he broke with Republican ideology on economic matters like trade protectionism. His arguments played to white working-class voter identity
.. while those multiple identities might once have pushed people in different partisan directions .. today it’s more common to line up behind one party.
.. people now feel that they are fighting for many elements of who they are: their racial identity, professional identity, religious identity, even geographical identity.
.. he as a politician, kind of for the first time, said ‘we’re losers.’ ” Social psychology research has shown that the best way to get people to defend their identity is to threaten it. By saying “we don’t win anymore — we’re losers — and I’m going to make us win again,”
.. Mr. Trump’s pitch to voters both created the sense of threat and promised a defense: a winning political strategy for the age of identity politics.
.. people responded much more strongly to threats or support to their party than to particular issues.
.. He has been careful to recast every potential scandal and policy struggle as a battle against the Democrats and other outside groups.
.. Mr. Trump has insisted, for instance, that the F.B.I. investigation into his campaign staffers’ contacts with Russia is meaningless “fake news,” and that the real issue is whether President Obama wiretapped him before the election.
.. Abandoning him would mean betraying tribal allegiance, and all of the identities that underlie it.
a python library for parsing unstructured address strings into address components
There have been big changes in the geology of israel.