On SALT

My opinion is firm: the state and local tax deduction (SALT for short) is bad.


Because it’s equivalent to that the federal government takes money from the people in Utah and Washington and gives it to the people in California and New York, merely as the consequence of that the people in California and New York voted to give more money to their state and local governments.


Generally speaking, I am against that A decides B should give money to C. Sometimes such redistribution is justifiable, for example, when B is rich and C is poor. However, when it comes to the state and local tax deduction, it’s the other way around. The federal government is taking money from the people in Washington and Utah, including the poor ones, and giving it to the people in California and New York, including the rich ones. It's transferring money from the poor to the rich. Even liberals should be against such reverse wealth redistribution too.


Another reason why I am against the state and local tax deduction is that it’s encouraging a behavior that, in my opinion, the federal government should remain neutral about. The state and local tax deduction is encouraging state and local government spending. There are people for it and there are people against it. Nevertheless, the federal government, in my opinion, should not take a position on this matter, as it's a matter of the state and local governments.

母猪,任志强和人工智能

对于人工智能,有一种观点认为,在不久的将来,大量的工作就将被人工智能替代,出现大面积失业,而且,很快人工智能就会发展出自我学习能力,从此一发而不可收拾,最终人工智能将会统治人类。

另一种观点认为,对人工智能不必过于担心。持这种观点的人引用历史上的例子来说明这个道理。比如说,上个世纪三四十年代的时候有个特别有名特别厉害的经济学家叫凯恩斯。凯恩斯当时就担心,随着技术越来越发达,很快工作就会不够了,每周可能上两天班就够了,怎么打发人们的闲暇时间将会成为一个社会问题。事实证明,凯恩斯多虑了:七八十年过去了,我们每周还是要工作五天。所以,这些人觉得今天那些担心人工智能会导致大面积事业的观点就像当时凯恩斯的观点似的,多虑了。

对于这种反对观点,那些担心人工智能会导致大面积事业的人举了母猪的例子:一家农场里有一只母猪,一开始看到主人来很担心,但慢慢的她发现主人每次来都是给她猪圈的门,让她去院子里活动。所以母猪就总结出了一个规律:看到主人来不用担心,因为以前每次担心到最后都是多虑的。直到有一天,主人来给她开门,把她拉上车,送去了屠宰场。这些人说,你们拿凯恩斯来举例子,就是犯了和母猪一样的错误。

这让我想到了任志强。今天又看到任志强上新闻了。他说房价没有泡沫,房价还会涨。过去十几年,他每次这么说,都被他说对了。那些持同样观点的人就觉得,你们这些担心房价有泡沫的人,每次的担心最后都是多虑了的。那些觉得房价不会一直涨下去的人就说,任志强虽然每次都说对了,但这并不说明他一直会对下去,这就好像那只母猪一直是对的,直到有一天她错了。

铜川路转世投胎

2017-09-03-blog-seafood

铜川路以前是上海很有名的吃海鲜的地方。那里有个铜川路水产市场,市场周围有很多小饭店。食客可以在水产市场里面买了去店里吃,店里收个加工费。那些小店自己也在门口摆摊卖点水产,食客也可以在小店门口买,然后让店家做了在里面堂吃。我看Anthony Bourdain的片子,他在日本吃海鲜也是一样的套路:一个市场,在一楼买好,然后直接拿到二楼的小饭店里做成刺生、寿司,直接就吃了。

类似的还有三亚的春园海鲜广场。那是好多年前去的了,就是一大片的海鲜大排档。我们去了之后先选好一家摊位,然后那家摊位的人就跟我们去边上的海鲜市场买海鲜,买好了就拎回摊位去直接做了吃了。那次我们连着两天晚饭都是去那里吃的,又好吃又方便。我们也没点什么特别的东西,就是普普通通的几样:蒸一条鱼,炒花蟹,炒蛤蜊,白灼一盘虾,再炒个四角豆。

铜川路水产市场后来关掉了,很多老顾客都觉得很可惜。不过铜川路转世投胎变成了盒马鲜生。除了只能用支付宝付钱,除了是灯明几净的开在大商场里面,盒马鲜生和铜川路就是一样一样的。

和建筑工人的对话

我家附近最近在造新房子。今天早上送郑轶嘉上学,路过工地的时候看到他们正好在浇筑driveway,于是就停下来带郑轶嘉看了一会儿。一边看,一边跟旁边举着Stop/Slow牌子的一个工人进行了一段对话:

工人:Do you know what's the difference between concrete and asphalt?
我:I guess concrete is harder.
工人:Yup. Any other difference?
我:I guess concrete will last longer?
工人:That's true. Asphalt are more likely to crack.
我:That's why they keep repaving the roads!
工人:Yup. Any other difference?
我:Don't know.
工人:Concrete raises tax.
我:Tax?
工人:Yup. Concrete (driveway) is a part of the house. It raises your property tax. Asphalt (driveway) is not a part of the house.
我:Really!
工人:Yup. Do you know who told me that?
我:Your dad?
工人:The concrete man.
我:Of course. (After a pause) I guess that's why many houses are still using asphalt for driveway. (After another pause) But I guess higher tax isn't really a bad thing. It's good for the country.
工人:No!
我:I thought property tax funds the school.
工人:That's what they say!
我:Well, I guess at least some of it goes to the school.
工人:That's what they say! Do you know where the lottery money goes to?
我:Don't know.
工人:When they started the lottery …
我:Like thirty years ago?
工人:Maybe. They said the money would go to the school. That's what they said when they started. But later … (他做了一个把钱塞进自己口袋的动作)
我:Lottery is no good. Lottery is a tax especially on low income people.
工人:(沉默)
我:Well, we gonna go.
工人:Did you have a good time?
我:Yeah! Have a good day!
工人:You too!

牛油果和小黄车

以前有部电影叫《蒙娜丽莎的微笑》。我印象特别深的一幕是大美女朱莉娅罗伯茨骑着一辆那种很古典的自行车穿过校园去上课。今天早上我刚骑上小黄车的时候,觉得自己很有朱莉娅罗伯茨的感觉。

我就是想去买杯咖啡。这些年在西雅图住下来,习惯了每天从一杯咖啡开始。但上海的星巴克都要七点才开门。Bellevue那里的星巴克,有些是四点半就开门了,晚些的,五点或五点半也都开了。这是郊区和城里的区别,还是亚热带季风气候和温带海洋气候的区别?

中午,我骑着小黄车去吃午饭。其实我本来是想去乔家栅吃碗鳝糊面的。鳝糊面只要二十几块钱。可是乔家栅说他们厨房的机器坏掉了,所以只有冷面和冷馄饨。那就算了,我就是想吃碗汤汤水水的东西。

烈日炎炎下,我身边不断的有一辆辆的助动车呼啸而过。每一辆助动车后面都有一个蓝色的大箱子,箱子上印着三个大字:“饿了么”。看来饿了么已经赢了,因为路上只看到他们家的助动车。我跟安安妈和朱苹果说我打算晚上用饿了么喊两斤香满堂的重辣手抓小龙虾,她们回给我一串愤怒的表情。

她们都说这些app很赞。我说赞的不是app,赞的仍然还是这些吃的。西雅图并不缺送外卖的。那天看超级碗,我们用UberEATS喊了Shanghai Shanghai的核桃虾,用Amazon Prime Now从超市买了啤酒。可是用UberEATS喊不到香满堂,因为我们那里压根就没有香满堂。要是Bellevue有香满堂,能不能喊外卖其实不重要。

结果在东平路的Green&Safe,一顿午饭花了我七十多块。其实我就点了一杯白啤和一小盅中规中矩的法式蘑菇浓汤。那儿的白啤淡得能喝出自来水的味道。几天前在Leavenworth喝的Hefeweizen能甩出它几条马路去。我觉得他们是故意兑水的,因为那杯白啤的杯子巨大无比,大到我一个六尺的汉子一只手都快要拿不住了。

Green&Safe一楼在卖牛油果,16块一个,28块两个。你可以说在上海生活仍然便宜:小黄车2元钱可以骑一个月。你也可以说在上海生活昂贵:两只牛油果可以骑一整年小黄车还有找。

富民面馆

早上醒过来,一看表,又是只有一点钟。出租车司机问我,那么晚去哪里。我说我去吃早饭。转念一想不对,于是改口说我去吃夜宵。

我到桃源眷村的时候店员已经在打扫店堂了。我说你们不是开到两点半么。店员说,两点半是锁门。店员说,你要点的话还可以点外卖,我们还有豆浆和烧饼。我说那我就点个外卖吧。店员问我,你有现金么。我被惊到了。我说我没现金,我可以用微信付。店员说,我们不支持微信。那能用银行卡么,我问。银行卡早就结掉了,店员说。

于是,我就来富民面馆了。咸菜黄鱼面,加鳝丝浇头。满满的一碗,汤汤水水下去,碗底朝天一点不留。边吃边听老板跟客人聊天,浓浓的深夜食堂的感觉。客人说他今年四十四岁,以前就住在桃源路。老板说他三十岁开的这家面馆,开了二十七年了。这么算起来,这家店我小学毕业那年就开了。