Wednesday, July 29, 2009

RRQ Annuities are Unfare to the Poor

Life insurance companies are now offering "Lifestyle Annuities", for which the life expectancy of the annuitant is adjusted based on lifestyle choices (smoking, obesity and known health issues). For smokers in particular, this represents a significant decrease in premiums.

Unfortunately in Quebec, the government manages the pension scheme during both the contribution and retirement phase. Their meager return on investment is a burden shared by everyone, so at least it is fair; however, subgroups of the population (especially poor citizens) have a lower life expectancy due to correlated lifestyle choices. Because annuities only reflect the age of the contributor (not lifestyle choices), poor citizens are getting a particularly raw deal from the RRQ program. They should have the right to buy a private annuity with the funds they accumulated in their RRQ account over their lifetime. This would give them substantially higher monthly income.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Caloric Restriction in Rhesus Monkeys

This image shows salient anecdotal evidence of the effects of caloric restriction in rhesus monkeys after 20 years of elapsed time.

This paper contains convincing scientific evidence.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Throwing money at the problem

Eating well is difficult. Enough said.

Abstinence under temptation, cooking a single meal for multiple persons or choosing well in advance what one will eat all bear significant utility cost.

Similarly, properly measuring and accounting for all food intake is tedious and time consuming.

The solution to all theses problems? Open a healthy food only restaurant in the vicinity of your house. This solves the in your face temptation problem, although you may lose a few friends along the way. Using terminals as menus automates accounting and allows patrons to make informed decisions on RDAs and energy intake. Delegating tedious measurements to others in the kitchen makes the overhead bearable. Having many patrons allows stocking fresh/perishable foods in an economical and socially acceptable manner (low stock turnover results in waste). It even allows custom products to be developed, such as low alcohol beer or wine.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Costly regulations

Getting my blood tested for IgG avidity: 31$.
Getting the test authorized by a doctor (this is mandatory in Quebec): 225$ + two hours of my time.

My love for regulators just keeps on growing. On days like theses, I feel irrevocably libertarian, and start to wonder how inefficient the world is becoming.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Problems with Paygo

It seems difficult to prevent a politician with a surplus to do anything but spend it. As a result of such spending, California is about to default on its debt. The few politicians who choose to cut taxes or repay government debt -- and thus create little new spending -- end-up being rather unpopular.

It would seem that capping government spending increases to long term GDP growth makes much more sense than just forcing the government to balance the budget each year.