The End Of The Car?

There is circulating a “note” making the claim that we are basically at the end of the car era, much like we wound up at the end of the horse era.
That of course doesn’t mean there are no horses. There are; the moderately (and more-so) wealthy still own them for sport and pleasure, but other than the Amish nobody owns them for basic personal transportation whereas they were essentially the only means of same decades ago.
The argument is that driverless “cars” (really a box that moves people and can be called on demand) will appear and basically take over. First slowly, like cars did, and then more-or-less all at once.
In other words not long from now (months, really, if you’re in parts of Arizona!) you will start to be able to hail what amounts to a robotic taxi — with no driver in it at all. As the technology improves and expands people will start to voluntarily eschew owning a car in favor of hailing rides in driverless vehicles; arguably mostly for economic reasons.
Oh by the way, if you’re one of the half-million or so who currently drive for Uber, Lyft, or a conventional “taxi” or “black car” service — you’re all out of a job the that transition really starts to accelerate. Keep that in mind as you continue to read onward….
At some point the accident rate disparity between the choice of car ownership and driverless “hail and get in” vehicles will cause the government to either ban driving or it will get so prohibitively expensive, either by insurance regulations or outright government taxation in some form, that only the very wealthy will retain the option (as is the case now for horses.)
You may see benefits here.
I see grave danger.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-11-29.

Frontrunning: September 29

Republican Tax Plan Hits First Hurdle (WSJ) A $6.4 Billion Windfall Awaits Big U. S. Banks in Trump’s Tax Cut (BBG) How Does the Trump Tax Plan Affect You? WSJ Answers Your Questions (WSJ) Twitter suspends Russia-linked accounts, but U. S. senator says response inadequate (Reuters) Flight ban on Iraqi Kurds imposed after independence vote (Reuters) Elon Musk’s New Vision: Anywhere on Earth in Under One Hour (BBG) Kurdistan region refuses to hand over border crossings to Iraqi government: Rudaw (Reuters) Independence Vote Tests Catalonia’s Police Force (WSJ) Uber CEO Khosrowshahi to Visit U. K. to Rescue London License (BBG) Chinese Money Is Still Leaking Into the World’s Housing Markets (BBG) Russia accuses CNN International of violating Russian media law (Reuters) Dems on Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel Push Back (BBG) Schumer says senators close to bipartisan deal on health exchanges (Reuters) VW’s dieselgate bill hits $30 billion after another charge (Reuters) VW Takes New $2.9 Billion Hit From Diesel Scandal (WSJ) Iron Ore Becomes Punch Bag as China Concerns Drive 20% Collapse (BBG) U. S. visas to six Muslim nations drop after Supreme Court backs travel ban (Reuters) P&G CEO Blasts Nelson Peltz as Tensions Mount Over Board Vote (BBG) Lyft IPO puts investors in self-driving cars as well as ride services (Reuters) World’s Biggest Oil Company Promised Expats Idyllic Lifestyle – Then Fire Erupted (WSJ) Chaos and hackers stalk bitcoin investors (Reuters)
Overnight Media Digest
– A day after announcing their tax plan, Senate Republicans debated scaling back one of their largest and most controversial proposals to pay for lower tax rates – repeal of the individual deduction for state and local taxes.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.

Illinois On The Brink? The Whole Country Is On The Brink

The biggest problem facing Illinois is the public pension fund problem. I don’t care what the ‘official’ number is for the degree to which it is underfunded. I can guarantee that even without marking-to-real-market the illiquid investments like private equity funds, derivatives, commercial real estate trusts and other assets that do not have truly visible markets, collectively the public pension system in Illinois is at least 60-70% underfunded. Then apply a realistic assumed actuarial rate of return on assets, which would be lower than the current assumption (likely 7.5% ad infinitum) and the underfunding goes to 80%. The problem is unsolvable without a complete and drastic restructuring.
I was in a Lyft ride today and the driver happened to be from the northwest suburban area of Chicago. There’s a lot bad things happening in that State that are not reported in the mainstream media. All road public road work has been halted except toll roads. The gun violence has worked its way from the South Side up through downtown into the Gold Coast neighborhood and is winding its way north.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on July 11, 2017.

How Much Do People Actually Make From “Gigs” Like Uber And Airbnb

Coined shortly after the financial crisis in 2009, the so-called ‘gig economy’ or ‘sharing economy’ refers to the growing cadre of companies like Airbnb, Lyft, and TaskRabbit – platforms that employ temporary workers who provide a wide variety of services: delivery, ridesharing, rentals, and odd jobs. A recent Pew study estimated that nearly a quarter of all Americans earn some money through these platforms.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.