Tidbits Quotations
To Accompany the August 2, 2011 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Today if Dorothy encountered men with no brains, no hearts, and no balls
She would not be in the Land of Oz
She'd be in Washington DC
Author Unknown
Anthony Weiner excepted (he proved he had one out of three or rather two out of four)

Sarah Palin’s Children Are “Inbred Weirdos” (especially the Downs Syndrome baby)
Genetics Scholar Bill Mahar --- Click Here

"Simon & Schuster's Revenge (on Barack Obama)," by Douglas Hackleman, The American Thinker, April 2, 2011 ---

Credit Default Swap --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_default_swap
A colleague mentioned yesterday that with all the talk of a US default, what is the market saying? Looking at CDS spreads, it does not appear that the US will default. Yes it is up significantly in last year, but still lower than in 2009 and much lower than that of other sovereign debt.
Jim Mahar,
Note the July 20, 2011 date

"The Abysmal Recovery in Employment." by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, Becker-Posner Blog, July 24, 2011 ---

. . .

Recognizing the waste of such an overall wage subsidy, another approach subsidizes new hires only. This approach does avoid subsidizing all employment, but it fails to appreciate the magnitude of new hires even during bad times. The JOLTS data published by the federal government indicate that over 4 million persons are newly hired each month even during the current post recession period. Therefore, subsidizing new hires would pay subsidies for about 50 million new hires annually. If the subsidy per hire were $3000 (about 10% of their annual earnings), this would cost some $150 billion per year.

This is not chicken feed even for the federal government. Moreover, employers would try to game the system by laying off some workers so they can hire other workers and gain the new-hire subsidy. The result would be an increase in the number of persons becoming unemployed along with greater exits from the unemployment state. The net effect on employment would probably be positive and overall unemployment would tend to decrease, but the employment bang for the substantial bucks involved would be quite small.

Aside from the depth of the financial crisis, I believe the main source of slow hiring initially were the many anti-business proposals voiced by some members of Congress and even by the president. Many of these were discarded or tamed down, but Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have raised the prospects of higher and less certain health care costs for businesses, and greater regulation and more uncertainty about government policy in the financial and consumer areas. Neither Act gives employers an incentive to expand their payrolls.

Adding to this is the huge uncertainty about what Democrats and Republicans can agree to on taming the large fiscal deficits, the looming entitlement crisis, and the exploding debt. No wonder that businesses are playing it close to their chests by keeping their payrolls down, and by their reluctance to commit to long-term investments.

The analysis in this post to me implies that the most effective solution to the weak recovery is not further stimulus packages, nor subsidies to employment or hiring, but an agreement between Congress and the president to cut trillions of dollars from federal spending during the next decade, and to reform the tax system toward a much broader and much flatter personal and corporate tax structure. The report of Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a starting point, and Representative Ryan’s Roadmap also has excellent proposals on how to do this.

"What to Do about Unemployment in the Short Term?" by Richard Posner, Becker-Posner Blog, July 24, 2011 ---

Becker is pessimistic that much can be done in the short term to stimulate employment. That is doubtless correct in a realistic sense, but I think it worth pointing out that if politics were not what they are much could probably be done and at low net cost and possibly even with net cost savings.

The simplest short-term (but also long-term) stimulant to employment would be to reduce the minimum wage, which has risen greatly in recent years. This would reduce the cost of labor to employers and hence encourage the substitution of labor for capital inputs. The minimum-wage appears to have its greatest disemployment effects among blacks and teenagers, moreover, and those are two of the groups with the highest unemployment rates.

True, the reduction of the minimum wage would reduce some incomes by increasing the supply of labor, and reduced incomes would result in reduced consumption which could in turn reduce production and therefore employment. But this effect would probably be offset by the effect of lower labor costs in stimulating production.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, which imposes the federal minimum wage, also requires that overtime wages be at least 50 percent higher than the employer’s normal hourly wage for the workers asked to work overtime. The reason for the rule (a Depression measure) is to discourage overtime and thus spread the available work among more employees. If this is the effect, it is an argument for making the overtime wage an even higher percentage of the normal wage than the current 150 percent. The counterargument is that regular pay would fall to compensate an increase in the overtime wage, so employers would not hire additional workers.

A simple way to stimulate employment would be suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal government contractors to pay “prevailing wages” often tied to inflated union-negotiated pay scales. And along with that, reversal of efforts by the Democratic-controlled National Labor Relations Board to enourage unionization, which by driving up wages reduces the demand for labor. Unionization also reduces the efficiency with which labor is employed by imposing the restrictions typically found in collective bargaining contracts, such as requiring that layoffs be in reverse order of seniority and limiting employers’ authority to switch workers between jobs.

Unemployment benefits, which normally last for only six months, have been progressively extended during the current depression (I do not accept the proposition that the financial crisis of 2008 merely triggered a “recession” that ended two years ago when GDP stopped falling in nominal terms) to almost two years. The longer the benefits period (and the higher the benefits), the slower are unemployed workers to obtain new employment; and the longer they are out of work the less likely they are ever to return to work, because their work skills and attitudes erode over time. With so many two-income households nowadays, the decision of one spouse to give up on looking for a market job and instead becoming a full-time household producer (“housewife” or “house husband”) becomes an attractive option.

. . .

Nevertheless the stimulus doubtless had some positive effect on employment, since it did inject more than $800 billion into the economy in a short period, most of which would otherwise have remained in rather inert savings. But as with many issues in macroeconomics this one cannot be resolved with any confidence. But if government expenditures were reduced in ways that did not significantly increase unemployment, and the savings allocated to a stimulus program focused entirely on creating labor-intensive public projects promptly implemented, there would be a positive effect on employment with no net increase in government spending.

But all these are pipe dreams, because of the politics of U.S. economic policy. The government is likely to do anything to stimulate employment. Eventually the economy will recover on its own, as consumers dissave and thus increase consumption, and with the increased consumption will come increased production and hence increased employment.

Jensen Comment
I do not offer these as my solutions to short-term unemployment. I merely quote the opinions of two University of Chicago esteemed scholars. Judge Posner, by the way, was a plenary speaker some years ago at the annual meetings of the American Accounting Association. However, at that time his topic was not short-term unemployment solutions.

To be honest, I can think of no solutions that I like to reduce unemployment. Massive spending and even printing money (highly inflationary) ala Paul Krugman would probably reduce short-term unemployment, but the the long-term impact on the U.S. economy could be devastating, including the virtual drying up of our being able to borrow at reasonable rates from other nations like China. Nor is doing nothing in the short-term appealing to fathers like myself who have unemployed sons and daughters caring for our children and grandchildren. As I pointed out in previous messages, FDR's massive spending on WPA did little to relieve unemployment --- which was 18% at the start of WPA programs in the 1930s and remained at 18% until WW II commenced to change our economy forever.

The current credit cap crisis is a speed bump compared to the towering mountains of economic hurdles waiting for the United States on roads leading into the future. We're only beginning to realize that even great nations cannot survive on trillions of dollars in annual budget deficits. And reneging of promises made to poor people, disabled people, sick people, brave warriors. and old people is indeed hurtful to those we should not punish for our previous spendthrift and borrowing addictions. We lose respect for nations that do not honor their contracts.

"America's Deeper Debt Crisis," by Hamair Qaeue, Harvard Business Review Blog, July 26, 2011 --- Click Here

How big would America's "debt crisis" be if we looked not merely at (largely artificial) financial costs, but at real economic — social, human, natural, personal, emotional, and more — costs? You probably don't want to know.

But grit your teeth and let's do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation just for fun.

To begin with, America's gross public debt as a percentage of its GDP is around 98ish (aka, its debt/GDP ratio). But there's a whole lot of costs that measure doesn't begin to count. They're the costs of restoring and rebooting the bare beginnings of an authentic, meaningful prosperity. They mean we might begin to have meaningful work and play (instead of work that destroys our souls and leisure that dumbifies us), a thriving environment (instead of one that's withering), markets that work (instead of blow up), society that connects (instead of fractures and polarizes) and infrastructure that works (instead of crumbling airports, battered buildings, and roads that, at this point, look like the set for an end-of-days zombie apocalypse flick). How high would America's debt/GDP ratio be if we added these costs?

Here are some mildly educated guesses (please note: since this isn't a 300-page book or even a 5,000 word article, I won't fully explicate them, but leave them open for discussion and for future blog posts. You're more than welcome to challenge them, add your own, or even add or subtract entire categories).

Now, let me emphasize that I've made plenty of simplifications on the quick and dirty napkin of a worksheet above. But the not-so-secret dirty secret is that, well, so does GDP itself. The point is in the thought experiment itself: you can swap in or out whatever categories you like, but the point is that the "debt" we owe, if real prosperity is the destination we seek, is bigger than we think. For the above are essentially off-balance-sheet liabilities — a set of hidden costs brushed under the rug in the economic equivalent of a ginormous, ongoing national Enron.

By these rough estimates, while the official debt to GDP ratio is approaching 100%, our debt-to-prosperity ratio is probably higher — maybe much higher. Just by considering an incomplete set of real economic costs very imperfectly, we've arrived at a number closer to 145%. I'd say just a slightly fuller, more nuanced, less conservative take could easily the push "the number" closer to 200% — if not past it.

America's real economic crisis is one of what, in the Manifesto, I call deep debt.

Think about it this way. 100% debt as a percentage of GDP is a number that's got the (mostly) old (mostly) dudes that run the world in brow-beating hysterics, crying: "Armageddon!!" But they're missing the point. A large portion of the 100% of GDP that's financial debt is public debt — which for all its many sins, is mostly covered.

While there's talk of America "defaulting," no one takes seriously the idea that America's going to leave financial creditors without a penny on the dollar — just that it might have liquidity issues for a brief while. Yet, real default — a few pennies on the dollar of debt — is exactly what America's been doing to its economic creditors, parties who I'd argue should have, at least in some cases, self-evident priority over financial markets: people, communities, society, and tomorrow's generations. For the very real, human, natural, and social costs owed them — at least if a higher level of prosperity is what you're after — have been pushed aside and left largely unfunded and underpaid, when they're paid for at all. Result? This Great Stagnation: not merely a financial crisis, but deep in it's heart, a crisis of squandering and underinvesting in human potential itself.

Consider it a tiny, imprecise exercise in what I call "eudaimonics" — the art and science of rebuilding a prosperity that matters in human terms: the pursuit not merely of mass-made, lowest-common-McDenominator, faux-designer opulence, but of lives meaningfully well lived. If we conceive of "debt" not merely as an accounting device meaningless in human terms, a financial fiction owed to nominal creditors — but as a real economic burden owed to the eudaimonic promise of a meaningfully good life, then our economy isn't just underperforming: it's dysfunctional.

Igniting eudaimonic prosperity isn't about paying off financial debt. We can manage that perfectly for decades and never get any closer to mastering the art of lives lived meaningfully well. Rather, it's about the ability of a nation to pay down and pay off its deep debt to the authentic creditors that create and sustain that nation.

So here's my conclusion — and my catch.

America might never master eudaimonics. But here's what's for certain: there are nations, perhaps wiser, perhaps just hungrier — who will. It's to them that a meaningful prosperity will accrue — and from them the lion's roar of advantage will be heard.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Entitlements are at

The booked National Debt on August 2, 2011 was slightly over $14 trillion ---
U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

The January 2010 Booked National Debt Plus Unbooked Entitlements Debt
The GAO estimated $76 trillion Present Value in January 2010  unless something drastic is done.
Click Here |

There are many ways to describe the federal government’s long-term fiscal challenge. One method for capturing the challenge in a single number is to measure the “fiscal gap.” The fiscal gap represents the difference, or gap, between revenue and spending in present value terms over a certain period, such as 75 years, that would need to be closed in order to achieve a specified debt level (e.g., today’s debt to GDP ratio) at the end of the period.2 From the fiscal gap, one can calculate the size of action needed—in terms of tax increases, spending reductions, or, more likely, some combination of the two—to close the gap; that is, for debt as a share of GDP to equal today’s ratio at the end of the period. For example, under our Alternative simulation, the fiscal gap is 9.0 percent of GDP (or a little over $76 trillion in present value dollars) (see table 2). This means that revenue would have to increase by about 50 percent or noninterest spending would have to be reduced by 34 percent on average over the next 75 years (or some combination of the two) to keep debt at the end of the period from exceeding its level at the beginning of 2010 (53 percent of GDP).

The Road to a Downgrade:  A short history of the entitlement state," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2011 ---

Even without a debt default, it looks increasingly possible that the world's credit rating agencies will soon downgrade U.S. debt from the AAA standing it has enjoyed for decades.

A downgrade isn't catastrophic because global financial markets decide the creditworthiness of U.S. securities, not Moody's and Standard & Poor's. The good news is that investors still regard Treasury bonds, which carry the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, as a near zero-risk investment. But a downgrade will raise the cost of credit, especially for states and institutions whose debt is pegged to Treasurys. Above all a downgrade is a symbol of fiscal mismanagement and an omen of worse to come if we continue the same habits.

President Obama will deserve much of the blame for the spending blowout of his first two years (see the nearby chart). But the origins of this downgrade go back decades, and so this is a good time to review the policies that brought us to this sad chapter and $14.3 trillion of debt.

FDR began the entitlement era with the New Deal and Social Security, but for decades it remained relatively limited. Spending fell dramatically after the end of World War II and the U.S. debt burden fell rapidly from 100% of GDP. That changed in the mid-1960s with LBJ's Great Society and the dawn of the health-care state. Medicare and Medicaid were launched in 1965 with fairy tale estimates of future costs.

Medicare, the program for the elderly, was supposed to cost $12 billion by 1990 but instead spent $110 billion. The costs of Medicaid, the program for the poor, have exploded as politicians like California Democrat Henry Waxman expanded eligibility and coverage. In inflation-adjusted dollars, Medicaid cost $4 billion in 1966, $41 billion in 1986 and $243 billion last year. Rather than bending the cost curve down, the government as third-party payer led to a medical price spiral.

LBJ launched other welfare programs—public housing, food stamps and many more—that have also grown over time. Last year, the panoply of welfare programs spent about $20,000 for every man, woman and child in poverty, according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.

Social Security's fiscal trouble began in earnest in 1972 with bills that increased benefits immediately by 20%, added an annual cost of living adjustment, and created a benefit escalator requiring payments to rise with wages, not inflation. This and other tweaks by Democrat Wilbur Mills added trillions of dollars to the program's unfunded liabilities. Believe it or not, these 1972 amendments were added to a debt-ceiling bill.

None of these benefit expansions were subject to annual budget review and thus they grew by automatic pilot. They are sometimes called "mandatory spending" because Congress is required by law to make payments to those who meet eligibility standards, regardless of other spending needs or tax revenues.

According to the most recent government data, today some 50.5 million Americans are on Medicaid, 46.5 million are on Medicare, 52 million on Social Security, five million on SSI, 7.5 million on unemployment insurance, and 44.6 million on food stamps and other nutrition programs. Some 24 million get the earned-income tax credit, a cash income supplement.

By 2010 such payments to individuals were 66% of the federal budget, up from 28% in 1965. (See the second chart.) We now spend $2.1 trillion a year on these redistribution programs, and the 75 million baby boomers are only starting to retire.

We suspect that in the 1960s as now—with ObamaCare—liberals knew they had created fiscal time-bombs. They simply assumed that taxes would keep rising to pay for it all, as they have in Europe.

On Monday night Mr. Obama blamed President George W. Bush's "two wars" for the debt buildup. But national defense spending was 7.4% of GDP and 42.8% of outlays in 1965, and only 4.8% of GDP and 20.1% of federal outlays in 2010. Defense has not caused the debt crisis.

Many on the left still blame Ronald Reagan, but the debt increase in the 1980s financed a robust economic expansion and victory in the Cold War. Debt held by the public at the end of the Reagan years was much lower as a share of GDP (41% in 1988 and still only 40.3% in 2008) compared to the estimated 72% in fiscal 2011. That Cold War victory made possible the peace dividend that allowed Bill Clinton to balance the budget in the 1990s by cutting defense spending to 3% of GDP from nearly 6% in 1988.

Mr. Bush and Republicans did prove after 9/11 that the Washington urge to spend and borrow is bipartisan. Republicans launched a Medicare drug benefit, record outlays on education, the most expensive transportation bill in history, and home ownership aid that contributed to the housing bubble. The GOP's blunder was refusing to cut domestic spending to finance the war on terrorism. Guns and butter blowouts never last.

Then came Mr. Obama, arguably the most spendthrift president in history. He inherited a recession and responded by blowing up the U.S. balance sheet. Spending as a share of GDP in the last three years is higher than at any time since 1946. In three years the debt has increased by more than $4 trillion thanks to stimulus, cash for clunkers, mortgage modification programs, 99 weeks of jobless benefits, record expansions in Medicaid, and more.

The forecast is for $8 trillion to $10 trillion more in red ink through 2021. Mr. Obama hinted in a press conference earlier this month that if it weren't for Republicans, he'd want another stimulus. Scary thought: None of this includes the ObamaCare entitlement that will place 30 million more Americans on government health rolls.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In my opinion the most spendthrift president was George W. Bush, He was too chicken to veto lavish spending bills put forth by Congress, including the outrageously expensive and underfunded entitlement program for Medicare Drug subsidies for seniors and disabled people.

A BRIC nation at the moment is a nation that has vast resources and virtually no entitlement obligations that drag down economic growth --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRIC

In economics, BRIC (typically rendered as "the BRICs" or "the BRIC countries") is an acronym that refers to the fast-growing developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The acronym was first coined and prominently used by Goldman Sachs in 2001. According to a paper published in 2005, Mexico and South Korea are the only other countries comparable to the BRICs, but their economies were excluded initially because they were considered already more developed. Goldman Sachs argued that, since they are developing rapidly, by 2050 the combined economies of the BRICs could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world. The four countries, combined, currently account for more than a quarter of the world's land area and more than 40% of the world's population.

Brazil, Russia, India and China, (the BRICs) sometimes lumped together as BRIC to represent fast-growing developing economies, are selling off their U.S. Treasury Bond holdings. Russia announced earlier this month it will sell U.S. Treasury Bonds, while China and Brazil have announced plans to cut the amount of U.S. Treasury Bonds in their foreign currency reserves and buy bonds issued by the International Monetary Fund instead. The BRICs are also soliciting public support for a "super currency" capable of replacing what they see as the ailing U.S. dollar. The four countries account for 22 percent of the global economy, and their defection could deal a severe blow to the greenback. If the BRICs sell their U.S. Treasury Bond holdings, the price will drop and yields rise, and that could prompt the central banks of other countries to start selling their holdings to avoid losses too. A sell-off on a grand scale could trigger a collapse in the value of the dollar, ending the appeal of both dollars and bonds as safe-haven assets. The moves are a challenge to the power of the dollar in international financial markets. Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos in an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday said the decision by the BRICs to buy IMF bonds should not be seen simply as a desire to diversify their foreign currency portfolios but as a show of muscle.
"BRICs Launch Assault on Dollar's Global Status," The Chosun IIbo, June 14, 2009 ---

Their report, "Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050," predicted that within 40 years, the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China - the BRICs - would be larger than the US, Germany, Japan, Britain, France and Italy combined. China would overtake the US as the world's largest economy and India would be third, outpacing all other industrialised nations. 
"Out of the shadows," Sydney Morning Herald, February 5, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/02/04/1107476799248.html 

The first economist, an early  Nobel Prize Winning economist, to raise the alarm of entitlements in my head was Milton Friedman.  He has written extensively about the lurking dangers of entitlements.  I highly recommend his fantastic "Free to Choose" series of PBS videos where his "Welfare of Entitlements" warning becomes his principle concern for the future of the Untied States 25 years ago --- http://www.ideachannel.com/FreeToChoose.htm 


Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements ---


"Last Chance, America (Increase Taxes Now)," Joseph Isenbergh, University of Chicago Law School, SSRN, July 18, 2011 ---

This essay addresses the current fiscal situation of the U.S. economy – in particular the federal budget deficit and mounting public debt. The essay argues that the most urgent step to be taken is to raise federal taxes, despite the possible dampening effect on short-term growth (which can be palliated in other ways). Failure to raise taxes substantially, and soon, will greatly compound the harm to the U.S. economy from the profligate fiscal policies of the past decade.

"Why I don’t like Larry Summers," by Massimo Pigliucci, Rationally Speaking, July 22, 2011 ---

I have to admit to a profound dislike for former Harvard President and former Obama (and Clinton) advisor Larry Summers. Besides the fact that, at least going by a number of reports of people who have known him, he can only be characterized as a dick, he represents precisely what is wrong with a particularly popular mode of thinking in this country and, increasingly, in the rest of the world.
Lawrence was famously forced to resign as president of Harvard in 2006 because of a no-confidence vote by the faculty (wait, academics still have any say in how universities are run? Who knew) because of a variety of reasons, including his conflict with academic star Cornel West, financial conflict of interests regarding his dealings with economist Andrei Shleifer, and particularly his remarks to the effect that perhaps the scarcity of women in science and engineering is the result of innate intellectual differences (for a critical analysis of that particular episode see Cornelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender and the corresponding Rationally Speaking podcast).
Now I have acquired yet another reason to dislike Summers, while reading Debra Satz’s Why Some Things Should not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets, which I highly recommend to my libertarian friends, as much as I realize of course that it will be entirely wasted on them. The book is a historical and philosophical analysis of ideas about markets, and makes a very compelling case for why thinking that “the markets will take care of it” where “it” is pretty much anything of interest to human beings is downright idiotic (as well as profoundly unethical).
But I’m not concerned here with Satz’s book per se, as much as with the instance in which she discusses for her purposes, a memo written by Summers when he was chief economist of the World Bank (side note to people who still don’t think we are in a plutocracy: please simply make the effort to track Summers’ career and his influence as an example, or check this short video by one of my favorite philosophers, George Carlin). The memo was intended for internal WB use only, but it caused a public uproar when the, surely not left-wing, magazine The Economist leaked it to the public. Here is an extract from the memo (emphasis mine):
“Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the less developed countries? I can think of three reasons:
1. The measurement of the costs of health-impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health-impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.
2. The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost ... Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world-welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.
3. The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity ... Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing.
The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more pollution in least developed countries (intrinsic rights to certain goods, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization.
Now, pause for a minute, go back to the top of the memo, and read it again. I suggest that if you find nothing disturbing about it, your empathic circuitry needs a major overhaul or at the very least a serious tuneup. But it’s interesting to consider why.
As both The Economist (who called the memo “crass”) and Satz herself note, the economic logic of the memo is indeed impeccable. If one’s only considerations are economic in nature, it does make perfect sense for less developed countries to accept (for a — probably low — price) the waste generated by richer countries, for which in turn it makes perfect sense to pay a price to literally get rid of their shit.
And yet, as I mentioned, the leaking of the memo was accompanied by an outcry similar to the one generated by the equally infamous “Ford Pinto memo back in 1968. Why? Here I actually have a take that is somewhat different from, though complementary to, that of Satz. For her, there are three ethical objections that can be raised to the memo: first, she maintains that there is unequal vulnerability of the parties involved in the bargain. That is, the poor countries are in a position of marked disadvantage and are easy for the rich ones to exploit. Second, the less developed countries likely suffer from what she calls weak agency, since they tend to be run by corrupt governments whose actions are not in the interest of the population at large (whether the latter isn’t also true of American plutocracy is, of course, a matter worth pondering). Third, the bargain is likely to result in an unacceptable degree of harm to a number of individuals (living in the poor countries) who are not going to simultaneously enjoy any of the profits generated from the “exchange.”

Continued in article

Wave Goodbye to this nation's top economic advisor
"Lawrence Summers Will Leave White House Post and Return to Harvard," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 21, 2010 ---

"Video:Economist Vernon Smith on the Housing Bubble, Adam Smith, and Libertarianism," Simoleon Sense, July 21, 2011 ---

Vernon Smith is a pioneer, discovering a whole new way to study economics and winning a Nobel Prize for doing so.

Smith sat down with Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie to discuss a variety of topics, including growing up in Kansas during the Great Depression, his ideological journey from socialist to libertarian, how and why some of Adam Smith’s most important intellectual contributions are overlooked, and what experimental economics has to say about the collapse of the housing market.

Bob Jensen's threads on the housing bubble ---

College Financial Officers Contemplate Dropping Health Insurance Coverage
"Health Care Costs Up Again," by Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2011 ---

. . .

Because of these challenges, college administrators, like employers in other fields, are weighing the advantages and disadvantages of dropping coverage for some or all employees once several provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care overhaul legislation passed by Congress in 2010, goes into effect in 2014.

"I don't think we're going to be able to provide that lifetime security like we used to," said Brad Kimler, executive vice president of benefits consulting at Fidelity Investments, during a presentation at the annual conference of the National Association of College and University Business Officers. "And I don't think it's realistic to expect that."

A recent Inside Higher Ed survey of business officers found that a large percentage of business officers, particularly at private universities and public baccalaureate institutions, listed health care liability as one of the most significant challenges of the next two to three years. Despite that concern, the question of how to manage these costs seems often to be going unaddressed. The CUPA-HR survey found that only a quarter of responding institutions had developed a strategy for what their health care benefits should be in three years.

The major question that hangs over administrators about upcoming health benefits decisions involves the components of the health care overhaul law that go into effect in 2014, notably the requirement that companies offer a reasonable level of health care benefits to their employees. Companies with more than 50 employees that don't offer health benefits will have to pay a penalty of $2,000 per worker. Individuals who do not not receive health benefits from their employers will receive income-indexed premium and out-of-pocket cost-sharing subsidies, enabling them to obtain private coverage they would not be able to afford on the current market. These options will be available in state or regional health care "exchanges."

It might be cheaper for employers, including colleges and universities, to pay the penalties and forgo whatever tax breaks come with offering employer-supported health benefits than to continue to provide benefits. "As a result, whether to offer ESI [employer-sponsored insurance] after 2014 becomes mostly a business decision," states a much-discussed survey conducted by McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm. "Employers will have to balance the need to remain attractive to talented workers with the net economics of providing benefits -- taking into consideration all the penalties and tax advantages of offering or not offering any given level of coverage," the report states.

That survey found that 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering employer-sponsored coverage, a significantly higher percentage than the 7 percent of employers that the Congressional Budget Office predicted. Among employers who are well-versed in the law, the proportion increases to 50 percent, and 60 percent said they would pursue alternatives, the McKinsey survey found.

The report did not break down respondents by field, but did note it would be unlikely for only one company in a given field to dramatically alter its plans. Higher education institutions, on average, tend to be more generous with benefits than other types of employers, so the sector as a whole might see few shifts after the new provisions go into effect.

Getting out of the employer-supported health benefit game could be economically viable for some employers, but it could also be beneficial to employees. The McKinsey study notes that "because of the subsidies, many low-income employees will be able to obtain better health coverage, for less out of pocket, on an exchange than from their employer."

Aside from the economic decision, colleges and universities are also going to have weigh the cost of health benefits as a recruiting and retention tool. Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for human resources at Duke University, said his institution would be hard-pressed to abandon its plan for that reason. "Faculty and staff tell us that one of the most significant things they value in working here is the health care plan we provide," he said. "The plan is highly valued, and because of that, we would have to very seriously weigh the cost of continuing to provide that."

But he noted that it is too early in the process to know what the exchange system will look like and therefore to actually make a judgment on that front. Most states have not even begun to design the health care exchanges (some have even said outright that they will not create them). A lot of politics remain between now and 2014, administrators say, including major deals regarding national spending and a presidential election.

Because so many factors will go into a college or university's decision on whether to abandon or modify its plans in three years, Cavanaugh stressed that institutions should be gathering and analyzing their data now. "Health care benefits have to, now more than ever, be managed in a strategic way," he said. "The combination of costs, faculty and staff expectations, and the ongoing evolution of national health care reform drive the need to be looking at this from a strategic standpoint."

Doing so could also show returns in the short term, if colleges find ways to drive down costs and measure the effectiveness of different programs. Cavanaugh said his college has found savings by increasing the use of generic drugs. By tracking conditions associated with avoidable and repeat hospital admissions, the university has also been able to work with providers to lower admissions. While Duke's costs have still gone up, Cavanaugh said they have been below the national average for the past few years.

CUPA's survey did find some notable widespread efforts to contain health care costs. More than 60 percent of colleges in CUPA-HR's survey said they offered wellness programs, but participation of employees at colleges was less than 20 percent at many institutions.

The survey also found the highest percentage of respondents providing same-sex domestic partner benefits -- 56 percent -- since the survey began. That is a significant increase from the 37 percent of respondents who reported offering same-sex benefits in 2005.


"'The Flight to the Exchanges':  The Wall Street Journal writes that ObamaCare may cause small businesses to drop insurance coverage," The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2011 ---

McKinsey & Co. made itself the White House's public enemy number—well, we've lost count—after releasing a survey last month showing that nearly one in three businesses may drop insurance coverage as a result of the new health-care law. The real offense of the management consultants seems to be accurately portraying reality.

Consider a suggestive new survey to be released today by the National Federation of Independent Business, the trade group for small businesses. William Dennis, a senior research fellow who has conducted the study for 35 years, reports that 57% of a cross-section of companies that employ 50 or fewer workers and offer coverage may stop doing so. Look out below.

About two of five small companies sponsor insurance—a share that, according to NFIB, has on net held mostly stable or declined very slightly since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Yet 12% of these companies—one of eight—have either had their plans cancelled or have been told that they will be in the future. This churn in the private small-group market is a direct result of ObamaCare's new rules and mandates—but a far larger destabilization could be in the offing, what Mr. Dennis calls "the flight to the exchanges."

Those would be the dispensaries of heavily subsidized insurance, and the NFIB finds that 26% of small businesses today sponsoring insurance are "very likely" to drop it should their employees start to flood government coverage. Another 31% of the 750 firms surveyed report they are "somewhat likely."

Small-business workers are eligible for exchange subsidies even if they can get job-based coverage. The incentive is for them to take it—given that the new government payments will be so generous, small-group coverage is generally costly and the insurance tax break for employers usually doesn't go very far when the employer is small.

If enough workers split, in other words, private coverage will soon erode and cease to exist as an option. Meanwhile, start-ups are constantly entering and exiting the market, and the ones with fewer benefits and liabilities will gain a competitive advantage. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees also aren't subject to any "play or pay" penalties. As Mr. Dennis put it in an interview, "Once you pull the string, everything may unravel."

ObamaCare's partisans claim none of this will happen because of the social norm theories of behavioral economics. Businesses offer insurance to attract workers, the thinking goes, and it's the right thing to do. But that assumes utter irrationality—that workers won't take a cheaper deal when they see it and businesses won't try to compete against their rivals.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on health care are at

Not in My Backyard
"Nantucket's Wind Power Rip-off Vastly cheaper forms of green energy are available," by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2011 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304521304576447541604359376.html#mod=djemEditorialPage_t .

Someone needs to tell the politicians in Boston and Washington that Cape Wind, the long-stalled plan to cover 25 square miles of pristine Nantucket Sound with 130 massive steel windmill-turbine towers, is a rip-off. That someone is most likely to be the newly enlightened electricity ratepayers—and voters—of Massachusetts.

In the past few months it has become clearer than ever how much this giveaway of public property is going to cost them if Cape Wind is ever built. The numbers are staggering.

Vermont wants to take its nuclear plant off line and replace it with clean, green power from HydroQuebec—power available to Massachusetts utilities—at a cost of six cents per kilowatt hour (kwh). Cape Wind electricity, by a conservative estimate and based on figures they filed with the state, comes in at 25 cents per kwh.

In Massachusetts, the utility company NSTAR has fought off intense political pressure to commit to buying Cape Wind's power when and if it becomes available. CEO Tom May has repeatedly said such a contract would impose far too large a burden on his ratepayers.

Instead, and to meet the state's requirements that utilities purchase 3.5% of their power from "green" sources, NSTAR has contracted with several far less expensive land-based wind-power providers.

According to NSTAR's own filings to certify compliance with the green-power requirement, these contracts come in at $111 million below market averages over the standard contract period of 15 years. The price of Cape Wind power comes in at well over $1 billion above market averages, according to Cape Wind's own regulatory filings about its contract with National Grid, the utility company that has agreed to buy half its power.

If the sea-based wind farm off Nantucket did begin operating, it is safe to deduce that National Grid customers would be getting fleeced compared to their NSTAR neighbors. The land-based wind alternatives that have sprouted up over the last decade have given utilities far cheaper alternatives to the unbuilt Cape Wind.

Bluntly put: Whether you agree or disagree with the fishermen, homeowners and environmentalists who have fought Cape Wind for a decade, the fact is this project makes no sense for ratepayers and taxpayers. Vastly cheaper forms of energy, and not just wind, are now available.

Despite this, there are ominous signs that NSTAR, after years of fighting off pressure by the state of Massachusetts to jam its customers with higher costs, is being told to accept the higher costs after all. The state's leverage? A proposed merger of NSTAR with Northeast Utilities.

In only the latest example of how heavy-handed Cape Wind's backers are, Massachusetts has suddenly agreed to change the rules for utilities as they apply to mergers and the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. In effect, the state administration is trying to hold hostage the proposed NSTAR-Northeast Utilities merger unless the two electric companies agree to buy Cape Wind's power.

Stopping Cape Wind is no longer merely about preventing the desecration of sacred Native American land, including land now under shallow waters in the Sound, where the turbines would also obstruct religiously significant views of the sunrise and sunset. It is no longer simply about protecting fish and fishing—which Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has moved to do for other areas of the state. Those reasons, along with protecting the safety of boats and planes while saving Cape Cod and the Islands from a devastating blow to tourism and property values, are still valid.

Continued in article

DC Game Playing:  Efforts to increase taxes for the wealthy re offset by efforts to guarantee their jumbo mortgages
"Fannie Mae's Revivalists:  A scheme is afoot to keep taxpayers guaranteeing $700,000 mortgages," The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2011 ---

If you think a taxpayer bailout of $164 billion (and counting) is enough to convince politicians to stop guaranteeing mortgages, then you don't know Washington. A bipartisan effort is now underway in Congress to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dominating the mortgage market even for affluent borrowers.

On Wednesday the Capitol Hill publication CQ Today quoted Barney Frank saying that the White House is ready to repudiate a February reform proposal and support this effort. An Obama Administration official tells us that its position hasn't changed, and we hope they mean it.

The issue concerns the so-called conforming loan limit, or the size of mortgages that the two government housing giants are allowed to guarantee. The amount was $417,000 before the housing meltdown, but in February 2008 President George W. Bush bowed to the Pelosi Congress and increased it to $729,750 for homes in the most expensive parts of the country. This was sold as a temporary measure, but in 2009 President Obama extended it.

The limit is now scheduled to decline on October 1 to $625,500, which is still far above the average U.S. sale price for existing homes of $236,200. The White House position, outlined in a February white paper and affirmed to us Thursday evening, is to reduce the limit on schedule.

Even this small reduction in taxpayer exposure is too much for the housing lobby, and right on time Republican John Campbell of California and Democrat Gary Ackerman of New York have proposed a bill to maintain the current limit for another two years. This would keep Fan and Fred in their dominant position in the U.S. mortgage market, while continuing to provide a taxpayer guarantee to an already heavily subsidized corner of the economy. Together with the Federal Housing Administration, these toxic twins now control 90% of the U.S. mortgage market.

For Mr. Campbell, this is becoming a bad habit. In May he sponsored a plan to create multiple "private" government-backed guarantors of mortgage securities in the unlikely event that Congress ever gets rid of Fannie and Freddie.

Sounding like Mr. Frank, the Orange County Republican now says the free market isn't ready to finance mortgages without government guarantees. He says that people looking for "nonconforming" loans face almost impossible terms, including required down payments of up to 50%, plus additional cash in the bank as further protection for the lender.

But LendingTree LLC, which allows consumers to comparison-shop for mortgages, tells a different story. A company spokesman reports that nonconforming borrowers with excellent credit can put as little as 10% down, while rates are "incredibly low" by historical standards, typically below 5%, and not that much higher than the rates on taxpayer-backed loans. The company also doesn't see any lack of lenders willing to make loans without a federal guarantee.

What about the secondary market? Will investors ever again buy mortgage-backed securities without taxpayer backing? We would refer Mr. Campbell to the May testimony of Redwood Trust CEO Martin Hughes before the Senate Banking Committee. In April 2010 Redwood brought to market the first securitization of new home mortgages without a government guarantee since the crisis. Another deal followed this year and more are in the pipeline.

Letting Fan and Fred's conforming-loan value decline gradually is the best way to restore a private mortgage market without disrupting the larger housing market. Mr. Campbell says the private market isn't ready, but how does he know if the government doesn't even attempt to get out of the way?

We suspect the real housing-lobby game here is to delay any reform of Fan and Fred until political memories of their bailout fade. Then they can emerge again from government conservatorship as profit-making ventures, lathering campaign contributions on Members of both parties to continue to dominate the housing market.

Continued in article

"NLJ: The Impact of Higher Bar Passage Requirements on Law School Diversity," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, July 18, 2011 ---

NLJ: The Impact of Higher Bar Passage Requirements on Law School Diversity

National Law Journal, ABA Again Confronts the Diversity Dilemma: A Renewed Push for Higher Law School Standards Has its Downside, by Karen Sloan:
[The ABA] is trying to reconcile the legal profession's need for greater diversity with its desire to push law schools to better prepare students to pass the bar. For the second time in four years, it is considering raising the minimum bar-passage-rate requirement as part of a comprehensive review of law school accreditation standards. ...
The hope is that higher standards would push schools with lower passage rates to invest more in academic support and bar preparation. ... They also would serve a consumer-protection function, assuring law students a reasonable expectation of passing the bar.

The ABA has already signaled that it takes bar-passage rates seriously. It revoked provisional accreditation from the University of La Verne College of Law in Ontario, Calif., in June because of the school's low bar-passage rates. In 2009, a scant 34% of La Verne students passed the California bar examination on the first try, and the school's first-time bar-passage rate was 53% in 2010 — improved, but still not good enough, according to the ABA.

Applying a bright-line bar-passage standard is a fairly new idea for the ABA. Before 2008, the ABA spelled out no specific bar-passage minimum. Instead, it enforced what was called the "70/10 Rule": At least 70% of the school's first-time bar takers had to pass the exam in the school's home state. In the alternative, the first-time bar-pass rate could be no lower than 10% below the average of other ABA-accredited schools in that state.

The U.S. Department of Education, which has authorized the ABA to be the national accreditor of law schools, asked for a clearer standard in 2007. After protracted wrangling, the ABA adopted a requirement that at least 75% of a law school's graduates pass the bar exam in at least three of the past five years. Schools can also meet the standard if their first-time bar-passage rate is no more than 15% below other ABA schools in the same state during three of the past five years. The 15% requirement is intended to level the playing field across states, given that passage rates vary widely depending on jurisdiction. The outcome was a compromise, representing a minimum standard higher than what diversity advocates wanted but lower than the initial proposal. ...

The new proposal would require that at least 80% of graduates pass the bar in three of the past five years, or that first-time bar-passage rates be no more than 10% below other schools in the same state — bringing the standards closer to the test used before 2008.

Turkey Times for Overstuffed Law Schools ---

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

"Who Will Be Held Responsible in the Atlanta Public School Cheating Scandal?" by Lori Drummer, Townhall, July 19, 2011 ---

"Georgia lawmaker wants cheating educators to return bonuses,"  WRDW TV, July 19, 2011 ---

Under the proposed legislation, any educator found guilty of cheating would forfeit all promised salary increases or bonuses and would have to repay any money handed out based on test results.

"Cory Booker: High School Education is the Key to America's Success," by Michelle Chandler, Stanford GSB News, July 2011 ---

"Education Is Worse Than We Thought," by Walter E. Williams, Townhall, July 20, 2011 ---

Last December, I reported on Harvard University professor Stephan Thernstrom's essay "Minorities in College -- Good News, But...," on Minding the Campus, a website sponsored by the New York-based Manhattan Institute. He was commenting on the results of the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, saying that the scores "mean that black students aged 17 do not read with any greater facility than whites who are four years younger and still in junior high. ... Exactly the same glaring gaps appear in NAEP's tests of basic mathematics skills." Thernstrom asked, "If we put a randomly-selected group of 100 eighth-graders and another of 100 twelfth-graders in a typical college, would we expect the first group to perform as well as the second?" In other words, is it reasonable to expect a college freshman of any race who has the equivalent of an eighth-grade education to compete successfully with those having a 12th-grade education?

Maybe this huge gap in black/white academic achievement was in the paternalistic minds of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals justices who recently struck down Michigan's ban on the use of race and sex as criteria for college admissions. The court said that it burdens minorities and violates the U.S. Constitution. Given the black education disaster, racial preferences in college admissions will become a permanent feature, because given the status quo, blacks as a group will never make it into top colleges based upon academic merit.

The situation is worse than we thought. U.S. News & World Report (7/7/2011) came out with a story titled "Educators Implicated in Atlanta Cheating Scandal," saying that "for 10 years, hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals changed answers on state tests in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history, according to a scathing 413-page investigative report released Tuesday by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal." The report says that more than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated cheated on the 2009 standardized National Assessment of Educational Progress. Eighty-two teachers have confessed to erasing students' answers. A total of 178 educators, including 38 principals, many of whom are black, systematically fabricated test scores of struggling black students to cover up academic failure. The governor's report says that cheating orders came from the top and that widespread cheating has occurred since at least 2001. So far, no Atlanta educator has been criminally charged, even though some of the cheating was brazen, such as teachers pointing to correct answers while students were taking the tests, reading answers aloud during testing and seating low-achieving students next to high-achieving students to make cheating easier.

Teacher and principal exam cheating is not restricted to Atlanta; it's widespread. The Detroit Free Press and USA Today (3/8/2011) released an investigative report that found higher-than-average erasure rates on tests taken by students at 34 schools in and around Detroit in 2008 and 2009. Overall, their report "found 304 schools where experts say the gains on standardized tests in 2009-10 are so statistically improbable, they merit further investigation. Besides Michigan, the other states (where suspected cheating was found) were Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and California." A Dallas Morning News investigation reported finding high rates of test erasures in Texas. Six teachers and two principals were dismissed after cheating was uncovered.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on education controversies are at



"GOP Balancing Act:  A balanced budget amendment is the wrong debt solution," The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2011 ---

Republicans this week plan to force votes in the House and Senate on a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The last time Congress voted on a BBA was in 1997. It failed. The first unsuccessful BBA was proposed in 1936. All efforts between now and then to vote a balanced budget amendment into the Constitution have failed. This one will as well, as there are sufficient Democratic votes in the Senate to block it.

What, then, is the point?

The point is that many Republicans—and we suspect silently more than a few Democrats—are frustrated and sickened at the spectacle of the nation's debt bursting past $14 trillion, with the prospect that the debt soon may reach 100% of GDP. They are upset as well that the Obama Presidency has pushed federal spending upward, from its historic postwar level around 20% of GDP to near 25% this year. Proponents of the BBA argue that only a spending limitation embedded in the Constitution can stop the U.S. fisc from going over the cliff.

These pages bear enough scars from the spending wars—against both political parties—to have won Milton Friedman spending-limitation citations many times over. But we have been writing since at least the 1995 vote on a balanced budget amendment that we do not believe this mechanism can achieve its desired result. Its effects may even prove perverse. We see no reason to change that view now.

The newest versions of the BBA include a strong provision requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote to increase taxes. That said, we doubt the historic 1981 Reagan tax cuts within the Kemp-Roth bill, once subjected to Congress's revenue-neutrality accountants, could have survived the balanced budget mandate. Even with deficits, the U.S. grew strongly for seven years, adding to GDP as much as the entire West German economy.

Nor is it clear that the amendment could avoid unintended consequences. In the current fight over spending and the debt, the GOP Congressional leadership has worked well to protect the defense budget from a President who constantly cites the need to cut it. But under a mandated need to balance spending, the inevitable horse-trading would likely default to cutting defense while ducking fights on domestic programs.

The Senate and House versions both contain waivers in times of military conflict, but these are fraught with problems. The supermajority requirement for taxes is waived if a "declaration of war" is in effect, or if a majority votes to support spending for a conflict "which causes an imminent and serious military threat" as described in a joint resolution of Congress. Sounds complicated. Would Ronald Reagan's spending that did so much to end the Cold War have survived these hurdles?

Tea party Republicans, to their credit, want to pass a BBA that would include the supermajority tax limitation. But it has no chance of passing, and absent that rule, political pressure could turn the amendment into a driver for the entitlement state as successive Democratic governments raised taxes, most likely with a European-style value-added tax to balance spending commitments.

The new Members who are intent on fiscal responsibility should visit with Congressional historians to discover a root cause of this modern spending catastrophe—the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, the most laughable title ever placed on a federal law.

Passed amid Richard Nixon's struggles over spending with Congress, the law eviscerated the President's ability to impound Congressional spending. The law itself was an act of rage against Nixon's impoundments. "Control" over spending tipped into the hands of Congress, as is clear from the upward path of federal spending post-1974. This was the start of the infamous "baseline" budgeting rules, which automatically ratchet up spending from one year to the next.

Rather than trying to scale the impossibly high cliff of a Constitutional amendment, younger Members should revisit that bad law and fix it. Tom DeLay never wanted to fix it, but Paul Ryan does. The goal of an achievable reform act would be to put spending on a downward slope. That would include getting rid of baseline budgeting, restoring the Presidential impoundment power (if liberal Congresses hated it, it must have been good), and requiring the two-thirds majority for tax increases.

Continued in article

"5 American Economic Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind," by John Hawkins, Townhall, July 19, 2011 ---


Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm

Bob Jensen's Tidbits Archives ---

Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

·     With a Rejoinder from the 2010 Senior Editor of The Accounting Review (TAR), Steven J. Kachelmeier

·     With Replies in Appendix 4 to Professor Kachemeier by Professors Jagdish Gangolly and Paul Williams

·     With Added Conjectures in Appendix 1 as to Why the Profession of Accountancy Ignores TAR

·     With Suggestions in Appendix 2 for Incorporating Accounting Research into Undergraduate Accounting Courses

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TheoryTAR.htm
By Bob Jensen

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---

Bob Jensen's economic crisis messaging http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

Bob Jensen's threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/