Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the October 12, 2015 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

Election Information --- http://www.rockthevote.com/get-informed/elections/

Cross-Over Gaming Primary Elections:  Voting for a Sure Loser Rather Than a Candidate That Might Win in a Race to the Botton
Cross-Over Gaming Primary Elections:  Voting for a Sure Loser to Knock Out Winning Candidates
Based upon a comment I heard on CBS News there are signs that the poll support and crowds supporting Donald Trump are largely members of the Democratic Party intent on messing up the Republican Party primary outcomes. These Trump supporters have no intent to vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election if he should be nominated. Something similar may be happening among the supporters of Bernie Sanders who are really Republicans in sheeps' white wool.

The USA system of selecting nominees in primary elections that precede general elections possibly are becoming a vicious game.
Election Gaming "Fraud" in Primary Elections in the USA:  Making Sure Your General Election Opponent is a Real Loser

FlackCheck.org --- http://www.flackcheck.org
Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, FlackCheck.org offers resources that help students "recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular"

Bloggingheads.tv (political commentary --- http://bloggingheads.tv/

OpenSecrets (money and politics blog) --- https://www.opensecrets.org


Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley,

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau

Supreme Court Justices Get More Liberal As They Get Older
Oliver Roeder --- http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/supreme-court-justices-get-more-liberal-as-they-get-older/
Unlike most taxpayers

The False Income-Inequality Narrative:  The focus on divvying up existing wealth instead of creating more for everyone hurts the very people the left says it wants to help.
Jason I. Riley --- http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-false-income-equality-narrative-1443569867?mod=djemBestOfTheWeb

Trust in the Media is at An All Time Low
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza is troubled by a new Gallup poll finding: “Just four in 10 Americans say they have a ‘great deal’ or a ‘fair amount’ of trust in the media to report the news fairly and accurately. . . . That matches historic lows the media also ‘achieved’ in 2012 and 2014.” For this he blames “partisans—whether in politics or in the media—who have a vested interest in casting the press as hopelessly biased.”


In the USA 2014 was the least violent year in decades following a steady decline in violent crimes
Jensen Comment
It's difficult or impossible to rank what factors caused the most decline. Economic recovery is probably a major helper in reducing crime. Technology certainly played a role, especially video surveillance everywhere. The Freakonomics conclusion that increasing abortion rates among poverty women had an eventual payoff in lowering violent crime rates. Gun enthusiasts like to claim that pistol-packing is a preventative. Much of the violent crime is domestic-abuse crime, and there's no explanation of why that is down other than the impact of a better economy and reduced unemployment. Most certainly steady improvements in DNA testing and forensic science in general contributed heavily to the long-term decline in violent crime.

Climate Change Is So Bad That the US and China Agree on It ---

This 1 chart shows the incredible increase in the number of millionaires in China ---

“If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award…” Anthea Butler lamented
University of Pennsylvania Religion Professor wanting to nominate Ben Carson ---
Read some of her student comments --- http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=1551168

Obama Falls for the Clock Hoax Hook, Line, and Sinker
And once the boy has his clock (returned from the Dallas Police) , he plans to take President Barack Obama up on his invitation to bring it to Washington.

Jensen Comment

Buy (not build)  an alarm clock that ticks
Rig it up to look like a bomb
Be praised in the media as a genius
Get invited to the White House
And become a millionaire in a new kind of American Dream

Gallup’s decision to get out of the (USA presidential election polling) horse-race game comes after two consecutive elections in which its results were way off. Gallup’s final generic congressional ballot in 2010 had Republicans winning by 15 percentage points; they won by 7 points. ---
Jensen Comment
One problem with election polling in general is that samples are often drawn from populations that are not in a steady state regarding how they will vote in election booths. Choices can change right up to pulling the lever. And sampled respondents are often not truthful about how they intend to vote such as cross-over voting in primary elections in order to destroy the best opposition candidate.

The differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims ---

Politicians are taking over late night TV — and that's bad for everyone ---
Chris Tagnotti --- http://www.businessinsider.com/politicians-are-taking-over-late-night-tv-and-thats-bad-for-everyone-2015-9

Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to Newark public schools failed miserably — here's where it went wrong
Abby Jackson, Business Insider, September 25, 2015 --- 

Connecticut has roughly half of what it needs to pay future retirement benefits for its workers, meaning the home to scores of hedge funds and some of the country’s wealthiest towns is wrestling with financial distress rivaling that of Kentucky or Illinois.
Aaron Kuriloff and Timothy W. Martin --- http://www.wsj.com/articles/connecticut-americas-richest-state-has-a-huge-pension-problem-1443996813?mod=djemCFO_h 

The Afghan Taliban just made its biggest gain in 10 years — here's where they are ---
Jensen Comment
President Obama hates war so much he prefers to walk away in unconditional defeat that leaves a power vacuum and turmoil.

"When the chain of command is politicized or corrupt, it's very hard for them to generate combat motivation in the ranks." In a draft paper touching on the problems America has training and equipping foreign fighters, Biddle notes that the US aim of having a professionalized allied force seldom jives with the goals of ruling elites in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Thomas Watkins and Guillaume Decamme --- http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-taliban-takeover-in-kunduz-echoes-is-rout-of-mosul-2015-9
Jensen Comment
If Obama defeated Assad in Syria he would not know what to do to keep it from becoming a corrupt terrorist state like Afghanistan and Libya.

It looks like the 'Obama Doctrine' is failing ---

Government Muzzling Research and Research Reporting:  Elizabeth Warren's Intellectual Purge
“President Obama has let Elizabeth Warren veto presidential appointments, and the power rush seems to have gone to her head,” notes a Journal editorial. “Now the Massachusetts Senator has forced the resignation of a Brookings Institution economist because he dared to report that new financial regulations will cost investors.” The widely-respected Robert Litan committed the sin of reporting that the Labor Department’s new fiduciary rule could cost those investors up to $80 billion.


WSJ columnist Gordon Crovitz weighs in on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s political assault on think-tank scholar Robert Litan. “Ms. Warren’s inquisition isn’t about ethics but about suppressing cost-benefit analysis, which until the Obama era was a bipartisan approach to identifying regulations doing more harm than good,” writes Mr. Crovitz.

What Putin Really, Really Despises is the Leftist Movement in Europe and the USA:  To Him Tens of Millions Refuges Fleeing to the West Will Create Turmoil and Belatedly Put an End to the West's Leftist Movements
So Ukrainian experience gives reason for skepticism about Putin’s claim that Russia is intervening in Syria to help Europe with its refugee problem. The politics might well be exactly the opposite. Having found a powerful ally in its quest to end European integration, the European far right has followed Moscow’s lead on the Ukrainian conflict. But the natural subject of Putin’s allies in Europe is immigration. By supporting the Assad regime, Russia helps to produce the refugees that drive European politics rightward. Syrian refugees who arrive in Europe must be treated humanely and according to law. At the same time, European leaders might consider the possibility that Russian policy in Syria is aimed toward the transformation of the country into a refugee factory. In Ukraine, Russian intervention generated two million refugees among precisely the people Moscow claimed it was protecting. In Syria, it has been the Assad regime, which Russia has now supported, that has been responsible for the vast majority of the refugees.
Time Magazine, September 30, 2015 --- http://time.com/4054941/putin-russia-syria/?xid=newsletter-brief
Jensen Comment
Or to put it more simply if your own economy is awful you can look relatively better by dragging down the prosperous (think Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the USA)  economies with a "Refuge Making Machine" But think what might happen if one day one of those refugee families with lots of kids tries to cross the Russian border?

If I win the Syrian refugees admitted to the USA are going back.
Donald Trump --- http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-migration-crisis-syrian-refugees-politics-migrants-election-2015-10
This is not realistic. Here's what will really happen Trump or No Trump ---

Germans Having Second Thoughts About Refugees After Major Riots ---

Denmark, which earlier this year slashed benefits for asylum seekers, said Monday it is making it more difficult to acquire citizenship in the Scandinavian country ---

Global International Migration Flows --- http://www.global-migration.info/


We'd rather be obese on benefits than thin and working.
Janice and Amber Manzur
John Hill, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11347454/Mother-and-daughter-weigh-a-total-of-43-stone-and-get-34k-a-year-handouts-but-refuse-to-diet.html 


Moocher Hall of Fame --- https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/the-moocher-hall-of-fame/


Election Gaming "Fraud" in Primary Elections in the USA:  Making Sure Your General Election Opponent is a Real Loser

Table of Contents

Funding Losers

 Communications Juggernauts in Crossover Voting Frauds

Funding Opponent Scandals

The Week In Congress --- http://theweekincongress.com/

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

The model minority is losing patience:  Asian-Americans are the United States’ most successful minority, but they are complaining ever more vigorously about discrimination, especially in academia
The Economist, October 3, 2015

"Almost half of American households don't pay federal income tax," by Martin Matishak,  The Fiscal Times via Business Insider, October 9, 2015 ---

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, did irreparable damage to his campaign when he asserted that the 47 percent of Americans dependent on government who don’t pay federal income taxes would back President Obama “no matter what.”

A few years later, that estimate needs to be revised.

On Tuesday, The Tax Policy Center, a joint effort by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, said the number of households that don’t pay federal income taxes fell to 45.3 percent. But that figure is still roughly 5 percentage points higher than the center’s 2013 estimate of 40.4 percent.

The uptick doesn’t mean more folks have moved off the tax rolls. Rather, the surge from 2013 is largely thanks to better data tracking tools, according to the Center's Roberton Williams. “Those additional non-payers were there all the time -- we just failed to count them,” he said in a blog post.

That said, the Center still projects that the percentage of non-payers will fall over time, just more gradually than previously thought.

“We now estimate that 40 percent of tax units won’t pay tax in 2025, higher than our previous projection of about one-third,” Williams said.

While the Center, the Treasury Department and the Joint Committee on Taxation all try their best to give a proper estimate of the amount of non-payers, their figures shouldn’t be accepted as gospel truth, in part because some people don’t file returns or may have had taxes withheld during the calendar year.

Williams stressed that just because people don’t pay federal income taxes doesn’t mean they don’t contribute in some way. In fact, a majority of them work and therefore are on the hook for payroll taxes. They also pay local sales tax and state taxes.

Jensen Comment The drop in the percentage of households not paying any income tax is due mostly to the drop in unemployment rates rather than tightening of tax laws. The biggest single item taking away tax obligations is the earned income tax credit for lower income families. Since it is a payout credit many of these taxpayers take home cash like in a negative income tax system advocated by conservative economist Milton Freedman years ago.

Since many states peg their state income tax obligation to the federal income tax paid, the taxpayers are usually off the hook as well for state income taxes. Of course there can be some exceptions.



"America Is in Danger of Being Ruled by the Mob," by Victor Davis Hanson, Newsweek, October 4, 2015 ---

The constitution of the Roman Republic was designed as a corrective to democracy. Specifically, it was hoping to protect against the excesses of Athenian-style direct democracy.

About twice a month in Athens, citizens voted into law almost anything they wished. About six to seven thousand citizens would squeeze into a hillside amphitheater known as the Pnyx and were swayed by demagogues (“people leaders”) into voting for or against whatever the cause de jour was. Our term “democracy” comes from the Greek dêmos-kratos, which means “people-power.”

In furor at a rebellion, for example, Athenians once voted to kill all of the adult male subjects of the island of Lesbos—only to repent the next day and vote again to execute just some, hoping that their second messenger ship rowed fast enough across the Aegean to catch the first bearing the original death sentence.

In a fit of pique, the popular court voted to execute the philosopher Socrates, fine the statesman Pericles and ostracize the general Aristides. Being successful, popular, rich, or controversial always proved to be a career liability in a democracy like the one that ruled Athens.

The Romans knew enough about mercurial ancient Athens to appreciate that they did not want a radical democracy. Instead, they sought to take away absolute power from the people and redistribute it within a “mixed” government. In Rome, power was divided constitutionally between executives (two consuls), legislators (the Senate and assemblies) and judges (Roman magistrates).

The half-millennia success of the stable Roman republican system inspired later French and British Enlightenment thinkers. Their abstract tripartite system of constitutional government stirred the Founding Fathers to concrete action.

Americans originally were terrified of what 51 percent of the people in an unchecked democracy might do on any given day—and knew that ancient democracies had always become more, not less, radical and thus more unstable. For all the squabbles between Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison, they agreed that a republic, not a direct democracy, was a far safer and stable choice of governance.

The result was a potpourri of ways to curb the predictable excesses and fits of the people. An Electoral College reserved commensurate power to rural states rather than passing off the presidential vote into the hands of the huge urban majorities.

States could decide their own rules of voter participation—with the original understanding that owning a modicum of property might make a citizen more rooted and engaged. Senators were appointed by state legislatures to balance the popular election of House members.

Many of these checks on popular expression were later overturned by plebiscites or the courts, but they reflected the original 18th-century worries over a supposedly unchecked mob.

We often think that a Bill of Rights was designed to protect Americans from monarchs and dictators. It certainly was. But the Founders were just as terrified of what that the majority of elected representatives without restraint might legally do on any given day to an individual citizen.

Madison’s constitutional guarantees seem to have anticipated what politically correct campus administrators currently would like to do to the rights of students accused of race/class/gender thought crimes.

Transitory manias are also common in democratic society. In 1942, furious Americans wanted Japanese citizens in detention camps immediately; in 2015, climate change advocates have been begging the federal government to silence global warming “deniers” by charging them with racketeering crimes.

Our election primaries showcase how the popular impulses of the people can create a sudden herd mentality. In 2012, slick advertising, bombastic televised debating and the Internet variously created and then destroyed leading Republican candidates like Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. A good one-liner or a cool infomercial made each of those candidates the fad or the cad of the month.

Continued in article

Is the European Union falling apart?
Europe's highest court just rejected the 'safe harbor' agreement used by American tech companies

EU Strikes Back Over Snowden Leaks, But the Elimination of the Safe Harbor Agreement Makes it Difficult for USA Companies to Do Business in Europe ---

Jensen Comment
This is an illustration of how Snowden's good intentions paved the road to Hell.

How to Mislead With Statistics
"The ‘Wage Gap’ Myth That Won’t Die:  You have to ignore many variables to think women are paid less than men. California is happy to try," by Sarah Ketterer, The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2015 ---

When it comes to economically foolish laws, California is second to none. A good example is the California Fair Pay Act, which Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign in coming days.

This bill, which the California senate unanimously passed in August, is a state version of the Paycheck Fairness Act that the U.S. Congress rejected in 2014. Like its national counterpart, it is an aggressive attempt to eradicate a wage gap between men and women that is allegedly due to discrimination in the workplace. But this wage gap is illusory, and the legislation will have unintended consequences, including for women.

The Fair Pay Act will prohibit employers from paying men and women different wages for “substantially similar work.” At first glance, this prohibition might appear reasonable: Government data for 2014 show that women in California earn, on average, 84 cents for every dollar earned by men. (Nationally, women earn about 79 cents for every dollar earned by men.)

But a closer look reveals a different picture. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that its analysis of wages by gender does “not control for many factors that can be significant in explaining earnings differences.”

What factors? Start with hours worked. Full-time employment is technically defined as more than 35 hours. This raises an obvious problem: A simple side-by-side comparison of all men and all women includes people who work 35 hours a week, and others who work 45. Men are significantly more likely than women to work longer hours, according to the BLS. And if we compare only people who work 40 hours a week, BLS data show that women then earn on average 90 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Career choice is another factor. Research in 2013 by Anthony Carnevale, a Georgetown University economist, shows that women flock to college majors that lead to lower-paying careers. Of the 10 lowest-paying majors—such as “drama and theater arts” and “counseling psychology”—only one, “theology and religious vocations,” is majority male.

Conversely, of the 10 highest-paying majors—including “mathematics and computer science” and “petroleum engineering”—only one, “pharmacy sciences and administration,” is majority female. Eight of the remaining nine are more than 70% male.

Other factors that account for earnings differences include marriage and children, both of which cause many women to leave the workforce for years. June O’Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, concluded in a 2005 study that “there is no gender gap in wages among men and women with similar family roles.” Time magazine reported in 2010 that in 98% of America’s largest 150 cities, including my hometown of Los Angeles, single women under 30 actually earned, on average, 8% more than their male counterparts.

Ms. O’Neill and her husband concluded in their 2012 book, “The Declining Importance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market,” that once all these factors are taken into account, very little of the pay differential between men and women is due to actual discrimination, which is “unlikely to account for a differential of more than 5 percent but may not be present at all.”

What California’s Fair Pay Act will do, however, is make the state, already notorious for regulation and red tape, a more difficult place to do business. Companies must now ensure that every penny of wage differential between the men and women they employ is attributable to bona-fide differences in education, training, experience, quantity or quality of work, and so on. Referring to the countless factors at play, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin has said “it’s not checkable.” Yet even attempting to do so will only add to companies’ already substantial regulatory-compliance budgets.

Some of these factors—quality of work, for instance—are inevitably subjective, yet trial lawyers will swoop in to turn every conceivable pay difference into a lawsuit. Employers who cannot “prove” objectively that one employee’s work was better than another’s may face costly penalties. Many will surely pay to settle these lawsuits instead of taking them to court.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It will be interesting to see how this law plays out in tenure decisions at the most prestigious universities in California. For example, my 2012/2013 version of the Hasselback Directory shows that 27% are women in Stanford's accounting program. The proportions appear to be no better or even worse in the other highly prestigious accounting programs in California universities.

It will take years to track the impact of the Fair Pay Act in California's universities, but evidence may mount up more quickly in the outcomes of lawsuits in universities. This probably sounds sexist, but the tenured women I've worked with as a colleague in four universities across 40 years of my full-time faculty career tended to work as hard or harder than the men in the classroom but not as hard at research and publishing in accounting research journals. Of course times have changed in recent years. and we see a rise in the proportions of women authors in our top accounting research journals.

The tenured women in very prestigious accounting programs tend to rival the men in research and publication even if they are more of a minority in those prestigious programs. I think that greater focus on teaching by tenured women comes in colleges and universities that are not in the Top 25 universities in the the US News rankings.

My point is that the Fair Pay Act in California may impact how prestigious universities grant tenure and performance pay based upon tradeoffs between research versus teaching. In prestigious universities outstanding research performance is now a necessary condition for tenure. Litigation following the Fair Pay Act may make outstanding research less necessary for outstanding women teachers.

Will I be in trouble for thinking like this? Almost certainly!

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of women in the accounting profession are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#Women

"Democratic Economists vs. Elizabeth Warren," by James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2015 ---

. . .

At least some Democrats are resisting Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s purge of the liberal intelligentsia. This week Ms. Warren succeeded in forcing the resignation of respected scholar Robert Litan from the Brookings Institution after he revealed that a new Labor Department regulation could cost investors billions. Now five Democratic economists have authored a letter to protest Warren’s bullying. Robert Lawrence of Harvard’s Kennedy School and Bowman Cutter of the Roosevelt Institute are among those writing “to express our concern over our colleague Bob Litan’s treatment at the hands of the Brookings Institution and Senator Elizabeth Warren.” Also signing the letter are Everett Ehrlich, Joseph Minarik and Hal Singer.

Continued in article

"Global Tech Firms Brace for Tax Rules:  OECD recommendations aim to stop multinational companies from avoiding billions in taxes, by By Sam Schechner, The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2015 ---

PARIS—Multinational companies are girding for new rules designed to force them to pay greater corporate income taxes in more countries where they operate, setting up potential clashes between Silicon Valley giants and European governments angling for tax revenue.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on Monday issued a series of recommendations aimed at stopping large companies in many industries from avoiding paying hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes every year through baroque structures that are legal, but have come under increasing political pressure, particularly in Europe.

The new rules could eventually redirect to European government coffers billions of euros in non-U.S. profits earned by companies such as Facebook Inc. and Google that are funneled to tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. The rules could also hasten structural change at some of the world’s biggest technology companies, including Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc.

Continued in article



Gasoline Taxes by State
While electric car owners contribute $0 toward bridge and road maintenance (except in Oregon)

From the Scout Report on September 25, 2015

Looking at Greece's Debt Crisis in Light of Another Syriza Victory
Greece election: Alexis Tsipras hails 'victory of the people'

Greece's Debt Crisis Explained

Alexis Tsipras

How Greece's prime minister rose from high school activist to high politics

Eurozone vs. EU: What's the difference?

Greece's Ex-Finance Minister Tells All


From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on October 1, 2015

Vegas fights to buy its own electricity
Three big casino companies that run glittering resorts on the Las Vegas Strip are trying to break free from Nevada’s electric-power monopoly, NV Energy. Hoteliers including Wynn Resorts Ltd., MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp. say they could cut millions of dollars from their electric bills if they could buy power directly from solar farms or power-plant owners.

Jensen Comment
This may be a question of who pays the fixed cost of electric power monopolies that have heavy fixed costs due to power line investments and investments in maintaining power generating capacity for peak demand. Big power users like casino-hotels want marginal cost-based pricing where they pay little toward the high fixed costs of power monopolies. Nearly all states where solar power is becoming plentiful have similar problems of maintaining power generating capacity for nights and cloudy days. Some like California and Vermont are cutting back on in-state power generating capacity and relying more on the out-of-state grid capacity. California now draws over half its power from out-of-state, and Vermont like much of New England in general plans to rely more and more on Quebec Hydro to feed the grid. In doing so, however states give up pricing regulation power and become more dependent upon power sources over which they have little control.

The politics of power will soon become down and dirty as more and more heavy power users obtain technology (with somewhat heavy investment) to generate all of their power needs on and off peak. This will leave power monopolies (public or private) inside a state with a higher proportion of small users (think family homes and small businesses). Many of those smaller users will generate some of their own power like my friend down the road who has a single solar panel to heat a water tank. However, he still relies on the power company for other power needs such as running appliances in his home, including his hot water tank at night and own cloudy days.

Eventually the big power users like casino-hotels will not be sharing power generating capacity costs and even power line costs with the small users who still rely on the power company monopolies. As a result the power company monopolies will either have to charge a lot more to the small users or make those small users vulnerable to out-of-state pricing whims of the grid. Once Quebec Hydro has more and more pricing power for our grid the deals may get worse and worse for our New England states.

Capacity Accounting --- http://maaw.info/CapacityRelatedMain.htm

Electric Power Company Dilemma:  Those Pesky Capacity Costs
"Frank Wolak: How to Keep Green Policies from Crashing the Electricity Grid As California embarks on “cap and trade,” Stanford researchers employ advanced trading games to head off nasty surprises," by Edmund Andrews, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, May 13, 2015 --- Click Here

. . .

The games also highlight what is perhaps the biggest long-term conundrum tied to regulatory mandates for solar and wind power: a pricing dynamic that sends spot-market electricity prices crashing to almost zero at times when sunlight and wind are abundant, which can make it hard for other electricity providers that are essential during periods of peak demand to recover their fixed costs.

Price crashes have already become a serious issue in Germany, where government-supported mechanisms have propelled renewables to the point that, during a few hours of the year, renewables are the nation’s largest source of electricity. Germany has actually experienced negative spot prices on days in the summer when solar output is high and electricity demand is relatively low. Negative prices also occur in US electricity markets with substantial renewable energy shares, such as California and Texas.

Continued in article

  • Question
    In the realm electric power, what is a "levelized cost?"

    The Economist:  Wind and solar power are even more expensive than is commonly thought ---

    . . .

    But whereas the cost of a solar panel is easy to calculate, the cost of electricity is harder to assess. It depends not only on the fuel used, but also on the cost of capital (power plants take years to build and last for decades), how much of the time a plant operates, and whether it generates power at times of peak demand. 

    To take account of all this, economists use "levelised costs"--the net present value of all costs (capital and operating) of a generating unit over its life cycle, divided by the number of megawatt-hours of electricity it is expected to supply.

    The trouble, as Paul Joskow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has pointed out, is that levelised costs do not take account of the costs of intermittency. Wind power is not generated on a calm day, nor solar power at night, so conventional power plants must be kept on standby--but are not included in the levelised cost of renewables.

    Electricity demand also varies during the day in ways that the supply from wind and solar generation may not match, so even if renewable forms of energy have the same levelised cost as conventional ones, the value of the power they produce may be lower. In short, levelised costs are poor at comparing different forms of power generation.

    To get around that problem Charles Frank of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, uses a cost-benefit analysis to rank various forms of energy. The costs include those of building and running power plants, and those associated with particular technologies, such as balancing the electricity system when wind or solar plants go offline or disposing of spent nuclear-fuel rods.

    The benefits of renewable energy include the value of the fuel that would have been used if coal- or gas-fired plants had produced the same amount of electricity and the amount of carbon-dioxide emissions that they avoid. 

    Mr Frank took four sorts of zero-carbon energy (solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear), plus a low-carbon sort (an especially efficient type of gas-burning plant), and compared them with various sorts of conventional power. Obviously, low- and no-carbon power plants do not avoid emissions when they are not working, though they do incur some costs.

    So nuclear-power plants, which run at about 90% of capacity, avoid almost four times as much CO{-2} per unit of capacity as do wind turbines, which run at about 25%; they avoid six times as much as solar arrays do. If you assume a carbon price of $50 a tonne--way over most actual prices--nuclear energy avoids over $400,000-worth of carbon emissions per megawatt (MW) of capacity, compared with only $69,500 for solar and $107,000 for wind.

    Nuclear power plants, however, are vastly expensive. A new plant at Hinkley Point, in south-west England, for example, is likely to cost at least $27 billion. They are also uninsurable commercially. Yet the fact that they run around the clock makes them only 75% more expensive to build and run per MW of capacity than a solar-power plant, Mr Frank reckons.

    To determine the overall cost or benefit, though, the cost of the fossil-fuel plants that have to be kept hanging around for the times when solar and wind plants stand idle must also be factored in. Mr Frank calls these "avoided capacity costs"--costs that would not have been incurred had the green-energy plants not been built.

    Thus a 1MW wind farm running at about 25% of capacity can replace only about 0.23MW of a coal plant running at 90% of capacity. Solar farms run at only about 15% of capacity, so they can replace even less. Seven solar plants or four wind farms would thus be needed to produce the same amount of electricity over time as a similar-sized coal-fired plant. And all that extra solar and wind capacity is expensive.

    A levelised playing field

    If all the costs and benefits are totted up using Mr Frank's calculation, solar power is by far the most expensive way of reducing carbon emissions. It costs $189,000 to replace 1MW per year of power from coal. Wind is the next most expensive. Hydropower provides a modest net benefit.

    But the most cost-effective zero-emission technology is nuclear power. The pattern is similar if 1MW of gas-fired capacity is displaced instead of coal. And all this assumes a carbon price of $50 a tonne. Using actual carbon prices (below $10 in Europe) makes solar and wind look even worse. The carbon price would have to rise to $185 a tonne before solar power shows a net benefit.

    There are, of course, all sorts of reasons to choose one form of energy over another, including emissions of pollutants other than CO{-2} and fear of nuclear accidents. Mr Frank does not look at these. Still, his findings have profound policy implications. At the moment, most rich countries and China subsidise solar and wind power to help stem climate change.

    Yet this is the most expensive way of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Meanwhile Germany and Japan, among others, are mothballing nuclear plants, which (in terms of carbon abatement) are cheaper. The implication of Mr Frank's research is clear: governments should target emissions reductions from any source rather than focus on boosting certain kinds of renewable energy.

    Bob Jensen's threads on cost and managerial accounting ---

  • "A Tale of Two Schools, One Building:  I taught at a New York City charter, upstairs from a school where the neglect of students is tragic," by Nicholas Simmons, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2015 ---

  • Over the past three school years, I unintentionally participated in a tragic educational case study on the west side of Harlem. I worked in the same building as the Wadleigh Secondary School, at which 0% of students in grades six through eight met state standards in math or English. That isn’t a typo: Not a single one of the 33 students passed either exam, though many of the questions are as straightforward as “What is 15% of 60?”

    Two floors above Wadleigh, I taught math at Success Academy Harlem West, a public charter school. The students there eat in the same cafeteria, exercise in the same gym and enjoy recess in the same courtyard. They also live on the same blocks and face many of the same challenges. The poverty rate at Wadleigh is 72%; at Harlem West, it is 60%. At both schools, more than 95% of students are black or Hispanic. About the only difference is that families at Harlem West won an admissions lottery.

    Yet for our students, the academic year ended in triumph: 96% were proficient in math—compared with 35% citywide—and 80% scored at the advanced level. In reading and writing, 75% of our students were proficient, compared with 30% citywide.

    This was not easy. My students do not have easy lives. Many are in households in which no English is spoken, or have moved in and out of homeless shelters. Others shoulder the primary responsibility of raising younger siblings. Yet we set high expectations. Our school day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., and teachers spend evenings and weekends speaking with families about their children’s progress. This blueprint works. Rigorous, well-designed and joyful schools can overcome the challenges of poverty.

    Last month, instead of acknowledging the astounding lack of learning at schools such as Wadleigh, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a hodgepodge of feel-good programs. He will create new Advanced Placement courses that students from Wadleigh won’t be prepared to take. He will enlist “literacy specialists” to try to counter chaotic classrooms and poor instruction. In short, he will do nothing effective.

    I often think about those Wadleigh students, navigating unruly hallways and classrooms. They hold the same promise as my students, but of those who move on to high school, fewer than 10% graduate with the skills to complete college-level work. What if those Wadleigh students had attended the public school only two floors above them?

    New York City has the resources to create world-class public schools for all students. The Big Apple spends $20,331 per pupil. That ranks No. 2 among the 100 largest school districts in the U.S., according to 2012-13 census data. The problem is that in New York the needs of adults supersede those of children. My colleagues finished summer vacation on Aug. 3, underwent two weeks of professional development and welcomed back students on Aug. 17. The district’s unionized teachers were required to arrive one day before the school year began on Sept. 9.

    Harlem West almost didn’t open in 2011. Mr. de Blasio, then the city’s public advocate, opposed my school’s move into the building on the grounds that it would cramp Wadleigh. “I believe in my heart there is time and the opportunity to protect what is here,” Mr. de Blasio said. That’s the mentality of city officials, who want to “protect” the entrenched interests of a system in which only 19% of black students in district schools are working on grade level.

    On Wednesday, families across New York City will rally in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, march across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall, and call on our leaders to tackle this crisis. Excellent public schools shouldn’t be a privilege enjoyed only by those lucky enough to win an admissions lottery; they should be the standard. The city has the resources—now it needs the will.

  • Jensen Comment
    NYC already has a world class public school system since virtually all the kids earn A or B grades and a few can actually read.

    Wow:  97% of Elementary NYC Public Students Get A or B Grades ---








    Finding and Using Health Statistics --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/usestats/index.htm

    Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics and databases ---

    How often do policy holders find their (medical) insurance companies bargaining their bills up, rather than down?
    "The Maddening World of Hospital Pricing:  "How much does this cost?" shouldn't be a stumper," by A. Barton Hinkle, Reason Magazine, October 5, 2015 ---

    For David Fleming, whose 14-year-old son Aiden needed sewing up after a laser-tag accident in June, the answer was $1,897... And $2,526.34... And $3,455.68... And $2,881. And...

    The first amount was the original bill from Henrico Doctors' Hospital. But then Fleming's insurance company, Coventry, pointed out that it has an agreement with the hospital that sets the contracted rate for the service at $4,221. In other words, his insurance company already had agreed to pay more than Fleming was billed.

    Suddenly he was being asked to pay the balance of his $4,000 deductible. Along with a percentage of charges over the deductible. And a percentage of a physician's charge - minus the square root of his son's birth date when multiplied by his age plus 3.7... Or at least that's how it looks to anyone who's not employed full time in hospital billing and coding.

    Fleming is no babe in the woods when it comes to health care. He heads up Donate Life, an organization devoted to increasing the frequency of organ and tissue donation. But he couldn't get his mind around the idea that he owed more for three stitches with insurance than without it. The problem, says Aetna, which bought Coventry in 2013, is the lack of generally common contractual language stipulating that the insurer will pay the "lesser of" a billed or contractually agreed-to rate. Henrico Doctors and its owner, HCA, declined to comment.

    Fleming has been persistent. He's been arguing over the bill almost since the incident happened. And he has gotten some satisfaction. After a lot of to-and-fro, Henrico Doctors has agreed to accept a lower payment and let the matter go.

    So, good for Fleming. But his story raises a lot of questions. For instance, what about other people in similar circumstances? How often do policy holders find their insurance companies bargaining their bills up, rather than down?

    The bigger question relates to hospital price transparency generally: Why isn't there any?

    Call a half-dozen hospitals or urgent-care clinics and ask what they would charge for three stitches. You'll have better luck collecting hen's teeth. They won't tell you. Not only that, they'll tell you that they can't tell you, even if you ask for the cash price without insurance.

    Continued in article

    $4,878 Room and Board Charge for One Night in the Hospital:  Those meals must've been fantastic
    "This $55,000 Bill Is The Perfect Example Of Our Broken Hospital System," by Lauren F. Friedman, Business Insider, December 30, 2013 ---
    See a copy of the bill itself (note how the charge for aspirin is now hidden)

    Jensen Comment
    Cost Accounting Student Assignment:  Backflush the line items on this bill to identify possible components and justify the charges
    Hint:  Don't forget hospital bad debts and executive salaries and subtle kickbacks to doctors.
    For example, it's common for physicians in the Emergency Room to recommend at least one night at $10,000 in ICU when a $4,878 room for one night would probably suffice. This recently happened to my wife.


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

    "The Harvard Contest That’s Trying to Improve Health Care Delivery," Harvard Business Review, October 2, 2015 ---

    . . .

    Altogether there were 19,965 visitors to the Challenge website who wrote 2,671 comments and provided 478 applications. These applications came from 29 different countries and 43 U.S. states. Approximately 60% were from for-profit companies, while the remaining 40% were from not-for-profit organizations.

    More than three-quarters of the applicants were focused on provider-facing innovations, as opposed to those that directly addressed payors or patients. Of the provider innovations, 38% were aimed at acute care or hospitals, 14% on self-care, 10% on physician offices, 10% on telemedicine, 8% on home health care, and 20% on multiple or other settings.To narrow down the 478 applications to 18 semi-finalists, we assembled a panel of 50 judges with wide experience in the field. The judges evaluated the applications based on potential impact, evidence of success, and the strength of the dissemination plan. Four finalists were ultimately selected. A winner will be selected in April 2016. (Click here to receive updates about this competition and the next Health Acceleration Challenge, which will begin in the spring.)

    The four finalists represent a mix of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, provider- and patient-facing innovations, and clinical and operational solutions. Each addresses a different problem in the health-care-delivery value chain and offers a unique approach that has been tested in the marketplace.

    Bloodbuy. This Dallas-based company offers technologies that connect hospitals and blood centers nationwide to ensure the efficient flow of lifesaving blood products to patients in need. By providing on-demand access to a diversified base of premier blood centers, Bloodbuy ensures that hospitals avoid overpaying for blood products or encountering supply shortages. At the same time, Bloodbuy enables blood centers to reach and serve a broader base of hospitals and blood centers across the country, thereby increasing inventory turns, eliminating waste, and accelerating growth.

    Continued in article

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

    Trucker News and Health ---







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

    Bob Jensen's threads on medicine ---

    The Atlantic: Health: Family --- http://www.theatlantic.com/health/category/family/

    Bob Jensen's Tidbits Archives ---

    Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

    Summary of Major Accounting Scandals --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_scandals

    Bob Jensen's threads on such scandals:

    Bob Jensen's threads on audit firm litigation and negligence ---

    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

    Enron --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm

    Rotten to the Core --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

    American History of Fraud --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudAmericanHistory.htm

    Bob Jensen's fraud conclusions ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on auditor professionalism and independence are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at


    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/