Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the July 14, 2016 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
What's sad is to witness what Syria has become because nobody will give up.

And "because they're nonstate actors, it's hard for us to get the satisfaction of [Gen.] MacArthur and the [Japanese] Emperor [Hirohito] meeting and the war officially being over," Obama observed, referencing the end of World War II.
President Barack Obama when asked if the USA of the future will be perpetually engaged in war.

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

If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

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

My Mom, a Mexican Immigrant, Taught Me to Love America ---

Chicago's Death Toll is Nearly Equal to Both Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ---


Supreme Court decision, praised by college leaders, is opposed by nearly two-thirds of adult Americans. Support is higher for considering athletic ability or alumni child status than race in admissions ---
Jensen Comment
The public seems to tolerate financial aid bias on the basis of income but is not so tolerant when two equally poor applicants (such as an African American versus an Asian versus a white versus a Latino) get discriminated for financial aid on the basis of race, creed, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. The Texas 10% Admission Rule is wonderful in the sense that it does not technically have such affirmative-action biases even though public high schools in Texas are highly divided according to race and national origin. The 10% rule also does not technically discriminate on the basis of gender, although the top 10% of a high schools graduates is likely to have proportionately more females. Maybe this is why males admitted to the University of Texas and Texas A&M these days are dancing in the streets.
More on the Texas 10% Rule that requires acceptance of the top 10% of every public high school in the State of Texas ---
Texas House Bill 588 ---

Issues of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

... unless the university (U.C. Berkeley) took steps to "guide" admissions decisions, the University of California campuses would be dominated by Asians. When Connerly asked, "What would be wrong with that?", the UC administrator told him that Asians are "too dull -- they study, study, study." . . . To deal with the Asian "menace," the UC Regents have proposed, starting in 2010, that no longer will the top 12.5 percent of students based on statewide performance be automatically admitted. Students won't have to take SAT subject matter tests. Grades and test scores will no longer weigh so heavily in admission decisions. This is simply gross racial discrimination against those "dull" Asian students who "study, study, study" in favor of "interesting" black, white and Hispanic students who don't "study, study, study."
Ward Connerly as quoted by Walter E. Williams, "Vicious Academic Liberals," Townhall, June 24, 2009 ---
Connerly's full article is at www.mindingthecampus.com
Ward Connerly is a former U.C. Regent.

Reps. Jordan, DeSantis: The case for impeaching the IRS Commissioner (for deliberate obstruction of justice) ---

Additional Revelations of the IRS Political Scandal (more bad things done by Lois Lerner) ---

A new court filing claims that the IRS barely searched for records that would reveal the agency disclosed taxpayer data to the White House without authorization ---
Paul Caron on Day 1158 of the IRS Scandal

The Daily Trump: A Time Capsule of the Unpresidential Things Trump Says ---

'Rigged:' Comey Says Hillary's FBI Interview Was Neither Recorded Nor Under Oath ---
Guy Benson

Did The FBI End Clinton’s Email Problems Or Make Them Worse?
The FBI destoyed the last hope of Bernie Sanders to become President of the USA

I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says—that they (homosexuals) must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally.
Pope Francis

Hillary Clinton Adopts Major Bernie Sanders’ Idea: Free College for (Almost) Everyone ---
Jensen Comment
Colleges can't shed themselves of algebra and other difficult requirements any too quickly.
Whereas Sanders wanted Wall Street to foot the tab, Clinton is depending too much on Wall Street for campaign funding to put her cup in that cash flow.
Ken Danis in Inside Higher Ed proposed that the free tuition be funded with a huge speaker fee tax.

Clinton said it’s time to make sure he doesn’t bankrupt the country like he bankrupted Atlantic City.
Jensen Comment
What proportion of the demise of Atlantic City can is due to Donald Trump?
Financial analysts tend to blame the failure of casino builders in Atlantic City, like Donald Trump, to anticipate the explosion of competing casinos elsewhere on the east coast, most of which are easier to access ---
What Trump and the other casino builders failed to foresee is the temptation of states other than New Jersey to access the revenues of legalized gambling.
Students should also study Trump's business model. He tends to invest his name rather than his money in ventures. People who put up the money generally run the ventures --- win or lose.
It would seem that when standing in front of the "Trump" casino in Atlantic City, Hillary Clinton should be credited with good politics and lousy financial analysis of the real reasons for the demise of Atlantic City.
But being President of the USA fits into Trump's business model. Then he can use the "Trump" name gamble with more taxpayer money.

MAAW's Blog:  A Rhetorical Analysis of Donald Trump and the Balanced Scorecard ---
Jim Martin

The new  (German) law sharpens punishments for anyone convicted of sexual assault regardless of nationality, but it specifies jail-then-deportation rules for convicted refugees who have sought asylum in Germany. The changes appear aimed at two overlapping targets: closing legal loopholes over sexual assaults amid complaints that German codes are too lax and addressing mounting public backlash after the country absorbed the bulk of the wave of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and beyond last year.
Jensen Comment
The worst offenders will probably migrate to Sweden where picking is easier.

Multiculture Rape is More Tolerable and Should be Punished Less Harshly
Swedish Left Party politician Barbro Sörman has suggested that it’s “worse” when Swedish men rape women, than when immigrants do so. “The Swedish men who rape do it despite the growing gender equality. They make an active choice. It’s worse imo [in my opinion],” Sörman tweeted. Sörman, a self-described socialist and a feminist, made the observation in response to what she claimed was excessive media focus on the fact that most of the rapes in Sweden are committed by immigrants.
Gil Ronen

Poor Kids Need Summer Jobs. Rich Kids Get Them ---
Jensen Comment
Shame on the Nate Silver blog for overstating the case. Yes it's true the there are too many American teens from families at all income levels who cannot find McSummer jobs. If you go to a fast food joint you can usually see the main problem --- older folks, sometimes senior citizens, are taking over what were traditionally summer jobs for students. In some parts of USA there are summer jobs that natives (young and old) deem to be too much painful work such as digging up sweet potatoes in Alabama or picking vegetables and fruit in California. For that we still depend on migrant workers who will take on the back-breaking jobs in sweltering heat, jobs that unemployed students refuse to take on.
Robots will eventually take over many of the McJobs, but our college-student grandson Jonathon living on the fringe of Milwaukee easily found a summer job at a Wal-Mart distribution center in spite of the horror stories that robots are taking over Wal-Mart distribution center jobs. Jonathon first got one of those come-on jobs in phone selling but quickly realized these are on the fringes of being fraudulent. He then quickly found the Wal-Mart job to give him spending money before he returns for his senior year to college. His parents, by the way, are relatively low income. His mother does all right as a nurse but his father makes minimum wage doing upholstery work.

Ethiopia is on track to become Africa’s industrial powerhouse ---
Jensen Comment
Free trade helps underdeveloped nations find the tracks to prosperity. This sure beats making the people emigrate to find a better life.

Around 11,000 people were arrested in Bangladesh in a crackdown against Islamic militants. More than 40 atheists, secular activists and members of religious minorities have been murdered in the past three years. Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister, vowed that “each and every killer will be brought to book.”
The Economist

Clinton Foundation donor Rajiv K. Fernando “somehow found himself sitting on the International Security Advisory Board, with the ability to access the nation’s most sensitive intelligence” while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. That’s according to our columnist Kimberley Strassel. She adds that “Donald Trump, for all the trouble his out-loud musings cause him, can nonetheless take credit for perfectly distilling, in five short words, what would be the defining nature of another Clinton presidency: The politics of personal profit.
James Freeman

A House ethics committee subpanel today found Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel guilty of 11 of the 13 charges of ethics violations against him. The panel, composed of four Democrats and four Republicans, emerged after private deliberation to announce their findings ---
Jensen Comments
Wrangle had it all as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee until evidence of corruption started pouring in. His constituents, however, did not mind his corruption and voted re-elected him to the USA House of Representatives. Proves that you're better off if your congressman includes you in on the haul.

CIA Director Warns That ISIS Is Probably Attempting to Infiltrate West Through Refugee Flows
Jensen Comment
That is just not a politically correct thing to assert

The vast majority of American terrorist casualties have not involved firearms. Box-cutters and planes, not rifles, led to the 9/11 attacks and some 3,000 deaths ---
The Weapons of Choice --- Bombs
Why? Bombs can be detonated after the bombers are safely out of harm's way
Exhibit A:  The Boston Marathon Bombing

The mainstream media are desperate to distract from the facts of the Orlando shootings, choosing instead to blame Republicans and conservatives for the deaths of 49 individuals at a gay bar called Pulse. In reality, the attacks were perpetrated by an American-born Islamic jihadist who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack, and had in the past “boasted of ties to the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Al Qaeda.” Instead of discussing the ramifications of terror worldwide and in our midst, the liberal media have reignited their quest for new gun control legislation and have sought to blame this...
Roger Aronoff

With remarkable insouciance, NYT writers Jeremy W. Peters and Lizette Alvarez blithely make reference to “a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays,” meaning Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans 1:18-32.As anyone who has ever read the New Testament knows, Saint Paul never permits that Christians should commit any violence whatsoever against homosexuals, but the Times editors apparently thought that fact-checking with the original text was superfluous or that readers were too ignorant to check for themselves.
Thomas D. Williams

After Orlando, Many in LBGT Community Rush To Buy Guns ---

The Paris Agreement will cost a fortune but do little to reduce global warming. In a peer-reviewed article published in Global Policy this year, I looked at the widely hailed major policies that Paris Agreement signatories pledged to undertake and found that they will have a negligible temperature impact. I used the same climate-prediction model that the United Nations uses.
Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center ---

‘Brexit’ Vote Must Be Overturned Or the European Union Is ‘Doomed’ ---

Senator Admits The FBI Is "About To Ask Putin For His Copies Of Hillary's Emails ---
Jensen Comment
Like Wall Street Putin would probably prefer not to make it easier for Trump to become President. He's too unpredictable for financail and global stability.

Filmmaker Ken Burns Urges Stanford Graduates to Defeat Trump & the Retrograde Forces Threatening the U.S. ---

A Watergate Break-In For the 21st Century
Russian hackers have infiltrated the Democraticic National Committee’s computer systems, accessing staff emails, chat logs, and volumes of opposition research on Donald Trump . . .
But in a presidential campaign where the discussion of cybersecurity hasn’t moved past a political tussle over Clinton’s email server, the Russian intrusion is a reminder of the prevalence of the threat—and the expertise of the U.S.’s adversaries.
Jensen Comment
USA secrets are already being spread as fertilizer over Russian wheat fields. The ingredients are mixed as three Trump turds for every pound of Clinton Crap.

Why Socialism Is Not the Solution to Poverty ---
Mark Skousen

The political leanings of professors are much debated. While studies consistently show that faculty members, on average, lean left, there is no consensus on the meaning of these findings.
Scott Jaschik

A World in Crisis, and No Genius in Sight:  An old order is being swept away, and political leaders everywhere seem lost ---

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism has "utterly failed," adding that it was an illusion to think Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side." The failure of multiculturalism is also seen in Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and other European countries. Immigrants coming from Africa and the Middle East refuse to assimilate and instead seek to import the failed cultures they fled.
Professor Walter E. Williams

How would you start up a conversation if the woman next to you was nude throughout a two-hour session of an academic meeting?
Jensen Comment
One possibility might be to complain about the awful air conditioning in the hotel.
Another might be to mention that Amazon Prime has free shipping.
Another might be to remark that Lady Godiva was protesting a tax hike (which is true).

Muslim Migrant Gang Sexually Attacked Dozens of Children at Festival in Sweden
Pamela Geller

Multiculture Rape is More Tolerable and Should be Punished Less Harshly
Swedish Left Party politician Barbro Sörman has suggested that it’s “worse” when Swedish men rape women, than when immigrants do so. “The Swedish men who rape do it despite the growing gender equality. They make an active choice. It’s worse imo [in my opinion],” Sörman tweeted. Sörman, a self-described socialist and a feminist, made the observation in response to what she claimed was excessive media focus on the fact that most of the rapes in Sweden are committed by immigrants.
Gil Ronen

Culture Is Replacing Class as the Key Political Divide On both sides of the Atlantic—in the United Kingdom and the United States—political parties are realigning and voters’ allegiances are shifting.---
Thank you Scott Bonacker for the heads up

Illustration of a "multiculturalism" issue
Muslim Girls Denied Swiss Citizenship for Refusing to Swim With Boys -
Sarah Begley

Political correctness devours yet another college, fighting over mini-sombreros
Catherine Rampell

Let's face it, the the five-year old girl asked for it
President Barack Obama’s top legal appointee in Idaho is threatening to prosecute Americans who criticize the federal immigration policies which enabled Sudanese and Iraqi Muslim migrants to perpetrate a vile sexual attack against a five-year-old girl in Twin Falls, Idaho.

During their Congressional sit-in Democratic Reps called conservative Chic-Fil-A for food

Israel warned the world that this would happen. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry buried their heads in the sand.
One year after striking an agreement with Iran, President Obama “says Iran is honoring the nuclear deal,” writes Bret Stephens. But “German intelligence tells us” Iran “is violating it more aggressively than ever.” Mr. Obama “promised ‘snapback’ sanctions in the event of such violations, but the US is operating as Iran’s trade-promotion agent,” adds Mr. Stephens.

Bret Stephens

An Arizona Democratic lawmaker who once voted against welfare fraud protections in her state has been indicted on felony charges of defrauding the food stamp program. According to the indictment unsealed earlier this week, state Rep. Cecilia Velasquez was charged with three felony counts: unlawful use of food stamps, fraudulent schemes and practices, and theft.
Brooke Singman

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

Well, the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame
Preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain
Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
Only a matter of time ’til night comes steppin’ in

Bob Dylan

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the booked obligation of $19+ trillion) ---
The US Debt Clock in Real Time --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/ 
Remember the Jane Fonda Movie called "Rollover" --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollover_(film)

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the unbooked obligation of $100 trillion and unknown more in contracted entitlements) ---
The biggest worry of the entitlements obligations is enormous obligation for the future under the Medicare and Medicaid programs that are now deemed totally unsustainable ---

Entitlements are two-thirds of the federal budget. Entitlement spending has grown 100-fold over the past 50 years. Half of all American households now rely on government handouts. When we hear statistics like that, most of us shake our heads and mutter some sort of expletive. That’s because nobody thinks they’re the problem. Nobody ever wants to think they’re the problem. But that’s not the truth. The truth is, as long as we continue to think of the rising entitlement culture in America as someone else’s problem, someone else’s fault, we’ll never truly understand it and we’ll have absolutely zero chance...
Steve Tobak ---

"These Slides Show Why We Have Such A Huge Budget Deficit And Why Taxes Need To Go Up," by Rob Wile, Business Insider, April 27, 2013 ---
This is a slide show based on a presentation by a Harvard Economics Professor.

Peter G. Peterson Website on Deficit/Debt Solutions ---

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

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

Letters of Note --- http://lettersofnote.com

Jensen Comment
Virtually all the authors of the above very fascinating historic letters thought they were having private communications and what they wrote would never become available for public viewing

Indeed in most instances it took decades or centuries for these letters to enter the public domain.

In my opinion Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State of USA, wanted to avoid letting her email communications become public information either due to fear of a subpoena  of government emails by a hostile congressional committee or fear of requirements under the Freedom of Information Act.

So she used a private email system where she thought her deleted messages would never enter the public domain. In fact she was so confident of this that she perjured herself in congressional testimony thinking her most culpable communications were deleted forever.

But since 30,000+ of her email messages are now available from Wikileaks (where the Congress and you also must go to read them) it highlights the dangers of using technologies that we don't fully understand, It's ironic that the State Department would not reveal, even to Congress some of those messages had Ms Clinton used the government email system). I'm certain that Ms Clinton never imagined her email messages could end up on Wikileaks.

Interestingly, the current FBI Director is not so naive. This is perhaps why he neither recorded Hillary Clinton's 3+ hours of testimony nor made her testify under oath.
Comey Says Hillary's FBI Interview Was Neither Recorded Nor Under Oath ---
Guy Benson

Having said this I desperately hope Hillary Clinton stays in the race for USA President because my hero Nate Silver gives her an 80% chance of beating Donald Trump
Having crazy Donald Trump as the President is my worst fear.
Having socialist alternative Bernie Sanders become President is my second-worst fear.
Having anti-business Elizabeth Warren as President is my third-worst fear.

Since when is having a lying and financially-fraudulent President of the USA such a big worry?
It happened all the time in our history, and in most instances we came out better because of it.

My main point in this message is be aware of the dangers of technologies you are using.
What you think is private may not stay private.
Take a lesson from our current FBI Director --- who in all respects I truly admire.
He probably does not want Trump, Sanders, or Warren to become his boss. He knows how to deal with liars and cheats like Hillary Clinton. It's the honest ideologists that scare him (and me).


The Refugee Project --- http://www.therefugeeproject.org/

The Real Racial Homicide Tragedies of the USA are That:
More is Not Being Done to Protect Blacks From Being Murdered by Other Blacks
More is Not Being Done to Protect Whites/Hispanics from Being Murdered by Other Whites/Hispanics


USA Population is 324+ Million Plus the Millions Not Scoped into the Census

USA Homicide Statistics From ---


Homicide is defined as the intentional or negligent killing of one person by another. It can include legal killings (such as justifiable homicide), negligent accidents (such as a child playing with a gun), and criminal killings (such as murder).

. . .


Of the 56,259 homicides from 2009-2012, 1,491 were the result of police use of force.(Justified and Not Justified)

By comparison during that same time period: 

755 were the result of negligent accident homicides (i.e., child playing with a gun)

1,120 were justifiable homicides by citizens acting in self-defense

52,893 were criminal homicides (murders)

755 were the result of negligent accident homicides (i.e., child playing with a gun) ◦

1,120 were justifiable homicides by citizens acting in self-defense ◦

52,893 were criminal homicides (murders)


. . .


Of the 1,491 persons that died from police use of force from 2009-2012:

    • 915 (61.4%) were white males
    • 481 (32.2%) were black males
    • 48 (3.2%) were males of other races
    • 28 (1.9%) were white females
    • 15 (1.1%) were black females
    • 4 (0.2%) were females of other races

Continued in article

Chicago's Death Toll is Nearly Equal to Both Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ---

Jensen Comment
The fact that majority of police use of force victims were white is hardly surprising since the whites still dominate the population of the USA although not necessarily in urban centers like Chicago and New Orleans where many of the police use of force killings take place.

Last night on CNN it was reported that over 90% of the black homicides were committed by blacks
It was also reported that over 90% of the white homicides were committed by whites

Such claims are hardly surprising since the majority of homicides are domestic crimes of one kind or another.

What is a tragedy is that more is not being accomplished to prevent black homicides in the USA large cities.

In my opinion racial profiling in large cities by the police does more to protect blacks than all other races.

If we really wanted to protect blacks in Chicago we should temporarily take measures similar to what we take in Afghanistan to protect the USA military.
That would, of course, restrict freedoms from surveillance and profiling tht we hold dear.

Chicago's Death Toll is Nearly Equal to Both Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ---



Review of
The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech
by Kimberly Strassel

Jensen Comment
There are some new revalations about Lois Lerner in the book

Jensen Comment
Someday somebody will write a comparison of the brilliant FBI director serving up Hillary Clinton on a silver platter versus the wimpy IRS director's digging a moat around Lois Lerner.

Did the FBI director telegraph the rampant corruption within the Obama administration in his Tuesday press conference?

. . .

How to explain all this? You won’t make sense out of the legal or factual case here. We all know she’s guilty, and what’s more we know why she went to all the trouble to break the law and move classified information through an unsecured server in somebody’s bathroom closet. She did that to mask the corrupt dealings in which she was engaged surrounding the Clinton Foundation and her using it as a clearinghouse for the sale of U.S. policy to the highest bidder. Which, of course, was not discussed in Comey’s press conference despite the fact we know the FBI was looking into it.

No, if you want to understand Comey’s statements you might have to recall those messages the downed pilots at the Hanoi Hilton occasionally would record for the folks back home — and particularly the one Rear Adm. Jeremiah Denton offered up, in which amid his happy statements about humane treatment by the North Vietnamese were obscured by what looked like unnatural blinking. When Denton’s off-putting tics were matched with Morse code, it was obvious he was spelling out the word “torture” to the American public.

Comey’s statements can be seen as a bit like Denton’s. He laid out a perfectly defensible case for prosecuting Hillary and then gave a cursory, obviously indefensible case for leaving her alone at the end. In doing so, he set the American public ablaze with outrage and signaled to all who would listen that something fundamentally corrupt is going on in the Justice Department.

And Comey telegraphed it as well. His press statement was delivered on the first working day after a week in which DOJ was set afire in public over Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s attempted clandestine meeting with Bill Clinton, and after a weekend in which news reports speculated that Lynch’s current job was waiting for her in a Clinton administration. Not to mention he delivered it on a day Hillary Clinton was to fly with the president on Air Force One to make a joint campaign appearance in Charlotte. Comey then opened his statement by stating that nobody at the Justice Department knew in advance what he would say, which seemed a bit tortured in its own right. Of course they knew; it had already been leaked in the media that DOJ wouldn’t prosecute, right after Lynch had offered up a fraudulent statement that she’d go with whatever recommendation the FBI sent her. That horse had long been gone from the barn.

Comey signaled that while he wasn’t going to deliver an all-out Al Pacino in And Justice For All rant for the cameras, what he was going to do is set Hillary ablaze in the public square. He had no ability to commence a prosecution; Lynch was not going to prosecute regardless of the FBI’s recommendation, and if he broke from the pack all he’d get himself was fired — plus whatever dirt the Obama administration might have had on him would be public by the end of the week, and there is certainly some; this administration doesn’t have employees they don’t have leverage over. But since he did what he was told and fell on the sword by not recommending charges, they don’t really get to complain about the tone or specifics of his statement, do they?

Continued in the article




"4 Big Economic Questions Now Facing the EU,' by Fernando Fernandez, Harvard Business Review Blog, June 28, 2016 ---

Research That the Mainstream Media Chooses to Ignore:  Would NBC, ABC, or CBS Dare Report "The Fall in Pverty/"

"There's Great News on Inequality and Poverty," by Noah Smith, Bloomberg, June 20, 2016 ---

Many people on the left seem to believe that the global economy has the same problems as the economies of the U.S and Europe. For example, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently tweeted: “The global economy has simply failed when so many have so little and so few have so much.”

Sanders’ concern for the world’s poorest people is laudable. The task of saving humanity from deprivation is arguably the central quest of human history. But Sanders’ facts are a bit out of date. During the past two decades, the global economy has been great for the world’s poor. Across most of the developing world, the have-nots have a lot more than before.

The clearest evidence comes from two big facts: 1) the decline in world poverty, and 2) the fall in global inequality. These are recent developments -- the second is even more recent than the first. But they give us strong reason to believe that the global economy isn't broken at all, and in fact has never been healthier.

Oxford economist Max Roser has done a heroic job of cataloging and displaying the fall in poverty. Here, from his website, is a picture of how absolute poverty has declined:

The plunge isn’t an accident of measurement.

Continued in article

The Fall in Poverty ---

"The King and His Court: The D.C. Circuit Court bows to Internet Regulation by Executive Decree," The Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2016 ---
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-king-and-his-court-1465946708?mod=djemMER .

President Obama has run roughshod over Congress, and most of the media give him a pass. This has left the judiciary as the last check on executive abuse, and now even that may be falling away. That’s how we read Tuesday’s D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision propping up the new “net neutrality” rules to regulate the Internet like a 19th-century railroad.

A 2-1 panel in US Telecom Association vs. FCC upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 regulations that classify the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The FCC has thrice tried to ram through regulation dictating what an internet-service company can charge for its services; the D.C. Circuit struck down earlier attempts. Now the court has endorsed the most legally and procedurally egregious iteration.

Judges David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan ruled for the FCC in large part by invoking Chevron deference, a 1984 Supreme Court doctrine that says courts should bow to agency rule-makings when the law is ambiguous. But the relevant 1996 statute says the internet shall remain “unfettered by Federal or State regulation,” which is not vague. The law further says that a service “that provides access to the Internet” may not be straddled with Title II.

The Supreme Court said in 2015’s King v. Burwell that agencies deserve no genuflection in matters of “deep economic and political significance.” This surely applies to reordering the most powerful commercial engine of the century.

. . .

No techie or court watcher predicted such a broad win for the FCC, and even Chairman Tom Wheeler must be surprised he snuck everything past Judge Tatel, who has twice ruled against the agency. AT&T and other parties have promised to appeal, either to the full D.C. Circuit for an en banc hearing or to the Supreme Court.

In his dissent, Judge Stephen Williams raps the FCC “for want of reasoned decision making,” not least because the agency can’t summon a single instance of the internet discrimination its rules purport to solve. “The ultimate irony” of the proposal, Judge Williams writes, is that regulation will likely kill off new market entrants—and create the monopoly that the FCC and net-neutrality advocates falsely claim exists now.

Congress could pass a bill to restrain the FCC, but President Obama would veto it and the agency no longer follows the law in any case. President Obama and Harry Reid packed the D.C. Circuit with liberal judges precisely to remove the last check on rule by progressive decree. With the D.C Circuit in his pocket, the last check is the Supreme Court, and that may soon be gone too.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
As with any government regulation decree, regulation of the Internet might be good news or bad news. It's good news to the extent that the government allows Internet service providers to have monopolistic pricing and service powers. It's bad news to the extent that price-fixing by government decree generally entails less quantity and quality of service. The WSJ generally has a Knee jerk reaction to new government regulations. With my Time Warner cable billing jumping each year to now where it is nearly $200 per month I keep wondering if the quality of service has really matched the price increases. I think what Time Warner needs in my part of the world is more competition rather than more regulation. Sure I have more and more channels on cable  television, but virtually all of them are junk I never needed or wanted. 

Tax Rates and Unemployment

The 1993 Clinton Tax Increase, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, increased the top marginal income tax rate from 31.0% to 39.6%.

Raising the marginal tax rate is not a magic bullet for making life better in a nation.

The first thing to recognize as a scholar is that tax rates between nations are misleading to compare unless you also compare what the taxes are paying for in nations being compared. For example, the maximum tax rate in Finland is 56% to 62% depending upon the municipality. Such a high maximum rate along with high tax rates in other brackets in Finland pays for health care for all, Tier1 and Tier 2 education for all, Tier 3 (including college) for roughly 40% of the Tier 2 graduates, and other social welfare benefits. In the USA a 40% maximum tax rate only pays part of the health care (such as free Medicaid for the poor but not the middle class), and the Federal and State income taxes only pay a small part of education costs.

Most of the USA K-12 education is paid by property taxes added on to income taxes. Must USA health care costs are paid by insurance premiums added to income taxes (including those Obamacare exchange medical insurance premiums).

You simply cannot compare a 62% Finland top tax rate with a 39.6% top tax rate. USA taxpayers are paying more when you add in what they pay in the USA for health care, property taxes, college tuition, etc. I should add that renters pay those property taxes in their rental fees.

I might also add that Finland now has a very high unemployment rate (almost 10%) relative to the rest of Europe and the USA such that taxing the high income folks 62% has done little to help unemployment in Finland.

Actually unemployment is now much more complicated than a simple high tax (for high Keynesian policy for employment) and low tax (for high Laffer-curve employment). There are too many other intervening variables such as trade policies, technology (think robotics), labor rates, unionization job protections, and work force skills. Paying unskilled workers more for unskilled jobs does not necessarily help raise national employment. Paying union workers more when unions protect workers from labor competition does not necessarily raise employment numbers for workers shut out by protectionist unions.

My point is that economics of taxation and raising the living standards of the poor and middle class is not so simple as the Keynesians would like Paul Krugman would like to believe.

In fact we are entering a very complicated era where finding enough jobs and motivating people to seek those jobs are becoming increasingly worrisome.

Solving such problems entails a not more creativity that a dah-dah increase in tax rates. Ask the Finns!

Students at Oberlin Should be Entitled to a Minimum Grade of C Irrespective of Efforts to Pass Any Course:  Social Activism is More Important Than Academic Performance

"The Power Shift On College Campuses: Students Are 'Customers,' Entitled To 'Satisfaction' ," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, June 22, 2016 ---

Given all that has happened on so many campuses over the last few years, it’s hard to pick the one that has been roiled the most by struggles over political correctness. But Oberlin College would certainly be in the running.

A widely discussed series of events there included the demand for a so-called trigger warning to students who might be upset reading “Antigone”; complaints about the ethnic integrity of the sushi in a campus dining hall; and a petition, signed by some 1,300 students, calling for a semester in which the lowest possible grade was a C, so that anyone skipping classes or skimping on studies to engage in social activism wouldn’t pay too steep an academic price.

In the view of more than a few observers, these students were taking liberalism to illiberal extremes. But their actions were arguably proof of something else as well.

Students at Oberlin and their counterparts elsewhere might not behave in such an emboldened fashion if they did not feel so largely in charge. Their readiness to press for rules and rituals to their liking suggests the extent to which they have come to act as customers — the ones who set the terms, the ones who are always right — and the degree to which they are treated that way.

Twinned with colleges’ innovations to attract and serve a new generation of students is a changed relationship between the schools and the schooled. It’s one of the most striking transformations in higher education over the last quarter-century. ...

[A]menities aren’t all that is different. The interactions and balance of power between student and teacher are as well. I don’t recall ever filling out a professor evaluation when I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the mid-1980s. It’s possible that such forms existed, but they were not used consistently or presented to us with any sense of urgency.

The opposite was true when I taught at Princeton in the spring of 2014. Students could not see their grades for a given class until they had filled out an extensive report card, including numerical ratings, on the class and on the instructor or had formally declined to do so, which few did. The instructor was privy to those ratings, with the students’ names erased.

I’m told by many of the professors I know that this practice is more or less the norm. Coupled with websites on which students rate their teachers, it has enormous bearing on how fully enrolled an instructor’s classes are, on his or her reputation and — thus — on his or her career. And what is perhaps the greatest driver of student satisfaction with a professor? The greatest guarantor of glowing reviews? The marks that the professor doles out. Small wonder that grade inflation is so pronounced and rampant, with A’s easy to come by and anything below a B-minus rare.

Students get the message that they call the shots. Catharine Bond Hill, the president of Vassar, told me that when she began teaching in the 1980s, students never came in to complain about grades. “And back then,” she added, “you could get a C. Now students will come in and complain about a B-plus,” she said. ..."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Since the median grade in colleges across the USA is now A- and a C grade is tantamount to an F grade I don't get excited if Oberlin should choose to give all students a minimum grade of C in every course.

The sad thing is how perceived student takeovers of college campuses are among the many things that helped Donald Trump become the Republican candidate for President of the USA:

A Scholarly View of How the USA Donald Trump Appeals to Such a Large Proportion of USA Voters ---

A Scholarly View of How the USA Donald Trump Appeals to Such a Large Proportion of USA Voters ---

Jensen Comment
I like the article because it mentions a lot of things the media tends (intends?) to overlook. For example, For example, click on the link "Fundamental Mistakes." For example, the following quotation was news to me since I tend to think of evangelicals as being largely white.

By the definition in Berger’s essay, some 30 percent of all Americans are evangelical — 29 percent of whites, 44 percent of blacks, and 30 percent of Hispanics.

Jensen Comment
The fact that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will likely be the only USA presidential choices in 2016 evolved out of a very complicated and divided America that's weary of bad governance and a manipulative media. Clinton and Trump are masters of manipulation.

How to Mislead With Statistics?

Blast From the Past:  How Statistical Forecasts Can Be Very, Very Misleading
"Dukakis Lead Widens, According to New Pol
l," New York Times, July 26,
1988 ---

In the aftermath of the Democratic National Convention, the party's nominee, Michael S. Dukakis, has expanded his lead among registered voters over Vice President Bush, the probable Republican nominee, according to a Gallup Poll.

This was among the findings of a national public opinion poll of 948 registered voters conducted late last week for Newsweek magazine by the Gallup Organization. The telephone interviews took place on July 21, which was the last night of the convention, and on the night after that.

Fifty-five percent of the 948 registered voters interviewed in the poll said they preferred to see Mr. Dukakis win the 1988 Presidential election, while 38 percent said they preferred to see Mr. Bush win. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Nominees usually enjoy a lift in the polls after the nomination. Ed Slaughter, project director at Gallup, pointed out that in 1984, Walter Mondale's standing rose 12 points after the Democratic convention that year. But the improved standing dissipated within ten days, Mr. Slaughter said.

Another poll, conducted in Texas, also showed Mr. Dukakis gaining ground from the convention. The survey of 504 registered voters likely to cast ballots, conducted on Friday and Saturday by Peter Hart, a Democratic poll taker, showed Mr. Dukakis leading Mr. Bush by 50 percent to 40 percent. A survey of that size has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points. A Hart survey of 265 such voters for The Chicago Tribune from July 5 to 9 had shown the race even in Texas - 46 percent for Mr. Dukakis, 46 percent for Mr. Bush, with a sampling error of plus or minus six percentage points. DON'T BITE!!!

Continued in article

Jensen Questi
What did the NYT mean by the wording at the end "DON'T BITE!!!"?

Jensen Comment
Sometimes poll results are more for influencing voters than to make forecasts that the pollsters really believe. The assumption is that voters will back what looks like a winner in the polls! Closer to election time Dukakis basked in a 17 point lead in the polls.

In November 1988 George H.W. Bush crushed Dukakis by winning in 40 states.

The IRS Political Activism Scandal on Day 1,140 ---

Jensen Comment
Lois Lerner apologized to the public for targeting conservative fund raising groups. She then resigned from the IRS.

Over 1,000 days of subsequent IRS scandal could have been avoided if Lois Lerner would also testify under oath that she was not directed to do so by President Obama and the Whitehouse Staff  Her refusal to do so makes it look like President Obama engineered his own re-election by using the power of the IRS. It's such a waste of time and effort for Lois Lerner to refuse to put an end to the IRS scandal by testifying under oath.

Clinton sought secret info on EU bailout plans as son-in-law's doomed hedge fund gambled on Greece ---

. . .

In 2012, Mezvinski, the husband of Chelsea Clinton, created a $325 million basket of offshore funds under the Eaglevale Partners banner through a special arrangement with investment bank Goldman Sachs. The funds have lost tens of millions of dollars predicting that bailouts of the Greek banking system would pump up the value of the country’s distressed bonds. One fund, exclusively dedicated to Greek debt, suffered near-total losses.

Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in 2013 to run for president. But newly released emails from 2012 show that she and Clinton Foundation consultant, Sidney Blumenthal, shared classified information about how German leadership viewed the prospects for a Greek bailout. Clinton also shared “protected” State Department information about Greek bonds with her husband at the same time that her son-in-law aimed his hedge fund at Greece.

Continued in article

Joke of the Day
What's that you say Corrine?

No Joke of the Day
US Rep. Corrine Brown indicted after fraud investigation ---

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida and her chief of staff pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple fraud charges and other federal offenses in a grand jury indictment unsealed after an investigation into what prosecutors call a phony charity turned into a personal slush fund.

Brown, a 69-year-old Democrat, and Chief of Staff Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, 50, entered pleas in Jacksonville federal court on charges of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, obstruction and filing of false tax returns.

She has represented a Jacksonville-based congressional district since 1993 — one of the first three African-Americans elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

The IRS Political Activism Scandal on Day 1,143 ---

Justice: IRS official Lois Lerner didn't merely target conservative groups to take away their tax-free status, as first suspected, but also handed over more than a million pages of tax returns to the Justice Department. That's a crime.

It's now apparent, if it wasn't before, that the Internal Revenue Service -- which was created solely to collect revenues due the government, not to persecute the administration's political enemies -- has become a kind of rogue agency.

Its chief, John Koskinen, is being threatened with impeachment for not telling the truth in testimony before Congress. But Lerner, more than even Koskinen, has become a symbol of IRS arrogance and illegality.

As Eliana Johnson of the National Review reported this week, Lerner transmitted some 1.25 million pages of tax returns of mostly Tea Party and conservative groups to the Justice Department in October 2010. In Johnson's words, this was "likely the largest unauthorized disclosure of tax-return information in history."

For some perspective, this took place at the start of a three-year period during which the same groups found their applications for tax-free status inexplicably held up, while those for liberal groups were more or less routinely rubber-stamped.

But the actual transmission of their tax returns as part of a fishing expedition by Lerner is the big problem here -- because she also transmitted IRS Schedule B data, which includes the names and addresses of contributors to those conservative groups. That's a big no-no.

Unfortunately for Lerner, tax returns are nearly sacrosanct under the law. Only an active investigation into criminal acts would allow the IRS to give the tax returns to the Justice Department. And then, by law, Justice would have to specifically request them. They didn't in this case.

Continued in article

MIT:  The All American iPhone (Dream)

Political candidates opposed to free trade say Apple should make phones in the United States. Let’s see what that would look like.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In addition the USA is increasingly dependent upon rare earth metals (notably lithium) to power our electric vehicles and other needs such as back up power for home solar panels. The two main sources of lithium are China and Chile. It could get very Ch...Ch..Chilly in the USA if China and Chile raise prices using their oligopoly economic hold on the USA. Maybe they're just waiting until we turn the lights off on the last oil refinery in the USA before they exercise their oligopoly pricing power on rare earth minerals. The USA produces some of the rare earth metals at the moment, but the domestic capacity falls way short of our needs.

From MIT on April 6, 2016

Tech Slowdown Threatens the American Dream
Economist Robert Gordon has a surprising message for techno-optimists: American innovation just isn’t what it used to be. Earlier this year we took a critical look at claims that productivity is stagnant, and that the inventions of the past few decades pale in comparison to those of the previous century.

Among the 324 million people in the USA over 160 million depend upon the government for assistance such as food stamps and aid to dependent children. Countless more depend upon assistance and tax breaks given to their employers by the government such as hospitals, defense contractors, solar panel manufacturers, electric car buyers, etc.

Forwarded by my good physician friend Dick Woolf
I did not verify the facts in this message

The Latest U.S. Statistical Map:  Make sure you read to the bottom... quite an eye opener!  (Or should be!)


    New Mexico






    New York


    South Carolina


These 9 States now have more people on Welfare than they do employed!!!


Last month, the Senate Budget Committee reports that in fiscal year 2012, between food stamps, housing support, child care, Medicaid and other benefits, the average U.S. Household below the poverty line received $168.00 a day in government support.  What's the problem with that much support?  Well, the median household income in America is just over $50,000, which averages out to $137.13 a day.

Furthermore:  There are actually two messages here.  The first is very interesting, but the second is absolutely astounding - and explains a lot.

A recent "Investor's Business Daily" article provided very interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization.


Percentage (%) of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:


U.S.                 65%

England          46%

Canada           42%


% of patients diagnosed with diabetes -received treatment within 6 months:


U.S.                 93%

England          15%

Canada           43%


% of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months



U.S.                 90%

England          15%

Canada           43%


%  referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:


U.S.                 77%

England          40%

Canada           43%


Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:


U.S.                 71

England          14

Canada           18


Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Having more people on welfare than employed in a given state is not something to be blamed on any political party in the USA.  In most respects it's a tragedy of changed priorities (such as shutting down coal mines) and past welfare policies (such as discouraging welfare recipients to receive benefits in two-parent homes). Also poor families in need are attracted to states with the most welfare benefits.

On some issues (especially economic issues) I'm a conservative. On others I'm a liberal. Statistics like those above do not change my view that the USA should have a national health care program to replace the Obamacare mess that we are in right now. Obamacare was passed with the good intentions of providing more coverage to low and middle income people. But the expanded Medicaid Program is wracked with fraud (over half the Medicaid recipients in Illinois do not qualify for Medicaid) and the most popular Obamacare exchange policies have such huge deductibles that people cannot afford to go to a doctor except in emergencies and very expensive medical needs.

The above message does not report such USA negatives of not having Medicare cover nursing homes. In many instances only the poor on Medicaid can afford to go to nursing homes. Most the national health care programs such as those in Canada, England, and other parts of Europe cover nursing homes.

How to Mislead With Statistics
The USA has the world's largest underground cash economy (per capita) where people are employed without reporting such employment to the government. USA Today once reported an estimate that this economy is over $2 trillion annually. My point is that reporting that there are more people on welfare than employed is partly due to the fact that the USA government is unable to count millions of "unemployed" who truly are "employed" in the underground economy. Some of course are employed in crime such as drug dealing and sex trafficking. But most are employed in honest work as roofers, child care workers, construction workers, mechanics, cab drivers, landscapers, food servers, etc.

That is how messages like the one above are very misleading even though it does make us stop and think about major issues in economics, healthcare, and inequality.

It's pretty hard to argue that the USA income tax is not progressive in reality ---

In the United States, a progressive tax system is employed which equates to higher income earners paying a larger percentage of their income in taxes. According to the IRS, the top 1% of income earners for 2008 paid 38% of income tax revenue, while earning 20% of the income reported.The top 5% of income earners paid 59% of the total income tax revenue, while earning 35% of the income reported.The top 10% paid 70%, earning 46% and the top 25% paid 86%, earning 67%. The top 50% paid 97%, earning 87% and leaving the bottom 50% paying 3% of the taxes collected and earning 13% of the income reported.[


Also note the amount of income tax paid out under the EITC (legitimately and fraudulently) ---

The direct cost of the EITC to the U.S. federal government was about $56 billion in 2012. The IRS has estimated that between 21% and 25% of this cost ($11.6 to $13.6 billion) is due to EITC payments that were issued improperly to recipients who did not qualify for the EITC benefit that they received. For the 2013 tax year the IRS paid an estimated $13.6 billion in bogus claims. In total the IRS has overpaid as much as $132.6 billion in EITC over the last ten years.]


The saddest part is that an estimated $2 trillion in the underground economy is not reported to the IRS. The violators range from the rich to the really poor. While much of that revenue is from criminal enterprise (such as drug dealing) much of it comes from unreported work compensation such as my wife's dentist who gave her a 50% discount of a big bill for paying in cash to the undocumented house cleaners in San Antonio.



Do Hillary Clinton and other feminists condone this kind of protest?

More Than 1,500 Women Want to Protest Donald Trump By Posing Nude ---

Jensen Comment
One of the earliest nude protests, if not the earliest, was Lady Godiva protesting a tax in ---


"What Obama Actually Thinks About Radical Islam," by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, June 16, 2016 ---

. . .

None of this is meant to be an argument that Obama does enough, or does enough of the right things, in the struggle against ISIS. I could (and will!) write a critique of the administration’s tactical approach, particularly as it relates to Syria. And Obama could bring more emotional intelligence to bear on this problem: He is eloquent in condemning the fearmongers, but he sometimes fails to acknowledge the legitimate fears of non-racist, non-paranoid Americans who would prefer not to be killed by terrorists acting in the name of Islam. The United States is under intermittent attack from an organization called the Islamic State, which, as Graeme Wood has pointed out in this magazine, represents one, extreme, branch of Islam. There is no point in trying to convince Americans that what is happening is not happening. But neither is there a point in encouraging hysteria and division.

Privately, Obama expresses the deepest loathing for ISIS and other radical Islamist groups. ISIS, he has noted, stands for—quite literally—everything he opposes. Nevertheless, his approach to the challenge of Islamist terrorism is sometimes emotionally unsatisfying; it is sometimes insufficient to the challenge; and he himself is sometimes too fatalistic about the possibility of change in the Middle East.

Donald Trump’s approach, on the other hand, is simply catastrophic.

CIA Director Warns That ISIS Is Probably Attempting to Infiltrate West Through Refugee Flows
Jensen Comment
That is just not a politically correct thing to assert.

Value-added Tax (VAT) --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value-added_tax

Global Trends: On the Brink of a New VAT Revolution?

Jensen Comment

I'm a long-time advocate of replacing the loophole-ridden USA corporate income tax with a VAT tax.

Accountants and lawyers hate it because filing VAT tax returns is so much less complicated that it will put tens of thousands of them out of work.

Corporations hate it because this tax is so much harder to avoid.

Consumers hate the VAT because it raises prices. But so would corporate income tax if it were not so easy to avoid.

Stanford University Accounting Professor Lisa De Simone --- http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/faculty/lisa-de-simone

Why Corporate Tax Avoidance Is Bigger Than You Think:  An accounting expert examines the impact of new rules on income shifting
Interview with Lisa De Simone
Stanford Graduate School of Business Insights
May 24, 2016
Read More

MIT:  Too Much Information from Noninvasive Prenatal Screening? ---

Too Much Information Noninvasive prenatal screening allows parents to safely learn about their unborn child’s genetics. The ethics of what to do with this information are tricky enough when the child carries a known disease, but future tests may provide parents with a range of nonmedical information, such as eye and hair color. In this article from 2013, we ask the simple question: how much is too much?

Jensen Comment
Decades ago scientists like Josh Lederberg were raising similar questions about cloning to bypass the uncertainties of genetic selection. Both cloning and prenatal screening are examples of advances in science that are good news and bad news. Both can lead to corrections of proneness to diseases and mental defectiveness. But both can also fit into Hitler's plan for a superior master race.

It was interesting and somewhat frightening that a tall, blonde, beautiful, and very intelligent computer science major put herself through Trinity University by selling her eggs. At the same time there isn't much demand for the sperm of lovable adults with genetic disorders or hateful pedophiles in prison.

Taxpayer Subsidies for High Income Tesla Electric Car Buyers
Elon Musk’s Subsidy Aggregation:  The billionaire tries to integrate his taxpayer-backed business model ---

. . .

Tesla’s cars have a devoted following, and its stock has had a brilliant run. But it isn’t clear how competitive it would be without taxpayer support: The car maker rakes in money—$168 million in 2015, up from $3 million in 2011—thanks to the racket known as state zero-emission vehicle credits. Tesla only produces electric cars, so it can sell its extra state-supplied credits to auto makers that don’t reach government fuel-efficiency standards.

Tesla’s $5 billion Nevada battery plant received more than $1 billion in breaks on property and sales taxes, along with discounts on electricity, and even a 30% federal credit for solar generation. Don’t forget President Obama’s $7,500 federal tax credit for every electric-car buyer. That’s right, Uncle Sam pays the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio so they can flaunt their green virtue on the highway.

If Mr. Musk can make a market success of electric cars and lithium-ion batteries, he’ll have served customers and earned his billions. But so far Tesla looks more like a classic of the reverse income redistribution of green crony capitalism, in which middle-class taxpayers subsidize billionaires who make products to satisfy the anti-fossil-fuel indulgences of the upper classes. That Mr. Musk is reshuffling his Tesla balance sheet to subsidize his own solar venture is a sign that this may not be a sustainable business model.

Continued in Article

Jensen Comment
To my knowledge Oregon is the only state that taxes electric car buyers to get some of them to contribute to road building and maintenance. The elecric car buyers in the other states get a free ride since tases on gasoline pay for virtually all the road construction and maintenance. It's grossly unfair since the high income electric car buyers need this subsidy the least.

Elon Musk know how to milk taxpayer tits bigtime.

Impact of Brexit on the EU

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on July 5, 2016

Italian banks reeling after Brexit
Britain’s vote to leave the EU has produced dire predictions for the U.K. economy. The damage to the rest of Europe could be more immediate and potentially more serious. Nowhere is the risk concentrated more heavily than in the Italian banking sector. In Italy, 17% of banks’ loans have gone bad. That is nearly 10 times the level in the U.S. Among publicly traded banks in the eurozone, Italian lenders account for nearly half of total bad loans. Years of lax lending standards left Italian banks ill-prepared when an economic slump sent bankruptcies soaring a few years ago.

From the Former Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama and Former President of Harvard University
"Why Brexit is worse for Europe than Britain," Larry Summer's Blog, June 24, 2016 ---

. . .


For Britain, the economic effects are two sided. On the one hand, a major jolt has been delivered to confidence, to future unity and down the road to trade. On the other, the currency has become more competitive, and liquidity will be in very ample supply. I would expect that a significant deterioration in growth and a recession beginning in the next 12 months has to be a substantial risk though short of an odds on bet.

As suggested by the fact that stock markets in Italy and Spain are down almost twice as much as in the UK, the prospects for Europe may in some ways be worse than for the UK. There is the real risk of “populist exit contagion” in a number of countries. A credit crunch is a serious risk. Unlike in Britain, the trade weighted exchange rate is unlikely to decline very much. The central bank has less room for incremental policy measures.

The effects on the rest of the world will depend heavily on psychology. I continue to be alarmed as I wrote in this space a few days ago that this unexpected outcome in the UK will raise the spectre of “Trump risk”. If the UK can vote for Brexit perhaps the U.S. can vote for Donald Trump. I fear this possibility will lead to a freezing up of spending decisions particularly on the part of internationally oriented businesses. The odds of U.S. recession beginning within the next 12 months are I think now in the 30 percent range. Also noteworthy is that an environment of increased risk aversion and flight to quality will complicate Japan’s problem of generating inflation, and China’s challenge of attaining currency stability.

To an extent that is underestimated in some quarters and understated in others, the world economy is far more brittle than usual because of the inability almost everywhere to lower interest rates substantially. Normally in response to incipient downturns central banks lower rates by 400 basis points or more. Nowhere do they have that kind of room. Nor is there large scope for reducing term and credit spreads given their very low levels. This is no time for austerity. Greater use of fiscal policy should be on the agenda almost everywhere and certainly with the change of government in the UK.

Brexit will rightly be taken as a signal that the political support for global integration is at best waning and at worst collapsing. Dramatic exchange rate fluctuations tend to portend upswings in protectionist pressure. And problems in European banks could as in 2009 lead to a drying up of trade finance. Already global trade has lagged global growth in recent years. A clear sense of commitment to avoid backsliding towards protection from the G20 will be essential going forward. Specific efforts with respect to trade finance may be appropriate.

Broader Observations

After Brexit, Trump, Sanders and the misforecast British and Canadian general elections, it should be clear that the term political science is an oxymoron. Political events cannot be reliably predicted by pollsters, pundits or punters. All three groups should have humility going forward. In particular no one should be confident about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

The political challenge in many countries going forward is to develop a “responsible nationalism”. It is clear that there is a hunger on the part of electorates, if not the Davos set within countries, for approaches to policy that privilege local interests and local people over more cosmopolitan concerns. Channeling this hunger constructively rather than destructively is the challenge for the next decade. We now know that neither denying the hunger, or explaining that it is based on fallacy is a viable strategy.

Now it's discriminatory in schools for teachers to try to stop minorities from cheating

School leaders allow cheating ‘to boost the numbers’: staffers ---

Cheating is in the lesson plan at a Brooklyn high school, where grade-fixing is so blatant, even intellectually disabled students pass rigorous state tests, faculty members charge.

At Urban Action Academy in Canarsie, an 18-year-old girl with the reading skills of a kindergartner had a passing grade of 65 on the Regents US history exam, a whistleblower told The Post.

The girl scored a 73 on the algebra exam, despite calculation skills at the level of a second-grader.

Teachers suspect the student’s tests were taken by an educational aide.

Inflated scores will eventually backfire on disabled students, a school staffer said: “It raises false hopes.”

Urban Action Academy administrators promote a cheating culture, staffers say.

When the Regents Global History exam was given at the school on June 14, students stashed review materials in toilet stalls so they could sneak information during bathroom breaks.

Alert teachers tried to thwart the cheating. But Assistant Principal Jordan Barnett slammed their “discriminatory” treatment of students and ordered them to back off, teachers say.

Continued in article

Professors and Teachers Who Let Students Cheat

Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management Accused of Letting Students Cheat
"Northwestern's business school is being rocked by cheating allegations," by Abbie Jackson, Business Insider, November 6, 2015 ---

Students at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management have claimed that six peers blatantly cheated on a final and that the administration is trying to cover it up, according to a detailed article by Ethan Baron of Poets and Quants, which covers business schools.

Six male students in the MS in Management Studies program engaged in blatant cheating while taking their account and statistics finals, Baron reported, citing three students who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The anonymous sources claimed that the students were passing notes, drawing charts in the air, and sharing answers on their exams when proctors left the room.

The three anonymous students claim the administration is complicit in the cheating because it doesn't want the school's reputation ruined.

"Everybody in the class knows what is happening and everyone in the class knows that the sole goal of the administration is to silence the witnesses," one source told Baron.

The students also say that they fear retribution from the school over discussing the cheating allegations because the honor code forbids students from discussing possible violations of the honor code.

The witnesses also claim that they have been threatened over the phone with physical harm by the cheaters, Baron reports.

"The day I come to know who reported me, I will f------ kill him or her,” one of the cheaters pledged, according to a witness.

Of the six students accused of cheating, two told Poets and Quants that they did not cheat, two would not address the allegations against them, and two did not speak to the news publication.

Poets and Quants got an email response from Kellogg saying that it takes any cheating allegations seriously and "all Honor Code issues that are reported are investigated thoroughly and, if necessary and appropriate, include hearings and sanctions."

Continued in article

"Cheating in Atlanta: A Teachable Moment When unions attack testing and ensure that bad teachers stay hired, it’s no wonder some of them broke the rules," by Jason L. Riley,  The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2015 ---

. . .

The state decided to investigate cheating in the public schools after an analysis of test results by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found suspiciously high gains in math and reading proficiency. “A miracle occurred at Atherton Elementary this summer, if its standardized math test scores are to be believed,” the paper reported in 2008. “Half of the DeKalb County school’s fifth-graders failed a yearly state test in the spring. When the 32 students took retests, not only did every one of them pass—26 scored at the highest level.”

The suspicion was warranted. A subsequent 400-page report issued by the state in 2011 found that 44 of 56 investigated schools had falsified results on state exams. The cheating was “widespread and organized” and conducted “with the tacit knowledge and even approval of high-level administrators.” According to investigators, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall and her aides allowed “cheating—at all levels—to go unchecked for years.” Teachers would gather at so-called “erasure” parties to correct answers on exams and inflate scores. Some 178 public-school employees, including 34 principals, were implicated. Thirty-five of them were eventually indicted by a grand jury, and 21 reached plea agreements. Hall maintained her innocence but died before she could stand trial.

The reaction to these shenanigans from defenders of the public-education status quo has been sad but not at all surprising. Yes, the teachers were wrong to falsify scores and set up students to fail by promoting them to the next grade unprepared. But if you are Randi Weingarten, who heads the powerful American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the real victims are your union members. For Ms. Weingarten, a strong opponent of the testing requirements included in the No Child Left Behind education law signed by President Bush, the Atlanta scandal “crystallizes the unintended consequences of our test-crazed policies.”

Lily Eskelsen García, who is president of the AFT’s sister union, the National Education Association (NEA), wrote in a Journal-Constitution op-ed at the start of the trial that “too often, and in too many places, we have turned the time-tested practice of teach, learn and test into a system of test, blame and punish.” She added: “We are using these tests to punish schools, teachers, students and school districts. This simply isn’t right. It is toxic.”

. . .

In 2011 an investigation by a local television station in Atlanta, WSB-TV, revealed that more than 700 teachers in Georgia had repeatedly failed at least one portion of a test they must pass before receiving a teaching certificate. Nearly 60 teachers failed the test at least 10 times, and “there were 297 teachers on the payrolls of metro Atlanta school systems in the past three years after having failed the state certification test five times or more.”

Would you want your child taught by someone who flunked the certification test five times, let alone 10? And would that instructor be more or less likely to resort to changing student test scores to hide his own incompetence?

The eagerness to blame No Child Left Behind’s accountability provisions for these cheating scandals is off-base. The law has its flaws, including an overly stringent method of judging a school’s performance, but those flaws aren’t fatal. The much bigger problem is the one exposed by WSB-TV. Long before Mr. Bush signed NCLB, public-school teaching was attracting the least-qualified students from universities. For decades, the test scores of people who enter teaching have trailed those of people entering other professions, and research by Stanford economist Eric Hanushek and others shows that the trend has worsened in recent years.

Moreover, brighter college students who do want to teach for a few years after graduation, via highly selective programs such as Teach for America, are scorned by the education establishment as insufficiently committed to the profession. Among other things, Atlanta’s cheating scandal is a byproduct of who goes into teaching.

"Schoolteacher Cheating," Walter E. Williams, Townhall, February 5, 2014 ---

Philadelphia's public school system has joined several other big-city school systems, such as those in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., in widespread teacher-led cheating on standardized academic achievement tests. So far, the city has fired three school principals, and The Wall Street Journal reports, "Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation's largest cheating scandals." (1/23/14) (http://tinyurl.com/q5makm3). Investigators found that teachers got together after tests to erase the students' incorrect answers and replace them with correct answers. In some cases, they went as far as to give or show students answers during the test.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, identifies the problem as district officials focusing too heavily on test scores to judge teacher performance, and they've converted low-performing schools to charters run by independent groups that typically hire nonunion teachers. But William Hite, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, said cheating by adults harms students because schools use test scores to determine which students need remedial help, saying, "There is no circumstance, no matter how pressured the cooker, that adults should be cheating students."

While there's widespread teacher test cheating to conceal education failure, most notably among black children, it's just the tip of the iceberg. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, published by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and sometimes referred to as the Nation's Report Card, measures student performance in the fourth and eighth grades. In 2013, 46 percent of Philadelphia eighth-graders scored below basic, and 35 percent scored basic. Below basic is a score meaning that a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level. Basic indicates only partial mastery. It's a similar story in reading, with 42 percent below basic and 41 percent basic. With this kind of performance, no one should be surprised that of the state of Pennsylvania's 27 most poorly performing schools on the SAT, 25 are in Philadelphia.

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's threads on professors and teachers who allow students to cheat ---

Students at Michigan State University will no longer have to take college-level algebra, thanks to a revision of the general-education math requirement ---
"Algebra No More," Inside Higher Ed, July 6, 2016 ---

Jensen Questions
Will college-level algebra requirements fall like dominos in the common core requirements of higher education?
Wayne State University dropped algebra and is considering replacing it with a diversity course.
Michigan State will still have a math requirement that does not have formulas and equations..

What the universities dropping algebra are not revealing, at least to my knowledge. of whether they are still requiring remedial math and algebra for students deemed exceptionally weak in middle-school algebra on SAT/ACT admission tests. My guess is no since the dropping of algebra seems to be an effort to make it easier for those students to graduate.there will be no remedial algebra.

In terms of math requirements for GRE, GMAT, MCAT, and other graduate school admissions requirements undergraduates will now fall into two classifications. The math dummies who graduate versus the the graduates required to take math and algebra and statistics in their majors like engineering students, science students, and business students. Humanities majors who might want to go to graduate school are are advised to take college-level algebra as an elective course, especially if they had lousy SAT/ACT scores in high school.

Maybe SAT and ACT exam preparers will yield to pressures and drop algebra from college admissions tests.

It all sound like dumbing down to me to make up for the lousy high schools in the USA relative to those in Asia and Europe. But in Asia and Europe less than half the Tier 2 graduates are even allowed to go to college.




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

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

Medicare Fraud is Rampant ---

Uh Oh: Double-Digit Premium Hikes Projected For Low-Cost Obamacare Plans Next Year ---

Jensen Comment
This begs the question of the need for such high premium increases for low-cost Obamacare plans that insured people don't use much due to the extremely high deductibles if they go to a doctor.

President Obama should have nationalized health care in the early years of office when the Democratic Party controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In his later years as President he let this control slip in both the House and the Senate. He never gives the real reasons as to why the Democrats lost control of his legislature.

he deductibles on low-cost Obamacare plans are so huge (40% to 60%) that insured people put off getting medical care until absolutely necessary --- thereby greatly reducing the number of claims to be processed and paid.

"ObamaCare’s Wallet-Buster Health Plans:  While insurance premiums and deductibles soar, Hillary Clinton takes credit for the president’s mess," by Nathan Nascimento, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2016 ---

. . .

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, where I work, has analyzed all publicly available information for health-insurance premiums from healthcare.gov and state insurance departments. It then calculated the weighted averages for all health-insurance plans available on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. The weighted average gives a more accurate view of overall premium increases, because it takes into account each insurance plan’s market share.

The findings: Nationally, premiums for individual health plans increased on average between 2015 and 2016 by 14.9%.

Consumers in every state except Mississippi faced increased premiums, and in no fewer than 29 states the average increases were in the double digits. For a third of states, the average premiums rose 20% or more.

Health-insurance premiums rose by more than 30% in Alaska and Hawaii; Oregon’s average rate increase was 23.2%. California’s premiums on average rose by a modest 1.5%.

Consumers in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois faced increases exceeding 20% on average. The East Coast north of Maryland was the least hard hit (New York’s average premium increase was 6%), although Pennsylvania and New Jersey consumers faced premium increases of 14.6% and 13.1% respectively.

In 11 of the 16 states defined as southern by the U.S. Census Bureau, premiums rose by more than 10%. Premiums rose on average by 13.9%, and by more than 20% in Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina and Oklahoma. In Texas, where data was only available for 98.5% of individual-market health-care plans, premiums rose by 14.1%.

Average premiums in Tennessee rose 35.2%—mostly because of the state’s largest individual-market insurer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which sold 82% of all exchange plans in 2015. After losing $141 million on these plans last year, the company had little choice but to request average premium increases of 36.3%. The state insurance commission approved this request, lest the company leave the exchange altogether and leave 231,000 Tennesseans in the lurch.

Minnesota holds the dubious honor of having the highest year-over-year premium increases, 47.7%. Why? Because that state’s BlueCross BlueShield, the largest insurer, with over 90% of the market, lost tens of millions of dollars during the Affordable Care Act’s first two years. The company requested an average 49% rate increase, which was approved by state regulators.

Remember: These premium increases are only one piece of the health-care cost puzzle. Deductibles are also rising under the Affordable Care Act. Silver plans—the most popular on the exchanges—had average deductibles of nearly $3,000 in 2016, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This represents an 8% increase over last year.

Millions of Americans are coming to believe that the Affordable Care Act’s costs far outweigh its benefits. In 2014, the latest year for which data is available, roughly 7.5 million Americans paid the IRS penalty rather than purchase the law’s insurance. This penalty is rising to an average $969 per household in 2016 in an attempt to force people onto the exchanges. Yet even a $1,000 fine is cheap compared to thousands—and sometimes tens of thousands—of dollars for an Affordable Care Act-compliant plan.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton refuses to acknowledge the law’s widespread problems. At the Dec. 19 Democratic presidential debate, she responded to a question about rising premiums and deductibles by calling them “glitches,” and a month later she was claiming credit for the health-care law altogether. But if ObamaCare is HillaryCare by a different name, shouldn’t voters hold her responsible?

Does lying and fact distortion justify the the outcome of environmental activism?

The (Canadian) Case Against Greenpeace ---

The pressure on businesses to fold in the face of environmental scare campaigns can be enormous. But in federal court in Georgia, Canada’s Resolute Forest Products is suing Greenpeace for defamation, racketeering, conspiracy and other alleged offenses.

In March we told you about a separate defamation lawsuit filed by Resolute that is currently winding its way through Canadian courts. The company has since filed in the U.S. because that’s where many of the alleged offenses occurred and it’s home to many of Resolute’s customers and (thanks to Greenpeace) former customers. The Journal’s owner News Corp. is a Resolute customer.

Resolute’s complaint is a civil case under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law, meaning if successful it could result in treble damages. This law can be abused, as when politicians like Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse urge its application to squelch dissent on climate change. As journalists we’re also leery of companies suing their critics.

But before passing judgment on Resolute’s lawsuit, readers may want to consider the company’s claims. In its filing Resolute says Greenpeace “has published staged photos and video falsely purporting to show Resolute logging in prohibited areas and others purporting to show forest areas impacted by Resolute harvesting when the areas depicted were actually impacted by fire or other natural causes.” The First Amendment was not created to protect the fabrication of evidence.

The Resolute complaint also says that “Greenpeace and others working with it have aggressively targeted Resolute’s customers with extortive threats and other illegal conduct. To identify those customers, Greenpeace employees and agents have impersonated Resolute employees, its customers, and others to illegally misappropriate proprietary customer and supply chain information.”

The racketeering and conspiracy claims are related to Resolute’s argument that Greenpeace is “a global fraud” on its donors. The company argues that Greenpeace has “pawned off common trees felled by natural causes as several hundred year old ancient trees illegally forested” and “staged phony photo-ops of seal and other animal slaughters.”

We asked Greenpeace if its employees or agents had defrauded, extorted or impersonated anyone. The environmental outfit provided us with a statement from Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard. Ms. Leonard says that Resolute is “wasting resources on a case with no merit. As it has done before, the company has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to silence critics with legitimate concerns about its environmental practices. Grotesquely misstating our mission and attacking our credibility with a frivolous lawsuit and a malicious public relations campaign will get Resolute nowhere.”

That’s not a denial of the suit’s details, so it will be fascinating to track the witnesses in discovery and under oath if this case goes to trial. After Greenpeace’s long history of distortions on environmental issues, we may find out if it has any credibility left to attack.

Jensen Comment
The problem with fact distortion and deceptions is that people stop believing you when you are telling the truth. Exhibit A is President Richard Nixon. Eshibit B is President Bill Clinton. Exhibit C is Brian Williams who lost his wonderful news anchor job with NBC News because of a lie. It's a relief that neither Hillary Clinton nore Donald Trump ever lie. Yeah Right!

Former anchor newswoman Katie Couric took a huge chance recently by falsifying interviews (she admitted doing so) ---

Exxon’s Inquisitors Feel the Heat:  Court filings reveal the true aim of this ‘fraud’ case: silencing conservatives ---

The first thing to know about the crusade against Exxon by state attorneys general is that it isn’t about the law. The second thing to know is that it isn’t even about Exxon. What these liberal prosecutors really want is to shut down a universe of their most-hated ideological opponents.

That became startlingly clear this week, with Exxon’s latest filing in federal court. The oil company revealed that it has received another subpoena for documents, this one from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. But Ms. Healey, whose fervor exceeds her political sense, gives away the game.

The 17 attorneys general participating in this cause have always been careful to identify Exxon as their only target. It’s easier to accuse a big, bad oil company of nefarious deeds, so they make the bogus claim that Exxon somehow “defrauded” the public and its shareholders by engaging in “climate denial.” All the better if they can beat Exxon into cutting a giant check to settle any future charges—a payoff for their states (and for the trial lawyers helping them).

But the Healey subpoena shows that Exxon is a front. The real target is a broad array of conservative activist groups that are highly effective at mobilizing the grass-roots and countering liberal talking points—and that therefore must (as the left sees things) be muzzled. This is clear from the crazy list of organizations Ms. Healey asked for information about in her subpoena. She demanded that Exxon turn over decades of correspondence with any of them.

Take Americans for Prosperity. AFP confirms it has never received a dime from Exxon. But its 2.3 million activists nationwide are highly effective in elections, and it receives funding from the left’s favorite boogeymen, Charles and David Koch.

Or, closer to home: Ms. Healey named the Beacon Hill Institute, a right-leaning think tank in Boston. My sources confirm Beacon Hill has also never seen Exxon dollars. But it is a perpetual thorn in the side of liberal Massachusetts politicians like Ms. Healey.

Also named: the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC doesn’t now, and hasn’t ever, taken a position on the climate. The group is, however, one of the most powerful forces in the country for free-market legislation, having written hundreds of model bills that states use in their efforts to reduce taxes, cut regulations and reform tort laws. Democratic activists have, for the past five years in particular, waged a vicious campaign to run ALEC out of business, and Ms. Healey is now doing her bit.

The same tactics were on display in a subpoena to Exxon from Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker. He appears to have cut-and-pasted from an anti-Exxon website maintained by Greenpeace, since his subpoena lists the same groups in pretty much the same order. The exercise was so sloppy that Mr. Walker named numerous organizations that have been defunct for years, listed several targets twice, and misidentified others.

The goal of the Exxon probe isn’t to protect consumers or help the environment. It’s a message: Oppose us, and we will marshal our terrifying government powers to intimidate and threaten you, to force you to spend millions defending yourself, to eat up the time you’d otherwise use speaking out.

Continued in article


From the CPA Newsletter on July 7, 2016

Per-capita health care spending has dropped for poor Americans

Per-capita health care spending by low-income individuals fell after 2004, while per-capita spending by high-income individuals increased, according to a Harvard study. Explanations for the shift may include wage stagnation and the growth of high-deductible obamacare health insurance plans.

Jensen Comment
Of course in about half the states poor Americans are faring better because if the greatly expanded number of them covered by the Obamacare Medicaid expansion of the numbers covered.

Studies have also found widespread cheating among Americans not elgible for Medicaid such as the finding that half the Medicaid recipients in Illinois were not elgible for Medicaid.

Note that Medicare does not cover nursing home expenses. My barber explained how cheating works. His mother sold her house and came to live with him. Over several years her entire savings was bled off to him in inflated rent and other living charges. I suspect her payments were not declared as income from him.

Then when she needed to enter a nursing home she was a poverty case and became eligible for Medicaid to pay all of her nursing home expenses for about ten years.

This type of Medicaid cheating for nursing home coverage is illegal, but I suspect it's extremely commonplace. In some cases grandma has to go on welfare and food stamps before she can get into a nursing home.

A recently published deposition from a top tax official provides more evidence that the Obama administration not only acted illegally when deciding to pay Obamacare subsidies to insurers—but that they did so knowing full well that the move was not justified . . . The administration’s argument in this case is essentially that even though Congress rejected its request for an appropriation, and even though the health law does not provide them with any clear and discrete appropriate for its cost-sharing subsidies, they can nevertheless cobble together a hazy justification under which it is somehow “appropriate” to do so. The administration’s argument for its actions, in other words, is all but an admission that what it is doing is not legal or justifiable—and that when it comes to Obamacare, it simply doesn’t care.
Peter Suderman

Insurers have begun to propose big premium increases for Obamacare coverage next year under the 2010 health law, as some struggle to make money in a market where their costs have soared.
Louise Radnofsky and Anna Wilde Mathews

"Is It Time for Universities to Get Out of the Hospital Business?" by Paul Voosen, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 31, 2016 ---

A couple of years ago, the leaders of Vanderbilt University faced a difficult decision: Their academic medical center was successful, a hub of research and life-saving treatment. But the health industry was in turmoil, and the changes presented new risks to the university, whose vast medical operation approached four-fifths of Vanderbilt’s entire budget. And that number was projected to grow.

The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, was accelerating changes already underway. Research financing was tight. Mergers were rampant among hospitals, insurers, and drug companies. The vast sums of clinical income that prestigious university hospitals had used to buttress themselves — and often the university’s other missions — seemed likely to dry up. Everything was up for reinvention. Did Vanderbilt open itself up to such risks?

No, the leaders decided. And so last month Vanderbilt University Medical Center completed its separation from its parent. The hospital is still located on the campus and is tightly affiliated with the medical school, but now the university’s trustees will have to spend less time studying the intricacies of, say, disproportionate-share hospital payments, or lobbying the state legislature to expand Medicaid access.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One of the problems is third party on pricing, especially Obamacare, Medicaid and Medicare pricing limits that are driving patients under these plans to be losing propositions. In New Hampshire nearly half the hospitals turn away patients on Obamacare insurance plans except in dire emergencies. University hospitals for a variety of reasons usually must accept those patients and eat the losses.

There are, of course, some ways university hospitals try to limit these losses. For example the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center will only accept patients referred by doctors, usually family physicians. You cannot get an appointment for brain surgery or dermatology treatments at the DHMC without a referral except in dire emergencies.

Before Obamacare there was Romneycare (Mittcare) in Massachusetts. Because of price controls some hospitals in Massachusetts dropped losers. The biggest loser in most hospitals is obstetrics due to the high cost of malpractice insurance for obstetrics. Parents tend to sue for defective babies even when the hospital did nothing wrong. Another loser may be emergency room services. Some Boston-area hospitals that once had emergency services dropped their emergency rooms where patients tend to go when they have no insurance or price-controlled insurance plans like Medicaid and Medicare.

My long-time ophthalmologist with offices in our regional hospital now turns me away because I have Medicare insurance.

University hospitals face larger hurdles when dropping medical services having financial losses. Apart from the public relations disaster arising from dropped services there are other problems such as need to provide those services for educational purposes. For example, most obstetrics students in a university's medical school need somewhere to learn obstetrics first hand.

Time and time again history shows that price controls have adverse effects on supply. Either quality deteriorates (such as having medical services from a provider less than a licensed physician) or the service disappears entirely (such as not serving Obamacare, Medicaid, or Medicare patients). Drug manufacturers will sometimes sell a drug at below variable cost if the loss can be absorbed by other products the company sells. However, if the losses become huge the company might stop making an unprofitable medication. This is a growing problem with certain specialized cancer medications that are extremely expensive to manufacture and are also extremely unprofitable at prices paid by Medicaid and Medicare.

And thus university hospitals that were once cash cows for medical schools have become cash hemorrhages.

Bob Jensen's threads on healthcare ---

Getting Medicare While Traveling or Living Overseas ---

Many retirees look forward to traveling in their retirement, and more and more are actually retiring overseas, in part as a way to stretch savings. But what happens to retirees' federal benefits while they are out of the country? The short answer is that although Social Security benefits are available to retirees in other countries, Medicare generally is not. In this installment we look at Medicare.

Traditional Medicare does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States (although Medicare does cover residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands). In rare cases, Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital services in Canada or Mexico. (For details, click here.)

Some Medicare Advantage (private Medicare) plans may provide coverage benefits for health care needs when enrollees travel outside the United States. (Check with your plan before traveling.) But those retiring overseas -- or travelers enrolled in the traditional Medicare program or whose Medicare Advantage plan does not cover foreign travel -- will need to purchase health insurance from another source.

Medicare beneficiaries who are traveling and who have no other coverage must either buy short-term travel insurance or a Medigap policy that covers foreign emergencies. Medigap plans C through J offer travel emergency coverage, but the benefit applies only during the first 60 days of any trip. This Medigap benefit covers 80 percent of emergency care administered outside the country. A $250 deductible and $50,000 lifetime maximum apply. In addition, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including evacuations. The State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs provides information on medical insurance while overseas, including a list of companies that offer travel medical insurance, at its Web site.

Retirees who are moving to a foreign country cannot use Medicare to pay for health care while they are living overseas. The options for retirees are to buy private coverage, to pay into a government-sponsored system in their new country of residence, or to go without coverage. If the retiree is moving to a country with a strong national plan, he or she may be able to pay into the plan and receive coverage similar to that accorded residents of the country. If national insurance isn't an option, many companies offer "expatriate" health insurance plans. Choosing the right plan depends on where the retiree is moving. For example, if a retiree is traveling somewhere remote or with poor local health care, evacuation coverage may be important. Another country may offer excellent health care, but each doctor visit may cost a lot of money, so a plan that covers outpatient doctor visits may be necessary there. No matter where the retiree is moving, another consideration is whether the plan covers pre-existing conditions.

Whatever option retirees choose while abroad, if they return to the United States they will still be covered by Medicare Part A. Medicare Part A covers institutional care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, as well as certain care given by home health agencies and care provided in hospices. There are no premiums for this part of the Medicare program and anyone who is 65 or older and is eligible for Social Security automatically qualifies.

Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient services, charges a monthly premium. Unless retirees continue to pay the premiums while they are overseas, they will not automatically be covered by Medicare Part B when they return to the United States. Retirees who drop Part B and then move back to the United States will have to pay an enrollment penalty. Premiums increase by 10 percent for each year that an individual is not enrolled in Part B. Therefore, retirees who think they may return to the United States may find it worthwhile to continue paying Part B premiums while they live abroad. 

U.S. citizens who were living abroad when they turned 65 and who are not eligible for Social Security, do not have to pay higher Part B premiums when they return to the United States. These retireees won't have to pay a higher premium if they enroll in Part B within 3 months of returning and establishing residence. For information on living outside the United States and Part B, go here: https://www.medicare.gov/people-like-me/outside-us/signing-up-for-part-b-outside-us.html

For more about the Medicare program, click here.


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

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