Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the August 30, 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

America's retirement crisis is happening, and it's going to affect everyone ---
Jensen Comment
In one way or another millennials are going to get stuck with the bill, especially when funding Medicaid and Medicare.
Someday the USA will have to follow the lead of Canada and Europe with respect to euthanasia. Please let me go when I'm beyond hope.

Inflation:  Things You Need Versus Things You Want ---
Jensen Comment
Because government wants to paint a rosy picture about inflation and have lower inflation adjustments for things like Social Security and wages it started excluding things like price increases in energy, food, and housing when it measures inflation ---

Covering Up the Pension Crisis:  States and actuaries (and the media) are trying to stifle debate about the growing shortfall in fund assets---

Study Finds More Faculty Diversity at Public Institutions Than at Private Ones ---
Jensen Comment
There are two types of private colleges and universities. The first type includes the prestigious universities where tenure is very, very hard to attain for minorities and non-minorities. The second type includes the private colleges and universities struggling to meet payroll who cannot afford to hire minority faculty now demanding premiums since they are in such short supply if they have respectable Ph.D. diplomas. Some public institutions will stretch diploma requirements such as accepting minority applicants who either do not have Ph.D. diplomas (think of now-infamous native American former tenured faculty member at the University of Colorado) or those who earned Ph.D.s online mills or some of the questionable doctoral programs outside the USA.

The digestive process in livestock causes 22 percent of U.S. methane emissions, with their manure contributing another 8 percent ---
Jensen Comment
Cows are safe for now since most members of Congress like big steaks, hamburgers, and milk shakes.

Perhaps the biggest contributor of methane emissions are those bubbles coming up from the ocean floor all over the world ---
Also see http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/1017/Climate-change-Why-methane-gas-is-leaking-from-the-ocean-floor 

Salon in 2007:  A Vote for Romney is a Vote for Satan

Walmart’s Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy ---
Jensen Question
In this era on not wanting to incarcerate non-violent people, how do you stop the hard core of shop lifters who repeatedly defy the law?
There are gangs of shoplifters, many of them teenagers, that now attack fast and furiously.

During the last 72 hours, while protestors have raged against the police here in Milwaukee, another 9 were killed in Chicago and another 46 were wounded. More than 2,600 people have been shot in Chicago since the beginning of the year, and almost 4,000 killed in President Obama’s hometown area since his presidency began.
WSJ Newsletter, August 18, 2016
Jensen Comment
A Canadian recently asked how long it would take for the blue states and the red states would declare all-out civil war.

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

Transgender Students Face Unsettled Rules on Bathrooms as They Return to School ---

The world's major cities are becoming a lot less liveable ---
Jensen Question
How long before there are zones where the police fear to enter?

You can get a free flight to Iceland if you agree to stay ---
Jensen Question
Wonder if that same idea would succeed in the USA?

Study: Congressmen on finance committees get bigger loans v. other lawmakers. Countrywide showed how that movie ends ---

Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff:  USA Taxes are Very Progressive ---

The USA tax code is highly progressive with the top 50% of taxpayers paying 97.2% of the income tax collected in 2013 ---

In 2013, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers (those with AGIs below $36,841) earned 11.49 percent of total AGI. This group of taxpayers paid approximately $34 billion in taxes, or 2.78 percent of all income taxes in 2013.

What is really misleading is all of this is that an estimated $2 trillion (USA Today very rough estimate) unreported on tax returns from the underground economy, and much of that income goes to the low-end of income spectrum for house cleaners, child care workers, prostitutes, construction workers, landscapers, yard workers, farm hands, etc. Of course some high earners also share in the underground economy

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) ---

And the lowest 40% of taxpayers do very well when Federal transfers are added to their incomes ---

At a cost of $56 billion in 2013, the EITC is the third-largest social welfare program in the United States after Medicaid ($275 billion federal and $127 billion state expenditures) and food stamps ($78 billion).[31] Almost 27 million American households received more than $56 billion in payments through the EITC in 2010. These EITC dollars had a significant impact on the lives and communities of the nation's lowest-paid working people largely repaying any payroll taxes they may have paid. The Census Bureau, using an alternative calculation of poverty, found that EITC lifted 5.4 million


Clinton vs. Trump: What Happens to Your Income Taxes?
David Cay Johnston
Jensen Comment
Of course Congress can kill the best laid plans of Presidential hopefuls. Before elections tax reform plans are more about getting votes than getting revenue.

The number of women in jail is rising faster than men ---

But the reality is that the city (Berlin)  is struggling with poverty, unemployment, poor infrastructure, a floundering education system, debt, the refugee crisis and crime ---

Nurses are overpaid maids, glorified baby sitters
Hillary Clinton

PBS NewsHour Cuts Anti-Hillary Portions of Judy Woodruff's Jill Stein Interview (but not the anti-Trump portions)

15 Fascinating Facts About North Korea ---

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

Latina women are the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the U.S. ---
The American Dream ---

Bill Clinton was paid more than $1 million in 2015 by Laureate Education, a global operator of for-profit colleges, according to tax returns released today by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The new figure brings the former president’s total compensation from Laureate to more than $17.5 million for his five-year role as an “honorary chancellor.”
Jensen Comment
Given his history this makes me wonder about the unmentionable fringe benefits.

Questionable Accounting and Conflict of Interest Deal Making
Shut down the Clinton Foundation --
Jensen Comment
What's remarkable is that the author of this article writes for one of the most liberal outfits in the world --- Slate

The man who leaked Hillary Clinton's medical records to the public has been found dead Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service has issued a report saying that the father of a doctor treating Hillary Clinton for dementia was found killed this weekend after he leaked information about her deteriorating health to the public. According to the report, Vincent Fleck, the father of Clinton’s physician Dr. Daniel Fleck, was found near his home just 24 hours after releasing Hillary’s most secret . .

Mrs. Clinton, for her part, is hailing the Michigan economic comeback. Our columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes, “Michigan is rising from the ashes, but no thanks to Democrats. The turnaround has been led by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who took office in 2011 and implemented a number of pro-growth reforms. Those policies are the opposite of the tax-and-spend-and-hyperregulate agenda that candidate Clinton wants to impose from Washington.”
WSJ Newsletter on August 22, 2016

In 2002 then-Virginia Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine thought that President Bill Clinton should’ve resigned due to the Lewinsky sex scandal. He made the remarks in connection to the drama within Virginia’s legislature, which was grappling with a sexual harassment ---

This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working ---

Thanks in large part to Obama policies, only 37% of student borrowers are paying down their student loans ---

Some German asylum seekers refuse to work insisting 'We are Merkel's GUESTS' ---

STIGLITZ: Italy could be the 'cataclysmic event' that leads to the fall of the eurozone ---

Scientific American:  The Funky Math of the Electoral College ---

Bad News
Mugabe Orders Arrest Of "Rats We Call Athletes" After Zimbabwe Wins No Olympic Medals ---
Good News
There are no longer any prisons in Zimbabwe because Mugabe can't afford to keep prisoners

Animated map shows the most dangerous countries in the world for tourists ---

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

Political Correctness --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness 

"The Chicago School of Free Speech," The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2016 ---

For a change, we come not to bury a college president but to praise him. His name is Robert Zimmer, and nearby the University of Chicago president defends the educational and societal virtues of free speech on college campuses. Let’s hope he wears body armor to the next faculty meeting.

Mr. Zimmer’s public coming out is all the more notable because it appears to be part of a university-wide message. The school’s dean of students, Jay Ellison, has written a letter to incoming freshmen noting that the desire for “safe spaces” from discomfiting speech or ideas will not override

Also see


But the latest predictable outrage is that DePaul University has banned Ben Shapiro from appearing on campus, under the ludicrous and specious pretense of "security concerns." If there are security concerns, neither Shapiro nor his admirers are causing them. As Shapiro's sponsor, Young America's Foundation said, "Make no mistake, any security concerns we face on campuses are 100 percent incited by the censorious, intolerant left."

Jensen Comment on Depaul University
The :intolerant left" includes most of Depaul's faculty as well as students.
Ben Shapiro is just not politically correct for campuses in the USA.

Stanley Fish --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Fish

For many years, Stanley Fish has been one of my heroes and role models ---
The world needs more Fish tales.

Professor Fish is sometimes incorrectly given credit for the phrase "political correctness." Perhaps he should be given credit, however, for a willingness to stand up against the tide of politcal correctness that swamped our academy.

August 5, 2016 reply from Tom Selling

Use of “politically correct” is a pet peeve of mine.

The irony of using “politically correct” as a code word is that it was coined (to the best of my knowledge) by Lenin to indicate correspondence with communist orthodoxy. It’s popularity in U.S. discourse was probably fueled by radio shock jocks who, rather than deal with facts, stirred up resentment from the listening audience via coarse analogies to communism in response to any “liberal” suggestion that government might participate in solving a socio-economic problem. I don’t think users today realize how deeply the term should be regarded as an insult.

This is somewhat of an aside, but a recent personal experience: I spent a lot of time last week (on RAGBRAI — www.ragbrai.com) with a native German speaker who preferred conversing with me in German, even though he was fluent in English. During one discussion, I used the word “Lebensraum,” a perfectly ordinary word, in a perfectly ordinary sense. But, my German friend was aghast. Since “Lebensraum” was a central concept of naziism, the term is no longer acceptable in polite conversation.

That is the way I feel about “politically correct.” Notwithstanding whether Stanley Fish, whom I admire greatly for his principles and his intellect, used the term, I do not regard “politically correct” as acceptable in polite conversation.

August 6. 2016 reply from Bob Jensen
Hi Tom,

Allan Bloom --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Bloom

Sometimes a term like "political correctness" is deemed more acceptable after there is frequent use of it in the academic literature. For example this phrase is extensively used in Allan Bloom's 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind ---

The banning of conservative writers from college campuses but not liberal/progressive writers is an example of just what Allan Bloom was referring to over and over in his classic book.

I repeat:
Is there currently a liberal/progressive speaker that would be banned from the campus of Depaul University because of the possibility that liberal/progressive viewpoints would be advocated?

I always admired Trinity University because of the spectrum of speakers that came to campus from Milton Friedman to Michael Moore. During Milton Friedman's speech his very tiny wife Rose walked down the aisle and tapped a heckler lightly with her shoe. Even Trinity's most liberal scholars left with their heads shaking in dismay after Michael Moore's inflammatory speech. But in my 24 years on that campus I cannot remember an incident where the audience was not polite. Yeah there were a few occasions where security had to remove a heckler from the audience, but this was infrequent. Once a small heckler group had to be removed during a speech by Henry Kissinger. But these were not local hecklers. There was a group of stalkers that followed Kissinger to heckle wherever he went in life. .


the academic community’s interest in rigorous debate

“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship,” Mr. Ellison wrote for tender millennial ears. “You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.”

This is so refreshing we want to keep going. Mr. Ellison’s letter adds that Chicago’s “commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

The letter comes with a monograph by dean John Boyer discussing the university’s “history of debate, and even scandal, resulting from our commitment to academic freedom.” Maybe Chicago’s example will inspire spinal infusions at the likes of Rutgers, the University of Missouri, and even the timorous souls at Yale.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Political Correctness ---

Why the USA Will Lose the 21st Century

Cheaper and cleaner nuclear plants could finally become reality—but not in the United States, where the technology was invented more than 50 years ago.
"Fail-Safe Nuclear Power," MIT's Technology Review, August 2, 2016 ---

. . .

Given unprecedented access to the inner workings of China’s advanced nuclear R&D program, I was witnessing a new nuclear technology being born. Through the virtual reactor snaked an intricate system of pipes carrying the fluid that makes this system special: a molten salt that cools the reactor and carries heat to drive a turbine and make electricity. At least in theory, this type of reactor can’t suffer the kind of catastrophic failure that happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima, making unnecessary the expensive and redundant safety systems that have driven up the cost of conventional reactors. What’s more, the new plants should produce little waste and might even eat up existing nuclear waste. They could run on uranium, which powers 99 percent of the nuclear power plants in the world, or they could eventually run on thorium, which is cleaner and more abundant. The ultimate goal of the Shanghai Institute: to build a molten-salt reactor that could replace the 1970s-era technology in today’s nuclear power plants and help wean China off the coal that fouls the air of Shanghai and Beijing, ushering in an era of cheap, abundant, zero-carbon energy.

Over the next two decades China hopes to build the world’s largest nuclear power industry. Plans include as many as 30 new conventional nuclear plants (in addition to the 34 reactors operating today) as well as a variety of next-generation reactors, including thorium molten-salt reactors, high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (which, like molten-salt reactors, are both highly efficient and inherently safe), and sodium-cooled fast reactors (which can consume spent fuel from conventional reactors to make electricity). Chinese planners want not only to dramatically expand the country’s domestic nuclear capacity but also to become the world’s leading supplier of nuclear reactors and components, a prospect that many Western observers find alarming.

Continued in article

"China Is Building a Robot Army of Model Workers," by Will Knight, MIT's Technology Review, April 26, 2016 ---

Homework in the USA? Forget it!
"How WeChat Is Extending China’s School Days Well into the Night," by Yiting Sun, MIT's Technology Review, March 8, 2016 ---

New homework assignments at 7 p.m., corrections due by midnight: how teachers, parents, and students in some schools in China are using WeChat to perpetuate round-the-clock pressure.by

With the help of Mitt Romney's Bain Capital
"A Chinese Internet Giant Starts to Dream," by Robert D. Hoff, MIT's Technology Review, August 14, 2016 ---

Jensen Comment
These are some of the ways the USA will fall way behind in terms of technology. We're too busy fighting wars inside and outside the USA.

Eating Crow
The IRS Scandal Day 1201 ---
This article is interesting apart from the issue at hand. What makes it interesting is to watch a Harvard University professor eat crow.

Jensen Comment
I know the feeling. I've had to eat crow enough times myself to the point of embarrassment because my research was superficial.
These things stick with you. I still can recall as a referee on a TAR article when I voted to reject an integer programming paper on technical grounds. Turns out the author was far more of an expert than me. These things you don't forget until long after you forget whether you remembered to eat breakfast today.

There are two ways to avoid eating crow. One is to remain silent on issues where you are not a leading expert. The other is to speak out relying on what you think are statements of highly respected experts. This leaves you vulnerable to the mistakes of those "experts" when you yourself were not informed enough at the time to see the mistakes of those experts. I admit that at times I just fishing in my blog statements to find the counter arguments that I was not informed about.

You might click on the above article to see how Professor Tribe handled his embarrassment.

If you take the time and trouble you will find a number of my apologies for ignorance in the archives of the AECM --- those times where I ate crow. These are painful, and I don't care to ruin my evening by trying to recall all the crows I've eaten.

The IRS targeting of conservatives is a "scandal" that followed President Obama since his re-election in 2012. He won that election with 51% of the popular vote compared with his opponent's 47% of the popular vote with a difference of less than 4% ---
The IRS may have helped President Obama tilt the odds by using the IRS to constrain the fund raising of his opponent.
The IRS and Lois Lerner confessed to targeting conservative fund raising groups.
The scandal is whether somebody in the White House (not necessarily President Obama) pressured the IRS to help engineer Obama's re-election.
Lois Lerner could end this speculation if she would testify under oath that she was or was not pressured by the White House to target conservative fund raising groups.
Lois Lerner continues to refuse to testify under oath. Her refusal is hurtful to President Obama's legacy if he himself is innocent of using the IRS to engineer his own re-election.


IRS Migration Data: Taxpayers Leave NY, IL & CA For TX, FL & SC ---

Public employee unions have ot bear some of the blame since in some instances their pension plans were bloated with union frauds (remember Stockton and Chicago). But state governments were also to blame due to inadequate funding of legitimate pensions. Now NY, IL, and CA along with some other states like Connecticut, Kentucky, and Rhode Island have no idea how to pay for pensions when the bills come due. The states of Texas, FL, and SC have weaker public employee unions and much lower burdens for unfunded pension frauds that duped legislators.

California's governor had some luck averting a short term crisis with higher taxes. But he admits that he has no idea how to fund the trillion-dollar pension bills that will soon be coming due. Meanwhile, Illionois has the biggest funding crisis in its history. It seems to be easier for Illinois governors to just sit out their troubles in prison.

Miracle of Michigan
Ontario vs. Michigan: Policy Lessons from the Wolverine State

Canada's Fraser Institute
August 11, 2016


Michigan’s strong economic performance since 2011 stands in contrast to Ontario, a jurisdiction that also has a large manufacturing base as a central feature of its economy but one that has not experienced an economic resurgence comparable to Michigan’s in recent years. Between 2010 and 2014, Michigan’s real economic output has increased slightly faster than Ontario’s, despite slower population growth. Michigan’s manufacturing output growth exceeded Ontario’s significantly between 2011 and 2014. Furthermore, while Ontario has experienced a dramatic and economically harmful run-up in public debt since 2011, Michigan has actually seen a slight decline in net public debt as a share of its economy. These results stand in stark contrast to the situation in the early years of this century, when Ontario consistently outperformed Michigan on most measures of economic performance.

In the early and mid-2000s, Michigan suffered a steep economic decline, such that it actually lost population, as many Michigan residents left the state in search of greater economic opportunity in jurisdictions like Texas and Florida that were flourishing economically. Yet a series of bold policy reforms would revitalize the Michigan economy. This amazing turnaround story offers lessons for Ontario.

In the early and mid-2000s, Michigan suffered a steep economic decline, such that it actually lost population, as many Michigan residents left the state in search of greater economic opportunity in jurisdictions like Texas and Florida that were flourishing economically. Yet a series of bold policy reforms would revitalize the Michigan economy. This amazing turnaround story offers lessons for Ontario.

In the early and mid-2000s, Michigan suffered a steep economic decline, such that it actually lost population, as many Michigan residents left the state in search of greater economic opportunity in jurisdictions like Texas and Florida that were flourishing economically. Yet a series of bold policy reforms would revitalize the Michigan economy. This amazing turnaround story offers lessons for Ontario.

The introduction of right-to-work legislation (signed in 2012 and taking effect in March 2013);

     The replacement of the complex and onerous Michigan Business Tax (MBT) with a simpler and lighter flat corporate income tax of 6 percent, effective January 1, 2012;

     Sharp budget cuts, which were undertaken in fiscal year 2012, followed by a period of spending restraint during which state spending increased only modestly.

If Ontario policymakers seek to generate a comparable boost to their overall economy, labour market, and manufacturing sector, they should carefully study Michigan’s reform experience and determine which policies could be similarly helpful here. Given the severity of the fiscal problems facing Ontario, provincial policymakers should learn from the Michigan example and move quickly to reform and reduce provincial spending in order to finally begin reducing the province’s daunting debt load. Ontario continues to perform below its full economic potential and remains burdened by substantial public debt. This comparison with the American state of Michigan provides

Look at the graph

Continued in Report

Jensen Comment
The Flint water crisis is perhaps a huge setback on what otherwise might be called the Miracle of Michigan

That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their response when challenged --- a combination of disbelief and indignation. "Are you an absolutist?," the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as "Are you a monarchist?" or "Do you really believe in witches?" This latter leads into the indignation, for someone who believes in witches might well be a witch hunter or a Salem judge. The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance." Relativism is necessary to openness and this is the virtue, the only virtue ...
Allan Bloom,
The Closing of the American Mind:  How Education has Failed Democracy ahd Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987, pp. 25-260


Absolutists fail to recognize that President Bill Clinton balanced the Federal Budget large on lagged tax collections due to the Reagan tax cuts and the Laffer Curve.


It is one thing to argue pros and cons of the Laffer Curve in academia. It is quite another when professors let politics close their minds to scholarship.


India swings on the Laffer curve
Its economy is growing at a rapid rate, the Mumbai stock market is performing well, tax revenues are flowing steadily into New Delhi, and the government is now planning to compete with Beijing in contracting for oil supplies to feed India's growing appetite for energy.  How did this most unexpected rags-to-riches story come about?  One clear reason can be found in a headline in Bloomberg's financial network on 11 January 2005, over a story by Andy Mukherjee writing from Singapore:  "India's Tax Plan May Again Bet on Laffer Curve."  I was most pleased to read that Finance Minister P Chidambaram is hinting at a "massive" change in the country's tax system, slashing tax rates on personal and corporate incomes in a second gamble on "the Laffer Curve", which Chidambaram mentions by name as an idea he has embraced with enthusiasm.
Jude Waniski, "India swings on the Laffer curve," Aljazeera, March 7, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/19C56AC9-1B19-4096-9068-79F9A2C8CDB5.htm 


You can read more about the Laffer curve at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve 

Also see http://www.vistech.net/users/rsturge/laffercu.html 


Laffer Curve --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve


Between 1979 and 2002, more than 40 other countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden cut their top rates of personal income tax. In an article about this, Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow with the right-libertarian think tank Cato Institute, wrote, "Why did so many other countries so dramatically reduce marginal tax rates? Perhaps they were influenced by new economic analysis and evidence from... supply-side economics. But the sheer force of example may well have been more persuasive. Political authorities saw that other national governments fared better by having tax collectors claim a medium share of a rapidly growing economy (a low marginal tax) rather than trying to extract a large share of a stagnant economy (a high average tax)."[38]

Japanese government raised the sales tax in 1997 for the purpose of balancing its budget, but the government revenue decreased by 4.5 trillion yen because consumption stumbled. The country recorded a GDP growth rate of 3 percent in 1996, but after the tax hike the economy sank into recession (although this was also the time period of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.)[39] The tax revenue reached a peak of 53 trillion yen in FY 1997, and declined in subsequent years, being still 42 trillion yen[40] (537 billion US dollars) in 2012.

Continued in article


"Israel, the Laffer Curve, and Market-Based Reform," by Daniel J. Mitchell, Townhall, November 17, 2015 ---


Since I’m a big fan of the Laffer Curve, I’m always interested in real-world examples showing good results when governments reduce marginal tax rates on productive activity.


Heck, I’m equally interested in real-world results when governments do the wrong thing and increase tax burdens on work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship (and, sadly,these examples are more common).


My goal, to be sure, isn’t to maximize revenue for politicians. Instead, I prefer the growth-maximizing point on the Laffer Curve.


In any event, my modest hope is that politicians will learn that higher tax rates lead to less taxable income. Whether taxable income falls by a lot or a little obviously depends on the specific circumstance. But in either case, I want policy makers to understand that there are negative economic effects.


Writing for Forbes, Jeremy Scott of Tax Notes analyzes the supply-side policies of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu


Netanyahu…argued that the Laffer curve worked, and that his 2003 tax cuts had transformed Israel into a market economy and an engine of growth. …He pushed through controversial reforms… The top individual tax rate was cut from 64 percent to 44 percent, while corporate taxes were slashed from 36 percent to 18 percent. …Netanyahu credits these reforms for making Israel’s high-tech boom of the last few years possible. …tax receipts did rise after Netanyahu’s tax cuts. In fact, they were sharply higher in 2007 than in 2003, before falling for several years because of the global recession. …His tax cuts did pay for themselves. And he has transformed Israel into more of a market economy…In fact, the prime minister recently announced plans for more cuts to taxes, this time to the VAT and corporate levies.


Pretty impressive.

Though I have to say that rising revenues doesn’t necessarily mean that the tax cuts were completely self-financing. To answer that question, you have to know what would have happened in the absence of the tax cut. And since that information never will be available, all we can do is speculate.


That being said, I have no doubt there was a strong Laffer Curve response in Israel. Simply stated, dropping the top tax rate on personal income by 20 percentage points creates a much more conducive environment for investment and entrepreneurship.


And cutting the corporate tax rate in half is also a sure-fire recipe for improved investment and job creation.


Continued in article


Jensen Comment
Note that there's likely to be a relatively long lag between tax cuts and increases in tax revenues even in circumstances that are likely to have a Laffer Curve impact. For example, Bill Clinton allegedly was able to balance the budget due to lags in the Reagan tax cuts.


The circumstances were not decent for the George W. Bush tax cuts because he was the most spendthrift president in USA history. Tax cuts do not necessarily have a Laffer Curve impact when spending is significantly increased alongside the tax cuts. The George W. Bush veto pen was still full of ink at the end of his term of office as President of the USA.


The circumstances of Laffer Curve impact are also not good if the economy is heading for a deep recession. Too many other variables come into play, especially global variables.

The Miracle of Chile --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Chile
The miracle was how Chile rose up from poverty with tax cuts. The miracle ended with tax increases.


Clinton, Trump Tax Return News --- http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/08/more-on-trumps-tax-returns.html
Note the links to many media reports following the release of the Clinton tax returns

Thanks in large part to Obama policies, only 37% of borrowers are paying down their student loans ---

In her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton exclaimed, “ Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!” How she intends to do that remains something of a mystery, beyond higher taxes on “Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich.” But it’s hard to imagine the student-loan industry and the burden of student debt getting any worse for taxpayers and borrowers than it is now.

A largely overlooked report released in February by the Government Accountability Office suggests that the Obama administration’s policies have exacerbated student debt, which equals nearly a quarter of annual federal borrowing. With only 37% of borrowers actually paying down their loans, the federal student-loan program more closely resembles the payday-lending industry than a benevolent source of funds for college.

As this newspaper (WSJ) reported in April, “43% of the roughly 22 million Americans with federal student loans weren’t making payments as of Jan. 1,” and a staggering “1 in 6 borrowers, or 3.6 million, were in default on $56 billion in student debt.” If student debt continues to skyrocket, the federal government may have to deal with as much as a $500 billion write-down when future defaults and loan-forgiveness programs are factored in.

In 2010, the Obama administration dispensed with the private intermediaries that had administered federal loans since the 1960s. It put in their place Direct Lending, a program administered by the Education Department. At the time, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that Direct Lending would save $62 billion from 2010 to 2020. That didn’t happen. The program’s advocates failed to anticipate how two other Obama-backed college affordability initiatives—Income-Driven Repayment and loan forgiveness—would create a cataclysmic hit to the federal student-loan program’s finances.

There are more than 20 Income-Driven Repayment programs, but they all work essentially the same way. Students struggling financially can defer their payments. When no or limited payments are made, their balances grow. Today, over 20 million borrowers are watching their loan balances increase thanks to these programs. The average balance ballooned to approximately $25,000 in 2014 from $15,000 in 2004, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and has grown still larger since then.

But the most significant explosion in student debt might still come. In 2007 Congress passed the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which allows borrowers who work for nonprofit organizations or government agencies to have their loans forgiven after 10 years. Students will be able to take advantage of this program for the first time in 2017. Yet no mechanism to evaluate who qualifies exists. Virtually every teacher, firefighter, social worker, police officer, doctor, or nurse who meets “their employer’s definition of full time” could have their loans forgiven.

The law will cost about $5 billion each year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But very few close to the student-loan industry believe that the CBO’s assumption will pan out. The total student-loan portfolio is now $1.3 trillion, and the program grows by approximately $100 billion annually. If only 20% more borrowers default than the CBO expects, the Education Department could face at least a $100 billion loss on its existing pool of loans.

What can Congress do? First, it should demand that the CBO appropriately score the Income-Driven Repayment options. The federal government should at least use the same nonperforming loan standards they require of banks. Specifically, the Education Department should be required to “reserve” funds in anticipation of foreseeable and significant write-offs. Assuming 20% of current loans end up being written off, the department will end up writing off more than $20 billion annually.

The Direct Lending program should also start leveraging its immense power to price loans differently based on the success of students. It may also be necessary to change the model by which colleges and universities receive loan proceeds. Today, schools receive Title IV funds at the start of the semester and only have to return them if students drop out before completing 60% of a course. Instead, schools should receive a portion of loan proceeds to start and only receive additional funds if students graduate and pay down their loans.

Continued in article

Tertiary education --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tertiary_education

Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions that teach specific capacities of higher learning such as colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers.[1] Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education and training beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or continuing education in the United States.

Tertiary education generally culminates in the receipt of certificates, diplomas, or academic degrees.

The USA already ranks high in terms of college graduates
Countries with the highest proportions of  college graduates ---

  1. Russian Federation 54.0% (quality varies due to rampant cheating and corruption where students can buy course grades and admission)
  2. Canada 48.3% (shares grade inflation problems with the USA)
  3. Israel 43.6%
  4. Japan 41.0%
  5. New Zealand 41.0%
  6. United States 40.3% (colleges vary greatly in terms of admissions standards and rigor for graduation)
  7. Finland 36.4%
  8. South Korea 34.3%
  9. Norway 34.2%
  10. Australia 33.7%

Germany college education is free by Germany is still under the OECD average in terms of proportions of college graduates at 23.9% ---
http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/german_joys/2010/09/education-governments-should-expand-tertiary-studies-to-boost-jobs-and-tax-revenues.html .

One of the major reasons admission to German schools is elitist is that free education is expensive to taxpayers. In 2009 the Berlin Senate decided that Berlin's universities should no longer be allowed to pick all of their students. It was ruled that while they would be able to pick approximately 70% of their students with the remaining 30% allocated by lottery. Every child is able to enter the lottery, no matter how he or she performed in primary school. It is hoped that this policy will increase the number of working class students attending a university.

A common myth is that nations that tightly restrict free college to the intellectual elite provide other forms (learning vocational trades) of free tertiary education.
OECD Study Published in 2014:  List of countries by 25- to 34-year-olds having a tertiary education degree ---
No nation provides more than Israel's 49% of free tertiary (trade training or college education) to more than Israel's 49% funded by taxpayers.

The USA, in my opinion, offers the most opportunity to the highest proportion of Tier 2 graduates to go to college. Even small towns across the USA have community college campuses and branch campuses with almost no admission standards for people who want to work toward a college degree or training certificate. Sadly, ACT testing results show that less than half of the USA's high school graduates are prepared to go to colllege. Compounding the felony is the fact that college degrees in the USA vary widely in terms of learning quality. Many of the USA's  graduates are no better or worse than Tier 2 (high school) graduates in Europe. In some cases the diplomas aren't worth the paper their written on let alone the thousands of dollars borrowed to get these useless diplomas.

Across the board from the worst to our most prestigious universities grade inflation is rampant to where the median grade across the USA is an A-
I fear that when college is free for all in the USA the median grade across the USA will climb to A+ and admission standards will fall to zero as colleges of poor quality compete to suck up the taxpayer subsidies that make college free for everybody.

What the USA lacks relative to Europe are networks of apprentice programs in the skilled trades where companies rather than taxpayers foot the bill for the training.

"What Can the U.S. Learn From Switzerland, a World Leader in Apprenticeships? by Kelly Field, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 02, 2016 ---

Time Magazine:  Why People Love Dogs ---

Jensen Comment
Except in most Muslim nations where dogs are banned (like in Iran and Saudi Arabia)

That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their response when challenged --- a combination of disbelief and indignation. "Are you an absolutist?," the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as "Are you a monarchist?" or "Do you really believe in witches?" This latter leads into the indignation, for someone who believes in witches might well be a witch hunter or a Salem judge. The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance." Relativism is necessary to openness and this is the virtue, the only virtue ...
Allan Bloom,
The Closing of the American Mind:  How Education has Failed Democracy ahd Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987, pp. 25-260


Exercises in Critical Thinking for Students
The hard task for faculty is keeping the debates on an academic plane above the roar of partisan shouting matches and closed-minded campus protests


Exercise 1 --- Black Lives Matter Proposed Tax Reforms
So often we see tax plans proposed by presidential candidates or other candidates for political office including mayors. So often arguments for or against are highly partisan without being cooly academic.

What I would like professors to think about is to make an assignment where students or teams of students would write papers about and academically debate both sides of a tax reform package.

Take, for example, the recent Black Lives Matter Tax Reform Proposals ---

Without simply jumping on the band wagon for or against these proposals from a partisan perspective think about assigning students to find academic arguments for and against each of the proposals listed above. Among other things have students do comparative analyses of taxation in other nations such as the Scandinavian nations versus the USA. Also make students aware that in the USA the top 50% of taxpayers pay 97% of the income taxes and the bottom 50% pay 3% of the income tax collected. There can be arguments for making income taxes and other taxes more progressive, but don't let students ignore the fact that taxation in the USA is not as regressive as naive students tend to think.

In the process help students realize that comparisons between nations are truly difficult when what taxes pay for are different. For example, in Scandinavia the marginal tax rates are higher than in the USA but those taxes pay for national health insurance. Hence to compare the USA with Scandinavia the costs of health care must be factored into or out of the analysis.

Similarly, tertiary education at Tier 3 is paid for by taxes in some nations like Finland and but not in other nations like Sweden and the USA. But, very big "but," Tier 3 "free" education in Europe is limited to less than half the Tier 2 graduates where college education is limited to only the top Tier 2 achievers. In the USA college is not free to most Tier 2 graduates but is highly subsidized to a much greater proportion of Tier 2 graduates since there are so many colleges and community college branches is so many towns across the USA and so many distance education low-cost opportunities relative to other parts of the world.

In Europe less than half the Tier 2 (high school) graduates are even allowed to to to college or free trade schools ---
OECD Study Published in 2014:  List of countries by 25- to 34-year-olds having a tertiary education degree ---

Why won't Europe allow more Tier 2 graduates into college?


Exercise 2 --- Analyze the Interim $15 Seattle Miniumum Wage Report Submitted by U. of Washington Economists in 2016
So often we see miinimum wages proposed by presidential candidates or other candidates for political office including mayors. So often arguments for or against are highly partisan without being cooly academic.

The Study
July 2016

This report presents the short-run effects of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance on the Seattle labor market. The Seattle Minimum Wage study team at the University of Washington analyzed administrative records on employment, hours, and earnings from the Washington Employment Security Department to address two fundamental questions: 1) How has Seattle’s labor market performed since the City passed the Minimum Wage Ordinance, and particularly since the first wage increase phased in on April 1, 2015? 2) What are the short-run effects of the Minimum Wage Ordinance on Seattle’s labor market? While quite similar at first glance, these two questions address very different issues and require very different methods to answer. The first question can be studied with a simple before/after comparison. Although the comparison is simple, it risks conflating the impact of the minimum wage with other local trends. Many things have happened in Seattle’s labor market since June 2014, most of them having little or nothing to do with the minimum wage itself. The City has enjoyed steady expansion in tech sector employment, and a construction boom fueled by rising residential and commercial property prices. Even the weather – a key determinant of economic activity in the Puget Sound region – was favorable in 2015, with record-low precipitation in the early months of the $11 minimum wage. The before-after comparison can tell us the net impact of all these simultaneous trends, but this comparison cannot distinguish among them. Our second question – the more important one for purposes of evaluating the policy – aims to isolate the impact of the minimum wage from all the other regional trends seen over the same time period. Whereas the first question asks “are we better off than we were when Seattle raised the minimum wage” and requires only a simple comparison of yesterday to today, the second asks “are we better off than we would have been if Seattle had not adopted a higher minimum wage?” To answer it requires imagining how the local economy would look in absence of a Minimum Wage Ordinance. While it is impossible to directly observe what would have happened if no wage ordinance had been implemented, this report uses widely accepted statistical techniques to compare Seattle in its current state—with the presence of the Minimum Wage Ordinance—to an image of what Seattle might have looked like today if not for the Minimum Wage Ordinance. We take advantage of data going back to 2005 to build a model of the way Seattle’s labor market typically works. We also take advantage of data on nearby regions that did not increase the minimum wage to better understand how other factors might have influenced what we observe in the City itself.

3 In this report, we present findings on wages, workers, jobs, and establishments. Our findings can be summarized as follows: Wages:  The distribution of wages shifted as expected.  The share of workers earning less than $11 per hour declined sharply.  This decline began shortly after the ordinance was passed.  However, similar declines were seen outside of Seattle, suggesting an improving economy may be the cause of the change in the distribution of wages. Low-Wage Workers:  In the 18 months after the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance passed, the City of Seattle’s lowest-paid workers experienced a significant increase in wages.  The typical worker earning under $11/hour in Seattle when the City Council voted to raise the minimum wage in June 2014 (“low-wage workers”) earned $11.14 per hour by the end of 2015, an increase from $9.96/hour at the time of passage.  The minimum wage contributed to this effect, but the strong economy did as well. We estimate that the minimum wage itself is responsible for a $0.73/hour average increase for low-wage workers.  In a region where all low-wage workers, including those in Seattle, have enjoyed access to more jobs and more hours, Seattle’s low-wage workers show some preliminary signs of lagging behind similar workers in comparison regions.  The minimum wage appears to have slightly reduced the employment rate of low-wage workers by about one percentage point. It appears that the Minimum Wage Ordinance modestly held back Seattle’s employment of low-wage workers relative to the level we could have expected.  Hours worked among low-wage Seattle workers have lagged behind regional trends, by roughly four hours per quarter (nineteen minutes per week), on average.  Low-wage individuals working in Seattle when the ordinance passed transitioned to jobs outside Seattle at an elevated rate compared to historical patterns.  Seattle’s low-wage workers did see larger-than-usual paychecks (i.e., quarterly earnings) in late 2015, but most— if not all—of that increase was due to a strong local economy.  Increased wages were offset by modest reductions in employment and hours, thereby limiting the extent to which higher wages directly translated into higher average earnings.  At most, 25% of the observed earnings gains—around a few dollars a week, on average—can be attributed to the minimum wage.  Seattle’s low-wage workers who kept working were modestly better off as a result of the Minimum Wage Ordinance, having $13 more per week in earnings and working 15 minutes less per week.

4 Jobs:  Overall, the Seattle labor market was exceptionally strong over the 18 months from mid2014 to the end of 2015.  Seattle’s job growth rate tripled the national average between mid-2014 and late 2015.  This job growth rate outpaced Seattle’s own robust performance in recent years.  Surrounding portions of King County also had a very good year; the boom appears to fade with geographic distance.  Job growth is clearly driven by increased opportunities for higher-wage workers, but businesses relying on low-wage labor showed better-than-average growth as well.  For businesses that rely heavily on low-wage labor, our estimates of the impact of the Ordinance on the number of persistent jobs are small and sensitive to modeling choices. Our estimates of the impact of the Ordinance on hours per employee more consistently indicate a reduction of roughly one hour per week.  Fewer hours per employee could reflect higher turnover rather than cutbacks in staffing.  Reductions in hours are consistent with the experiences of low-wage workers. Establishments:  We do not find compelling evidence that the minimum wage has caused significant increases in business failure rates. Moreover, if there has been any increase in business closings caused by the Minimum Wage Ordinance, it has been more than offset by an increase in business openings. In sum, Seattle’s experience shows that the City’s low-wage workers did relatively well after the minimum wage increased, but largely because of the strong regional economy. Seattle’s low wage workers would have experienced almost equally positive trends if the minimum wage had not increased. Although the minimum wage clearly increased wages for this group, offsetting effects on low-wage worker hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings. We strongly caution that these results show only the short-run impact of Seattle’s increase to a wage of $11/hour, and that they do not reflect the full range of experiences for tens of thousands of individual workers in the City economy. These are “average” effects which could mask critical distinctions between workers in different categories. Our future work will extend analysis to 2016, when Seattle’s minimum wage increased a second time and began to distinguish between businesses of different sizes and industries. It will also incorporate more detailed information about workers by linking employment records to other state databases. This will give us a greater capacity to answer key questions, such as whether the workers benefiting most from higher minimum wages are more likely to be living in poverty. We are also in the process of collecting additional survey information from Seattle businesses and conducting interviews with a worker sample tracked since early 2015. The next report, expected in September, will focus specifically on how the minimum wage has affected nonprofit organizations.

Continued in article


Let students debate the above report and/or write critical thinking analyses about the report before you share the following articles.


Spin From Investors Business Daily
The Bitter Lesson From Seattle's Minimum Wage Hike
August 10, 2016

Spin From a Respected, Albeit Very Liberal Economist --- Jared Bernsten
So far, the Seattle minimum-wage increase is doing what it’s supposed to do
August 10, 2016

Jensen Comment
The issue of minimum wage became an enormous political issue when the workers receiving the wage changed. When I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s and those McJobs having low pay were primarily intended to be temporary jobs where students could earn a little outside the classroom and where younger people in general could get a start in the work place. Nobody with normal capabilities intended to make careers out of those very low paying McJobs. Somewhere along the way things changed to where now those McJobs became careers for many folks who are not destined for bigger and better careers in the economy. With that change came increasing demands to increase the minimum wage to a more suitable wage for longer-term careers.

The real question that the Seattle study is trying to answer is whether raising the minimum wage in Seattle had a positive or negative impact on employers, employees, and low-skilled unemployed. The answer seems to be varied (depending upon what economist and what workers you consult.) Impact on is hard to isolate statistically because Seattle is a relative boom town due to the high tech economic sector. Thus just because a lot of McJob employers are still thriving is confounded by the boom times apart from the minimum wage increase. McJob employers are likely to be hit harder in communities having less boom success in general. Also the wage increases are being phased in over time (until 2021)such that there is not one big boom to study.

It's hard judge impact on some McJob employers in very large or otherwise isolated communities relative to those surrounded by competition not required to raise minimum wage. For example, restaurant customers in in Seattle are not likely to go elsewhere because their favorite restaurant had to raise prices slightly. Restaurant customers on the very edge of Seattle might drive a bit further for better prices.

Thus the impact of the Seattle's minimum wage hike focuses more on labor/employment impact than on employer impact. And herein commences the lying or possible lying with statistics. I would dwell on all the issues since you can read them for your self in the above links.

Personally, I think the $15 minimum wage eventually is a good idea in a high cost city like Seattle.

But I would like to conclude with what I think is trickery in Jared Bernstein's rejoinder. He skirts important issues like how entry level employees without skills (like students in need of part-time jobs and employees who messed up their early years (e.g., with drugs and crime) get a start without higher turnover in the minimum wage jobs that open up entry-level jobs.

At times he totally ignores the study's findings such as:

 The distribution of wages shifted as expected.
 The share of workers earning less than $11 per hour declined sharply.
 This decline began shortly after the ordinance was passed.
 However, similar declines were seen outside of Seattle, suggesting an improving economy may be the cause of the change in the distribution of wages.

Second he seems to imply without more data or foresight that in larger firms the minimum wage is an even better idea than it is at fast-food restaurants. What he fails to note that it is in the larger firms where robotics alternatives to low-paying jobs are exploding. :

Wal-Mart Has An Army Of Robots That Pick, Pack, and Send in Their 130 Distribution Centers ---

McJobs in those Wal-Mart distribution centers have already disappeared with advances in robotics. Perhaps this was inevitable but eliminating McJobs with higher minimum wages will speed up job sacrices to robots and drive more and more low skilled workers to welfare rolls and crime.

Also see
The Automated Wal-Mart:  A Thought Experiment

The Seattle experiment is hard to extrapolate to every town and city in the USA. I think higher minimum wages where the cost of living is very high is probably a good idea. For example, the cost of living is even high in the suburbs of Seattle and San Francisco. But the same minimum wage successes for those metropolitan areas can be a disaster in rural America where the job losses are likely to be enormous, For example, down the road from our mountain cottage is an old fashioned hardware store that is already struggling to compete with stores 10 miles away (in Littleton, NH), stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes. A $15 minimum wage might close the doors on my favorite and struggling little hardware store that now makes almost zero profit. The workers in this store are typically part-time spouses who supplement the family income with a bit of added wage within walking distance of the store.

The main conclusion from this illustration is that professional economists cannot agree on much of anything!

See if your students have the same problems in one-sided critical thinking that professional economists have with regard to minimum wages.

Target's Unisex Bathroom Installations Seem to Be Non-Solutions in Terms of Both Investors and Boycotters
However new stock price plunges are confounded by bad news not related to the Target Boycott

Target Inadequately Expanding Bathroom Options After Criticism of Transgender Policy ---

Target Corporation probably didn’t expect their stocks to fall after it decided to allow customers to use whichever restroom corresponds to their “gender identity.”

The American Family Association, who charged that Target’s new policy would make women and children vulnerable to sexual predators, led a boycott effort that has now garnered almost 1.5 million signatures.

In the month following the “inclusivity” announcement, Target's stock took a noticeable hit.

When Target announced its policy on April 19, its stock was valued at $83.50 per share.  Now, one month later and after a massive outcry from the public which included over 1.2 million people signing AFA's petition, Target stock is $67.17 per share.  

Families’ fears came to fruition this summer when a man who identifies as transgender was caught snapping pictures of a female customer in a Target women’s fitting room.

Now, however, Target thinks it has a solution – they’re adding an extra bathroom to most of its stores.

Target(TGT)CFO Cathy Smith said Wednesday that the company has heard objections to the transgender bathroom policy from some customers, though she said other customers had voiced support. In response, Target has decided to expand its use of a third, single-toilet bathroom at all of its stores, which can be locked by users.

That bathroom can be used by any customer who needs some privacy, including parents with small children of a different gender or those who are uncomfortable with a public bathroom in which a transgender person is allowed.

Most of Target’s stores already have this single occupancy restroom, but all will be equipped with one by 2017. The project is set to cost about $20 million.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This does not seem like much of a solution unless virtually all bathrooms are single-occupancy --- as they are in many hospitals like our small regional hospital near our cottage and the huge Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Target's new policy does not prevent people from using multiple occupancy bathrooms of choice. It does allow Target customers wanting privacy to have privacy, but it's no solution when most men and women wanting such privacy have to stand in long lines for the only privacy bathroom in a Target store.

A complicating issue arises when a disgruntled customer decides to hog the only privacy bathroom for the better part of a day while watching movies on a smart phone or reading Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Actually the problem can be solved if Target observes waiting lines and installs enough single occupancy bathrooms to meet demand. The bigger problem is in school locker rooms where it would be extremely costly to have enough privacy showers and lockers to meet the needs of every participant in a gym class. For example, for teams having 30 or more students in a gym class either there would have to be a one dressing room locker for each student or students might have to take turns using fewer privacy rooms with one shower and multiple lockers

For example, some gym student might have to wait for four of her teammates to finish showering and changing before she gets her turn. She and four of her friends might crowd into one room. But this would be discriminatory if the repeatedly left out student identifies as transgender ---

There are very few bathroom problems that cannot be solved with lots of money.
Colleges will eventually come up with the money, but K-12 changing rooms are going to have more trouble coming up with funding for re-construction of locker rooms.
This will keep ACLU lawyers busy for decades --- which might be a good thing if it takes them from more controversial issues ---

As Glen Gray recently claimed bathroom issues will probably disappear in the future with far more expensive "unisex" bathrooms having arrays of unisex toilets (with wall to wall partitions) and rows of common area sinks. However, Glen did not offer a solution for athletic dressing rooms such as those in the YMCA and college athletic facilities. Dressing rooms changes wo;; be much more expensive solutions per dressing room.

Nobel Prize Winning Paul Krugman Shifts Down on Free Trade

The old Paul Krugman who was more scholar and less politician promoted free trade ---

Krugman's support for free trade in the 1980s–1990s provoked some ire from the anti-globalization movement.[169][170][171]

In 1987 he quipped that, "If there were an Economist's Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations 'I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage' and 'I advocate Free Trade'."[172][173] In the same article, Krugman argues that, given the findings of New Trade Theory, "[free trade] has shifted from optimum to reasonable rule of thumb...it can never again be asserted as the policy that economic theory tells us is always right." However, Krugman generally favored free trade given the enormous political costs of actively engaging in strategic trade policy and because there is no clear method for a government to discover which industries will ultimately yield positive returns. He also noted that increasing returns and strategic trade theory do not disprove the underlying truth behind comparative advantage. More recently, in 2015 Krugman noted that for future trade agreements, "whatever you may say about the benefits of free trade, most of those benefits have already been realized.

The new Paul Krugman who is more politician and less scholarly now is soft pedaling on trade in deference to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and (horrors) Donald Trump ---
I say "less scholarly" because serious questions have been raised about his integrity at times with data ---

12 Companies Laying Off the Most Workers ---

Jensen Comment
Wal-Mart is laying of the most workers in terms of absolute numbers but not in terms of percent of the work force. There are many reasons such as closing of some stores and the replacement of warehouse workers with robots. Oil companies as a group are laying off heavily for obvious reasons. Cisco is laying off the most in the tech industry as Cisco moves away from hardware and into software.

"Economic Slump Sends Big Ships to Scrap Heap," by Ben Fritz, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2016, Page B1 ---

Up until a year ago, the shipping industry was ordering ships in droves. This year, orders of new vessels have fallen to a record low and companies can’t get rid of ships fast enough.

About 1,000 ships that have the combined capacity to haul 52 million metric tons of cargo will be dragged onto beaches, cut into pieces and sold for scrap metal this year. That is second only to the record amount of capacity of 61 million so-called dead weight tons that were scrapped and recycled in 2012.

The global economic slowdown is putting shipping through its most bruising period since the 2008 financial crisis. Companies including Maersk Line, a unit of Danish conglomerate A.P. Mřller Maersk A/S, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG and China Cosco Bulk Shipping Co. have 30% more capacity in the water than cargo. As the companies, mostly based in Europe and Asia, fight for bigger shares of the global market, freight rates have dropped so low they barely cover fuel costs.

In the five years through 2015, owners ordered an average of 1,450 ships annually. This year orders through July fell to 293 vessels, or 11.6 million tons, according to U.K. marine data provider Vessels Value.

“Given the tremendous overcapacity, it will take much more recycling and at least two to three years of no growth in capacity to see some balance between supply and demand,” said Basil Karatzas, chief executive of New York-based Karatzas Marine Advisors Co.

Continued in article



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 ---

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on August 16, 2016

Aetna bails on many Obamacare exchanges
Aetna Inc. will withdraw from 11 of the 15 states where it currently offers plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, becoming the latest of the major national health insurers to pull back sharply from the law’s signature marketplaces after steep financial losses. Aetna’s move will sharpen concerns about competitive options in the exchanges—and it puts at least one county at risk of having no insurers offering exchange plans in 2017

More than 40 medical insurance companies are fleeing Obamacare in 2016 ---

Massive ObamaCare Rate Hikes (and Fewer Choices) Are A Good Thing, White House Says ---
Jensen Comment
That's because those rate hikes will be passed along to taxpayers.

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

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