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Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the July 12, 2017 edition of Tidbits          
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

USA Debt Clock --- ubl

How Your Federal Tax Dollars are Spent ---

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the booked obligation of $19+ trillion) ---
The US Debt Clock in Real Time --- 
Remember the Jane Fonda Movie called "Rollover" ---
One worry is that nations holding trillions of dollars invested in USA debt are dependent upon sales of oil and gas to sustain those investments.

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 ---


Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side because it's been fertilized with more bullshit.


Shoot for the space in between, because that's where the real mystery lies.
Vera Rubin


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

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley
Even conversations that are not politically correct.

Why, we grow rusty and you catch us at the very point of decadence --- by this time tomorrow we may have forgotten everything we ever knew. That's a thought isn't it? We'd be back to where we started --- improvising.
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Act I)

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.

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

Precision Farming Increases Crop Yields
Urgently needed to sustain explosive population growth predicted by the United Nations (another billion people added in 13 years)

Malthusianism ---
UN:  The world's population will grow by a billion people in the next 13 years and will be almost 10billion by the time we reach 2050 ---

How Bad Is the Crisis in Illinois? It Has $14.6 Billion in Unpaid Bills ---

Wall Street may finally be facing up to climate change ---

The world’s largest wind turbines currently reach 195 meters into the air. The next generation, due 2020, will tower above them ---
Jensen Comment
Whatever happened to concern about wind turbines killing birds? Liberals are now willing to sacrifice bird life for giant wind power.

Fire up an app, order your groceries, and get them delivered … by a robot ---

Nearly half of Americans say their expenses are equal to or greater than their income, causing them financial stress, according to a new report.---

Elon Musk's Chicago Tunnel Makes a Dumb Idea Even Dumber ---

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday warned that the country is reeling under an “unbearable” debt burden and pledged austerity measures ---

New Book:  The Chickenshit Club Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives
Author:  Jesse Eisinger






They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings.
Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
Steal a lot and they make you king.
There's only one step down from here, baby,
It's called the land of permanent bliss. 
What's a sweetheart like you doin' in a dump like this?

Bob Dylan

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

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son
And what did you see, my darling young one
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Bob Dylan

Hear Bob Dylan’s Newly-Released Nobel Lecture: A Meditation on Music, Literature & Lyrics ---

Patti Smith Sings Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rains Gonna Fall” at Nobel Prize Ceremony & Gets a Case of the Nerves ---

Who Pays USA Taxes?

USA Debt Clock --- ubl

Will Illinois Be the First State to Declare Bankruptcy ---

Chaired Professor Wages Court Battle Against Tenure ---

The problematic way to make our national debt disappear ---

I’m going to make the entire US debt disappear before your eyes — and you are not going to like the way I do it.

Let’s start with the Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it planned to shrink the size of its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

Sounds pretty simple.

But those simple words are fraught with such complexity and danger that the inflation-haters in the world should rise up and demand a full accounting of how that will be done.

I’ll start at the beginning. But in the end you’ll see how it would be possible for out-of-control politicians in Washington to make what the Fed is about to do into something that could hurt generations of future Americans

The Federal Reserve had assets of only $800 billion when the 2007 financial crisis began. By late 2008, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke decided that he needed to keep interest rates extremely low — lower than he could through conventional methods.

So he adopted an idea that had been used in other parts of the world but never here: quantitative easing.

The idea has that name because when enacted, QE keeps interest rates low. In other words, the Fed would “ease” credit conditions — by increasing the quantity of money.

This isn’t the type of money that has presidents’ faces on it. It is electronic money, and the Fed used it to buy government bonds.

With the Fed utilizing this newly created e-money, it acted as a shill — and a very, very big one at that — at US Treasury auctions.

And with the Fed shilling, the demand for bonds was bound to be strong.

It would be like your aunt bidding up the price on your uncle’s car at an auction. It may look as though there is strong demand for the car, but it’s all fake.

And the stronger the demand for bonds, the higher the price — and the lower the interest rate. That helped the Treasury Department keep the federal deficit lower than it would have been.

QE was also a great benefit to Washington in another way.

Each year, by law, the Fed has to turn its profits over to the Treasury. And since the onset of QE, the profits from those $4.5 trillion in bonds have sharply reduced our annual deficit, which in turn has helped keep down this country’s debt level.

The US debt is almost $20 trillion right now. But without the Fed’s help — the profits from those QE bonds purchased with newly created e-money — that figure would be closer to $20.6 trillion.

Or, put another way, the US had an extra $600 billion to spend thanks to QE profits.

Problems will occur if Washington gets it into its head that there’s extra money to spend because of the QE money being returned to the Treasury.

Continued in article

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on June 23, 2017

The race to bring solar power to Africa
American startups are competing to deliver solar powers to underserved communities, Bill McKibben writes for The New Yorker. These entrepreneurs look at solar power in Africa as a way to tap a large market and even make a hefty profit.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on June 23, 2017

The Senate’s health-care bill repeals hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes on businesses and high-income households and includes a retroactive cut in capital-gains taxes, Richard Rubin writes.

The tax portions of the proposal, a draft of which was released on Thursday in advance of a possible vote next week, are very similar to the elements in the version the House passed last month. The plan operates like the 2010 Affordable Care Act, but in reverse. Instead of raising taxes to pay for expanded insurance coverage, it reduces coverage and cuts taxes.

Also on Thursday, the largest U.S. banks survived a hypothetical “stress test” and could continue lending even during a deep recession, the Federal Reserve said, a strong report card that could bolster the industry’s case for cutting back regulation, Ryan Tracey and Telis Demos write.

In the first part of its annual tests, the Fed said 34 of the largest U.S. banks have significantly improved their defenses since the 2008 financial crisis. The results signal that many banks could win the Fed’s approval to increase dividend payouts to investors next week, in the second round of the tests.

Elon Musk's Chicago Tunnel Makes a Dumb Idea Even Dumber ---

Jensen Comment
By comparison the Boston tunnels are relatively short although very troubled by cost and sonstruction delays. Years later, I don't know how the congested city of Boston would do without them.

New York Times:  Socialism’s Future May Be Its Past
by Bhaskar Sunkara, June 26, 2017

One hundred years after Lenin’s sealed train arrived at Finland Station and set into motion the events that led to Stalin’s gulags, the idea that we should return to this history for inspiration might sound absurd. But there was good reason that the Bolsheviks once called themselves “social democrats.” They were part of a broad movement of growing parties that aimed to fight for greater political democracy and, using the wealth and the new working class created by capitalism, extend democratic rights into the social and economic spheres, which no capitalist would permit.

The early Communist movement never rejected this broad premise. It was born out of a sense of betrayal by the more moderate left-wing parties of the Second International, the alliance of socialist and labor parties from 20 countries that formed in Paris in 1889. Across Europe, party after party did the unthinkable, abandoned their pledges to working-class solidarity for all nations, and backed their respective governments in World War I. Those that remained loyal to the old ideas called themselves Communists to distance themselves from the socialists who had abetted a slaughter that claimed 16 million lives. (Amid the carnage, the Second International itself fell apart in 1916.)

Of course, the Communists’ noble gambit to stop the war and blaze a humane path to modernity in backward Russia ended up seemingly affirming the Burkean notion that any attempt to upturn an unjust order would end up only creating another.

Most socialists have been chastened by the lessons of 20th-century Communism. Today, many who would have cheered on the October Revolution have less confidence about the prospects for radically transforming the world in a single generation. They put an emphasis instead on political pluralism, dissent and diversity.

Still, the specter of socialism evokes fear of a new totalitarianism. A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation report worries that young people are likely to view socialism favorably and that a “Bernie Sanders bounce” may be contributing to a millennial turn against capitalism. Last year, the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J. Donohue, even found it necessary to remind readers thatSocialism Is a Dangerous Path for America

The right still denounces socialism as an economic system that will lead to misery and privation, but with less emphasis on the political authoritarianism that often went hand in hand with socialism in power. This may be because elites today do not have democratic rights at the forefront of their minds — perhaps because they know that the societies they run are hard to justify on those terms.

Capitalism is an economic system: a way of organizing production for the market through private ownership and the profit motive. To the extent that it has permitted democracy, it has been with extreme reluctance. That’s why early workers’ movements like Britain’s Chartists in the early 19th century organized, first and foremost, for democratic rights. Capitalist and socialist leaders alike believed that the struggle for universal suffrage would encourage workers to use their votes in the political sphere to demand an economic order that put them in control.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Across the West, workers came to accept a sort of class compromise. Private enterprise would be tamed, not overcome, and a greater share of a growing pie would go to providing universal benefits through generous welfare states. Political rights would be enshrined, too, as capitalism evolved and adapted such that a democratic civil society and an authoritarian economic system made an unlikely, but seemingly successful, pairing.

In 2017, that arrangement is long dead. With working-class movements dormant, capital has run amok, charting a destructive course without even the promise of sustained growth. The anger that led to the election of Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit vote in Britain is palpable. People feel as if they’re on a runaway train to an unknown destination and, for good reason, want back to familiar miseries.

Amid this turmoil, some fear a return to Finland Station via the avuncular shrugs of avowedly socialist leaders like Mr. Sanders and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France. But the threat to democracy today is coming from the right, not the left. Politics seems to present two ways forward, both decidedly non-Stalinist forms of authoritarian collectivism.

Continued in artily

Cities all over the United States have been boosting their minimum wage. It's up to $15 an hour in Seattle, but it's going in the opposite direction in St. Louis, Missouri ---

Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It's Intending to Help ---

A new study reminds us that the law of supply and demand still applies to labor

The Seattle Times:  Lessons from Seattle’s courageous minimum-wage experiment ---

. . .

What are the lessons of these findings for policymakers? We see three.

First, our findings should give some pause to other local governments that are considering setting a local minimum wage significantly above their state’s minimum wage. While we are surprised by the magnitude of the estimated loss in hours, we are not surprised to see some loss of low-wage employment caused by a local minimum wage. It is easier to relocate low-wage employment outside city boundaries than it is to relocate employment outside a state or country. Consequently, we should expect greater employment losses from a local minimum wage than from a state or national minimum wage. This means, in turn, that one should not assume our specific findings generalize to minimum-wage policies set at the state or federal level.

Second, local and state governments can use numerous other public policies to reduce inequality and promote economic opportunity. These include additional funding for pre-K child education and care, K-12 and higher education, apprenticeship programs, earned income tax credits and tax reform.

Third, just because one social experiment appears to be yielding disappointing effects to date is no reason to stop experimenting. Seattle, the state of Washington, and the nation face many challenging, long-standing social problems. Only by trying new ideas and carefully assessing their impacts can we hope to improve the social well-being of the nation.

Seattle has provided entrepreneurial leadership in many areas of social policy. We commend the city’s leaders for providing this policy leadership and having the willingness to fund research to evaluate impacts of policy changes. While the findings sometimes disappoint advocates for the policy, good governance relies on being receptive to new information and a willingness to adapt, if necessary.

Continued in article


Emails Show Seattle Mayor Worked With Berkeley To Preempt Study Criticizing Minimum Wage Law ---

Jensen Comment
Some other cities like Baltimore and St. Louis turned down calls to raise the minimum wage in feat that loss of low-paying jobs would be more dramatic that experienced in Seattle.

However, some other cities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles are going ahead with raising the minimum wage.

Minimum Wage to Rise in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Other California Cities on July 1 ---

Jensen Comment
Because the underground economy is much larger in the LA area than Seattle it will be much more difficult to measure the impact of the rise in legal minimum wages in the LA area. Another complication is the tax reason employers use the underground economy. In many instances the underground economy wages are higher than the new higher minimum wage. For example, it's not at uncommon for underground house cleaners and roofers to make $20 per hour or more (based on my experience living in San Antonio for 24 years). However, underground employers are avoiding such taxes as employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare as well as payments into the unemployment compensation system, There are no required contributions to employee health care and pension plans. Underground employers also avoid OSHA rules and other labor regulations.

The underground economy is correlated with distance from the border with Mexico. The closer a city is to the border the more likely there will be a higher supply of workers seeking employment in the underground economy. Many of them are desperate to obtain income for their families. Cities close to the border also provide an infrasturcture of families, friends, and Spanish-speaking neighborhoods for undocumented workers.

Higher minimum wages also contribute to the loss of summer and other seasonal jobs for teens and college students. Higher minimum wages lead to more applicants among adults (especially senior adults) for full-time employment that crowds out the opportunities for young folks seeking part-time employment.

Police pensions in USA have large funding shortfalls ---

When the city of San Jose had trouble affording services such as road repair and libraries because of the cost of police pensions, it obtained voter approval to pare them. What happened next proved sobering for other cities in the same pickle. Hundreds of police officers quit. Response times for serious calls rose.

When the city of San Jose had trouble affording services such as road repair and libraries because of the cost of police pensions, it obtained voter approval to pare them. What happened next proved sobering for other cities in the same pickle. Hundreds of police officers quit. Response times for serious calls rose.

Faced with labor-union litigation, San Jose this year restored previous retirement ages and cost-of-living increases for existing police officers, and last month it gave them a raise.

Police pensions are among the worst-funded in the nation. Retirement systems for police and firefighters have just a median 71 cents for every dollar needed to cover future liabilities, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data provided by Merritt Research Services for cities of 30,000 or more.

The combined shortfall in the plans, which are the responsibility of municipal governments, is more than $80 billion, nearly equal to New York City’s annual budget.

Broader municipal pension plans have a median 78 cents of every dollar needed to cover future liabilities, according to data from Merritt. The 100 largest U.S. corporate pension plans have 85% of assets needed on hand, according to Milliman Inc. data as of March 31.

And yet any attempt to bring police pensions into line with today’s municipal budgets and stock-market performance runs into the reality that many officers won’t stand for it—and they often have the public behind them.

“They have extra clout because people love police,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “I love police. You love police. An electrician—you don’t have that emotional tie.”

His city, like San Jose, found itself facing widespread police-officer resignations when it moved to cut their pensions. In Dallas, the situation became so difficult the state legislature stepped in this spring to work out a solution.

Police pensions were the first nonmilitary retirement systems to be created in the U.S., in second half of the 19th century. In later years, when municipal budgets were tight, augmenting pension promises in lieu of raises became a way governments could make peace with politically powerful police unions without incurring immediate new spending.

In the 1980s and 1990s, robust investment returns made governments’ pension promises look affordable. By 2001, major police and firefighter plans followed by the Public Plans Database, which tracks 150 major state and local pension plans, had a median 101% of what they needed to pay for future obligations.

The 2008 financial crisis wiped out pension-plan earnings at the same time that it put stress on municipal budgets, leading some cities to contribute less to the plans each year than what actuaries calculated was needed.

Also, many cities continued to assume robust 1990s-era investment returns when they calculated annual pension contributions. Their pension debt grew as those returns failed to materialize and cities didn’t adjust their contributions to the plans.

Memphis, Tenn., gambled it could cut police pensions without any impact on public safety. The city council voted in 2014 to end pensions for municipal workers, including the police, with 7.5 years of service or less, and replace the pensions with a hybrid plan combining pension and 401(k)-style benefits.

In the following two years, about 100 officers affected by the changes left the force, out of a total of about 2,000. Homicides rose to a record 228 last year from 167 in 2014. Billboards erected by the police union around town read, “Welcome to Memphis: 228 homicides in 2016, down over 500 police officers.” Memphis currently has 1,928 officers, down from 2,416 in 2012.

The city’s mayor, Jim Strickland, has since pledged to increase police staffing. A spokeswoman for the city said enrollment in the police academy is increasing despite the reduced benefits package. Even so, city officials recently announced a $6.1 million grant for retention bonuses. Meanwhile, the police union is trying to get certain benefits restored in court.

One of the first cities that tried to bring police pension costs down was San Jose, where former Mayor Chuck Reed asked voters to approve pension cuts as part of a 2012 ballot measure.

Among the hundreds of police officers who quit after voters said yes to the change was Tim Watermulder, who left to join the Oakland police department in 2013. It had been announced that the police-academy class in which he graduated would be the first to operate under a new system providing lower cost-of-living increases and a retirement age of 60 instead of 50.

“You start to see what police work is really like every day,” said Mr. Watermulder, 35 years old, who fought in Iraq with the U.S. military before becoming a police officer. “I really started thinking about ‘Can I do this job till I’m 60?’”

About 180 of 1,109 sworn officer positions in San Jose are currently vacant. San Jose has the lowest number of officers per capita among the nation’s 35 largest cities, according to a Journal analysis of Federal Bureau of Investigation data from 2015, the most recent available.

Response times for the most serious calls rose to an average of 7.3 minutes last year from 6.1 minutes in fiscal 2011, according to the police department.

Policing San Jose

After California’s third-largest city curbed pension benefits for its police, numerous officers quit and police response times rose

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The primary reason some states now have budget deficits and are looking at future unbooked entitlements disasters is primarily due to underfunded public sector pensions and Medicaid obligations that are exploding. Unlike the Federal government the 50 USA states cannon simply print money to pay bills. Illinois is probably in the worst shape with tens of billions in unpaid bills and no operating budget for over three years. Illinois seriously faces bankruptcy, and some other states like Connecticut are not far behind. In 2013 California was forced to stop hiding so much of its debt from the public with deceptive accounting practices. Tens of billions in debt appeared to come out of nowhere!

However, neither the Federal government nor the 50 states are booking trillions in unfunded future entitlements like Medicaid as debt. The Federal government has $20 trillion in booked debt and possibly over $100 trillion in unbooked entitlements (nobody really know how much over $100 trillion.

At the moment both the Federal government and some states are making promises they cannot possibly keep. For example, only naive economists believe Medicare and Medicaid entitlements are sustainable without drastic changes that neither Republicans nor Democrats will own up to with serious legislation providing much more taxation and/or drastic cuts in benefits.

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements are at


Finding and Using Health Statistics ---

Tapper:  Democrats' Obamacare Pitch Was Dishonest ---
Jake Tapper, CNN

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on June 27, 2017

Anthem: Senate health bill will bolster individual insurance market
Anthem Inc.
said the Senate Republicans’ health bill will boost the individual insurance market. Its support comes as several other insurers have said that it could undermine marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act.





Bob Jensen's health care messaging ---

Bob Jensen's Tidbits Archives --- 

Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

Summary of Major Accounting Scandals ---

Bob Jensen's threads on such scandals:

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

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

Enron ---

Rotten to the Core ---

American History of Fraud ---

Bob Jensen's fraud conclusions ---

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

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at 


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

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

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

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

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

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave  ---
By Bob Jensen

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

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


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

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

Bob Jensen's economic crisis messaging

Bob Jensen's threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page ---