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To Accompany the December 14, 2017 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
USA Debt Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/ ubl
In September 2017 the USA National Debt exceeded $20 trillion for the first time
How Your Federal Tax Dollars are Spent ---
To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the booked
obligation of $20+ 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)
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
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 ---
How Americans Get Health Insurance ---
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.
Only those who
will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
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.
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.
We must be willing to get rid of the
life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
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.
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
Science says the first word on everything and
the last word on nothing
The Last Word on Nothing --- http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/
Late Night Comedy Has
Become Hate Speech ---
Anatomy of a Fake News Scandal About Hillary Clinton
Interestingly Rolling Stone Magazine was convicted of creating its own fake news story of a rape on campus ---
Video: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund explains the value in cryptocurrency — and why the market will explode over the next 2 years ---
India: One year
after demonetisation: Where did all that cash go? ---
Time Magazine: Former Prairie Home Companion Host
Garrison Keillor Fired Over Alleged Improper Behavior ---
United Kingdom: Millions denied an NHS dentist
The Stanford Business School has
acknowledged that despite claims it offered only need-based aid, not merit-based
aid, it awarded large tuition discounts for years to women, international
students, and other preferred applicants. The school also said it would close a
hole in its computer security that permitted a student to review confidential
financial-aid records and uncover the school's
The Washington Post:
Elite colleges are making it easy for conservatives to dislike them ---
Lawmakers say the
University of Nebraska isn’t doing enough to protect free speech and
conservative voices. The university says the charges are reckless and motivated
by a political agenda that is eroding trust in higher education ---
Betsy DeVos Links
Nation's Stagnant Test Scores to Lack of Parental Choice ---
This leads me to wonder what telephone service would be like in the 21st Century if monopoly of this service had never been taken away from AT&T.
One of the wonders of college is that there is increasing competition, especially as highly respected colleges and universities are now offering online degrees across the USA
Will The Lawyers Ring the
Death Knell for Football (USA style football)?
Departed tax chief John
Koskinen explains why even he can't see Trump’s taxes—and why we should ‘beware
the collapse of the IRS.’ ---
Trump's tax returns are locked away in a special safe.
Three Lessons From How
Congress Is Handling Sexual Misconduct Allegations ---
Congress Used $84,000 of
Taxpayer Money to Settle a (single) Sexual Harassment Claim (this is only one of
various settled claims kept secret from the public) ---
A new scientific
discovery could be a death blow to traditional lithium-ion batteries (don't hold
your breath) ---
Germany wants to support
rejected asylum-seekers who voluntarily move back to their home countries with a
one-time payment of 3,000 euros ($3,570). The Interior Ministry says those who
qualify can apply by a Feb. 28 deadline and they would get the money once they
return home ---
‘Antifa’ clothing is no
longer available on Walmart’s website as of Saturday afternoon. The clothing’s
third-party manufacturer, TEE Bangers LLC, also appears to have pulled the line
promoting the far-leftist group whose activities were “formally classified” by
the Obama Administration “as domestic
A secretive British aid
programme in Syria has been suspended amid claims that money paid to a
scandal-hit contractor is funding excessive fees and reaching jihadist groups ---
New York Giants defensive
end Olivier Vernon ignited an outcry after telling fans if they don’t approve of
his decision to kneel for the national anthem, “don’t come to the game.” ---
Some fans are taking him up on his advice to the chagrin of NFL owners and players. Others are in the stands cheering when Olivier Vernon gets knocked on his ass. All these options are legal under USA freedoms.
MSNBC Host Joy Reid Made
Crass Anti-Gay Jokes on Her Now-Defunct 2007-2009 Blog (Charlie Crist Bashing)
She should be forgiven since her indiscretions happened so long ago. Wouldn't she do the same for long-ago indiscretions? Yeah Right!
New York’s Metropolitan
Opera suspends conductor James Levine after sexual abuse claims ---
New Yorkers have launched
a petition demanding that the Metropolitan Museum of Art remove a 1938 painting
of a young woman with her underwear exposed, “given the current climate around
Think of all those paintings of nudes in the the Met and the Louvre. They're blatantly porn and need to be thrown out along with other filth of artists and photographers in history. 21st Century censors are on a roll.
All 3 Networks Ignore ABC’s Brian
Ross Suspension Over False Report ---
What the Pliocene epoch
can teach us about future warming on Earth
About 3 million years ago, carbon dioxide levels were similar to today’s. What other changes might we expect?---
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo
Rossello Nevares last month asked federal taxpayers to shell out $94 billion to
pay for the territory’s recovery from Hurricane Maria — then turned around and
paid out about $100 million in Christmas bonuses to island government employees
WASHINGTON — Drivers on
eastbound Interstate 66 saw tolls fluctuate frantically and top out at almost
$35 during the Monday morning commute, the first with dynamic tolling on the
highway. Rush-hour tolling began at 5:30 a.m. and early morning drivers saw
tolls at around $3.50. Within an hour, the tolls had risen to $10 and eventually
reached $34.50 at the height of rush-hour. By 9 a.m., prices were back down to
below $10, said WTOP’s traffic reporter Dave Dildine ---
It would seem that this is regressive pricing --- the opposite of progressive pricing. Higher income drivers get more privileges to use the crowded toll roads.
Democratic Women Senators Call for Al Franken to Resign ---
Rich homeowners in blue states are among the biggest
losers in the GOP tax plan ---
The GOP tax bill could add billions to Amazon,
Facebook and Google’s bottom lines ---
Tesla can't catch up to
Chevy's wildly successful Bolt ---
1.55 is Number of jobs
available for every job applicant in Japan, the highest since 1973. Automation
is a welcome trend in the nation given its shrinking pool of workers
TaxProf Blog: 'Holy Crap': Experts Find Tax Plan
Riddled With Glitches ---
Criticisms by tax experts is decidedly bipartisan.
China Just Launched the
World's First Electric Cargo Ship ---
Egypt's War on Books How
far will Abdel Fattah el-Sisi go to stifle dissent?
The woman who showed her
high school yearbook bearing Roy Moore’s signature as evidence that he knew her
admitted Friday that she wrote notes on the page herself while still insisting
that his John Hancock was legit ---
AICPA: 2017 CPA Firm Gender Survey ---
Partnership on average remains overwhelmingly male, with women representing only 22% of partners in CPA firms.
Smaller firms continue to have higher percentages of women partners than average.
A growing percentage of women are serving as directors or non-equity partners.
Only 47% of all firms have a formal succession planning process, and only 2% include a formal gender component in their plans.
A total of 89% of the firms surveyed had one or more types of modified work arrangement . and a large majority of firms believe they are worthwhile.
Flexible work hours are the most popular program, followed by reduced hours and telecommuting.
Substantially more women use modified work arrangements at the non-equity partner level. Mentoring is the most popular advancement program among firms, used by 45% of firms, while sponsorship is substantially behind, used by only 12%.
Firms that used advancement programs strongly believed that they achieved their goals.
The vast majority of firms that have implemented diversity initiatives found them to be successful . Gender initiatives were the most common, followed by combined diversity and inclusion efforts and then minority initiatives.
The article is not clear about how much there's a mixing of international versus national statistics for the large Big Four firms that are now all headquartered outside the USA except for Deloitte ---
One would not expect that women do much better outside the USA in large accounting firms. Even in the most progressive nations such as those in Scandinavia the proportion of women in business firm executive suites is abysmal --- not what one would expect in progressive nations.
I'm no expert on reasons for the lag in gender equality in the executive suites. It would appear that the initiatives to hire women in multinational CPA firms has been far more successful than initiatives for gender equality in equity partnerships. More than half the entry-level hires are now women whereas less than 25% equity partners are women.
I'm not sure what happened or is still happening with the huge gender discrimination suit by KMPG women.
Revealed: the number of female equity partners at PwC, KPMG, EY and
Continued in article
PwC is lagging its big four accounting and advisory rivals when it comes to the proportion of female equity partners at the firm in spite of a range of strategies designed to get more women to the top.
The percentage of female equity partners at PwC has not improved during the past three years while it has increased year-on-year at rival big four accounting and advisory firms Deloitte, KPMG and EY, according to data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).
Overall, the percentage of equity female partners is highest at Deloitte, at 24 per cent, around 20 per cent at KPMG and EY, and at 17 per cent at PwC, based on data supplied by the firms to WGEA as of March 31.
PwC says it has increased the level of women being promoted to partner and made other moves to address the gender imbalance and said there is a time lag for these to kick into effect.
December 2, 2017 reply from Dennis Beresford
I've been reading EY's excellent 2017 quality report. It contains a large number of metrics, including several relating to the diversity of the US audit practice. (I haven't looked at reports for the other Big 4 firms yet but I suspect they have similar information.)
EY reports that 24% of its audit partners are female in fiscal 2017, the same as the year before but up one percentage point from fiscal 2015. But the numbers get more interesting at other levels. 52% of EY's "Executive Directors," 43% of senior managers and managers, and 47% of seniors and staff are female.
Overall, 44% of the firm's US audit professionals are female and 43% of new partners this past year were female or minorities. And 44% of campus hires were female in the latest year - nearly 30% were minorities.
Clearly, the pipeline is being filled and the major firms like EY are doing a pretty good job of developing outstanding talent whatever its gender or ethnicity.
Bob Jensen's threads on the history of women in accountancy are at
Supreme Court allows full enforcement of Trump travel ban ---
The Supreme Court is allowing President Donald Trump's latest travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations to go into effect.
Two of the nine justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor — dissented.
The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Congressional Fraud Beat
Corrine Brown, a former Florida congresswoman from Jacksonville, was sentenced to five years in prison for fraud and other charges related to a fake charity she used to put money in her own pocket while serving in Washington ---
http://sunshinestatenews.com/story/ex-florida-congresswoman-corrine-brown-sentenced-five-years-prison-fraud?utm_source=Constant Contact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=News Alert
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates Blog ---
The IRS Scandal, Day 1671: Lois Lerner’s Secrets ---
Wall Street Journal editorial, Lois Lerner’s Secrets: The Former IRS Official Wants a Court to Seal Her Testimony:
If only the National Security Agency were as good at keeping secrets as Lois Lerner. When news that the IRS had targeted conservative groups led to congressional hearings, the former director of the Exempt Organizations division declared her innocence and then clammed up. Now she and her former IRS associate, Holly Paz, are asking a federal judge to seal forever their depositions in a lawsuit that the IRS settled last month for $3.5 million.
Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz say they or their families have endured harassment or death threats. But Edward Greim, the attorney for the roughly 400 tea-party clients who sued, notes in reply that the last threat Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz cited was from early 2014.
Leave aside that the usual way of dealing with threats or harassment is to notify police or the FBI—not to keep information about an abuse of power by public officials from the public. Every other party is united for disclosure: the defense (i.e., the government, which has admitted wrongdoing and apologized); the plaintiffs; and the Cincinnati Enquirer, which has filed a motion to lift the seal. ...
American taxpayers who will fork out $3.5 million for Ms. Lerner’s actions have a right to hear how she justified what she did at the IRS.
Lois Lerner readily confessed to and apologized for, as an IRS administrator, her violation of the law by targeting conservative groups for delaying or blocking their efforts to get tax exempt status.
She resigned from the IRS in disgrace.
What prolonged this "scandal" for years is her refusal to testify under oath whether or not she was doing so at the behest of the Obama Whitehouse, --- which would've made it an enormous scandal that threatened his presidency in the second term All of that is now history except for the possible embarrassment this would be to memories of his presidency.
The EU has published its first 'blacklist' of tax havens — here are the
named countries ---
. . .
The 17 blacklisted countries are:
The Marshall Islands
Trinidad & Tobago
The United Arab Emirates.
It also published a "greylist" of 47 countries, which include the British Overseas Territories (OTs) and Crown Dependencies (CDs) of Jersey, Guernsey, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Countries were blacklisted if they were deemed to have failed to meet international standards on tax transparency and tax rates, and had not provided sufficient commitments that they would change in the months leading up to the list's publication. Those on the greylist made promises to reform their tax structures, which include changes to ensure companies are not using 0% corporate tax rates to avoid paying tax on profits.
Continued in article
Simpson's Paradox ---
How a statistical paradox helps to get to the root of bias in college
Bob Jensen's health care messaging --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
Democrats: Are You Sure
You Want Medicare (plus universal "free" nursing care) for All?
If done well it will cost more than the entire USA Federal budget with exploding future inflation expenses.
Harvard: 5 Ways U.S. Hospitals Can Handle Financial Losses from
Medicare Patients ---
Surprise! How Obamacare is beginning to look a lot like Medicaid ---
Data USA (community demographics, such as Medicare reimbursements by
Deloitte played a major role in developing this database on poverty, health, and many other data categories
The New York Times
Under New Tax Plan, the Cost of Aging Could Rise ---
. . .
Meet Medha Godbole, 58, whose 60-year-old husband, Sanjay, is paraplegic, nonverbal and incontinent. The Solon, Ohio, couple have about $130,000 in expenses for Mr. Godbole’s round-the-clock, in-home care. Loss of the tax break would cost them close to $30,000 annually.
Meet Conrad Wagner, 88, who spent his working years at the Veterans Administrationand then teaching at Vanderbilt University. He expects to spend about $200,000 this year on care and expensive equipment for his 87-year-old wife, Jane, who has a stomach condition that requires 24/7 help in their Nashville home.
Meet Kae Yates, who had to spend over $75,000 this year. Her husband, Reggie, is 77 and lives in an assisted living home in the wake of a stroke. She’s 72 and still has all the usual expenses for her own home and daily life in Claremont, Calif.
How many more are out there like them? The AARP Public Policy Institute, relying on the latest Internal Revenue Service data from 2015, notes that 8.8 million people take the medical expense deduction each year. Not all of them are older. Many children with special needs, for instance, have so many expenses that their parents end up qualifying for the deduction. Ditto sick or disabled adults with all sorts of maladies.
Still, about 55 percent of the taxpayers who claimed the deduction in 2015 were 65 and older, according to AARP. Also, 69 percent have incomes under $75,000.
The average amount that people claimed was $9,904, which makes the couples we’ve met up above outliers. But it stands to reason that people who need long-term care will spend some of the highest amounts, given the high cost of nursing homes and similar care. And because 52 percent of people who live beyond 65 will need some kind of extended care before they die, according to federal health data, these outsize expenses are the ones that we ought to focus on when considering which tax breaks we want to persist.
In an ideal world, any big new tax bill makes things simpler. Cutting deductions for medical expenses does make the year-end chore easier. But is it fair?
Imagine two couples, both alike in incomes, in a state without income tax where we lay our scenario. They have $150,000 in income and $100,000 in medical expenses and take no other itemized deductions.
Now imagine that one gets a deduction for medical expenses and one does not. Using the 2017 tax brackets and a rule that would not allow medical deductions unless they exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income, a couple that could access the deduction would end up with $15,547 more at the end of tax season than one that could not deduct and thus paid more in taxes, according to calculations that Ruth A. Sattig Betz, an accountant in Farmingdale, N.Y., ran for me.
Take the income down to $75,000 (where the extra $25,000 for the medical costs to pay the $100,000 in bills would come from sources or savings that are not subject to income tax) and the household with the ability to take the deduction would end the year with $6,826 more.
So the medical expenses clearly matter, a lot. “Two households may have identical incomes, but they do not at all have identical capacity to pay taxes,” said Cristina Martin Firvida, AARP’s director of financial security. “And it’s not because of a choice that one of them made.”
Indeed, to critical observers, it looks like Republican leaders in Congress are using the tax code to punish states with high income taxes. They use the bill to accomplish this by limiting how much of those state income taxes are deductible. That effectively penalizes some of those residents, who did choose to live in those states, with a higher total tax bill.
Similarly, the proposal to lower the size of a mortgage that is eligible for interest deductions is akin to removing a subsidy for people who choose to buy bigger homes or live in more expensive areas.
Nobody chooses to be sick though, which makes the House’s move to strip out the medical expense deduction feel harsh to people who really, truly wish they had not qualified for it in the first place.
“This is completely out of our hands,” said Dr. Godbole, who is a pathologist. “It’s not like sending kids to private school,” she added, in a pointed reference to a new tax break that lawmakers hope to add for parents who do just that and could end up being able to do so with money they save in 529 plans, which are currently only for higher education.
Moreover, eliminating a deduction probably shouldn’t cause a chain reaction that will cost the federal government money. After all, the quicker that sick, older people run out of money because of higher tax bills, the sooner they will need Medicaid to pay for their long-term care. And who helps pay for Medicaid? The very same federal government that would no longer permit people to deduct high medical expenses.
If the changes comes to pass, Ms. Yates in California figures she and her husband could run out of savings in about five years. I contacted the House Ways and Means Committee to see what its chairman, Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas, thought about the specific impact of the House’s proposal on elderly people with high expenses. “Chairman Brady is committed to addressing this issue at the conference committee,” said Lauren Blair Aronson, the committee’s press secretary.
Dr. Godbole, who is still working, can make her household’s money last longer than the Yates’s savings. But her husband might live for decades, owing to his excellent heart, she said, and their money probably would not last that long.
She seeks no pity, she said. She knows many people in the stroke support club they belong to who will be in big financial trouble much sooner if the deduction disappears. But she sees the stories about Congress wanting to cut entitlement programs once they finish yanking the medical deduction, and worries. “It will be a double whammy for us,” she said.
Professor Wagner said that he understands the zeal to simplify the tax code. He expressed no particular ill will for his elected representatives, though he has written them to outline his situation and concerns.
Having worked until just a few years ago, he had hoped for financial certainty and the emotional peace it would have provided, even if he and his wife knew they could not predict their future health. But now, he said, he finds himself constantly checking the news for word on the tax plan’s progress.
Continued in article
The sad thing is that so many elderly folks planned their retirement savings in anticipation that long-term medical care (not funded by Medicare) would at least remain tax deductible like its been for decades upon decades. I predict that losing this tax deduction will lead to a lot more cheating where nest eggs are given away to heirs so that those elderly will get Medicaid to pay for all long-term care. This cheating is now somewhat common and will become rampant if the medical deduction is lost for income tax calculations.
Bob Jensen's threads on health coverage are at
Kingdom: Millions denied an NHS dentist ---
Tidbits Archives ---
Jensen's Pictures and Stories
Summary of Major Accounting Scandals --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_scandals
Bob Jensen's threads on such scandals:
Bob Jensen's threads on audit firm litigation and negligence ---
Current and past editions of my
newsletter called Fraud Updates ---
Enron --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm
Rotten to the Core --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm
American History of Fraud --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudAmericanHistory.htm
Bob Jensen's fraud
Bob Jensen's threads on
auditor professionalism and independence are at
Bob Jensen's threads on
corporate governance are at
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
Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---
By Bob Jensen
wrong in accounting/accountics research? ---
The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most
AN ANALYSIS OF THE EVOLUTION OF RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS BY THE ACCOUNTING REVIEW:
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 http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm
Bob Jensen's threads --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/