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Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the January 17, 2018 edition of Tidbits             
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

USA Debt Clock --- 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 --- 
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 ---

How Americans Get Health Insurance ---

Quartz:  What we learned from that new Donald Trump book ---
Jensen Comment on What We Learned From Micael Quartz
Quartz provides a pretty good summary or what Michael Woolf writes but overlooks the controversial history of Michael Woolf's integrity as a writer other than to point out that "Wollf's fact checking is nonexistent."
Reviews of the book are pretty skeptical of Wolff's accuracy and integrity but highly positive from liberal media outlets intending to drive Trump out of office ---
Personally I hope Trump does not get a second term in office.
But should we drive him out by overlooking our worship for academic integrity and rigor?
The book is an obvious challenge to courses in journalism, history, and political science where "fact checking" should be of highest priority rather than a
wink wink.
The real question to ask is whether Michael Woolf would've had more journalism integrity had be been an insider at the Obama White House or even better --- at the Bill Clinton White House!
I think Michael Wolff would paint the Pope to be a pedophile to make $10 million.
But then there are probably enough facts mixed with fiction in Fire and Fury to make the book fascinating reading.
Like I said, I'm really interested in how much fact checking is a priority in the halls of academe.



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

Everything we know about inflation may be wrong ---

Martin Luther King Jr. in His Own Words ---

2007 Tough Call: Oprah Winfrey used her very successful television program to endorse then-Senator Barack Obama over Senator Hillary Clinton
Does racial priority trump gender priority?

Why is Maxine Waters Silent on The Terrorist Drug-Dealing Probe That Obama Shut Down?

Trump's Russia Policies Surprisingly Tough (like sending anti-tank weapons to the Ukraine)  ---

The (London) Times:  Scotland Yard is failing to protect children at risk of sexual exploitation or rape, with negligence found in 93 per cent of cases examined by the police watchdog ---

Upstate N.Y. Town Defeats Anti-Farming Bill ---

Immigrants Are Pouring into These USA States ---

Reuters:  Canada sees 'unsustainable' spike in asylum seekers at U.S. border  ---

Canada is trying to make sure the 200,000 Salvadorans who lost protected status in US don't head north ---
Canada now polices its borders with its army to stop the flow of Haitians and other immigrants headed north.

Canada’s minister of immigration, Ahmed Hussen, himself a former refugee who moved to the country from Somalia when he was 16, said Canada was proud to be a welcoming country but could not welcome everyone. Only about 8 percent of Haitian migrants had received asylum here since the summer, he said, while there is a backlog of about 40,700 cases, according to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. “We don’t want people to illegally enter our border, and doing so is not a free ticket to Canada,” Mr. Hussen said in an interview. “We are saying, ‘You will be apprehended, screened, detained, fingerprinted, and if you can’t establish a genuine claim, you will be denied refugee protection and removed.’ ”
The New York Times:  Migrants Fleeing to Canada Learn That Even a Liberal Nation Has its Limits

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 ---

A Danish MP has called for all refugees, even those with jobs, to be deported from the country once their home nations are deemed “safe” ---
Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and most other European nations are now paying immigrants to go home, especially those from Africa

The (London) Times:  Britain's top-earning family doctor is paid more than £700,000 a year, prompting concerns that GPs are running pay "empires" without scrutiny ---
Jensen Comment
There are all sorts of surprises in economic systems without markets. One has to wonder how this family doctor ka chinks so much income. Perhaps there's a timer on "their" desk set for three minutes.
And you thought I would not get the hang of this pronoun business.

The Atlantic:  Century-Old Argument About Who's Allowed to Immigrate Into America ---

50% of health and social-care funding is spent on 4% of people . . . About 25% of all hospital inpatient spending during a person’s lifetime occurs in the final three months.
"The (British) National Health Care Service is a Mess," The Economist, September 10, 2016, pp. 48-49 ---

The Trump administration is reportedly rolling back the use of fines against nursing homes that have been cited for violations such as neglect or mistreatment ---
Jensen Comment
Germany sends gaga oldsters to Poland. Maybe exporting would be more humane than sending our gagas to uncaring USA nursing homes.

Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now ---
Jensen Comment
I would do more research on yacht and private jet sales before I would agree with the conclusion of this article.

These will be the 10 most populated countries in 2018 ---
Jensen Comment
The most populated nations are difficult to compare with other nations in terms of many criteria such as most anything ending with "per capita." Japan is especially remarkable given its small land mass (think agriculture) and limited natural resources relative to its GDP per capita. The BRICs are Brazil, Russia, India, and China ---
The largest hurdle in the BRICs economic development is corruption that seems to be intractable. The "C" in the BRICs seems to be leaving "B," "R," and "I" in its rear view mirror. Will it also leave the USA and Japan in its dust?

As expected, the Kremlin did not respond kindly to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's no holds barred op-ed in The New York Times Wednesday.---

Remember when the calving of the Petermann Glacier was a sure sign of ‘global warming’? Never mind ---

The IRS Scandal, Day 1697: Budgetary Evisceration After Tea Party Targeting Allegations Has Left The IRS Incapable Of Implementing The New Tax Law ---
Jensen Comment
The great debate is how much of this evisceration could've been avoided if self-confessed Lois Lerner did not continue to refuse to testify under oath about the role of the Whitehouse in this scandal. This still prolongs the agony and distrust among so many lawmakers even though President Trump himself is not making Lois Lerner the focus of controversy. Most of the scandal itself is water under the dam since Barack Obama is now retired from office.

The US and Canada are the most unusually cold places in the world right now ---
But this does not signal a pause in global warming

Liberal News Outlet Vox: 
Saturday Night Live was the emptiest show of 2017
The venerable sketch comedy series has nothing of consequence to say about the Trump era

DiNapoli sounds alarm over rising debt cost to New Yorkers ---
Jensen Comment
Most states, especially New York and California, are looking forward to revenue windfalls from Trump's Tax Reform legislation. This will help cover rising debt costs in those states. The long-term worry in high-tax states, however, is that wealthy people have more incentives move to states without income taxes such as when more wealthy retired New Yorkers pack it in to head to Florida. However, if Trump's tax reforms are not repealed states like New York will shake more taxes annually out of the money trees.

Poland and Hungary warned they WILL face consequences over 'violating EU migrant quotas' ---

The $50 Lesson ---

The Atlantic:  Battle for Iran ---

Last year our Michael Vasquez wrote about Turning Point USA, a shadowy group funneling thousands of dollars to candidates in student-government elections. The New Yorker's Jane Mayer is out with a follow-up, reporting that Turning Point has been dogged by allegations of discrimination and may run afoul of campaign-finance rules.

Why a paperless world still hasn't happened
Despite some of the mightiest headwinds on the planet, the paper business actually saw consumption grow 50 percent between 1980 and 2011 ---

The Atlantic:  Trump's Belligerence Toward Pakistan Isn't Unreasonable ---

Women's March Draws Fire for Silence on Iran Protests ---

Trump: I've Axed The Voter Fraud Commission ---
Jensen Comment
I wish the voter fraud investigations would continue in New Hampshire where over 5,000 residents of Massachussets, Maine, and Vermont voted in the 2016 election, enough votes to tip the win for now Senator Maggie Hassan (Dem). There's no required proof of residency or registration waiting time in New Hampshire. Polls accept out-of-state drivers licenses in New Hampshire. Voters can then head back to their home states and vote a second time. When Governor of New Hampshire Maggie Hassan vetoed a bill that would have required proof of New Hampshire residency. Was that ever a self-serving veto!

The (London) Times:  Trump's growth boast in reach as factories boom
The American economy is showing signs that it could hit President Trump’s ambitious growth target after a report indicated that factories in the United States had enjoyed their best year since 2004.
Economists see factory activity as a key indicator of the strength of a country’s economy. In the US, manufacturing accounts for about 12 per cent of gross domestic product.--

MIT:  In the cold, people use more natural gas to heat homes, driving up cost and making coal more financially viable. And, uh, that makes the Arctic warming worse.
Jensen Comment
This also explains why our local hospital fired up its idle biomass generator during the current cold snap. By the way, biomass (up here mostly log chips from our forests) is a renewable source of energy that also has a carbon footprint, unlike solar and wind power.

DNC Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison Proudly Endorses Antifa ---
Jensen Comment
Ellison is one of the biggest hopes for the GOP in 2018 and 2020

Washington Post:  Trump's Job Numbers are Very Good ---

The world is swimming in a record $233 trillion of debt ---

The (London) Times:
An undercover Insight investigation has discovered that Google makes millions
in profits from middlemen who prey on vulnerable people seeking treatment for addiction. Elite football clubs also face criticism for luring child fans into gambling.

Elon Musk needs to make a bold call on Tesla's Model 3 before it's too late
The math is simple: Tesla is spending as much as General Motors every quarter — about $1 billion — to produce and sell a fraction of the vehicles that GM does. GM is also turning that invested capital into steady profits, while Tesla in the third-quarter of 2017 posted the biggest loss in its history. GM has a $25-billion war chest. Tesla only has enough cash to operate through 2018. --
Jensen Comment
In my opinion the time is right for Tesla to begin to outsource production to other automobile manufacturers in other places like Detroit and maybe even Mexico and Brazil.

A highly classified US spy satellite is missing due to a SpaceX mission failure ---

McMaster: US has seen signs of Russian 'subversion and disinformation' in upcoming Mexican election ---

It is now physically impossible for any crime to be committed in our great city, because we declared it a zone of peace and harmony and criminals have no choice but to abide by our new rule.
Quote from Rob Emanuel, Chicago Mayor
Trembling in fear all criminals fled the city or commenced looking for jobs when they discovered crime is suddenly illegal in Chicago
Why didn't anybody think of this before?
But alas, the city officials are still in place --- bribes are still welcome but these are now gifts toward good government

The Australian city of Sydney has experienced its hottest weather in 79 years with temperatures in the region hitting as high as 47.3C (117F) ---
Jensen Comment
Was there global warming 79 years ago?
Meanwhile my outdoor thermometer reads -22F and atop Mt. Washington the wind chill is -90F with the real temperature a balmy -39F.
Can't we compromise with Australia on this?

Do Librarians Discriminate? | BackTalk  ---
Jensen Comment
I can't think that urban librarians do not get annoyed with homeless people camped out in libraries who mostly watch porn on library computers.

For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up. Their time is up," she went on. "And I just hope — I just hope — that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on.
Oprah Winfrey's acceptance speech upon winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards

Time Magazine:  This Could Be The Last College Football Championship Game With Unpaid Players ---
Jensen Comment
Will Alabama's female golfers demand equal pay with Alabama's starting male quarterback?
Or will Congress cave on current non-discrimination rules in college athletics?
Better yet will more and more colleges and universities drop Division 1 athletics over salary issues?

The Washington Post:  Nationwide, police shot and killed nearly 1,000 people in 2017 (19 were unarmed blacks) ---

How the New Tax Law Affects Paying for K-16 Schools ---

If President Trump does not call himself a genius no one else will ---
Senator Lindsey Graham

The (London Times:  The stars who wore black in a show of protest at the Golden Globes hoped to show solidarity - instead they merely demonstrated their hypocrisy
Mellanie Phillips

Poll: 33% of NFL fans 'purposely stopped watching' this season (but many for reasons other than Anthem protests)---
Jensen Comment
I don't know how to define "stopped watching." There are so many games on television each week and so few viewers who watch entire games weekly before 2017. This study purportedly defined "stop watching" in terms of intentional boycotting for one reason or another.

Sports Illustrated:  All Four NFL Playoff Games See Double-Digit Ratings Decrease ---

Comic book legend Stan Lee has been hit with several allegations of sexual assault and harassment by nurses caring for him at his Hollywood Hills home, can reveal. The Marvel creator, 95, is alleged to have repeatedly groped and harassed a string of young female nurses employed to care for him.

Jensen Comment
Is being out of your mind an excuse or a reason for sexual assault for gaga oldsters in nursing homes?

Oprah: ‘Most Pain I Feel Is Every Time I Write A Check to the IRS’ ---

30 Terrifying Photos Before and After Climate Change ---

U.S. Issues Highest Travel Warning for Parts of Mexico ---

Why Blue States are Blue:  Gov. Jerry Brown: Courts Must Let California Slash its Public-Sector Pensions --- Jensen Comment
Many of those bloated pensions resulted from various kinds of frauds frauds that are costly to prosecute due to both cleverness of the frauds and frequency of the frauds

Something the media probably will not report:  The result of raising the minimum wage in Seattle
According to researchers at the University of Washington's School of Public Policy and Governance, the number of hours worked in low-wage jobs has declined by around 9 percent since the start of 2016 "while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent." The net outcome: In 2016, the "higher" minimum wage actually lowered low-wage workers' earnings by an average of $125 a month.
Jensen Comment
Purportedly the socialist mayor of Seattle tried to block publication of this research.
Fears about similar impacts caused cities like Baltimore to resist raising the minimum wage.
One liberal blog that I follow highlights every good news report about raising minimum wages but never reveals any bad news reports.

Almost 40% of borrowers who entered college in 2004 are likely to default on their loans by 2023, the report predicts . . . The 20-year default rate in 2023, Brookings found, could be close to 70% for for-profit college students, where numbers have risen even more dramatically. ---
Student Debt ballooned to $1.4+ trillion by the end of 2017. A letdown of this booming economy could become a real disaster.
One of the problems with for-profit student loaning is that for-profit universities tend to have zero academic standards when it comes to admission. Thereby student loans are going to many students least likely to get jobs.

The IRS Scandal, Day 1709: Victims Of IRS's Tea Party Bias — And Taxpayers — Deserve To See Lois Lerner's Testimony ---
Jensen Comment
The IRS badly needs more money for meeting its future responsibilities. It's time to put the long-running "IRS Scandal" to bed by revealing once and for all whether Obama's White House (not necessarily Obama himself) abused its powers by using the IRS for political gain. The Obama Whitehouse is history and clearing the air might help rather than hurt the IRS funding efforts.

'Dancing Backwards In High Heels': Study Finds Students Set Higher Standards For Female Profs ---

Elitist Democrats in Washington are Killing the National Party
The facts are harsh. “The number of Democrats holding office across the nation is at its lowest point since the 1920s and the decline has been especially severe in rural America,” Bustos writes in the report.

Even with Barack Obama as a first guest, David Letterman is getting lukewarm reviews for his 'halfhearted' new Netflix talk show ---

New York Times:  Diane Butrus, a business executive from St. Louis, wandered the streets of Zurich, looking for a bank that would help her keep $1.5 million hidden from America tax collectors ---

The American Psychiatric Association called out members of its profession for offering their professional opinions about public figures—namely those they haven’t personally examined ---

What Can’t You Send to an Inmate in New York? Apples, Used Books and More ---

A New American Leader Rises in ISIS ---

Whoever Built the Boston Marathon Bombs is Still on the Loose, Able to Kill Again ---

Bloomberg:  The Economic Arctic ---

Why Are African American Students Still Not Majoring in Accounting? ----

Buried in the report is a chart showing how incredibly few legal gun owners are arrested each year for gun violations.---

Feminist Icon Margaret Atwood receives criticism from feminists in her home country of Canada because of a stance she has taken on the case of Steven Galloway, an acclaimed novelist who was a tenured professor and chair of the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia. He was fired by the university.
She writes:  "Am I a Bad Feminist?"

A beloved, Albeit Nazi Sympathizing, French author was also an anti-Semite. Now his most notorious works are being republished ---

Bashing Thoreau Has Become Commonplace ---

Garrison Keillor about Thoreau
A sorehead and loner whose clunky line about marching to your own drummer has found its way into a million graduation speeches. Thoreau tried to make a virtue out of lack of rhythm. He said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Okay, but how did he know? He didn’t talk to that many people. He wrote elegantly about independence and forgot to thank his mom for doing his laundry.

This is not funny until you imagine the patient trying to get through airport security
Veteran Sues VA Hospital for Leaving a Scalpel Inside Him After Surgery --- 


Steve Bannon stepped down from his post as the executive chairman of Breitbart News ---

Jensen Comment
He may soon be homeless without a place to take a bath. No matter. Purportedly he did not take a bath when he had a job.


The Atlantic
What Was Steve Bannon Thinking?
Six theories to explain his scorched-earth break with the President that seems to have left him utterly isolated

The ‘Trumpism Without Trump’ Theory

The ‘Guilty as Sin’ Theory

The ‘Joker’ Theory

The Great Betrayal Theory

The ‘He’s Running’ Theory

The In-Over-His-Head Theory

The man charged with staffing the White House, assessing foreign leaders, and making lifetime appointments appears to be a spectacularly bad judge of character. And so does the former adviser who helped tout Trump in that position. They deserve each other—and Americans deserves better.

There sure seem to be a lot of sloppy errors in this Wolff book ---
CNN's Jake Tapper

Jensen Question
What is there about Democrats, CNN, MSNBC, and The New York Times that so many voters fear so much as to give seemingly horrible GOP candidates power?
I'd like to say let me count the ways, but I've run out of enthusiasm for the current "bird brains" in power and out of power.

I'm shutting myself in our cottage and enjoying the exuberance of a blizzard while the rest of the world goes mad.

The Atlantic:  The Quiet Exuberance of Winter ---

Why California is the Poverty Capital of America ---

The New York Times Interactive Tax Calculator

Jensen Comment
This is an example where averages can be misleading. For example, because my wife and I have relatively large medical deductions the NYT Calculator is seriously incorrect. It will be even more incorrect for those having long-term care nursing expenses (fortunately not us, yet) ---
In fairness the NYT article mentions many of the misleading aspects of its calculator.

Almost everything is wrong with the new tax law (according to left-wing Princeton economist Alan Blinder)---
Jensen Comment
Professor Blinder makes some pretty wild and unsubstantiated (unprofessional?) claims himself. Firstly he claims that most individuals will not see tax cuts. Even the liberal New York Times estimates that 75% of the taxpayers that actually pay personal income taxes will see tax cuts (at least in the short term) --- 
Whether or not the tax cuts are permanent depends heavily upon whether or not Republicans retain control of the House, Senate, and Presidency. If they do the "temporary" tax cuts are likely to be renewed (as suggested by the NYT).

The taxpayers who will not see temporary tax cuts are either either low income tax return filers who currently file tax returns to get nearly  full refunds or high income tax filers hurt badly by the $10,000 cap on state income tax and property tax deductions.

Secondly, Professor Blinder claims that virtually all polls show the tax revisions are wildly unpopular. Most polls show the voters are largely split on the tax plan. Here's what the liberal Politico poll concluded on December 19, 2017:

The survey, conducted Dec. 14-18, shows a narrow, 42 percent plurality of voters support legislation, introduced by Republicans in Congress, that makes widespread changes to the U.S. tax system. Slightly less, 39 percent, oppose the legislation. The remaining 18 percent of voters are undecided.

The Cato Institute concludes that the middle class gets the largest personal tax breaks in this legislation, which makes sense since the lower income class was not paying income taxes before these cuts (they do incur payroll taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes not directly affected by income tax reform). High income people are hit hard by the capping of state income and property taxes to a maximum $10,000 deduction. In the middle, folks who rely on the standard deduction are helped. Other folks itemized deductions with less than $10,000 in property taxes are probably helped ---
Even Bernie Sanders concedes that the tax cuts primarily benefit the middle class. However, he's highly critical of most every other aspect of the legislation ---

Academics are split largely on the long-run projections of the trickle-down benefits of the tax cuts on jobs and economic growth. Professor Blinder from Princeton coming in from the far  left projects. along with the liberal (not really bi-partison CBO) that there will be huge Federal deficit increases resulting from the tax cuts. Academic economists coming in from the right are more optimistic about the long-term benefits ---
Like virtually everything in economic forecasting, the forecasts depend upon assumptions upon which economists and politicians will never agree.

One thing is certain. Isolating the impact of this one piece of legislation on jobs, trade, and the economy is virtually impossible given the complex multivariate interactions on jobs, trade, and the economy. As was the case for the Regan tax cuts, there will never be agreement on the role this one piece of legislation will have now that it's history. Political animosity runs too deep in the USA for agreement on almost any political issue.

The State of K-12 USA Education for 2017 in 10 Charts ---

Jensen Comment
The first chart showing Wyoming and much of New England ahead of the other states in the USA confuses me somewhat. It's not exactly a Red versus Blue state issue since Blue states of Vermont and Massachusetts come out high along with Wyoming. I don't count New Hampshire as a Blue state since it is only Blue because it allows residents of Vermont and Massachusetts to vote in NH elections. The key issue is not a large versus small population issue according to this initial chart since Vermont and New Hampshire are small but Massachusetts has a lot of people. Reasons could be somewhat racial in nature, but this is a cloudy factor given outcomes in such states as Maine, Rhode Island, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. My conclusion is that any serious explanation of the first chart will have to be quite complicated.

2017’s Top 10 Quotes on Education Issues ---

Education Performance by State ---

Teacher Pay by States ---

Jensen Comment on Education Performance versus Teacher Pay
At first blush when comparing the above links it would seem that higher teacher pay is not getting much bang for the buck in terms of education performance. However, data comparisons are not so simple.

Firstly, cost of living differences must be factored in when comparing most anything to pay. California housing, for example, is out of sight when compared to Wyoming and rural New England states like Vermont and New Hampshire. California and New York taxes are out of sight when compared to New Hampshire.

Secondly, education performance gets more complicated in states that are more racially and culturally mixed (think all states on the border with Mexico) versus Wyoming and New England.

Thirdly, think population, especially states with huge metropolitan areas like California, Illinois, and New York versus Wyoming, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Huge metropolitan areas present enormous problems (think turf wars, gangs, and language mixes) that uniquely exist for K-12 schools in these metropolises.

I don't have all the answers when comparing K-12 education performance with teacher pay scales. What I do know is not to draw oversimplistic conclusions when comparing performance charts with pay charts. Then again maybe our kids are just smarter than your kids no matter what you pay your teachers. Yeah! That's it!

Angus Deaton ---

A Nobel Prize-winning economist (Princeton's Angus Deaton) thinks we’re asking all the wrong questions about inequality ---

Augmented Reality ---

Time Magazine (January 5, 2018) Just Released Its First Augmented Reality Edition Edited by Bill Gates ---

Possible Applications in Education ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Tricks and Tools of the Trade ---

India IT:  56,000 layoffs and counting: India’s IT bloodbath this year may just be the start ---


Andrew Cuomo is waging an all-out assault on the GOP tax law to save New York's higher income and very wealthy residents ---

Is this a wonderful or terrible idea caused by the $10,000 income and property tax deduction limit in the Federal tax reform legislation?
Liberal economist Dean Baker advocates repeal state income taxes, replacing them with payroll taxes --

Jensen Comment
It seems to me that states would still have to tax some types of income or let wealthier people with lots of passive income off the hook for taxes.
Some states without income taxes (think New Hampshire) tax interest and dividends partly but exclude interest and dividends factored into pension incomes. Also the NH interest and dividends tax is relatively low rate with up to a $5,000 exclusion. Also capital gains are not taxed for business income accruals not declared as dividends. All told the NH interest and dividends tax is more of a nuisance than a serious tax like a state income tax.

Dean Baker does propose a new state taxes on dividends and interest, but these will still be victims of the $10,000 deductibility cap on Federal 1040 returns.

One thing is likely. States, especially our liberal blue states, will probably come up with new and very complicated state taxation codes that will keep tax accountants up nights.

We can expect demand for accounting degrees to soar because of all the new jobs created in the public and private sectors within our states.

Add to this the possibility (quite likely actually) that the Democratic Party will soon take control of both the USA House of Representatives and the USA Senate along with the White House such that most or all Trump tax Reforms of 2018 will be repealed. Think of all the cost and confusion of rewriting tax codes in some of our 50 states that will have become wasted efforts in a very short period of time!

The IRS Scandal, Day 1699: Lois Lerner And Civil Service Reform ---

Jensen Comment
One of the things I hate most about the Civil Service is that job protection is out of hand to a point where gross incompetence and fraud are not grounds for firing a Civil Service employee. The Veterans Administration scandal (VA administrators deliberately lied about performance data to pad their own bonuses) where confessions of fraud could not lead to firings proves that job protection is out of hand. Even in cases where there are firings the fired Civil Service fraudsters are quietly hired back ---

I wonder how much these militant union protections ultimately hurt the Civil Service ultimately in the ballot box?

Bob Jensen's health care messaging ---

Democrats:  Are You Sure You Want Medicare (plus universal "free" nursing care) for All?
Jensen Comment
If done well it will cost more than the entire USA Federal budget with exploding future inflation expenses.

Data USA (community demographics, such as Medicare reimbursements by county) ---
Deloitte played a major role in developing this database on poverty, health, and many other data categories

World Wealth & Income Database ---

OECD Health Statistics 2016 ---

Facts and statistics (Fast Facts) --- 

Bob Jensen's links to data and statistics ---

Bob Jensen's World Library ---

Canadians Wait — and Wait — to See the Doctor ---

Jensen Comment
In the USA a lot of patients also wait to see doctors in emergency rooms except in bona fide emergencies.

According to emergency room physicians Obamacare made it much worse for emergency rooms.
American College of Emergency Room Physicians
The Uninsured: Access to Medical Care Fact Sheet ---

Nationalized healthcare is not all it's cracked up to be ---

. . .

Back home, though, Canadians seem far more critical of the system. If you follow the internal Canadian debate, you’ll hear the word “crisis.” In fact, many Canadian healthcare economists warn that their system is headed for a major collapse. The aging population has continued to stress an already fragile system. This is the same system that many proponents of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, pointed to as a model.

Another model of national health care cited by fans of the ACA is the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Like the Canadian system, there seems to be one attitude for export and another for domestic consumption. You may recall the odd tribute to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. The NHS was portrayed as a sea of Mary Poppins bliss. At home, though, Brits had reason to complain. The UK was rated as having the worst patient care and lowest cancer survival rates in the Western World.

The NHS is in even worse shape now, and complaints are growing louder. According to the committee that represents UK hospitals, the NHS is on the verge of collapse. The former health minister Paul Burstow warned of this outcome two years ago. At the time, increases in the NIH budget were limited to the rate of inflation. But that did not allow for the increased cost of a growing elderly population. The NIH effort to find £30 billion in “efficiency savings” was already putting enormous strains on the system.

When a healthcare system is overloaded, it’s not just the aged who suffer. A Lancashire man operated on himself when he was put on a long waitlist for a surgery that he badly needed. With waitlists growing, the Royal College of Surgeons reports that financially challenged clinical groups are denying services to patients who are obese or smoke. Often, delayed treatment will increase medical costs in the long run.  

So it shouldn’t be surprising that the Affordable Care Act, which was inspired by the Canadian and British systems, is in deep trouble. Though I predicted it, it is worrisome when the act’s biggest supporters, including The New York Times, admit the program’s flaws.

The growing aged population is a huge financial burden

Obamacare doesn’t deal with the real source of rising healthcare costs: the increase in age-related diseases due to a growing elderly population. It is mathematically impossible to cut societal medical costs while at the same time providing adequate healthcare to a growing and increasingly expensive older population.

This is not just a problem with health care. Social Security and pension funds are running deficits, which will also worsen. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently said that he has lost the optimism that he has long been known for. The reason is that “we have a 9 percent annual rate of increase in entitlements, which is mandated by law.  It has got nothing to do with the economy. It has got to do with age and health and the like.”

Greenspan points out that politicians refuse to deal with the “third rail” of entitlements. I agree, but I think there’s a solution. Politicians claim that voters won’t accept delayed retirement. But the evidence shows that most people would like to work longer and save more to pay their own way. Zoya Financial reports that almost two thirds of Americans have to retire earlier than planned, largely due to problems with their own health or a spouse’s.

Anti-aging biotechnologies are in labs right now that could lengthen health spans and working careers. This would allow us to save our entitlement systems. But economists and politicians still have no clue about the biotechnological progress that has marked the start of the 21st century. This will change because it must… but I hope it happens soon

The (London) Times:  Voucher plan to help pay for elderly care ---

Tax-free vouchers like those used by parents to pay for childcare should be offered to encourage people to save towards long-term care costs, a company has proposed.

Eldercare vouchers could be used to build up a pot of savings to pay care home fees in later life or for domiciliary care at home under the plan.

Alternatively, employees could use vouchers to contribute towards current care costs for an elderly parent or another member of their family. Siblings could also pool their vouchers to pay care bills for one or both of their parents.

The plan has been suggested by Busy Bees, Britain’s largest group of nurseries, which developed the idea of childcare vouchers in the 1990s that was later adopted by the government.

The key difference with eldercare vouchers would be the ability for an employee to save up vouchers in a personal account over a long period.


The company has suggested a maximum contribution of £100 a week, meaning that an individual who put aside the largest amount permitted over 20 years could accrue a pot worth just over £100,000.

It could only be spent with a registered care provider and, as a non-taxable benefit. If an employee withdrew their money for any other purpose they would have to pay income tax on the sum.

If someone died without using the account, the money would pass to their estate and to their heirs after inheritance tax was paid.

John Woodward, chief executive of Busy Bees, who was heavily involved in the design of childcare vouchers and administered the scheme in his nurseries, developed the idea after arranging care for his mother, who died aged 93.

“I am lucky. I could afford to pay for her care,” he said. “It certainly highlighted to me the massive issue that there is and need for some encouragement for people to do it with some type of tax break.

“This is a proposal based on an operation we have been involved with before and something that we very simply see as practical and part of a bigger answer.

“It won’t solve everything but is something we know has worked in the past. We know it is popular, it is simple, not open to fraud easily and would work.”

The scheme would only benefit working people who are tax payers, who could choose to forgo part of their salary to buy vouchers. Mr Woodward said it would be popular with employers as a staff benefit, and for reducing slightly their national insurance bill.

He added that the government would lose tax in the short term but benefit from higher private contributions for social care in the longer term as, on average, people would save £1 for care costs for every 35p in lost tax.

Busy Bees has submitted the idea to ministers ahead of the government’s consultation on social care, which is due to report by next summer. One former government adviser said many people were reluctant to contribute towards something they may not benefit from, although Baroness Altmann, the former pensions minister, is a keen supporter. The care sector also backs the idea.

Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, which represents independent care providers, said: “The proposal for a voucher scheme is something that I welcome because it will give citizens the opportunity to save for their long-term care needs, and be supported to do this with some tax allowances.

“If we are going to meet the challenges of the future, we need to encourage people to save for their long-term care and the government needs to incentivise people to make provisions for the future.”

Continued in article

50% of health and social-care funding is spent on 4% of people . . . About 25% of all hospital inpatient spending during a person’s lifetime occurs in the final three months.
"The (British) National Health Care Service is a Mess," The Economist, September 10, 2016, pp. 48-49 ---

. . .

Like health-care systems around the world, the National Health Service (NHS) is struggling to provide good care at low cost for patients such as Mrs Evans (not her real name). Its business model has not kept up with the changing burden of disease. For as more people enter and live longer in their dotage, demand increases for two costly types of care. The first is looking after the dying. About 25% of all hospital inpatient spending during a person’s lifetime occurs in the final three months. The second is caring for those with more than one chronic condition. About 70% of NHS spending goes on long-term illnesses. More than half of over-70s have at least two and a quarter have at least three. In south Somerset 50% of health and social-care funding is spent on 4% of people.

. . .

If one fallacy about the NHS is that it is the envy of the world, as its devotees claim, another is that it is a single organisation. In fact it is a series of interlocking systems. Public health, hospitals, general practitioners (or GPs, the family doctors who provide basic care outside hospitals) and mental-health services all have separate funding and incentives. Social care, which includes old-folks’ homes and the like, is run by local councils, not the NHS

. . .

So the NHS must do more with what it already spends. A sign of inefficiency is the 6,000 patients in English hospitals who are ready to go home but not yet discharged, up from 4,000 in 2013. They cost the service hundreds of millions of pounds per year and obstruct others from treatment. The bed-blockers themselves are harmed, too. Elderly patients lose up to 5% of muscle strength for every day they are laid up in hospital. Some delays are the result of council cuts: about 400,000 fewer old people receive social care than in 2010, meaning that hospitals are sometimes used as expensive alternatives to care homes. But most are due to how hospitals are run.

. . .

On average, the framework made GPs some of the highest-paid family doctors in the world when it was introduced in 2004. But since then it has become less generous. GPs’ real-terms income has fallen by one-fifth. This, and poor planning, has led to a shortage of them. England needs 5,000 more in the next five years. The NHS is mulling a deal with Apollo, whereby the Indian health-care firm supplies enough doctors to fill the gap.

. . .

The move from “volume to value”—that is, from paying providers for the procedures they carry out to paying them for the outcomes they achieve—has helped to stem the cost of Medicare, the American health system for pensioners. The expansion of ACOs as part of Obamacare led to reduced mortality rates and savings for providers of about 1-2%. But Dan Northam Jones, a visiting fellow at Harvard, warns that the potential for savings is greater in systems like Medicare, where there is no cap on spending.

And yet ACOs reflect a growing belief that if you want radically to improve health care you have to change how you pay for it. They will not solve all the problems of the NHS, some of which are inherent in its taxpayer-funded model. But perhaps its business model may yet catch up with how illness is changing. The NHS should forget being the envy of the world, and instead learn from it.

On November 22, 2009 CBS Sixty Minutes aired a video featuring experts (including physicians) explaining how the single largest drain on the Medicare insurance fund is keeping dying people hopelessly alive who could otherwise be allowed to die quicker and painlessly without artificially prolonging life on ICU machines.
"The Cost of Dying," CBS Sixty Minutes Video, November 22, 2009 ---

"Germany Is Exporting Its Grandmas (to Poland)," by Naomi, Kresge, Bloomberg Business Week, September 26, 2013 ---

"Government Medicine vs. the Elderly:  In Britain in 2007-08, 16.5% of deaths came after 'terminal sedation," by Rupert Darwall, The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2009 ---

Rarely has the Atlantic seemed as wide as when America's health-care debate provoked a near unanimous response from British politicians boasting of the superiority of their country's National Health Service. Prime Minister Gordon Brown used Twitter to tell the world that the NHS can mean the difference between life and death. His wife added, "we love the NHS." Opposition leader David Cameron tweeted back that his plans to outspend Labour showed the Conservatives were more committed to the NHS than Labour.

This outbreak of NHS jingoism was brought to an abrupt halt by the Patients Association, an independent charity. In a report, the association presented a catalogue of end-of-life cases that demonstrated, in its words, "a consistent pattern of shocking standards of care." It provided details of what it described as "appalling treatment," which could be found across the NHS.

A few days later, a group of senior doctors and health-care experts wrote to a national newspaper expressing their concern about the Liverpool Care Pathway, a palliative program being rolled out across the NHS involving the withdrawal of fluids and nourishment for patients thought to be dying. Noting that in 2007-08, 16.5% of deaths in the U.K. came after "terminal sedation," their letter concluded with the chilling observation that experienced doctors know that sometimes "when all but essential drugs are stopped, 'dying' patients get better" if they are allowed to.

The usual justification for socialized health care is to provide access to quality health care for the poor and disadvantaged. But this function can be more efficiently performed through the benefits system and the payment of refundable tax credits.

The real justification for socialized medicine is left unstated: Because health-care resources are assumed to be fixed, those resources should be prioritized for those who can benefit most from medical treatment. Thus the NHS acts as Britain's national triage service, deciding who is most likely to respond best to treatment and allocating health care accordingly.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the NHS is institutionally ageist. The elderly have fewer years left to them; why then should they get health-care resources that would benefit a younger person more? An analysis by a senior U.K.-based health-care expert earlier this decade found that in the U.S. health-care spending per capita goes up steeply for the elderly, while the U.K. didn't show the same pattern. The U.K.'s pattern of health-care spending by age had more in common with the former Soviet bloc.

A scarcity assumption similar to the British mentality underlies President Barack Obama's proposed health-care overhaul. "We spend one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren't any healthier for it," Mr. Obama claimed in his address to Congress last Wednesday, a situation that, he said, threatened America's economic competitiveness.

This assertion is seldom challenged. Yet what makes health care different from spending on, say, information technology—or any category of consumer service—such that spending on health care is uniquely bad for the American economy? Distortions like malpractice suits that lead to higher costs or the absence of consumer price consciousness do result in a misallocation of resources. That should be an argument for tackling those distortions. But if high health-care spending otherwise reflects the preferences of millions of consumers, why the fuss?

The case for ObamaCare, as with the NHS, rests on what might be termed the "lump of health care" fallacy. But in a market-based system triggering one person's contractual rights to health care does not invalidate someone else's health policy. Instead, increased demand for health care incentivizes new drugs, new therapies and better ways of delivering health care. Government-administered systems are so slow and clumsy that they turn the lump of health-care fallacy into a reality.

According to the 2002 Wanless report, used by Tony Blair's government to justify a large tax hike to fund the higher spending, the NHS is late to adopt and slow to diffuse new technology. Still, NHS spending more than doubled to £103 billion in 2009-10 from £40 billion in 1999-2000, equivalent to an average growth rate of over 7% a year after inflation.

In 1965, economist (and future Nobel laureate) James Buchanan observed of the 17-year old NHS that "hospital facilities are overcrowded, and long delays in securing treatment, save for strictly emergency cases, are universally noted." Forty-four years later, matters are little improved. The Wanless report found that of the five countries it looked at, the U.S. was the only one to be both an early adopter and rapid diffuser of new medical techniques. It is the world's principal engine driving medical advance. If the U.S. gets health-care reform wrong, the rest of the world will suffer too.

Mr. Darwall, a London-based strategist, is currently writing a book on the history of global warming, to be published by Quartet Books in Spring 2010.

Jensen Plea
If and when I become gaga please sedate me to the max (meaning euthanize me)! I fear my wife, who is quite religious, will not allow that to happen.

Jensen Comment
In the USA a lot of patients also wait to see doctors in emergency rooms except in bona fide emergencies.

According to emergency room physicians Obamacare made it much worse for emergency rooms.
American College of Emergency Room Physicians
The Uninsured: Access to Medical Care Fact Sheet ---

As a Doctor, I’m Sick of All The Health Care Freeloaders ---
Jensen Comment
Many hospitals will not serve Medicaid patients or patients insured by Obamacare exchanges due to losing so much money on those patients. Those medical clinics that do serve such patients may be cutting costs by making those patients be served by physicians assistants who are not doctors. This is not ipso facto a bad thing for screening patients, but it becomes questionable when medications and other treatments are being given to patients without seeing more qualified medical service providers.

Major Chicago Hospitals Not In 2017 Obamacare Marketplace Plans ---

Some of Chicago’s largest hospitals said they will not be part of any Cook County Affordable Care Act marketplace plans in 2017.


University of Chicago Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center both said they don’t plan to be in network for any Obamacare marketplace plans next year. 



The change means patients with doctors at those hospitals will either need to find a plan off the marketplace, and lose Obamacare subsides, or find a new doctor.


Northwestern Memorial Hospital said it will also be out of the marketplace, but will have exceptions for some of its partner hospitals.

Continued in article

According to emergency room physicians Obamacare made it much worse for emergency rooms.
American College of Emergency Room Physicians
The Uninsured: Access to Medical Care Fact Sheet ---

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

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·     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

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