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Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the May 16, 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 ---

Human Population Over Time on Earth --- 

State Income Taxes Ranked From Highest to Lowest

The Federal budget for 2017 ---

Jensen Comment
Note that even before the 2018 corporate tax cuts the corporate income tax has been a shrinking part of the Federal budget of the most recent decades. I've long been an advocate of replacing it with a VAT tax but liberals and conservatives alike hate that idea.

Medicare and Medicaid are the least sustainable entitlements predicted for the future.

Interest on government debt is a huge worry since foreign interests (think China and the oil-rich nations of the Middle East) own so much of it with the threat that one day these large investors will stop rolling over their investments in USA debt.

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the booked obligation of $20+ trillion) ---
The US Debt Clock in Real Time --- 
In 2018 Foreigners (think Asia and the Middle East) May Be Losing Interest in USA Treasuries ---
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 ---

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 ---


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


The Lucretius Problem is a mental defect where we assume the worst case event that has happened is the worst case event that can happen ---


The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.


How many times have we heard ‘free tuition,’ ‘free health care,’ and free you-name-it? If a particular good or service is truly free, we can have as much of it as we want without the sacrifice of other goods or services. Take a ‘free’ library; is it really free? The answer is no. Had the library not been built, that $50 million could have purchased something else. That something else sacrificed is the cost of the library. While users of the library might pay a zero price, zero price and free are not one and the same. So when politicians talk about providing something free, ask them to identify the beneficent Santa Claus or tooth fairy.
Walter Williams


Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
Eric Hoffer.


The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
Winston Churchill


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

In honor of his centennial, the Top 10 Feynman quotations ---

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

I have lots of ideas . . . I always have more ideas than I can possibly write about.” So he prays for discernment about what ideas to pursue and what ideas to let die. And increasingly, over the last three or four years, I pray more and more that God would teach me when it’s time to shut up. That’s the thing that I’m least good at. Just shutting up.
Alan Jacobs

Magazines haven’t raised their rates since the 1950s. Even New Yorker staff writers typically don’t get health insurance ...

The enemy is fear
We think it's hate
But, it's fear


That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.
Thomas Jefferson

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

And many writers have imagined for themselves republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in reality; for there is such a gap between how one lives and how one ought to live that anyone who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation: for a man who wishes to profess goodness at all times will come to ruin among so many who are not good.
Niccolo Machiavelli

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

You can get a lot farther with a smile and a gun than you can with just a smile.
Al Capone

Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.
Teddy Roosevelt

“Young men should prove theorems,” a mentor told a young Freeman Dyson. “Old men should write books.”
Jensen Comment
In place of books, blogs will suffice.

Why are there 10,000 species of birds, but only 5,000 species of mammals?

Hillary’s Money Laundering Scheme ---

“I have lots of ideas,” he told me shortly before I left. “I always have more ideas than I can possibly write about.” So he prays for discernment about what ideas to pursue and what ideas to let die. “And increasingly, over the last three or four years, I pray more and more that God would teach me when it’s time to shut up. That’s the thing that I’m least good at. Just shutting up.”
Alan Jacobs

Vox:  Energy storage is considered a green technology. But it actually increases carbon emissions ---

MIT:  This battery advance could make electric vehicles far cheaper ---

A Connecticut university says former news anchor Tom Brokaw has withdrawn as commencement speaker after facing allegations of sexual harassment ---

5 Facts About Mass Shootings That The Gun Control Fanatics Don’t Want You to See ---

Hillary Clinton Muses That Being A Capitalist Hurt Her Because So Many Democrats Are Socialists ---

The Bernie-ization Of The Democratic Party?

Texas Voter ID Law Upheld

Comedian Michelle Wolf’s controversial routine at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) dinner was “not in the spirit” of the group’s mission, the organization’s president said Sunday ---
But it showed the hate and unprofessionalism of the media toward President Trump
Here's what Michelle Wolf said that was so offensive ---

Michelle Wolf’s jokes about Sanders at the dinner caused criticism from both sides of the political aisle. The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman stood by Sanders ---

Australia's Plan to Save the Great Barrier Reef is Too Little, Too Late ---

Tesla Doesn’t Burn Fuel, It Burns Cash ---

Unemployment Claims Fall to 48-Year Low ---

Refugees Keep Pouring Into Greece by Land and Sea ---

Former spy chief (James Clapper) initially said he did not speak with journalists about a secret intelligence community assessment containing the information, before later admitting he discussed the dossier with CNN reporter Jake Tapper and possibly others, the report said --- i


Sexual Assault Reports in the Military Rose for the 7th Year in a Row ---

The London Times:  Donald Trump deserves Nobel peace prize, not me, says South Korean president --- Name (98) (1)&CMP=TNLEmail_118918_3245638_101


Walter E. Williams ---
Educational Fraud Continues

Chicaco Tribune Editorial: 
People are fleeing Illinois. And still, Democratic leaders in Chicago and Cook County, and their supporters, generally deny that high taxes, underfunded pensions, government debt and political dysfunction are the reasons for the exodus — or that it’s acute.
Jensen Comment
I question whether the net migration out of Illinois is yet significant, but the numbers are a wake up call. The bigger question is why businesses would choose to relocate to gangland Chicago or politically corrupt Illinois where three recent governors went to prison.

Mike Shedlock:  Why are so many high income people leaving California, Illinois, and New York"

The Nobel Literature Prize Will Not be Awarded in 2018 ---

Amazon is holding Seattle hostage over a tax plan — and it shows how dangerous it is for Seattle and HQ2 to let the tech giant determine their future ---

GIG Economy ---
NYT: California Supreme Court Deals Major Blow To Gig Economy Business Model, Treats Workers As Employees Rather Than Independent Contractors

The Reagans hosted the best White House parties of all time ---

Two Sides on Gun Rights
Students Across the Country Walk Out of School in Defense of Gun Rights ---

Is Ethanol Cronyism on the Ropes? ----
Jensen Comment
Even Al Gore finally admitted that Ethanol subsidies harmed the environment more then they helped.

Resistance To The New GOP Tax Law In California, New York, And Illinois ---

In Sweden Grenades Are Preferred to Guns ---

Budweiser brewer orders 800 Nikola hydrogen-powered semi trucks ---

Why Venezuelan Migrants Are Making Handbags Out of Worthless Banknotes ---
Click Here
Jensen Comment
Up here in the cold mountains we can light our firewood with it.

How Economists Became So Timid The field used to be visionary. Now it’s just dull ---

One in Every Six Retirees in the USA is a Millionaire (on paper before taxes at least) ---

Democrats On Elite Liberal Art College Faculties Outnumber Republicans By 10:1 ---

Shameful mess at CalPERS needs to be exposed! ---

Not-so-great GASB: Accounting rule pushes hospitals near default ---

Furniture-making jobs in North Carolina (60%) have disappeared to China — but the state found a creative (cushy) new way to fight back ---

Michael Bloomberg: An 'epidemic of dishonesty' in Washington is threatening American democracy ---
Jensen Comment
Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire progressive who often irks conservatives. But he takes a more balanced (often insider) view of politics on both sides of the aisle. One of the more interesting CBS Sixty Minutes interviews I ever watched ---
Among other things he praises the good things Koch brothers generosities have done for research, particularly cancer research.

The FCC Will Terminate Net Neutrality on June 11 ---

Net neutrality is weeks away from dying, and the first signs of change are already showing up at Netflix and other internet companies ---

MIT:  California’s rooftop solar rule is a pricey path to emissions reductions ---

Chuck Schumer Breaks With the Resistance to Praise Trump on Jerusalem Embassy Move ---


How to Mislead With Statistics
Who pays the most tax in Europe?

Jensen Comment
You've probably heard me warn repeatedly that when taxes are compared it can be misleading unless you also compare what those taxes are paying for in family living. Income tax rates in the USA are relatively low and highly progressive with nearly half of the taxpayers paying zero income taxes. But this is misleading since things like health care and public education are paid out of other taxes and/or personal savings. Even when comparing nations with national health care plans funded heavily out of income taxes, comparing tax rates can be misleading. Firstly there are taxes other than income taxes such as VAT taxes and sales taxes. Secondly, not all national health care programs are equivalent in terms of how certain coverages are paid for. In Germany, for example, the public health plan is rather minimal and most Germans that can afford it have private supplemental medical insurance. My neighbors from England at the moment are back in the U.K. arranging to sell a parent's home for nursing home care expenses. Nursing home care in the U.K. is covered in the national health plan but revenues from home sales must be applied to this care --- so I'm told by my neigbors.

In Europe taxes supposedly pay for college education and/or job training, but less than half the young people are admitted to programs funded by tax dollars ---
Other people depend upon companies to fund on-the-job training, and many people are not allowed into college unless they study in other countries or take distance education courses such as MOOCs..

The Atlantic:  As younger generations become more racially diverse, many states are allocating fewer tax dollars to public colleges and universities ---

Jensen Comment
The article misleadingly overlooks the major causes of reduced spending for higher education.
Soaring Medicaid expenses have become the biggest expenditure items in most state budgets, expenditures that cannot be as easily reduced as expenditures for higher education. Couple Medicaid with underfunded pensions for state workers and we see funding for higher education being left in political dust.

By way of illustration look at the Medi-Cal portion ($101.5 billion) of the 2018-19 pie chart for California at

For California the higher education budget for 2018-19 is proposed at $33.7 billion in comparison ---

Click on "States" in the upper left corner to see states grading as to fiscal responsibility and debt crises ---

In other words the "radical diversity" issue is not so much a cause of reduced support higher education as is a budgeting choice issue devoting the lion's share of state budgets to health and welfare, especially Medicaid. And a major cause of the increase in Medicaid spending is the way citizens are figuring out how to divert long-term assisted living and nursing home expenses to Medicaid. If families plan ahead more than five years in advance, they can funnel more of their parents and grandparents resources into their own pockets and shift the long-term nursing care expenses over to Medicaid. And then they complain that the states are paying less for their children's state-supported higher education.

Medicare and Medicaid were never intended by government to pay for so much long-term nursing care of the middle class, but by one means or another schemes have been devised to make long-term nursing care and the cost of dying for the middle class as well as the poor. Medicaid is picking up a larger share of long-term nursing costs and Medicare is picking up the cost of dying (hospital, medication, and doctor bills).. The cost of dying became the largest budget item in Medicare and is exploding as the population of the USA ages. This is also the major cause, along with underfunded pensions, of funds being diverted by states from higher education to Medicaid.

The bottom line is that as the population ages we're seeing a massive shift in state (and Federal) spending from the young to the old as education money is massively being diverted to Medicaid (and Medicare).

Politico: Trump’s Lawyer Went To The Worst Law School In America ---
Jensen Comment
The main problem with a college accepting anybody who can pay is that the college that does so seldom maintains academic standards that flunk out lazy students, unmotivated students, absentee students, and students who are too dumb to get a degree from a flagship university. Accepting anybody is great for such things as giving second chances in life, but having academic respect in the Academy thereby also entails being willing to flunk out more than half of the matriculated students. Few colleges that accept anybody who can pay have the academic standards to keep their respect in the Academy. Accepting losers is one thing; graduating losers is a far worse thing!

One exception of course is a college that has special programs for the mentally challenged such as colleges that have special degree programs for Downs Syndrome students. This is different because the academic standards are modified to meet special needs. But there are limits. Gallaudet University for the deaf and otherwise hearing challenged got into trouble for a time because of lax academic standards for traditional academic programs. That was turned around such that retention rates at Gallaudet are now relatively low ---

Academic programs like law, accountancy, nursing, engineering, education, and medicine that have licensing examinations are more easily identified as being weak on academic standards. Some weaker universities are more restrictive about students admitted to programs with licensing examinations --- probably an intentional move by the college to boost its reputation. What's sad is that the some weaker students find their way into less demanding programs (those without licensing) at those colleges. The quick and easy test is to find out where the basketball and football players tend to major. For a time, a high proportion of Florida State University varsity athletes were majoring in Hospitality (wink, wink).

Inside Auburn’s Secret Effort to Advance an Athlete-Friendly Curriculum ---

The U.S. Postal Service placed most of the blame for the $1.3 billion it lost in its second fiscal quarter on “inflexible” government policy, and some of it on inflation and a decline in first-class mail, but it did not blame any of it on delivery deals made with customers, including, notably, Inc.
Dennis Huber–-not-amazon-–-for-billion-dollar-loss/ar-AAx7TcK?ocid=spartandhp

"University of North Carolina learning specialist receives death threats after her research finds one in 10 college athletes have reading age of a THIRD GRADER," by Sara Malm, Daily Mail, January 10, 2014 ---

Mary Willingham exposed college athletes' lack of academic abilities

  • She found that 10 per cent read at elementary school level
  • A majority of players' reading level was between 4th and 8th grade
  • Men's basketball makes $16.9m-a-year for University of North Carolina

Continued in article

How to Mislead With Economics
Stanford University:  An End to Traffic Jams? It Might Not Be a Dream ---

Jensen Comment
Most of this article is not misleading, but there are misleading parts. For example, suppose you teach third grade in Palo Alto, California. Your spouse teaches in an Oakland community college. On your combined incomes you would all have to live in a motor home if you wanted to live in Silicon Valley on the other side of the Bay. In other words living anywhere near Palo Alto and having your spouse commute to Oakland is just not affordable due to housing costs in the Silicon Valley. At present you live in an affordable house in a not-so-nice part of Oakland. Now the question is how to commute to work if tolls on both the Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge, and the Dunbarton Bridge were set at $50 going each way in rush hours to speed up commuting time using those bridges. This makes using those bridges no longer affordable unless you want to drive to Palo Alto at 1:00 am across the Dunbarton each work day and catch the rest of your sleep in the car before your work day begins. Public transportation during rush hour takes forever even if you use BART to pass under the San Francisco Bay. For one thing there's the problem of economically and conveniently getting from a train or bus terminal in Palo Alto to your school. After the long public transportation trip from Oakland to Palo Alto you will be too exhausted to ride a bike to school.

My point here is that for millions of commuters congestion pricing on roadways would be a disaster when public transportation and car pooling are both logistical nightmares. Like all economists the authors of the above study (Ostrovsky and Schwartz ) propose solutions that sound great if you ignore the assumptions behind those solutions. The simple fact of the matter is that with congestion pricing millions of people would have to abandon their present jobs --- such as trading your great teaching job in Palo Alto for a not-so-nice teaching job in Oakland. Or you could divorce your spouse and give up custody of your children. Then living in a motor home in a school parking lot becomes more feasible --- some workers at Apple making nearly a million dollars a year live in parking lot vans.

There are also millions of people who, in the right circumstances, fit nicely into the Ostrovsky and Schwartz model. On nice days some people can live in a city and ride a bicycle or scooter to work. The Danes and the Dutch have worked this system out to perfection by, among other things, taxing ownership of a car to the point where a car is not affordable by over half their citizens. In Moscow wintertime bikes and scooters aren't so great but the Moscow subway is fantastic. It would be nice to have such a subway system serving Los Angeles but the cost of such a system in sprawling Lost Angeles is astronomical. The same can be said for Silicon Valley.

But it is also true that something must be done about gridlock in USA large cities. Congestion pricing proposed by Ostrovsky and Schwartz  is a thought, but it's just not a realistic solution except under very restrictive assumptions. Elon Musk wants to bore tunnels in every city. Immensely costly tunnels relieve some of the congestion in Boston, but due to growth and other things traffic is worse than ever.

There is no Swiss Army knife solution to gridlock. But we must keep searching for practical ideas. Probably one of the best ideas in the age of technology is to expand the workforce doing their jobs from home. Indeed it's possible to teach most high school or college courses from home. It's probably not a good idea to teach third grade from home.


Bob Jensen's health care messaging ---

World Wealth & Income Database ---

OECD Health Statistics 2016 ---

Facts and statistics (Fast Facts) --- 

Bob Jensen's health care messaging ---

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

Bob Jensen's World Library ---


Bob Jensen's threads on health coverage are at

Not-so-great GASB: Accounting rule pushes hospitals near default ---

Harvard:  The costs of health care are now the greatest financial concern for most Americans—more than the costs for housing, food or retirement ---

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found that, by exploiting Obamacare’s expansion of the program, California has enrolled hundreds of thousands of ineligible adults in Medicaid. Consequently, the state has bilked the federal government out of more than $1 billion in funding to which the state was not entitled.
Jensen Comment
Nearly half of the Medicaid recipients in Illinois were found to be not elgible for Medicaid due to their income levels.

The fact that Canada still has overall rates higher than those in the U.S., then, lies squarely at the feet of the provincial governments ---
Jensen Comment
It's virtually impossible to compare international tax rates, and this article highlights the major reason. The reason is that government outlays differ so much in terms of what is funded by those taxes. In the Canada the provincial taxes fund most of the national health care plan. In the USA income taxes fund very little in the way of health care except for Medicaid, although payroll taxes fund a lot of Medicare. To be more comparable, we would at least have to add medical insurance

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 ---