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To Accompany the August 30, 2018 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
Human Population Over Time on Earth ---
State Income Taxes Ranked From Highest to Lowest
The Federal budget for 2017 ---
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 --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
In 2018 Foreigners (think Asia and the Middle East) May Be Losing Interest in USA Treasuries ---
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 ---
This is an interesting 2017 graph of the USA's trading partner performances
It's easy to get distracted my big amounts, but look at the imbalances of trade with nations like Japan, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Switzerland. Add to this what we spend helping to defend nations like Japan, Canada, Germany, and Italy?
enemy is fear
We think it's hate
But, it's fear
Here are the Ten Best Pieces of Advice from
2018 Commencement Speakers ---
The Best Advice from 2018's Celebrity
Commencement Speakers ---
Countries With the Highest Household
Wealth on Average ---
California Evidence: What Happens
When States Decide to Really, Really Soak the Rich With Taxes ---
This overlooks other tactics taken by the rich. For example, portfolios of very people are heavy into tax exempt bonds which may have to be municipal bonds issued in the state of residence in order to be exempt from state income taxes. More commonly, rich people invest for capital gains that are not taxed until realized (think common stocks and art work). Really rich people use off shore tax havens that reduce both federal and state taxes. In other words it's very difficult to soak the rich with taxes if they are astute enough to defer or avoid those taxes. And sometimes they move to more tax-friendly states like the nine states states that have no general state income tax ---
However, it appears that only a small proportion of really rich folks in California headed for Nevada, Texas, Florida, or some other state having no income tax. In part this is due to the many magnets that hold people to their long-time homes such as nearness to family and close friends and jobs. More important is the impact of high taxes that prevent many wealthy people from moving/retiring into California. California also has another barrier to inflows --- the astronomical price of real estate. You have to be really, really, really rich to consider buying even a modest home in San Francisco or other parts of the Silicon Valley. When high real estate prices combine with high upper tax rates you really don't need to build a physical wall at the border to keep rich people from moving into a state like California. And some rich folks don't like the fact that la la land politicians control all branches of government in cities, counties, and the entire la la state of California.
Eight Science Quotations from Commencement
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.
The Economic Ignorance of Bernie Sanders ---
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.
Every great cause begins as a movement,
becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal
sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of
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.
In honor of his centennial, the Top 10 Feynman
Thomas Sowell (controversial
conservative black economist) ---
The 30 Best Thomas Sowell Quotes ---
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Even conversations that are not politically correct.
That government is best which governs the least,
because its people discipline themselves.
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 gave up earlier.
The Atlantic: Punishing Putin Just
Makes Him Stronger ---
Can we say the same for Trump?
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
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.
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
You can get a lot farther with a smile and a
gun than you can with just a smile.
The Science Behind Social Science Gets Shaken
Up --- Again
Foxconn, known for manufacturing Apple’s
iPhones in China, is opening a factory in Wisconsin. Yesterday, it announced
that it was investing $100 million in research at the University of
Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you
will go far.
Who was John McCain? The best answer is in
this 18-year-old David Foster Wallace essay ---
10 of John McCain's best quotes on courage,
happiness, and character ---
John McCain's Farewell Letter ---
Time Magazine: John McCain Hated the
Affordable Care Act. He Also Saved It ---
Paying the Price: Why didn't California put more spending priority on
building fire breaks relative to other massive social programs?
It's not like enormous forest fires in California are hard to predict
Why would Lockheed Martin pay $6 Million to Comey in one year?
But today the ACLU stuck up for the NRA against New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo ---
New Cuomo 2020 Slogan: We Can’t Make America
Great Again , It Was Never That Great To Begin With ---
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
Where was he on D-Day or on the day Barack Obama became President of the USA?
New York City will be spending $2.06 billion
on its Department of Homeless Services. There are 61,421 homeless people in the
city which is spending $33,539 per homeless person. That’s only a little short
of the starting salary of an FDNY firefighter at $39,000 ---
Philadelphia mom, 44, who shelled out $25k on
Arabian themed prom send-off for her son complete with camel and three dates is
charged with fraud for collecting disability and faces 140 years behind bars ---
Ethnic America, mapped: Your county’s biggest ancestral
The New Farm Bill is Going to Suck ---
African American Business Ownership Up Over
400% in One Year ---
Did the major media report about this good news?
In Germany—the birthplace of the modern
automobile—carmakers are anticipating the day when people stop owning vehicles
and sales plateau before making a swift descent ---
Police Officers Are Not Disproportionately
Killing Black Men—Here Are the Facts ---
What’s killing rural Canada? Crime, opioid abuse, and fleeing populations are destroying the country’s heartland ---
To be, or to disband? A question facing shrinking towns ---
What's killing Florida beaches
and marine life --- sugar subsidies? ---
Iran's fake news push was much bigger than
Facebook, and spread to Twitter and Google ---
Tesla short sellers raked in $1 billion after
Elon Musk revealed his personal struggles in an eye-opening interview ---
Are his days as a master Wall Street manipulator coming to an end?
How to Mislead With Statistics
Chicago's mayor declared Chicago is on the firmest financial footing in years, but taxpayers should understand that the pitch is deeply misleading ---
A 16-year-old managed to hack Apple, steal a
whole bunch of secure files, and access customer accounts ---
A major attack on a heavily-travelled Israeli
highway linking Tel Aviv with the capital was foiled recently by Palestinian
Authority security forces ---
Venezuela just devalued its currency by 95%
and pegged it to a cryptocurrency ---
California Congressman Rep. Duncan Hunter and
his wife Margaret Hunter were indicted on 60 counts by a federal grand jury
related to $250,000 in campaign finance corruption, allegedly using election
funds for their own personal gain ---
Latino Voters Don't Want Open Border Hoardes
4 reasons why anti-Trump Latino voters won’t swing the midterms ---
NYT on a $1.7 billion annual failure
Labor Department Inspector General: “Job Corps could not demonstrate beneficial job training outcomes.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/26/us/politics/job-corps-training-program.html?action=click&module=In Other News&pgtype=Homepage&action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
NYT: The Danish open-air drug
market experiment is not going well ---
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/26/world/europe/christiania-freetown-copenhagen.html?action=click&module=In Other News&pgtype=Homepage&action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
Short Term Management Mania
Donald Trump’s sudden interest in quarterly earnings reports, explained ---
There are many good things about frequent financial reporting, not the least of which is that frequent might make insider trading a bit less advantageous (certainly not perfectly). But frequent reporting also leads to questionable short-term management decisions. Exhibit A is the apparent attempt by Tesla to make it appear in its latest quarterly financial report that it was having less cash flow problems. Tesla resorted to the gimmick of delaying cash payments to suppliers. Delaying payments of bills does not make obligations go away, and more often than not such delays make cash flow problems worse for the long run. Please don't take this as meaning that I want to do away with quarterly reporting. I simply point out that there are good things and bad things to consider. Short term mania is an enormous problem in the world of business management. Much of it is caused by pegging managerial compensation to short term financial performance. This leads to decisions that can harm the long-term profitability of a company. The classical example is when a company defers maintenance expenses in such a way that these delays cause more expensive long-term solutions.Think of the expense of keeping a bridge safe versus expense of rebuilding a collapsed bridge
Kevin Spacey ---
Kevin Spacey’s latest film, “Billionaire Boys Club,” earned $126.00 at the box office on its opening day in eight theatres this past weekend ---
FLASHBACK: Obama Was Fined $375,000 for
Campaign Reporting Violations And Was Not Impeached ---
Trump's Secret Weapon is America's
America's shamelessness was evident before Trump, including how the populace shrugged at the extramarital affairs of Ted and Bobby Kennedy while they were in office
FLASHBACK: Just as the Senate is about to begin President Clinton's impeachment trial in earnest, Mr. Clinton sent $850,000 to Paula Corbin Jones today to settle the sexual misconduct lawsuit that started it all ---
A bronze statue of the satanic goat monster
Baphomet was unveiled Thursday at the Arkansas Capitol building in front of a
cheering crowd of free-speech activists and a smaller crowd of unhappy people
holding handwritten Bible verses ---
The EU wants to use the threat of fines
to force the tech giants to eliminate terrorist content from their platforms ---
The U.K. Is About To Regulate Online Porn, and
Free Speech Advocates Are Terrified ---
The Atlantic: ISIS Is Ready For a Resurgence---
This is the year that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles
began to really show some momentum ---
These fuel cells are becoming competitive in trucks such as UPS trucks in Austin.
Progressives are giving thousands of dollars to confessed felon Michael Cohen
Avital Ronell ---
Many women, led by the President Elect of the MLA, rushed to sign a letter in defense of the female professor at NYU accused of sexually harassing a male student. Now there are calls for the President of the MLA to resign ---
Chronicle of Higher Education: Judith Butler Must Step Down as President-Elect of the MLA ---
The erotic aspects obscure the fundamental issue --- power ---
Avital Ronell and the End of the Academic Star
India's Biggest Successes Versus the Biggest
Failures in Tax Reform ---
Clapper Now Agrees Brennan's Rhetoric Is a Bit
When Democrats Demanded that John Brennan
According to Gallup, Democrats now view
socialism in a more positive light than capitalism
Traditional definitions divided on the raising/ownership of capital for industry of these extremes are clouded in the younger generation. Exhibit A is the casual way young people equate socialism with egalitarianism in the Nordic countries like Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Nordic countries are really capitalist with some exceptions for a few industries such as health care, the oil industry in Norway, and Danish agricultural co-ops. There are no examples of successful socialist nations of over a million people. Even Castro finally admitted that the Cuban model doesn't work. Nations like Cuba and Viet Nam move ever and ever closer to capitalism with rising private sectors of their economies. And there are no examples of totally capitalist nations in the world. Singapore is a leading example of what is probably the most capitalist in terms of private sector investment ---
Bernie Sanders' Supporters Clinched A Big Win
At DNC's Summer Meeting: Reining In Superdelegates ---
This was the egalitarian dream of Cuba in the 1960s: For years in Cuba, jobs as varied as farm workers and doctors only had a difference in their wages of the equivalent of a few US dollars a month.
But is Denmark socialist? …Denmark doesn’t at
all fit the classic definition of socialism, which involves government ownership
of the means of production. It is, instead, social-democratic: a market economy
where the downsides of capitalism are mitigated by government action, including
a very strong social safety net. …The simple fact is that there is far more
misery in America than there needs to be. Every other advanced country has
universal health care and a much stronger social safety net than we do.
What Krugman does not mention is that Denmark is mostly a homogeneous (white) nation of less than 6 million people. It's much more difficult and expensive to afford and maintain a similar safety net with over 300 million highly diverse people located on top of a very porous border with thousands trying to sneak in daily to enjoy the safety nets.
I wonder how Mr. Hogg will evaluate his oldest professors when
he's in college?
Is the traditional wing of the Democratic Party (think Obama, Clinton, Biden, Pelosi) having almost as much trouble with young people as the GOP?
Older Democrats just won’t move the f**** off the plate and let us take control. Nancy Pelosi is old.
David Hogg, Outspoken Parkland High School Student Survivor (who wants to be the future socialist President of the USA)
The young are notably impatient in the 21st Century!
The rewriting of the South African Constitution to seize farmland without compensation and the killing of some white farmers at the moment is really poor timing at the moment with South Africa, especially it's largest city, is on the verge of running out of water. The USA and many European nations may become less sympathetic with helping to ease the water crisis in South Africa while it turns into another Zimbabwe.
Bob Jensen (South Africa denies reports of widespread killings of white farmers, although land is being confiscated without compensation)
Russia Offers Sanctuary for 15000 Christian
White South African Farmers ---
Australia Government Collapse: 13 Ministers
Resign, PM Turnbull Outed ---
False Alarm: The Democratic National
Committee Was Not Hacked Once Again ---
California's Proposition 13 ---
Keeping the Hollywood Movie Stars Happy
California homeowners get to pass low property taxes to their kids. It's proved highly profitable to an elite group ---
California will become the first state
to eliminate bail for suspects awaiting trial under legislation signed into law
Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown ---
Those felonious defendants deemed high risk to the community will not be released.
Those felonious defendants deemed low risk to the community and high risk of never showing up in court will be released.
For many felons this is a Get Out of Jail Free card since the California police do not have the resources to round up all the defendants who don't show up in court.
All misdemeanor defendants will be released --- wave goodbye to them.
"Live Free or Die" --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Free_or_Die
So many naive visitors to New Hampshire look at are license plates and think that the legislature that conjured up this phrase were anti-communist fanatics. Actually the phrase has a deeper and somewhat more convoluted history.There various claims to the motto on New Hampshire's license plates. I watched an episode on Windows to the Wild (PBS) on Walden Pond that claimed "Live Free or Die" has roots in the common land properties where several escaped or freed slaves lived on or near Walden Pond. These slaves were from both New England and the deep south. At one point the courts tried to kick them off the land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson but somehow they managed to live on there for years without ownership deeds.
One of those slaves inspired Henry David Thoreau --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walden_Pond
The writer, transcendentalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived on the northern shore of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. Thoreau was inspired by former enslaved woman Zilpah White, who lived in a one-room house on the common land that bordered Walden Road and made a living spinning flax into linen fibers. Zilpah's ability to provide for herself at a time when few if any other Concord women lived alone was a great accomplishment. His account of the experience was recorded in Walden; or, Life in the Woods, and made the pond famous. The land at that end was owned by Thoreau's friend and mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who let Thoreau use it for his experiment. Thoreau is credited with encouraging a respect for nature at an environmentally degraded site. The Concord Museum contains the bed, chair, and desk from Thoreau's cabin.
Conservatism --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism
Chronicle of Higher Education: What Was Conservatism?
. . .
And so conservatism has been routed by Trumpism, a movement driven by all the resentments that the right has dredged up over the decades with none of the ideas that once animated it. As Nash put it, there is a "return of the repressed" at work in the rise of the alt-right, with all the ugliness that Buckley once purged now on full display at rallies and on the internet. Perhaps there is an intellectual core buried within the alt-right; if so, that world awaits its Nash.
It took scholars decades to fully embrace the insight at the core of Nash’s classic work: that over the course of the 20th century, the intellectual and ideological energy that had driven the left to great heights and even greater depths had shifted, and it was conservatives who came to command the high country of the mind. Unless conservatism experiences a renaissance that restores its original spirit of intellectual vitality, the same will not be true of the 21st century.
In higher education around the globe conservatism was routed from campuses and the media decades before Trump rose to power. It was uprooted heavily by barriers to entry in doctoral programs and faculty hiring in the latter part of the 20th Century.
The Closing of the American Mind: What Allan Bloom Got Right ---
Scroll down to the Gitlin article
Big Data Trends You Can Study ---
Bob Jensen's threads on health coverage are at
How to mislead with statistics
It's cheaper to enroll people in Medicaid than to subsidize their private insurance ---
Scroll down at http://ritholtz.com/2018/08/10-sunday-reads-126/
This graph is misleading because it only looks at the short-term annual expense. Subsidizing private insurance only covers short-term medical expense annually and does not cover long-term nursing care. The two-ton guerilla is the excluded Medicaid coverage of long-term nursing care that even Medicare won't cover. This also is misleading in that private insurance might cover treatments by doctors and hospitals that will not treat Medicaid patients.
NYT Editorial: Fixing Medicare
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/