Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the October 17, 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 ---

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 --- 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 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 ---

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?

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



13 of the (alleged) most famous last words in history ---


Here are the Ten Best Pieces of Advice from 2018 Commencement Speakers ---
Click Here


The Best Advice from 2018's Celebrity Commencement Speakers ---


Countries With the Highest Household Wealth on Average ---


Tech billionaires Marc Benioff and Jack Dorsey are clashing over a key law that could seriously impact the San Francisco homelessness crisis ---
Jensen Comment
This is not popular among what I think is a majority of wealthy taxpayers. Exhibit A is what happened when Seattle tried the same thing. Jeff Bezos and others made sufficient threats to make Seattle's socialist mayor back down on a soak-the-rich tax. Even worse is when the wealthy won't move their businesses into soak-the-rich cities, and startups choose to start up someplace else.

And if you're landlocked like San Francisco (think the SF Bay) with the highest priced real estate in the USA perhaps you should think about rewarding the homeless to leave rather than move to San Francisco. The same tactic is being used on undocumented immigrants in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany where immigrants are paid to leave.


California Evidence:  What Happens When States Decide to Really, Really Soak the Rich With Taxes ---
Jensen Comment
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 Speeches


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.
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 ---

Thomas Sowell (controversial conservative black economist) --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell
The 30 Best Thomas Sowell Quotes ---

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

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 gave up earlier.


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

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditations
There's a good reason why Meditations is one of Mattis' favorites. In the world of politics and back-stabbing that is Washington, D.C., the stoic ideals shine through as philosophical armor against the daily bulls-t. Like, for example, this: "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."
General Mattis says every American should read this one book -


NYT:  Two Cheers for Feminism!

Hillary Clinton: My husband's relationship with Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power ---

Monica Lewinsky disagrees with Hillary that Bill Clinton's affair wasn't an 'abuse of power'---

America's Safe Harbor for Drug Dealers:  San Francisco

Trump said soybean prices have gone up. They're near decade-lows ---

Report: New York sitting on a debt bomb ---

Economics Everywhere, Politics Nowhere: The Benefits of Swiss Decentralization ---
Click Here

The Atlantic: A Populist Has Exposed a Sinkhole in Canada’s Democracy ---

How Puerto Rico Became The Newest (Legal) Tax Haven For The Super Rich ---

Denver Law School Pays Up Big-Time Over Gender Pay Disparity ---

Oh! Oh! Homicide Rates Remain Below What They Were 25 Years Ago ---

Coloring Book Facts
How Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and Sean Hannity opened their shows for a week perfectly illustrates how Americans see the news differently ---

50 Cities Americans Have Been Abandoning in the Last Decade (or more) ---

Last year, more than 4,000 people were shot in Chicago, and shootings have become so normalized that they rarely make the front page of the local papers, let alone the national news ---

She Was a Teenage Victim of Domestic Violence and Rape. She Sought Help. This Week, Iran Executed Her ---
Click Here

Killer whales could be wiped out by banned pollutants within decades, major new study finds ---

Even CNN founder Ted Turner recently claimed CNN has become too partisan
Larry King Criticizes CNN: They're 'Sorta Liberal' And No One Does News Anymore ---
Jensen Comment
It seems that CNN and MSNBC (think Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid) have made it their mission to lead the way in destroying President Trump, a mission that now overshadows being a "news" channel.

The Left-Wing Case Against Tenure ---
Jensen Comment
I find this article ironic since the historic defense of tenure is to protect teachers from being terminated for political beliefs (think communism, labor union activism, etc.).

If US wages are stagnant, why are Americans’ incomes rising?---

Sweden to Finland:  A Mega Bank Just Joined the Euro Zone; It's Too Big to Fail ---
Jensen Comment
How can a move from Sweden to Finland or England to Holland mean so much more than a move from Connecticut to Massachusetts? Let me count the ways!

NPR:  There is 25 to 30 times more fake information from automated accounts on the extreme left and the extreme right . . .  ---

C. Christine Fair --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Christine_Fair
Political Correctness:  One current Georgetown student said others who see the professor's tweet might feel "threatened" if they hold different opinions.

Bob Jensen's threads on political correctness ---
It's especially informative to read the three student evaluations at RateMyProfessors.com ---
Yeah, I know that this is a self-selecting very small number of her students. However, none of her other students wrote in to counter the negativism. The numerical ratings on RMP should not be statistically analyzed. However, the subjective evaluations can be informative, especially in her case. I found this especially interesting since she teaches women's studies. Usually students choose such courses because they have prior positive feelings about women's studies.
It would seem that Professor Fair is intolerant of varied opinions in her courses.

Walter E. Williams:  Many (most?)  of the complaints about black student behavior are coming from black teachers ---

Joseph Kennedy became involved in some of the most destructive speculation of the time, joining other bankers in a ring artificially boosting stocks by buying from each other and then selling out once enough 'suckers' had bought in ---
Jensen Comment
The Joseph Kennedy biography is an illustration of the many whitewashed biographies in Wikipedia ---

Guilty Until Proven Innocent:  Making a Political Farce Out of a Well-Intended Law
Harvard Students Filed Multiple Title IX Complaints Against Brett Kavanaugh To Get Him Fired ---

Former President Barack Obama admitted that if his high school activities were online somewhere, he probably wouldn’t have been president ---

Dianne Feinstein’s handling of Brett Kavanaugh accusation angers Sen. John Kennedy ---

Over the past few years, a North Korean hacking group called APT38 has attempted to steal more than $1 billion from banks around the world and gotten away with hundreds of millions ---

Newsweek:  Americans Spread More Fake News in 2016 Than Russians ---

Sen. Elizabeth Warren told the Internal Revenue Service that she had donated $50,000 in used clothing and "household items" to local thrift stores in 2014 ---

Top Senate Republican berates media for 'bias' covering Kavanaugh scandal ---

Austrians vs. Market Monetarists on the Housing Bubble ---

Dr. Peter Klein on Silicon Valley Socialism ---

Shaun Bailey, the Conservatives' London Mayoral candidate wrote that young single girls in inner cities deliberately become pregnant in order to secure homes and benefits ---

NYT: Kavanaugh Has No Right to Presumption of Innocence, ‘Politics’ Should Decide His Guilt Instead ---
In fairness politics will not send him to prison. Politics can only decide whether he will ever be employed again and force him to wear a scarlet letter around his neck the remainder of his life. There is no forgiveness when placing lifetime scarlet letters around people who never have their moment in court to adjudicate guilt or innocence.
Nathanial Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (free online) ---

Female blogger is ordered to pay US Army colonel she accused of rape $8.4million in damages after he claimed the false allegations cost him a sparkling military career ---
Jensen Comment
He may have won in court but he will forever wear a scarlet letter just because of the allegations that a court victory cannot erase.

Philosophy:  How should we judge people for their past moral failings?
Jensen Comment
Sadly, forgiveness is bipartisan. Exhibit A is the repeated adulteries of the Kennedy brothers. Exhibit B are the adulteries of Donald Trump, although I don't think GOP forgiveness of Trump's adulteries run as deep as the America's forgiveness of our forever-hero JFK. Judge Kavanaugh, now wearing a lifetime and beyond scarlet letter, will probably never be forgiven by a majority of Americans even though allegations of high school behavior against him, even if true, are far less egregious than the allegations against Ted Kennedy. It's not so much whether we "forgive" in general as whether we forgive in the law. Pedophiles are the least forgiven felons with names written into warning registries mainly because in general pedophiles are the most likely felons to repeat their crimes.

The Case Against Government-Provided Paid Parental Leave ---

Key FBI Witness Now Says Former Rep. Steve Stockman is Innocent ---

Decrying "Asian Inequality" In The U.S., The Pew Research Center Unearths Non-Sequiturs ---

Censorship in Germany
A Muslim migrant in Germany beheaded his one-year-old baby daughter and stabbed his wife at a train station in Hamburg. Merkel’s government has banned reporting of this gruesome act ---


Google tried to hide the Google+ breach from the glare of lawmakers, but it failed and it’s now being investigated and facing lawsuits ---

In their criticisms of the Electoral College, Ocasio-Cortez and Clinton fail to grapple with the reason we have such a system in the first place ---

Externality --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality
Arthur Cecil Pigou --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Cecil_Pigou
Scharff: The Challenge Of Pricing Externalities Under State Law ---


Wharton:  Not Too Big To Fail: Why Lehman Had to Go Bankrupt ---

Think Your State Is Fiscally Sound? Think Again It’s time to find out how deep in the red our country is ---

Study: Americans Really, Really Hate Political Correctness ---

Russians paying big money to have their babies born in US ---

More Illegal Aliens Giving Birth to Anchor Babies in Los Angeles than Total U.S. Births in 14 States ---

San Francisco school board president drops Pledge of Allegiance ---
Jensen Comment
At the same time the San Francisco Police stopped enforcing drug laws --- SF is now the place to both buy and use
You can stock up during your next meetings in San Francisco

Susan Rice --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Rice
Susan Rice's Son is Head of Stanford College Republicans and Was Assaulted ---

The Atlantic:  Elite-College Admissions Are Broken ---

The Atlantic:  The Supreme Court Has Always Been Politicized ---

How three countries are creating the roadmap to a cashless society ---

Exxon Mobil’s support for this carbon tax, in other words, does not signal any generous altruism on its part ---

Study: 80% of Americans Believe Political Correctness Is a Problem ---

Antifa Traffic Blocking and Flag Burning in Portland Condoned by Mayor --- Sue him if your house burns down or you're injured in an auto accident
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler came under fire over a viral video showing Antifa protesters blocking traffic and harassing drivers, but he says he supports the decision by police to watch from a distance without getting involved. -
I wonder if Wheeler would say the same if his ambulance was blocked or fire trucks were prevented from going to his house
This craziness is what creates voters for Trump
Double Standard:  The police (maybe the National Guard) would be out in full force arresting traffic stoppages for Trump supporters
Note that I'm not one of the Trump supporters, but I do hate double standards ---

Trump’s 60 Minutes interview once again reveals gross ignorance and wild dishonesty ---
Jensen Comment
The review is correct on some things but obviously biased. Of course the border toughness costs lives, but the USA cannot afford to save more lives by ruining its economy opening the borders to hundreds of millions who would like to enter. Even Obama was fairly tough on deportations --- something the left likes to ignore.

An early CNN 2020 poll shows democrats are wary of taking on Trump with extremists like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamela Harris that are only favored by very young voters but not mainstream voters ---


MIT-Yale Study of Govt. Data Finds 22.1 Million undocumented Immigrants in U.S. (double the government's estimates) ---

We apply standard demographic principles of inflows and outflows to estimate the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, using the best available data, including some that have only recently become available. Our analysis covers the years 1990 to 2016. We develop an estimate of the number of undocumented immigrants based on parameter values that tend to underestimate undocumented immigrant inflows and overstate outflows; we also show the probability distribution for the number of undocumented immigrants based on simulating our model over parameter value ranges. Our conservative estimate is 16.7 million for 2016, nearly fifty percent higher than the most prominent current estimate of 11.3 million, which is based on survey data and thus different sources and methods. The mean estimate based on our simulation analysis is 22.1 million, essentially double the current widely accepted estimate. Our model predicts a similar trajectory of growth in the number of undocumented immigrants over the years of our analysis, but at a higher level. While our analysis delivers different results, we note that it is based on many assumptions. The most critical of these concern border apprehension rates and voluntary emigration rates of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. These rates are uncertain, especially in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, which is when—both based on our modeling and the very different survey data approach—the number of undocumented immigrants increases most significantly. Our results, while based on a number of assumptions and uncertainties, could help frame debates about policies whose consequences depend on the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Citation: Fazel-Zarandi MM, Feinstein JS, Kaplan EH (2018) The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States: Estimates based on demographic modeling with data from 1990 to 2016. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0201193. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201193

Good and Bad:  The United Nations General Assembly in 2018 ---

The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say ---

2018 Nobel Prize in Economics:  Integrating innovation and climate with economic growth ---

Good and Bad:  The United Nations General Assembly in 2018 ---

The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say ---

2018 Nobel Prize in Economics:  Integrating innovation and climate with economic growth ---

William D. Nordhaus, the father of climate-change economics, says good policies must lie somewhere between wrecking the economy and wrecking the world ---

A supervolcano that could destroy humanity is ready to erupt — and NASA is trying to figure out how to contain it ---

I watched the video of the ejection of a NFL player for punching a player on the ground. It was easy to see that it was punch. What I found difficult when watching the video is assessing the intensity of the punch ---

How to Mislead With Statistics
Approval ratings of USA's most recent presidents when compared to President Trump's approval ratings ---
The green line in each graph depicts President Trump's favorable approval rating
Note that you can see the numbers by passing your mouse pointer over the graph lines
Also note that these comparisons only cover the first 625 days of the presidencies and not the entire 4-8 year terms. Yeah I know President Nixon's second term was cut short way early by his resignation.

Jensen Comment
Probably the most surprising was the high (albeit declining) approval ratings of President George W. Bush versus the relatively low approval ratings of Presidents Obama, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford., and Truman.  Of course "W" benefited from the quick and decisive success of the Gulf War.

In some cases approval ratings were greatly impacted beyond the 625-day cutoff in the above article, e.g., the late-term impacts sex scandal in Clinton's Oval Office and the second term impacts of the Watergate Scandal that hammered President Nixon. The approval ratings of LBJ later declined as he got us more bogged down in the Viet Nam War.

The sex scandals of  Trump, JFK, and LBJ did not seem to affect approval ratings greatly, although LBJ's affairs were not as widely publicized as those of JFK and Trump.

So what's misleading about these 625-day graphical comparisons?
Probably the most misleading is that these graphs do not show the intensity of the like versus dislike. For example, the intensity of the "hate"  for President Trump is much greater than the intensity of the dislike for President Ford even though their approval rating graphs are not all that different in the above article. I think the intensity of the "love" for Presidents Kennedy, Obama, and Reagan were much greater among those that approved of them relative to the approvals of Presidents Trump, George W. Bush, Nixon, and LBJ. And I suspect that the hate for President Clinton, even before Monica, was much greater than the hate all the other presidents that followed until President Trump came on the scene.

My point is that the degree if polarization in the political climate is not reflected in the approval rating line graphs. I don't know that we have any indicators of the intensity of love versus hate for USA presidents. But there are most certainly feelings in the air.

I anticipate that the level of polarization will only increase as the debate between capitalism versus socialism intensifies along with the debates over nationalized health care, free college education, military spending, taxes, and climate change spending/regulations.

What greatly impacted the polarization is the decline in media's code of politeness. The media mostly ignored the sex life of President Eisenhower until after he died. The tabloids revealed JFK's "passion" for Hollywood sex goddesses while he was in office. The polite media like the NYT became obsessed with the  affairs of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump before that entered the White House.

After the Kavanaugh hearings we will now be probing the middle-school questionable behavior of future political candidates. Only saints since before puberty will be allowed to be President of the USA.

Philosophy:  How should we judge people for their past moral failings?

Time Magazine:  Approval Ratings for Donald Trump are Higher Than You Think ---
Click Here

How to Mislead With Statistics
Bogus Straw Stats Popped Up in October 7, 2018 Shark Tank ---

How to Mislead With Statistics
PBS Nova:  How did the polls get it so wrong?


Forbes:  The Science Of Error: How Polling Botched The 2016 Election ---

Scientific American:  Where Are the Real Errors in Political Polls?

Examples of misleading statistics and polls ---

NYT:  Affirmative Action Is an Example of How Polls Can Mislead

Misleading Charts ---

The Top 10 Ways to Get Misleading Poll Results (many times these are intentional mistakes for political purposes) ---

Fake Polls are the Real Problem ---

Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate Wants to Tax the Ivory Tower ---

Democrat proposes to raise public-transportation dollars with new assessment on private colleges with big endowments

Massachusetts is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the world—and some of the worst traffic jams.

A Democratic gubernatorial candidate is betting residents of the Bay State will be willing to tax the former to alleviate the latter.

Jay Gonzalez is building his long-shot campaign around a levy on the endowments of nine private schools that would create revenue to invest in public transportation and relieve Boston-area congestion, among other things. Boston drivers spend 14% of their time driving in congestion, the worst of any U.S. city, according to the INRIX, a transportation analytics company.

The 1.6% annual tax, which would be levied only on private, nonprofit schools with endowments that exceed $1 billion, would generate nearly $1 billion, including $563 million from Harvard University and $210 million from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I think it’s fair to ask the wealthiest among us—including major institutions that have accumulated enormous wealth in part thanks to their exemption from taxation—to contribute to our greater community,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

 Continued in article

Jensen Comment
If this idea catches on in other states it sets me to wondering if this tax could somehow be challenged in the conservative leaning USA Supreme Court. Wouldn't it be ironic if Kavanaugh could be given him a case to benefit Harvard after Harvard recently fired him because he was deemed guilty (by Harvard) of high school sexual misconduct even before the FBI report on that misconduct.

Think Your State Is Fiscally Sound? Think Again It’s time to find out how deep in the red our country is ---

Video:  Oregon's $22 billion pension hole: How did we get here?
The answer in so many states:  Fiscal mismanagement and an unwillingness to bite the bullet politically
Then there are some states were pensions were unpunished criminal frauds (think Illinois and California)

Bob Jensen's threads on the pending entitlements (think Medicare and Medicaid) disaster ---

Proposition 13 --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_13_(1978)


Exclusionary Taxation

Harvard Civil Rights- Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Forthcoming

62 Pages

Shayak Sarkar

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Josh Rosenthal

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 5, 2018


Property tax assessments appear to be technocratic calculations. But they may be calculated to discriminate, even unintentionally. California’s constitutional limitations on property taxes, as first enacted by Proposition 13 in 1978, remain the poster child for the so-called “property tax revolt” of the late twentieth century. Such laws privilege preexisting homeowners by capping assessments at historic levels far below contemporary value. As property prices rise, beneficiary homeowners may even bequeath this taxpayer windfall to their descendants and immortalize these underassessments. Newer, increasingly diverse residents end up paying higher taxes because the law treats them with less regard than their more pedigreed neighbors. These tax policies are rationalized as providing “stability” to the existing residents. The aggrieved have found cold comfort in the Constitution, with the Supreme Court upholding the core of California’s system in the canonical Nordlinger v. Hahn.

In this Article, we argue that even if such exclusionary tax policies do not violate the Constitution, they likely violate another facet of federal law: the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact liability. Our contributions are threefold. First, as a procedural matter, we identify recent caselaw that offers a means for such legal challenges to enter the courthouse door. Although state and federal courts in the twentieth century erected barriers to judicial review of property tax policies, we argue that the landscape has changed.

Second, using California as a case study, we illuminate the contours of a Fair Housing Act challenge to discriminatory, acquisition-value assessments. We do so with reference to prior and ongoing tax litigation in diverse municipalities, namely Long Island and metropolitan Detroit. We thus explore the federal prohibition of what we call “exclusionary taxation.”

Third and most significantly, we train our sights on the justifications for exclusionary taxes. We map, and begin to reconcile, the tensions between, on one hand, recognized local government interests in “stability,” and, on the other, property-based inclusion of a demographically-evolving America. We argue that, while property tax assessments can be used to protect existing homeowners, they must be employed through narrowly tailored methods, such as circuit breakers or deferred payment, rather than overly broad acquisition-value assessment systems. While the latter might pass constitutional muster, they fail to comply with the Fair Housing Act’s vision of property-based pluralism.

Keywords: fair housing, property tax, property tax assessment, disparate impact, Proposition 13

Jensen Comment
I can imagine some of the things that elimination of Proposition 13 might do --- such as coming close to destroying Stanford University by making it almost impossible to for Stanford would have to pay for keeping many of its long-time  faculty members. Also the subsidies Stanford now gives for faculty housing would be taxed by the Federal government at much higher amounts as compensation.

Elimination of Proposition 13 would certainly add chaos to the real estate market and cause many long-time residents of California to flee to other states because they could no longer afford their property taxes.

In Bexar County (think San Antonio) property valuations are locked in for people over 65 years of age, but only for the school district portion of the tax as an incentive for retired folks to not move outside the county.  For other portions of the property tax valuations are adjusted almost in real time (based on nearby sales) in Bexar County.

Why Unions in LA want to be Exempt from the $15 Minimum Wage ---

The Gig Economy: Lower Wages, More Injuries, Horrible Benefits ---

The Underground Economy
Only 5% Of Households Are Complying With Nanny Tax Rules ---

A number of prominent Americans have been caught neglecting to pay taxes on their child-care help. They’re not alone.

New research provides evidence of the massive underpayment of “Nanny Taxes” owed by employers and workers on the wages paid to household help such as child- and elder-care providers, maids and drivers.

According to economist Brian Erard, only 5% of 3.6 million American households that should be filing forms and paying federal taxes related to household help are doing so.

This issue famously surfaced in 1993, when Zoe Baird’s nomination by President Bill Clinton to be the first woman U.S. attorney general was derailed by Nanny Tax issues.

More recently, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said he realized when being vetted for the job that he failed to pay $15,000 in federal taxes and fees for babysitting. He said he was paying what he owed, and was confirmed last year.

Nanny Tax non-compliance is far more common than news stories show. Mr. Erard puts the total federal “tax gap” for domestic workers—i.e. the amount owed but not paid—at between $3.3 billion and $5.7 billion for 2015. Overall, he says, Americans pay less than one-third of Nanny Taxes owed, compared with about 82% of all federal taxes owed, according to IRS estimates.

Compliance may also be falling. In 1995, after the IRS simplified tax filings for employers of domestic help, the number of forms filed was nearly 300,000. In 2016, the latest data available, it was about 181,000.

Continued in article

The $15 Minimum Wage Is Turning Hard Workers and Their Employers to the Underground Economy (where there are no taxes and no benefits like health insurance) ---

An in-depth look at New York's car wash industry, and the real world consequences of politicians interfering with a complex industry they don’t understand.

On March 4, 2015, a group of union leaders, activists, and elected officials were arrested for blocking traffic during a protest in front of a Vegas Auto Spa, a small car wash in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Chanting "No contract, no peace!" and "Si se puede!," they had come in support of striking workers, who had walked out demanding a union contract after allegedly being subjected to dismal working conditions.


For David Mertz, the New York City director and a vice president at the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), it was an inspirational moment in an ambitious six-year campaign to unionize the city's car washes industry.

"These workers were willing to stand out there during one of the coldest winters...literally in decades to fight for their rights and for basic human dignity," says Mertz, who was also arrested that day. "You have the ability to make change by coming together, and when you do that sometimes you find that you've got some friends on your side."

In the past six years, the car wash industry, which employs low-skilled, mostly immigrant workers, has also been the target of lawsuits for alleged underpayment of wages, including a handful of cases spearheaded by the New York State Attorney General's office. Working conditions in the industry were also cited as a raison d'être in the successful campaign to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour, which takes full effect at New York City car washes in January of 2019.


As Reason chronicled in a feature story in our July 2016 issue, the real world impact of the unionization drive, the lawsuits, and the $15 minimum wage has been mainly to push car washes to automate and to close down.

Two years later, there are more unintended consequences. The $15 minimum wage is fostering a growing black market—workers increasingly have no choice but to ply their trade out of illegal vans parked on the street, because the minimum wage has made it illegal for anyone to hire them at the market rate.

The minimum wage is also cartelizing the industry: Businesses that have chosen to automate are benefiting from the $15 wage floor because outlawing cheap labor makes it harder for new competitors to undercut them on price and service.

As a sequel to the 2016 article, this video takes an in-depth look at the real world consequences that result when politicians interfere with a complex industry they don't understand, enabled by media coverage that rarely questions the overly simplistic tale of exploited workers in need of protection.

A Failed Unionization Drive

"The car wash campaign serves as a model for what might be possible," RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum shouted from the podium during a December 2014 speech at the UNI Global Union in Cape Town, South Africa.

Continued in article

Real-World Examples Of How The Minimum Wage Destroys Jobs And Hurts Workers ---

Supreme Court of the United States --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States

How to mislead with statistics
Physics and Math Predict Supreme Court Votes
Opinions of the Supreme Court

Jensen Comment
I'm not taking issue with the records of the supreme court or models used to predict judicial decision outcomes. What I do take issue with is how incomplete these records are in judging the partisanship power of the Court or individual members of the court based upon voting records. The power of the Supreme Court is vast due to it's power to intimidate.

It's a lot like the trouble analysts have in trying to place fraud prevention values on IRS tax audits or financial statement audits. We can examine the records of actual audits in detecting fraud until the cows come home, but we can never analyze frauds that never happened because of fear of being detected in audits. The same thing happens when trying to judge the Supreme Court and its members on the basis of their voting records. What we cannot analyze is the the vast set of all cases or possible cases that never came to the court out of fear of what the Court would decide.

I would contend that the more the Supreme Court is viewed as partisan the larger the set of cases or potential cases that never will reach the court. For example, after his decision on Obamacare and some other cases the current Justice John Roberts is not viewed as horrifically conservative as many progressives once feared. Justice Elena Kagan is not viewed as liberal as many conservatives once feared. But these opinions are based upon a relatively few number of cases that reached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court can be far more biased in selection of cases than in deciding cases.

Furthermore, fear of a politicized court may prevent business firms, colleges, states, etc. from even filing lawsuits initially out of fear of what might happen on what is viewed as a "politicized" supreme court. For example, California's new law favoring net neutrality is being challenged by the Federal government. If California loses in a lower court decision will California be afraid to carry the fight up to the current (post-Kavanaugh) Supreme Court? Personally I think California might be foolish to appeal to the present USA Supreme Court. California should fear that the Supreme Court's decision might forever make it more difficult to fight for net neutrality --- net neutrality is something I want badly. It may be better to wait until liberals have more power to reinstate net neutrality in Congress and the White House.

My point here is that voting records per se are potentially misleading in judging our Supreme Court or its individual members.

There is some evidence of Supreme Court bias on other grounds, particularly the Harvard/Yale bias ---
I don't dispute this argument, although it is somewhat ironic that both Justices Thomas and Sotomayor graduated from the Yale law school. I suspect that these days the Yale Law School would like to disbar Justice Thomas even if he is African American.

The Political Divide in the News Media:  When the media slants the news

Time Magazine:  Trump's NAFTA Replacement Largely Maintains the Status Quo on Free Trade ---
Click Here

Wall Street Journal:  North American Trade Pact Soothes Investors, Businesses:  It won new concessions for U.S. farmers and created new rules for digital commerce across the continent. ---

New York Times:  Changes for automakers, dairy farmers, labor unions and large corporations headline the renegotiated U.S.M.C.A., which is poised to replace Nafta.---

Fox News:  Trump has just revolutionized global trade by replacing NAFTA with USMCA ---

Jensen Comment
The USMCA is a perfect test of how the media slants the news.

Years ago Time Magazine became an advocacy outlet for the Democratic Party.  When it reports news as opposed to opinion pieces it still slants the news reporting to the left.

From get go Fox News was an advocacy outlet for the GOP. When it reports news as opposed to opinion pieces it still slants the new reporting to the right.

The WSJ and NYT each are two papers folded into one. Opinion pieces are slanted to the right in the WSJ and left in the NYT.
But the difference with the WSJ and NYT and other media outlets is that they make a concerted effort to be less bipartisan in news reporting.
However, behind the scenes both newspapers cherry pick with some political bias in what they report as news.


GALLUP:  These are the most and least biased news outlets in the US, according to Americans ---
Outcomes vary somewhat for Republicans Versus Democrats

+31 PBS News (least biased in spite of what I think is an obviously biased Judy Woodruff who is offset somewhat by frequent conservative guest David Brooks from the New York Times)

+23 Associated Press (right or left angles depend heavily upon individual reporters)

+12 NPR (public funding means having to include a few conservative segments)

+10 The Wall Street Journal (once accused of being two newspapers --- the opinion page versus the rest of the newspaper)

+05 Tie between USA Today and CBS News

+04 ABC News

-07 Tie between The Washington Post and NBC News

-11 The New York Times (where David Brooks is overwhelmed)

-11 Vox

-22 Mother Jones

-27 CNN

-32 HuffPost


-51 Tie between Brietbart and Fox News

Jensen Comment
The leading newspapers (based on circulation subscriptions) without TV programs are more apt to be respected the most by college graduates, especially those with advanced degrees. These leading newspapers are propped up heavily by billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Rupert Murdock, and Carlos Slim. We should be grateful that these billionaires enable those newspapers to pay the salaries of so many reporters around the world in an era where revenues from advertising are falling off.

Of course all news outlets rely heavily on the Associated Press reporters. The news outlets cherry pick what AP stories they publish or broadcast.

Newspapers of large USA cities are apt to be more biased than the newspapers included in the above Gallup survey, newspapers like the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, etc. However, Newspapers like the Chicago Tribune are great for muckraking fraud investigations (think of the wonderful city hall crime investigations records  of the Chicago Tribune and Detroit Free Press in this regard).

When Governments Commit Fraud It's Usually Big Time With Lots of Zeros
This outpost of SKAT, as the I.R.S. in Denmark is known, seems an improbable setting for what the authorities call one of the great financial crimes in the country’s history. For three years, starting in 2012, so much money gushed from an office here that it was as though the state had sprung a gigantic leak.

As large as it is, the building would be easy to miss. Plain, gray and near a McDonald’s, it’s part of a generic office complex surrounded by a vast parking lot in a suburb of Copenhagen. “Danish Tax Agency” is stenciled in both English and Danish on a glass front door.

This outpost of SKAT, as the I.R.S. in Denmark is known, seems an improbable setting for what the authorities call one of the great financial crimes in the country’s history. For three years, starting in 2012, so much money gushed from an office here that it was as though the state had sprung a gigantic leak.

Prosecutors in Copenhagen say it was an elaborate ruse, one that ultimately cost taxpayers more than $2 billion — a spectacular sum for Denmark, the equivalent of a $110 billion loss in the far larger American economy.

The country had fallen victim to a dubious financial maneuver at the intersection of the tax system and capital markets, a dizzyingly complex transaction known as a “cum-ex” trade.

The trade is focused on one of the dullest, most overlooked acts in any financial system — the request for refunds on taxes withheld on dividends. Under Danish law, the government automatically collects taxes on dividends paid out by companies to their shareholders. If the shareholders live in the United States, they are eligible for a refund on some or all of those taxes.

A tiny department in SKAT, run by one man, approved thousands of applications for refunds. Most of the applications were filed by self-directed pension plans in the United States, a type of retirement account for individuals.

But experts and lawyers familiar with the scheme say those people were fronts for cum-ex trades. Deploying a kind of financial sleight of hand, the trades made it appear as if the pension plans had purchased shares of Danish companies and paid taxes on the dividends. Neither was true.

To the Danes, it was a fraud, one executed and conceived by Sanjay Shah, a 48-year-old, London-born financier. With an assist from employees, he found the Americans, helped facilitate the applications and ended up with much of the money.

Mr. Shah denies any wrongdoing and through a publicist says he merely took advantage of a loophole. He now lives in Dubai, where he owns a $1.3 million yacht and a 10,000-square-foot villa with access to the beach. He has become Denmark’s national villain.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Newsweek:  Antifa Compares ICE With Gestapo, Calls for 'Slaying' Agents With 'Revolutionary Fire and Justice' ---

One Way to Get Out of Teaching and Into Research Travel:  Appeal to Kill Republican Senators ---
Click Here

Political Correctness:  One current Georgetown student said others who see the professor's tweet might feel "threatened" if they hold different opinions.

Georgetown University Distinguished Associate Professor Christine Fair tweeted that white Republican senators in the Brett Kavanaugh hearing deserve to die. 

“Look at thus [sic] chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist's arrogated entitlement,” Fair tweeted on Thursday. Referencing a video of "Lindsey Graham's tirade," Fair, who is a victim of sexual assault, added, “all of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps." 

"[A]ny of her students that see this rant are going to feel threatened if they have opinions that differ from hers."    Tweet This

"Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes," she concluded the tweet.

“Professor Fair’s extremely offensive and violent remark goes against everything in line with Georgetown’s values,” TJ Collins, a recent Georgetown graduate told Campus Reform. “President DeGioia should immediately issue a statement condemning the tweet, and Professor Fair should not be permitted in the classroom ever again," Collins added.

[RELATED: Georgetown called out for urging donations to left-wing groups]

“As a student applying to this school, I wouldn’t have dared use that kind of language on a social media platform, especially surrounding a sensitive and controversial issue. Georgetown wouldn’t have admitted me if they had seen stuff like that,” a current Georgetown student who wished to remain anonymous, told Campus Reform

“I don’t think people that Georgetown actually employs should be held to a significantly lower standard. And clearly, any of her students that see this rant are going to feel threatened if they have opinions that differ from hers” the student continued. 

Upon being contacted by Campus Reform to comment for this article, Fair stated, “There is a war going on against women and you, and your despicable herd of so-called journalists seeking to protect male privilege and shame women for our victimization or our rage are complicit in this war.” 

Days before, Fair tweeted, "GOP doesn't care about women. We knew this. Fuck them.” 

[RELATED: Georgetown prof: ‘Kreepy Kavanaugh,’ ‘GOP doesn’t care about women...F*** them']

In addition to her colorful Twitter timeline, Fair also runs a blog called ShitMenSay. “This is where I post snarcastic missives based upon the shit men (and sometimes woman-hating women) say to me via email, voicemail and comments ‘deposited’ on my various social media like celestial droppings of stupidity,” Fair writes in the blog description.

“This blog is not about “doxxing” foes or people with whom I disagree politically or otherwise. This blog is about ACCOUNTABILITY,” she continues. She has published home addresses, phone numbers, and places of employment of people who contacted her. Fair has also bragged about emailing the spouses and employers of those who contact her. 

“Despite what some clowns have said, NO ONE finds themselves mocked and outed on #ShitMenSay without harassing me. No one. Some men have had the audacity to whine that I am outing my poor, defenseless harassers. I tell these weasels to take their (almost always) white, male privilege and kindly deposit it in the only orifice that doesn’t embarrass them when it’s open” she says in her blog description. 

Fair runs a second blog titled Tenacious Hellpussy, which she describes as “a nasty woman posting from the frontlines of fuckery.” Fair published Campus Reform’s request for comment and her response on her blog in a post titled: When “Aunt Lydia” of Campus Reform Tried to Launch Another Harassment Campaign: This is what she got.

“Dear Aunt Lydia (or perhaps, more appropriately, Rachel Mitchell? Which do you prefer? I prefer Aunt Lydia, so I”ll roll with that. Cool?)” she says at the start of her response.

“You don’t like my violent words—which in fact are not posing a threat to anyone. I am not calling for violence. I merely speaking to what my spirituality says these vile souls deserve.” Professor Fair writes.

“Surely, as a fine upstanding Christian, you condemn the goddless heathens like me to an afterlife of hell? You can micturate in your yoga pants at my WORDS, but I am angry at the VIOLENCE done to women and children in this country and the preponderant complicity of ONE political party right now” she continues.

Her full response can be viewed here.

Continued in article

Don't Mess With a Hate-Crazed Feminists
Georgetown Professor’s Profane Tweet Elicits Tepid Response From University ---
Jensen Comment
Incidents like this are not helping the blue wave in the 2018 midterm elections. Trump loves it when professors want to kill and castrate men in public outcries.

MIT Newsletter:  Wind Power Could Cause Significant Warming

The study finds that a high amount of wind power could mean more climate warming (at least regionally and in the immediate decades ahead.)

The news: The study by a pair of Harvard researchers and published in the journal Joule, found that if wind power supplied all US electricity demands, it would warm the surface of the continental US by 0.24 ˚C. That could exceed the reduction in US warming achieved by decarbonizing the nation’s electricity sector this century.

How does it do that
: Turbines generate electricity by extracting energy out of the air, slowing down wind and otherwise altering “the exchange of heat, moisture, and momentum between the surface and the atmosphere,” the study explains. That can produce some level of warming.

 Continued in article

More information: Y. Li el al., "Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aar5629

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-large-solar-farms-sahara-vegetation.html#jCp
More information: Y. Li el al., "Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aar5629

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-large-solar-farms-sahara-vegetation.html#jCp
More information: Y. Li el al., "Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aar5629

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-large-solar-farms-sahara-vegetation.html#jCp
More information: Y. Li el al., "Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aar5629

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-large-solar-farms-sahara-vegetation.html#jCp
More information: Y. Li el al., "Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aar5629

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-large-solar-farms-sahara-vegetation.html#jCp

More information: Y. Li el al., "Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aar5629
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-large-solar-farms-sahara-vegetation.html#jCp

What's wrong with Amazon's $15 minimum wage?
A $7.50 wage beats no job at all in too many cities and rural villages.

Jensen Comment
My local small and quite historic hardware store struggles to stay in business and probably would have no buyers of the business should the current owner try to sell the store itself. The current says that the day he has to pay $15 per hour for help is the day he boards up the store. How quickly Bernie Sanders and the other $15 minimum wage advocates like to forget the University of Washington study (Seattle's socialist mayor tried to block the study from publication) that shows that Seattle's $15 minimum wage threw a lot of small businesses, especially restaurants and coffee shops, out of business. What Bernie and the others are doing is creating oligopolies and monopolies among big hotels, big retailers like Walmart and Amazon, and big chains like Starbucks and Dunkin. A high minimum wage destroys competition from smaller companies with low sales volume, especially seasonal volume. Also the $15 minimum wage dries up part-time jobs for unskilled teens and college students.

Colleges and universities will probably have to eliminate a lot of work study and other student jobs in order to balance spending budgets. It's hard these days because to cover increases in expenses its no longer so easy to raise tuition. An legislators are not enthusiastic about raising appropriates for state-supported colleges and universities. A Harvard professor recently predicted that half the privately funded colleges will be out of business in a decade as it is.

I think that raising the minimum wage with inflation is a good idea, but Amazon's $15 per floor for full-time and part-time workers is more than double the current minimum wage.

Political pressure helped convince Amazon to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. But a convergence of other factors—including Bezos’s ability to throttle his competitors—may have been decisive ---

See if your favorite news outlet reports that Amazon raised its minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour --- many news outlets  will cherry pick this item to ignore
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on October 2, 2018

Good day. Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday said it was raising the minimum wage it pays all U.S. workers to $15 an hour, a move that could dial up pressure on other retailers to hike pay and benefits for their employees, The Wall Street Journal reports.


Money, money, money: Amazon's new minimum wage will kick in Nov. 1, covering more than 250,000 current employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees. The company said it also will start lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour.


Will others follow? Amazon's move comes as only a fraction of U.S. companies are redirecting savings from the tax-code overhaul into employees' wallets. A new survey of 152 companies by executive-recruitment firm Korn Ferry International revealed 14% were funneling part of their tax-cut savings into base salary increases. A poll of 1,500 companies by consulting firm Mercer LLC showed only 4% are redirecting tax savings to budgets for bigger paychecks.


Cost concerns: Companies are reluctant to grant higher-than-usual pay raises in part because it adds to their fixed labor costs, compensation experts said. “They’re doing everything they can to avoid seeing their permanent payroll go up,” said Bill Ravenscroft, senior vice president at Adecco Group AG, which recruits workers for companies.

 Jensen Comment
It's so much harder for small businesses (I think of our struggling village hardware store and our small bed and breakfast inns that really struggle seasonally) to pay $15 and offer the same fringe benefits as Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, and the other worldwide giants. Starbucks and Walmart even offer free college tuition.

How to Mislead With Statistics
50 million Americans live below the official poverty income — here are the poorest towns in every US state

Jensen Comment
This is highly misleading for a number of reasons. Firstly the poverty line in the USA is upper middle class in the majority of other nations, especially when things like the safety nets of earned income credits, Medicaid, SS disability income, food stamps, housing subsidies, and welfare are factored into the equation.

Secondly there's an enormous $2+ trillion underground economy where supposedly USA's "poor people" are collecting substantial tax-free cash earnings that are never reported by employers or employees. Often those unreported earnings are supplemented by food stamps, housing subsidies, and welfare. The types of underground economy earnings alternatives are listed at

And remember that crime often pays in America. Some of the fattest cats in the luxury penthouses that drive the most expensive cars are drug dealers, legislators, and City Hall executives

A liberal Blog (run by Nate Silver) questions:   Can Conservatives Ever Trust A Tech Industry Staffed Mostly By Liberals (form California)?

. . .

Tech companies aggressively deny that they have a systemic bias against conservatives. (And I think the facts are with them — as I will explain later.) But this bias charge seems unlikely to go away. Most of all: I suspect this is really an argument about political identity, not the details of algorithms or how stories are promoted. Conservatives are implying that Big Tech (think Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix and Twitter) is inherently anti-conservative because the tech industry is dominated by liberals. It’s the same concern conservatives have about colleges and universities, the entertainment industry and the news media. As this argument goes, an industry dominated by liberals is likely to make decisions that favor liberals.

Continued in article

Tall Tales: Secrets of the Tower (pornography) ---

Jensen Comment
What always amazes me is that publishers these days will allow almost any pornography in text as long as it does not have pictures. Well maybe there's an exception for child pornography even in words. Of course in olden days (think Victorian times) publishers had to be much more cautious even with words.

Things really got out of control after the Internet was invented. It got even more out of control when the Internet went global to a point where nations face enormous jurisdictional issues over legal censorship. Some nations (think Iran) cannot think of any solution other than to ban the Internet. But this is a tremendous cost to commerce and education in general.

I suspect the pornography in the Cambridge Tower is relatively tame compared to what's on the Internet today, especially in terms of pictures and video.

It's ironic that one of the "Stormy" voices in the #MeToo movement is still a porn star.

How to Mislead With Statistics
Tesla’s Model 3 Is Becoming One of America’s Best-Selling Sedans ---

Jensen Comment
This article makes you think Tesla and maybe other electric cars are moving up to top selling automobiles in America in 2018. First note that the graph is for only sedan sales in one quarter. And look again at what statisticians call the abscissa on the graph. That's right. These are quarterly sales numbers in the thousands while vehicle sales in the USA for the same quarter are in the millions. It's estimated that by 2020 sales of all sedans will be less than 10% of total automotive sales ---

In 2017 total electric vehicle sales amounted to less than 200,000 electric vehicles ---
Divide that by 17.25 million total vehicle sales in 2017 in the USA alone
Electric vehicle sales rates are climbing really fast, but there are many reasons why the electric car market is in its infancy. Huge advances in range and battery technology are needed for the electric market to grow up. At the moment in the USA electric vehicles are mostly purchased by high income families that also can afford one or more gas guzzlers. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles may possibly beat out battery powered cars.

Tesla is becoming a popular sedan in the USA but sedans are a dying breed that Ford dropped completely from its product line. Other large-scale vehicle manufacturers will soon follow Ford's lead in cutting back on unpopular sedans. USA buyers want SUVs and pickup trucks.

One of the first NFL players to protest alongside Colin Kaepernick is back in the NFL despite an ongoing collusion lawsuit ---

Before earnings were announced Nike was trading at all-time highs ---

Stock prices took a nose dive after disappointing earnings were announced ---

Jensen Comment
I'm not implying that the drop in earning was caused by the Colin Kaepernick advertising promotion. A whole lot of other factors impact earnings. The Kaepernick promotion may have helped earnings in the short-term.

It is somewhat interesting that the 49ers are now seeking a new quarterback after their top quarterback was injured (pesky ACL tear) for the season. Several top quarterbacks were invited for tryouts. This was an opportunity for the 49ers to seek a Kaepernick boost, but that seems to not be what the 49ers want this season. Years ago when he left the 49ers he was not playing all that well.

Book Review by Larry Summers
“A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility," by Nicola Gennaioli ---

Jensen Comment
In my opinion it's too tempting to get bogged down in economic/finance theory when trying to explain the recession commencing around 2008. That recession was more the work of criminal mortgage lenders, greedy property appraisers, and government do-gooders (think Rep. Barnie Frank) making it easier for low-income people to afford homes who really could not afford home ownership. The classic example of the criminal nature of the 2008 real estate bubble is the story of Marvene, a woman on welfare who got spendable cash of over $100,000 by taking out a mortgage on her $3,500 shack ---
http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Sleaze  (Search for Marvene)

Of course subprime fever contributed a lot to the real estate bubble. Subprime mortgage rates commence ridiculously low and then very high rates kick in a few years later. With expectations of steadily soaring real estate prices buyers speculate by taking out huge mortgages at low subprime rates and then profiting from real estate resales before the higher rates kick in under their contracts. This works great as long as real estate prices go up, up, and up like a hot air balloon. But if and when prices crash the speculators cannot afford to make mortgage payments when their subprime rates jump up and real estate values crash down.

What I'm saying is that the 2008 recession was no great economic mystery. It was an age-old real estate speculation bubble that hinged entirely on horrible government policy of letting both legitimate and criminal mortgage lenders issue mortgages way above property values and then sell those poisoned mortgages upstream to government lenders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mach and stupid Wall street investment banks who got left holding bags of poisoned mortgages when the real estate bubble burst in 2007 ---
The frauds got compounded when investment bankers tried to bundle the poisoned mortgages with solid mortgages in collateralized debt obligation (CDO) bonds. Those sales were to made with recourse such that when the real estate bubble burst and the poisoned mortgages went bad investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., and Merrill Lynch encountered a liquidity crisis when having to buy back the CDO bonds. The US Treasury Dept. under Hank Paulson then bailed out some like his former Goldman bank and let others like Lehman Bros. go bankrupt.

In my opinion the entire real estate bubble and 2008 recession could've been avoided by making originators of mortgages bear a significant part of the default risk when they sold mortgages upstream. By not bearing any default risk mortgage lenders were tempted to lend money to speculators who had no hope of making mortgage payments when higher mortgage rates kicked in under subprime contracts. Also mortgages were being issued to people who had no hope of repaying those mortgages.

Larry Summers:  Bringing accountability to powerful, unelected officials ---

Eurozone --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone

The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Other EU states (except for Denmark and the United Kingdom) are obliged to join once they meet the criteria to do so. No state has left, and there are no provisions to do so or to be expelled. Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City have formal agreements with the EU to use the euro as their official currency and issue their own coins

Why did the United Kingdom not join the Eurozone?

Quote from the above Larry Summers article

Tucker has been at the center of the global financial system for decades as George Soros broke the pound, Britain decided to stay out of the euro zone, the Bank of England became independent and, most important, as it confronted the great financial crisis of 2008.

Some Eurozone nations regretted joining after having to pay to bailout Greece and huge worries about pending bailouts (especially for some nations along the Mediterranean Sea like Spain and Italy). A huge problem for some Eurozone nations is that they formerly met financial crises by defaluing their national currencies. They become more dependent upon bailouts from their Eurozone partners when they can no longer devalue their own currencies.

Sweden is not yet in the Eurozone but Finland is in the Eurozone:  Why is the following relevant?
Sweden to Finland:  A Mega Bank Just Joined the Euro Zone; It's Too Big to Fail ---

Brazil And Venezuela Should Have Federal Reserve Economists Hanging Their Heads In Shame ---

50 Cities Americans Have Been Abandoning in the Last Decade (or more) ---
Some places I suspected would be on the decline are not on this list. Exhibit A is high-crime Baltimore. Exhibit B is high-crime Gary. Exhibit C is high-crime New Orleans. Exhibit D is high-tax Burlington.
States hit hardest are Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and New York. I mistakenly guessed West Virginia. Alaska is being hit relatively hard in its largest cities.
Cities hit hardest are Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, New York, and Los Angeles. Apparently New York's socialist mayor is not doing as well as he thinks.

Reasons for leaving are many and varied, but high on the list are reduced job opportunities, high crime, lousy schools, lousy housing, expensive housing, labor union wages, traffic congestion, and taxes. These things interact. High taxes and wages kill jobs. Significant increases in low-cost housing are wasted if the long-term job outlook is spiraling downward. Some declining cities like Detroit may have bottomed out and are on the rebound. New York State's tax break promotion does not seem to be stemming population decline. Perhaps it's just too temporary and not long-term.

Schools are important, but as you look on the list of 50 declining cities there are some that have relatively decent schools like those in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Yakima, Sierra Vista-Douglas, Binghamton, Saginaw, Wichita, New Haven, Hartford, Rockford, and Rochester. My point is that decent public schools alone are not enough to offset the other causes of decline. 

We may see more significant population declines in the future where climate change hits the hardest such as low-ground costal cities like Miami, Houston, Charleston, etc.

Some cities are much larger than they appear in the census data due to undocumented immigrants --- cities like El Paso, San Antonio, Brownsville, Houston, and San Diego. And many of the job opportunities are not counted due to the vast underground economy.

Trump's family used tax loopholes to game the system — here's how his tax cuts might help others do the same ---

. . .

Trump supporters have cast doubt on the Times's reporting of the Trump family's tax maneuvers, arguing that such a high-profile figure would have received lots of IRS tax scrutiny. According to Trump's lawyers, his tax returns from 2009 on are still being audited by the agency. So how could reporters detect something the IRS missed?

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The liberal press likes to call the legal tax loopholes used by Trump fraudulent tax evasions. In my opinion, if Trump got away with tax loophole fraud it's as much a reflection of IRS incompetence as it is a reflection on Trump. At these amounts of money Trump had to be under close IRS scrutiny in those days, and I don't believe the IRS is incompetent when it comes to investigating billionaires' use of tax loopholes. Note that the reporters allegations of fraud are all speculative. This appears to me to be a hatchet job for political purposes. The good thing is that because of the publicity Congress and the IRS may be pressured by the publicity to close some of the loopholes.

I'm not a defender of what Trump did, but there's a huge difference between using legal tax loopholes and fraudulent tax evasion. Trump certainly is not the first billionaire to use tax loopholes. How about billionaire Carlos Slim who owns the largest stake in The New York Times? Let's see the NYT investigate his use of tax loopholes.

By the way Trump is not a genius on tax loopholes. The geniuses are his CPAs and lawyers. Trump is more of an expert on beauty contestants.

The IRS does miss a lot of tax evasion fraud in part because the agency is underfunded and overwhelmed by the number of tax returns. But the majority of the tax evasion it misses is among lower profile and less wealthy taxpayers.

So where's the biggest fraud missed by the IRS?
It's in the $2+ trillion underground economy characterized by cash transactions that go unreported. These transactions range from paying a maid $50 cash to clean your house to $10,000 for a new roof in Texas to $8,000 to a dentist in New Hampshire who infrequently gives huge discounts for cash payments on expensive dental work. Investigate the tens of millions of football pools in private homes and bars on Super Bowl Sunday.

If you are going to investigate Trump's actual frauds look for instances when his companies paid cash under the table to contractors who worked on parts of his buildings or paid cash for cleaning and maintenance work.

Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws

Sokal Hoax Publishing Sting --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

‘Sokal Squared’: Is Huge Publishing Hoax ‘Hilarious and Delightful’ or an Ugly Example of Dishonesty and Bad Faith? ---

Reactions to an elaborate academic-journal hoax, dubbed "Sokal Squared" by one observer, came fast and furious on Wednesday. Some scholars applauded the hoax for unmasking what they called academe’s leftist, victim-obsessed ideological slant and low publishing standards. Others said it had proved nothing beyond the bad faith and dishonesty of its authors.

Three scholars — Helen Pluckrose, a self-described "exile from the humanities" who studies medieval religious writings about women; James A. Lindsay, an author and mathematician; and Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University — spent 10 months writing 20 hoax papers that illustrate and parody what they call "grievance studies," and submitted them to "the best journals in the relevant fields." Of the 20, seven papers were accepted, four were published online, and three were in process when the authors "had to take the project public prematurely and thus stop the study, before it could be properly concluded." A skeptical Wall Street Journal editorial writer, Jillian Kay Melchior, began raising questions about some of the papers over the summer.

Beyond the acceptances, the authors said, they also received four requests to peer-review other papers "as a result of our own exemplary scholarship." And one paper — about canine rape culture in dog parks in Portland, Ore. — "gained special recognition for excellence from its journal, Gender, Place, and Culture … as one of 12 leading pieces in feminist geography as a part of the journal’s 25th anniversary celebration."

Not all readers accepted the work as laudable scholarship. National Review took "Helen Wilson," the fictional author of the dog-park study, to task in June for her approach. "The whole reasoning behind Wilson’s study," wrote a staff writer, Katherine Timpf, "is the belief that researching rape culture and sexuality among dogs in parks is a brilliant way to understand more about rape culture and sexuality among humans. This is, of course, idiotic. Why? Because humans are not dogs."

Another published paper, "Going In Through the Back Door: Challenging Straight Male Homohysteria, Transhysteria, and Transphobia Through Receptive Penetrative Sex Toy Use," appeared in Sexuality and Culture. It recommends that men anally self-penetrate "to become less transphobic, more feminist, and more concerned about the horrors of rape culture."

The trolling trio wondered, they write, if a journal might even "publish a feminist rewrite of a chapter from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf." Yup. "Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism" was accepted by the feminist social-work journal Affilia.

Darts and Laurels

Some scholars applauded the hoax.

"Is there any idea so outlandish that it won’t be published in a Critical/PoMo/Identity/‘Theory’ journal?" tweeted the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker.

"Three intrepid academics," wrote Yascha Mounk, an author and lecturer on government at Harvard, "just perpetrated a giant version of the Sokal Hoax, placing … fake papers in major academic journals. Call it Sokal Squared. The result is hilarious and delightful. It also showcases a serious problem with big parts of academia."

Continued in article

Civil Service No-Sweat:  Spanish civil servant who had €50,000 salary but failed to do a day's work for ten years banned from post ---
What's the difference between the USA and Spain?  In the USA he could not be fired as a civil servant.

What state goes to the front of the class in terms of fiscal performance and accounting?

Think of "Volunteers"


There's no question about what state cowers in the back of the class.

It's all" Windy." in the north.


Celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and others who have been accused of sexual misconduct since April 2017 ---
Jensen Comment
Maybe condoms should be packaged with pre-printed forms of consent.

Female blogger is ordered to pay US Army colonel she accused of rape $8.4million in damages after he claimed the false allegations cost him a sparkling military career ---
Jensen Comment
He may have won in court but he will forever wear a scarlet letter just because of the allegations that a court victory cannot erase.

How to Mislead With Statistics
NYT: Brett Kavanaugh lacks the temperament and commitment to judicious inquiry needed to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court say 2,500+ law professors

Jensen Comment
We could complain that this was not a random sampling of USA law professors. However, random sampling would not change the outcomes much because there are so few conservative law professors in the USA (less than 10%) ---
Also see

Most liberal law school professors are so opposed to any conservative being appointed to the Supreme Court they would answer any questions about conservative candidate unfavorably,  It has little or nothing to do with Kavanaugh.

I follow some leading academic journals daily (such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, etc.). The articles to date that I've seen about conservatives are 100% negative.

This reveals to me how out of touch the Academy is with half (give or take) of the electorate in the USA. Subjective evaluations on RateMyProfessors.com reveal that professors are out of touch with a significant percentage of their students who are often not as overwhelmingly liberal as their professors.

Just in case you're wondering I'm a liberal on such matters as gay rights, abortion, birth control, and eventual national health coverage. However, I'm a conservative on most economic issues and border control. I favor a German-style limited national health care plan and oppose England's national health care. I waiver a lot about affirmative action. That is very contingent upon circumstances.


Bob Jensen's threads on health care ---

WHO: Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 ---

Nursing Home and Hospital Fraud
Elderly residents given intensive therapy in the last weeks of life jumped 65 percent, a study shows, raising questions about financial incentives.  ---

On November 22, 2009 CBS Sixty Minutes aired a video featuring how hospitals and nursing homes rip off the government using dying patients ---
"The Cost of Dying," CBS Sixty Minutes Video, November 22, 2009 ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

The average cost of health coverage offered by U.S. employers rose to nearly $20,000 for a family plan this year
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on October 4, 2018

Good day. Health insurance is key to attracting and retaining talent, but finance chiefs are battling the ever-rising price of such employee benefits. The average cost of health coverage offered by U.S. employers rose to nearly $20,000 for a family plan this year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ballooning price tags: Annual premiums rose 5% to $19,616 for an employer family plan in 2018, according to the yearly poll of employers by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. Employers also continued to boost the deductibles that workers must pay out of their pockets to help blunt the premium increases.


Sharing the burden: Companies are rejiggering how much they pay in premium contributions versus employees, as well as the size of employee deductibles, to spread out the rising costs. Nationwide, employees paid on average $5,547 a year, or 29%, of the premiums for a family plan in 2018, according to the Kaiser employer survey.


Merger trouble: A recent study linked rising health-care prices to mergers in large hospital systems. While insurers and employers pay for health care, the prices are typically set in negotiations between health insurers and hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers.


Deloitte:  To Innovate on Controlling Health Care Costs: Follow the Money ---


The annual fall open-enrollment period is just around the corner for many employers. Workers who receive health coverage through their jobs will choose a new health insurance plan or will re-enroll in existing coverage for the year ahead. For the 2019 plan year, annual coverage costs are expected to increase to nearly $15,000 per employee, according to estimates from the National Business Group on Health.

There seems to be a resurgence of interest among employers in using innovative approaches to manage benefits. Just a few years ago, the lion’s share of activity was on shifting more costs to employees. That strategy appears to have run its course, and employers and other stakeholders are looking for new ways to reduce coverage costs while adding value to their employee benefits.

When thinking about how to get more value from the health care system, employers should follow the money. A recent analysis of commercial claims data conducted by Deloitte determined that more than half of commercial health care dollars are spent on just 5 percent of the insured population. Moreover, just 1 percent of the insured population consumes 27 percent of the health care dollars. This finding has been consistent over time. It suggests that programs designed to improve care — such as chronic-care management for this typically very sick part of the population — might have a significant return.

Consider putting innovation opportunities for employers into two buckets: The first, improving care for people who are sick (where most of the money is spent), and the second, keeping healthy people from getting sick.

Bucket One: Improve Care Management for the Sickest

Employers, health plans, physicians, and health systems should target the small percentage of employees (and dependents) who consume the most health care resources. Technology, such as predictive modeling, could help health plans identify people who are most at risk for using expensive services. Data related to practice patterns could help identify the physicians and hospitals that have the best results for treating certain conditions. Apps can give employers a way to help their workers find lower-cost services, remind them to take their medicine, and connect them to coaches and counselors.

Employers also could help manage their sickest insured populations by partnering with efficient providers who are willing to innovate their clinical model. Both self-insured employers and those that purchase insurance from at-risk health plans can learn from other employers, as well as from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The challenge facing many employers is how to replicate innovations. Not all employers have leverage in their markets or maintain relationships with health plans or health systems that want to be transformative.

Strategies some employers have used to reduce costs for their sickest members include:

— Transition to value-based insurance designs. The overall trend in benefit design has been to increase employee cost sharing, but some employers are recognizing the limitations of this strategy. While research supports the idea that people use less care (both necessary and unnecessary care) when they have higher cost sharing, this might not have much of an effect on people after they exceed their deductibles. Moreover, higher cost sharing could promote non-adherence to drug regimens.

A recent study in the journal Health Affairs found that value-based insurance design — which reduces cost-sharing for high-value services — can improve medication adherence without increasing overall spending. But the value in value-based care has to go beyond cost. A patient recently diagnosed with cancer, for example, might be more concerned with outcomes than with cost. Employers can help their workers navigate care with tools that identify high-quality providers and offer comparable information about prices.

— Forge health system partnerships with innovative providers. At the Boeing Company, lower-back pain among workers accounted for a significant share of the company’s health care spending. The manufacturer launched an initiative with local health systems that helped to reduce spending (reportedly 20 percent), lowered absenteeism, and improved outcomes for lower-back pain by referring patients directly to physical therapy and avoiding often unnecessary surgery. Similarly, one major retailer has been directing its employees to high-value health systems — even the Mayo Clinic — to get medical care.

— Consider accountable care organizations (ACOs) for certain conditions. Some employers have partnered with health systems that operate as ACOs and take risk for the total cost of care. Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System, for example, participates in The Employers Centers of Excellence Network. The employers involved make bundled payments for the treatment of spine, bariatric, and cardiac surgeries, which shifts the risk of additional costs related to complications onto network providers. To encourage their workers to use this program, participating employers cover copayments, deductibles, and travel expenses.

Bucket Two: Keep the Healthy, Healthy

Preventing people from becoming sick not only lowers health care spending for employers, it also helps to keep workers more productive. Employers continue to support wellness programs, and some employers are working with health plans and others to encourage employees and dependents to exercise and eat healthily. Adoption of apps and fitness trackers is on the rise, according to the results of our health care consumer survey. The number of consumers who track their health data with wearables has more than doubled since 2013. While such programs can help to improve employee health, they tend to attract people who would have been healthy anyway.

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's Tidbits Archives ---

Bob 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 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  --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/TheoryTAR.htm
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 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/