To Accompany the November 29, 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
13 of the (alleged) most famous last words in
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 ---
Tech billionaires Marc Benioff and Jack Dorsey
are clashing over a key law that could seriously impact the San Francisco
homelessness crisis ---
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 ---
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.
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 Atlantic: The slow, somber end to
the Merkel era
Merkel's Legacy: Refugee Crisis, The
Splintering Of Germany, Brexit ---
Sloppy And Malignant Bias From The New York
Why Politicians Love Deals like the Amazon
https://mises.org/wire/why-politicians-love-deals-amazon-deals?utm_source=Mises Institute Subscriptions&utm_campaign=3c81a36dd4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-3c81a36dd4-228708937
Wall Street banks and brokerages should once again send out signals of possible moves to avoid being entrenched firms paying the high taxes.
New York State attained new high with its Startup NY incentives. It's a new high because top employees as well as companies avoid state taxation for ten years.
Here's a list of other New York give aways ---
Two closing South Side Target stores’ combined
property tax bill: $750K per year
In contrast, Target stores in other states pay considerably lower property taxes (and have lower shoplifting losses) ---
It's the Illinois way of driving businesses out of business.
Illinois received a score of 72 on making key
financial information accessible and understandable to the public, according to
a new report from Truth in Accounting (TIA), a Chicago-based policy institute ---
Be fair, in USA colleges a 72 now translates to an A- grade.
necessary: her Majesty's government simply adopts a policy of zero tariffs and
zero import quotas, beginning tomorrow ---
Seems to work pretty well for Singapore.
Bernie Care Versus Canada Care ---
An Archive of 800+ Propaganda Maps Designed to
Shape Opinions & Beliefs: Enter Cornell’s Persuasive Maps Collection ---
Bob Woodward Is Right: The Press Is
'Emotionally Unhinged' About Trump The legendary newsman calls for more
reporting rather than more outrage or puffery. ---
Unlike state workers and teachers, KY
lawmakers have a pension fund in terrific shape ---
Mexican Journalist Reveals the Truth About the
The Atlantic: What it’s like when Elon
Musk starts tunnelling under your home Residents weren’t even asked before The
Boring Company started digging ---
The law is well fairly defined in terms of oil and mineral rights under your home. Usually they belong to owners unless previous owners sold those rights. For example, most land owners in Texas do not own the oil and mineral rights since most of those were sold long ago to big companies or the State of Texas. Presumably, land owners in LA need permits if they want to develop or drill mine shafts or very, very deep basements under their own properties. A LA home owner can most likely sink a mine shaft or deep basement under the house, but this may no longer be possible if Elon Musk has a tunnel under the house. The law is not clear about how far your property ownership and control extends above and below your half acre.
The Defense Department's first ever
agency-wide financial audit discovered problems that cost approximately $559
million to fix, the Pentagon said Thursday.---
If only the total fix would be so easy or so cheap. The DOD will always be a fraud hole.
NYT: Eliminating $1.4 million in student
debt is not progressive; It's a handout to the middle class
Anecdotally I know one graduate (with a PhD in pharmacy) who owes nearly considerably more than $100,000 in student debt. Her starting salary after graduation was over $125,000 such that she's making great progress, albeit long-term, toward repayment of her loans. Her parents would've fully paid for her college education at a flagship state university where her father is a professor. Her mother was a tenured high school teacher. But their daughter wanted an expensive private college that entailed taking out student loans every year. It would seem that forgiveness of her student debt is exactly what the above opinion article is suggesting.
Why is it that when China makes somebody
disappear there's less media coverage than when Saudi Arabia makes somebody
Why is it that the three major TV networks
yawn when rockets rain down on Israel?
China's top security agency is accused of
directing a wave of cyberattacks against Australia ---
Where's the outrage?
The Atlantic: Sports Stadiums Are a Bad
Deal for Cities ---
Trump's pushback against China is catching on
globally as European negotiator declares an end to the region's 'naivety'
The Guardian: UN environment chief
resigns after frequent flying revelations ---
The Swedish Academy’s decision to take a year
off from awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature brings to a close more than a
century of foolishness ---
The mayor Tijuana declares a humanitarian
crisis at the border city after nearly 5,000 migrants arrive ---
Illinois is on the verge of bankruptcy, and
One-quarter of new jobs in Illinois were in the government ---
Lewinsky reveals Bill Clinton urged her to lie
under oath ---
New Exemptions to DMCA Section 1201 Are Welcome, But Don’t Go Far Enough ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA ---
The Atlantic: Managing American Decline
In Twilight of the Titans, two scholars provide a warning to a rising China, and
a road map for the United States to regain its standing ---
John Kerry has joined fellow failed presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in warning Europe that its refugee policies have been a disaster ---
What two things do Alexantra Ocasio-Cortez and
Yogi Berra have in common?
One is the Bronx!
The difference is that she believes her shout outs. Yogi was just funnin'
A Brief History of French Socialists
The Amazon Deal Was Actually Good for New York
Time Magazine: The U.S. Isn't the Only Major
Country Not Meeting Its Climate Goals ---
Who Profits from Patents? Rent-Sharing at Innovative Firms ---
Money Raised After Pittsburgh Shooting (in
Jewish Synagog) Went To An Islamic Center With Terror Ties ---
CNN Poll Shows Widespread Anti-Semitism,
Ignorance of the Holocaust in Europe ---
Sloppy And Malignant Bias From The New York
I periodically mock the New York Times when editors, reporters, and columnists engage in sloppy and biased analysis.
- Claiming Medicaid cuts in a piece that shows rising outlays for the program.
- Asserting that government schools are “starved of funding” when taxpayer subsidies actually have skyrocketed.
- Claiming that budget-cutting austerity nations are doing worse than “stimulus” nations, but getting the numbers backwards.
- Writing that the sequester will mean “deep automatic spending cuts” when the budget actually would climb by $2.4 trillion.
- Claiming that Italy is more prosperous than the United States and that there is less poverty.
- Asserting that U.S. multinationals pay little tax on foreign-source income, but forgetting to include the taxes paid to foreign governments.
- Cherry-picking income data to hide the fact that pro-market policies produce broadly shared prosperity.
- Attacking the fairness of America’s economy by using poverty data that doesn’t actually measure poverty.
CARTOONS | Close to Home
But all these instances of intentional and unintentional bias are trivial compared to our next example.
The New York Times has gone above and beyond conventional media bias with a video entitled, “How Capitalism Ruined China’s Health Care System.”
Continued in article
Why Democrats Have Stopped Talking About Free College ---
. . .
That’s because proposals to make college tuition-free prove to carry slim appeal with many of the groups Democrats would like to win back, such as white blue-collar voters, party strategists say. Some liberals have also concluded the proposal wouldn’t provide sufficient help to the neediest students.
Strategists said voters can be suspicious of promises about free benefits, and that fewer Americans see college as a preferred path in any case. “People don’t think it should just be free. People think there should be some responsibility” for individual to shoulder at least some of college’s costs, said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. “And a lot of people think that something should be available other than just college.”
Candidates in swing districts largely avoided the topic, preferring to frame the issue in terms of “college affordability.”
Even Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who has expressed support for tuition-free college proposals in the past, rarely if ever mentioned eliminating college tuition in her 2018 campaign. Her higher education platform featured proposals to lower student debt and increase access to job training.
“No one ever believed free college was possible, primarily because of the cost,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), the outgoing chairwoman of the House Education Committee. “We have changed the conversation. Instead of who’s going to pay for what, we’re talking about making better choices and students getting the chance, and taking the chance, to use their God-given talents in life. The conversation is finally about students and their choices, and it’s not going back.”
It isn’t that the idea of free college is broadly unpopular. A generic proposal to eliminate tuition at public colleges for families making less than $125,000 enjoys wide support, with 60% of people in favor and 34% opposed, according to a 2017 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
Nations that have free college, largely in Europe, can afford to do so by limiting the Tier 3 admissions to college to about a third of the Tier 2 graduates ---
This limits free college to the intellectually elite, and most progressives in the USA don't want to be a part of that kind of discrimination, especially when it would screen out such a high proportion of minorities.
Community colleges in the USA are now either free or very nearly free in terms of tuition. But tuition is only a small part of the cost of education such that community college enrollments would not explode even if tuition were totally free. There's also a great problem that free college in state universities would probably entail greatly tightened budgets. With tightened budgets two things are possible. One is academic filtering where two thirds or so of the admitted students are discouraged (e.g., by low grades and hard courses) from completing their degrees. Two is cheapening courses with enormous class sizes and poorly qualified (adjunct) teachers not devoted to full-time careers in education.
In any case the above WSJ article seems to imply that you get what you pay for, and even progressives recognize there are too many other societal needs having higher priorities such as free healthcare for everybody. And even progressives realize that the nation needs skilled workers who are not necessarily college educated. It's nice when airplane mechanics can quote Thomas Hobbes, but the cost may be too high in terms of motivating high school graduates to become mechanics. That's what happens in Europe all the time when mechanics do not have college diplomas.
From The Guardian: The Financial (Accounitng) Scandal Nobody is
Accountancy used to be boring – and safe. But today it’s neither. Have the ‘big four’ firms become too cosy with the system they’re supposed to be keeping in check?
In the summer of 2015, seven years after the financial crisis and with no end in sight to the ensuing economic stagnation for millions of citizens, I visited a new club. Nestled among the hedge-fund managers on Grosvenor Street in Mayfair, Number Twenty had recently been opened by accountancy firm KPMG. It was, said the firm’s then UK chairman Simon Collins in the fluent corporate-speak favoured by today’s top accountants, “a West End space” for clients “to meet, mingle and touch down”. The cost of the 15-year lease on the five-story building was undisclosed, but would have been many tens of millions of pounds. It was evidently a price worth paying to look after the right people.
Inside, Number Twenty is patrolled by a small army of attractive, sharply uniformed serving staff. On one floor are dining rooms and cabinets stocked with fine wines. On another, a cocktail bar leads out on to a roof terrace. Gazing down on the refreshed executives are neo-pop art portraits of the men whose initials form today’s KPMG: Piet Klynveld (an early 20th-century Amsterdam accountant), William Barclay Peat and James Marwick (Victorian Scottish accountants) and Reinhard Goerdeler (a German concentration-camp survivor who built his country’s leading accountancy firm).
The demise of sound accounting became a critical cause of the early 21st-century financial crisis. Auditing limited companies, made mandatory in Britain around a hundred years earlier, was intended as a check on the so-called “principal/agent problem” inherent in the corporate form of business. As Adam Smith once pointed out, “managers of other people’s money” could not be trusted to be as prudent with it as they were with their own. When late-20th-century bankers began gambling with eye-watering amounts of other people’s money, good accounting became more important than ever. But the bean counters now had more commercial priorities and – with limited liability of their own – less fear for the consequences of failure. “Negligence and profusion,” as Smith foretold, duly ensued.After the fall of Lehman Brothers brought economies to their knees in 2008, it was apparent that Ernst & Young’s audits of that bank had been all but worthless. Similar failures on the other side of the Atlantic proved that balance sheets everywhere were full of dross signed off as gold. The chairman of HBOS, arguably Britain’s most dubious lender of the boom years, explained to a subsequent parliamentary enquiry: “I met alone with the auditors – the two main partners – at least once a year, and, in our meeting, they could air anything that they found difficult. Although we had interesting discussions – they were very helpful about the business – there were never any issues raised.
Continued in article
San Francisco's homelessness crisis is so bad, people appear to be using
poop to graffiti the sidewalks ---
From The Guardian: Why is San Francisco ... covered
in human feces?
Hotel carpets are more in danger in San Francisco than other USA cities for reasons you well know.
Need I also explain the sanitary efficiency, or lack thereof, of vacuum cleaners.
And the germs that remain on the sidewalk after poop and manure is swept up.
This is why we wash dishes in hot water rather than brush them off with a broom.
Nuclear Fusion --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion
BBC: We're just five years away from harnessing almost unlimited
power from nuclear fusion reactors that could provide abundant, cheap and clean
In a world of global warming caused by our addiction to fossil fuels, there is an urgent need to find sustainable alternative sources of energy.
If we don't, the future looks decidedly bleak for millions of people on this planet: water and food shortages leading to famine and war.
Nuclear fusion has long been heralded as a potential answer to our prayers. But it's always been "thirty years away", according to the industry joke.
Now several start-ups are saying they can make fusion a commercial reality much sooner.
What is nuclear fusion exactly?
Nuclear fusion is the merging of atomic nuclei to release masses of energy and it has the potential to address our energy crisis.
It's the same process that powers the sun, and it's clean and - relatively - safe. There are no emissions.
But forcing these nuclei - deuterium and tritium, both forms of hydrogen - to fuse together under immense pressure takes huge amounts of energy - more than we've managed to get out so far.
Continued in article
USA Household Debt Rose to $13.5+ Trillion 2018 (apart from mortgages)
Student Debt is over $1.5 trillion
The problem is that the USA government is just not printing enough money to pay off all debts (including government debt), provide universal free health care, fix the infrastructure, and provide free college education for everybody.
Printing money has done such wonders for Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
We should look to the long history of wonders that socialism brought to nations of the world and eliminate capitalism as quickly as possible. Households don't have to borrow under socialism. Money is plentiful and even makes good wall coverings under socialism. There's no more poverty since everybody gets more money than they can possibly spend under socialism.
I wonder what proportion of the USA's college graduates understand how money
is created out of household, business, and government debt rather than printing
Personally I doubt that most of our college graduates really understand the magnitude of $1 trillion.
What happens when fantasy-obsessed voters cannot make adult decisions?
Yanis Varoufakis --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanis_Varoufakis
'Europe Is Disintegrating.' Greece's Rockstar Economist Yanis Varoufakis
Shares His Vision for Reforming the E.U. ---
I have two criticisms of Varoufakis. One is that he's like all the other open borders advocates who will never admit there's a limit to the numbers of immigrants that can be admitted to any relatively prosperous nation, a limit beyond which prosperity will be destroyed. Europe could open its borders to one or two billion immigrants from Africa and other poor parts of the world. What would this do to prosperity of Europe?
Secondly he's a socialist unwilling to admit the failures of his own socialist experiment in Greece. Why did Greece need an EU bailout when Varoufakis economic policies were in place? He now appears to be advocating his failed spendthrift economic policies in all of Europe.
November 27, 2018 reply from Tom Amlie
It never ceases to amaze me that socialists are put into positions of authority over economic structures and then people are dismayed and surprised at the undesirable outcomes that ensue. As FA Hayek noted, "If socialists understood economics they wouldn't be socialists". It's ironic that he would rail against an "incompetent, authoritarian establishment", since those are pretty much the defining marks of a socialist society; men imagining that they can control and direct that which they don't even understand.
Bob Jensen's threads on health care ---
Bernie Care Versus Canada Care ---
3 Reasons 'Medicare for All' Is a Really Bad Idea ---
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
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/