To Accompany the Decmeber 13, 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.
21 quotes from self-made billionaires that
will change your outlook on money ---
Murphy Brown's return to TV flops ---
Two more women, including a fellow astronomer,
say Neil deGrasse Tyson is guilty of inappropriate sexual conduct ---
NYT: Experience the reality of China’s growing
The Atlantic: America's Epidemic of
Empty Churches ---
Virginia’s public colleges pose risk to state taxpayers
NOVEMBER 30, 2018 |
What does economic evidence tell us about the
effects of rent control? ---
China: A Culture of Cheating
A half marathon in China made international news for all the wrong reasons: Hundreds of participants were caught cheating at the Shenzhen Half Marathon on November 25.Officials punished 258 runners for cheating ---
Students riot over China's crackdown on exam cheating ---
NYT Investigation: Louisiana
School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here’s the
NYT Investigation: Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here’s the Reality ---
UN: Domestic Violence Is The Most Common
Killer Of (Murdered) Women Around The World ---
Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world ---
San Francisco's Wealthy Leftists Are Making
Homelessness Worse ---
"Marriage still ain't equal y'all, it ain't
equal. I tell woman that whole 'you can have it all...' nope, not at the same
time--that's a lie,” she said. “And its not always enough to ‘Lean In,'
cause that sh-t doesn’t work."
Unhappiness in the Happiest Nation
Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island ---
The 18 biggest tech scandals of 2018 ---
Top U.S. general says it’s ‘inexplicable’ that
Google would seek business with China but not work with the military ---
Why is it so surprising? Google is headquartered in California.
Principal bans candy canes, says ‘J shape’
stands for Jesus ---
I did not know that --- it could've been Jensen on our tree.
Best and Worst Run States (all 50 ranked)
A lot has to do with a history of corruption. Except for Alaska, big city crime connections tend to drag a state foen the sewer. Exhibit A is Louisiana.
About half of the net neutrality comments on
the FCC website could be fake ---
I would've guessed 90+%
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take
up two cases that could have given states broader leeway to strip funding from
Planned Parenthood ---
The Little Red Hen --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Red_Hen
The UN seeks to Make Migration Between Nations a Basic Human Right.
The compact takes political correctness to the extreme of making it illegal to criticize or debate the immigration.
This reminds me of The Little Red Hen tale with a twist where one nation works diligently to prosper and then is forced by a "democratic vote" in the UN to allow nations to be overwhelmed by immigrants in such numbers as to ravage the prosperity in terms of free speech, food, health care, housing, education, etc.
In the UN voting is becoming "Mob Rule," which is one of the major criticisms of democracy ---
Bob Jensen's threads on political correctness are at
Vox: The Pros and Cons of Mandated Solar Rooftops ---
. . .
On one hand: the case against the mandate
4) This rule was rushed into effect without comment from outside energy experts or economists.
6) Solar eats its own lunch.
There are lots of ins and outs here.
I didn’t even list all of them. Distributed generation like rooftop solar can also reduce the need for grid upgrades, saving utilities money. But then they only do that in areas of grid congestion, which this policy does not specifically target. There’s also the chance they could increase distribution costs on some parts of the grid.
I certainly agree with the common wonk sentiment that there are lots of other, better policies out there. This mandate wouldn’t have been my first choice, even in terms of changes to the housing code. If the state wants homes to be net-zero energy, it should first ramp up efficiency standards to make sure every building envelope is fully sealed; efficiency is almost always cheaper than rooftop solar.
California’s greatest needs — its housing crisis, its transportation emissions, the carbon intensity of its economy — would all be well-served by greater urban density. That means infill and building up; the requirement for solar panels should never stand in the way of densifying. I wish SB 827, which was density on steroids, hadn’t died in committee.
Still, as my granddad Hugh used to say, try wishing in one hand and pissing in the other; see which one fills up first. The politics and circumstances were right for this to happen, not some other thing.
As a general matter, when it comes to action on climate and clean energy, I’m inclined to think just about anything is better than nothing. But climate hawks should remain sensitive to the possibility that more solar is not always and everywhere better — that in some circumstances, more mandated solar could be worse than nothing, insofar as it crowds out cheaper low-carbon alternatives and raises costs without improving outcomes.
On that score, a little intellectual humility is called for. We simply don’t know yet what the full effects of the mandate will be. Not all of them are predictable; not all will be quantifiable.
Either way, it’s best not to get too hung up on any particular technology or technique for reducing carbon. There’s no substitute for taking a holistic view of the energy system, balancing its various needs against the various technologies capable of meeting them. Always, it is outcomes that matter.
Overlooked in the above article is the possible nuclear competition to expensive solar power mandates.
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 energy
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
The Political Correctness-Police Have Found Their New Targets: "Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman." ---
Don't forget the new (er make that old) songs and symbols banned forever.
Is "Baby It’s Cold Outside" an ode to rape?
Here's the rendition by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga ---
Are they promoting rape?
School boards have recently banned songs and music
containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus and other religious Christmas
symbols. The New York City school system permits displays of Jewish menorahs and
the Muslim star and crescent but not the Christian Nativity scene.
The Associated Press reported Nov. 26: “A public
school teacher is suing his district and principal for barring him from using
excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contain
references to God and Christianity.” The historical documents are the
Declaration of Independence and “The Rights of the Colonists” by John Adams.
This year, a float proclaiming “Merry Christmas” was
banned from Denver’s Parade of Lights ---
We're not so far as you might think from burning millions of history books and other memorabilia.
Bob Jensen's threads to political correctness and dumbing down the Academy
December 5, 2015 reply from Richard Sansing
Fortunately, the PC Police have created a backlash. They are mocked in this fine volume of rewritten holiday tales.
ally-Correct-Holiday-Stories- Enlightened/dp/0028604202/ref= sr_1_1_twi_har_2?ie=UTF8&qid= 1544016488&sr=8-1&keywords= politically+correct+holiday+ stories
We read “Twas the Night before Solstice” every Christmas Eve.
Speaking of politically incorrect holiday traditions, today is Sinterklaas Day in The Netherlands. Take ten minutes and enjoy this description, provided by David Sederis.
v=jIXscGcdGyk&fbclid=IwAR1UOuQ mbchZ6opGHoeCE8fLY5Ss1pof2sgAo GaiKPX5DwNVJZhXPvzYLJU&app= desktop
Nate Silver --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nate_Silver
Election Forecasting is Complicated
Nate Silver on FiveThirtyEight: How FiveThirtyEight’s 2018 Midterm Forecasts Did ---
Nate combines the top polls, each of which is limited in one way or another by methodology and possibly bias. Nate got his fame from predicting MLB baseball that is a lot easier than election forecasting. I say easier for a number of reasons, the major one being stationarity. The sampling populations in election forecasting are a lot more non-stationary and can change day-by-day leading up to election day.
Much is dependent upon voter turnout. Exhibit A is the lower turnout of Hillary Clinton's followers in 2016 that did not vote because they thought she had the election won without their votes.
Since Nate got burned predicting Scott Brown would not win Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, Nate got better at election forecasting.
How to Mislead With Statistics
The Left Is Lying About Why Life Expectancy Is Declining ---
. . .
Continued in article
How to mislead with statistics
Jim Borden: America’s Biggest Fears – and Mine ---
This type of survey is misleading because it depends crucially upon what questions are asked plus how all questions are worded.
For example, there's a huge difference between the wording of "illegal immigration" versus "Open borders to all seeking to enter." The phrase "Illegal immigration" to most implies illegal immigration at rates experienced in the last decade or so. The phrase "Open borders to all seeking to enter" is an entirely different fear not mentioned in the survey, but it is a fear that Trump probably wins heaviest on these days. Trump is not building his political base on illegal immigration at present rates. He's building his base on fears of open borders, and Democrats are not helping by avoiding mentioning limits to welcomed immigration hordes.
There's a huge difference between the phrase "High medical bills" versus "Spending $4+ trillion per year on Medicare-for-All." For many spending $4+ trillion annually on most any single government program is the most scary thing they can imagine. Others cannot even comprehend the difference between $3 billion versus $3 trillion as long as fat cats pay the difference. At $4+ trillion per year all cats will starve.
I also question how the sampling population "Americans" was sampled. It's virtually impossible in research such as this to even reach tens of millions of Americans, and there are tens of millions more who will refuse to give out such information when contacted,
In other words, I contend that this study is more misleading than helpful --- mostly due to what questions are asked plus how all questions are worded
WaPost fact-checker gives Ocasio-Cortez four Pinocchios for Pentagon claim ---
Bob Jensen's threads on health care ---
NYT: Choosing the Right Health Savings Account ---
NYT: Fixing Medicare
Medicare for All: Administrative Costs Are Much Higher than You Think ---
How to Mislead With Statistics
Left-Leaning VOX: The $21 trillion Pentagon accounting error that can’t pay for Medicare-for-all, explained ---
The US military budget is such a bloated monstrosity that it contains accounting errors that could finance two-thirds of the cost of a government-run single-payer health insurance system. All Americans could visit an unlimited array of doctors at no out of pocket cost. At least that’s a notion spreading on left-wing Twitter and endorsed and amplified by newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of Democrats’ biggest 2018 sensations and an undeniable master at the fine art of staying in the public eye.
The Pentagon’s mystery $21 trillion, explained
Continued in article
We really cannot compare proposed Medicare-for-All plan without more specific definitions of "Medicare-for-All" and the "cared for population." For example, Medicare currently does not pay for the enormous cost of long-term nursing care. Medicare only pays 80% of most of the things it does cover like hospital and doctor care.
Also Medicare has built up trust funds over the 50 years using payroll deductions from individuals and employers. The trust funds are not sustainable at predicted usage rates, but it's not like the existing Medicare program did not accumulate any finds for the elderly and disabled. A Medicare-for-All plan does not have 50 years of payroll deductions to help pay for an abrupt shock to the system.
Advocates of Medicare-for-All never mention that Medicare for all is mostly a private sector program where claims are serviced in the private sector along with private sector doctor, nursing, and medicine delivery of goods and services. Medicare is not like the U.K. system where most services are delivered by government employees.
The Nation's analysis of the Defense Department's expenses ignores the fact that even if we entirely eliminated the current Army, Navy, and Air Force the government's obligations to retired and disabled former military personnel would carry on for hundreds of billions of dollars into the indefinite future. And how long would the USA and its Medicare-for-All program survive without any Army, Navy, and Air Force?
The Nation's analysis is an example of totally irresponsible and misleading statistics.
WaPost fact-checker gives Ocasio-Cortez four Pinocchios for Pentagon claim
Krugman redefines ‘Medicare for all,’ but gets it wrong ---
. . .
By Don McCanne, M.D.
“Medicare for all…would mean allowing individuals and employers to buy into Medicare – basically a big public option.” Who says? Well Paul Krugman and many others. This is not simply a debate about labels. This is a debate about fundamental policy. Are we going to accept the status quo with the tweak of a public option, or are we going to address the fundamental defects in our system that have driven up costs, perpetuated mediocrity, and left tens of millions vulnerable with impaired access to health care with all of its consequences and often with intolerable financial hardship?
This is similar to the debate that took place within the Democratic Party just before Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama began jockeying for the 2008 presidential nomination. The Democratic Party machine was in complete control of the policy debate on health care reform. The neoliberal party elite had decided that we were going to “build on what works” – employer-sponsored and union-supported plans – and reject single payer based on their concepts of what was politically feasible. Those of us advocating for the expanded and improved Medicare for all single payer approach were ejected from the conversations (often rudely so – they were in charge!).
Similarly, with the contest for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, the debate at the platform committee confirmed that the battle had not changed. The neoliberal leadership, represented by Neera Tanden, was successful in rejecting the single payer Medicare for all plank.
Tanden, of the Center of American Progress, has continued the fight for control of the policy debate by releasing their new proposal, “Medicare Extra For All.” Although some of the tweaks proposed seem beneficial, it basically continues the current dysfunctional, fragmented financing system, but with one important political change. They have stolen the “Medicare for all” label! This has contributed to the ubiquitous deception that the public option is Medicare for all. When the current candidates campaign on Medicare for all but behind the scenes are supporting an option to buy into Medicare while accepting campaign funds from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, we need to call them on their deception.
It is no wonder the public is confused, even if they do not realize it. When Nobel laureate Paul Krugman jumps in and says Medicare for all is allowing individuals and employers to buy into Medicare as a public option, then we know that the political campaigns are corrupted with deceptions. How can we get the public to understand that a well designed, single payer national health program – a bona fide Improved Medicare for All – is the reform that they crave?
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/