Tidbits Political Quotations
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 ---

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

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 power ---

The Atlantic:  America's Epidemic of Empty Churches ---


Virginia’s public colleges pose risk to state taxpayers



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 Reality ---
Also see

NYT Investigation:  Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here’s the Reality ---
Bob Jensen's threads on academic cheating ---

UN:  Domestic Violence Is The Most Common Killer Of (Murdered) Women Around The World ---  
Jensen Comment
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." ---
Michelle Obama

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 ---
Jensen Comment
Why is it so surprising? Google is headquartered in California.

Principal bans candy canes, says ‘J shape’ stands for Jesus ---
Jensen Comment
I did not know that --- it could've been Jensen on our tree.

Best and Worst Run States (all 50 ranked) ---
Jensen Comment
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.
Jensen Comment
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

Energy wonks and practitioners have offered a range of arguments against the mandate.

1) Rooftop solar is an extremely expensive way to reduce carbon emissions.

That is the subject of the short but pointed letter that UC Berkeley’s Severin Borenstein sent to CEC Commissioner Robert Weisenmiller, arguing that “residential rooftop solar is a much more expensive way to move towards renewable energy than larger solar and wind installations.” Rooftop solar generates energy anywhere from two to six times the cost of energy from big renewable energy farms.

2) Cheaper emission reductions are easy to find.


They could be had through regulations mandating more urban density, tougher home and vehicle efficiency standards, an increase in the renewable energy mandate, transmission expansion, or almost anything else, really.

3) The mandate will arguably produce no additional emission reductions at all.

California is operating under statewide mandates to reach 50 percent renewable energy, a doubled rate of energy efficiency, and 40 percent carbon reductions by 2030. Mandating one form of renewables doesn’t increase the total amount that will be deployed; it just shuffles the mix around. In this case, the CEC is mandating a more expensive form of renewables, which, all things being equal, will raise the cost of hitting the targets.

4) This rule was rushed into effect without comment from outside energy experts or economists.

The CEC ran an analysis of the mandate’s effect on private homebuyers and found that it would cost them anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 more upfront, but they would save twice that much over the lifetime of the house through lower energy bills — a roughly $40 monthly payment and roughly $80 monthly savings.

However, to my knowledge, there was no comprehensive analysis of the total social costs and benefits of the policy. There’s no way to know if the policy is a net benefit to Californians at all, much less whether it is more beneficial than other possible changes to the building code.

5) California already struggles with an enormous surge of solar power during the day.

The state already has enough solar that during midday, it can drive wholesale energy prices to zero or below. Solar often must be exported or curtailed. Solar’s effect on energy demand is known as the “duck curve,” which puts a strain on the grid.

As Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Ethan Zindler put it, the mandate “has the potential to make the duck curve duckier.” What’s more, much of that rooftop solar cannot be tracked or controlled by the utility (particular smart inverters are required to link a system to the larger grid), so the net effect could be a shakier grid, at least in the short term.


6) Solar eats its own lunch.

Since all solar produces electricity at the same time (when, y’know, the sun is out), each new unit of solar is competing with, and reducing the marginal value of, all the other units. (This price suppression effect, covered in detail in Varun Sivaram’s recent book Taming the Sun, is why falling solar costs are always chasing a receding target.) This is true no matter where the solar is coming from.

It’s possible that by mandating all this new rooftop solar — which must be paid retail rates under the state’s net metering policy, no matter the locational or time-specific value of its power — CEC will not increase the net amount of solar in the state much, or at all. It might just substitute rooftop solar for centralized solar.


7) There’s a housing crisis in California.

And finally, some would argue that it’s ill-advised to raise the upfront cost of housing in a state gripped by a housing crisis. Upfront costs are a particular challenge for middle- and low-income homebuyers, which are being brutalized in the state already.

In short, California’s new rooftop solar mandate might make it more expensive for the state to hit its renewable energy and carbon targets without yielding any net new solar build or emission reductions.

Energy wonks and practitioners have also offered a variety of arguments in support of the mandate.

1) Political will is not fungible.

It is an eternal verity of politics that any new policy is met by wonks explaining why other policies would have been better. But California advocates and policymakers do not get to pick and choose policies like they’re shopping at a supermarket. There was a coalition for this.

As the Washington Examiner writes, “the change had broad support from home builders, state political leaders, and solar advocates.” Also, the CEC was able to make the change without legislative approval. And the costs are concentrated on builders and homeowners rather than the broad public.

All of that is true of an extremely limited set of policies. The right question isn’t whether this change is better than some fantasy wonk bill, but whether it’s better than other policies that actually could have passed or, more likely, the status quo.

2) The CEC probably overestimated costs.

The CEC drew its cost estimates from a comprehensive, top-down report on global clean energy trends from BNEF. But there are many reasons to believe that it is substantially overstating what rooftop solar will cost Californians. BNEF’s report includes the solar rooftop retrofit market, but costs are much lower for new construction, especially as it scales up.

When building solar into new construction, there are no customer acquisition costs and no sales commissions, permitting costs are much lower, financing costs are much lower, there’s already an electrician on site, there are no interconnection applications, etc. Plus, solar panels are cheaper when bought in bulk, and California builders frequently build subdivisions all at once.

“With all these categories added up,” Arizona State University researcher Wesley Herche and John Weaver write in a close analysis in PV Magazine, “this eliminates more than half the cost of a residential system, bringing down the total to $1.12 per watt. From there, the elusive $1/watt is only a few years away in terms of system cost declines.”


3) Scale will bring innovation.

Tesla’s solar roof tiles look expensive now, but when the choice is between building a roof with a rooftop solar system on top of it or building a roof with a solar system built in, the cost calculus will look different. Increasing demand for building-integrated solar products will allow that industry to scale up and bring costs down as well.


4) Cost reductions bleed over.

All of these cost and operational improvements in the solar rooftop industry will bleed over into areas outside the mandate — into the retrofit market, and into other states — making rooftop solar more attractive even in places it isn’t required.

5) Time-of-use rates mean new rooftop solar could drive new storage and demand shifting.

California’s three big utilities are shifting to time-of-use rates for residential customers — meaning ratepayers will be charged more for electricity when it is more valuable. This will also affect net metering; if retail rates are lower during the midday solar surge, net metering compensation will be lower too.

That will give homeowners incentive to shift some of their solar energy around, which they can do with home energy storage — and helpfully, under the new building code, storage counts as compliance with efficiency mandates. That should get a lot of storage, and with it a lot of responsive demand, into California homes, which should help stabilize the grid.

6) Jamming new distributed solar onto the grid forces utilities to make needed changes.

This effect is difficult to quantify or fully predict, but by forcing so much rooftop solar into the market, the mandate could have the effect of forcing changes that need to be made anyway, like standardizing the use of smart inverters that give utilities visibility into home solar systems and properly incentivizing demand response.

Utilities are often loath to make life easier for distributed energy (they don’t like what they don’t own), but this mandate could force the issue, taking power out of utilities’ hands and putting it into consumers’.

7) Solar will become more visible, familiar, and contagious.

Also difficult to quantify: By making rooftop solar so much more common and familiar, like just another home appliance, the mandate will help answer consumer questions and ease consumer fears. As Abigail Ross Hopper, head of the Solar Energy Industries Association, told GTM, “I can’t overstate how strongly I feel about normalizing the solar experience so it feels less risky to the consumer.”

Researchers have already shown that solar panels are contagious — when people see them, they want them. And that effect could redound beyond solar, helping normalize renewable energy (and carbon policy) more generally. (Though, if we’re being honest, it’s already pretty normal in California.)


8) Rooftop solar and efficiency could help displace natural gas.

California now burns as much natural gas in buildings as it does in power plants. Reducing that means increasing efficiency and electrifying heating and cooling. (The state has a natural gas utility that is opposing electrification efforts; it remains very difficult for the average California homeowner to fully electrify.) Solar on every new home, plus mandates for highly efficient appliances, could drive electrification and displace natural gas.


9) The housing market will be fine.

The additional upfront costs to homeowners from the mandate are relatively small (again, probably much smaller than CEC estimated), especially compared to the thicket of other charges and barriers facing them in California — and the general effect of skyrocketing prices.

And remember, only the initial homebuyer pays the upfront costs, while every subsequent owner benefits from the energy savings. And, who knows, if the mandate does affect home prices on the margin, it might shift incentives toward building taller residences, which god knows California could use.

In short, California’s rooftop solar mandate will radically expand the rooftop solar market, drive down residential solar costs in other markets and states, shift more power into consumer hands, stimulate demand response and storage that will help grid flexibility, push technological innovation, and create jobs. It’s not a first-best policy, but given the urgency of the problem, it’s a good enough one.  ¯

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.

Jensen Comment
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." ---

Jensen Comment
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.


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.


Richard Sansing



Nate Silver --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nate_Silver

Election Forecasting is Complicated
Nate Silver on FiveThirtyEight:  How FiveThirtyEight’s 2018 Midterm Forecasts Did ---

Jensen Comment
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 ---

. . .

There isn’t a single piece of information produced by the CDC yesterday that would point to a deteriorating health care system or a poorly functioning one as the cause of the decrease in life expectancy.


In fact, the opposite may be true. For example, although the overall life expectancy dropped, the death rate amongst members of every age group except 25-44 year-olds and those over 84 years of age actually improved. Indeed, in those groups engaged in greater health care consumption and therefore more impacted by its quality (the 45-74 year olds) the mortality actually dropped.


And although one could correctly argue that 85 year-olds and older are also consumers of healthcare, the issues at play in this group are much more complicated and no conclusion could be gleamed from the data available. It was in those age groups that are not large consumers of health care where the mortality rate rose.

So, if it isn’t healthcare, what could be causing the death rates of 25-44 year-olds to rise so precipitously? The CDC, Dr. Raj, and even the Wall Street Journal answered this question: accidents and suicides made for a rising incidence of deaths, with smaller increases from pneumonia and influenza.  


Indeed, for the two biggest killers and the two most directly affected by the quality of healthcare delivered — heart disease and cancer — the death rates diminished markedly. (See Tables below.)

Continued in article

How to mislead with statistics
Jim Borden:  America’s Biggest Fears – and Mine

Jensen Comment
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.


Unfortunately, it’s not true.


The idea spread like a game of telephone from a Nation article to the US Congress while losing a crucial point of detail: The Pentagon’s accounting errors are genuinely enormous, but they’re also just accounting errors — they don’t represent actual money that can be spent on something else.

Proponents of this vision have the political wind at their backs and continue to deploy the idea effectively to win intra-party arguments without really making any headway on the core obstacles to writing a Medicare-for-all bill that could become law. That said, to the extent that political power rather than concrete legislation is the goal, that’s probably for the best.

Misunderstandings fly around on Twitter all the time, and AOC’s level of policy knowledge is pretty typical for a member of Congress. But this particular flub is telling about progressive frustration over the double standard on military versus non-military spending, and also the fraught state of play regarding the push for a Medicare-for-all program.

The Pentagon’s mystery $21 trillion, explained

The underlying article by Dave Lindorff in the Nation that kicked this off is an investigative report into the Defense Department’s accounting practices. Lindorff reveals that Pentagon accounting is quite weak, that the department keeps flunking outside audits, that funds are shifted between accounts without proper oversight, and that overall documentation of what’s actually happening with the Pentagon’s vast budget is extremely poor.

Lindorff goes beyond these observations to allege that what’s happening amounts to deliberate fraud, the purpose of which is to persuade Congress to increase appropriations levels beyond what would otherwise be approved.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
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?




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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

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