To Accompany the December 27, 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 ---
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?
Wikiquote from Wikipedia --- https://www.wikiquote.org/
Corruption in general has a deleterious effect
on the readiness of economic agents to invest. In the long run, it leads to a
paralysis of economic life. But very often it is not that economic agents
themselves have had the bad experience of being cheated and ruined, they just
know that in this country, or in this part of the economy, or this building
scene, there is a high likelihood that you will get cheated and that free riders
can get away with it. Here again, reputation is absolutely essential, which is
why transparency is so important. Trust can only be engendered by transparency.
It's no coincidence that the name of the most influential non-governmental
organization dealing with corruption is Transparency International.
A Conversation with Karl Sigmund: When Rule of Law is Not Working
Mortgage Backed Securities are like boxes
of chocolates. Criminals on Wall Street and one particular U.S. Congressional
Committee stole a few chocolates from the boxes and replaced them with turds.
Their criminal buddies at Standard & Poors rated these boxes AAA Investment Grade
chocolates. These boxes were then sold all over the world to investors.
Eventually somebody bites into a turd and discovers the crime. Suddenly nobody
trusts American chocolates anymore worldwide. Hank Paulson now wants the
American taxpayers to buy up and hold all these boxes of turd-infested
chocolates for $700 billion dollars until the market for turds returns to
normal. Meanwhile, Hank's buddies, the Wall Street criminals who stole all the
good chocolates are not being investigated, arrested, or indicted. Momma always
said: '"Sniff the chocolates first Forrest." Things generally don't pass the
smell test if they came from Wall Street or from Washington DC.
Forrest Gump as quoted at http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.sport.tennis/2008-10/msg02206.html
Gallup: Americans Say No. 1 Problem is
'Government,' No. 2 is 'Immigration' ---
The Atlantic: The Swiftly Closing
Borders of Europe ---
Italian Minister tells NGO Italy doesn’t want migrants: “Our ports are closed!”
The Guardian: Denmark approves plan to
send foreign criminals to tiny island ---
Papillon starring Steve McQueen ---
enemy is fear
We think it's hate
But, it's fear
13 of the (alleged) most famous last words in
19 unforgettable quotes from legendary Marine
Gen. Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis, who quit as Trump's defense secretary ---
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 ---
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel endorses pension
amendment to Illinois Constitution ---
US News and World Report: How to Fix
Personally, I think that it might be easier to fix Venezuela.
The Atlantic: The First Black
Woman to Lead the (Conservative) Heritage Foundation ---
Calder reviews the literature and shows that
top-down paid leave requirements are likely to be offset by lower wages or fewer
employee benefits of other types. They could also incentivize employers to
discriminate in favor of older workers and against applicants of childbearing
An exception in some EU nations is where taxpayers finance private sector paid leaves. This of course increases taxes. There is also controversy regarding paid leave and job performance. Academics argue that paid leaves increase effectiveness of teaching and research. It's very hard to debate this, however, because there are so many missing variables in literally every study in this regard. One of the complicating factors is when employees who are eligible for paid leave don't take full advantage of this perk.
California Regulators Want to Tax Texts You
Sent 5 Years Ago Although they might not have the legal power to tax texts at
The 2018 Farm Bill is a Disaster ---
The Return of Socialism in the USA ---
Democrats’ 8 plans for universal health care. Here’s
how they work ---
Obamacare funneled a significant amount of money to
hospitals and insurers, while a single-payer system like the one proposed by
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-V.T.) would cut provider payments and largely put private
health insurers out of business ---
Biden Should Run on a Unity Ticket With Romney
It could totally work. Here’s how ---
The article is perhaps overly optimistic about the biggest dividing issues such as immigration, health care, and global warming sacrifices.
90.5 % of the world's plastic waste does not
get recycled. It's the 2018 statistic of the year ---
The Atlantic: Why Hasn’t Australia Had a
Recession in Almost 30 Years?
Trudeau Facing Macron Nightmare as Yellow
Vests Come to Canada, Protest Taxes, Illegals ---
Democrats have gotten too "further out" for
the majority, that party would be wise to take notice.
Outgoing California Governor Jerry (Moonbeam) Brown
'Large Scale Fraud:' Former CNN 'Journalist of
the Year' Forced to Relinquish Title ---
HOW THE FBI RAN AN ILLEGAL COUNTERINTELLIGENCE
MASQUERADE IN PLOT TO GET TRUMP ---
'Fox and Friends' host blasts Trump for
pulling troops out of Syria: 'He said President Obama was the founder of ISIS.
He just refounded ISIS' ---
The Atlantic: Of the trillion photos taken
in 2018, which were the most memorable?
This Surprised Me
How KFC became China's most popular fast-food chain and made nearly $5 billion last year
NYT: As Seas Warm, Galápagos Islands Face a Giant Evolutionary Test ---
The Atlantic: The Quiet Integrity of
General James Mattis ---
State-sponsored Chinese hackers infiltrated
IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, then stole their clients' secrets ---
There's no guarantee that everyone's money
sent in to fund border wall will actually fund the border wall if it goes into
the general fund ---
China forbids Christmas decorations as Xi
Jinping ramps up war against religion and foreign culture ---
In Praise of Christmas Tree Salesmen ---
It's also nice that Christmas tree farms and forests help prevent all the land from being paved over.
How the 14,000 Migrant Children in Federal
Custody Will Spend Christmas ---
The Atlantic: The Trump Administration
Is Closing the Door on Migrant Children ---
Inside Bernie-world's war on Beto O'Rourke ---
CBS: I-Team: Seasonal UPS Workers Had
Almost Entire Paychecks Handed Over To Union ---
Rape gangs are still ravaging Britain and
“it’s worse now than ever before” ---
Humanizing Dick Cheney ---
NBC: Taliban greets Pentagon's
withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan with cries of victory ---
NYT: The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural
Ironically, parts of rural America have the best K-12 schools. Compare college admission test scores in the rural Midwest, West, and New England with test scores of any USA city and even many of the surrounding suburbs. Teachers often seek jobs in rural schools because of the student quality and other factors such as lower housing costs, less traffic and commuting, and lower tension in their jobs.
This does not mean there are not troubles such as delivering local health care and reliance upon distant medical centers such as flagship university hospitals, the Mayo Clinic, and distant urban hospitals.
Rural retail stores have been hit hard by online shopping. Jobs disappear when those stores are boarded over. As the article points out those young people find it harder and harder to have home town careers.
At the same time people like me who worked in large cities (think San Antonio) scoured rural America for a place to retire. In my case I ended up was on the outer edge of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire that has one downtown store.
My closest neighbors are mostly retired folks who moved here from cities where they no longer wanted to live. Rural living for us is great even if we have to drive now and then the Dartmouth Medical Center 50 miles distant. And our closer regional hospital offers a lot of great services from physicians and nurses who escaped the congested living in dreaded cities. And the last thing our fine local teachers want to do is seek higher paying jobs in distant cities.
Bloomberg: Bankruptcy on the Table as Boy Scouts Confront Sex Abuse
Plaintiffs say the Boy Scouts didn’t do enough to protect them. Now the organization is taking measures to protect itself.
Bob Jensen's threads on health care ---
NYT: Choosing the Right Health Savings Account ---
NYT: Fixing Medicare
Democrats’ 8 plans for universal health care. Here’s how they work ---
Obamacare funneled a significant amount of money to hospitals and
insurers, while a single-payer system like the one proposed by Sen. Bernie
Sanders (I-V.T.) would cut provider payments and largely put private health
insurers out of business ---
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/