To Accompany the July 31, 2019 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
My Latest Web Document
Over 400 Examples of Critical Thinking and Illustrations of How to Mislead With Statistics ---
Animated Visualization of the United States’ Exploding Population Growth
Over 200 Years (1790 – 2010) ---
A Visualization of the United States’ Exploding Population Growth Over 200 Years (1790 – 2010)
USA Debt Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
The published debt is a lie
Here's the real booked debt ---
Financial State of the Union ---
Unbooked entitlements (think Medicare and Medicaid) are over $100 trillion before a Democrat is elected President.
Read It and Weep
Financial State of the Union --- https://www.truthinaccounting.org/news/detail/financial-state-of-the-union
In September 2017 the USA National Debt exceeded $22 trillion for the first time
Human Population Over Time on Earth ---
move is underway to destroy the American Dream of rags to riches (by taxing away
the riches) the Chinese dream is on the rise.
The Chinese Dream
How a Chinese billionaire went from making $16 a month in a factory to being one of the world's richest self-made women with an $8.3 billion real-estate empire ---
Top 50 Billionaires in China ---
The question for students to debate is why a supposed communist country allows so many billionaires to rise up from poverty.
That's supposed to happen in the USA where a child growing up in deep poverty (think Oprah Winfrey or Howard Shultz) became a multi-billionaires.
But is it also supposed to happen under communism? If so, why?
One reason is that many billionaires can afford to pour lots of money into high risk ventures. When's the last time you heard about a high risk (think Silicon Valley) venture in Europe?
Wikiquote from Wikipedia --- https://www.wikiquote.org/
History will prove former President Donald
Trump was correct about Mexico one day funding an impenetrable wall --- to keep
out over 2 billion starving green immigrants seeking to enter Mexico from the
Some Fatherly Words of Wisdom from Jack Bogle, Founder
of Vanguard Investments, to My Sons ---
Left’s Anti-Capitalist Manifesto: Its goal is to remake our economic system —
and the Democratic Party ---
I have a complaint about America today, and it
is simple: we don’t love business enough ---
Praise of Cheap Labor," by Paul Krugman,
Slate, March 21, 1997 ---
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
It is not that machines are going to replace
chemists. It’s that the chemists who use machines will replace those that don’t
Gallup: Americans Say No. 1 Problem is
'Government,' No. 2 is 'Immigration' ---
"If you open the borders, my God, there's a
lot of poverty in this world, and you're going to have people from all over the
world. And I don't think that's something that we can do at this point."
Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em, And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so on ad infinitum ---
Augustus De Morgan
Prior to 1980 what was unique about the year of his birth in 1871?
12 inspiring quotes from Martin Luther King
21 oustanding Warren Buffet quotations ---
The Atlantic: The Swiftly Closing
Borders of Europe ---
Italian Minister tells NGO Italy doesn’t want migrants: “Our ports are closed!”
enemy is fear
We think it's hate
But, it's fear
13 of the (alleged) most famous last words in
21 of Michelle Obama's most inspiring quotes
on work, success, and relationships ---
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 ---
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 ---
Bernie Sanders’ New Campaign Advisor David Sirota Once Touted
Hugo Chavez’s ‘Economic Miracle’ in Venezuela ---
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
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.
There 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.
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.
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
Today, humanity fabricates 1,000 times more
transistors annually than the entire world grows grains of wheat and rice
I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig.
... You get dirty and besides the pig likes it ---
George Bernard Shaw
You can get a lot farther with a smile and a
gun than you can with just a smile.
From John F. Kennedy to Oprah and Steve Jobs,
here are 20 of the best commencement speeches of all time ---
21 quotes from self-made billionaires that
will change your outlook on money ---
The Best Advice from 2018's Celebrity
Commencement Speakers ---
If the end brings me out all right, what is
said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten
angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
Lincoln on How to Handle Criticism ---
The Economist: A new kind of left-wing
doctrine is emerging. It is not the answer to capitalism’s problems ---
Peter Thiel: FBI, CIA Must Investigate 'Treasonous' Google ---
An Illustrated Version of The Mueller Report:
Read Online an Edition Created by the Author of Black Hawk Down and an
Illustrator from Archer ---
Unwanted Diversity: The University of
Minnesota’s Board of Regents told Joan Gabel, new president of the institution,
that it should work harder to recruit students from conservative and rural parts
of the state ---
fasten Your Seat Belts: William Darity Jr.
and Darrick Hamilton advising the Democratic Party ---
No Mention is made about what happens to the USA when 2 billion refugees from poverty pour through open borders. Derrick Hamilton argues against open borders because they will lower wages ---
The EPA Blames Six Asian Nations That The U.S.
Exports Plastic Waste to for Ocean Pollution ---
Black Lives Matter Leader Calls Terrorist Who
Tried to Massacre Border Patrol Officials “Martyr” ---
What is the America-China Trade War All About?
The Nordics: Market economies that are
just as business-friendly as the US ---
Biden: AOC and allies don’t represent 'the
majority,' Pelosi 'knows what she’s doing' ---
A jury found an electrical engineer and University of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA) professor guilty of exporting stolen U.S. military technology to China
Google VP grilled by senators over allegations of
tech giant's intentional censorship and bias against conservatives ---
Bob Jensen's threads on media bias ---
Trump also wants Google investigated for treason: He claims that the company was invaded by Chinese agents
Walter E. Williams: Things Haven't Always
Been This Way ---
Peter Thiel, Trump's biggest fan in Silicon
Valley, says he is 'most scared' of Elizabeth Warren in the presidential race ---
Jones Writer: Warren’s Immigration Plan ‘De Facto Open Borders’---
An open invitation to billions of poor people around the world: The beginning of the end for the USA economy
Thomas Robert Malthus ---
Taking Malthus Seriously (using econometrics) ---
Alexis de Tocqueville’s Prediction of How
American Democracy Could Lapse Into Despotism, Read by Michel Houellebecq ---
Elizabeth Warren's Wealth Tax Won't Work
Why no #MeToo for domestic violence?
Thousands of truck drivers have lost their jobs
this year in the trucking 'bloodbath.' Here's what's behind the slowdown in the
$800 billion industry ---
Littered cigarette butts are the most widespread
man-made pollutant and they harm plant growth, according to study ---
A huge majority of Americans want a $15 minimum
wage, but they waver after hearing its economic impact ---
Paris Scorches in Historic Drought as Heatwave
Fries Europe ---
It must be luck, but 2019 thus far is the coolest and wettest summer I can remember in my 13 years of retirement in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The grass is green everywhere and our air conditioners are off --- what a break. My wife says I should not say such things with August still coming up.
More Proof That Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is
Clueless as to What Happens When You Give Away Money ---
The Next Big College Scandal? Parents Giving Up Guardianship for Aid (and possibly student loan forgiveness) ----
Unprofessional Journalism: The Mueller
The Atlantic" The spectacular PT Barnum
More than 80% of global energy still comes from
fossil fuels ---
Of course some of it's renewable such as the burning of biomass (mostly wood chips) in the USA and yak dung in Tibet. Biomass is more like coal in the sense that it sends carbon into the heavens.
A controversial deal between US and Guatemala
could reshape the asylum process ---
How many billions in cash should we throw at global drug dealers to solve our illegal immigration problem?
Media Overhypes Russian Hacking, Again
Socialist Chicago alderman floats municipal
takeover of ComEd ---
How does a city with lousy credit while on the verge of bankruptcy come up with the tens of billions of dollars need to buy ComEd come up with that kind of money?
A Key Reason the Fed Struggles to Hit 2%
Inflation: Uncooperative Prices ---
See the full article at
Harris Would Give Billions to HBCUs and
Minority-Serving Colleges ---
All Kamala's Camelot promised spending programs are for very worthy causes. The problem is that her proposed new spending aggregates to over $20 trillion per year --- for which the only way to fund them is to print $20 trillion dollars. Welcome to USA Zimbabwe and Venezuela. I wonder if she even knows what happened to prices in Germany's Weimar Republic
Kamala Harris' New Health Care Plan, Like Her
Old Health Care Plan, Is a Cynical, Muddled Mess ---
ACLJ Obtains DOJ’s Immunity Agreements with
Hillary’s Lawyers to ‘Dispose of Evidence and Refuse to Comply with Federal Law’
Toronto's astonishing growth: Will it matter to
Given the problems (such as doubling housing costs) highlighted in the article, the question is why would Buffalo want such "astonishing growth." I might point out that, although Toronto's growth is largely from recent immigrations, the immigrants are Canadian legal immigrants. Canada does not have a problem with illegal unskilled and disabled immigration that's bringing hordes into the USA daily. Canada's immigrants usually have money (you can buy citizenship in Canada) and/or skills that justify admitting them legally. Where I retired in the White Mountains of New Hampshire there's a population loss. Alas, my house would take great leaps in value in Toronto whereas here I expect my children will one day sell it for a loss. But I really like getting on I-93 at 8:00 am and not seeing another vehicle when I drive to my barber. I like the quiet nights and a darkness that descends so that I can vividly see the lights of in space in total silence. I'm entertained by watching a bear, a fox, a hawk, or an eagle in my front yard. I know that kind of life can't last for us "mountaineers" but while I'm alive I'm glad I don't live in Toronto or Chicago or San Francisco or Miami or Dallas or Atlanta. But in fairness, I'm also glad I'm not looking for a job in these mountains. A lot can be said for retirement in a state without income taxes and sales taxes ---
Some of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories
Read It and Weep
Financial State of the Union
The U.S. government is the largest, most diverse, most complex and arguably the most important financial entity in the world. The Department of Treasury, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget, annually prepares the Financial Report of the United States Government. Included in the report are the government’s balance sheet, liabilities, notes to the financial statements, and management discussion and analysis. The data reported in this Financial State of the Union comes from that report.
Certain material weaknesses in financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of the auditors’ work resulted in a disclaimer of opinion, which means the auditors could not form an opinion on the report. While the U.S. Comptroller General cautions the readers of the Financial Report that amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and related notes may not be reliable, this Financial Report remains the best information available on the federal government’s financial condition.
Our Financial State of the Union report found that the financial condition of the U.S. government worsened by $4.5 trillion in 2018. The report also breaks down the national debt to a per-Taxpayer Burden, which is each taxpayer's share of the federal government's bills after assets have been tapped.
Details are at
Walter E. Williams --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_E._Williams
Walter E. Williams: Politicians who call for law and order are often
viewed negatively, but poor people are more dependent on law and order than
anyone else ---
Let's think about priorities. Say that you live in one of the dangerous high crime and poor schooling neighborhoods of cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, or St. Louis. Which is most important to you: doing something about public safety and raising the quality of education or, as most black politicians do, focusing energies upon President Donald Trump and who among the 20 presidential contenders will lead the Democratic Party? The average American has no inkling about the horrible conditions in which many blacks live. Moreover, they wouldn't begin to tolerate living under those conditions themselves.
In Chicago, one person is shot every four hours and murdered every 18 hours. Similar crime statistics can be found in many predominantly black neighborhoods in Baltimore, Detroit, St. Louis, and many other large cities. It's not just an issue of public safety, for high crime has other devastating consequences.
Crime lowers the value of property. We can see some of this when housing prices skyrocket in formerly high crime areas when large numbers of middle- and upper-income people purchase formerly run-down properties and fix them up. This is called gentrification — wealthier, predominantly white, people move in to renovate and restore slum housing in inner cities, causing higher rental prices and forcing low-income residents out. Also, as a result of gentrification, crime falls and neighborhood amenities increase.
The high crime rates in many black neighborhoods have the full effect of outlawing economic growth and opportunities. Here's a tiny example of the impact of crime on businesses. In low crime communities, supermarket managers may leave plants, fertilizer and other home and garden items outdoors, unattended and often overnight. If one even finds a supermarket in a high crime neighborhood, then that store must hire guards, and the manager cannot place items outside unguarded or near exits. They cannot use all the space that they lease, and hence they are less profitable. Who bears the ultimate cost of crime? If you said black people, you're right. Black people must bear the expense to go to suburban shopping malls if they are to avoid the higher prices charged by mom and pop shops.
In low crime neighborhoods, FedEx, UPS, and other delivery companies routinely leave packages that contain valuable merchandise on a doorstep if no one is at home. That saves the expense of redelivery and saves recipients the expense of having to go pick up the packages. In high crime neighborhoods, delivery companies leaving packages at the door and supermarkets leaving goods outside unattended would be equivalent to economic suicide.
Today's level of lawlessness and insecurity in many black communities is a relatively new phenomenon. In the 1950s, '40s, '30s and earlier times, people didn't bar their windows. Doors were often left unlocked. People didn't go to bed to the sounds of gunshots. And black people didn't experience anything like what's experienced in Chicago and other cities such as one person being shot every four hours and murdered every 18 hours. The uninformed blames today's chaos on discrimination and poverty. That doesn't even pass the smell test, unless one wants to argue that historically there was less racial discrimination and poverty than today.
. . .
Ultimately, the solution to high crime rests with black people. Given the current political environment, it doesn't benefit a black or white politician to take those steps necessary to crack down on lawlessness in black communities. That means black people must become intolerant of criminals making their lives living hell, even if it requires taking the law into their own hands.
Continued in article
Taxpayers are spending more per pupil inside Chicago than in the suburbs or rural Illinois. Throwing money at teachers unions has not solved the education problem. Busing has not solved the problem. Giving houses away for $1 has not solved the problem. And building new high rises for the homeless won't solve the problem.
Perhaps paying fathers by the day to help teach their children at home will be a start.
Why must African Americans become pawns white socialists intent on overthrowing the USA?
Destruction of the USA economy is not going to brings African Americans prosperity.
It totally mystifies me why the Russians are supporting the capitalist hawks in USA politics rather than the socialists and pacifists. Why Donald Trump rather than open border advocates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren?
Sales Tax --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_tax
. . .
Conventional or retail sales tax is levied on the sale of a good to its final end user and is charged every time that item is sold retail. Sales to businesses that later resell the goods are not charged the tax. A purchaser not an end user is usually issued a "resale certificate" by the taxing authority and required to provide the certificate (or its ID number) to a seller at the point of purchase, along with a statement that the item is for resale. The tax is otherwise charged on each item sold to purchasers without such a certificate and who are under the jurisdiction of the taxing authority
Other types of sales taxes, or similar taxes
- Manufacturers' sales tax, a tax on sales of tangible personal property by manufacturers and producers.
- Wholesale sales tax, a tax on sales of wholesale of tangible personal property when in a form packaged and labeled ready for shipment or delivery to final users and consumers.
- Retail sales tax, a tax on sales of retail of tangible personal property to final consumers and industrial users.
Most countries in the world have sales taxes or value-added taxes at all or several of the national, state, county, or city government levels. Countries in Western Europe, especially in Scandinavia, have some of the world's highest valued-added taxes. Norway, Denmark and Sweden have higher VATs at 25%, Hungary has the highest at 27% although reduced rates are used in some cases, as for groceries, art, books and newspapers.
In some jurisdictions of the United States, there are multiple levels of government which each impose a sales tax. For example, sales tax in Chicago (Cook County), IL is 10.25%, consisting of 6.25% state, 1.25% city, 1.75% county and 1% regional transportation authority. Chicago also has the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority tax on food and beverage of 1% (which means eating out is taxed at 11.25%).
For Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the tax is 9.45%, which is 4.45% state & 5% local. In Los Angeles it is 9.5%, which is 7.25% state & 2.25% county.
In California, sales taxes are made up of various state, county and city taxes. The state tax is "imposed upon all retailers" for the "privilege of selling tangible personal property at retail". Strictly speaking, only the retailer is responsible for the payment of the tax; when a retailer adds this tax to the purchase price, the consumer is merely reimbursing the retailer by contractual agreement. When consumers purchase goods from out-of-state (in which case the seller owes no tax to California) the consumer is required to pay a "use tax" identical to the sales tax. Use tax is levied upon the "storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property". Consumers are responsible for declaring these purchases in the same filing as their annual state income tax, but it is rare for them to do so. An exception is out-of-state purchase of automobiles. Then, use tax is collected by the state as part of registering the vehicle in California.
The trend has been for conventional sales taxes to be replaced by more broadly based value-added taxes. Value -added taxes provide an estimated 20% of worldwide tax revenue and have been adopted by more than 140 countries. The United States is now one of the few countries to retain conventional sales taxes
Continued in article
A Great Debate Article for Accounting, Law, Economics, Sociology, and
Political Science Courses
The Taxes Of San Francisco: Bay Area In Vanguard Of Tax Increase Movement ---
San Francisco is emerging as one of the most receptive places in the country for new taxes.
In recent weeks:
· San Francisco leaders supported the proposed overhaul of the city’s gross receipts tax structure, which would be the fourth tax-raising proposal on the city’s November ballot.
· A San Francisco Superior Court judge upheld an initiative raising commercial lease taxes to fund early childhood education and upheld a Salesforce.com-backed initiative imposing gross receipts taxes on companies earning more than $50 million to support homeless services.
· A pair of recent court rulings upheld locally passed tax initiatives—including one backing the city’s authority to seek taxes from drivers who use paid parking lots at state universities—which could embolden tax enthusiasts in San Francisco even more.
“I think SF is going to be the poster child, one way or another, for aggressively looking for money from business,” Joseph Bankman, Stanford University professor of law and business, said in an email.
Expect a ripple effect as local officials around the state talk about what worked in San Francisco and how to push the envelope in their own localities, said Rex Hime, president and CEO of the California Business Properties Association. The trade group’s members include Target Inc., Regency Centers Corp., and CBRE Group Inc.
“I think we all know that once something violates the process that others certainly follow suit thereafter, so we anticipate there will be a lot of these kinds of elections up and down the state,” Hime said. The impact is clear for his members: “The property owners can‘t leave. The tenants can.”
Voters over the past two decades approved taxes to pay for services or programs on top of existing taxes used to cover bonds and schools. Governments and taxpayers probably haven’t yet reached the tax saturation point but may be there in a decade, said Larry Tramutola, an election consultant who shepherded successful sugar-sweetened beverage taxes in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany, Calif., and Boulder, Colo.
“And no one knows when the golden goose is going to stop laying the golden eggs. But at some point, there’s going to be fewer eggs or no eggs in some communities. We just haven’t gotten there yet.” Tramutola said.
Setting the Trend
For now, San Francisco is the trendsetter. It’s the first major California city to test a state Supreme Court decision involving the Southern California city of Upland that supported the argument that tax initiatives by local governments can pass by a simple majority vote.
“The July 5th ruling would open the door for local governments to use the initiative process to avoid the two-thirds voter approval margin entirely and pass more special taxes, but next we will see how the Court of Appeal interprets the issues,” Laura Dougherty, a staff attorney with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which challenged the initiatives, said in an email. Howard Jarvis and the California Business Properties Association filed a notice of appealJuly 8.
San Francisco leaders, in addition to putting the gross receipts overhaul on the ballot, are supporting three new taxes for the November election: an excessive CEO salary tax, a 1.5% to 3.25% tax on shared rides, and a stock-based compensation tax.
“Regardless, all of these tax measures will require voter approval within the City and County of San Francisco,” said Kelly Salt, a public finance partner with Best Best & Krieger LLP in San Diego. “And as you well know, the cost of living there is already very high and will become more burdensome as a result of tax measures such as these. Ultimately, it is a matter of how much more of a tax burden voters are willing to tolerate.”
Gross Receipts Revamp
Mayor London Breed (D) and board President Norman Yee asked the city controller to develop a next-generation tax to replace the gross receipts structure voters adopted in 2012. That measure, also led by the Controller’s office, was implemented to phase out the much-despised 1.5% payroll tax. The payroll tax now stands at 0.38%, as the phase out hasn’t been completely revenue neutral.
Breed and Yee requested an initiative to create a more efficient tax system while ensuring the system is fair and equitable, including for small businesses. The effort would also identify ways to generate additional revenue to address the cost of housing and homelessness, support youth and families, improve behavioral health, and enhance the city’s public transportation system, a July 3 statement said.
An overarching plan is needed for San Francisco’s “current very complex patchwork of taxes, suspension of phase outs, more proposals on the way,” said Charles Moll III, a McDermott Will & Emery LLP tax law partner in San Francisco. But “any talk about a fair and equitable system usually means new and higher taxes.”
Michael Colantuono, managing partner and municipal finance attorney at Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley PC in Grass Valley, Calif., shrugged at San Francisco’s latest effort. “LA periodically goes through business tax reviews. Goal is always to maintain or increase revenues while reducing bureaucratic impositions on business. Their lack of success explains why my So Cal office is in Pasadena,” Colantuono said in an email.
Fueling Tax Fire
San Francisco used the Upland decision for a City Attorney opinionto conclude “it seems very likely that voters may now propose special taxes by initiative subject only to majority vote.”
“In light of the multiple lawsuits filed to date, the courts or, ultimately, the California Supreme Court, will have to answer the question of whether the Upland ruling extends to the voter approval threshold for citizen initiatives proposing special taxes,” said Best Best & Krieger’s Salt.
Ultimately, Salt said, California voters may be the ones to answer this question by amending the state constitution. Until then, local governments leave themselves open for litigation whether they collect a special tax approved by majority vote or decline to collect it, she said.
San Francisco Dreaming
San Francisco’s push for new taxes may be replicated by other local governments.
“Locals are always eager for new revenues for many reasons that can lead to desperate measures such as trying to enact new taxes that often are not well designed. Locals face challenges of an eroding sales tax base in California. As we move to more services and digital goods, and less tangible personal property, locals see reduced sales tax collection,” said Annette Nellen, director of San Jose State University’s master of taxation program.
Many places that tax goods, say weights bought at Wal-Mart to use in the garage, don’t tax services, say fees at the local gym where users can lift weights untaxed, said Tracy Gordon, senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.
“The point is it is consumption. People who have a lot of resources, you can decide whether you tax their income or yoga studios. Yoga studios are a great thing to tax because they’re not mobile because they’re trying to serve a community or neighborhood,” said Gordon.
Among those waiting to see what happens with San Francisco’s litigation are Oakland and Fresno. Oakland, across San Francisco Bay, is defending its decision to declare a parcel tax was valid even though the measure only received a majority vote. In the Central San Joaquin Valley, Fresno was sued for not validating a sales tax measure that only received 52.17% of the vote.
Continued in article
The most controversial tax proposal is the "gross receipts (sales) " tax on gross revenue as opposed to net income taxes. Corporate net income taxes are fundamental Federal and most states of the USA. Taxes on gross revenues are much more controversial they vary selectively between different counties within a given state and when they vary between vendors (such has those having more than $50 million in sales).
More often than not, business firms do not pay any taxes and manage to merely collect all taxes from customers. For example, if San Francisco imposes an added local sales tax on its famous SF sourdough bread the SF sellers of that bread easily pass the tax along by raising bread prices. The exception arises where competitive pricing prevents raising prices for new local taxes. For example, it's pretty easy to raise the price of sourdough bread sales or alcohol sales in San Francisco. However, there's a limit to how much SF hotels can pass along steep local hotel sales tax increases. The reason is that convention planners for business firms and other organizations (think of American Accounting Association having its annual convention in SF in August 2019) might not ever return to SF if the prices of hotel rooms in SF become outrageously high relative to convention locations in other USA cities.
There's also a potential problem of double taxation. For example, if a sourdough bread manufacturer in San Francisco sells bread online around the world it's possible that San Francisco taxes the sale of the bread to Portland, Oregon customers. But what if Portland, Oregon also taxes the the online sales of this incoming sourdough bread to Portland, Oregon customers. There are ways of getting around double taxation, but it can get complicated.
The Tragic Outcome
Building housing for homeless only attracts more homeless than you can possibly house, especially if your open borders new policy opens the gates to billions of poor and disabled around the world. The Nordic nations along with the rest of the EU would never dream of such a tragic open borders policy that would destroy their economies. But Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and most other Democratic candidates are promising open borders along with free college, guaranteed annual income, free food, and free health care.
Mother Jones Writer: Warren’s Immigration Plan ‘De Facto Open
An open invitation to billions of poor people around the world: The beginning of the end for the USA economy, stock markets, bond markets, and pensions.
Why doesn't any other developed nation have open borders?
Suggestion for AAA Members at the August Annual Meetings: Have at least one thick slice of unique SF sourdough bread glopped in chunks of real butter. Also watch where you step while taking walks outdoors.
And lastly, avoid looking at the tax added to your bill when checking out of the hotel.
Heads Up, California (and Oregon and New York): Sydney Has Figured Out How
to Get the Rents Down ---
Sydney, Australia, may not be New York or London or Los Angeles, but it's a big city with a population approaching five million. It's got more people than the San Francisco area.
But unlike San Francisco (or Los Angeles, or several other major American cities), rental prices in some parts of Sydney are seeing a massive decline—as much as 100 Australian dollars a week in some places.
It is not some magical mystery as to why Sydney's rental prices are declining. And it's certainly not due to rent control. It's because Sydney's seeing a building boom. The size of Sydney's apartment market has doubled in two years, and landlords have had to drop rents in order to get tenants.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported over the weekend that the city has seen more than 30,800 multi-unit dwellings built last year, a record for any Australian city. And there still are nearly 200,000 additional dwellings in various stages of development. The city is seeing a glut driven by investors. And those investors are now leasing out the apartments.
This overabundance in rental properties has spread across the economic spectrum. Median rents in some more expensive parts of the city range around $1,400–$1,700 a month (in U.S. dollars). But there are parts of town where the median rental price is $850 a month, thanks in part to the oversupply. The glut ranges from simple apartments to townhouses, highlighting an outcome understood by those who are simply begging cities to allow more housing of any kind to be built: An increase in the supply of middle- and upper-class housing will give better choices to people moving up the economic ladder, freeing up older housing and making it more accessible to people with lower incomes.
Compare these numbers to San Francisco and its stagnant housing market. In June, median rental rates there for one-bedroom apartments passed $3,600 a month.
A policy expert for Tenants Guild of New South Wales makes it clear to the newspaper that he understands exactly why rents are coming down: "At a city-wide level, we've had rent prices set by restrictive supply for at least 14 years, probably longer. It will take more than a few quarters for prices to correct to equilibrium."
Rent prices set by restrictive supply, you say? And yet, in California, attempts to bring down sky-high rents by allowing more housing developments keep hitting walls from entrenched interests with a financial stake in keeping things the way they are. That includes current property owners who benefit from the high rates, and it includes construction unions that want their slice of the pie and are willing to abuse the legal process in order to get it.
Meanwhile, homelessness skyrockets. And rather than fixing the problem with more housing, some city leaders prefer to beg the feds for money.
When the Legal and Financial Systems Become Dysfunctional: India's
Externality --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality
The EPA Blames Six Asian Nations That The U.S. Exports
Plastic Waste to for Ocean Pollution ---
This illustration of externalities is especially important for economics and business courses. Since over half the world population dumps plastic into ocean currents running toward the USA it's likely that USA exports of plastic waste to those six (now five) countries ends up as a significant portion of the plastics headed for the Western Hemisphere. China recently stopped importing USA plastic waste but that's not expected to make any dent on the plasticizing of the Pacific Ocean. Much greater effort (especially research) must be made into making plastic waste profitable. Meanwhile more regulation is desperately needed.
of Trade ---
half of the USA trading deficit is caused by trade with China ---
is the America-China Trade War All About?
NYT's Tom Friedman: Trump Is Right About Trade
Relationship with China ---
Truth in Accounting awards Chicago 'F' grade ---
For details see
. . .
“We found that Chicago’s leaders have failed to address the structural problems weakening its financial system, instead plugging the holes with short-term fixes,” said TIA founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg. “When the bills come due, Chicago politicians are going to face a lose-lose dilemma: reduce services and benefits, or fix the problem on the backs of future taxpayers.”
Fiscal accountability in U.S. politics often focuses on highly visible federal budgets or the national debt. Truth in Accounting has repeatedly found that poor budgeting and accounting practices at the city and state levels of government presents equally alarming threats.
Seems like the GASB has a long way to go ---
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on July 25, 2019
In a small California city, America’s highest minimum wage is causing a debate over how to balance boosting wages for the lowest-paid workers and ensuring small businesses can afford to keep employing them.
Showing once again that minimum wages are more of a problem for small businesses than for Walmart and Amazon that are not located in small villages with less than 1,000 people --- small town businesses that struggle to make any profits and endure losses in some seasons (think a small New England inn in the winter and spring). Actually I've recently discovered how the inn down the road from me charging a $300 average (with tax) per night for a room is struggling with competition from Airbnb renting scenic entire houses (think four bedrooms and a garage) for $200 per night in very scenic locales.
The high-labor inn across from me is once
again is trying to lift itself out of bankruptcy while the Airbnbs are doing
The Sunset Hill House --- https://www.thesunsethillhouse.com/
course vary, but up here in small-village Sugar Hill (one store downtown) you
can rent a picture-perfect farm house for $200 per night, a ski chalet on Cannon
Mtn for $200 a night, and the historic dairy barn film Bette Davis hauled in
from Vermont and rebuilt into her main home (rent now for $300 per night) ---
Airbnbs can also make labor-saving deals like bring your own sheets and towels and bring your own breakfasts.
The bottom line is do you want to pay $300 per night per room with a view versus $300 per night for four bedrooms in wooded seclusion, a fully-equipped kitchen, a huge family room, and a deck with a view --- all for $300 per night --- with much more privacy for your family and friends?
New Hampshire has not yet doubled the minimum wage to $15 per hour, but when it does hundreds of struggling inns and other small businesses end up in bankruptcy court (yet again).
In small villages doubling the minimum wage will wipe out jobs, once again driving people to the bigger cities.
Equifax Might Owe You $125 for Its Massive Data Breach. Here's How to File
a Claim ---
More Proof That Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is
Clueless as to What Happens When You Give Away Money ---
You might be a bigger lottery winner (hundreds of millions of dollars to you and your lawyer) if you used Johnson and Johnson talcum powder or sprayed for weeds around you house with Roundup and got cancer (doesn't matter what really caused the cancer). Seems like $125 is maybe not worth your time, but why not?
Margaret Mead --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Mead
How the misadventures of Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson shaped
. . .
But Mead was feeling the tug toward a more ambitious, all-encompassing science. She could claim no theoretical advance as her own, no broad finding that people would recognize as a signature contribution. “I find I am growing more and more cynical all the time about good work winning through,” she complained to Benedict.
Since finishing her doctorate, she had failed to land a professorial position. Her annual salary as an assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History was a little under $2,400. Benedict at least had an academic job; she had recently been elevated from a lectureship to an assistant professorship in Boas’s department, earning about $3,600 a year — although this was still far less than the salary of a male visiting scholar. Mead worried that she herself was fated to be little more than a popularizer or, as she had once complained, “that awful animal a ‘lady scientist.’”
By her 30th birthday, Mead had become one of the most recognizable names in anthropology — at least to non-anthropologists. Newspapers and magazines quoted her as an authority on marriage, child-rearing, adolescence, and other subjects. Coming of Age in Samoa was one of the very few books in the field that people outside academia could name. But she wondered what you had to sacrifice to make sure that your work mattered in the world. “I don’t think having the worst paid job in the Museum, and never having been offered another job, and having been panned or damned with faint praise in all the journals of my own science, is wonderful recognition,” she said to Benedict. You needed academic prestige to make your ideas stick, and so far that was very much lacking.
As the Grantwood evenings showed, it was hard to separate your scholarly work from the swirl of relationships — academic, professional, social, romantic — that developed as you tried both to write your books and to live your life. Can what you produce ever really be divorced from your own biography, the ties you forge and then forget, the horrors and mishaps that you sweep neatly behind the footnotes and reference lists? Especially if you’re a social scientist, what happens to the adjective as you shape yourself into the noun?
In late 1932, Mead found herself wrestling with these problems in one of the remotest places in the world. She was in a soggy river port in New Guinea with Reo Fortune. She would soon be in the throes of what she believed would mark her greatest achievement as a thinker and writer, a genuine theoretical breakthrough on par with the most profound insights in the social sciences. It would also usher her toward the brink of madness.
Continued in article
A friend of mine used to say that Margaret Mead was an anthropologist in tennis shoes. What you learned from her is pretty much what you could learn from studying social sciences from the pictures in National Geographic Magazine ---
sometimes a picture is worth thousands of words. But then looking at a picture
you can make a lot of wrong conclusions from very interesting photographs ---
She did spread a lot of love around the world.
Battling Information Illiteracy ---
In the realm of financial information, accountants have been both contributing to and fighting financial information literacy for almost as long as there have been accountants. Accounting chefts cook the books followed by accounting auditors who attempt to put out the fires ---
How to Mislead With Statistics
Double-Counting of Investment
by Robert J. Barro, NBER Working Paper No. 25826
Issued in May 2019, Revised in July 2019
The national-income accounts double-count investment, which enters once when it occurs and again in present value as rental income on added capital. The double-counting implies over-statement of levels of GDP and national income. Across countries, those with higher propensities to invest artificially look richer gauged by per capita GDP. There is also exaggeration of capital-income shares. An alternative measure involves a form of full expensing of gross investment. In the steady state, revised product and income correspond to consumption. Outside of the steady state, the measure deviates from consumption because full expensing applies to the long-run flow of gross investment.
You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery
Nate Silver: Medicare For All Isn’t That Popular — Even Among
Having a government medical insurance option is not so unpopular, but contrary to Bernie Sanders ranting it turns out employees really don't want to lose their employer-funded private health insurance.
Sanders: "You’re Damn Right We’re Going to Destroy Private Health Insurance" ---
Nancy Pelosi on single-payer health care: "How do you pay for that?" ---
Kamala Harris' New Health Care Plan, Like Her Old Health Care Plan, Is a
Cynical, Muddled Mess ---
Health Care Debt (especially for municipal worker retirees) is Strangling
NYT: The health care public option in Washington state ---
November 8, 2016 Election of President Trump
Major Chicago Hospitals Not In 2017 Obamacare Marketplace Plans ---
Some of Chicago’s largest hospitals said they will not be part of any Cook County Affordable Care Act marketplace plans in 2017.
University of Chicago Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center both said they don’t plan to be in network for any Obamacare marketplace plans next year.
The change means patients with doctors at those hospitals will either need to find a plan off the marketplace, and lose Obamacare subsides, or find a new doctor.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital said it will also be out of the marketplace, but will have exceptions for some of its partner hospitals.
Continued in article
Similar resistance is expected to Medicare-for-All price controls on hospitals and health care professionals.
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/