To Accompany the October 15, 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 ---
In September 2017 the USA National Debt exceeded $22 trillion for the first time
Human Population Over Time on Earth ---
Thomas Piketty +++ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Piketty
Billionaires (and millionaires) hurt economic growth and should be taxed
out of existence, says bestselling French economist ---
Here's a humorous TED talk that seriously argues why the world needs billionaires
Why did Cuba abandon its socialist/communist dream of equality for everybody?
The Guardian: This was the egalitarian dream of Cuba in the 1960s: For years in Cuba, jobs as varied as farm workers and doctors only had a difference in their wages of the equivalent of a few US dollars a month.
Here's a somber and serious Guardian article on why the Cuban
model of income equality for all is a disaster ---
Fidel Castro says his economic system is failing ---
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/
Gauss wrote Wolfgang Bolyai: "It is not
knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there,
which grants the greatest enjoyment." ---
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 ---
Milton Friedman: The Lesson of the
Chopsticks would be even better
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 ---
The Amazon Rain Forest Is Nearly Gone ---
Amazon rainforest fires: Everything we know and how you can help ---
There Are More Fires Burning in Africa Than Anywhere on Earth ----
If forests go up in smoke, so can carbon offsets ---
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?
Georges Simenon wrote nearly 200 novels.
Hitchcock telephoned one day and was told, "Sorry, he’s just started a novel."
"I’ll wait,’ came the reply
12 inspiring quotes from Martin Luther King
21 outstanding 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 ---
Walter E. Williams: Youth and Ignorance
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 ---
Walter E. Williams ---
Who Cares About You?
Walter E. Williams ---
Racist Exam Questions?
Very real progress on the market concentration debate---
President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of
Japan sign a Joint Trade Agreement ---
Accounting Firms Do Well in the Listing of
Best Companies for Working Moms ---
Edward Snowden ---
What We Learned From Snowden
Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib Leads Protesters
in Profane Chant of ‘Impeach the Motherf-cker’ on Capitol Hill (VIDEO) ---
Sure hope this Congressional leader is Elizabeth Warren's pick for a vice-presidential running mate
New Jersey's Finances are the Worst in the USA
Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized “leftist”
Democrats for pushing Congress into launching an impeachment inquiry of
President Trump and predicted the probe would lead to government gridlock ---
Child Rape Suspects Released In NY & NJ After
Local Jails Refuse To Hold Men For ICE ---
Professor: Tom Brady’s popularity is result of
white supremacy ---
Is there any doubt why academe has lost a lot of respect?
Armed Citizen Saves Kidnapping Victim In
John Kasich Surprises CNN's Alisyn Camerota by
Pouring Cold Water on Impeachment ---
Report: Iowa one of few U.S. states with
taxpayer surplus ---
NYT: The Internet Is Overrun With Images
of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong?
Wealth Taxes: A Future Battleground ---
I think the NYT printed this article as long as Tyler avoided the topic of how far short wealth taxes are is raising the $20 trillion needed annually to fund student debt forgiveness and free college in future years, spending programs for green initiatives, free medical care, free medications, guaranteed annual income for 350+ million USA residents, housing-for-all, open borders, reparations for African and Native Americans, and billions housing-for-all on top of existing safety nets such as food stamps and welfare and housing.
Iraq blacked out the internet for 70% of the
country and blocked social media to try to quell deadly anti-corruption protests
The Morals That Determine Whether We’re
Liberal, Conservative, or Libertarian ---
Homicide Data 2014-2018 ---
MIT: Microsoft says Iranian hackers
tried to breach a US presidential campaign ---
The People’s Republic of China has been the
most successful in curbing the internet and successfully banned nearly all
bookstores, books, authors and academics that do not adhere to the Communist
Party’s line ---
The Atlantic: Top Military Officers
Unload on Trump ---
Elizabeth Pierce dazzled investors with
plans to run high-speed fiber optic cable under the Arctic, boosting web speeds
for much of the planet. It turned out to be a $1 billion scam ---
Do Americans Support Impeaching Trump?
California state taxes are too high and that is a problem ---
Exodus from the state and other "behavioral responses" eroded almost half of the anticipated revenue increases expected from the tax increases. There are many types of "behavioral responses" such as when physicians cut back on workloads and banks close branches and lay off workers. Tech companies moved some operations elsewhere, especially to Texas. Not only did many wealthy retirees leave California others not living in California elected to not retire in California. At this point in time California seems over regulated and over taxed and overrun with undocumented immigrants seeking sanctuary. In San Francisco and LA taxpayers are tired to paying high taxes while having to walk over people and poop. Rent controls are going to make homelessness worse instead of better.
Having Mathematics in Schools is a Racist Tool of the White Race
In Seattle, the city’s public schools have decided that everything, even mathematics, has to be seen through the lens of oppression and racism ---
AOC Becomes a Hawk ---
Democratic Lawmakers Ridicule Liberty
University's Religious Beliefs, Code of Conduct ---
How to Mislead With Statistics (note the bias ratings)
Which Pollsters To Trust In 2018 By Nate Silver
Filed under 2018 Election
Targeted Taxes: Localities Take Aim at Large Employers to Solve
Homelessness and Transportation Challenges ---
Many localities are facing unprecedented challenges—such as a dramatic rise in homelessness and insufficient transportation infrastructure—that have reached crisis levels. These localities are in a precarious position. If they do not solve these problems quickly, or if they impose overbearing and poorly designed taxes, there will be dire economic and social repercussions.
In response to these challenges, several localities recently enacted or proposed taxes targeted directly at large businesses, with revenues allocated explicitly for a designated purpose. Localities are gravitating toward targeted taxes for several reasons. Some assert that the success of large employers within the locality contributed to, or even directly created, these challenges. Perhaps most importantly, targeted tax laws serve a clear expressive function. Depending on the locality’s primary objective, targeted taxes may be problematic and counterproductive.
This Article begins by examining the recent local targeted tax provisions, which have crucial distinctions in motivations and mechanics. The Article then undertakes a tax policy and constitutional analysis of these targeted taxes, and considers whether they are properly characterized as a tax or a fee. The Article concludes with several proposed alternatives that will generate the requisite revenue—and may serve an expressive function—more effectively than targeted taxes.
I. TARGETED TAX LANDSCAPE .
A. Seattle Homelessness Tax ..
B. San Francisco Business Taxes
C. Mountain View Transportation Infrastructure Tax .
D. Cupertino Transportation Infrastructure Tax ...
E. New York City Transit Taxes ..
F. “Millionaire” Taxes ...
G. Portland Clean Energy & Excessive CEO Compensation Taxes
II. THE TROUBLE WITH TARGETED TAXES
A. Negative Economic Impact ...
B. Complicating Tax Regimes and the Business Environment ..
C. Constitutional Considerations ...
D. Additional Policy Considerations – Crises and Revenue Raising Constraints
E. Blurring the Tax Versus Fee Distinction
III. SUPERIOR ALTERNATIVES ..
A. Partnering to Foster Voluntary Contributions ..
B. One Comprehensive Local Business Tax ..
C. Improving Target Accuracy ..
IV. CONCLUSION .
The most important thing to note is that taxable business firms do not pay taxes. Taxes imposed on those firms are ultimately paid by customers.
The first thing to ask is what customers?
For example, Portland Oregon's retailer tax hits Portland shoppers the most:
Large retailers mounted a campaign against the tax, but proponents such as the Green Advocacy Project and Sierra Club effectively supported it.201 One of the most significant concerns was whether the tax incidence would ultimately fall on Portland consumers instead of the targeted large businesses—acting like a regressive sales tax. The provision itself contemplates retailers passing the tax through to consumers, and there is some early evidence of this passthrough occurring with certain sales
Next consider a gross receipts tax imposed upon all revenues of a company headquartered in a city such as a gross receipts tax imposed by Seattle or Washington State on all worldwide revenues received by Amazon headquartered in Seattle. Or similarly suppose the tax is on all net profit of Amazon. What's wrong with this is hugely wrong taxation without representation When Bob Jensen buys a shirt from Amazon online from New Hampshire he in effect is being taxed by Seattle or the State of Washington. He has no vote regarding the amount of tax included in the price of the shirt. Similarly, if this is for Seattle or Washington Schools most worldwide customers of Amazon end up paying for Seattle or Washington schools while in the same year they are also supporting school taxes in their own countries, states, and cities of residence. Of course Bob Jensen can protest and elect to no longer by anything from Amazon, which in turn could wipe out Amazon if virtually all customers of Amazon worldwide protest a headquarters tax imposed in this manner.
A gross receipts tax is not the same as a local sales tax. A local sales tax can and is imposed on sales transactions within a city or state, but local sales taxes in Seattle cannot be imposed on sales transactions taking place in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. Recent legislation forces Seattle residents who buy online from certain out-of-state vendors (think online buying from Walmart headquartered in Arkansas) to pay a Seattle sales tax but not residents outside Seattle. Seattle voters can vote regarding if and how much they pay in such local sales taxes.
Another thing that's wrong with a gross receipts tax is that non-taxable entities can end up paying a gross receipts tax. For example, if New Hampshire tax-exempt public schools pay for cloud computing space rented by Amazon New Hampshire schools end up paying a Seattle gross receipts tax.
You can find out other things that are wrong with gross receipts taxes in the above article.
Cities and states are becoming more and more innovative about how to tax big companies, taxes that are not seemingly so overtly unconstitutional as a gross receipts tax. The above article discusses some of those innovations. But at the same time those cities run the risk of driving part or all of those businesses elsewhere and creating more unemployment and property value losses. Cities that impose targeted taxes end up triggering loaded guns that can backfire.
The attribution of homelessness and welfare dependency to being
laid off by a local big business is overstated.
Firstly layoffs occur in firms of all sizes and locales. It's common for people laid off or divorced in small rural towns to migrate as homeless people to the big city, e.g., they were laid off by a local contractor in a small town rather than Amazon in Seattle. Secondly, a homeless person more often than is unemployed due to being mentally ill or alcoholic or a heroine addict or all three. Yeah a percentage of Seattle's homeless addicts may be traced back to illegal acts of doctors, pharmacies, and Big Pharma, but Amazon did not cause the pain medication addiction of some of Seattle's homeless people.
Analyzing the new Oregon corporate activity tax (that does not
even require physical presence in Oregon and taxes out-of-state-residents)---
Tax Foundation: Oregon’s Proposed Corporate Activity Tax
Would Harm Low-Income Oregonians the Most ---
I don't understand how Oregon can get away with this gross receipts tax.
How to Mislead With Statistics (Missing Variables)
The White-Collar Job Apocalypse That Didn’t Happen ---
. . .
Economists once warned that office jobs in the United States would soon follow factory jobs in moving overseas. New research suggests that jobs may be moving to other parts of the country instead.
A widely covered by Alan S. Blinder, a Princeton economist and former Clinton administration official, estimated that a quarter or more of jobs were vulnerable within the next decade. But many companies discovered that labor savings were offset by other factors: time differences, language barriers, legal hurdles and the simple challenge of coordinating work half a world away. In some cases, companies decided they were better off moving jobs to less expensive parts of the United States rather than out of the country.
Over all, of the 26 occupations that Mr. Blinder identified as “highly offshorable” and for which Mr. Ozimek had data, 15 have added jobs over the past decade and 11 have cut them. Altogether, those occupations have eliminated fewer than 200,000 jobs over 10 years, hardly the millions that many feared. A second tier of jobs — which Mr. Blinder labeled “offshorable” — has actually added more than 1.5 million jobs.
Continued in article
How to Mislead With Smoke and Mirrors
Marketwatch: These 7 Social Security myths just aren’t true, no matter how
often you hear them ---
I agree with most of that most of the "myths" in this article are myths, but I disagree with Myth 2.
Myth No. 2: The government raided the trust fundThe bottom line is that there’s no difference between the way the federal government runs the trust fund and the way your bank handles your cash accounts.
Jensen Added Comment
Who pays the interest?
When a lender lends cash to a borrower the borrower repays the loan principal plus interest to the lender. The interest is called a Return on Investment (ROI) to the lender.
borrowing from the Social Security Trust fund is all smoke and mirrors.
The current generation lends money to whom?
In effect they lend it to themselves. Presumably the money taken out each year from the SS Trust Fund each year goes to first pay for current social security benefits and any excess goes current government spending goes to current government spending on other programs, thereby avoiding additional taxes that the current generation should be funding this year with added taxes. Yes Congress does promise to repay the money from the trust fund plus interest. But the interest paid years down the road is paid by future generations of unborn children that did not borrow the money. Those children will eventually have to pay the added taxes the current generation should have coughed up this year instead of raiding the SS Trust fund and forcing the future generation repay the loan plus the interest. Those unborn children did not elect to borrow the money and repay the principal plus interest. No the current generation borrowed the money and forced the future generation to replay the principal plus interest. It's all smoke and mirrors that the Marketwatch did not own up to in the above article.
Sure it looks like the SS Trust funds earned interest on the bonds it used to replace current cash collections. But in reality the returns are paid eventually in taxes by our unborn children to pay for historic government expenditures on other programs that otherwise would have required increased taxes.
Something similar happens with Social Security benefits to disabled programs. The government should help disabled people, but the disability benefits each year should come from current tax money raised for by the current generation to help disabled people. In effect the current generation avoided some disability taxes this year for disabled people by borrowing from future generations of unborn children to pay the current disability benefits. In effect Congress is getting away with robbing our future generations of unborn children by promising that they will eventually pay for disability benefits doled out in the present years.
It's all smoke and mirrors.
How to Mislead With Statistics
What's the Best State for Teachers?
Seeking a stable teacher salary and a healthy work environment? A new analysis suggests heading north.
This year, North Dakota took first place in personal finance site WalletHub's annual ranking of the best and worst states to be a teacher.
The other states (after North Dakota) rounding out the top five spots this year?
· New Jersey
The ranking is based mostly on what the website calls "opportunity and competition"—factors including the average salary and starting pay for teachers, potential for income growth over the course of a career, pension, tenure protections, and job competition in the state. Scores on these metrics make up 70 percent of a state's rating.
The other 30 percent comes from measures of a teacher's work environment and quality of life. These categories cover things like per-pupil spending and teacher-student ratio, but also union strength, commute time, and how supported teachers feel in their jobs.
To calculate these scores, WalletHub uses census data, federal education data, and data from the National Education Association, the National Council on Teacher Quality, the Learning Policy Institute, and The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, among other sources. A few of the measures are taken from some of WalletHub's other state ranking lists, like statewide school quality and how friendly states are to working moms.
Continued in article
The worst states are New Hampshire at rank 50/51 and and Arizona at rank 51/51.
These rankings are misleading for various reasons. First and foremost is cost of living (think housing costs). When renting or buying homes, teacher salaries don't go far in very high living cost states of Connecticut and New Jersey. The ranking in the above study seemingly ignored differences between states in terms of "affordability" where the Midwest (think Iowa and Ohio) win out ---
Anecdotally, we have a teacher who moved to New Hampshire from New Jersey because she was seeking a higher quality students and better deals in housing quality for the money.
Secondly, the "Report Card" for for schools
ranks New Hampshire at Rank 8 way above its Rank 50 of being "Best State
for Teachers." This alone should tell us that something is misleading in these
sets of rankings
My opinion is that New Hampshire has no trouble attracting relatively very high quality teachers in the Granite State's K-12 schools. The State is doing something right to attract school teachers as well as retirees.
Thirdly, the rankings illustrate a problem when there are
too many ranking criteria. For example, one criterion in the "Best State for
Teachers" ranking is "pension" protection. What a joke in those rankings since
teacher pensions are in worse trouble in Connecticut and New Jersey relative to
pension protections in most other states. Connecticut in particular is in deep
trouble with badly under funded pensions ---
New Jersey's Finances are the Worst in the USA ---
The problem is that with so many other criteria in the ranking formula, pension protections have very little impact on the rankings
My main point is that rankings should always be questioned in terms of what (and how many) variables are included versus what (and how many) variables are excluded.
Jagdish stated: "No, capitalism is not about "about how business firms are financed."
His statement is not consistent with the definition of capitalism from the
Stanford University Encyclopedia of Capitalism ---
Socialism and Capitalism
Socialism is best defined in contrast with capitalism, as socialism has arisen both as a critical challenge to capitalism, and as a proposal for overcoming and replacing it. In the classical, Marxist definition (G.A. Cohen 2000a: ch.3; Fraser 2014: 57–9), capitalism involves certain relations of production. These comprise certain forms of control over the productive forces—the labor power that workers deploy in production and the means of production such as natural resources, tools, and spaces they employ to yield goods and services—and certain social patterns of economic interaction that typically correlate with that control. Capitalism displays the following constitutive features:
· (i)The bulk of the means of production is privately owned and controlled.
· (ii)People legally own their labor power. (Here capitalism differs from slavery and feudalism, under which systems some individuals are entitled to control, whether completely or partially, the labor power of others).
· (iii)Markets are the main mechanism allocating inputs and outputs of production and determining how societies’ productive surplus is used, including whether and how it is consumed or invested.
Paul Williams stated: "In the real world it is always an issue of making society fairer."
Who can argue with that? Indeed the most noted socialism experiments of all time were trying to make "society fairer" in the Soviet Union, China, India, Cuba, Viet Nam, Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. Virtually all socialism experiments made people more equal --- especially in their hunger. I'm not so naive to believe that socialism itself is the cause of the greater hunger, but to date virtually all socialist experiments failed for one reason or another and gave way to some form (there are multiple forms) of capitalism. As Jim Martin pointed out in this thread virtually all nations have maintained or fallen back on some form of capitalism. Jagdish can call capitalism broken, and Paul can call it unfair. But the fact of the matter is that socialism has never emerged in and of itself to be sustainable in making economies better --- in most cases people got very hungry in socialism experiments to end capitalism.
Sure we want society to be fairer. The place to begin is to keep people from
starving. Without throwing out a lot of names I will simply refer you to one of
the best documents I've ever read on fairness ---
What I tried to do in this thread is to point out that "efforts to make society fairer" are dysfunctional if they simply make it better for some and worse for many, many others (think of Ken Arrow). For example, is it really worth providing free college for everybody if you destroy the pension systems (built on stock markets) of people who labored their entire lives to save in stock markets (think CREF) for their later years in life? And if you destroy the stock market what do 350+ million people with college diplomas live on? And yes the stock markets are fragile. If you take $20 trillion each year from investors in a tax transfer to social programs like Green Initiatives (AOC claims the minimum needed is $10 trillion), free medical care, free medications, free college, guaranteed annual income, and open borders, and housing for all you have not made "society fairer" by making the economy non-sustainable and making a college degree not worth the paper the diploma is printed on.
As Ken Arrow pointed out making "society fairer" is not a win-win phenomenon. Making it better for some makes it worse for others. Making it better for our children with free everything may make it worse for their parents. And indeed it may not even be better for the children in the long run.
There are political choices that are needed for fairness tradeoffs. But to destroy stock markets and pensions should not be on the table. Increasing the federal budget from $4.5 trillion to $20 trillion per year should not be on the table. False promises that the wealthy will pay for it all should be exposed for what they are --- impossible promises!
How to Mislead With Statistics
20 cities in the Northeast that Americans are escaping (from)
in droves (2010-2018) ---
There were 9/20 losing cities in New York, followed by 4/20 from New Jersey, and 3/20 from Pennsylvania, 3/20 From Connecticut, and 1/20 from Maine.
four states are the only ones in the Top 20 out of 14 states generally
considered in the Northeast ---
causing the exodus?
We might look at taxes, but the high taxing states of Massachusetts and Vermont are not included in the Top 20 above.
We might look at climate, but the too many of the coldest states are not included in the Top 20.
might look at fiscal mismanagement in state government since New Jersey,
Connecticut, and Pennsylvania are hit hard, but this leaves out badly mismanaged
Rhode Island and some other states with relatively poor fiscal management.
Besides this is a ranking of cities rather than states.
The cities in the Top 20 are so varied in terms of size and crime rates, I don't think crime is the underlying issue here.
I think that one underlying issue is such a wide variation in population of these cities. The New York metro area has nearly 20 million people whereas Lewiston-Auburn in Maine barely has 100,000 people with some of the other cities having less than 200,000. Yeah, I know the ranking is based upon the proportion of exiting population, but nevertheless comparing a giant pumpkin (NYC) to a raison (Lewiston-Auburn) raises some other issues.
problem with including very small cities in the above rankings is that a random
event can dominate small town population loss more than cities with millions of
people. Lewiston and Auburn in Maine was were dead mill towns (think shoes) long
before 2010 ---
In 1999, partly due to low-cost empty houses in Lewiston, the government located 12,000+ refugees from Somalia. These newer residents started a relatively large number of retail shops, but Lewiston was already a relatively lousy place to locate new retail shops. The bottom line is that the shops have not prospered and many Somalis moved elsewhere 2010-2018.
My point is that population spurts and losses are likely to be affected by a random event in a small town more than population spurts and losses in cities with millions of people. We should not be comparing raisins with pumpkins.
How to Mislead With Statistics
NYT: The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You ---
The article is misleading in two major respects. Firstly, the title implies that the rich pay less taxes than you. How can that be true since nearly half the USA "taxpayers" who file tax returns pay zero income taxes ---
Add to that the number, millions *rich and poor) in the underground economy, who don't even file tax returns.
Add to that the fact that the rich pay more in other taxes, especially property taxes that largely fund USA K-12 schools.
This does not mean that the rich are paying as much as they should be paying, and the rich have tax havens and other tax avoidance/deferral strategies (legal andillegal) to reduce their income taxes. But it is false to write that "The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes That You." The rich in general pay more taxes than you. They just don't usually pay as much as they should be paying. But that's a different statement.
U.S. Taxes are Progressive: Comment on “Progressive Wealth
U.S. federal taxes are progressive, as shown by Congressional Budget Office and Tax Policy Center estimates, with average tax rates increasing with income. In fact, the OECD (2011) estimated that the U.S. has the most progressive household taxes among developed countries. Moreover, the 2017 tax reform is expected to have little effect on overall tax progressivity (Tax Policy Center, 2017; Joint Committee on Taxation, 2019). But Saez and Zucman (2019) argue that average tax rates are nearly equal over the income distribution. To examine this claim, this paper compares other estimates of average tax rates by income group, all of which suggest a high degree of progressivity. Three issues are found to bias the average tax rates presented in Saez and Zucman (2019). After correcting for these issues, their estimates align more closely with other estimates that show U.S. taxes are progressive.
I. Comparing Estimates of Average Tax Rates There are two types of average tax rate estimates in the literature, one based on federal taxes and another on taxes from all sources. Figure 1 considers average federal tax rates over the income distribution, showing estimates from Piketty and Saez (2007), Tax Policy Center (2018, hereafter TPC), Congressional Budget Office (2019, hereafter CBO), and Auten and Splinter (2019, hereafter AS). The left side presents tax rates excluding payroll taxes.2 For 2004, Piketty and Saez (2007) estimated a second quintile average tax rate of –1%, with the negative rate resulting from refundable credits, while the top 0.01 percent tax rate was 33%. The other three estimates are for 2014, with CBO and TPC estimating bottom quintile tax rates of –8% and –4% and top 1 percent rates of 32% and 31%. AS estimated a bottom 50 percent tax rate of 2% and a top 1 percent rate of 29%. These average tax rates increase with income, suggesting significant progressivity.
Figure 1, right side, includes payroll taxes. This generally increases federal tax rates by about 10 percentage points for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution and 2 percentage points for the top 1 percent—a result of the Social Security contribution taxable maximum.3 Average tax rates taxes are very similar among these four estimates and imply a highly progressive federal tax system.4 The Joint Committee Taxation (2019) also estimated average federal tax rates. For 2019, before accounting for the effects of the 2017 tax reform, these tax rates almost exactly match those of Piketty-Saez. For 2015, U.S. Treasury (2015) data indicate that average federal tax rates were more progressive than those presented in Figure 1: rangin
from –5% for the bottom quintile to 39% for the top 0.1 percent.5 Note that Figure 1 exaggerates the share of the population at the top. While this emphasizes differences in top tax rates, Figure 2 instead uses an equal-spacing approach that shows how average tax rates truly spike for a small share at the top of the distribution.
. . .
Saez and Zucman (2019) argue that the U.S. has a relatively proportional tax system across all income levels. However, federal taxes are progressive, as shown by Piketty and Saez (2007), Auten and Splinter (2019), The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the U.S. Treasury, and the Congressional Budget Office. Three issues with the Saez and Zucman (2019) methodology for calculating tax rates are shown to explain much of their deviation from other measures.
The second thing that is misleading is that the article implies that back in the 1950s when the tax rates on high income people were much higher (think 70%) that the rich really paid those high rates. Multimillionaire Bing Crosby was not paying 70% in 1950. The rich took advantage of tax loopholes as much or more in the 1950s as they do in the 21st Century. And the levies for state income taxes and property taxes were much, much lower.
How to Mislead With Statistics
Walter E. Williams: Idiotic Environmental Predictions
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has published a new paper, "Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions." Keep in mind that many of the grossly wrong environmentalist predictions were made by respected scientists and government officials. My question for you is: If you were around at the time, how many government restrictions and taxes would you have urged to avoid the predicted calamity?
As reported in The New York Times (Aug. 1969) Stanford University biologist Dr. Paul Erhlich warned: "The trouble with almost all environmental problems is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince people, you're dead. We must realize that unless we're extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years."
In 2000, Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at University of East Anglia's climate research unit, predicted that in a few years winter snowfall would become "a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren't going to know what snow is." In 2004, the U.S. Pentagon warned President George W. Bush that major European cities would be beneath rising seas. Britain will be plunged into a Siberian climate by 2020. In 2008, Al Gore predicted that the polar ice cap would be gone in a mere 10 years. A U.S. Department of Energy study led by the U.S. Navy predicted the Arctic Ocean would experience an ice-free summer by 2016.
In May 2014, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared during a joint appearance with Secretary of State John Kerry that "we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos."
Peter Gunter, professor at North Texas State University, predicted in the spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness: "Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions. ... By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine."
Ecologist Kenneth Watt's 1970 prediction was, "If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000." He added, "This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."
The New Yorker: The climate apocalypse is
coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it ---
The problem with prior idiotic predictions is that they are like the boy who cried wolf repeatedly ---
When the real wolf is lurking many people ignore the warnings.
How Fact Checkers Mislead With Statistics
Ilhan Omar Defended by Media and Fact Checkers ---
The way fact checkers mislead with statistics is in selectivity bias by not fact checking claims they agree with politically.
The False Promises of the Medicare-for-All System ---
How the US could afford ‘Medicare for all’ ---
Purportedly Sanders' plan would cost about $4 trillion a year for a plan that does not cover a lot of things, but this is misleading since it is unknown how many millions would sneak into the USA for free medical care.
At the moment political candidates refuse to put a number on Medicare-for-All plus promises of Green Initiatives, free medicine, free college, guaranteed annual income for 350+ million residents, reparations, housing subsidies, food subsidies, etc. The total bill could come to well over $20 trillion per year which cannot possibly be afforded without destroying the USA stock markets and the pension plans built upon stock prices.
The False Promises of Canada's Health Care System ---
Largest Health Care Scam Ever: Fake Genetic Testing Result Scheme Results in
$2.1 Billion in Medicaid Losses ---
Essential to the scheme were unbelievably greedy doctors.
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/