Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the October 30, 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 national debt is a lie
Here's the real federal 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 ---



While a 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 ---

Jensen Comment
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/


Excellent, Cross-Disciplinary Overview of Scientific Reproducibility in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ---

[Researchers] are rewarded for being productive rather than being right, for building ever upward instead of checking the foundations.---
Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?


Bob Jensen:  My take on research validation or lack thereof is at


Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---
You must watch this to the ending to appreciate it.


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 north.
Bob Jensen


Some Fatherly Words of Wisdom from Jack Bogle, Founder of Vanguard Investments, to My Sons ---


Milton Friedman:  The Lesson of the Spoons ---
Chopsticks would be even better


The Young 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 ---
Tyler Cowen


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 ---


"In 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 ---
Derek Lowe

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."
Bernie Sanders


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 Jr.---


21 outstanding Warren Buffet quotations ---
Also see


The Atlantic:  The Swiftly Closing Borders of Europe ---

Italian Minister tells NGO Italy doesn’t want migrants: “Our ports are closed!” ---

The enemy is fear
We think it's hate
But, it's fear



13 of the (alleged) most famous last words in history ---

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 ---
Click Here

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.
Walter Williams


Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
Eric Hoffer.


The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
Winston Churchill


Shoot for the space in between, because that's where the real mystery lies.
Vera Rubin


Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen

In honor of his centennial, the Top 10 Feynman quotations ---

Thomas Sowell (controversial conservative black economist) --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell
The 30 Best Thomas Sowell Quotes ---

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley
Even conversations that are not politically correct.

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.
Thomas Jefferson

Why, we grow rusty and you catch us at the very point of decadence --- by this time tomorrow we may have forgotten everything we ever knew. That's a thought isn't it? We'd be back to where we started --- improvising.
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Act I)

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
What's sad is to witness what Syria has become because nobody gave up earlier.

And "because they're nonstate actors, it's hard for us to get the satisfaction of [Gen.] MacArthur and the [Japanese] Emperor [Hirohito] meeting and the war officially being over," Obama observed, referencing the end of World War II. 
President Barack Obama when asked if the USA of the future will be perpetually engaged in war.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. 
Joseph Campbell

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. 
George S. Patton

And many writers have imagined for themselves republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in reality; for there is such a gap between how one lives and how one ought to live that anyone who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation: for a man who wishes to profess goodness at all times will come to ruin among so many who are not good.
Niccolo Machiavelli

If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau

Today, humanity fabricates 1,000 times more transistors annually than the entire world grows grains of wheat and rice combined  ---

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.
Al Capone

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 --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_E._Williams
Who Cares About You?


Walter E. Williams --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_E._Williams
Racist Exam Questions?


USA Cities With High Rates of Vacant Homes (sort of ghost towns) ---


LeBron James weighed in on the NBA’s China controversy. Now it seems like everyone’s mad at him.---


Walter E. Williams:  Intolerance in Academia ---


Walter E. Williams:  US in Moral Decline ---


Car Ownership Just Keeps on Increasing ---
In spite of subsidies electric cars are not making much of a dent in the gas buggy market
What matters more are low interest rates for purchase or leasing


TurboTax spent 20 years fighting to stop Americans from filing taxes for free ---

Jensen Comment
This irritated me so much that I abandoned TurboTax years ago and use equivalent software ---


Do women managers keep firms out of trouble? Evidence from corporate litigation and policies ---


TIGTA outlines IRS challenges for 2020 ---


Republican Control In The States Hasn’t Stopped The Growth Of Government ---


Interviewed last Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation,” [Nobel Economist] Shiller says a new phenomenon he calls the Trump Effect could keep the economy booming ---

Jensen Question
But is an economy without corrections ipso facto a good thing?
One question for Democrats is what they intend to do to keep the capital markets (and pension funds) from crashing big time?


What's behind the spread of so many mass protests?


MIT:  Sorry, organic farming is actually worse for climate change (less yield per acre) ---


The Oil Money Fueling America’s Biggest— And Costliest—Wind Farm


Seattle Public Schools Say Math Is Racist (Honestly, isn't everything?) ---


Taxing The “Rich” Won’t Pay For Politicians’ Promises ---

Jensen Comment
What is not mentioned is that these taxes may well destroy the USA capital markets and the pensions dependent upon stock and bond prices. Nobody knows how many trillions or hundreds of billions will, thereafter, be lost in tax collections.


Seattle Public Schools Say Math Is Racist  ---


Endowment Tax:  $50 Million Tax Bill for Harvard ---


Bloomberg:  Trump Outsmarts Putin With Syria Retreat Russia will soon find itself caught between Turkey and Syria.---


The US has 50 nuclear bombs stored in Turkey. As tensions rise between the two countries, a look at how they got there and what might happen next ---


U.S. Annual Budget Deficit Nears $1 Trillion With 26% Rise ---

Increasingly it's tempting to simply print our way out of this swamp ---


ISIS Will Endure:  What the Islamic State Really Wants ---

This is a long and comprehensive article


Illinois spent $4.6 million on health insurance for dead people ---

They also got flu shots and voted




Does History Repeat Itself


Years ago Russia pulled its butt out of Afghanistan before the USA swooped in to become involved in an endless civil war.


Recently the USA pulled its butt out of Syria before Russia swooped in to become more involved in an endless civil war.


Why don't these world powers just let those civil wars run their course?

Two online news services, Bloomberg and Business Insider, I surf daily both are best described as anti-Trump. It came, therefore, as somewhat of a surprise when they divided rather sharply on the "truce" Turkey and the Kurds and Syria.

Business Insider:  Vladimir Putin is looking unstoppable after a string of victories that Trump handed to him on a plate ---

Bloomberg:  Trump Outsmarts Putin With Syria Retreat Russia will soon find itself caught between Turkey and Syria.---

Jensen Comment
I found the Bloomberg article to be a more complete analysis of the turmoil in that part of the world. This is becoming a particularly dirty war.


Shi'ite Islam --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shia_Islam


Sunni Islam --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunni_Islam


Did You ever Wonder Why?


Shi'ites and Sunnis are sending missiles and drones at each other over the Persian Gulf? ---


Shi'ites and Sunnis are still shooting at each other along the Turkish border occupied by Shi'ite Kurds?--- 

The USA is dropping a record number of bombs on the Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan? ---



While residents of a village called Trump Heights in the Golan Heights sit outside after dark to watch or imagine the sky lighting up far, far away where Shi'ites and Sunnis play. ---


What isn't the media telling us?
Did you ever wonder why?


The Atlantic:  What the U.S. Can Learn From Iranian Warfare (How to Wage War by Sponsoring Terrorism) ---


The Big Apple has sent local homeless families to 373 cities across the country with a full year of rent in their pockets as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Special One-Time Assistance Program.” Usually, the receiving city knows nothing about it. ---


PG&E stock plunges to record low after Citi warns it could be worthless ---


The S&P 500 hit a record high on Monday, while the Nasdaq fell just short of its lifetime high touched in late July as a more civil tone between the United States and China lifted hopes for a possible trade deal ---



The US has 50 nuclear bombs stored in Turkey. As tensions rise between the two countries, a look at how they got there and what might happen next ---



MIT:  Downward Rigidity in the Wage for New Hires ---

If wages are more rigid downward than upward, then unemployment is volatile during recessions. In benchmark models, the wage for new hires is particularly important for unemployment  fluctuations, but there is limited evidence of downward rigidity on this margin. We introduce a dataset that tracks the wage for new hires at the job level—that is, across successive vacancies posted by the same job title and establishment. We show that the wage for new hires is more rigid downward than upward, in two steps. First, the nominal wage rarely changes at the job level. When wages do change, they fall infrequently, suggesting a constraint from beneath. Second, when unemployment rises, wages do not fall for new hires—though wages rise strongly as unemployment falls. We show that prior work, which studies the average wage for new hires, cannot detect downward rigidity due to changing job composition. Finally, we match a standard labor search model to our estimates, and uncover state dependent asymmetry in unemployment dynamics. After contractions, unemployment responds symmetrically to labor demand shocks; after persistent expansions, unemployment is as much as twice as sensitive to negative than positive shocks.


Continued in article


How to Mislead With Statistics (note the bias ratings)

Which Pollsters To Trust In 2018 By Nate Silver
Filed under 2018 Election


The Sad History Of American Business Schools ---

Jensen Comment
There are so many things distorted and wrong about this analysis that I don't quite know where to begin before reading the book. I think its most obvious biased failing will be in judging business schools for failing to stand out using humanities criteria. The same failings arise in schools of physics, schools of chemistry, schools of mathematics, etc.


 The book’s greatest failing lies in its high-mindedness, as it never justifies the contention that MBAs should be primarily concerned with social change, rather than business best practices.

It would be the same for mathematics.
A similar book about mathematics greatest failing lies in its high-mindedness, as it never justifies the contention that mathematicians should be primarily concerned with social change, rather than mathematics best theories and practices.

Hypothesis:  My guess is that Steven Conn takes a very narrow view of "social change" that he uses to judge business schools.
Perhaps he's blind to important "social changes."
Did he ever dig deep into what business schools did to improve supermarkets?
Did he ever dig deep into how supermarkets helped the USA win the Cold War?

Freakonomics:  How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War ---
Mother Hubbard had a bare cupboard in wannabe communist nations where people were equal in their hunger (no food stamps or food).

Come on Steven
Did business schools really fail us when it came to winning the Cold War?

Business may only be a one of the engines in the world of social change, but it may well be the most important engine of change!


Can Buildings Produce More *electricity and rain water) Than They Consume? Georgia Tech Thinks So ---

Georgia Tech Opens a Building Meant to ‘Give Back More Than It Takes’

Atlanta — “What would be a building that does more good than harm, that gives back more than it takes?” The Georgia Institute of Technology hopes to answer that question with a structure it will dedicate Thursday: the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design.

Paid for with a $30-million grant by the Atlanta-based Kendeda Fund, the 37,000-square-foot facility is designed to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge. “It’s the most ambitious performance standard in the world,” according to Shan Arora, the building’s director, who again and again asks why we shouldn’t start expecting our buildings to do more for the planet and its people. Of the $30 million, $25 million went to construction costs, with the rest set aside for an endowment for the building and its programs.

Like other Living Building Challenge structures, the Kendeda Building will have to prove itself over a year’s time before it earns its certification. Among other things, it’s expected to generate more electricity than it uses, collect all the water it needs and recycle that water after it’s been used, and help control storm runoff. “When it rains here, it’s like a flash flood,” Arora says. “We want to manage that on campus.”

The building will also be expected to contribute to social equity (more on that below). It must offer its occupants a happy, healthy environment, and it has to be attractive as well. In all, there are 20 requirements to meet, says Arora, so every aspect of the design has to address multiple needs. “You have to think through what you do upfront. ‘Good enough’ is not an option.”

The Kendeda Building is among a handful of Living Building Challenge structures completed so far on college campuses. The best known is, perhaps, Hampshire College’s Kern Center, opened in 2016. What makes the Georgia Tech project significant, though, is its location in hot, humid Atlanta. “We want to show the world that this can be built in this climate zone,” Arora says, noting that the building is believed to be the first in the Southeast to rely on radiant-cooling technology that pipes chilled water through the floors. Combined with ceiling fans, it’s expected to keep spaces comfortable.

Another goal, he says, has been “to leverage the project to move the industry,” so that those involved in planning and constructing the Kendeda Building learn so much from it that they can become advocates for ultra-sustainable projects elsewhere. The architects, Lord Aeck Sargent, do a lot of work on campuses in the South, but here they collaborated with Seattle’s Miller Hull Partnership, which had experience with similar projects in the Pacific Northwest. The contractors — Skanska USA — and subcontractors were also drawn into the rigor of the Living Building Challenge process. “Once you learn the things you learn by being part of a Living Building Challenge building, you can’t unlearn them,” says Arora.

From the outside, the building’s solar canopy is its most distinctive feature, extending well beyond the enclosed structure below. The canopy adds to the structure’s capacity to make electricity as well as to its ability to capture rainwater (stored in a 50,000-gallon underground cistern). It also shades the west and south facades from summer sun. Inside, wood — much of it recycled from buildings on and near the campus — makes a big impression. Glue-laminated timber serves structural functions normally reserved for steel and concrete; a broad wooden ramp leads from the entrance down to an auditorium/event space that can accommodate more than 200 people; and wood stairs climb to the upper floor.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Although this is a very energy efficient design, it's not clear if the building also runs electric air conditioning or humidifiers that consume a great deal of electricity. In humid climates geothermal-cooled buildings encounter the same problem with humid air that needs to be condensed.


Years ago Professor Clinton (Skip) White at the University of Delaware reported having solar panels on a large barn where he lives in Pennsylvania. He had in and out meters connected to the grid such that he sold more electricity to the power company than he paid the power company for electricity over the course of each year. Of course this requires that power companies are willing to buy all the power he produces. I think there are some states that protect their power companies by limiting purchases of solar power where fossil fuel generators are required for night and dark days when solar collectors are not sufficient to meet public demand. We are not yet at a point when solar power and wind power can efficiently replace all power needs of a state. I read where wind power is now producing nearly half of the grid power needed in England.


Norway reports using wind and solar power to produce hydrogen that will eventually fuel most of its cars. However, it also is reported that wind and solar power used for this purpose currently costs over twice as much as fossil-fuel produced electricity.

Getting on the Hydrogen Highway
Bloomberg, August 30, 2019 pp 11-12

. . .

For now, though, the dirtier forms (fossil-fuel-powered) hydrogen production remain less than half as expensive as renewable (solar- and wind-powered) ones. That's a headache for Norway's government, which plans to halt sales of fossil-fuel-powered cars by 2025 and expects to have 500,000 hydrogen cars on the road in the country a few years later. At the very least, that would mean a lot more electrolyzers in places like Berlevag.

Jensen Comment
Norway is a small nation with 5+ million people and a Wealth Fund of over $1 trillion saved from oil and gas production profits. It can afford to generate expensive hydrogen to for 500,000 cars. The USA is a large nation with 350+ million residents and over $22 trillion in booked debt. The USA cannot possibly afford to produce enough expensive hydrogen cars to replace 270 million cars within 10 years unless there are tremendous breakthroughs allowing for the production of much cheaper hydrogen. However, over a longer horizon plentiful hydrogen is a much better looking solution than relatively scarce lithium that is highly polluting to produce for car batteries. The future of hydrogen fuel cell energy looks much brighter than other forms of renewable energy at the moment, although there are many developments taking place in nuclear, solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources. Nations like Norway, China, Japan, and Germany are betting on hydrogen --- most likely in fuel cells.

Preview: The hydrogen economy in China ---

Germany Turns to Hydrogen in Quest for Clean Energy Economy --- 
The French are Leaning Toward More Nuclear Power --- 

California now requires solar power on all new building construction. This points to a technology risk with capital investment risk when hundreds of billions of dollars flow into capital investments (think solar, wind, and very expensive lithium power storage). Overnight discovery of a way of producing cheap hydrogen or nuclear power could render those billions of dollars wasted. Hydrogen fuel cells could then power every vehicle and building. Of course it can be a long wait for cheap hydrogen or nuclear power. Life is complicated.


Larry Summers --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers

Summers on the Wealth Tax ---

Larry Summers is my favorite liberal economist because even while maintaining his liberal values he never stops thinking like an economist. That makes him suspect among the left but it means that he is always worth listening to. The video below with Saez, Summers and Mankiw (with Rampell moderating) is excellent throughout. I cribbed a number of points from Summers:

“I have studied last week’s twitter war very carefully and I have to say that I am 98.5% convinced by the critics that the Zucman-Saez data are substantially inaccurate and misleading.”

The arguments around political power are not persuasive. Most of what is wrong with politics is because that is what the people want (I’m filling in a bit here from comments throughout). A wealth tax does nothing about corporate lobbying and would increase the incentive to give to political organizations. If you cut wealth at the top by 30% that wouldn’t change relative political power in the slightest.

Wealth is up in large part because interest rates are down which means that permanent income hasn’t increased.

Forced savings programs like social security and unemployment insurance mean that people at the bottom need to save less and thus their wealth falls even as their welfare increases.

A wealth tax increases the incentive to consume instead of save and invest.

On employee stock ownership plans: “When you put workers in control of firms and you give them substantial control–see Israeli kibbutz’s, see Yugoslav cooperatives, see universities where faculties have a powerful voice–the one thing you do not get is expansion. You get more for the people who are already there. That does not seem to be an attractive position for progressives.”

In the Q&A Summers just goes to town on Saez when Saez claims 90% tax rates are a great American invention. “The people who were around in the Kennedy administration who were at least as progressive as you are were united in the belief that 90% tax rates were a bad idea….The number of people who paid those 90% tax rates was trivial and it wasn’t because there weren’t a lot of rich people.”  Greg Mankiw, who gives a nice parable in his remarks, has to stifle a laugh as Summers lets rip.

Also see


Taxing The “Rich” Won’t Pay For Politicians’ Promises ---



How to Mislead With Statistics


Ranking 46 States by in a Different Kind of Way in Terms of Numbers of Regulatory Restrictions (enough red tape to reach the moon and back)


Jensen Comment
This is an innovative attempt to rank states on the complicated topic of regulation. The problem is that a given regulation can be long and complicated or short and sweet. Further more a a relatively short regulation (e.g., Thou shall not kill) can be extremely complicated in terms of legal, religious, and ethical complications that more complicated regulations (e.g., the Federal Tax Code) seek to clarify.


The main take away is that the most populated states have the most regulatory red tape --- which is hardly surprising. For example, it's not surprising that New York has very complicated regulations regarding securities transaction. Is it surprising in a state that contains the New York Stock Exchange? It's not surprising that those states also have by far the most lawyers, accountants, police enforcers, and state regulators.


Some states (think California) have made voting extremely complicated by putting so many complex regulatory referendums on ballots. Both people who can and cannot read are led like lemmings by biased media outlets and wealthy lobbyists. Often regulations are exact opposites of theire written titles.


A friend (now deceased) living in Dallas became relatively wealthy by veering from an accounting career to a career in regulation compliance ---
He claimed that this was a better career path for him than accountancy. His specialty was a niche in stratified sampling.


Compliance Training --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compliance_training


Republican Control In The States Hasn’t Stopped The Growth Of Government ---



How to Mislead With Statistics

U.S. Funding for University Research Continues to Slide ---

The United States continues to fall further behind world leaders in funding for university research. To reverse course, it should increase support by $45 billion per year and provide stronger incentives for businesses to increase their investments.


Research universities play a critical role in generating innovation-based economic growth and driving U.S. global innovation leadership.

According to the most recent OECD data, the United States has slid to 28th of 39 nations in government funding for university research as a share of GDP, with the 12 leading governments investing more than double the U.S. investment.

Between 2011 and 2017, U.S. government funding for university research as a share of GDP fell by nearly a quarter—0.06 percentage points. On average, nations decreased 0.03 percent of GDP during that time.

Congress should commit to increasing university research support by $45 billion per year, which would place the United States among the top seven nations in the world in funding for university research.

Congress should also expand the energy-related collaborative research and experimentation tax credit to apply to any field of university research investment—not just energy research—made by businesses.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment

How can these statistics possibly be misleading? One huge way is in failing to count much of the research funding. For example, in the USA universities have undergraduate and graduate business programs to a much larger extent than colleges and universities in the rest of the world. Indeed the business college on a USA campus is often the largest college on a university campus, especially in most state-supported universities. There are also large humanities programs such as modern languages. Whereas science and engineering colleges on campus rely heavily on government and business research grants, the colleges of business and humanities have few such grants counted in the above study as "research." However, in colleges of business and humanities the tenure and performances of faculty are heavily weighted on research performance. Over the years teaching loads of upwards of five courses per semester dropped to two or three courses per semester to support the research mission. In graduate schools of business it is now common to only require one or two course preparations per year. Plus most universities fund sabbatical leaves and summer research.

My point here is that in the USA much of the funding for business and humanities research did not get counted in the above study. Faculty instead get teaching relief and other university stipends that were overlooked in the above study. In other parts of the world business education programs, if they exist at all on campus, are part of science divisions (think economics) where government research grants are more readily available than they are for business colleges in the USA.

If research funding is so great in Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark why don't the Chinese and Russians spend billions more trying to steal their research relative to what is spent trying to steal the research of the USA?

Apart from university campuses, the above study ignores much of the research taking place in business and government in the USA. The problem is that research funding is confounded with funding of other job duties. The best example here is product development in business firms where research is only part of the entire heavily-funded total operation of product development. It's virtually impossible to separate what part of product funding is development and what part is comprised of other aspects of product development.

The above study ignores output volumes in terms of research publications of the largest countries like the USA, China, and India. My hunch (strictly a guess at this point) is that the USA, China, and India produce more research publications than the rest of the world combined, although counting home countries of authors gets complicated because of the rise in joint authorships between USA authors and foreign authors.

Thirdly, the above study ignores funding of research facilities (link science and computing laboratories in universities and business firms) where the USA dominates.

If the other nations of the world are doing such a great job funding research where are their new patents?

New Drug Patents by Country ---

Over the past half century, the United States has been the birthplace of the majority of the world’s biomedical innovations.1 Despite a global slowdown in the development of new medical interventions, due to the scientific shift towards more complex biologic treatments, innovation in the U.S. has remained relatively steady thanks to strong financial incentives to invest in research and development (R&D). In fact, the below chart may underrepresent American contributions to pharmacological breakthroughs in the past two decades as a result of U.S. corporations relocating their headquarters to Switzerland and the U.K. to take advantage of those countries’ lower corporate tax rates.

Jensen Comment
This does not justify some of the evil pricing schemes of big pharma in the USA, especially pricing by patent trolls. But it does illustrate how complicated the invention of biomedical innovations (that includes more than drugs) becomes, especially when comparing the USA with the more highly populated European Union. Why doesn't the EU lead in discovery of biomedical innovations? Why aren't Russia and China inventing new biomedical innovations as fast as they are inventing technology innovations?

I think that the highly defective and misleading ranking of nations on the basis of research funding is secretly political in an effort to get lawmakers to greatly increase federal funding of research in the USA. It would be more meaningful if it did not leave out so much data on the actual funding of research in the USA.


The Sad History Of American Business Schools ---


Jensen Comment
There are so many things distorted and wrong about this analysis that I don't quite know where to begin before reading the book. I think its most obvious biased failing will be in judging business schools for failing to stand out using humanities criteria. The same failings arise in schools of physics, schools of chemistry, schools of mathematics, etc. 


 The book’s greatest failing lies in its high-mindedness, as it never justifies the contention that MBAs should be primarily concerned with social change, rather than business best practices.

It would be the same for mathematics.
A similar book about mathematics greatest failing lies in its high-mindedness, as it never justifies the contention that mathematicians should be primarily concerned with social change, rather than mathematics best theories and practices.

Hypothesis:  My guess is that Steven Conn takes a very narrow view of "social change" that he uses to judge business schools.
Perhaps he's blind to important "social changes."
Did he ever dig deep into what business schools did to improve supermarkets?
Did he ever dig deep into how supermarkets helped the USA win the Cold War?

Freakonomics:  How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War ---
Mother Hubbard had a bare cupboard in wannabe communist nations where people were equal in their hunger (no food stamps or food).

Come on Steven
Did business schools really fail us when it came to winning the Cold War?

Business may only be a one of the engines in the world of social change, but it may well be the most important engine of change!


More than half of 11-year-olds in the US now have a smartphone ---


Jensen Comment
And many of those that cannot have a smartphone still have a cell phone.
The number of mobile phones in the USA exceeds to the population of the USA ---


Ranking of States According To State Worker Pension Crises ---



50 Wisconsin Funded Ratio 102.6% (best)

49 South Dakota Funded Ratio 100.1%

48 Tennessee Funded Ratio 96.5%

47 New York Funded Ratio 94.5%

46 Idaho Funded Ratio 91.3%

45 North Carolina Funded Ratio 91.7%

44 Utah Funded Ratio 90.3%

43 Nebraska Funded Ratio 90.3%

42 Washington Funded Ratio 89.6%

41 Oregon Funded Ratio 83.1%


. . .


10 Massachusetts Funded Ratio 59.9%

09 Pennsylvania Funded Ratio 55.3%

08 Hawaii Funded Ratio 54..8%

07 South Carolina Funded Ratio 54.3%

06 Rhode Island Funded Ratio 53.7%

05 Colorado Funded Ratio 47.1%

04 Connecticut Funded Ratio 45.7%

03 Illinois Funded Ratio 38.4%

02 New Jersey Funded Ratio35.8%

01 Kentucky Funded Ratio 33.9% (Worst)


Causes of shortfall range from overgenerous benefits (think fraud) to poor investment performance --

One common type of fraud is to outrageously bump salaries just before retirement to boost pensions



Why is Capitalist Finland so Rich?

Read the comments --- Finland encourages wealth incentives


Education in Finland, recipe for success?

Jensen Comment
One of the key differences between Finland and the USA, in my opinion, is that Finland has a greater proportion of two-parent homes --- sounds so old fashioned


Honest Finland ---
The USA is dragged down by so much corruption in city, state, and federal government, although business firms are often partners in this corruption


Demographics in Finland ---
Low on racial diversity and immigration


Healthcare in Finland ---
The Dark Side (funding and sustainability) --- https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/15/world/finland-health-care-intl/index.html


Religion in Finland ---
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Finland#targetText=Finland is a predominantly Christian,, Judaism, folk religion etc.
On the decline following a general trend in Europe


Sex in Finland  ---
Is this a trend among all developed nations?



Updates on Medical Insurance


Urban Institutue: From Incremental to Comprehensive Health Reform: How Various Reform Options Compare on Coverage and Costs ---

From Incremental to Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform: How Various Reform Options Compare on Coverage and Costs

Comparing Health Insurance Reform Options: From “Building on the ACA” to Single Payer

Blog Post:
Don’t Confuse Changes in Federal Health Spending with National Health Spending

Policymakers, including candidates in the 2020 presidential campaign and members of Congress, have proposed a variety of options to address the shortcomings of the current health care system. These range from improvements to the Affordable Care Act to robust single-payer reform.

There are numerous challenging trade-offs when choosing an approach to health care reform, including covering the uninsured, improving the affordability of health care, and raising the government funding required to implement them. The public and policymakers alike need more information about the potential effects of various health reform proposals.

This study, funded by the Commonwealth Fund, analyzes eight health care reforms and their potential effects on health insurance coverage and spending. Each of the analyzed reform proposals makes health insurance considerably more affordable by reducing people’s premiums and cost sharing. Some reforms also reduce US health care costs, and all require additional federal dollars.

Key findings:

·         Within the existing public-private health care system, near universal coverage and improved affordability could be achieved with moderate increases in national health spending. Under one of the plans modeled in the report, which proposes a mix of private and public health insurance, everyone in the US could be covered except for undocumented immigrants. The plan would enable workers to opt for subsidized nongroup coverage instead of their employer’s insurance plan. It would also improve the ACA’s subsidies to help people afford coverage, cover people in states that have not expanded Medicaid, require everyone to have insurance with an auto-enrollment backup, offer a public insurance option, and cap provider payment rates.

Coverage and costs:
This reform plan achieves universal coverage for people legally present in the US, covering 25.6 million people who would otherwise be uninsured. However, the plan leaves 6.6. million undocumented immigrants without coverage. National spending on health care would decrease modestly, by $22.6 billion or 0.6 percent, compared with current law in 2020. Federal government spending would increase by $122.1 billion in 2020, or $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

·         One single-payer approach would leave no one uninsured and largely eliminate consumers’ out-of-pocket medical costs but would require much greater federal spending to finance. The modeled “enhanced” single-payer system would cover everyone, including undocumented immigrants. The reform would include benefits more comprehensive than Medicare’s—including adult dental, vision, hearing, and long-term services and supports—with no premiums or cost sharing. All current forms of insurance for acute care would be eliminated, including private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare, and everyone residing in the US would be covered by a new public insurance program. Providers would be paid rates closer to Medicare’s. Health spending by employers would be eliminated, and household and state health spending would decline considerably while federal spending would increase significantly.

Coverage and costs:
This reform option covers the entire US population. National spending on health care would grow by about $720 billion in 2020. Federal government spending would increase by $2.8 trillion in 2020, or $34.0 trillion over 10 years.

·         A second single-payer approach can be constructed with lower federal and system-wide costs. In addition to the enhanced single-payer plan above, researchers examined a single-payer “lite” plan that is similar to the enhanced version but includes cost sharing for out-of-pocket expenses based on income, adds fewer new covered benefits, and only covers legally residing US residents. Single-payer “lite” lowers total national health spending, decreasing health spending by households, employers, and state governments and increasing federal government spending by less than the enhanced single-payer reform.

Coverage and costs:
This reform plan achieves universal coverage for people legally present in the US, covering 25.6 million people who were uninsured. However, the plan leaves all 10.8 million undocumented immigrants without coverage (due to the elimination of private insurance). National spending on health care would decrease by $209.5 billion, or 6 percent, in 2020. Federal government spending would increase by $1.5 trillion in 2020, or by $17.6 trillion over 10 years. The analysis demonstrates that there is more than one effective approach to achieving universal health care coverage in the United States and highlights the trade-offs of different reform strategies.

The analysis demonstrates that there is more than one effective approach to achieving universal health care coverage in the United States and highlights the trade-offs of different reform strategies.

Continued in article

Rob Rrownstein:  The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All According to new figures: more than the federal government will spend over the coming decade on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined ---

The Urban Institute estimates that a single-payer plan would require $32 trillion in new tax revenue over the coming decade.


How big a lift is it to raise $32 trillion? It’s almost 50 percent more than the total revenue the CBO projects Washington will collect from the personal income tax over the next decade (about $23.3 trillion). It’s more than double the amount the CBO projects Washington will collect over the next decade from the payroll tax that funds Social Security and part of Medicare (about $15.4 trillion).

Jensen Comment
And the Medicare for All Spending initiative is a relatively small part of what most 2020 Presidential Candidates (except for Biden) want to spend on social programs. To the average $3.2 trillion annual cost of Medicare for All the annual cost of their Green Initiatives, free medications, student loan forgiveness followed by free college for everybody, guaranteed annual income for 350+ USA residents, housing-for all, reparations for African and Native Americans, and billions for new subsidized housing on top of existing safety nets such as food stamps and welfare and housing. 


Add to this the free medical care, free college, housing, and food advertising for poor people all over the world in cross-over-the-border invitations and you're easily talking over $20 trillion per year. Whereas President Obama deported over a million undocumented immigrants, the 2020 candidates are inviting people to cross over the USA borders.


The most misleading statement in the October 15, 2019 debates was Elizabeth Warren's comment that she will not promote any "spending program that taxes the middle class." But notice that she says nothing about destruction of the middle class pensions dependent upon stock market prices (think CREF and CalPERS). She's probably right about middle income retirees not paying more taxes. We won't have any incomes left to tax if you destroy the stock markets.


And when the stock markets are destroyed unemployment will soar because business firms will lose the ability to raise capital necessary for operating businesses. Businesses can turn to government for capital, but the cupboard will be bare due to all the social programs draining $20 trillion from the economy.


Bob Jensen's Tidbits Archives ---

Bob 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 conclusions ---

Bob Jensen's threads on auditor professionalism and independence are at

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at


Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

·     With a Rejoinder from the 2010 Senior Editor of The Accounting Review (TAR), Steven J. Kachelmeier

·     With Replies in Appendix 4 to Professor Kachemeier by Professors Jagdish Gangolly and Paul Williams

·     With Added Conjectures in Appendix 1 as to Why the Profession of Accountancy Ignores TAR

·     With Suggestions in Appendix 2 for Incorporating Accounting Research into Undergraduate Accounting Courses

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave  --- http://faculty.trinity.edu/rjensen/TheoryTAR.htm
By Bob Jensen

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


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/