Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the March 17, 2020 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

My Latest Web Document
Over 500 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 ---


 Here's a humorous and serious 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 ---



The Singapore Dream:  How Singapore's richest man went from welding in a factory for $14 per hour to owning a $17 billion hotpot restaurant chain ---


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.


Kobe Bryant:  We need to make the most of every minute we have ---


Hermann Weyl born in Hamburg, Germany. He wrote, "One may say that mathematics talks about the things which are of no concern to men. Mathematics has the inhuman quality of starlight---brilliant, sharp, but cold ... thus we are clearest where knowledge matters least: in mathematics, especially number theory." ---
Also see Mathematical Analytics in Plato's Cave


And nevertheless conclude that the optimum amount of restriction of immigration is zero point zero, zero, zero? Amazing. Economics are generally skeptical models that yield corner solutions ---
Jensen Comment
To the list of questions I would add "Do your talk about the Tragedy of the Commons?"
The problem with open borders is somewhat related to the economic problem of "The Sharing of the Commons" where giving everybody the right to use a free resource leads to everybody losing that resource. At what point will allowing billions of people share in the free medical care, free college, and other scarce resources ruin it for everybody ---


History of United States Immigration Laws ---


Open immigration can’t exist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure healthcare and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global ---
Paul Krugman


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 ---


In 1665, Cambridge University closed because of the plague. Issac Newton decided to work from home. He discovered calculus & the laws of motion. Just saying.
— Paddy Cosgrave
Cosgrave, chief executive of Web Summit, in a tweet last week reflecting on the ramifications of coronavirus.
As quoted again in a March 11, 2020 Chronicle of Higher Education newsletter.
Jensen Comment
For Cambridge students in 1665 there were no photocopy machines for lecture notes, telephone, Web sites, video/radio technologies, and other online technologies used today for online teaching.


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


There are over 100+ trillion reasons for the demise of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders that the liberal media does not want to mention
Brian Riedl computed the added $100 trillion cost of Bernie's initiatives (not counting his free pre-schooling for every child,  the collapse of the capital markets, the loss of most USA pensions, and tides through open borders ) ---


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

The History and Economics of Mexican Drug Cartels ---

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' ---


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?

Also see

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



12 inspiring quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.---


21 outstanding Warren Buffet quotations ---
Also see


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

History of United States Immigration Laws ---

NYT:  American history textbooks can differ across the country, in ways that are shaded by partisan politics ---

Jensen Comment
I remember years ago when an American History textbook intended for all high schools in Texas had hundreds of mistakes including the "fact" that the USA dropped a nuclear bomb in the Korean War. Most of these "mistakes" were not typos. Gone are the days when American History textbooks are factual.


Pew Research Survey:  Political Bias and Anti-Americanism on College Campuses ---
by Walter E. Williams
Bob Jensen's threads on political bias in academe and the media ---


Why You Might Want Your University to Invest in Large Oil Companies? (That $145 Billion with a "B")
Shell just announced plans to build the world's largest 'green hydrogen' plant. Here's everything you need to know about the $145 billion industry, which is set to transform the energy sector--

https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-hydrogen-fuel-industry-explainer-2020-1?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BIPrime_select&utm_campaign=BI Prime 2020-02-28&utm_term=BI Prime Select 


If given a choice between Bloomberg and Trump, AOC will vote for Trump ---


Cultural Biases in Equity Analysis ---
Jensen Comment
In my opinion cultural bias is overstated in this instance since it is seldom (if ever) that two firms being compared from different companies are alike on all other more important criteria for investors.


Thousands of migrants mass at Greek border, more flee Syria ---


Aspiring terrorists are in every Iowa school, surveillance companies warn ---


Green New Deal 'would devastate the economy,' hit working families hardest ---


Washington Post Gives Joe Biden 4 Pinocchios for Misleading Ad Attacking Trump ---


MIT:  Bernie Sanders has an audacious—and hugely expensive—climate plan ---



Biden promises moratorium on deportations as both candidates pledge lax enforcement of immigration law ---


Zimbabwe Gives Land Back to White Farmers After Wrecking Economy ---


How Big a Hit Will the USA Economy Take?  Two Scenarios ---
Jensen Comment
Dry docked cruise ships could become either luxury condos or project housing for the homeless.


Sarah Sanders warns about Joe Biden's 'extreme' policies ---

Biden and Trump agree on strong US-Israel relations – Sanders, not so much

Omar’s new husband made more than half a million off her campaigns ---

U.S. Rejected Foreign Coronavirus Testing Kits Because of 48% False Negative Rate -

Forget Toilet Paper Hoarding:   State Wine, Liquor Stores To Close Amid Coronavirus Outbreak ---
This is getting serious!


Prince Harry was reportedly tricked by Russian political pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, who called twice in January pretending to be Greta Thunberg ---


 Thought for Food:  Chinese Buyouts of American Food Processing Companies ---


The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ripped into Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for her response to the sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl, allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant who had been sprung from custody by the city’s sanctuary policies

From India:  COVID19 Files – Scientific Investigation On Mysterious Origin Of Coronavirus ---


Chicago Tribune:  Let’s scrap Illinois and build New Illinois ---
https://www.data-z.org/news/detail/lets-scrap-illinois-and-build-new-illinois ---
Jensen Comment
The main financial problem in Illinois is pension frauds and impossible promises.
The problem is that impossible financial obligations will carry over to the "New Illinois"
Although the homicide rate in Louisiana exceeds that of Illinois, Chicago is the most gang-infested city in the USA ---
Having teens on the streets more hours per day is going to exacerbate Chicago's gang warfare during school shut downs due to the 2020 pandemic. Gangs may soon commence to deal more in booze as bars and liquor stores close --- remember Al Capone's hay day,


Why Housing is So Expensive ---
Jensen Comment
Maybe I missed something, but it seems to me that the above article ignores the obvious. Housing is expensive when demand greatly exceeds supply (think San Francisco, Seattle, etc.) In tiny Midwestern towns that are drying up housing is relatively cheap, which is why so many retirees not seeking full-time jobs often settle in those towns for the remaining years of their lives. The above article seems to ignore the obvious and concentrates more on towns and cities with more viable real estate markets that need more housing on the supply side. Within our largest cities housing costs also vary widely in terms of location where ghetto housing is relatively cheap compared to those gated neighborhoods. Housing costs vary greatly with public safety. Suburban housing costs tend to increase with the quality of public schools whereas some expensive housing regions in the inner city just take it for granted that their children must attend private schools.


 How to Mislead With Statistics

Elizabeth Warren’s exit interview is a warning for the dirtbag Sanders meanies who hurt her ---

Before Warren dropped out of the race 44% of Harvard's faculty supported her, 20% supported Sanders, and 1% supported Trump ---
Jensen Comment
The respondents are self selecting. Only 260 were willing to respond out of 1,759 faculty members. Maybe some were unwilling to respond before knowing who the choices will be in early November 2020. How would faculty respond if they don't like either choice in November?


This May Be the Cheapest Way to Quickly Reduce Homelessness:  Nearly 40% of Europeans in their late 20s still live at home ---

Jensen Comment
USA's Dems like to remind us that college education and job training are free in Europe. What they don't tell us is that education and training are funded by taxpayers for the top 35% of Tier 2 (think high school) graduates filtered by intellectual ability and not race or income. Unlike in the USA, European nations do not have capacity (think private and public universities) to educate Tier 2 graduates who are able to pay their own way, The USA has much more low-cost community college capacity for the masses who cannot afford or otherwise get into top USA universities ---

Most of the European training of Tier 2 graduates (nearly half of whom still live at home) takes place in Europe's private sector offering tedious on-the-job apprenticeships that do not pay very well relative to housing costs. Eventually these apprenticeships do pay off and people in the skilled trades finally do relatively well and trainees can at last get apartments in Europe.

The strong capitalist nations of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden have the least young adults living at home per capita --- mostly because of their relatively strong economies. Even these Nordic nations do not provide free education or training to the masses ---

USA's progressives want free college for everybody irrespective of academic ability. Even USA dogs can get student loans and diplomas in some of our for-profit diploma mills. In fairness the Obama administration worked hard to eliminate diploma mill frauds, but President Trump and Betsy DeVos work even harder to perpetuate diploma mill frauds in higher education.


Danish Prime Minister at Harvard University Insists That Denmark is Capitalist ---

Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen told students that he had “absolutely no wish to interfere the presidential debate in the US” but nonetheless attempted to set the record straight about his country.

"I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy,” Rasmussen said.

“The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security for its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish,” he added.

. . .

In his Harvard address, Rasmussen said he naturally enjoyed seeing Denmark held up as an example. 
Denmark, he said, “is definitely not a perfect country, but it is close to it perhaps.”
See also: Bernie Sanders won't like this report on Denmark

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Nearly twice as much of income is taxed in Denmark, but tax rates in Denmark versus the USA cannot be compared since so many things like college education for the Top 35% of students and universal healthcare are paid for out of Denmark's taxes.

The main thing is that the Nordic countries still allow high returns on capital investments and have Nordic Dreams that give rise to billionaires ---

Some things are possible in the USA like universal health care similar to Denmark's national health plan. Denmark's free college plan is not likely to happen since the USA is not inclined to limit free college to intellectually superior students that might discriminate as to race and ethnicity.

Note that it's very difficult to enter Denmark as a legal or illegal immigrant and attain citizenship. Unlike some Democratic Party presidential candidates, Denmark definitely believes the following quoation:

Open immigration can’t exist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure healthcare and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global ---
Paul Krugman

By making Medicare-for-All available to all illegal immigrants you will have people pouring into the USA for free dialysis, knee transplants, hip transplants, organ transplants, free 24/7 nursing care, etc. By making college free to all illegal immigrants the entire world will be trying to cross the border for free college and/or skilled training.


It's sad that socialism cannot apparently be sustained without totalitarianism --- at least there's never been an example of a nation that could maintain a socialism and democracy simultaneously. The Nordic nations to date demonstrate that it's possible to maintain capitalism and democracy simultaneously, but they do so with very small and homogenous populations who live under military protection of world powers. Norway now begs and pays for presence of the USA military --- 



It's sad that capitalism cannot apparently be sustained without the rise of monopolies and oligopolies, although the USA is proof to date that there can be eight-year term limits on powerful presidencies that seem somehow to live with Amendment 1 on freedom of the press to restrain political power. 



The Nordic nations are our best example of capitalism that lives compatibly with democracy --- and they proudly are not democratic socialism economies. But they are not good tests for large nations because they are so small and  homogeneous in terms of race and ethnicity where it's very difficult for illegal immigrants to become citizens. The Nordic nations would probably not be sustainable if they were located north of the Rio Grande River. 



As far as the USA is concerned I don't think Bernie Sanders' idea of democratic socialism is sustainable. You cannot have sustainable businesses without somebody getting returns on capital and rewards for investment and financial risk taking --- that American Dream. 



Capital either has to come from the government (socialism) or investors (capitalism). 



If capital comes from investors they cannot continue to provide capital if labor totally controls business (Bernies' Dream) without providing any capital. 



If capital comes from government there has yet to be a demonstration that this socialism is sustainable without becoming totalitarian. This is what makes socialism, including democratic socialism the impossible dream.



Ironically at this point in time we have capitalist USA trying to become socialist, and socialist China trying to become capitalist.



Ironically at this point in time the people of the USA are trying to eliminate the wealth class, and people of China trying to create the wealth class.


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 ---



Bernie Sanders and his followers want no more of billionaire creation in the USA. China now welcomes them.



Go figure!


Wall Street is giving Sanders a pass. Why? They don’t think he’ll beat President Donald Trump. But that may not be a smart bet ---
Jensen Comment
You just can't take over $100 trillion from investors and save the stock markets, bond markets, real estate markets, and pensions.


Brian Riedl computed the added $100 trillion cost of Bernie's initiatives (not counting his free pre-schooling for every child,  the collapse of the capital markets, the loss of most USA pensions, and tides through open borders ) ---


It would be wonderful if politicians made promises they can keep rather than promise green initiatives, free medical services, free medications, free nursing homes, free college, free preschool, free housing, free food, guaranteed annual income, reparations, open borders, legalized prostitution, etc. to the tune of over $10+ trillion per year.  They might as well throw in promises of peace on earth and goodwill for all living things.

If I ran for office I would promise a Big Rock Candy Mountain ---  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqowmHgxVJQ  

Scandinavian Nations Abandoned Their Democratic Socialism Experiments in the 1970s (in favor of Democratic Capitalism and greatly lowered tax rates)---

What is real socialism? It’s usually clarified that this means “Democratic Socialism” as opposed to the non-Democratic type that exists in places like China, Cuba and Venezuela. Indeed, Bruenig makes this distinction in her piece. So no matter how many times socialism is tried, there’s always some socialist out there saying, ‘Hey, maybe it’s time to give socialism a try.’ That, in essence, is the pitch Bernie Sanders is making to the Democratic Party.

Today, Fareed Zakaria points out that socialism, the real Democratic kind Sanders says he supports, has been tried.

Sanders’s vision of Scandinavian countries, as with much of his ideology, seems to be stuck in the 1960s and 1970s, a period when these countries were indeed pioneers in creating a social market economy.

In Sweden, government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product doubled from 1960 to 1980, going from approximately 30 percent to 60 percent. But as Swedish commentator Johan Norberg points out, this experiment in Sanders-style democratic socialism tanked the Swedish economy. Between 1970 and 1995, he notes, Sweden did not create a single net new job in the private sector. In 1991, a free-market prime minister, Carl Bildt, initiated a series of reforms to kick-start the economy. By the mid-2000s, Sweden had cut the size of its government by a third and emerged from its long economic slump.

. . .

Sanders routinely makes it sound as if taxes on billionaires and corporations will fund his $50 to $100 trillion in new spending on things like free tuition and Medicare for All. But that’s not how it works in Scandinavia. In fact, on a percentage basis the poor and middle class in Scandinavia pay far more of the tab (and rich pay far less) than they do here:

It is true that these countries have a generous safety net and, in order to fund it, high taxes.

What is not often pointed out, however, is that in order to raise enough revenue, these taxes fall disproportionately on the poor, middle and upper middle class. Denmark has one of the highest top income tax rates in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 55.9 percent, but that rate is applied to anyone making 1.3 times the average national income. In the United States, this would mean that any income above $65,000 would be taxed at the rate of 55.9 percent. In fact, the highest tax rate in the United States, 43 percent, applies to income that is 9.3 times the national average, which means that only those with incomes over approximately $500,000 pay this rate…

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
When Scandinavian nations moved from Democratic Socialism to Democratic Capitalism, they also greatly lowered their top marginal tax rates.

Probably the worst thing about "The Mother of All Cognitive Illusions" is the total ignoring of why virtually all advanced nations (and most others) greatly reduced highest marginal tax rates between 1979 and 2002, because high marginal top tax rates were counter productive to economic growth and prosperity.

Those nations like Sweden that did not offer lower capital gains rates and other tax avoidance alternatives took terrible hits by confiscating high incomes essential to their economies. When they at last discovered how counter productive these high tax rates were to their economies they quickly reduced the top marginal rates. Also remember that some nations like Denmark that still have relatively high marginal rates are including more services in with their tax dollars like free medical care and free college and job training (for the top 35% of the students).


Table 1 Maximum Marginal Tax Rates on Individual Income

*. Hong Kongs maximum tax (the standard rate) has normally been 15 percent, effectively capping the marginal rate at high income levels (in exchange for no personal exemptions).

**. The highest U.S. tax rate of 39.6 percent after 1993 was reduced to 38.6 percent in 2002 and to 35 percent in 2003.






















United Kingdom




United States




Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers; International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation.


Chronicle of Higher Education:  Why Academics Love to Hate Mayor Pete On a toxic stew of self-recognition, projection, and narcissistic disavowal ---

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., has performed well in the first few contests of the Democratic primary season. Supporters of other candidates and commentators at large have found a lot of reasons to dislike Buttigieg — his rhetoric, his record, and so on. But, among professors on Twitter and media personnel, no motive seems to be as widespread as this: He reminds them of someone they hated in college. This provides a good excuse for critics to mention all sorts of interesting things about themselves.


One popular Twitter user tweeted some months ago: "Pete Buttigieg reminds me of every reason I decided not to apply to Harvard in spite of being both a legacy and a recruited athlete." (Her bio mentions that she attended Princeton.) A fellow Harvard graduate now working at a prestigious magazine and lecturing at Yale commented on a specific essay about Buttigieg: "My favorite part of this Buttigieg Bildungsprofil is the throwaway paragraph about taking a holiday from McKinsey to go to Somaliland as a tourist in 2008, and talking to officials there as part of his vacation. I went there in 2002, but instead of talking to officials I performed Tuvan throat-singing on Radio Hargeisa, and instead of writing about it for the IHT, I wrote for a magazine published only in Basque. Here you see why Mayor Pete summitted [sic] the meritocracy ziggurat and I did not." Tuvan throat-singing and writing fluency in Basque — talk about a throwaway paragraph!

A New Yorker writer and Smith College graduate wrote: "It’s weird that Mayor Pete went to Harvard because he’s got real strong ‘salutatorian at Duke’ energy." There’s a burn: a mere Duke man, and a mere salutatorian! One might multiply examples ad infinitum. Criticism of Buttigieg sure provides a great opportunity to boast about just about anything: athletic prowess, proficiency in foreign languages, ability to distinguish among a variety of elite universities, proximity to a high number of Harvard graduates, and so on. No wonder it’s becoming such a fun pastime.

It’s not just journalists and Twitter personalities who find Buttigieg redolent of their old campus insecurities. A George Washington University professor tweeted in December: "I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: every college professor has had a student in class who acts like Pete Buttigieg on stage tonight. We secretly can’t stand that student." A University of Washington professor replied: "Every few quarters I have a Liz Warren student and she is a joy. She shows up to office hours with a color coded binder and a list of starting questions." The Buttigieg "type" is so overwhelming and oppressive that professors resent any whiff of it they catch from the front of their lecture halls.

Continued in article


Modern Monetary Theory (what I call garbage economics)  --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Monetary_Theory

A 2019 survey of leading economists by the
University of Chicago Booth's Initiative on Global Markets showed a unanimous rejection of assertions that the survey attributes to modern monetary theory: "Countries that borrow in their own currency should not worry about government deficits because they can always create money to finance their debt" and "Countries that borrow in their own currency can finance as much real government spending as they want by creating money".[61][62] Directly responding to the survey, MMT economist William K. Black said "MMT scholars do not make or support either claim."[63] Multiple MMT academics regard the attribution of these claims as a smear.[64]

The post-Keynesian economist Thomas Palley argues that MMT is largely a restatement of elementary Keynesian economics, but prone to "over-simplistic analysis" and understating the risks of its policy implications.[65] Palley denies the MMT claim that standard Keynesian analysis does not fully capture the accounting identities and financial restraints on a government that can issue its own money. He argues that these insights are well captured by standard Keynesian stock-flow consistent IS-LM models, and have been well understood by Keynesian economists for decades. He also criticizes MMT for "assum[ing] away the problem of fiscal–monetary conflict"[66] — that is, that the governmental body that creates the spending budget (e.g. Congress) may refuse to cooperate with the governmental body that controls the money supply (e.g. the Federal Reserve). In Palley's view the policies proposed by MMT proponents would cause serious financial instability in an open economy with flexible exchange rates, while using fixed exchange rates would restore hard financial constraints on the government and "undermines MMT’s main claim about sovereign money freeing governments from standard market disciplines and financial constraints". He also argues that MMT lacks a plausible theory of inflation, particularly in the context of full employment in the employer of last resort policy first proposed by Hyman Minsky and advocated by Bill Mitchell and other MMT theorists; of a lack of appreciation of the financial instability that could be caused by permanently zero interest rates; and of overstating the importance of government created money. Palley concludes that MMT provides no new insights about monetary theory, while making unsubstantiated claims about macroeconomic policy, and that MMT has only received attention recently due to it being a "policy polemic for depressed times."[66]

Marc Lavoie argues that whilst the neochartalist argument is "essentially correct", many of its counter-intuitive claims depend on a "confusing" and "fictitious" consolidation of government and central banking operations[13] — again what Palley calls "the problem of fiscal–monetary conflict."[66]

New Keynesian economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman argues that MMT goes too far in its support for government budget deficits and ignores the inflationary implications of maintaining budget deficits when the economy is growing.[67] Krugman described MMT devotees as engaging in "calvinball" — a game from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes in which the players change the rules at whim.[22] Austrian School economist Robert P. Murphy states that MMT is "dead wrong" and that "the MMT worldview doesn't live up to its promises."[68] He observes that MMT's claim that cutting government deficits erodes private saving is true "only for the portion of private saving that is not invested" and argues that the national accounting identities used to explain this aspect of MMT could equally be used to support arguments that government deficits "crowd out" private sector investment.[68]

The chartalist view of money itself, and the MMT emphasis on the importance of taxes in driving money, is also a source of criticism.[13] Economist Eladio Febrero argues that modern money draws its value from its ability to cancel (private) bank debt, particularly as legal tender, rather than to pay government taxes.


Bernie Sanders is being advised by a fan of an economic theory called MMT: Here's a plain-English guide to what it is and why it's interesting ---

Jensen Comment
To me it's not interesting unless you focus on the disaster MMT can bring to a nation!

Actually, I'm even more worried about Bernie's plan to allow employees and labor unions take control over all large USA corporations without providing any capital investment in those companies---

Karl Marx must be dancing on his grave hoping for a Bernie Sanders takeover in November 2020.


Thirty years after reunification, a stark and persistent wage gap between East Germany and West Germany remains ---

Jensen Comment
This article concludes that the cost of relocation is a significant barrier when moving from East to West Germany. This leaves undefined the difference beween a one-time moving costs versus an annual living cost. When I retired in San Antonio and moved to New Hampshire my moving van bill was over $35,000. That's a significant one-time cost of relocation in my budget, and cost that must be borne in varying amounts when a worker moves from East to West in Germany. However, for workers who will be getting wages before and after such a move an even more important consideration is cost of living differences. My students who had job offers from CPA firm offices in both San Francisco and San Antonio almost always opted for San Antonio because the their salaries in San Francisco could not even pay for housing unless they doubled up and shared enormous apartment rental costs in San Francisco. This illustration is probably a bit unfair, because the living costs differences between East and West Germany are not as extreme as the living cost differences between San Francisco and San Antonio. Nevertheless, there are differences in living costs between East and West Germany.

Supposedly Berlin in the former Eastern Zone has about the lowest living costs among German cities. Moving from Berlin say to Frankfurt entails higher annual living costs in addition to the cost of moving ---
Cost of living in Germany is lower than the cost of living in many other countries in Europe. However, there are also differences in style of living. Germans tend to live in big apartment buildings, whereas in some European nations it is easier and cheaper to get a house/cottage than in much of Germany.  Many of the houses in Germany were destroyed in WW 2 and replaced with apartment buildings. Before reunification the East German government built very large and exceedingly unattractive apartment buildings were rent is now relatively cheap. I learned this by watching the Rick Steves European gravel show on PBS.

Why is the choice of a running mate possibly more important for Joe Biden than virtually all presidential candidates in history?
There are signs of aging that are becoming serious and will probably become an election issue in November 2020

Jensen Comment
Those of us senior citizens typically have are “senior moments,” but Biden’s senior moments seen to be more frequent that we would like in a presidential candidate.

Paul Krugman:  Thomas Piketty Turns Marx on His Head ---

. . .

Piketty could be right about this, but as far as I can tell, most political scientists would disagree. In the United States, at least, they stress the importance of race and social issues in driving the white working class away from Democrats, and doubt that a renewed focus on equality would bring those voters back. After all, during the Obama years the Affordable Care Act extended health insurance to many disadvantaged voters, while tax rates on top incomes went up substantially. Yet the white working class went heavily for Trump, and stayed Republican in 2018.
Maybe the political science consensus is wrong. What I can say with confidence, though, is that until the final 300 pages “Capital and Ideology” doesn’t do much to make the case for Piketty’s views on modern political economy.

. . .

But while there is a definite Francocentric feel to “Capital and Ideology,” for me, at least, the vast amount of ground it covers raises a couple of awkward questions.

The first is whether Piketty is a reliable guide to such a large territory. His book combines history, sociology, political analysis and economic data for dozens of societies. Is he really enough of a polymath to pull that off?

I was struck, for example, by his extensive discussion of the evolution of slavery and serfdom, which made no mention of the classic work of Evsey Domar of M.I.T., who argued that the more or less simultaneous rise of serfdom in Russia and slavery in the New World were driven by the opening of new land, which made labor scarce and would have led to rising wages in the absence of coercion. This happens to be a topic about which I thought I knew something; how many other topics are missing crucial pieces of the literature?

The second question is whether the accumulation of cases actually strengthens Piketty’s core analysis. It wasn’t clear to me that it does. To be honest, at a certain point I felt a sense of dread each time another society entered the picture; the proliferation of stories began to seem like an endless series of digressions rather than the cumulative construction of an argument.

Eventually, however, Piketty comes down to the meat of the book: his explanation of what caused the recent surge in inequality and what can be done about it.

For Piketty, rising inequality is at root a political phenomenon. The social-democratic framework that made Western societies relatively equal for a couple of generations after World War II, he argues, was dismantled, not out of necessity, but because of the rise of a “neo-proprietarian” ideology. Indeed, this is a view shared by many, though not all, economists. These days, attributing inequality mainly to the ineluctable forces of technology and globalization is out of fashion, and there is much more emphasis on factors like the decline of unions, which has a lot to do with political decisions.


Unlike in Australia, Venezuela, and Cuba
There’s plenty of toilet paper in the US – so why are people hoarding it?

Jensen Comment
The above article notes that Costco and other stores are running out of TP in the USA. I can vouch that yesterday I noticed there was not one roll available in our nearby Walmart store in these mountains where it appears there are more shoppers from Vermont than New Hampshire on any day (due mostly to both Vermont's ban on non-union stores like Walmart and New Hampshire's zero sales tax).

New Hampshire is a weird state that strongly supports Bernie Sanders (probably because of his promise of $100+ trillion in freebies paid for by wealthy states like NY, CA, TX, and MA). But the Democratic Party legislature in NH will not even consider a sales tax or a state income tax or most any other new or increased tax. Some legislators would like to introduce new NH taxes, but they know they will be voted out in a NY minute if they even whisper the word "tax."

Since I have ample storage space in our basement, studio, and barn, I've carried more than a year's supply of toilet paper since moving to these mountains in 2006. My worry really hasn't been pandemic shortages. If you have storage space, TP is an essential item that's easy to store and probably will never go down in price as forest lands are encroached upon and diminished by global warming. My reason for storing so much TP is that this is a bulky item that's not a great product for shipping from Amazon. As I grow older I prefer to shop in stores for less and less --- my wife's health leaves me with most of the shopping in our fading years. I store non-perishable things that I will like less and less to shop for in future years. Yeah I know that at my age it's risky to buy green bananas.

I'll bet you did not even know that a roll of Scott's 1,000 sheet TP was heavier in 2006 than in 2020. You don't have to use up the 2006 roll as fast, because each sheet on a 2006 roll is thicker. TP is an investment that I had not even considered in my retirement planning.

My house came with a 4,000 gallon heating oil tank, so I am prepared for Armageddon with a four-year supply of home heat. Actually the big tank does allow me to avoid years of high oil price spikes that I worry more about than the price of toilet paper.

Besides TP is something I can leave the kids without having to worry so much about inheritance tax. I figure TP will be the first thing to go when my kids have our estate sale. If they're smart the price will be higher for old rolls of TP.

Cryptocurrency --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency

MIT:  This is how North Korea uses cutting-edge crypto money laundering to steal millions ---










Updates on Medical Insurance






Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania:  Bernie Sanders 'Medicare for all' plan could shrink GDP by as much as 24% ---


Open immigration can’t exist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure healthcare and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global ---
Paul Krugman



Bob Jensen's threads on health insurance (including Obamacare and Medicare-for-All)



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/