Category Archives: Politics vs. math

Eldercare and the economic vacuum cleaner – part 2

Nursing home

Part One of this series laid out the cashflows draining middle-class estates in the final years of life into the “eldercare industry.” In my view, this is a significant contributor to rising income inequality. Middle-class wealth in the U.S. does not get passed on to the next generation, leaving that group to start over from scratch.  My own children’s generation… Read more »

Eldercare and the economic vacuum cleaner – part 1

Nursing home corridor

Rich people pass on wealth to their children; poor people don’t. And increasingly, middle-class people don’t either. We know that this lack of inheritance in the middle and lower ends is a significant force behind rising income inequality over the last 30 years. Much of the “extraction” of net worth from middle-class families happens in the last years of their… Read more »

When Chuck Grassley was “pwned” by the televangelists

Donald Trump & Paula White

Note: This is a repost from a piece that first appeared in the Iowa blog Bleeding Heartland. In a recent Bleeding Heartland piece, Laura Belin contrasted Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s aggressive attack on then-Vice President Al Gore’s use of a government telephone in 1997 to make a fundraising call to his silence after repeated and blatant Trump administration violations of… Read more »

Type I versus Type II errors in election security

I-Voted

You likely first encountered the “Type I versus Type II error problem” in grade school and didn’t realize it. Perhaps some kid in the class played a practical joke on the teacher, and because nobody confessed, the entire class got detention. In some situation or another, you were likely punished undeservedly as a group for the actions of a small… Read more »

Choose your own stock market adventure

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If you are fortunate to be living off sizable and broadly diversified investments in the world’s financial markets, then your financial position by mid-August likely came back pretty close to where it was in January of 2020, before the “Coronavirus Crash.” This is especially true when dividends and interest payments received since then are included. And if you are not?… Read more »

Self-dealing non-profits and the NRA

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Charity Navigator

The recent filing of a civil action to dissolve the National Rifle Association by the New York State Attorney General will generate headlines and political debate for months to come. I have done a lot of work over the years with “not-for-profit” organizations (more commonly called “non-profits”), serving on the boards of several in various roles, including president and treasurer…. Read more »

Covid math you learned in elementary school

Desk

The three major Covid-19 mitigations available to “normal folks” have clearly become highly politicized. The frustrating thing here is that all three are based on science and mathematics principles that you likely learned in elementary school, but have either been forgotten or have been overridden by anti-science political cultism. So, squeeze yourself back into that 5th grade desk and let’s… Read more »

Choose your story on economic stimulus

HyVee store

Good economists (and some bad ones) disagree on the effects to the economy of this year’s $1200 per person direct stimulus payment. Lots of data get thrown around, but let me suggest that whether you believe another round of direct cash stimulus is warranted depends more, even if you are a “data person,” on which of these three “stories” answers… Read more »

A tax plan for Biden #3 – taxing corporations

World map

The first two parts of this series of posts looked at quick hits and then larger principles that I believe Joe Biden should focus on in rescuing the mess that is the U.S. Tax Code. We need to restore both tax fairness and revenue effectiveness, both of which are in rough shape today. Business and corporation taxes, the subject of… Read more »

The anatomy of an 11-day Covid-19 test report

Covid testing Sarasota

The test result finally came eleven days, almost to the hour, from getting swabbed at a mass drive-up testing site on July 2nd. Even then, the confirmation came not through the official portal, but rather via secure email from one of the several email, website response and telephone call queries I had been making for several days. I had been… Read more »