Income inequality and the Rule of 72 – part 3

“If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality.” Entrepreneur and investor Nick Hanauer. [1] Part One of this series looked at how some basic compounded income growth projections with fairly-low rate differentials could alone result in fast-widening income inequality, and then Part… Read more »

Worth a listen: A Swedish singer-songwriter with my name

I was in Malmö, Sweden (which is just across the strait from Copenhagen, Denmark), a few years ago when I came across a concert notice for a local Swedish singer-songwriter who coincidentally shares my name, Richard Lindgren. We had to leave Malmö, his hometown, the next day and missed seeing him perform, but I have been buying his music ever since…. Read more »

Income inequality and the Rule of 72 – part 2

The first part of this series of posts showed how small differences in average pay increases over time can explain much, if not most, most of the wide spread of income growth cited as evidence of income inequality. The question addressed in this part is whether the historical record supports this assertion. Part Three, in the queue, will look at… Read more »

Why there is always a winner, but it’s probably not you

I’d like to move away from the topic of lotteries, but not yet, because this is the window through which most people normally experience a very counter-intuitive mathematical law concerning probability and randomness. Indeed, the worldwide lottery business is primarily based on the assumption that the operators know this law and you don’t. Setting up a truly-random and fair lottery… Read more »

Worth a listen: “On the Media” talks to the Pentagon Papers author

We finally made the time to see the Meryl Streep/Tom Hanks film “The Post,” about the Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers, exposing secrets regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War. The film is well worth seeing, and I followed it up with listening to an interview with the lead Pentagon author on the papers, Leslie Gelb, on the… Read more »

Income inequality and the Rule of 72 – part 1

Income inequality is an issue fraught with political stake-in-the-ground positioning, but there is some very basic math that, if understood, deflates a lot of the political grandstanding from either side. If we get the math out of the way then perhaps the policy implications and choices become clearer. The first principle applied here is that nature itself does not usually… Read more »

Progressive or conservative? No, “payday lender.”

I have been working on a three-part post about the math of “income inequality” which goes online tomorrow and over the next week. I think it takes an important and different tack from other viewpoints. Hint: the newest tax law will only make income inequality worse. I am still banging my head trying to pin the “Tax Cuts and Jobs… Read more »

Taraji P. Henson meets Gottfried Leibniz

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The excellent 2016 film Hidden Figures starred Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer, and was based on the women “computers” (that is what they were called) who worked behind the scenes to calculate trajectories for the first U. S. manned rocket flights. What you were seeing written on the chalkboards in that film was mostly the mathematics of differential and… Read more »

Here is how to compare U.S. and British health care

Recent headlines highlight problems in delivering appropriate patient care in the United Kingdom as this flu season overwhelms the National Health Service. [1] While this certainly does put a lot of British citizens at risk, the usual trashing of the British health care system by elements of the American press is, as usual, grossly misplaced. I have lived under the… Read more »