U.S. Wellbeing The Good &Bad
Work   Education  Health  Safety  Poverty
Civility  Taxes  Debt   Government  Populism   Geopolitics 
Fake News  The Bottom Line 
/19  Please Share!  email our editor walter

Prelude: John Mueller's 1995 statement concerning Retrospection Bias
“... no matter how much better the present gets, the past gets better faster..."
Golden ages "...do happen, but we are never actually in them:
they are always back there somewhere.”

Special Report: Personal Finance for Students


American's Work More

Middle-Skill Jobs Disappearing


Outsourcing Moves Medium Wage Jobs

 #1 Manufacturing moved South out of Northeast and Midwest.

#2 Manufacturing and Middle Skilled Work moved out of US.

#3 US Pressure caused Foreign Manufacturing to move to US
low cost locations helping wage growth.

# 4 China created jobs assembling parts from other Asian countries.

#5 Jobs moving out of China to lower cost.
Increased wages resulted.

#6 China began moving up the product value chain.

Jobs Will Leave With or Without Outsourcing

Creative Destruction Ends Pain Increasing Wellbeing   

More Went to College

But Many Made a Poor Economic Investment



Analysis Needed

Required Score Needed for Academic Investing?

How Much is Nature and How Much is Nurture?

Success Does Not Require a Bachelor's Degree!

 While average college graduate wages are higher, the overlap means many college graduates
 make less than   those without a bachelor's degree.

 As Education Increases, Gap from Median to Top 10% Increases.

 Using the Mean/Average Income to Represent Economic Return
 on Investing in Education is misleading. It's the Real Fake News.

 Consider these 100 students arriving in the ninth grade.                     

 18 won’t graduate on time from high school

 25 won’t enroll in higher education

 29 won’t earn an associate’s degree after six years

 12 BS Graduates work at non-degree jobs

 16 BS Graduates earn college success

Source: Manhattan Institute  


 2016 workforce earnings Georgetown University’s Education Center

 Annual Earnings by Age ≥ $35,000(25 to 44) and ≥ $45,000(45 to 65).

 12.9 million with HS degree or less

 15.7 million with > HS but < college

 36.3 million ≥ bachelor’s degrees 

 Editor's Note: Variability has increased with difficult majors
 and graduate degrees earn much more than median.



Who Pays When Society Gives Poor Guidance?

Uncle Sam is calling in his chips. 

Collections of delinquent student loans
 increased to $2.9 billion last year.
The fiscal 2019 path is $3.3 billion.
Payments come from borrower tax refunds,
Social Security payments and paychecks.


Are College Marketing Efforts to Blame?
The Merit Aid-Illusion

Schools Increase Tuition More Than Needed
 Give More Aid to Top Students, Others are Overcharged

Source Interesting Thoughts Concerning Education

Editor's Comments:

Admission to a top university should not be "the" top education issue.

Too many students Invest Too Much,  borrow too much and
 do not finish their formal education or are over credentialized for their eventually career.

More college academic education has increased supply and lowered wages.
How to education average students is a much bigger issue.

Designed properly, liability forgiveness could be beneficial.
Unintended consequences will be rebuttal by opposition.

Please share!

System Works For Most Children



Many Bottom Q Children Earn More Than Their Parents   


Wealth Parents Provides Few Guarantees


We've Cured Many Diseases

But Poor Health Habits Hurt Many



Childhood Safety

School Shooting Fatalities Up to 55 in 2018


But Autos were Much Safer


3,037 Fewer Fatalities
from Injuries Occurred in 2018 Compared to 1999


Poverty Rate is Stuck at 12+ Percent


A. But Spending is up


Safety Net Unaccounted Income Affects
Some in Both Federal Poverty Level Groups


A household is only eligible for SNAP  if it has a gross income below
130 percent of the federal poverty level

 or a net income below the poverty line.

Little Benefit 2nd Worker Benefit needs more study/analysis.

B. Many Poverty Gaines Since 1989

B. Counting Safety Net Paints a True Picture



D. Is Poverty a Condition or a Position?

Growing up in a rural 1950's Massachusetts Observations

lived with their children, few had health insurance or much income.

Poor Families lived in older house at the end of a dirt road.

Poor Children were skinny, often dirty, didn't finish HS,
 pooped around and then went into military, found a trade or pumped gas.

Almost no one had air conditioning.

Almost all benefited economically after WW 2 but
those in the bottom quintile were economically less well-off.


Retired in rural 2003 Central Florida Observations

live on their own with Medicare and improved SS.
Poor families lived in older lowland house or trailers.
Poor Children, obesity a problem, most finish HS,  try college,
go into one of many services industries and live at home.


Poverty Rate Stuck, which ignores the safety net, is stuck at 15%.
 Liberals misuse poverty data and Conservatives despise safety net.

Editor's Notes:

Measuring economic Wellbeing is difficult.
Poor use of economic measures overstate poverty
Undervalued Inexpensive Well-Made Asian Products are Undervalued.
Some inflation adjustments makes people look poorer than reality.
Improved Government Imposed Building Standards Are Ignored.
U.S. Poverty Rate is Fake News. Why? It Ignores Our Safety Net.
Such inadequate communication, Fake News, is used exploit the data
economists, professionals and politicians.

The Congressional Budget Committee
should audit economic statistics and
report those that misrepresent wellbeing.


Tax Rates Went Down

Federal Share of GDP Changed Little


Government Debt Increased

Editor's Note: CBO Budget Projections Are Notoriously Poor.


More Tax Analysis

Prelude: Economic Concerns

A. Politics is in Control

B. Legally Avoiding Taxes

C. Who Cheats and How

D. Tax Where the Money Is!

E. Attitudes Toward Taxes

F. Would Rich Pay?

Return to Index   Please Share!


Two Kinds of Federal Debt
pay interest to owners.
pay no interest.

Transactions only occur in dollars which the FED prints as needed.
So what is thought of as government borrowing
is selling interest paying debt for cash i.e. non-interest paying debt.
FED borrows dollars and promises to return dollars.
BUT Their Printing Dollars Means There is No Affordability Risk.
States Can't Print Money and Have Affordability Risk
You Might Not Get Your State Retirement Check
But You Will Get Your FED Retirement Check

 FED Debt Has Three Risks to Value
Inflation, Exchange Rate, Interest Rate

Printing too many dollars has historically caused inflation.
Patriots who bought all US war bonds paid the price as
war bonds were refinanced with inflated, less valuable, dollars.
FED borrowed a lot on Vietnam war, OPEC caused problems, resulting inflation
cause bondholders and those on fixed social security to received less buying power.
So FED began adjusting SS payment up to balance inflationary effects.

Debt increases demand.
Supply must keep up or inflation results.
The less we put into increasing production,
 the faster debt will lead to inflation.

Editor's Note: Public Debt Concerns are Not Financial
Who receives the money and what is bought are the concerns.

Source: Symposia Historical Evolution  Money and Debt

BUT Expect to Hear These
Fake News Concerns
 from politicians, most economists, and the media. 

A. Many Predict Trouble from Increased Federal Debt

U.S. Debt: Is It the Calm Before the Storm? podcast from knowledge@Wharton

Here are the Facts/Complaints

  CBO April budget review for 7 months of fiscal 2019
The Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal

Revenues rose 2% to $2.041 trillion
Federal Reserve payments to Treasury dropped 34% by $
15 billion

Spending rose 7% to $2.571 trillion.
Deficit increased to $531 billion?

Defense spending rose 10% (is 3.2% of GDP, Low by historical standards)
Social Security payouts rose 6%,
Medicare outlays 5%
Medicaid 4%.



Some will Counter With Debt Cost Are Low

Which be Counter With

Inflation/Growth May Not Lower the Relative Debt


Many will say "who cares" because they believe Modern Monetary Policy

B. Printing Money Could Cause Inflation
Leading to Higher Interest Rates/Debt Cost

Because we borrow in our own currency, US is not like Greece Euro borrowing.

See  Should the Federal Debt be Paid  from class notes I first wrote in 1966.

More Debt Data   Return to Index
Please Share!


Government Helps Everyone

People Get More, Defense Gets Less

Here is Where it Goes

But Almost All Were Helped

Here is How Much

Government Demand Affects Price

source one-picture economics

Skilled Medical/Profession Workers Were the Big Winner


But Most Wealth Accumulates at the Very Top


So We Discuss Socialism

Why young people are more socialistic

Most Dominate Perception

1) Post WW 2

Government controls key industries
such as utilities, transportation and communications
Classic socialism dominated after World War II
Still promenade about older Americans

2) Current Perception

Government provides
health insurance, retirement support, and access to free higher education
Scandinavian model popularized by Sander
Doesn't replace capitalism, makes it more humane, egalitarian, and protective

Source Socialism: a short-primer   Democratic Socialism Basics 5 min video

Another example of the unintended consequences of government support
 is that increased Social Security benefits has paralleled the decrease in the personal savings rate.
Government Deficits Fund Private Savings

More Government Data   Return to Index  Please Share!



U.S. Civility Improved

Adolph Ochs bought the NYT in 1898.
He responded to  many Yellow Journalism competitors with

"All The News That's Fit To Print."
More congenial media lasted 100 years.

But Recently Civility Has Declined

Why Has Disagreement Animosity Increased?

Why Do Politicians Used It Rather Than Negating It?

 Civility Decreased When Supreme Court Take Control of
State Redistricting Plans, Schools Integration, and Abortions.

What Republicans And Democrats Are Doing
In The States Where They Have Total Power


Please Share

The 1987 Communication Industry Fairness Doctrine Eliminated 
Radio Stations were no longer required to present contrasting views.
Conservative and Liberal Polarization Proliferate
Rush Limbaugh, who had popularized conservative talk radio, had few restrictions.
Talk Radio and Identity Politics Flourished.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996
allowed multi station company ownership and national network developed.
As of 2011, Clear Channel Communications

 (now iHeartMediaowned over 800 US radio stations and
 Rush Limbaugh wealth eventually climbed to $400 million.

Citizens United v. FEC 
Increased Political Contributions
This increased campaign funds and allowed  a new type of sponsorship
 which  supported both intended and unintended Fake News.

Trash Talking Went Public in Sports

Mohamed Ali practically invented this 1960's genre as a boastfully Cassius Clay.
Athlete had been formal, cordial, and boring.
Ali changed everything with his elite out-of-ring bantering
 which was only rivaled by his in-ring dominance.

Larry Bird
and others soon followed.

Banning Earmarks in 2011
increased polarization as cooperating to “bring home the bacon” ended.

See Avoiding Effects Of Groupthink

More Civility Data      Return to Index    Please Share!


Anxiety Caused Populism
3/6/17 Additions in red were made on 5/10/19

More than five years ago I began adding political economy studies to Quick Notes Economics.
I looked at early U.S. history and presidential politics. Then came biographies of our most influential presidents.
Currently, I study the fourth populist-terrorist episode to seriously attack the post WW 1 United States.

Anxiety began to increase when blacks increased their economic and political power.
They received a larger share of our economic pie.
Then Asians got more pie followed in close proximity by women.
Fear from 9/11 amplified our anxiety.
 Then main stream traditional sexually lost ground.
White middle class men and women were no longer the center of society.

Educators had long been acting as if the normal curve did not exist.
Education was the great equalizer. It solved most issues.
Then the Great Recession many hardships to rural areas and the Rust Belt very hard.
Increased education had not ended individual failure.
Equal educational opportunity was not enough.
More Education spending was not the answer.
Unbiased observers knew that nature and nurture were not equally distributed.
Education Change was needed.

Special blame goes to the politicians, economists and professionals.
Economic successes and political stability from 1980-2000 allowed technocrats to take charge.
ut, too often they provided inadequate, bias Information that was not applicable to a particular issue.
There failures are the
real Fake News.

It is more dangerous than the
fake news associated with lies, Yellow journalism, and Propaganda.

The Great Society created a time bomb.
The explosion was delayed by the Reagan Revolution followed by fifteen years of economic prosperity.
Then the dot com bubble ended prosperity and 9/11 lit the fuse.
Accelerants were added by The Great Recession.
Gay Rights put a psychological hurt on many middle class whites.
 Finally a black President’s health care plan took many back to the beginning, to Great Society animosity.
Trump's election signified a new Populism. It is much like our 20th Century Populism episodes.

Democracy is supposed to be troublesome. Those most unhappy raise Cain.
Oligarchs run the show and maximize their wealth from our ever growing economic pie.
Populism caused the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and the King Phillips War.
By accepting more responsibility, Oligarchs could avert a forth devastating event.

Baby Boomers are leaving populist issues to Millennials.
They must take control during what some consider a Fourth Turning.


Fake News

When Professionals Provide Inadequate,
Bias Information.
It is Worse Than

A Modern Name for Yellow Journalism, Propaganda,
it provided Fodder for Media, Politicians Think-tanks.

Unbiased News

Look for a date, author, data source, logical facts,
internet domain, writing style...

Active Fake News Warnings

Return to Index        Please Share!




Trump’s Foreign Policy

Brookings Institute: Thomas Wright

source Trump’s Foreign Policy Is No Longer Unpredictably

Editor's Note:

Because Trump's methods put much of the foreign establishment out of business,
bias concerning Trump and FP is possible.

So, read sources for opinions.

More Geopolitics Information  
Return to Index   Please Share



21st Century Terror Analysis

Islamic Terror Hitting Western Europe Hard


U.S. Demotic Shooting Terror Increased
Motives Varied

1984 San Ysidro Lone

1986 Edmond post office
work related

1991 Luby's shooting
Hispanics, Gays, Women issues

1999 Columbine HS
no obvious motive

2007 Blacksburg
mental/physical issues


2007 Binghamton NY
self image/career issues

2009 Fort Hood
career issues

2012 Sandy  Hook
obsession with mass murders

2015 San Bernardino
inspired by Islamic terrorists

2016 Orlando Nightclub
many unrelated issues



Right Wing Terror Incident 1993-2017 by Movement

2018 "...attackers with ties to right-wing extremists killed at least 50 people.
Up 35 percent from 2017, it was the fourth-deadliest year since 1970.
ADL reports white supremacists caused the majority of such attacks “almost every year.”

The Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue attacker blamed Jews for the migrant caravan.
Parkland, Florida attacker wished" all the Jews were dead.”
 The yoga studio attack by an “incel” obsessed with interracial dating.

Source homegrown-terrorists -were-almost-all-right-wing

9/11/01 Began an Era of Fear
Suddenly Our Invulnerable Nation Felt Dramatically Unsafe

Since then we have had bloody unexpected shootings and fear stroking politicians.
Childhood trauma/insecurity from strained families/childhood experiences causing increased fear. 
Overprotective children become adults unready to face inevitable risk.
Fearful people hear no good news, see threats
from hidden, vague, nasty forces like
immigration, globalization, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and automation.
Fear's dark filter hides our increasing economic wellbeing.

Inflamed by of a breaking news crisis atmosphere from a ratings obsessed media,
we fear when our imagination tells us a catastrophe might happen.
Inspired by
Times' David Brooks

More Terror Information

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12. The Bottom Line
Most Westerners Live Better Than Ever

A. WW 1 Began Middle Class Wealth Accumulation

Editor's Notes: The author of this source
 has a different interpretation of this data.

U.S. Wealth Accumulation
may have began much earlier is needed.

B. U.S. Had Quick Great Recession Recovery
Gain spent on national/world defense and the very very wealthy.


source one-picture economics

C. Big Political Economy Question

Is Consumption Too High?


Editor's Note: IMF data makes me nervous!

Some politicians want to increase C for education.

Most politicians want to more G for infrastructure.
Some want more G for entitlements.
Some want a more G for the safety net.
Some politicians want to more G for defense.
All politicians are buying votes.
Until economic growth picks up, all will increase debt.

D. Populism is the Result

Politicians, the Media,
 and Professionals Can/Have Made
Much Money, Power and Earned Peer Respect
      by Influencing/Creating Negativity!
Fake News   Please Share!

Editor's Note: Knowing how our economic measures poorly measure reality,
 I wants someone to determine exactly how well our poor live now and in the recent past.

E. Most Over-Hyped Problem Academic Education


Scores Slightly Up as Tests Get Harder

Trend in NAEP reading average scores
for 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students
See complete data for age 9, age 13, and age 17.

Trend in NAEP reading average scores for 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students< - see complete data links below for full data in table format.

How U.S. STEM Practices Compare Internationally 2007 vs. 2015

Source: Measuring Innovation in Education 2019.
Note: All of the following results were calculated using TIMSS data.

 1. How frequently do 4th grade students use computers when learning math? 
      U.S.      18 - 79 percent     OCED  42 - 51 percent

 2. Do 8th grade students do math homework at least twice a week?
US fell 86 - 75 percent     OECD 56 - No Change

  3. Do teachers of 4th grade science demonstrate experiments with half their lessons?  
 US 16 - 36 percent     OECD 13 -  35 percent

  4. Do 4th grade students actually perform science experiments or investigations?
       US 45 - 53 percent     OCED 33- to 46 percent

  5. Are Incentives used to recruit and retain STEM 8th math teachers?
         US 7 to 6 percent     OECD 10 to 8 percent

  Three noteworthy points:
  1. We just don't know if more math homework and experiments  are a good thing or not.
  2. US policies and practices don't look all that different.
  3. High-performing STEM countries aren't doing anything that's obviously distinctive.

  Editors Thoughts: Almost all students lose interest in math and science.
  Computers and experiments may delay this decision
but they also increase learning for a very few by a very lot.
Homework may teach some to be more responsible
but again it
 also increase learning for a very few by a very lot.

  More for teachers is usually good but one of the best teachers I have observed since 1950
  was by almost all measures used or considered the worst teacher I have observed.

 Maximize a students reading ability, do a little practical math, and get out of the way.
Source: How US STEM practices compare internationally

Ability and Major Determines Earnings
Top AA Earners Earn More Than Bottom Half of Bachelor's Graduates
More Data Career Guidance       Lifetime Earnings


Starting Pay

 Starting Pay

   Job Type

Bachelor's Premium

With 10 Years Experience










Dental Hygienist






Registered Nurse






Construction Manager






Inside Sales Rep.



Source: Education Libraries

Postscript: We Used Debt to Pay for
1. Revolutionary War
2. The Civil War
3. WW 1

4. Great Depression Poverty
5. WW 2
5. War on Poverty


Today We Spend It On All Voters

Happy voters have always loved government spending.

Historically, the U.S. Has Succeeded
 in Using Inflation and Economic Growth
 to Postpone Economic Pain.

People loved dot-com companies until they didn’t.
They loved credit default swaps until they blew up.
Now, with low interest cost, they love cash-burning companies.

“When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated."
Chuck Prince on debt-fueled private equity deals before the economy collapsed.

See World Getting Better video
Child Labor Photos

Return to Index     Please Share!


More Work Data

A. Employees Getting Smaller Share


Question: What Happens if you Take Salaries out?

Answer: Gap Gets Wider


Net National Income Paints an Interesting Picture!


Nonmonetary Compensation Falling?
Supreme Court’s 2018
Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis
may increase business use of forced arbitration clauses to deny workers
 the right to fight wage theft, discrimination,
or harassment in court.
See Report


B. Some Say Owners Get All Productivity Gains

See Understanding US Productivity Slowdown


C. Others Say No
Total Compensation Adjusted With IPD Index
Paints Truer Picture

D. Productivity Did Go to Wages


American Enterprise Institute

Which Graph, A or D is Appropriate?   Exemplifies Fake News  Affect of FTE?


E. More Earned Higher Incomes, Fewer Earned Lower Incomes


F. Wealth of Wealthy Grows Most, Or Does It?

We will need a safety net until everyone has a Star Track Type Replicators
Even then some will lament only the rich have a transporter.

Understanding U.S. Economic Normality 1945-2015 Would Improve Understanding

Return to Index   Please Share!


Jobs Will Leave With or Without Outsourcing Gresham's Law
Bad Money Moves Good Money
Applies to All Assets

Prelude:  When gold and silver both supported a currency 
gold leaves that market for a better markets.

#1 Bad economic conditions move business, skilled workers away
Examples: Colonial Westward Movement, for more productive farm land
                    Rural workers to urban areas
Cost: Depleted areas become even more economically disadvantaged
          so more business leave causing more skilled workers to leave.
          Depleted areas require unique problem solutions.

#2 Improved skills move people toward opportunity
Examples: Successfully educated students get to choose company/location
                    Greece and Italy losing their most successful skilled workers
Cost: Depleted areas require unique problem solutions.


#3 Super Star Employees congregate
Example: Boston, Austin, and Silicon Valley have most Big Tech headquarters.
Governments supported education receive less return on investment.
See Geekability is Important for Success

2. Creative Destruction Ends Pain Increasing Wellbeing

Workers choose occupations to maximize their lifetime wellbeing/utility.

Impact of labor-saving technical on workers’ occupational choices,
economic inequality, job polarization, and long-run growth.

The Process:
A worker’s occupation choices change with new technologies.
These choices shape the worker job allocations.

of aggregate human capital


Behavior of earnings inequality

Evolution of the labor share

Wellbeing of the workers

1) Aggregate human capital across occupations ultimately
    determines the long-run rate of growth of the economy.

2) Permanente changes in automation/other technologies
    can lead to sustained growth effects.

3) Some workers receive higher earnings from
     changing jobs plus from a faster growth.

4) Some workers have lower earnings plus more force job changes. 

5) Some labor-saving technical improvements can jointly explain
     the increase in polarization, earnings inequality and occupational mobility.


Our theory opens a number of exciting avenues for future research.
International trade, off-shoring, and migration policies,
can alter the demand for workers in different occupations


A. Unhealthy Eating Habits


B. Many are Uninsured

C. Obesity Tied to Higher Millennial Cancer Rates


Base Would Be Useful
A 10% Increase in a Cancer
is Not Serious if from 1% TO 1.1%

Especially in the Fight For
Health Resources.

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Violent Crime Down Since Early 1990s Peak


Crime is Down





Few Believe It!


Return to Index   Please Share!

Poverty Demographics

A. Do Recipients

England's Wealth Accumulation Reveals Much

Editor's Note: US Growth has Been Much Larger
Economic Historians Could Do Much More to Measure and Community How
 Today, Poor in Booth Countries Life Much Better


The Top Got Most of the Created Wealth

Return to Index Please Share!

Improving America's Education System

"It does not matter how slowly you go
as long as you don't stop."
Source1: Historical Leaders Education Observations
P. Drucker Emphasize what learners do well

Advise from Recent Leaders

More Graduated

Economic Wellbeing Changed Little


Individualized Curriculums Based on What a Student Does Well and
 Financial Aid Based Upon Merit


Laws Have Unintended Consequences 

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy Executive Order 10988
led to state laws permitting
the unionization of public employees

Editor's Note: Home and stock values determine wealth.
This analysis correctly depicts low millennial wealth
but applying this data to other applications are questionable.
Median date would show a smaller, and I would guess much smaller, difference.  
Fake News

In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District,
ruled that the
Constitution forbids local schools from suspending
students who bring political protest inside the schools
 In his dissent, Justice Black wrote:
"I repeat that if the time has come when pupils of state-supported schools, kindergartens, grammar schools, or high schools,
can defy and flout orders of school officials to keep their minds on their own schoolwork,
it is the beginning of a new revolutionary era of permissiveness in this country fostered by the judiciary."[9]

We now have "The Language Police, education historian Diane Ravitch's meticulous but horrifying narrative
of how the major textbook publishers, the testing companies and state education departments have
reduced what public-school kids learn to politically correct, politically laughable..."

In the years since, courts and legislatures gave the neighborhood school yet another big legal obligation:
Mainstream and educate severely disabled kids

1969 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District,
ruled that the
Constitution forbids local schools from suspending students who bring political protest inside the schools
 In his dissent, Justice Black wrote:
"I repeat that if the time has come when pupils of state-supported schools, kindergartens,
grammar schools, or high schools,
can defy and flout orders of school officials to keep their minds on their own schoolwork,
 it is the beginning of a new revolutionary era of permissiveness in this country fostered by the judiciary."

In 1975 Goss v. Lopez, the Court ruled in the case of a suspended student, a hearing was required.
 In dissent Justice Powell wrote In 1975 Goss v. Lopez, the Court  ruled in the case of a suspended student, a hearing was required.
 In dissent Justice Powell wrote "One who does not comprehend the meaning and necessity for discipline
is handicapped not merely in his education but throughout his subsequent life."

B. The Headline

2015 U.S. students ranked
40th in math literacy
25th in science literacy
24th in reading literacy.
Singapore topped all nations
in all three categories.
International Students Assessment

See On the World Stage
U.S. Students Fall Behind

Massachusetts PISA Scores
are about the same as Singapore.

 Data on test taker percentages
not provided.
Prejudice for and against
makes all data Suspect


Example of Seldom Reported Data

The Nation's Report Card Unchanged




A line graph shows that the national average mathematics score in 2015 for grade 12 students was lower compared to the score in 2013, but was not significantly different compared to 2005, the first year of the current trend line based on a new framework.


A line graph shows that the national average reading score in 2015 for grade 12 students was lower compared to the score in 1992, the initial reading assessment year, but was not significantly different compared to 2013.


The Difference: Report Card Tests are Constant
PISA Changes Periodically

US Mathematics & Reading at Grade 12

Little Change Since 1971

Reading Scores

Image of a line graph with three horizontal lines showing average scores for age 9, age 13, and age 17 students. The X axis is labeled year and shows various years from 1971 through 2012. The Y axis is labeled scale score and shows a range of scores from 0 to 500. Each horizontal line consists of two assessment variations: original assessment format and revised assessment format. 
      There are two data points in the transition year between original and revised formats. 
      For Reading age 9: The original format was used, In 1971 = 208, significantly different from 2012; 
      In 1975 = 210, significantly different from 2012; In 1980 = 215, significantly different from 2012;
       In 1984 = 211, significantly different from 2012; In 1988 = 212, significantly different from 2012; 
       In 1990 = 209, significantly different from 2012; In 1992 = 211, significantly different from 2012; 
       In 1994 = 211, significantly different from 2012; In 1996 = 212, significantly different from 2012; In 1999 = 
       212, significantly different from 2012; In 2004 = 219; The revised format was used, In 2004 = 216, 
       significantly different from 2012; In 2008 = 220; and In 2012 = 221. For Reading age 13: 
       The original format was used, In 1971 = 255, significantly different from 2012; In 1975 = 256, 
       significantly different from 2012; In 1980 = 258, significantly different from 2012; In 1984 = 257, 
       significantly different from 2012; In 1988 = 257, significantly different from 2012; In 1990 = 257, 
       significantly different from 2012; In 1992 = 260; In 1994 = 258, significantly different from 2012; 
       In 1996 = 258, significantly different from 2012; In 1999 = 259, significantly different from 2012;
        In 2004 = 259, significantly different from 2012; The revised format was used, In 2004 = 257, 
        significantly different from 2012; In 2008 = 260, significantly different from 2012; and In 2012 = 263. 
        For Reading age 17: The original format was used, In 1971 = 285; In 1975 = 286; In 1980 = 285;
         In 1984 = 289; In 1988 = 290, significantly different from 2012; In 1990 = 290, significantly different from 2012; In 1992 = 290, significantly different from 2012; In 1994 = 288; In 1996 = 288; In 1999 = 288; In 2004 = 285; 
         The revised format was used, In 2004 = 283, significantly different from 2012; In 2008 = 286; and In 2012 = 287.\

Long and Short-Term Testing.

Testing is Big Business

Standardized Test Sales, 1955–1997



Standardized tests mean large profits to testing companies
 and require new curriculums. 

Changing from a two-part Scholastic Aptitude Test to a three-part test
 has made a lot of money for a lot of people.

Business Week 2005 reports
"Kaplan, a unit of The Washington Post,
saw SAT-related sales jump up to 50% in the later half of 2004...."
SAT companies got a similar hike in 1994, when tests were last modified."

New curriculums mean large profits for
curriculum design companies and textbook companies. 
The academics who advise these companies receive
substantial consulting fees plus ego enhancements.

Standardized test exists to create a better life for young people.
 But these tests  hurt young people economically and emotionally.


Product Line Expanded

" More than 25 percent of public high school seniors graduating last May
 took at least one AP test." 2/15/19


Four companies that dominate the business
 of making/scoring standardized tests.

"As of 2011, Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, nonprofit owner of SAT, was paid $1.3 million. Richard Ferguson, former executive officer of ACT Inc., made roughly $1.1 million. Meanwhile, The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College reported that the value of the standardized testing market was anywhere between $400 million and $700 million." huffingtonpost.com

Money Did Not Help
Manhattan Institute


Just 206 of 41,000 student applicants
had loans discharged under the loan forgiveness program

As of Sept. 30, more than 41,000 borrowers applied to have their loans discharged under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, an initiative signed into law in 2007, which allows public servants to have certain federal loans forgiven after at least 10 years of on-time payments. So far, just 206 have had their loans discharged, according to data published by the Department of Education this month.

FED's Get to Set the Rules Without Providing the Money!


Epilogue: Education should center on Howard Gardner's
equally valued normally distributed
Multiple Intelligences,
concentrating on a student's
Special Intelligence
not harming  self actualization.

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More Data on Taxes

Prelude : Economic Concerns

A. Politics in Control

B. Legally Avoiding Taxes

C. Who Cheats and How

D. Tax Where the Money Is!

E. Attitudes Toward Taxes

F. Would Rich Pay?

Prelude: Economic Concerns

1. Ayn Rand's Predicted a Tipping Point
and the Beginning of Slow Growth

Creative Destruction Fuels Our
 Economic Prosperity
. Source
Average of S&P 500 Index ten-year was 33 years,
by 1990 it was 20 years.

Since 1955, only 52 companies still have ten-year.

Continued Success of a particular company seems not to be required.
Do you think higher taxes would have kept Bill Gates at Harvard?
Kept Steve jobs at Reed College and out of the computer business?


2. We Accommodate Business

3. We Lead the West in Productivity

Editor's Note:
First we were losing to Russia,
 then Germany, then Japan, then Europe and now China.
It has always been a battle.
It has usually always been a
battle of rivals maybe adversaries, seldom enemies.

4. Key Questions
Who Are the Most Productive
 Post WW2 Entrepreneurs?
Would Higher Taxes Have Affected Them?
 When and How Affected?


A. Politics is in Control
IRS Demanding Billions Less
From the Wealthy


In 2009, the IRS had formed a crack
 team of specialists to unravel ultra-wealthy
 tax dodges.

A battle had begun. Soon the Republicans in Congress
 began slashing the agency’s budget.

High-powered tax lawyer and now Trump’s IRS commissioner,
warned that the squad was conducting “the audits from hell.”

In 2012 the wealth team embarked on a contentious audit
 of German billionaire businessman George Schaeffler.
ProPublica reconstruct the key points in the Schaeffler case
Eventually they determined owed about $1.2 billion in unpaid taxes and penalties.
t after seven years of grinding bureaucratic combat, the IRS abandoned its campaign.
They would accept just tens of millions of dollars.

Having to battle high-priced lawyers and accountants was too much.

summarized from propublica.org


B. Legally Avoiding Taxes

Congress Has Given Many a Tax Break

Corporations Pay Less
So Owners Get More


Dodging Taxes is Easier


See Millionaires and Corporate Giants Escaped IRS Audits in FY 2018

Tax Dodge Lets Investors Save Big

"Typically, when you sell a stock for more than you paid, you owe tax on the gain.
But thanks to a quirk in a Nixon-era tax law,
funds can avoid that tax if they use the stock to pay off a withdrawing fund investor.
Heartbeats come into play when there isn’t an exiting investor handy.
A fund manager asks a friendly bank to create extra withdrawals
 by rapidly pumping assets in and out.


C. Who Cheats and How

The Who

Source: How big is the problem of tax evasion?

The How

Unbiased Third Party Information Provided Income Type

Tax Liabilities Misreported %

Little or none Farm income 71%
  Nonfarm proprietor income 64
  Rents and royalties 62
  Other income 49
  Form 4797 income 42
Some Capital gains 27
  Partnership, S-corp, etc. 16
Substantial Taxable Social Security benefits 19
  State income tax refunds 13
  Dividend income 7
  Unemployment compensation 6
  Pensions and annuities 4
  Interest income 3
  Wages, salaries, tips 1



Specifics Techniques




D. Tax Where the Money Is!

Payroll is Where the Money Is

An 8% payroll tax increase affecting all workers would provide $15.3 trillion over ten years.
Bernie Sanders proposed Medicare for All would cost about $33.3 trillion.
More Tax Increases Required.

  The Math Problem That Could Sink the Bernie/AOC Agenda
See insufficient funding.


The First-Ever Social Security Check?

A women named Fuller paid a total of $24.75 of payroll taxes for three years.
In the 35 years after her retirement, she received $22,888.92 in benefits.

Do low income retirees with dependents
appreciates what a good investment t return they may receive from social security?


People Want More Taken from the Rich

See Taxation Philosophies

Super Rich Do Have Lots More Money


Editor's Recommended Proposal
A 10 percent surtax on the top 1/10 of the top one-percent
" Our preliminary estimate is that such a surtax
would raise roughly $75 billion in its first year of implementation
 and roughly $800 billion in its first decade. source EPI

First Proposal from Ocasio-Cortez proposed 70 percent marginal income tax rate
 on $10 million and over to finance her Green New Deal
 affects 16,000 people with  income of $245 billion.
 It would
raise $164-382 billion over ten years.

Another calculation from "Mazur calculates that it could raise $720 billion over the next decade,
affecting 0.05% of the US population (around 16,000 households),
although the estimate is likely to be much smaller
because of the changing behavior of the millionaires." Source

Another Proposal from Warren's team says her "wealth tax,"
which would apply to people with more than $50 million in assets,
is projected to raise $2.75 trillion over a decade. This is an estate tax.

A Trump proposal requiring the chained CPI to inflation-adjust the official poverty line would,
over time, lower increases to the poverty line used to qualify for means-tested federal programs.

President Barack Obama’s (failed) 2013 proposal to apply chained CPI to Social Security benefits,
Protections for extremely low-income elderly people were provided. Source:
Washington Post
Editor's note: Forty years ago protectors of the SS fund tried to do this.

See Taxes, Socialism, And Class War
Are Billionaires Fat Cats or Deserving Entrepreneurs? but 
Billionaires take more than they make.
Center for Popular Economics
source one-picture economics


E. Attitudes Toward Taxes

Companies Use Bonus in Place of More Permanente Raises

Just one more reason to be careful when using
economic data for political economy analysis.

Middle Households Helped Least



Would Rich Pay?

Editor's Note: Historically Very rich pay the very educated to avoid taxes.

Would Boxers Box, Musicians Play, Actors Act?



Would Hedge Managers Hedge Like They Did Last Decade?


Would a Wealth Tax Slow Economic Growth?

Most of this Wealth Created With Government t Sponsored Technology.

We Spent Billions to Keep Them Hedging Beginning in 2007

A Final Look a the Data

Return to Index Please Share!


More Debt Data

A. Who Do We Owe


B. Debt Begins With War

 C. Human Needs Were Added
by Hoover and FDR During
Great Depression Continued by LBJ
Extended by All Succeeding Presidents.

D. Recessions Also Caused Deficits as Revenue Drops
Nominal Growth Historically Cured Deficit

E. Borrowing Began With the Revolution

Image result for Federal Debt graphs


F. Who Paid the Federal Debt

End of
Fiscal Year
US Gross Debt
in Nominal USD billions
US Gross Debt as % of GDP Question Answer
1940 43.0 52.4 No One
1950 257.4 94.1
1960 290.2 56.1
1970 389.2 37.6
1980 930.2 33.3 No One
1990 3,233 55.9
2000 5,674 58 TBD
2005 7,933 64.6
2007 9,008 65.5
2008 10,699.8 74.6 (EST)
2009           11,046.2   TBD
United States public debt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Obama continued the Bush policy
of fighting the Great Recession with debt
and by 12/16 it was apparent that this policy
 had worked better than Europe's austerity policies.

F. Trump's Unorthodox Tax Cut Beginning Step #1 of Trouble?
In an Already Expanding Economy
Really High Nominal Growth Will Be Needed


G. Who Finances Deficit Rollovers?

H. Is Foreigners US Debt Ownership a Problem?
U.S. Buys Cars, Wine, Electronics ...
Foreigners Get $ and Buy U.S. Treasuries.
Japan Tried to Buy US Assets, Paid Way Too Much, and Stopped.
So U.S. Get Good Stuff at Low Prices,
Foreigners Mostly get U.S. Government IOU's.

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More Government Data

 A. Measured Poverty
Changes Little

See Why Poverty is Controversial?  


B. BUT After the Safety Net
Poverty Down 14.2% Points Over Fifty Years 



This chart "...provides a first approximation of how correcting the 2013 poverty rate for noncash food and housing benefits, refundable tax credits, and not using the upward [inflation] bias of the CPI-U would change the 2013 poverty rate. This adjusted poverty rate falls from 14.5 to 4.8 percent, making the 2013 rate roughly a quarter of the 1964 rate (19.0 percent). If we were to lower the poverty threshold for cohabiting couples to match that for married couples the 2013 poverty rate would have fallen even more." Examples of noncash benefits include food stamps SNAP), discounted school lunches, subsidized rent, Medicaid, and Medicare. See Source Editors Comments are in red.



C. Real Minimum Wage Falls
Unintended Consequence of Safety Net Increases?



D. Government Support Is Everywhere

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More Civility Data


A. Engagement with “Fake News” on Facebook is Declining
The National Bureau of Economic Resources measured the diffusion of fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter between 1/15 and 7/18. False content rose steadily on both Facebook and Twitter through the end of 2016 but dropped by measurably from Facebook but not for twitter.

B. Politically  “teams” will accumulate grievances..."
"...lose any interest in communicating across party lines."

"This happened in the 1850s: We know what happened..."
 "Things...could get plenty bad..."  with a "...serious recession or the stock market..." crash. "

and ... as a nation we are no longer capable of making preparations for such events."

  "Political Polarization: The Rise and Decline of America's Postwar Political Order"

Editors Note: With democracy, very difficult to sacrifice before the pain. Think WW1  WW2  Gilded Age Greed




C. U.S. Supreme Court Job Approval Rating Ties Record Low

Trend: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job?

It's Political

Trend: Supreme Court Job Approval, by Political Party

Individual Behavior Norms Are Expanding


Legality of Behavior Norms Also Up



Attitude Toward Abortion Unchanged

Public views of abortion: 1995-2018


Why the Difference?
It's About Relegion!


and Politics

There is a substantial partisan and
ideological divide on abortion
with Democrats
much more likely than Republicans
to say it should be legal in all or most cases.

This gap is even larger between liberal Democrats
 and conservative Republicans:
Nearly nine-in-ten liberal Democrats (88%) say abortion
should be legal in all or most cases, compared with only
about three-in-ten self-described conservatives in the GOP (27%)

enhanced by

Roe v. Wade
Poisoned Our Politics

Michael Barone New York Post

Today’s “partisan chaos” is a direct result of Roe v. Wade,
said Michael Barone. The all-out war over Brett Kavanaugh’s
appointment to the Supreme Court would not be so heated if
people on both sides didn’t think Roe might be at stake.

In 1973, 16 states with 41 percent of the nation’s population
had already liberalized their abortion laws
and America would have had different laws in different regions,
depending on the democratic process.
But then seven justices delivered “an unusually sweeping”
ruling that made abortion legal in almost all circumstances

and the country’s defining wedge issue.

While public opinion on cultural issues like same-sex marriage
has shifted markedly this century, “opinion on abortion has
scarcely budged.”

It’s hard to win converts on such a fundamentally moral issue
about “the way people live their lives”: Pro-choicers,
who are largely secular, think their “personal autonomy”
is at stake, whereas pro-lifers, who are mostly religious,
believe abortion amounts to “extinguishing human lives.”

Rather than settle the abortion debate, Roe inflamed it
because neither side believes it can afford any compromise
As a direct result, every Supreme Court nominee battle
has literally become a matter of life and death.


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Geopolitics Basics

Follow the Money
Capitalism Requires Sound Money

The Gold Standard rules geopolitics until the 20th century.
Until then, Brittan had all the gold and ruled capitalism. The US grew economically, took control of gold, and after WW 2, ruled capitalism. Economic growth created pressure on US gold reserves so, in 1970,  she gave partially backing the dollar with gold.

A Dollar Standard was created by the US because she had enough consumer and business demand, financed by debt, to supply dollars for world trade. Dollars came back to the US as foreigners bought US assets and debt. The Euro was created as a multination currency controlled by Germany. She kept a tight reign on inflation. Members who did not manage budgets soon got into trouble. This coincided with a few European bank controlling worldwide dollar trade flows using Euro's, not dollars, as collateral. But contracts required payment in dollars and the banks, wanting to maximize profit, had borrowed dollars very short term. They were in trouble when the Great Recession created a need for dollars and rolling over dollar loans became impossible. The FED, as lender of last resort, loaned dollars to the entire world financial community. This combined with Germany using austerity to forced force debt repayment on failing countries and banks. Populism resulted.


Beginning of a Post War
 International Geopolitical Era

1648 Peace of Westphalia
Sovereignty of participants over their lands, people, and agents abroad was established.

Broken by European Colonialism

1941 Atlantic Charter 
No spheres of influence allowed, territorial self-determination required

First problem came immediately as Soviets did whatever it took to keep Communists in charge of the buffer state Poland.

The US responded with the Truman Doctrine. Eventually U.S./Britain sponsored covert activities would try to slow Communist advancement. One such activity was the September of 1953 GB/US sponsored Iranian Coup to keep control Iranian oil/profit.  Unintended consequences followed.  First came the seizure in 1979 of the Tehran U.S. embassy by Militant Iranian students. Then, 20 years later, the 9/11 Trade Center attacks made many American feel insecure.

Continuing Problem

The US would try to maintain its sphere of influence throughout Latin America and stop Russia and China spheres of influence. Both groups made the world their spheres.

Source 21st Century Geopolitical Options


Hegemony 2 made Wall Street more important than Main Street as conservative presidents Reagan, Bush I and II combined with business friendly Clinton to allow complete Neoliberalism economic dominance. The stage was set for the public to pay for inevitable market failures from Failing Manufacturing, Less Financial Regulation and A Great Recession followed by a European Financial Collapse. The FED created money and paid the entire cost.

Hegemony 3 will happen if the US dominates in the a world of political populism.



1973-2003 Neoliberal State Development
Dominated World Politics

Adoption Would Maximized Human Welfare?

Iraq's Economic Restructuring Agenda was issued in September of 2003 by Paul Bremmer of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Many felt these dictums were illegal under the Hague and Geneva conventions so an interim sovereign government  was created. It required many neoliberal economic requirements. Key among them were 1) Private Property for everything but oil 2) Free Markets with unlimited Foreign Direct Investment/Ownership 3) Unregulated International Trade 4) Unlimited Profit Repatriation. Entrepreneurship was fostered by guaranteed Intellectual Property Rights and a conservative Flat Tax.

A 1973 U.S. orchestrated Chilean Coup had set up a new government to follow neoliberal Chicago Boys privation advise with similar requirements except copper resource ownership would not change.

Unites States controlled IMF development programs follow similar guidelines in support of the US International Trade Hegemony. But more was involved as independent leaders like Thatcher in the early 1970's  and Xiaoping in the late 1970's also embraced neoliberal economics. Then  Germany required similar neoliberal economic requirements in response to Great Recession budget and banking problems. European Populism resulted.



US Hegemony 3?

Hegemony 1 was built around Cold War needs and dominance of global manufacturing trade. Easy domination with it extensive profit and extensive worker wage gains began to diminish because of Tiger Country competition. To protect profit, conservatives expanded neoliberal activities wanting to eventually control the Supreme Court by financing conservative law students. Business turned away from local less profitable US manufacturing by investing in overseas production. They also expanded into corporate finance activities. Chairman Greenspan took charge of the lender of last resort Federal Reserve.  Keynesian dominance was being  replaced by neoliberal free unregulated market economics.

Hegemony 2 made Wall Street more important than Main Street as conservative presidents Reagan, Bush I and II combined with business friendly Clinton. Obama was Wall Street friendly. Neoliberalism economic dominance was complete. The stage was set for the public to pay for inevitable market failures caused by Less Financial Regulation. A Great Recession was followed by a European Financial Collapse. The FED created money and paid the entire cost.

Hegemony 3? Will US dominates in the a world of political populism.



More Terror Information

European Attacks Decreasing


German recorded 1,800 anti-Semitic crimes in 2018, a 20 percent annual increase. Most were perpetrated by right-wing groups.

US Targets Varied

Racist Trend
"White supremacy groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), neo-Nazis such as the National Alliance, and skinhead groups such as the Hammerskin Nation."

Anti-Federalist Trend
The anti-federalist “militia” or “patriot” movement) in the early to mid-1990s with new groups in Montana and Michigan. Anti-government sentiments existed from the birth of the nation were  anti-taxation, gun rights, and a “survivalist” lifestyle. The “farm crises” of the 1980s,  and rapid cultural, technological and normative changes, gun control and environmental legislation caused a fairly ideologically cohesive movement, as well as its rapid growth.

Fundamentalist Trend
Mainly Christian identity groups such as the Aryan Nations, merges religious fundamentalism with traditional white supremacy and racist tendencies. It promotes ideas of nativism, exclusionism, and racial superiority via a unique interpretation of religious texts that focus on division of humanity according to primordial attributes.

The Iceberg Model and American Far Right Violence
In the early 1980s, the Israeli political scientist Ehud Sprinzak published a paper on the irredentist Israeli religion-political movement Gush Emunim (The Bloc of the Faithful) entitled
“The Iceberg Model of Political Extremism.”6



The Bottom Line


Please Share

under construction

Quick Money Facts

40 percent of the goods they bought on major online marketplaces were fake reported Investigators said in a 2018 Government Accountability Office.

The Trump administration is requiring the Homeland Security, Commerce, and Justice departments to report back within 210 days.


Immigration Data



6/ 4/19 Mexico deported around 15,000 migrants in April, up from 9,100 in March. More than 144,278 migrants were arrested on the southwest border in May, the biggest monthly total in seven years and 32 percent more than in April. Unfortunately  rather than move the "wall" symbol 1000 miles south to where it would do some good, President Trump from threatening to slap a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports as soon as Friday. Trump's Peggy Bank theory need some discussion.


Sizing Up the Gap in our Supply of STEM Workers produced by pro immigration lobbyist




Immigration Problems


Immigration as a Problem Solver  


Immigration could help mitigate the negative impact of falling birth rates.
  • The U.S. is headed toward a large dependent population of children and retirees and a much smaller workforce, which would slow economic growth.

Here is Why


U.S. Customs and Immigration Services reportedly told its staff Tuesday that it would shut down all 21 of its foreign offices by the end of this year. The move could delay processing of paperwork the offices handle, including family visa applications, foreign adoptions by U.S. citizens, and citizenship petitions from members of the military. The offices also investigate visa fraud. The employees who provide these services will likely be transferred to the State Department as the offices are shuttered, USCIS Director Lee Francis Cessna said in an email to staff obtained by The Washington Post. Relocating international employees to U.S. offices and foreign embassies will help "address backlogs in the United States," Cessna wrote. [The Washington Post]






While the number of H-2B worker visas is capped by law at 33,000 semiannually, Congress can allow up to 69,000 additional visas to be made available—if the White House agrees.




Global Warming


Energy Cost


Understanding US Productivity Slowdown

Current Slow Down id Not Unprecedented


With Asian Competition,
Some Manufacturing Became Less Profitable


Service Productivity Improved
Because Fewer Workers Needed