EppsNet Archive: Money

Income Inequality is the Best

14 Jul 2014 /

Dilbert comic


People Who Don’t Want Me to Know Things

12 Jul 2014 /

What I want to know is why there are so many people who don’t want me to know things . . .

Trudeau's book Natural Cures Updated Edition

And that doesn’t even include all the things that people “won’t tell me.”


This Kid Made an App That Exposes Sellout Politicians

8 Jul 2014 /

Via VICE:

http://www.vice.com/read/greenhouse-app-hannah-ewens-nick-rubin-201

Yes, the algorithm is


if (isPolitician(x)) {
    x.sellout = true;
}

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Ten Steps to Being Fat, Lonely and Broke

7 Jul 2014 /

Some behaviors come naturally while others require more effort. For example, there are dozens of bestsellers on finding love, losing weight and creating wealth but no market for books like Ten Steps to Being Fat, Lonely and Broke.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Great West Retirement Services

6 Jul 2014 /

Because I changed jobs recently, I want to roll over a 401k into an IRA. I filled out the form, mailed it in to Great West Retirement Services — they manage the 401k — and got this in return:

The enclosed benefit request is being returned for additional and or missing information. We require the following item(s) be completed before processing can take place:

  • Please have this request completed on the attached current version of the distribution form. The form this request was submitted on is now discontinued.

OK, first of all, the form isn’t being returned for additional or missing information. I filled out the form I was given and you’re telling me it’s now discontinued. You can’t figure it out anyway? You really need me to fill out ANOTHER 6-PAGE FORM with EXACTLY THE SAME INFORMATION in a slightly different format?!

And I love this part: “Please have this request completed . . .” I DON’T HAVE SOMEONE WHO COMPLETES FORMS FOR ME! I HAVE TO DO IT MYSELF, YOU FUCKING PRICKS!


The $100 Tank of Gas

23 May 2014 /
/

I’ve Solved the Problem of Economic Inequality

18 May 2014 /

Instead of “economic inequality,” let’s call it “economic diversity.” Then it’s a good thing, right?


Random Thoughts on Paying College Athletes

17 May 2014 /

Where is the money going to come from? Most people seem to think that college athletic programs are big money makers. They aren’t. Despite the big revenue dollars associated with two sports — football and men’s basketball — 90 percent of Division I athletic programs, because of the much larger number of non-revenue sports, operate at a loss. They’re subsidized by the general fund of the university. Paying athletes would require additional dollars to be directed away from academic endeavors: hiring and paying professors, funding research, offering financial aid to non-athletes, etc.

 

Title IX requires gender equity. You couldn’t just pay football players and men’s basketball players. Everyone would need to be paid equally in some sense, even in non-revenue sports.

 

How much money are we talking about? Let’s say at a medium to large school, we have 500 to 1,000 student athletes and we’re going to pay all of them a modest stipend of $10,000. That’s a cost of 5 to 10 million dollars a year. Sorry, Mom and Dad, that your kid couldn’t get the classes he or she needed to graduate in four years but when we pink-slipped professors so we could pay the athletes, we had to cut back on the number of available courses.

 

Are college athletes being exploited imposed upon financially? It makes sense to consider athletes in two groups:

  1. Future professional athletes. They have available to them a large group of coaches and support staff whose job is to prepare them athletically and promote them so as to make as much money as possible in highly lucrative occupations. If they don’t get paid right now, they’ll get paid a lot of money very soon.
     
  2. Everyone else (a much bigger group). Everyone else will have to go forth into the world and try to earn a living in some non-athletic pursuit. An athletic scholarship gives them the benefit of a paid-for college education that most of them would not otherwise receive. What is the monetary value of that over the course of a lifetime? Quite a lot.
 

With all the national and local sports networks, playing football or basketball at a Division I school makes you not only a big man on campus, but a local, if not national, celebrity. It’s fun! You get to play games with your buddies, travel around, stay in nice hotels, appear on television. If you’re a good player, people will talk about you on TV, on the radio, on the Internet – constantly – like you’re some kind of an important person. There are worse things that can happen to you in life than being a Division I scholarship athlete.

 

All that being said, if you as a college athlete really feel that you are being taken advantage of and not adequately compensated for the value of your contribution, don’t play. It’s not exploitation if you do it voluntarily.


One Percenters

10 May 2014 /

“Progressives” love to complain about the alleged unfairness of the amount of income earned (“Progressives typically use misleading terms such as “claimed by”) the top 1 percent of income earners. Why not complain instead about the unfairness of the amount of tax revenues received by the top 1 percent of net-tax-revenue recipients? Why are the annual tax-receipt incomes of this small group less worthy of condemnation than are the annual pre-tax market-earned incomes of “the 1 percent” who are the regular objects of criticism, envy, and childish populist moralizing?


The War on Poverty is 50 Years Old

6 May 2014 /
(Old) War Police Department & Jail

The New York Times has an update from McDowell County, West Virginia, on how the War on Poverty is going after 50 years . . .

Of West Virginia’s 55 counties, McDowell has the lowest median household income, $22,000; the worst childhood obesity rate; and the highest teenage birthrate.

It is also reeling from prescription drug abuse. The death rate from overdoses is more than eight times the national average. Of the 115 babies born in 2011 at Welch Community Hospital, over 40 had been exposed to drugs. . . .

Many in McDowell County acknowledge that depending on government benefits has become a way of life, passed from generation to generation. Nearly 47 percent of personal income in the county is from Social Security, disability insurance, food stamps and other federal programs. . . .

The poverty rate, 50 percent in 1960, declined – partly as a result of federal benefits – to 36 percent in 1970 and to 23.5 percent in 1980. But it soared to nearly 38 percent in 1990. For families with children, it now nears 41 percent.

“Worst childhood obesity rate.” Poverty is different in America. In most countries, poor people aren’t fat.

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 9,176 households in McDowell County and the mean (not median) household income is $33,506. Multiply the two together and we get a total annual income for the county of $206 million.

If 47 percent of that income, as the Times article states, comes from federal programs, that’s almost $100 million per year. Since the War on Poverty has been waged for 50 years now, a crude approximation of the total amount of taxpayer money sent to McDowell County would be 50 times $100 million = $5 billion.

Possibly the annual federal contribution was less 50 years ago, even adjusted to 2014 dollars, but we’d also need to account for the fact that the county population at that time was five times higher than it is today. Taking even a small fraction — say, 20 percent — of $5 billion as our approximation, we can say that the War on Poverty has cost at least a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) just for one small county in West Virginia.

Oh, and the people are still living in poverty. Evidently you can’t eliminate poverty just by giving people money.

As David Mamet pointed out in The Secret Knowledge:

There’s a cost for everything. And the ultimate payer of every cost imposed by government is not only the individual member of the mass of taxpayers who does not benefit from the scheme; but likely, also, its intended beneficiaries.

In the case of McDowell County, the intended beneficiaries are being paid to continue making bad decisions with their lives, most notably to continue living in a place where there’s no work and no hope for improvement.


The Potato Chips Are Not Optional

4 May 2014 /

Lay's potato chips

A woman comes home from the grocery store with three bags of Lay’s Potato Chips . . .

“These were on sale,” she says. “You buy three bags and each bag is $1.53. You know how much one bag is usually? $4.50. It’s like buying one bag and getting two bags free.”

“How much would it cost if we bought no bags of potato chips?” someone asks.

“That’s not an option.”


Get Rich Making Dumb Decisions

31 Mar 2014 /

The people on the short side of the subprime mortgage market had gambled with the odds in their favor. The people on the other side — the entire financial system, essentially — had gambled with the odds against them. Up to this point, the story of the big short could not be simpler. What’s strange and complicated about it, however, is that pretty much all the important people on both sides of the gamble left the table rich. . . . The CEOs of every major Wall Street firm were also on the wrong end of the gamble. All of them, without exception, either ran their public corporations into bankruptcy or were saved from bankruptcy by the United States government. They all got rich, too.

What are the odds that people will make smart decisions about money if they don’t need to make smart decisions — if they can get rich making dumb decisions?

— Michael Lewis, The Big Short

Childish Economics

22 Mar 2014 /

I have a very difficult time imagining the economic ‘theory’ that motivates proposals such as this one by Pres. Obama [to "streamline" the Fair Labor Standards Act so that more white-collar employees would be eligible for overtime pay]. The best that I can do is to imagine how a two-year-old child would respond if asked to propose a way to raise workers incomes.


A Mega Millions Lottery Ticket is a Good Investment

12 Mar 2014 /

Mega Millions uses 75 numbers for the first five selections and 15 numbers for the Mega ball.

The number of unique combinations of five numbers selected from a pool of 75 is

\frac{75!}{5!(75-5)!} = 17,259,390

Multiply that times 15 possibilities for the Mega ball and the odds of winning come out to 1 in 258,890,850.

BUT THE CURRENT MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT IS OVER $350 MILLION!

Any time you can get 350 million to one odds on a 258 million to one bet, you’ve got to take it.


Income Inequality Explained

10 Mar 2014 /

Via NPR:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/14/277058739/1-in-4-americans-think-the-sun-goes-around-the-earth-survey-says


Spa Day at the Vet and Erica’s Departure

2 Mar 2014 /

I dropped Lightning off at the vet for grooming . . .

“Make it like a spa day for him,” I said. “With lots of pampering. Don’t just put him in the sink and soak him down like we do at home. Make it free pampering though, nothing that will cause extra charges to accrue. By the way, where’s Erica?”

Erica is usually at the desk on weekends but today there was a new girl. The new girl, Lauren, said that Erica is moving to Arizona and won’t be working there anymore.

“She will be greatly missed,” Lauren said.

She sure will. People are insane when it comes to their pets and Erica was always extremely patient and attentive — extremely.

I wish I had the kind of personality that makes people miss me when I go away but oh well . . . I guess I have other qualities. Everyone’s different.

/

Later, when I picked Lightning up, they’d put a bow around his neck, which is a new thing. Usually they don’t decorate the dog.

“Oh that’s nice,” I said. “Is there an extra charge for that?”

“Yeah,” said Lauren, “it’s 50 dollars.”

I miss Erica . . .


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

30 Jan 2014 /
Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti

The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, said this the other day:

“Some of the monies that will come from that will go to other parts of the city too that connect in with that . . .”

OK, that’s out of context and it doesn’t make any sense, but — “monies”?!

“Hi, I’m Eric Garcetti. I have a dollar bill so I have a money. If you give me another dollar, I’ll have some monies.”

No. You can have a dollar or a billion dollars. One word covers all the possibilities and that word is “money.”

“Monies” is a word used by politicians and academians and other posturing pricks who’d like you to think that they’re doing the Lord’s work and not soiling their hands with anything as grubby as “money.”


Success is Not (All) About Money

10 Jan 2014 /

But I think American liberals have also made the mistake of focusing too much on income and wealth as the measures of success. Every chart and graph we see about America’s increase in “inequality” is about either money, or the likelihood of getting money. Sure, disparities of wealth are distasteful. Sure, money is one thing that confers social status. But by focusing on it obsessively, I think liberals are helping to cement its paramount importance as the end-all and be-all of social outcomes.

Related links


Lottery Update

18 Dec 2013 /
Mega Millions

I did not win the $586 million. Will have to continue to get by on my wit and virtue . . .


Plans for My Lottery Winnings

18 Dec 2013 /
Mega Millions

The Mega Millions jackpot is up to $586 million. I bought two tickets at the gas station where I buy sodas every morning.

“I hope I don’t have to split it,” I said to the guy. “I want the whole $500 million.”

“What are you going to do with all that money?” he asked.

“First of all, I’m going to buy a new cup for my sodas every morning, instead of bringing the old cups back in for the refill price.”

“That’s it?”

“I’ll also be a lot harder to get along with at the office. No more Mr. Nice Guy.”

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