EppsNet Archive: Money

A Hotbed of Asininity

I’ve never heard of this woman but she has a verified account and claims to be a Harvard woman: The fact that presidents are raising money from the public for something the government should pay for is disgusting. https://t.co/2GMAZ4E6JX — Kimberly N. Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) October 22, 2017 OK . . . but where do you think government gets the money to pay for things? Sometimes I think America should change its marketing from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to A Hotbed of Asininity. Read more →

Spot the Fake News: Obamacare Subsidies

I read four news stories on the same topic — the end of Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies. The Wall Street Journal plays it straight down the middle: President Donald Trump’s executive order on health care issued Thursday marks the first major salvo in what the White House promises will be an extensive, targeted campaign to unravel the Affordable Care Act administratively. As does Bloomberg: President Donald Trump said he is moving “step by step” on his own to remake the U.S. health care system because Congress won’t act on his demand to repeal Obamacare. The Trump administration took its most drastic measure yet to roll back the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, announcing it would cut off a subsidy to insurers hours after issuing an executive order designed to draw people away from the health law’s markets. See if you can spot the fake news in the Politico version:… Read more →

The Five Hundred Gold Pieces

One of Junaid’s followers came to him with a purse containing five hundred gold pieces. “Have you any more money than this?” asked the Sufi. “Yes, I have.” “Do you desire more?” “Yes, I do.” “Then you must keep it, for you are more in need than I; for I have nothing and desire nothing. You have a great deal and still want more.” Read more →

Where the Hell’s My Money?

Judas can say what he likes. He can go and hang himself. The money bag won’t help him either. He’ll have to leave it behind. The money belongs to me . . . Read more →

Making it Through High School Alive

Baltimore schools spend a staggering $16,000 per student – the fourth-highest rate in the nation – and still an investigation by Fox45’s Project Baltimore revealed that at six city schools, not one student scored proficient on the statewide tests for English and math. At West Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High, one of five high schools and one middle school where not one student scored a four or a five on the state test, only one out of 185 students who took the test last year scored a three, while 165 students scored a one, the lowest possible score. — Zero Hedge The schools are: Booker T. Washington Middle School Frederick Douglass High School Achievement Academy at Harbor City New Era Academy Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High New Hope Academy It looks like if you live in Baltimore, you want to avoid sending your child to a school whose name… Read more →

10 Reasons That NY Times Chart Might Not Mean What You Think It Means

From the New York Times: Money is not the only metric for measuring life outcomes. Charts and articles like this seem to reflect an inappropriate obsession with narrowly materialist values. If you do want to measure your life with money, it looks like the 99th percentile is where you want to be. Why aren’t you there? Why aren’t you a CEO? Why aren’t you making a million a year? If you can’t figure out how to get there, don’t begrudge the people who did figure it out. If you don’t have the education, motivation, intelligence or skills to get there, don’t begrudge those who do. The amount of wealth is not a fixed amount. It’s not a zero-sum game. If it were, it would be concerning that a few people are very wealthy. But it isn’t. The distribution of income has to be skewed to the right because income is… Read more →

Regal Cinema is Alienating Me

Went to the movies yesterday and found that Regal Cinema has joined the ranks of Chevron and Walgreens as companies willing to hit up customers for a charitable donation as part of their regular purchase. You’re part of an industry that burns up a billion dollars making pirate movies and Baywatch and special effects science fiction bullshit. Donate that money to whatever cause you’re passing the hat for, instead of hustling the customers for a donation over and above the price of a ticket and a 6-dollar soda and a 10-dollar sack of popcorn, and then tooting your own horn over your generosity and community involvement. Read more →

Big Losers

I saw this headline on an AP story today — Poor and disabled big losers in Trump budget. The story includes a photo of the budget (see below), so I think it’s safe to say that the AP writer didn’t read the entire thing before announcing who the “big losers” are. He’s just flogging his own agenda. (See also Harvard Study Says Media Are Very Biased Against Donald Trump) “Trump’s plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 makes deep cuts in safety net programs . . .” the story says. What’s the difference between a “cut” and a “deep cut”? The latter sounds mean and scary. Why not just say something factual like “10 percent cut” or “50 percent cut” and let readers put their own characterization on it? “Safety net programs” is also a loaded expression. “Trump’s budget would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over… Read more →

Monday Night at the Chevron

I like the sodas at Chevron . . . they’re not restaurant quality, but they’re better than the flat, tasteless sodas you get at most other gas stations. On the downside, Chevron as often as not has some donate-a-buck-to-charity shakedown going on at the register. Today the place is plastered with photos of bald children with brave smiles on their faces . . . “Would you like to donate to St. Jude pediatric cancer research?” the clerk asks. “I already donated two dollars last week and they haven’t cured it yet?”   Meanwhile, I notice another employee plucking all the hot dogs off the rotisserie with a pair of tongs and dropping them in a trash can . . . “You have to throw those out if they sit too long?” I ask the clerk. “Yes.” “Do you ever pluck a couple off and eat them if you’re hungry?” “No,”… Read more →

I Almost Got Into a Fistfight With a Realtor

My wife and I stopped by an open house yesterday . . . after looking around, my wife said something to the listing agent, an oily-haired Chinese guy, about the fact that we’re working with a buyer’s agent and he said, “No agent! You get a better deal with no agent.” “So we cut our agent out of the deal and save some money,” I said. “It sounds like that’s what you’re suggesting.” “Agents charge 2 percent. You get a better deal with no agent.” “OK, but I like to get paid for my work. I’m sure you like to get paid for your work. Why would you suggest not paying someone for their work?” “It’s up to you,” he said. “You can save some money.” “How about if we just talk to the seller directly and cut you out of the deal?” “I have a contract,” he said. “They… Read more →

EppsNet Investment Tips

Shares of Warren Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway soared 20% in 2016, helping to boost Buffett’s personal fortune by $12.3 billion – more than any other billionaire in the United States. — Forbes Buy and hold . . . buy and hold. Read more →

It Never Ends

I just received an email alerting me that the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s annual fundraising campaign ends December 31. Let me guess, the next annual fundraising campaign starts on January 1. Read more →

Vatican Splendors at the Reagan Library

They had a funny rule in the Vatican exhibit: photos were okay but no selfies. I could stand in front of an artifact and have someone take a picture of me, but I could not take a picture of myself. I asked one of the docents about the reason for that. “Does it detract from the holiness of the enterprise or what?” “No, people taking selfies tend to lose track of their surroundings and start banging into the art.”   I bought a souvenir T-shirt for $32 in the gift shop. They made me sign the credit card slip, even though a lot of places trust me for amounts under $50. “Trust but verify” as President Reagan himself used to say. Read more →

20-Something Girlfriends

Mel Gibson expecting NINTH child: Lethal Weapon star, 60, announces his girlfriend, 26, is pregnant — Daily Mail Online Here are the ages of Gibson’s current children: 36, 34 (twins), 31, 28, 26, 17, 6. OK, Gibson is better looking than I am, he has a lot more money than I do . . . on the other hand, I’m younger and taller (Wikipedia lists him as 5’10”). It gives one pause . . . Read more →

What Would You Charge for an EpiPen?

I don’t mean hypothetically, I mean I literally want to buy an EpiPen from you right now. My kid got stung by a bee, his face is swelling up like a balloon and his lungs are about to shut down. I see a lot of people are mad at Mylan for charging $600 for EpiPens but they don’t seem to be mad at everyone else in the world who won’t sell them an EpiPen at all. Not to mention, $600 for a life-saving treatment seems like a pretty good bargain to me. Hillary Clinton has called for reducing the price of EpiPens. Hillary Clinton has never lifted a finger in a productive enterprise in her life. She will not sell you an EpiPen no matter how much you want or need one. If the amoral profiteers at Mylan have an obligation to sell cheap EpiPens, why doesn’t Hillary Clinton? Why… Read more →

Carmack on Government

My core thesis is that the federal government delivers very poor value for the resources it consumes, and that society as a whole would be better off with a government that was less ambitious. This is not to say that it doesn’t provide many valuable and even critical services, but that the cost of having the government provide them is much higher than you would tolerate from a company or individual you chose to do business with. For almost every task, it is a poor tool. Given the inefficiency, why is the federal government called upon to do so many things? A large part is naked self interest, which is never going to go away — lots of people play the game to their best advantage, and even take pride in their ability to get more than they give. However, a lot is done in the name of misplaced idealism.… Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

Is anyone else sick of paying for an ever-expanding army of bureaucrats to meddle in their lives? Or is it just me? Read more →

In Politics, An Honest Man Does Not Get Rich

I have been unable to save much money in my life. I have been in politics, and in politics an honest man does not get rich. — Sam Rayburn That’s not true, there are LOTS of rich politicians. Oh wait . . . [Sam Rayburn was one of the most powerful American politicians of the 20th century. He served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for 17 years, the longest tenure in U.S. history. His savings at his death totaled $ 15,000.] Read more →

George Orwell: “I Told You So”

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Associated Press review of the official calendar Hillary Clinton kept as secretary of state identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded or omitted the names of those she met. — Associated Press Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said that Clinton “has always made an effort to be transparent since entering public life.” In addition to the unrecorded meetings with donors, this effort at transparency includes setting up a private email server to use as Secretary of State, and giving speeches at $200,000 per to Wall Street banks and investment firms, foreign governments and other special interest groups under a contract that prevents anyone from releasing a transcript of what she said. Merrill went on to say, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Read more →

Why is it Okay to Hate the Rich But Not the Poor?

There is a feeling outside Silicon Valley that those inside the tech business are living in a tone-deaf bubble of arrogance. . . . Here is the evidence that Silicon Valley is living in a bubble of its own arrogance. Startup founders feel entitled to hate the poor. — Business Insider The author seems to be based in the UK, which is outside Silicon Valley, so he writes “There is a feeling outside Silicon Valley that . . .” and inserts his own opinion. It’s a “feeling,” you see, and it exists outside Silicon Valley. Very clever. If it’s okay to hate the rich (which it seems to be), why is it not okay to hate the poor? If it’s okay to hate people without knowing anything about them other than their economic standing, why is it okay to hate the rich, but not okay to hate the poor? Why… Read more →

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