EppsNet Archive: Money

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 →

The Ideal Consumer

 

The ideal consumer is someone who is anxious, depressed and constantly dissatisfied. Academic studies from the most respected institutions show that sad people are bigger spenders. Why do you think our lives are saturated with images of flawless, unattainable beauty? Read more →

See You in Hell

 

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] Along with pleas for money, almost 100 percent of the cardboard signs I see being held by people on freeway off-ramps and the like include the phrase “God Bless You.” There seems to be a correlation between belief in God and begging for money on off-ramps. Notice that you never see Satanists begging for money. Why don’t they pray for the money? Maybe they did pray and God told them to make a cardboard sign? I tell my acolytes if they need money, learn to code. See you in Hell . . . Read more →

Wasteland

 

And those that had money looked good but weren’t too happy And those who didn’t have money didn’t look so good And weren’t too happy either and in a city of three million two hundred and sixty nine thousand nine hundred eighty four Everyone was lonely — Dan Bern, “Wasteland” Read more →

‘Natural’ Product Claims Can Be Murky

 

Whole Foods Markets Inc. last fall started selling a new brand of laundry detergent called Nature’s Power, whose green bottle claims the product is made “with plant-derived soaps.” Its top active ingredient, a commonly used cleaning agent called sodium laureth sulfate, is found in plenty of its mainstream peers, including Arm & Hammer, which like Nature’s Power is made by Church & Dwight Co. Sodium laureth sulfate can be produced from coconut oil, palm oil or petroleum. “It is the same chemical compound, regardless of what it’s derived from,” says Clarence Miller, a professor emeritus of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University in Houston. A Church & Dwight spokesman said the sodium laureth sulfate in Nature’s Power “is plant-based and not the same” as the sodium laureth sulfate found in Arm & Hammer. Whole Foods declined to comment. — WSJ Let’s also note that in addition to being made… Read more →

How People Learn to Become Resilient

 

[Developmental psychologist Emmy Werner] found that several elements predicted resilience. Some elements had to do with luck: a resilient child might have a strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or other mentor-like figure. But another, quite large set of elements was psychological, and had to do with how the children responded to the environment. From a young age, resilient children tended to “meet the world on their own terms.” They were autonomous and independent, would seek out new experiences, and had a “positive social orientation.” “Though not especially gifted, these children used whatever skills they had effectively,” Werner wrote. Perhaps most importantly, the resilient children had what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”: they believed that they, and not their circumstances, affected their achievements. The resilient children saw themselves as the orchestrators of their own fates. In fact, on a scale that measured locus of control, they… Read more →

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