EppsNet Archive: Money

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 →

Tony Robbins’ Wealth-Building Tips Seem Pretty Useless

Tony Robbins has 6 tips for Building Wealth Now. Let’s look at each of the tips and apply the “would anyone advise the opposite?” filter to assess the value of Robbins’ advice. Don’t lose money. I’m not kidding, that’s the first tip. Would anyone advise “Lose money”? No. So this “tip” is useless. Look for investments in which rewards far outweigh risks. Would anyone advise “Look for investments in which risks far outweigh rewards’? No. Robbins recommends using “the 5-to-1 rule,” in which the potential returns on an investment are 5 times greater than the potential losses. Why 5? Why not 10? Or 100? Where do you find these investments? I have no idea. Don’t overpay taxes. Would anyone advise “Overpay taxes”? No. Diversify. Would anyone advise “Don’t diversify”? Possibly. There’s a couple of schools of thought on diversification: 1) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; and 2)… Read more →

Another Thing I Like About Donald Trump

Embed from Getty Images Democrats don’t like him and Republicans don’t like him either. The overarching theme of American politics is Democrats vs. Republicans, Team Blue vs. Team Red. It’s a freakishly expensive clown show for which we pay trillions of dollars a year to watch the Red clowns and the Blue clowns throw pies in each other’s faces. Nobody really cares about truth, substance or common sense, only whether their team is winning. When Obama replaced Bush, Democrats didn’t care that Obama kept all the same wars going and started a few new ones, kept the torture programs going, kept Guantanamo open, ramped up drone warfare, cozied up to Wall Street, etc., etc., etc. All the things they hated when Bush was doing them were okay now because their team was winning. Elect Hillary Clinton and we’ll get four to eight years of trench warfare against Republicans. Elect a… Read more →

Cashing In

When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don’t see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy. — Joseph Heller, Catch-22 Read more →

A Man’s a Man For A’ That

What though on hamely fare we dine, Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that; Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine; A Man’s a Man for a’ that: For a’ that, and a’ that, Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that; The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor, Is king o’ men for a’ that. — Robert Burns, “A Man’s a Man For A’ That” Read more →

Could Donald Trump Have Made More Money in an Index Fund?

I’ve seen this theory advanced by multiple sources, including the attached clipping, which I saw on Facebook. I don’t know the original source, but the finger-painting reference is a clue that the author has an anti-Trump agenda, hasn’t done the math and is just repeating something that may or may not be true for the benefit of anyone predisposed to believe it. The actual National Journal article, which is targeted at readers who don’t know much about history, math or the Trump family, says this: By putting his inheritance into the stock market back in the 1970s, [Donald] Trump might have been “really rich” without all the drama. . . . Had the celebrity businessman and Republican presidential candidate invested his eventual share of his father’s real-estate company into a mutual fund of S&P 500 stocks in 1974, it would be worth nearly $3 billion today, thanks to the market’s… Read more →

Why Jennifer Lawrence Makes Less Than Bradley Cooper

Jennifer Lawrence is complaining (Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?) that she and American Hustle co-star Amy Adams received 7 percent of the profits for the film, while male actors Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale and director David Russell received 9 percent. The only explanation I can think of for this inequity is that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were willing to work for 7 percent. It doesn’t make sense to sign a deal for 7 percent and then complain that you didn’t get 9 percent. If you want 9, ask for 9. If it’s going to bother you to make less than a male co-star, ask for the same deal as the male co-star. Does Jennifer Lawrence have an agent? This doesn’t seem super complicated . . . Read more →

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