EppsNet Archive: Money

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 →

Time is Money

Amazon sent me some book recommendations, including A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by the same author. The second book costs five dollars more. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Maybe condensing a short history into a really short history saves me some time and I have to pay more for that. Time is money . . . in this case, five dollars. Read more →

There Are Four Ways You Can Spend Money

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40%… Read more →

Greece is Going Out of Business

I remember the good old days when we only had to worry about small banks going out of business. Then big banks started to go out of business, then non-bank financial institutions, and now small countries. The problem with having a lot of debt is that, with some exceptions (“too big to fail”), bad things happen when your investors get nervous. My memory is not photographic as some of the legends about me say, but I am sure I would remember if the works of Adam Smith included the phrase “too big to fail.” — Garry Kasparov What are the odds that people running companies or countries will make smart decisions about money if they don’t need to make smart decisions — if they can do just as well or better making dumb decisions and being rescued from the consequences? According to the government debt chart below, the next countries… Read more →

We Save Things Around Here

What do I mean by “save things”? My wife was tidying up the garage and found this checkbook. The date (Dec. 19, 1991, the month after we got married) and the check number (101) tells me that it’s the first check we ever wrote on the first joint checking account we ever had. Read more →

I’m in Semi-Solidarity with the Protestors

I support the UC Berkeley students protesting tuition hikes but maybe with a little less conviction than I used to because my kid is a senior and no matter how high tuition goes I won’t be paying it anymore so I hope the boy was in class yesterday and not out causing a disturbance . . . Read more →

Microeconomics at Walgreens

“Do you have a Walgreens rewards card?” the checker asks. “Yes I do,” I reply and I hand it to him. “Do you want to redeem any reward points today?” “Can you tell me how much I have available in reward points?” “Yes . . . let’s see . . . you have one dollar.” “One dollar?” “Yes.” “I’ll let it ride.” Read more →

Baldness vs. Malaria

Why is there so much more research done on baldness than on malaria? Because rich people go bald, and they don’t die of malaria. — Bill Gates Read more →

People Who Don’t Want Me to Know Things

What I want to know is why there are so many people who don’t want me to know things . . . What the 1% Don’t Want Us to Know Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About 20 Terrifying Facts Food Companies Don’t Want You to Know 11 things the Koch brothers don’t want you to know What hospitals don’t want you to know about C-sections 5 Things Hackers Don’t Want You to Know The Sad Secret Successful People Don’t Want You To Know 7 Rip-Offs Corporations and the Wealthy Don’t Want You to Know About Something Most Christians Don’t Want You to Know 11 Secrets Supermarkets Don’t Want You to Know Conspiracies: Five things they don’t want you to know The 25 Shadiest Things Drug Companies Don’t Want You To Know 11 Secrets Pilots Don’t Want You To Know Bottled Water: 10 Shockers “They” Don’t Want You… Read more →

This Kid Made an App That Exposes Sellout Politicians

Via VICE: Yes, the algorithm is if (isPolitician(x)) {     x.sellout = true; } Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

Ten Steps to Being Fat, Lonely and Broke

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. Read more →

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

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… Read more →

I’ve Solved the Problem of Economic Inequality

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

Random Thoughts on Paying College Athletes

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… Read more →

One Percenters

“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? — Don Boudreaux Read more →

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