Corporate Dishonesty

I received in today’s snailmail a document postmarked Sacramento, CA, Permit No 1827. In bold, black print, the envelope carrying this document had the following notice:

WARNING: $2000 FINE, 5 YEARS IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH FOR ANY PERSON INTERFERING OR OBSTRUCTING DELIVERY OF THIS LETTER.

Who sent me this very important document? Who knows? The originator was so ashamed of himself and/or what he had to say to me that he declined to put his address, much less his name, on the envelope.

I opened it.

Who’d-a Thunk?

According to President Barack Obama’s Department of Education, his student loan forgiveness program already is experiencing cost overruns to the tune of nearly $22 billion. Obama’s 2010 PAYE expansion at the time was projected to add $9 billion to the taxpayers’ bill for students not repaying their debt. As the DoE put it,

The 2015 amount includes a net upward reestimate of $21.8 billion, primarily related to revised interest rates and increased participation in income-driven repayment plans.

Or, in the words of James Schneider, who wrote the article at the second link,

[S]welling enrollment due to looser loan rules is driving up costs….

A Fatal Flaw

In a piece for Wired, FCC MFWIC Tom Wheeler offered rationalization for his decision to dismantle the Internet. He opened his apologia with this remarkable claim:

This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles….

That’s the problem. Regulatory “principles” proceed from the assumption that government regulation is a universal and primary good.

Of course, that’s precisely backward—and backwards. A free market is almost universally self-regulating: make a bad product, people find out and stop buying—the producer goes out of business. Lie about a product, people find out and stop buying—even if the product itself might be sound—and the producer or seller goes out of business. And so on.

NYSE Auctions

In the bad old days of stock auction markets [sic], owners of shares of companies—companies nominally public by their status as a shareholder company—would meet in a crowd, face to face, and offer their shares for sale at a price or offer to buy another’s shares at a price. Bid prices and asking prices would converge, and sales would be executed.

Return of the Excess Profits Tax

Excess profits taxes are taxes on profits that government decides for itself is too much. They were first tried in the US by individual states during our Civil War. They went national under Progressive governments during WWI and WWII and were not repealed until after WWII. Another Democratic administration revived them for the Korean War, and that one disappeared at the end of 1953—over 60 years ago.

Now another Progressive President, Barack Obama, wants to revive it, and without even war as justification: he just wants the money because he Knows Better the use of that money than do those companies that actually earned it. Under his 2016 Budget Proposal, Obama insists that companies

Privacy Misbehavior

Andrea Peterson of The Washington Post has a warning.

Recall that ‘way last November, Verizon was exposed as using a supercookie that they’d developed for the purpose: it sits on your cell phone and tracks, ostensibly for their own use, your cell usage (supposedly limited to your use on the Internet). And you can’t delete it.

It turns out that Turn, an online advertising company that works with Google and Facebook,

uses [the Verizon supercookie] to collect data that makes it easier for advertisers to place targeted online ads, according to the researchers.

Another Reason

…not to do business through ObamaMart and to get rid of Obamacare and with it ObamaMart. Even the AP has the tale.

When you apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.

The data firms have embedded connections on the government site. Ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles that are a vital tool for advertisers.

Repealing Obamacare

Republicans—leadership, rank and file—and Conservatives want to repeal Obamacare, and they’re right to do so. Obamacare has been an unvarnished disaster for our nation.

To this end, Republicans need to pass repeal legislation and put it on President Barack Obama’s desk, where he surely will veto it. That veto will work to Republicans’ benefit as it helps shape the 2016 elections, but things must not stop there.

The leadership also is playing small ball, working a piecemeal approach. This includes

  • a bill that would define a full-time worker under the health law as working 40 hours per week

Carbon Footprint

[I]n 2011, the University of Technology Sydney made a significant breakthrough by synthesizing something called graphene paper (GP), an ultra thin layer of graphite that has five to six times lower density than steel, but is two times harder with 10 times the tensile strength and 13 times higher bending rigidity.

GP also works well in lithium-ion batteries and even better in lithium-sulfur batteries. The latter kind has far greater storage capacity and is a whole lot cheaper; GP solves the sulfur degradation problem.

There’s a lot more at the link.

Colleges, Again

Frank Mussano and Robert Iosue opened their op-ed in The Wall Street Journal with this claim:

College tuition rates are ridiculously out of hand.

They’re right, too. College costs, and not just their tuition costs, are way out of whack with the value received. One evidence of that (eliding interest costs) is the extreme difficulty too many college graduates have paying back their student loans out the salaries their degrees get them.

They continued:

[T]uition has surged more than 1,000%, while the consumer-price index has risen only 240%. The percentage of annual household income required to pay the average private four-year tuition reached 36% in 2010, up from 16% in 1970.