Montana Moments: The Canadian Connection

Only 50 miles from Canada, Whitefish has a massive Canadian presence from which Montanans can learn many lessons about sky-high taxes and nationalized health care.
Montana Moments: The Canadian Connection
By: George Noga – July 15, 2018

          Whitefish is 50 miles south of Canada and a mere 4 hour drive from Calgary and its 1.3 million people; altogether, 2 million Canadians live within an easy drive. Given the profuse attractions of Whitefish and Glacier National Park, the massive Canadian presence during summers is no surprise. Alberta’s energy economy and the favorable exchange rate (until recently) bring in Canadian hordes flush with petrodollars.

          Canadians also are attracted by the nightlife and incredibly cheap prices vis-a-vis Canada. They come for weekends, vacations and endless holidays; they even come for their weddings which, due to rock-bottom prices, can cost up to 50% less than home. Mainly however, they come to party because of the absurdly cheap booze. They party so frenetically that in the argot of Whitefish, drunkencanadian is one word.

         Cocktails in Whitefish are one-third the price and twice the size of those north of the border due to Canada’s sky-high alcohol taxes. A scotch costs $2.75 and beer $1.00. During happy hour, our tab once was $32.00 for 27 drinks! Moreover, some watering holes accept Canadian loonies at par which makes cocktails ridiculously cheap. Before leaving Montana, they pack as much food and potables as allowed into their SUVs to beat the oppressively high Canadian prices and value added taxes.

         Not all Canadians come for cheap booze; many come for medical care. There are long waits for procedures in Canada while Montana offers same day service. They are so desperate, they pay out-of-pocket at great sacrifice. I have heard many heart wrenching stories about Canada’s system and most of my Canadian interlocutors passionately forewarn me against Canadian style socialized medicine for the USA.

        The median wait time between referral and treatment in Canada is over 21 weeks, 42 weeks in some provinces and a staggering 4 years in extreme cases. The wait for a CAT scan is 11 weeks and increasing – while Montana has no waiting whatsoever. Over 1 million Canadians (3% of the population) are in line. The long waits are not just inconvenient; they often transform potentially reversible conditions into chronic or permanent disabilities. Free medical care is not much good if you can’t get it.

        While in Montana, I make it a point to ask our northern visitors how satisfied they are with Canadian healthcare. Out of the scores I have thus queried, only two said they were satisfied. The first said he liked the care in Canada but came to Montana whenever the wait times were problematic. The second defended the Canadian system by asserting is was very good at triage, i.e. if you were mired on a long wait list and your conditioned deteriorated, they would move you up on the list.

       So, what can we learn from the Canadian connection? First, Canada has a high cost of living due to confiscatory taxation. The federal income tax rate is 29%; provincial income tax rates are 15%-20%; health care is 6% and a 13% VAT is embedded in all purchases. If you are keeping score, the total is 64% to 68%!

       Second, Canada is a nanny state that doesn’t want its children, err citizens drinking and imposes alcohol taxes that make cocktails 600% more costly than in Montana. That shouldn’t be unexpected from a country whose founding documents tout “peace, order and good government” instead of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

       Finally, we learn much about the disaster that is Canada’s national healthcare. When anything is in great demand, it must be rationed via either time or cost; that’s an immutable economic law. Since healthcare is free, it can’t be rationed via cost; that leaves time. Bingo! How comforting it must be for Canadians to know that if their condition seriously deteriorates, they may be moved above the other 1 million poor, desperate souls waiting in line for treatment that is instantly available in Montana.

The next post is TBD

Collection of Micro and Ultra-Short Posts

Government could pay every SunRail passenger $30 to take Uber and that would cost less than the subsidy for operating SunRail!
Collection of Micro and Ultra-Short Posts
By: George Noga – July 8, 2018

Micro Posts: Look upon the Obama presidency as a vaccination that inoculated the body politic with a low dose of socialism which may protect us from later contracting a more virulent form of the disease; don’t snicker; it worked in 2016. . . . . . . Kim Jong Il  reportedly shot 38 under par, including 11 holes-in-one, the first (and only) time he played golf; this is all you need to know about the NoKos. . . . . . . Nuclearization of Iran and North Korea, once considered by all as unacceptable, became irreversible under Obama/Clinton/Kerry – then along came Jones – err, Trump. . . . . To justify his belief in climate change, Obama said carbon dioxide emissions exacerbated his daughter Malia’s asthma; oops, it’s sulfur dioxide (not CO2) that is linked to asthma.

From the WWII Caen Memorial: “Instead of peace, the end of the war saw the creation of two competing economic systems. One was the United States which adopted a messianic form of capitalism emphasizing consumption above equality resulting in an intensely materialistic society. The greater wealth created by its acquisitive capitalistic system was devoted to support a hedonistic life style. The other system, championed by the USSR, was based on common ownership of resources. Although this system proved less efficient, it led toward a much more equal distribution of the wealth in its society.” 


Americans buried at nearby Normandy did not fight for messianic capitalism; but the Caen Memorial is right in one way: communism more equally distributed its poverty. And all those people fleeing communism probably could have used a little hedonism.

Climate Claptrap: A recent US government scientific report is hokum. It reports sea levels increasing at a higher rate while failing to note this has occurred often in the past 100 years. It reports heat waves are more common but doesn’t acknowledge the peak was during the 1930s dust bowl years and they are no more common now than 120 years ago. It claims hurricanes have increased in power, ignoring a NOAA finding of no detectable human impact on hurricanes. Remind me; who are the science deniers?

Capitalism and government: If your kids love government and hate capitalism, this may cure them. Capitalism brings us: Uber, Waze, Venmo, Google, Spotify, Kindle, iPhones, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Android, Apple, Disney, FedEx, UPS, Airbnb, internet, Lyft, laptops, notebooks, tablets, 4K-HDTV, Nintendo, iMac, Roku, Amazon Echo, Xbox, and Google assistant. Government brings us: IRS, USPS, DMV, airport security, public schools, Medicaid, taxis, $700 toilet seats, waste, fraud, abuse, Amtrak, student debt and (horrors) SunRail (see below).

All Aboard: SunRail is the second biggest con job in Florida history after the lottery. Every scient person (except teachers, who fell en masse for the lottery) knew exactly what would happen. Ridership is 30% below its worst case estimate and is decreasing! SunRail costs $35 million to operate and fares bring in only $1.9 million. Government could pay every SunRail passenger $30 to take Uber and it would save money. And Uber picks you up and drops you off 24/7 anywhere, any time  – without timetables.

Despite abject failure, SunRail is adding 17 miles and plans more extensions. SunRail makes even Amtrak, which charges $9.50 for an inedible hamburger that costs $16 to make, look good. Amtrak loses $1 billion/year on food for which it has a monopoly.

Trains are deeply embedded in progressive DNA. When liberals hear the word train, they become catatonic and involuntarily begin to chant their mantra: “all aboard – all aboard – all aboard“. This is in part due to their aversion to cars and fossil fuels but trains have a more primal attraction for progressives, i.e. their desire for collectivism and disdain for individualism. Cars freely go whenever and wherever, making the driver the master of his fate. Trains go on a timetable devised by government experts, who know better than individuals what choices are best for them. All aboard!

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More Montana Moments is next as we explore Montana’s Canadian Connection

Whitefish Discovered!

If you can’t be happy here, you can’t be happy anywhere.
Whitefish Discovered!
By: George Noga – July 1, 2018

       This is the first 2018 post in our remarkably popular summer series about life in the Flathead Valley of NW Montana. Unfortunately, our initial posting this year is a jeremiad. I regret to report that Whitefish and its environs have been discovered by the masses, much to the lament of both locals as well as us summer residents.

        My wife and I have a proclivity for finding idiosyncratic destinations long before they are unearthed by the multitudes. In the 1980s we were habitues of Santa Fe, NM while that city different still retained all its cachet. When the hordes descended and Santa Fe became overly commercialized, losing much of its erstwhile charm, we decamped to still-virginal Telluride, CO. Alas, when it too fell victim to the throngs, we stumbled onto Whitefish, MT and instantly were smitten. Now, after 12 summers in Whitefish, gaggles of visitors are again swarming in. It too is now discovered.

         Whitefish, and NW Montana, remains a priceless gem but its setting, especially in summer, is becoming tarnished. Its crown jewel, Glacier National Park (“GNP”), has seen a record crush of visitors flocking to the park. Last year visitors to GNP were up a staggering 30% over 2016 necessitating a first-ever (brief) closure of the park over the July 4th weekend.  Even the usually slow shoulder months of June and September now attract herds. And all this happened despite dreadful forest fires and smoke hazards much of last summer that closed off parts of GNP for weeks at a time.

      Inside GNP, parking at popular Logan Pass now is closed to cars during peak months. Parking at trailheads often is a futile search. Traffic on iconic Going-to-the-Sun road creates monstrous traffic jams. All lodges inside the park are booked a year in advance. I now caution visitors about coming from July 1 through Labor Day.

        Whitefish has not escaped unscathed. With a population of only 6,500, it simply can’t handle even a few thousand more visitors at a time. In recent years, new hotels and RV parks have opened and can accommodate thousands more people. The added traffic has made parking in Whitefish a challenge – despite the recent addition of a new downtown parking garage. Indeed, nearby Kalispell and the Flathead Valley are the fastest growing parts of Montana. Traffic at Glacier Park International Airport is up double digits and surpassed 500,000 last year – a lot for a four-gate airport.

        One of my Montana readers emailed me last year: “George, if you keep this up (meaning all the favorable posts describing Whitefish) too many people will come.” It looks like he was right, although it is not due to my lame blogging efforts. After this post, I may get back into the good graces of my Montana readers, none of whom particularly likes the swarm of visitors. Nevertheless, I must end on a sanguine note.

        As packed as Glacier National Park has become, it still remains infinitely better than Yellowstone, Yosemite and all the rest. And although it is true that summer crowds in Whitefish and Glacier create inconvenience, NW Montana remains truly the last best place in America. Local residents have a saying that I have heard expressed on numerous occasions: “If you can’t be happy here, you can’t be happy anywhere.” After twelve summers in Whitefish, it is a sentiment with which I cannot disagree.

       P.S. After this post was written, the Whitefish City Council formed a committee to consider whether tourism has reached a tipping point whereby further increases in visitors should be discouraged because it erodes the quality of life and what makes Whitefish so special to locals.

Next on July 8th, we feast on a collection of micro and ultra-short topics.

Progressives Pin Hopes on Sports Betting

Gambling revenue is a pipeline of money flowing from the poor and vulnerable to the affluent and educated. It is highly regressive and amounts to a tax on stupidity.
Progressives Pin Hopes on Sports Betting
By: George Noga – June 24, 2018

          MLLG has a strong libertarian bent and opposes banning any activity undertaken freely by adults. Hence, we are okay with the Supreme Court decision permitting states to legalize sports betting. Nonetheless, sports wagering joins lotteries, slots and their ilk in the pantheon of schemes to exact more money for the state from its poorest and most vulnerable citizens. Following is the back story about state sponsored gambling.

Sports betting impetus comes from blue states. New Jersey, a fiscally irresponsible state, was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case. Progressive politicians and their public sector union sidekicks conspired to seek another desperate fix for their failing blue state governance model with its unsustainable taxing, spending and borrowing.

State sponsored gaming is dishonest at its core. Lotteries are frauds from inception as they invariably are sold to voters as a means to increase spending on education – all the while its advocates (except gullible teachers) know full well that is a lie. Florida instituted a lottery in 1986 devoted entirely to education. Yet real per pupil spending on schools has actually decreased since 1986 as lottery money simply supplanted other funds. The same pattern occurs everywhere lotteries have been instituted.

Gambling is a pipeline of money from the poor to the rich. In the argot of economics, gambling is an inferior good, i.e. demand is higher on the lower rungs of the economic ladder than on the upper rungs. The poor spend seven times more money than the well off and impoverished neighborhoods have triple the lottery vendors per capita. It is the most regressive tax and is tantamount to a tax on stupidity. Gambling revenue is a pipeline of money flowing from the poor and susceptible to the affluent and educated.

State sponsored gaming is a monopoly and a fool’s game. There is no competition and its payout is worse than when organized crime controlled it. The mafia paid out 60% in bolita and in after-tax dollars. The present value of a lottery payout is around 30% after tax – half that of the mob. It is an unfair exploitative wager and a sucker’s bet.

State advertising encourages destructive behavior. Although MLLG believes adults should be free to gamble, it is wrong for the state to promote it. They use dishonest and deceptive advertising promoting a harmful, addictive activity. The state restricts advertising for tobacco and alcohol. What’s next; will the state run ads promoting legal marijuana? Lottery sales are fueled by a stream of slick advertising encouraging suckers and glorifying a fool’s game all the while devaluing hard work and thrift.

Gaming sends the wrong message to our children. It signals that good things in life come from a winning lottery ticket, not from knowledge, initiative, work and savings. Lottery numbers already scroll across our TVs and devices. With sports betting, this will explode with wagers on every possible event – telling our kids this is important.

Legal gambling can be fixed. State advertising must be banned and honest disclosures about the odds and payouts must be prominently displayed. Lotteries and other forms of gaming should be privatized and opened to competition. Let private vendors compete to offer the best odds; even the mafia offered odds twice as good as the state.

       State sponsored gaming exposes the ugly underbelly of progressivism. States run by liberals (and some conservatives) shamelessly exploit their poorest and most vulnerable citizens to feed their unsated appetite for money and power. In Florida, lottery money comes disproportionately from the poorest precincts but goes to fund Bright Futures scholarships, 90% of which go to highly educated, affluent families.

       Progressives claim to be for minorities and the poor. All they really care about is clinging to power. They are addicted to higher taxes even if it means eating their own.

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Next is the first of our popular summer Montana Moments postings.

American Birthright Accounts: Readers Respond

This post compares American Birthright Accounts to Social Security and responds to readers’ questions about seeming too good to be true.
American Birthright Accounts: Readers Respond
By: George Noga – June 17, 2018

       Reaction to our May 20th post about American Birthright Accounts (“ABA”) was extensive and spirited. If you missed the original post or wish to reread it, you easily can access it on our website:; however, we provide a summary in the next two paragraphs. Reader responses (addressed herein) centered on (1) comparisons with Social Security; and (2) questioning whether ABAs were too good to be true.

       American Birthright Accounts are an original MLLG idea, although the name is borrowed. ABAs are simple and affordable. Every child born in the USA receives a professionally managed, tax-free account funded by government for $5,000 at birth and $500 per year thereafter until age 65. If the account grows at 7% net of inflation, which mirrors the average annual performance of markets since 1930, the account will exceed $1 million at age 65 and generate $6,000 per month of retirement income.

         A retired couple, both with ABAs, receives $12,000 a month tax-free, equivalent to $200,000 per year taxable. They own their own accounts and have $2 million to bequeath to their heirs – all tax-free and in today’s dollars. The cost to the government is equal to one-half of one percent of the federal budget, or 25% of what we will spend this year just on food stamps. ABAs also would vastly reduce inequality in America!

How Do ABAs Compare with Social Security?

       An American working from age 20 to 67 earning the median income ($60,000) pays $430,000 into Social Security (“SS”) and receives a real (net of inflation) rate of return of 1.2% (per Heritage Foundation) resulting in a notional value of $738,000 at retirement. The average SS beneficiary receives $16,000 per year, or a rate of return of 2.2%. Because SS is 85% taxable, the benefit is equivalent to $13,000 after tax – equal to a real return of 1.8%. Finally, SS benefits are unsustainable at their present level and after circa 2030 beneficiaries can expect to receive only 75% of present benefits.

        Let’s put SS side by side with an ABA. The average cost of SS is $430,000, for an ABA it is only $37,500 ($5,000 at birth and $500 a year for 65 years). Average SS benefits are $13,000 per year after tax; for ABAs the comparable number is $72,000. At death, the value of your SS account is zero, zilch, nada; the value of your ABA is over $1 million. Everyone benefits equally from an ABA, whereas the benefits vary wildly for SS. I could go on ad infinitum in this vein, but I believe you get the drift.

Are ABAs Too Good to be True?

      Some readers had trouble with the mathematics of ABAs, wondering how it is possible for everyone to be a millionaire? The math is straightforward; the initial $5,000 increases to $435,000 and the $500 per year grows to $573,000 for a total of $1,008,000, all computed from standard compound interest formulas. ABAs compound from birth for 65 years, whereas SS doesn’t begin until 20 years later. ABAs grow at a market rate, while SS grows at the much lower short-term government bond rate.

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      There is a much larger lesson here. ABAs succeed due to the power of markets, while SS fails because of the evils of government. Progressives oppose privatizing SS, fearing market success will turn workers into nascent capitalists by giving them a big stake in the free-market economy. Liberal poseurs oppose making everyone rich because it doesn’t fit their nihilist, tribalist, class warfare, identity group narrative.

Next up: The Supreme Court decision to permit sports betting. 

Sacrificing Children on the Altar of Gun Control

Guns in schools, as part of a proper plan, create a speed bump for killers; this is like having a fire extinguisher or wearing a seat belt.
Sacrificing Children on the Altar of Gun Control
By: George Noga – June 10, 2018

       In the aftermath of recent school shootings, progressives opt for political posturing and moral preening instead of immediate practical measures that will help prevent, and also minimize the toll from, school shootings. They disregard children’s safety to push for pie-in-the-sky gun control, which likely is unconstitutional and the effect, if any, is in the distant future. They have forfeited any claim to the moral high ground.

       Liberals refuse to acknowledge any cause, other than guns, of school shootings even though government failure at all levels was a major cause of Parkland. The FBI failed; the sheriff failed and local government failed. School administrators failed by imposing a loopy Obama policy of not suspending students or calling police regardless of the number or seriousness of offenses. Where is liberal angst about these things?

        Why is federal gun legislation the only remedy ever proffered by liberals? If there were mass shootings at Starbucks, would there be calls for federal action, or would people simply say that Starbucks needed to beef up its security? The latte left opposes guns in schools for one reason only: they fear to acknowledge guns ever can be a positive force as it would destroy their anti-gun mantra. At a minimum, guns in schools (as part of a proper plan) would create a rather large speed bump for killers.

          Not only would guns deter rampage killers, they also would minimize casualties. If armed school personnel start shooting back at wannabe killers, it messes up their plans. The best way to stop killers is an immediate, violent response; school personnel can respond instantly whereas police require 10-15 minutes. When armed civilians stop an attack, the average number of people shot is 2.5; when police stop an attack, the average number shot is 14; this is solely attributable to the faster response times. Many low-casualty incidents never even make the national news because rapid responses by armed civilians stop the killers before casualties have time to mount.

         Guns won’t prevent all school shootings just as fire extinguishers won’t prevent fires and seat belts won’t prevent accidents – but they all save lives. It’s all about an immediate response which can save an average of 11.5 lives compared to waiting for police. An immediate response can come only from within the school. Although arming school personnel does not deal with the root cause, neither does banning guns. The root cause is people deranged enough to want to commit such horrific acts.

      Nevertheless, progressives reflexively reject immediate, practical measures, like guns in school, to reduce the butcher’s bill from rampage attacks. Instead, they smugly and disingenuously hold out for a feel-good solution they know will take many years and likely will have little or no effect. In the meantime, they leave our school children vulnerable because of dogmatic obeisance to their anti-gun religion.

        Ending school gun-free zones saves children’s lives. Even the possible presence of guns deters would-be killers, whose fantasies would be ruined by an immediate violent resistance. Once an attack began, guns instantly change the killer’s calculus from mass killing to self defense. Guns significantly reduce casualties from an attack and can be introduced immediately with little cost. Liberals would not remove fire extinguishers from schools, yet they want to ban analogous instruments from schools.

       By doctrinaire opposition to guns in schools, progressives make their long-term, unconstitutional and unattainable gun control fantasy the enemy of the present good. They are sacrificing our school children on the altar of their gun control religion.

Next, we respond to numerous reader comments about American Birthright Accounts

Pulse Nightclub Tragedy and the Laramie Project

Orlando observes the 2nd anniversary of the Pulse tragedy with The Laramie Project.  
Pulse Nightclub Tragedy and the Laramie Project
By: George Noga – June 3, 2018
       This is a post I’d rather not write, but it must be written. June 12th is the second anniversary of the Pulse shooting. The occasion is being observed (beginning June 2) with a month-long production of The Laramie Project, a play about the 1998 brutal murder in Laramie, Wyoming of Matthew Shepard, a gay 21 year old college student.
The Progressive Narrative
       The common agenda of the OnePulse and Matthew Shepard Foundations is to fight hate crimes and gun violence against the LGBTQ community. Barbara Poma, Director of the OnePulse Foundation, said, “The increase in hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ community . . . puts the responsibility on foundations like ours to work together.” Her narrative is that both the Pulse and Laramie killings were hate crimes targeting gays and that constitutes the rationale for sponsoring The Laramie Project.
          Late one night, Matthew Shepard made a pass at two strange men in a Laramie bar. He later left with the two men, was taken to a remote spot, brutally beaten, crucified to a fence post and left to die – solely because he was gay in what universally was (and still is) regarded as the hate crime of the century. Shepard’s murder became a liberal shibboleth about the homophobia and hatred permeating middle America.
         The Laramie Project, one of the most performed high school plays ever, depicts Matt as an innocent martyr but portrays life in flyover land as ugly, violent, intolerant, bigoted and psychotic. Schools use Laramie study guides that direct classroom discussions to homophobia and injustice in middle America, which is depicted as a crucible of hate, violence and savagery inhabited by gun-toting, homicidal rubes.
The Plain Truth
       Neither the Pulse shooting nor the Matthew Shepard murder was a hate crime directed at gays. The trial of Noor Salman, wife of Pulse killer Omar Mateen, brought out the facts of the Pulse shooting. According to FBI testimony at the Salman trial, the original intended target for Mateen was Disney Springs, a crowded shopping and entertainment venue. Only after Mateen observed the heavy security at Disney Springs, did he search “downtown Orlando nightclub” on his phone and find Pulse. There is no evidence or indication whatsoever that Mateen knew Pulse was a gay nightclub.
         Shepard’s murder resulted from a methamphetamine deal gone bad. One of Matt’s murderers, Aaron McKinney, also was gay and had a prior sexual relationship with Matt. The crucifixion to a fence post never happened. Everything people were told about Matt was a lie; he was a drug dealer murdered by his homosexual lover over a soured meth deal. The facts about Shepard came to light in The Book of Matt written by Stephen Jimenez, who is liberal and gay, after 13 years of research, interviewing hundreds of witnesses and scouring thousands of pages of public records. His book was critically acclaimed by gay groups and favorably reviewed by the Advocate.
The Lesson from Pulse and Laramie
      The takeaway, particularly from the Shepard case, is its exposure of the visceral hatred progressives and the media have for America. They blindly accepted anti-gay accounts from biased sources with unhidden agendas because it fit their narrative that America’s heartland is a cauldron of hate and homophobia. To them, it doesn’t matter if they got their facts wrong because, after all, their narrative was correct. The true hate crime of the century is the revulsion progressives and the media have for America.
      Since neither Pulse nor Laramie were LGBTQ hate crimes, will Ms. Poma cancel the collaboration with the Shepard Foundation? If The Laramie Project is performed in Orlando, will Ms. Poma tell audiences the truth about Matthew Shepard? Surely, there is a better way to commemorate the Pulse tragedy than by performing a play based entirely on lies and that depicts everyday Americans as demented monsters.
       Ms. Poma should travel across our great country to talk with ordinary Americans; she just might discover that we are not a nation of  hating, homicidal homophobes.

Next – we revisit the issue of protecting students from school shootings.

MLLG Collection of Ultra-Short Posts

Education spending before and after the lottery – Hate crimes really are political crime. Thirty reasons why Hillary lost – Participation trophies –  Americans’ New Way of Life
MLLG Collection of Ultra-Short Posts
By: George Noga – May 27, 2018

       From time to time we bale together a short stack of pithy topics that, although blog-worthy, cannot justify an entire 500-word posting; this is one of those times.

Lottery and Education: MLLG compared Florida’s per pupil spending on education before and after the lottery. The year before voters approved the lottery (1985), Florida spent $4,060 per pupil – equivalent to $8,000 in 2017.  Actual 2016-17 spending was $7,500 on a comparable basis – $500 less per student than before the lottery. This is unsurprising; anyone with a modicum of walking-around sense knew lottery money would supplant other money over time. What’s truly pitiable is that clueless teachers, who fervently bought in to this three-card monte, are still teaching our kids.

Why Hillary Lost: Hillary has proffered myriad reasons why she lost; following are a few she omitted: Marc Rich pardon, sniper fire in Bosnia, trashing Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky, calling half of America deplorable, cheating Bernie Sanders, Vince Foster, travelgate, Whitewater, cattlegate, troopergate, $15 million Chelsea condo with campaign funds, Loretta Lynch interference, accepting stolen debate questions, secret server, deleting 30,000 subpoenaed emails, destroying phones and hard drives, Benghazi, Haitian thefts, Russian uranium deal, Wikileaks, Anthony Weiner, compromising top secret data, Clinton Foundation pay for play, avoiding Michigan and Wisconsin and just being an all-around horrid person.

Self Esteem and Participation Trophys: Self esteem is unearned confidence and hence a lie. American students fed self esteem rate themselves high even though they score below average. Such students will feel good about themselves as they flip burgers while their foreign counterparts own the place. I once supported a charter school in a tough neighborhood. The students were indoctrinated in self esteem and bought into the hype as did their parents. Unfortunately, they learned nothing else; the school’s test scores tanked; the school failed and the students were even worse off than before but they had their participation trophies. Self esteem must be earned through achievement.

New American way of life: A guy with a girlfriend and 2 children receives $90,000 per year as follows. Buy a house, live with your girlfriend, don’t get married and continue to use your parents’ address. Rent to your girlfriend for $900/month paid by Section 8. Your girlfriend receives Obamacare, cell phone and utilities, $600/month food stamps and free college tuition. You each claim one child on your tax return and both claim head of household for credits of $1,800. Your girlfriend claims disability (easy) for another $1,800/month. Married couples get none of these benefits but by following this plan, as many now do, they receive $90,000/year. Is this a great country or what?

Airbnb and Uber Under Attack: Deep blue cities and states continue attacking Airbnb and Uber at the behest of their unionist paymasters. Progressives insist any two people can share a marriage but are adamantly opposed to two people sharing a ride or an apartment. Liberals likewise believe in a woman’s right to choose provided her choice is not about where to school her children, owning a gun, joining a union, buying health insurance and obviously not about sharing a ride or apartment. While Uber and Airbnb were investing in transformative technology, taxi owners were investing in politicians and morphed into powerful, politically connected, state-sponsored cartels.

Hate Crimes are Political Crimes: Millennia of conflict and confrontation were needed to purge the world of the notion that a crime against one person should be treated differently than the same crime against another person. Hate crime laws diminish the actual crime and contain different standards of justice for different victims. Whether or not a crime is a hate crime is purely a political decision which ultimately depends on whether charging a hate crime advances a certain political narrative. Hate crimes, thought crimes and hate speech are throwbacks to the middle ages and the inquisition.

Next: The second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy. Do not miss this one!

American Birthright Accounts

American Birthright Accounts can make every child born in America a millionaire!
American Birthright Accounts
By: George Noga – May 20, 2018

         Browsing The Wall Street Journal one day, I saw a piece by David Smick about federal baby bonds. The article mentioned a decade-old piece of legislation that would have given every baby born in the USA a $500 bond. It failed to pass Congress despite bipartisan support. I couldn’t get baby bonds out of my mind. As a college math major and a CPA, I am good with numbers. This post presents my realistic and affordable plan to make every child born in the USA a millionaire and in today’s’ dollars.

        During my career in what now is called wealth management, I advised clients who owned businesses to set up Roth IRA accounts for their children as young as age 6. This is legal provided you pay them for actual work around the office. If my clients contributed the maximum amount each year until the children finished college and if the money continued to grow until their retirement, the sum could approach $1 million tax free – even if not another penny ever was contributed after the kids left college.

       Thus, I already was familiar with the power of money to grow over long time periods. People, like my business owning clients, could afford IRAs for their kids who likely would be well off no matter what. Those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder however are mostly wage earners who cannot legally make (nor afford) Roth contributions for kids and who never benefit from stock ownership over time. These folks need a user-friendly way to participate in future global wealth generation.

        My plan is simple. The federal government creates a tax-free American Birthright Account (“ABA”) for each child born in the USA and funds it for $5,000. Each year until the recipient retires, another $500 is added. The ABA is professionally invested in a diversified portfolio of global index funds. Since 1930, markets have increased 7% per year net of inflation despite depressions, bubbles and meltdowns. Since the 2009 market bottom, stocks quadrupled but working class families have not participated. When the ABA beneficiary is 65 years old, the account exceeds $1 million and generates over $6,000 per month of income – all tax free and in today’s dollars.

         My plan is affordable. There were 3,945,000 US live births in 2017. Taking into account infant mortality and premature deaths, there will be about 3.5 million new ABA beneficiaries every year. This equates to an annual cost of $17.5 billion for the initial $5,000 and $1.75 billion for the additional $500 per year. The average cost for the first 10 years is $25 billion. In year 11 the cost is $35 billion and increases $1.75 billion each year thereafter. This is only one-half of one percent of the federal budget.

          Every person born in America is a millionaire and receives tax-free over $6,000 per month in retirement income. A retired couple, both with ABAs, receives $150,000 per year tax free, equivalent to $200,000 taxable income in the 25% bracket. Unlike Social Security, ABA beneficiaries own their accounts and a couple would have $2 million to bequeath to heirs. ABAs would reduce inequality and give working class families the same advantages enjoyed by affluent Americans. Moreover, ABAs would give all Americans a stake in our economic system by making them stockholders.

        There are no tricks or legerdemain involved; American Birthright Accounts would transform America. It would be the most significant economic legislation ever enacted and would rival the Homestead Act of 1868 as the greatest legislation in American history. Just as the Homestead Act made landowners out of working class Americans, American Birthright Accounts would make them stakeholders in America and would affix an entirely new and profound meaning to “Born in the USA“!

Next up is our MLLG collection of blog-worthy but short topics.

China’s Currency Manipulation and Dumping

Are Americans helped or harmed if China sells us stuff far below cost?
China’s Currency Manipulation and Dumping
By: George Noga – May 13, 2018

        This post about currency manipulation and dumping by China concludes our pivot to China. Whether or not and to what extent China manipulates (undervalues) the yuan is the subject of intense debate. The yuan renminbi (“CNY”) trades at 6.27 to the US dollar (“USD”). For this posting, I assume the value of CNY should be 7.50; this is at the high end of estimates and equates to an undervaluation versus the USD of 20%. The effect of China’s dumping of exports below cost also is open to much debate.

     Let’s assume, a arguendo, China subsidizes exports, uses artificially cheap labor and thereby dumps goods below cost and that these practices result in China gaining an additional 13% unfair trade advantage vis-a-vis the USA. When this 13% is added to the 20% from its undervalued currency, China’s total unfair advantage becomes 33%.

        Now, let’s say you shop online for a good pair of athletic shoes made in the USA and find ones you really like for $100. Miraculously, the very next day an overnight package arrives at your door with a pair of identical shoes made in China for $67 along with a note from Xi Jinping stating that the money you saved is a gift from the Chinese people. Do you accept the Chinese shoes and the $33 savings and consider yourself lucky; or do you question the donor’s motives and refuse the shoes and the money?

       Such acts of beneficence from the Chinese people to the American people occur not just for shoes but for apparel, appliances and consumer electronics. China exports $525 billion a year to the US; if China is exporting goods 33% below its cost, the benefit to American consumers is $260 billion per year. Note: If the nominal value of exports is $525 billion, the undiscounted value is $785 billion, or $525 billion divided by .67 (1-.33 ). When subtracting $785 from $525, we derive the $260 billion. 

       Pause to consider this for a moment. Under the assumptions used herein, China’s currency manipulation and dumping of goods result in a gift of $260,000,000,000 each and every year to ordinary Americans – this is equivalent to $2,200 for each of the 120 million households in America. Even if my assumptions are off somewhat, the benefit to American families still is stupendous. The Chinese people are sacrificing to shower us with goods at far below the cost of their components and labor.

       There is a temptation to overthink this; don’t do it! If anyone tries to complicate this or tells you not to accept gifts from China, don’t listen to them. If anyone domestic, foreign or extraterrestrial sells you something below cost, it is an unalloyed blessing. A gift is a gift is a gift and should be accepted everywhere and always without question. The recipient always is better off accepting a gift even if the motives of the donor might be nefarious. There is no need to beware of Chinese bearing gifts.


        China’s currency manipulation and dumping is a gift that just keeps on giving. After pocketing the $260 billion a year munificence from China, Americans now have that same amount of cash savings that they can spend (mostly in the USA) on other goods and services they would not have been able to afford absent China’s largess.

        Although economics can be complex, this is straightforward. There is absolutely no downside. It is a no-strings-attached gift from Chinese to Americans; think of it as foreign aid. If China manipulates its currency, uses cheap labor and subsidizes exports, it is an unleavened blessing for American families to the tune of $2,200 each and every year. Take the shoes and run and it isn’t even necessary for you to say thank you.

Next: Our plan to make every new baby born in America a millionaire.