Some one million Walmart employees in the United States will have their meager pay supplemented this year with a bonus averaging $400, thanks to the lapse of usual parsimony by the owners of the world’s largest retailer – the Walton family. That total $400 million is $71 million less than the cost of the bottom two estates ($222 million and $249 million) in the above video of the five most expensive homes in the world.
Half of all workers in the United States make less than $30,500 a year, and half earn more, so $400 is meaningful, even though a flat 25% ($100) will be lost to income tax under an odd IRS ruling, leaving $300.
But $300 could buy you and the spouse a motel room for two nights, and have some money left over for lunch one day. That would be a one-room accommodation. Hotel rooms with multiple rooms charge much more than $100 to $200 a night.
While you are pinching pennies to pay for this $300 getaway, how would your benefactors – the Waltons of inheritance fame – entertain themselves? Since “all men are created equal”, but allowing for some being more equal, you would expect the gang of seven to perhaps rent an entire floor of a Best Western or splurge at a Hilton.
Actually, the poorest member of the Walton family, Nancy Walton Laurie, could afford to not just rent a room, but buy all five of the properties listed in the above video – including Buckingham Palace – and still have nearly $2,000,000,000 left of her fortune. Continue reading →
Happy holidays came a few days early for big corporations and rich shareholders. Their income tax rate in 2018 will drop from 35% to 21% – exactly a 40% decrease.
Next year, Medicare premiums will go from $109 to $134 per month – a 23% increase in one year. This additional deduction from Social Security benefits wipes out the proposed minimal 2% cost of living increase for most seniors, leaving them with no increase, just inflation losses.
The argument goes that most corporations deserve a tax decrease, because they pay higher income taxes (35%) here than in some other countries. Concerned about the tax burden on our “job creators”, I put together this list of the top 30 largest companies (sales) and what they paid in income tax in 2016.
All told, these firms paid $114.9 billion of income tax on $4,108 billion in sales, or 2.76% rate on sales. Continue reading →
If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania you can still earn a nursing degree at Penn State University in four years at a tuition-only cost of $154,600.
Or you could get the same education (with brat bun, not frat fun) free in Germany.
And you don’t have to speak German?
Public universities in Germany charge no tuition to anyone, including Americans , ugly or otherwise. Classes are offered in spoken English.
Students, who want degrees (in English) from among the world’s best institutions, can enroll in schools like University of Munich, University of Hamburg or Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, three of the country’s best schools, and pay no tuition. Some years ago the government initiated a $500 a semester tuition charge, but students revolted and it was eliminated.
American students enrolled in public universities in Slovenia Continue reading →
President Donald Trump in February 2016:
“I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him (Ted Cruz). Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”
Times have changed and there are now suggestions to rename the “East Wing” to “Hedge Fund Headquarters.”
Or more accurately – “GS Village in the Capitol.” This is the place where old bean counters and masters of economic disaster gather to decide how much financial misery the “little people” will endure without revolting.
A good and quick example is Anthony Scaramucci, He worked at Goldman Sachs‘s Investment Banking, Equities, and Private Wealth Management divisions from 1989 to 1996. Flamboyant, like his fictional counterpart, he lasted ten days before Trump replaced him with a retired general. The president’s picks for his cabinet tend to be either Wall Street bankers or multi-star generals. Guns and promises of rose gardens?
But GS and the financial class are hardly left without influence, despite Continue reading →
American universities produce the best software engineers, IT managers and programmers in the world, but many can’t find a job or have taken pay cuts in recent years.
India’s Navin Kabra, 20+ years of being a software engineer at various levels, explains why in a comment on Quora:
Because there are too many software engineers in India, and not enough in the US.
Because India is churning out 1 million new engineers every year, whereas the industry requires only about 200,000 of them.
Because the “average” fresh software engineering graduate in India can barely program, and 40% of them fail the Fizz Buzz test (as per actual data we’ve collected over the last 2 years), whereas the average software engineering graduate in the US is likely to be much better (as per my anecdotal data).
Kahra was answering this question:
Why is the median salary of a software engineer in India around Rs 3.6 Lakh, whereas in US it is $71k(ie Rs 44Lakh), which is nearly 12.4 times that of India, but the cost of living or equivalent salary of US is considered to be only 4 to 5 times that of Indian salary?
Which brings me to the one bright hope in recent years that the abominable H-1B Continue reading →
“The long term promise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is that in addition to identifying risks more quickly and accurately than would have already happened, it may also identify risks that nobody would have flagged at all including terrorists planning attacks using private channels, people bullying someone too afraid to report it themselves, and other issues both local and global,”
Those are the words of an early version of a Facebook manifesto, content later removed in the final version by Mark Zuckerberg, one of the richest men in the world – $62.4 billion. (By comparison, Zuck’s assets equal the total family wealth of 12,755,000 African-American households.)
But here’s what the published version of the document said:
“Looking ahead, one of our greatest opportunities to keep people safe is building artificial intelligence to understand more quickly and accurately what is happening across our community.”
It added: “Going forward, there are even more cases where our community should be able to identify risks related to mental health, disease or crime.”
Zuck also wants you to be fed the Facebook Continue reading →
It’s as easy as: one, two, three!
The 2018 Donald Trump Federal Budget can be balanced, even when including nearly $54 billion in increased Defense Department spending, and not one federal department would require any cuts in spending.
These are the proposed $54 billion in department cuts that would not have to take effect under my 123 Plan:
Agriculture 2018 Budget
- Eliminates $500 million Water and Wastewater loan/grant program
- Eliminates $200 million McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program
- Cuts Women, Infants and Children nutrition assistance from $6.4 billion to $6.2 billion
- Unspecified staff reductions at USDA service center agencies
- Cuts $95 million from Rural Business and Cooperative Service
Continue reading →