“Socialist” China speeds ever faster, while America ignores modern technology for economical high-speed travel

Americans are proud of Amtrak, and the only “high-speed” train operating in America – Acela, which zooms down the East Coast for 454 miles from Boston to Washington D.C.

Well, not exactly “zooms.” The only “high-speed” section is 34 miles long.

Acela’s average pace between New York City (NYC) and Boston is 65 miles per hour (mph). The Amtrak fare is $256 round trip and it takes 2 hours and 17 minutes each way. Only a few of the faster trains run daily.

Private ownership of Amtrak promised us faster, cheaper, better service. Congress agreed, even adding government subsidies to make the corporation more profitable. Overall, it has never made a dime.

comfortable seats – drink served in glasses!

And then there’s China…

In the video above some 1,200 passengers in just one train are traveling at more than 250 mph from Shanghai to Nanjing – a distance similar (180 miles) to NYC-Boston.

The trip in China is 60 minutes, The same distance in America takes 137 minutes for Acela. Round trip price falls from $256 on Amtrak to $40 in China.

You might call this a fluke. So what if China has a train that goes fast for 180 miles, and ours only goes fast for 34 miles?

The answer to that question is devastating.

China currently has about 19,000 miles (not 34!) of high-speed lines, all 150 mph to 300 mph. Some 2,800 pairs of so-called bullet trains connect more than 550 cities in China, and cover 33 of the country’s 34 provinces.

Bejing train station completed in 1996

In two years China will add another 6,000 miles of high-speed lines.

Does America have a plan to match this?

With the approval of Congress Amtrak said that By 2040, the construction of the dedicated network for the New York to Boston segment will be completed.

At that time, the oldest 12 trains will be retired and 14 new ones will be deployed increasing the total capacity to 46.

This small improvement will cost $141 billion and only allow a speed of 186 mph – 64 mph slower than today’s China trains.

Other projects for high-speed trains in America have been stalled, including the idiotic Los Angeles to Las Vegas “Gambler’s Express.”

What will China be doing by 2040 – when America may hit 186 mph on the East Coast?

Get ready for very, very fast trains.

Reaching a speed of 4,000 kph or 2,480 mph would eliminate nearly all airline flights in America, reduce fuel emissions and reduce travel time immensely.

The trip from New York’s JFK to Los Vegas LAX currently takes about 300 minutes by plane in the air. The high speed train would cut that to 60 minutes, saving you four hours, plus time in airport lines.

But don’t count on this happening.

Our engineers can conquer the technology, and already the 1,000 kmh prototypes are built in China and Germany

The challenge will be whether rail travel can stand up to its traditional foes here – highway builders, airlines, buses, oil companies, corrupt financiers of the status quo and their political partners.

Hiring ICE agents is bonanza for foreign contractor!

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) could employ 75 recruiters full time to work on hiring 7,500 agents in a year. At $80,000 each staff employee, that’s $6 million total.

Each of the 75 would work with 100 applicants a year – not a day or week, but a year!. That’s about one every three days. Plenty of time for holidays, afternoon golf, surfing where available, Facebook at work, calling the wife or mistress or hubby or fitness coach, and tweeting all your friends.

Cost per new agent under my plan would be $800.

Bureaucrat Beaver

When ICBP actually needed 7,500 more agents, it didn’t hire 75 recruiters, or use its own “overworked” administrative staff (bureaucrats are such busy beavers).

Instead, it concocted a way to make a private foreign company – Accenture – even richer by outsourcing the same task a million companies perform themselves every day – hiring new employees.

Senator Claire McCaskill is one of many honest folks unhappy with the $297 million contract to Accenture to hire 5,000 Border Patrol Agents (BPAs), 2,000 Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officers, and 500 Air and Marine Interdiction Agents.

McCaskill said CBP claims it is too busy to hire agents and needs Accenture, to do the job, but the Senator is not happy with that explanation.

In a letter to CBP she blasted the contract already awarded:

Under the Accenture contract, it will reportedly cost almost $40,000 to hire each new law enforcement officer… this is almost equal to the amount made by an entry level Border Patrol Agent, or CBP Officer

Sen. Claire McCaskill

Most BPA salaries on the USAJOBS website range from between $41,000 to $90,000 per year

The ICE hiring draft solicitation appears to make a molehill hiring process into a mountain of effort, insight and wisdom to justify an outlandish per-hire price tag.

McCaskill wanted an explanation of “why is CBP’s Office of Human Resources Management unable to hire additional CBP personnel without assistance from a contractor?”

She also asked the agency to “please explain how CBP determined whether this cost was reasonable.”

Not only is the $40k exorbitant, but McCaskill said it doesn’t even cover many of the major costs of bringing on a new agent:

Despite the high cost, that amount will still not cover all the expenses of hiring.

While the contract covers (only) the entrance exam, the pre-qualification, the medical exam, the physical fitness test, the initiation of the background questionnaire, the background investigation, the coordination of interviews the polygraph, and the drug test, (and) the lineal adjudication of most of these stages will be performed by CBP officials.

McCaskill is on target. The entrance exam seems a small part of the process, as demonstrated in the following chart:

To understand why we are paying so much for so little, let’s examine the recipient of the largess.

In October 2002, the Congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) identified Accenture as one of four publicly traded federal contractors that were incorporated in a tax haven in Bermuda.

In May 2009 its board of directors unanimously approved changing the company’s place of incorporation from Bermuda to Ireland and it would become Accenture plc.

In 2012 it was revealed Accenture was paying only 3.5% in tax in the United Kingdom, compared to the average rate of 24%, as well as 0% corporate income tax to the United States.

In December 2014, Accenture won a $563 million contract to provide ongoing maintenance, software development and technology support for HealthCare.gov through 2019.

Accenture is most proud of its global stature for outsourcing American jobs.

Are you wondering how the $40,000 per hire program went?

“The DHS Office of Inspector General in December 2018, said Accenture had been paid $13.6M through the first ten months of the contract”, Wikipedia reported.

They had hired two agents against a contract goal of 7,500 hires over 5 years. The report was issued as a ‘management alert’, indicating an issue requiring immediate attention, stating that “Accenture has already taken longer to deploy and delivered less capability than promised.

Forget $40,000 to employ an agent.

Taxpayers paid $13.6 million total, or $6.58 million for each one.

STEM grad still living at home? Amazon and the other tech giants save billions by hiring foreigners, thanks to an ICE ripoff.

Last year, Amazon revenues were $232,000,000,000 – the same total amount as all the combined 2018 budgets of the following U.S. federal departments:

Small Business Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, Treasury Department, Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, State Department, Department of Justice, Department of Energy, and Department of Education

Amazon’s corporate filing reveals that, far from paying the newly-lowered 21 percent tax rate on its immense U.S. income in 2018, the company received a federal income tax rebate of $129 million.

Not satisfied with no corporate income tax, Amazon and other firms are avoiding FICA’s employer/employee 15.3% levy for Social Security and Medicare. Here’s how the scheme works, and why it can hurt your family:

The major tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, all benefit from a deal that allows them to hire tens of thousands of recent graduate software engineers, programmers and other STEM students for up to three years with renewals, and even longer if approved for a work visa.

The scheme is the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which exempts non-citizen workers from paying both FICA and Medicare taxes. Employers are also exempt from their matching share.

OPT’s lost taxes represent money that should be funding Social Security and senior health insurance – Medicare. While deficit hawks say these programs are underfunded, they are also the same politicians who have promoted OPT and its no-tax loopholes.

The exemption works this way, for example. An American, who earns $80,000 total a year, nets $73,888, vs. the OPT worker’s net of the full $80,000. In addition, the company saves $6,120 in payroll expense.

Meanwhile, universities are also pushing for even more OPT workers, because it allows them to exclude American candidates in favor of higher-tuition foreign students. This is especially true in graduate schools.

The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) said: “the fate of the optional training program could be critical for universities. International students make up about 80 percent of full-time graduate students in the United States in electrical engineering and computer science, and faculty rely on them for research assistance.”

The foundation is run by leadership associated with CATO Institute, a pro immigration group funded by the Koch foundations.

Some questions for NFAP? Why aren’t 80% of the positions taken by Americans, rather than vice-versa? Does this surplus of foreign grads, versus citizens, also account for the relatively low pay for workers with advanced degrees in the STEM disciplines?

Author Hillary Gamm was recently interviewed on SiriusXM, and she explained how OPT started. Gamm is author of Billions Lost: The American Tech Crisis and The Road Map to Change.

OPT started … in the Bush administration and then what Obama did … was he went from creating something that allowed foreign children studying in the United States to work for like six months or a year to instead be able to work three years and then get a renewal for up to five to six years.

So what’s happening today is you’ll have children that are American citizens, where parents have basically bankrupted themselves to send their kids to these American universities and they’ll be sitting alongside their foreign friends who are … earning the same degree. And those foreign children will have a job offer in hand when they graduate and the American child will not have even gotten an interview for that same company.

Tech giants employ thousands of OPT foreign workers annually, instead of American STEM graduates. In 2017 alone, Amazon placed nearly 2,400 OPT foreign workers into white-collar STEM jobs that should have gone to Americans.

Gamm said OPT is not a visa. It is actually administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which exempts the employer and employee from FICA taxes.

Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS, (R-AZ) has introduced legislation – the Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act– to end the OPT program abuses and decrease foreign job competition for our STEM graduates.

The bill passed the House, 385-65. Corporate lackeys will kill it in the Senate.

As an aside, one game played in Congress is for House members to vote on bills they want killed, gaining positive publicity, but knowing that the bill will never pass the Senate, so their vote was just fake to get votes.

China’s companies win the race for producing employment giants, dwarfing American firms like GM, Apple or Exxon

Longhua Subdistrict, Shenzhen

When you don’t count Walmart, the largest employers in the world, are in China, not the United States.

And the biggest firms in China are industrial and manufacturing companies, not a low-wage retailer

China National Petroleum (1,636,532), China State Grid (913,546), Foxconn (803,126) and Sninopec (667,799) together employ 4,021,003 workers.

Foxconn is well known in the U.S. for producing Apple phones in Longhua Town, Shenzhen, in the south of China.

Hundreds of thousands of workers (counts vary between 230,000 and 450,000) are employed in the walled campus of Foxconn City, one of many factory locations.

Like America’s Gilded Age company towns, Foxconn Campus includes 15 factories, worker dormitories, four swimming pools, a fire brigade, its own television network, and a city center with company grocery store, bank, restaurants, bookstore, and hospital.

Compare firms like Foxconn to the closest American industrial company – General Electric (313,000) – which has its workforce here and in China, according to a GE document:

GE China houses over 20,000 employees, 30 manufacturing bases, and more than 30 joint ventures, with a presence across 40 cities in the country. It also houses R&D teams in 8 cities in China. In 2017, GE’s orders in China amounted to US $8.1 billion.

One unfair tax advantage to America is that a firm’s China operations can help to avoid paying anything in support of our public needs. Our largest industrial employer may be a good example. The NY Times reported that between 2008 and 2015:

General Electric, International Paper, Priceline.com and PG&E, incurred a total federal income tax bill of less than zero over the entire eight-year period — meaning they received rebates.

But China’s dominance is not just in manufacturing and industrial employment, it far outpaces us in finance.

China has the largest major bank employment in the world: Agricultural Bank of China (491,578), Industrial Bank of China (433,048), China Construction Bank (370,415), Bank of China (311,133), and China State Construction (270,467).

Our largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, has 252,539 workers, many overseas.

These statistics lead to the conclusion that a socialist economic system, like China, does create jobs, even while guaranteeing healthcare and other services – benefits usually only for purchase in America. While China concentrates on increasing factories and employment in its own country, U.S. firms often do the opposite.

Meanwhile, China’s average wage is $12,000 in American dollars, compared to $6,900 in 2011, and $31,000 here. The government also requires employers to provide ten paid holidays, five to 15 paid vacation days, as well as up to 98 days of paid maternity leave, plus paternity leave that varies between 7 and 20 days. Workers must receive 30 days notice of layoffs, and sign an employer/employee contract.

China’s elected and appointed officials have the major voice in determining economic policy on a company-by-company basis. For example, products of China are free of VAT and other taxes when exported to the rest of the world. Imports are always taxed with the VAT, as well as tariffs that can often even double prices.

In the United States, the opposite is true. In recent years both political parties have allowed corporate interests to dictate public policy to government officials. And since corporations own all major media outlets, this corporate capitalism is promoted at all turns.

Most European nations have compromised on near-absolute control of government by corporations (U.S.) and absolute control of corporations by government (China). In varying degrees these countries attempt to blend the best of two economic/political systems.

Americans often cannot afford to pay for nursing homes, drugs, or childcare.

Chinese workers currently have lower pay, stricter working conditions, and face a government that controls most aspects of their lives.

Compromise, anyone, for the public good?

Name Industry Revenue
USD millions
Workers Nations
Walmart Retail $500,343 2,300,000 United States
China National Petroleum Oil and gas $326,008 1,636,532 China
State Grid Electricity $348,903 913,546 China
Foxconn Electronics $154,699 803,126 Taiwan
Tata Group Conglomerate $110,700 702,454 India
Sinopec Oil and gas $326,953 667,793 China
Volkswagen Automotive $260,028 642,292 Germany
Amazon Retail $177,866 566,000 United States
Agricultural Bank of China Financials $122,366 491,578 China
Gazprom Oil and gas $111,983 469,600 Russia
Industrial Bank of China Financials $153,021 453,048 China
Kroger Retail $122,662 449,000 United States
Berkshire Hathaway Financials $242,137 377,000 United States
China Construction Bank Financials $138,594 370,415 China
Toyota Automotive $265,172 369,124 Japan
Ping An Insurance Financials $144,197 342,550 China
Samsung Electronics $211,940 320,671 South Korea
General Electric Conglomerate $122,274 313,000 United States
Bank of China Financials $115,423 311,133 China
Exor Financials $161,677 307,637 Italy
Walgreens Boots Alliance Pharmaceuticals $118,214 290,000 United States
Daimler Automotive $185,235 289,321 Germany
China State Construction Construction $156,071 270,467 China
United Health Healthcare $201,159 260,000 United States
AT&T Telecom $160,546 254,000 United States
JPMorgan Chase Financials $113,899 252,539 United States
Japan Post Holdings Conglomerate $116,616 245,863 Japan
Honda Automotive $138,646 215,638 Japan
CVS Health Healthcare $184,765 203,000 United States
Ford Automotive $156,776 202,000 United States
BNP Paribas Financials $117,375 189,509 France
Costco Retail $129,025 182,000 United States
General Motors Automotive $157,311 180,000 United States
China Life Insurance Financials $120,224 170,517 China
Verizon Telecom. $126,034 155,400 United States
SAIC Motor Automotive $128,819 148,767 China
Allianz Financials $123,532 140,553 Germany
Apple Electronics $229,234 123,000 United States
Total Oil and gas $149,099 98,277 France
AXA Financials $149,461 95,728 France
Royal Dutch Shell Oil and gas $311,870 84,000 Netherlands United Kingdom
Glencore Mining $205,476 82,681 Switzerland
BP Oil and gas $244,582 74,000 United Kingdom
Exxon Mobil Oil and gas $244,363 71,200 United States
McKesson Healthcare $208,357 68,000 United States
Chevron Oil and gas $134,533 51,900 United States
Cardinal Health Pharmaceuticals $129,976 40,400 United States
AmerisourceBergen Pharmaceuticals $153,144 19,500 United States
Fannie Mae Financials $112,394 7,200 United States
Trafigura Commodities $136,421 3,935 Singapore
Workers line up, ready to manufacture Apple phones in China

Overcharging for the border wall is a major crime caused by private greed and political corruption

What do a U.S. Navy Destroyer and a proposed fence across the nation’s southern border have in common?

Both are ripoffs in their own fashion, designed to enrich private corporations and pay off politicians with campaign contributions or even old-fashioned bags of cash.

Too expensive to shoot!

The Zumwalt destroyer began as a great idea: build a modern, stealth destroyer with a super gun – the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS). Some 32 vessels were planned, but only three will be produced at a cost of $7.5 billion each, a total of $22,500,000,000.

By contrast, the fleet of Arleigh Burke destroyers, ordered for future construction, will cost about $900 million each, or 1/8th the price of a Zumwalt.

The Burke is a proven design. The Zumwalt is a catastrophe.

To show the gross incompetence of private contractors, once the first Zumwalt was launched, someone decided to analyze the cost of projectiles (shells) for its fancy new gun. The bill was $800,000 each round. This “surprise” was one of the reasons the ship was discontinued.

The proposed wall on the Southern border falls right into the no-expense-spared Zumwalt fiasco – another blatant use of private contractors for government (public) projects.

This year Congress has approved $1.375 billion to build only 55 miles of wall. That’s $25 million per mile, or $4,735 per foot.

What White House and Congress are proposing for $25 million per mile is really a fence – same design as politicians allowed President Obama to build – the type you see on tv with the teenagers climbing easily and sitting atop.

What would a real wall cost? Not an 18-foot flimsy, but a solid, concrete awesome structure, ready for adornment on the Mexican side by urban mural painters flown in from Chicago, New York and Philly

Could we build it for less than $4,735 a foot? You bet we can. Check this estimate:

Wall Plan for Dummies
Concrete Per yard $90
Shipping Per Yard $60
Total price per yard $150
Above grade wall in feet 25
Below grade wall feet 8
Total above and buried feet 33
Thickness of wall in feet 2.00
Cubic feet per running foot 66
Total cubic yards per foot 2.44
Concrete $ per running mile $1,936,000
Rebar price per running foot $3
Rebar price per running mile $15,840
Digging Trench per foot $20
Digging trench per mile $105,600
Price per mile $2,057,440
Price per running foot $390
Total miles $1.375 Billion 668

Using public management, not favored or friendly-to-politicians private contractors, we could build 668 miles, instead of 55 – with the same amount of money.

And you might build the wall thicker, taller, adorned with barbed wire and cameras, but no matter what you did, it should never cost $4,735 a running foot.

Fortunately, some contractors are still honest enough to question this waste of money. At least one has suggested that overpaying is not a blessing (unless you’re part of the gang in power approving the project).

What happens if you take away the payoffs and get down to bare essentials,

Fisher Sand and Gravel Company’s President and CEO Thomas Fisher said the government is more than overpaying.

“Our whole point is to break through the government bureaucracy,” Fisher said “If they do the small procurements as they are now … that’s not going to cut it.”

Fisher explained  that the $1.37 billion is enough for him to build 20 miles of levee wall in the Rio Grande Valley, plus another 214 miles.

That price would include warranty, electronic surveillance and a paved road on top of the structure, plus adjacent highway.

While Congress is aware of this proposal (it was one of the demonstration projects), it has ruled that the White House cannot construct it or any other concrete wall.

Compounding this disaster is the Army Corps of Engineers – which used to build using the Army, but now places contracts to private companies, so they can profit from public projects.

And the Corps doesn’t appear ready to even start looking at how to allot the $8 billion total that Trump is hoping to spend on the wall in coming years.

Reportedly, the Corps is also still considering how to spend $900 million for the project that Congress gave Department of Homeland Security last fiscal year, and has not requested bids from the private sector, because it’s still in the “procurement process.”

Despite the uproar by both political parties, only 35 miles of wall have been constructed in the two years since Trump took office.

How hard is it to just copy the Wall Plan for Dummies, email it, and request quotes?

Or maybe it’s just time to cut the red tape and call Tom Fisher at 800-932-8740.

How I fell off a 1963 American LaFrance pumper, and why 70% of fire companies fear closing

Swedesburg fir truckUnlike the Army drill sergeant, you can’t recruit the unwilling to become volunteers at your local fire station.

And that is causing a huge national problem – too few volunteers to drive trucks, connect hoses, dash into buildings, douse flames and save lives.

Some 70% of all the fire companies in the United States are volunteer. Instead of the $180 per hour your grumpy plumber charges, these firefighters risk their lives for free – no pensions, no bonuses, just smoke in their lungs and joy helping others.

I’m preaching from personal experience.

In the late 1960s I moved to Swedesburg, Upper Merion, a tiny village in Southeastern Pennsylvania. About 2 AM my first night there, I jumped out of bed, when a fire siren screamed through the window.

That siren was located just next door on top of the local funeral home – some 30 feet from my bed. It served the Swedesburg Vol. Fire Company, directly across the street.

Some nights, especially during thunderstorms, that siren could wail two or three times. After a couple weeks, I decided to volunteer to become a firefighter. If I was to be awakened, why not for a good cause?

It was a grand decision. Not just the 15-cent beers. Not only learning to play pinochle from first generation Polish experts. Not even the sweet agony of mastering the Polka at a fire house wedding.

The magic drama was fighting fires, protecting property, saving lives – being one of a highly-trained team of brave and fearless individuals, who were always pushing harder to improve their skills and guarantee the viability of their fire company.

And I also learned how to fall off a fire truck with minimum resulting bodily damage.

It happened on an early morning run. No time to even drink very necessary coffee.

The fire was in King of Prussia, where the PA turnpike meets the Schuylkill Expressway, and our truck zoomed into Bridgeport and then made a hard left turn up Route 202. Standing on the back bumper, I momentarily forgot where I was and scratched my nose.

Unfortunately, I used the hand holding the bar on the back of the pumper and off I went, skidding on my knees.

Back at the fire house, Bernie Gutkowski – a former fire chief and the township’s sole undertaker – examined my badly scraped knees, and then announced:

I’ll be right back. I have just what you need .

He returned with a small bottle of clear liquid, which he poured on my knees and watched me writhe and scream. Three days later, the scrapes were gone – no infection, no problems.

A week later I had to ask him what was the magic chemical in the bottle. His answer: formaldehyde.

But being a fire company volunteer is not just fun and games. Brush fires can choke you. House fires sadden, when you realize a family’s loss. Downed, sparking electric wires jump and twist at you. And worst of all, the constant specter of death.

In Pennsylvania, more than 90 percent of the state’s fire companies are volunteer, and since my stint in the 60s, the number of volunteer firefighters has declined by 88 percent.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) reports that younger generations are simply not signing up to volunteer:

Modern lifestyles involve more transience than in past generations. More families consist of two-income households or people working multiple jobs, and often employers impose inflexible schedules that make volunteering to fight fires in off-hours much more difficult.

Today’s Millennials also have far more debt than previous generations carried – particularly from student loans. Many husbands and wives must both work full-time to pay bills, leaving little availability for community service.

The NVFC says that because more than half of the volunteer firefighters in the country are more than 40 years old, there will be dire consequences if departments can’t find ways to attract new, young volunteers.

“A lot of these communities could never replace the service provided by the volunteers with a paid career fire department, because it would be not financially feasible for these municipalities to do that,” Robert Timko, director of the NVFC Pennsylvania Chapter, explained.

Despite expense, inaction is no solution.

“We can’t fight a structure fire with four guys on a truck. If that’s the only truck on the road, I have to call other departments, two or three departments most of the time,” Stroudsburg Township Fire Chief William Unruh said.

“We want to make sure that we all go home at the end of the day.”

Since the 60s, volunteer fire departments have assumed wider roles — emergency medical services, hazardous materials operations, technical rescue operations — and so the cost of training firefighters has soared. These greater training standards and new federal requirements have also increased time demands for prospective volunteers.

“We have to train a little bit harder than when I joined the fire department,” Unruh said. “The essentials class was probably only 30 hours long. The fundamentals of firefighting now is at 180 hours.”

NVPA estimates the time donated by volunteer firefighters saves localities across the country an estimated $46 billion per year.

If you want more information on how to join your local volunteer fire department, contact volunteerFD.org.

World’s 19th largest economy – San Francisco Bay – now qualifies for Opportunity Zone status, because its median income is “only” $117,000

It’s tax season for the peons, but while you are wondering where your money is going, a few developers and bankers are chuckling.

San Francisco Bay has been designated an official Opportunity Zone – containing areas where you can invest, make a fortune and pay no taxes – income or otherwise. The IRS describes the deal this way:

Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors.

First, investors can defer tax on any prior gains invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) until the earlier of the date on which the investment in a QOF is sold or exchanged, or December 31, 2026.

… if the investor holds the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least ten years, the investor is eligible for an increase in basis of the QOF investment equal to its fair market value on the date that the QOF investment is sold or exchanged.

In short, if you hold your investments and profits (could be billions!) for ten years or more, you pay no capital gains or any other tax during the ten years or when you sell.

Sea Cliff house, San Francisco

The goal of establishing Opportunity Zones is to get capital to struggling low-income census tracts.

So, how did the San Francisco Bay area qualify, considering its annual GDP is $748 billion, just behind the Netherlands’ $822 billion?

The answer – the Bay Area has many residents living below the poverty level of $118,000 for a family of four.

That’s correct. Not $11,800, but really, actually, $118,000.

The state decided that $100,000 average income would be the cutoff, resulting in these areas designated for the free tax ride:

The Bay has a median household income twice that of an average American, so the cutoff for creating a zone is twice as high. The richer the neighborhood, the more likely it will qualify.

Willard st., Philadelphia

Of course, this is nuts, so I decided to check out where I grew up (1918 E. Willard st., Philadelphia) and see if it made the cut.

No luck. The white house on right – the four-room row we rented – didn’t make it.

What’s behind this obvious ripoff of the taxpayers?

One answer is that Nancy Pelosi is the member of Congress representing San Francisco, and some of the world’s richest companies are headquartered in the Bay area.

These ultra-wealthy firms should be bottom-line happy, now that the government will boost their local economies, insulating rich shareholders from any extra expense.

This Bay Opportunity Zone area already has more investors than liver pills, and boasts the world’s richest firms. The following is a list of just the tech firms:

Military wants $124 billion ($300 million each) to buy planes to equal China’s J-20 ($40 million each); elites want to cut Social Security to pay for this!