World Series

A stop at Kwik Trip reminded us that eight current Major League Baseball franchises have never won a World Series.  It is amazing what a gas pump can tell you.  It took the drive home to figure out the eight franchises in question.  Remember that it is franchises and not cities and you should get it.

It is also interesting that the two combatants in this year’s fall classic have the first and second longest streak without a World Series win.  The eight without a win started after the Indians won their last Series.  If the Cubs lose this World Series they will have lost eight consecutive World Series and continued their bad century, no World Series wins since 1908.  If they win, then the Indians inherit the mantle of the team with the longest time competing without a World Series win.  At least with a Cubs win then everyone with a win would have won since World War II.


Well Said-Ron v. Russ

Joseph Rago at the WSJ on Russ of the Ron and Russ match here is WI:

If taxpayers continue to foot Mr. Feingold’s salary, at least as a senator, don’t expect him to do more to improve the condition of the poor in the next six years than he did in his previous 28. The careers of modern progressives like Mr. Feingold depend on keeping people in poverty. Then there is a need for another new federal program, or for more spending (or “investment”), and they can congratulate themselves for their benevolence, regardless of outcomes.

Do read all of it.  Most of it is positive stuff on Ron.  There might be a paywall issue.


Social Security Solutions

We haven’t hear much about Social Security this election.  Facebook posts say, incorrectly, that it is not welfare.  Today the WSJ discusses winners and losers.

Sidebar One: We don’t understand why there is a 7.3 percent increase in the Social Security cap for 2017.  It is much larger than inflation.  End Sidebar One.

The winners and losers help us understand why it is broken and how best to fix it.

A one-earner couple retiring in 2020 with low wages—$22,500 in 2015 dollars—would have paid the equivalent of $129,000 in 2015 dollars in Social Security taxes. That couple can expect to receive lifetime benefits of $309,000 in 2015 dollars, more than twice what the worker paid in.

By contrast, a couple retiring in 2020 in which both spouses earn the same pay and who have always earned wages at the cap or higher ($118,500 in 2015 dollars) will have paid in some $1,358,000. But on average they’ll receive benefits worth $1,020,000, or about 75% of what they paid in.

Sidebar Two: Social Security cannot be manipulated as easily as most defined benefit pensions.  Social Security is based on 35 years of indexed earnings whereas pensions are typically based on high three years times a factor for the number of years worked. Earnings are almost never indexed.  Thus, folks close to retirement often try to find ways to increase their earnings in the last few years when income is already high due to inflation and progression.  It can make a big difference as your humble scribe knows.  End Sidebar Two.

The solution to Social Security is conceptually simple: means test payments.  There will be more money for the low wage earner.  The high wage earner will have more money to invest for retirement.  Because the high wage earner get an awful return, less than zero, both the low wage earner and the high wage earner will be better off.

The challenges are how to means test, it can’t just be taxable income, and where the means start getting tested.  It is too bad the presidential candidates have so little to offer.  Only Ron is worried about your future.

Why We Need Ron

Kevin Williamson at NRO explains why we need Ron as a senator from Wisconsin in discussing the two Obama Administrations:

The first one produced results that were catastrophic, because the election of Barack Obama in 2008 was accompanied by Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate. That is why the grievously misnamed Affordable Care Act was inflicted upon the country, and that — not the 2008 financial crisis — is why we had gargantuan deficits in those years, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate having complete control of the elected branches of government. Once Americans sobered up, Republican congressional majorities set about reducing those deficits and ameliorating the worst of the Obama administration’s excesses, but tremendous damage already had been done. There was damage done in the second Obama administration, too, but nothing like what happened under unitary Democratic control of the federal government.

Regardless of your views on Trump, we find this (another) compelling reason to vote for Ron Johnson.  Read the whole Williamson article.  Is not as if he thinks that Obama has not caused damage in the last six years.  He has.  It is not that the GOP has been perfect in resisting Obama and the Democrats.  It has not.  The issue is does GOP resistance make a difference?  Yes, a very large difference.  Regardless of where you are on Trump, you need to vote for Ron.


Obamacare Reporting

The Associated Press tries to support Obamacare as best it can.  First, it is a health report rather than news or politics.  Second, is the passive headline: Obama Health Plan Hit By Double-digit Increases.  As it happens, the double-digit that they report is 25.  As the WSJ data below on 27 year-olds implies, this is a massive wealth transfer from the poor (young) to the rich (old).

Sidebar: If the average is 25 percent and young people are often paying 50 percent more then somebody must be paying less than 25 percent more.  Those folks are likely to be old.  End Sidebar.

The other part is passive “hit by”.  Caused would be a better choice.  It would be less editorial but still have a little juice in it.

Third, is this from the first paragraph:

That’s sure to stoke another “Obamacare” controvery days before a presidential election.

So the problem with the disaster of Obamacare is that it will cause problems for Democrats.  A WSJ editorial (identified as such) gives us some more data:

HHS also disclosed the premium jumps for a 27-year-old buying the second-cheapest silver plan in individual states. Our condolences for such young people in Arizona, where their premiums will climb by 116%. Likewise for Oklahoma (69%), Tennessee (63%) and Minnesota (59%).

Obviously, the WSJ is picking the worst numbers for Obamacare.  Interestingly, the young people who are getting the pointed end of Democratic policies are voting for Democrats.  The old folk escape the brunt of this Democrat policy.  As the WSJ points out, it would be nice if the candidates were debating how to address the failure of Obamacare.


Misplacing Names

Peter Wehner is discussing the future of the GOP at NRO amidst a barrage of semi-colons.  He asks:

[T]hat he [The Donald] is sui generis, the product of a perfect storm; and that when he leaves the stage Trumpism will leave as well. Or one could argue, as President Obama has, that there’s a straight line from Sarah Palin in 2008 to Donald Trump in 2016…

Both the President and Peter have have the names reversed.  The President has an excuse but Peter does not.  There is a straight line from Obama in 2008 to The Donald in 2016.  The Donald is the center version of Obama on the left.  Both are tinged with race.  Both are amazingly unspecific about their plans, inexperienced in government, and get by with bluster.  The Donald had the support of the press early but lost it in the general election.  Obama never lost it. As often happens, the primary electorate fights the last war.  Obama leads directly to The Donald.  They disagree on some policies but their styles and what attracts voters to them are the same.


The WSJ discusses the disaster that is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 today.  We would like to discuss the extent of the disaster.  If you have flown recently you have heard all about the phone.  If you come from flyover country like us where you make multiple stops, you have heard about it many times.  It is clear that they deserve to be punished by the market.  Our point is that the airline announcements will accomplish that and perhaps more.

First, you hear about it before getting on the aircraft.  You usually hear it a couple of times during pre-boarding and boarding.  You are already thinking Samsung = spawn of the devil.  Then when you board you you hear it again.  It is easy to blank out on the announcements you hear every time you find you seat on an airplane.  The Samsung announcement is new so it attracts your attention.  According to the WSJ, Samsung lost $20 billion in market value over this.  Our guess is that it will be even worse.  Our guess is that the Venn diagram for people who fly and people who own cell phones overlaps almost entirely.  Being told by an independent agency, the airlines, that Samsung phones can kill us all and you can’t have one on the flight will have a bigger impact that all the news articles and videos together.  As we look at our Samsung TV and Blu-ray player we don’t think they will be wiped out by this disaster but we wonder if they will ever fully recover.