Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun

AWESOME!!  Rick brought his telescopes and we watched the eclipse from Casper, WY at Ruth and Richard's house.

The totality didn't come out on camera, but it was amazing.  A large group of people some distance away saw it a few seconds before we did, and we heard their "OOOHs" and "AAAHs" and celebratory gunfire.  Now we know why some people chase these all over the world.

I got a few good pictures through the telescopes, some sunspots before

and we could see solar flares, but they didn't show up on the camera.  Got several pictures from the two telescopes at various stages of the eclipse.

The next one in the US is in April 2024, from Texas to Maine.  Make your reservations.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

New RV!

We traded in the Montana for a Grand Design Reflection 337RLS.  It's working out well so far, with a few glitches in the process, caused by the dealer rather than the rig itself.

Vicki had been anxious about the Montana, getting a feeling of imminent disaster.  We did have a lot of things fail and need repairs, and the latest round with Camping World was very unsatisfactory.  They did a poor job of it, and ripped us off in the process.  So she did a lot of research and liked what she found about Grand Design, and we looked at several models and settled on the 337RLS.  I went on the Internet, and clicked on the Blue Dog page to ask for a sales price, and for reasons unknown to us we got an appointment at the Post Falls, Idaho location.  It was not the closest, or the one we would have chosen, but we liked the salesman there and didn't mind repeatedly driving past other Blue Dog shops to get to Post Falls.

They had a suitable rig at their Oregon location, and we put dibs on it with a deposit.  It would take 4 days, they said, to get from Oregon to Idaho.  The next day, the inventory in Oregon was marked "sold", and we didn't know if that was because it was coming to us or because somebody else took it out from under us.  When we inquired, they told us they had gotten a call from the factory, and a new unit like we wanted had just come off the line, and would be here a couple of days later than the one from Oregon would have been here.  So we said we'd take it.  We still needed time to gather together the money into one place so we could write one check.

The days passed, and the RV wasn't there.  After a week our campground reservation ran out and we had to make arrangements to stay in the area longer than we had planned.  After 2 weeks, we had to do it again.  Then there was a big RV show, and the sales office was closed because all hands were at the show.  Finally, 3 weeks after "a couple of days", and after Vicki gave them the verbal abuse they deserved, it arrived.  And Vicki broke her toe.

We went to the "walkthrough", or PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection for them, Pre-Acceptance Inspection for us), and did the closing paperwork the next day (Thursday), but put off taking delivery and swapping our trade-in, (moving day) from then to Monday.  We found a few little things that they agreed to fix.

It turns out the new one, a 2018, has some different features than the previous 2018's.  The web site was updated with new pictures, and ours has all the new stuff.  All good changes.  Even the VIN is updated, with a "J" where the "I" is for 2018!

At the closing they sold us an extended warranty which won't be needed for at least a year (Vicki insisted - the sales pitch included the lie that it would cost way more if we waited, and she gave us a "special" discount - because she liked us so much - along with using her employee discount, to cut the price in half) and a "protection" package that says you never need to wax it for 5 years.

The salesman caught us as we were pulling out of the parking lot and told us that the service dept was too busy and couldn't finish the protection package until 3PM Monday.  We were planning a full day for moving, so we put off delivery until Tuesday at 9AM sharp.

We put as much stuff as we didn't need to take with us into boxes around the picnic table, and covered it with tarps, so as to reduce the amount of stuff we would have to move from the old RV to the new.  We were late getting started on Tuesday, and called to tell them.  The service manager was "on the phone" so they took a message for him.

When we arrived at about 9:30, the service department was totally surprised.  They had not staged the new RV where they had said they were going to, and the service manager was no longer on the phone, he had not yet returned to work after the funeral on Monday.

So we told them we wanted the two RVs parked door-side-to-door-side, within reach of the electric hookup, because it was going to be 90 degrees and we would need the air conditioning for the move.  They parked them, but with the Montana face-in to the electric hookup, and its plug at the rear, 50 feet away.  The cable is 30 feet.  So we had them turn them both around, which worked because the Reflection plug is amidships and could be within 30 feet of the hookup.

We looked for the three items found during the inspection, and none of them were fixed.  One of them was some calcium stains under the water heater vent, from washing it, and apparently the "protection" package would have been applied over the stains, immortalizing them in the finish.  Except they hadn't done the protection package either.  So they fixed the three items, and we said "forget it" on the protection package.  I had asked a question in an RV forum, and the consensus was that the thing was no more than a good wax job, and with the clearcoat from the factory the RV would probably still be shiny after 5 years even if we never waxed it.

By now it was 12:00 and we were wondering if we even had time to finish the move before they closed, but we soldiered on.

About 2:00, a rookie technician opened the black tank dump valve on an RV in the shop, without a sewer hose hooked up, and flooded the parking lot with raw sewage, which flowed down the hill and under our two RVs.  Because of Vicki's toe, she was inside the new rig putting things away while I carried them from old to new, and didn't have to enter the new one, so we managed not to track the s*&^ into the new rig.

Finally, after normal quitting time, we finished the move and the acting service manager drove the fork lift to move our new home to the front parking lot where we could hitch up.  I checked the tire pressure, they were all low, so he took it back to the shop to use their compressor rather than my 20v Sears job, which can barely get up to 80 lbs and seems to take forever.  I checked them all today, and they are all still low.  My guess is that his gauge is out of calibration (I know mine is good, we've had it checked.)

Finally we took it "home", hooked up power and water, and got to the Iron Skillet diner for dinner at 9:30 PM.

Next morning we started to load the boxed stuff into the new rig, and found the leak.  There was a wet spot on the ground under the water heater, and in the storage area at the bottom of the wall.  So, we disconnected water and power, hitched up and went back to Blue Dog.  They found the problem and fixed it, a loose connection at the water pump inlet, and claimed no water damage behind the wall.  Another day lost, and our park reservation is running out again.

In the course of unpacking and putting things away, we found that a couple of the 120v outlets in the bedroom didn't work - a circuit breaker was turned off - ;  one outlet had a missing cover plate, and one of the little plastic side containers in the fridge was broken.  Parts are on order, they'll tell us when they come in, and we'll tell them where to send them.  We also have only one copy of each key, so they're getting us some more.

We just about have everything put away now, got rid of a lot of stuff we didn't need that probably wouldn't have fit anyway.  We have the whole basement storage available because Shelley's cat box is now in the shower, and the fridge is 50% bigger than the other one (we can shop at Costco now), but every nook and cranny is still filled.  We seem to have lost some other types of storage.

We read the extended service contract, and it turns out we have 60 days to cancel, so we will do that.  We had asked to read it before we signed, but were refused (shades of Nancy Pelosi!).  The manufacturer's warranties on things are good for at least a year, Grand Design has a 3 year structural warranty, and Blue Dog has a forever warranty on most of the appliances, if you do an annual $99 checkup.  The only big things not covered are the slides and leveling system, so after a year we will buy an extended plan.

Vicki has started a list of design suggestions for Grand Design.  We are very happy, and like a lot of their features, but there are still some things that could be improved.  I guess they have to leave something for us to do ourselves.

Monday, May 22, 2017

New culinary delight

I had a taco Al Pastor at the golf course restaurant in Nuevo Vallarta, so when I saw Al Pastor on the menu at Casa Blanca, in Cathedral City, CA, I ordered it.  Vicki ordered the carnitas, which I had two nights before, and she didn't like them (too "porky") so we switched.  We both liked the Al Pastor a lot, so when we saw a package of Al Pastor in Stater Bros, we got some.

I grilled it tonight, and grilled some pineapple chunks, and the tortillas, and we dressed the tacos with fresh cilantro, fresh squeezed lime juice, and Newman's Own pineapple salsa.

The palette of flavors was exquisite.  Next time we'll get sliced pineapple, so it can be grilled directly on the grate and cut up later.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cabot Pueblo Museum

One of the first white settlers in the Coachella Valley was Cabot Yerxa.  His first name is his mother's maiden name - yes, those Cabots.  His family founded the Yerxa Mercantile stores, and at age 15 Cabot managed one of them, with 20 employees reporting to him.  Following some adventures in Nome, Cabot paid $10 for a 160-acre homestead in the Mohave desert.  For a year, he walked 7 miles every 3 days to Palm Springs, an Indian village, to get water and carry it back to his homestead.  One day his Cahuilla friend asked him why he didn't use the abandoned well at the old Indian village, on the hill near his house.

That well was too alkaline, but Cabot started witching and digging for water, and discovered Desert Hot Springs.  And a cold water aquifer close by it, which is now the source of the award-winning city water in DHS.  Because the hill had both hot and cold water, he named it Miracle Hill.  That was 1913, and in 1917 he joined the Army to fight in WWI.

In 1941 he returned to his old homestead and began building the Pueblo, using materials found in the desert or scavenged from abandoned structures nearby.  It eventually expanded to 35 rooms and 5000 square feet.

He made it a museum and artist colony.  One of his Cahuilla friends made him a sculpture

called two-faced white man.

On the property is a 43-foot tall sculpture of Waokiye, the "traditional helper" of the Lakota, and part of the Trail of the Whispering Giants.

There are 74 whispering giants, at least one in each state.  Sounds like the next quest, after I finish playing the top 100 golf courses.

More pictures.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rocky start

We were trying to get to Aguanga, CA, but didn't make it.

It all started almost two months ago, when the GMC dealer said we needed all new hoses.  Which seemed likely, because they were the original equipment from 11 years and 170,000 miles ago.

Then about a month ago, we got a "low coolant" alarm from the computer.  So we added coolant, and the alarm went away.  It didn't register that when they changed out the radiator hoses all the coolant would have drained out and been replaced.  I figured maybe it was a slow leak, or normal losses to evaporation or something.

Friday, on the way up the mountain from Palm Springs, the engine overheated and the low coolant alarm came on again.  Luckily, there was a pullover only about 1/4 mile ahead, so we got off the narrow, winding, 2-lane road to safety.

We had a container of coolant in the RV, and began to pour it in, and it ran out from under the truck onto the ground.  I crawled under the truck and found a radiator hose disconnected from the thing it was supposed to attach to.  It had some sort of clamp that should hold it on, but I could only see one side of it and couldn't get it securely reattached.

Luckily again, there was an emergency call box, because there was no Verizon cell service on this mountain road.  Which I told everyone who could possibly need to know.  They all wanted my phone number, so I made sure they knew there was no service there.

The operator who answered the emergency phone transferred us to USAA, which includes roadside assistance in the auto insurance for the truck.  They sent a tow truck and took us and the truck to the local GMC dealer, leaving the RV in the pullover.  I figured they would be able to reattach the hose in 30 seconds, and we'd be able to continue on our way.  HAHAHA!

They needed a part, and couldn't get it until Saturday.  So we made a reservation at a nearby RV park, and I called Progressive, who provides the insurance for the RV, and also includes roadside assistance.  They agreed that we were covered, and said they would dispatch a tow vehicle to take the 5th wheel to the RV park.  The GM dealer had no loaners, and the Enterprise Rent-a-Car down the street had nothing to rent, so we got an Uber to take us back to the RV to meet the next tow company.

And then we waited.  After an hour, I used the emergency call box again, and got transferred to Progressive, and got a different agent who asked all the same questions again, and said she would try to find a tow service to come get us.

After another hour, I called again, same thing.  Oh, when Progressive puts you on hold to find a tow company, they drop the call after a while, so I had to call back to the emergency operator - a new one, who didn't have the info from my previous call - and get transferred to Progressive again - a new agent who didn't have the info from my previous call ...

Then a good Samaritan stopped by.  She is an Uber driver, and offered to go down the hill and use her cell phone to call Progressive and see what was going on.

After another hour, I was on the phone again holding for Progressive when she came back, and said she had convinced them to send a tow truck for us.  And, finally, after 4 hours, after dark, the tow truck showed up.  By then the RV battery was run down, and we had a hard time getting the jacks up so we could be towed, but finally we did, and then I remembered that the RV power cable was in the bed of the truck, which by now was locked in the GMC dealer's lot, because they were closed.  So when we got to the RV park we had no power.  The tow truck had a battery charger so we were able to get the jacks down and the slides open.  I did have cell service, and I had 6 messages from the tow company asking me to call them and confirm the information I had given to Progressive, so that they could dispatch a truck to tow us.

Saturday, GMC had their part, and did the repair under warranty, and we got the truck and the power cord back.

Sunday we rested.  I played golf today at the #94 best course you can play in the US, La Quinta Mountain Course.  Read about it here.  I'll play the #56 course tomorrow.  Vicki got her nails done, and became a hand model.  They took pictures of their work on her for their web site.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Angry Birds

We're in a new site, still here in Fort McDowell waiting for a new grey water tank, and there is a pair of flickers that think we're a rival flicker family.  This is the female, the male has a red spot on top of his head.  They see their reflection in our back window, and do this

over ... and over ...

If you don't see the video above, try this link.

Saturday, April 1, 2017


In response to comments of my readers, this blog will focus only on our travels, and RV life.

My golf experiences will be here, and my economics here.

Please follow whichever ones interest you.

The shot that never happened

I volunteered at the Mesa Gateway Classic, the local Symetra Tour tournament, this week.  They don't have walking scorers, they have "cart drivers" who call in the scores for each hole on the radio, so that's what I did.

On Thursday I rode with Carlie Yadloczky, Isi Gabsa, and Allison Emrey.  Isi shot 72, Allison 71 in the first round, but without my help on Friday they all three missed the cut.  Allison was the winner of the 1000-watt smile-of-the-day award.  She has her own blog.  We started on the back 9, and she was 5 under par through 13 holes, one out of the lead, but made bogey on 5 and triple bogey on 6.

Isi is from Germany and pronounces her name "easy".  I can only imagine McCord and Feherty dealing with that on TV.

Friday I rode with Dottie Ardina, Savannah Vilaubi, and Bertine Strauss.  Dottie is from the Phillipines, shot 77 to go with 78 Thursday.  She averages only 236 yards off the tee, so it's hard to imagine her being highly successful without more length, but then again she's been on tour 3 years and has 9 top-10 finishes.  Bertine was an LPGA rookie last year, but lost her card.  She was very gracious, shot 72 and made the cut.

Savannah was the day's winner of the 1000-watt smile-of-the-day award.  This was her second Symetra tour event.  Her parents walked with us, and were way more stressed about it all than she was.

They told me she had shot 73 Thursday, but signed an incorrect scorecard (74).  The rules of golf concerning signing a wrong scorecard are clear and simple:  if you sign for less than you shot, you're disqualified;  sign for more, and you're stuck with it.  Mom said she fumed about it for 10 minutes, then reverted to her normal happy self.  She played well Friday, and was 2-under for the day, even par for the tournament, after 16 holes, with the cut line at +3.  Her par putt on 17 lipped out, and then she hit her drive on the par-5 18th into the desert, unplayable.  When the dust settled, she had a 7 and missed the cut by one shot:  the shot she didn't hit on Thursday.

As I was leaving, she and her caddy were heading to the range.  Watch for her on TV soon, she doesn't know how to quit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trees and cars

This is from Warren Mosler's blog:

They used to tell the story about a guy who claimed he could make cars out of wood, and he started a company in Oregon that brought trees into one door of his giant building with new cars coming out of another door, and he wouldn’t let anyone inside to see how it was done. He was given an award for innovation and widely acclaimed, until one day someone got inside and saw he was shipping the trees out the back to Japan and bringing in new Korean cars. He was then arrested and jailed, etc. etc.

The point is, for the macro economy it didn’t make any difference what was going on behind those closed doors, and that for purposes of understanding one can think of foreign trade as a company that takes in all that you export and delivers back whatever is imported.

This model also promotes the understanding of how, in real terms, exports are the costs of imports, and optimizing real terms of trade is about getting the most cars for the fewest trees, which is likewise what productivity is all about for the domestic economy.

What about the jobs lost due to increased productivity? Well, history shows it used to take 99% of the workforce to grow the food we need to eat to live, and today in the US it takes maybe 1% of the workforce to grow enough food to eat with a lot left over to export. Yet unemployment isn’t necessarily any higher today than it was back then. Why? Because there’s always a lot more we think needs to get done than there are people to do it, and unemployment comes from a lack of funding, and not a lack of things to do. Today the service sector dominates, and more so every day, with no lack of services we’d like to have done as far as the eye can see. And unemployment, as currently defined, is necessarily the evidence that for a given level of govt. expenditure the economy is that much over taxed, as a simple point of logic. Not that policy makers understand that, of course…

Now let’s add a border tax to the model, for the purpose of creating jobs, not withstanding how that premise is categorically ridiculous, as per the prior discussion. But, to quote Don Rumsfeld, ‘We’ve got to fight with the army we’ve got.’ Anyway, a border tax would put a tax on importing the cars to attempt to keep us from buying them so we would have more jobs building cars domestically, and reduce the tax on exporting the trees so we would have more jobs cutting down and shipping out trees.

Let’s assume that’s what happened and look at those consequences. First, we would be shipping out more trees and getting fewer cars. This makes the nation as a whole worse off due to those reduced real terms of trade. The next step is to identify the winners and losers, recognizing the losses to our standard of living are higher than the gains. Best case we put more people to work growing more trees so we have just as many trees for ourselves, and we’d put more people to work building cars so we’d have just as many cars as before. So what we accomplished is that we are working more to be left with the same amount for ourselves.

That’s called a drop in productivity, and a decline in our standard of living, as work is an input and a real cost of production. Work itself is not an economic benefit. The economic benefit of work is the output produced. And the whole point of producing output is consumption of some type, either for immediate use or for future use. That is, it makes no economic sense to work and produce output for the purpose of immediately throwing it away.

So with the above ‘best case’ assumptions, the border tax does work to create jobs, and unemployment is a political problem, which is why the border tax has that element of political appeal. Not that it matters, but my first choice for job creation would be a fiscal adjustment, either a tax cut or spending increase, large enough to promote sufficient spending to increase sales, output, and employment to produce that additional output. That way we have that much more domestic output to consume plus all the imported cars we were buying before the border tax, and we don’t have to give away the extra trees due to the border tax proposal.

And how does it look from the government’s point of view?

First, the government expects extra revenue from the tax on the imported cars, net of the revenue lost from tax benefits for exporters. This means less spending power for consumers paying the tax, presumably offset by new tax cuts, making it all revenue neutral, which through some presumed channels is theorized to have its own positive consequences.

So in this ‘best case’ scenario Americans work more and get less, while consumer taxes go up and other taxes go down. Hardly seems worth a second look?

But that is only the economic best case scenario. All kinds of other things can happen, with the same model used for purposes of analysis.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Walgreens Charity Classic, Final Round

Never mind the suspense, Juli Inkster shot 64 and won.  Again.  By 5 strokes.  It's kind of unfair, almost like when Tiger used to be Tiger.

Shelley Hamlin made up a 3-shot deficit in 3 holes, with a birdie on 17 while Jan Stephenson was making bogies on 16 and 18, and then won the Honors Division on the first hole of the playoff.

I walked with Karen Davies and Cindy Figg-Currier today.  Karen is from Wales, lives in Carefree and teaches at Pinnacle Peak CC, and is no relation to Laura "Big Mama" Davies, who is English.

Cindy is a hot ticket.  She was the talkative one, and had a couple of half-empty wine bottles ("a nice Pinot Noir") in her golf cart, the remnants of a bet on the practice round.

They both started the day at -1, 4 strokes off the lead, but were unable to do any good today.  Karen birdied the first hole, but never got lower than -2, and finished with a double bogey on 18 for 76.  Cindy had 9 pars on the front, then bogies on 10 and 12.  She hit the pin with her approach on 16, then missed the 5-footer for birdie, and drained a 30-footer for birdie on 17, for 73.

Patty Sheehan continued to have troubles, and shot 77 to finish T43.

I saw Rosie Jones before the round, and she wanted me to walk with her again today (I'm her good luck charm), but I had a previous commitment.  She shot 74 and finished T9, 10 shots behind Juli.  I waited for her at the scoring tent, and apologized to her for not being able to help today.  She says "Oh, yeah, who did you go with, INKSTER!?"  I replied "Oh, NO, I would never do THAT!".  I may have to go back on Facebook and tell her to ask for me next year.

The problem for Democrats

In President Trump's address to Congress were several lines that could have been written by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or other liberal Democrats:

"with the help of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have formed a council with our neighbors in Canada to help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams."

"I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: To improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation's security, and to restore respect for our laws. If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens, then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades."

"Tonight I am also calling on this Congress to [enact] reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better healthcare."

"expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted."

"I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us ... Here are the principles that should guide Congress as we move to create a better healthcare system for all Americans. First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the health care exchanges."

"My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents — that they have paid family leave."

"To invest in women's health, and to promote clean air and clean water, and to rebuild ... our infrastructure."

"Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job."

The question, then, is whether the Democrats will support and work with the President to achieve these goals. It is truly a Hobson's Choice for them: if they do, they will be helping him to have a successful presidency and possibly win re-election. And if they do not, they risk being accused of not really caring about these issues.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Walgreens Charity Classic

I volunteered today (and tomorrow) at the LPGA Legends Tour tournament.  In my group were Rosie Jones, who shot a bogey-free 68 and is tied for 2nd, and Hall of Famer Patty Sheehan, accompanied by her Hall of Fame caddy, Carl Laeb.  Patty shot 79, with two loose shots into water hazards, another mere inches from OB, one into the rough that ended dead behind the only tree in the vicinity, and about 5 missed putts of 3 feet or so.  Rosie could easily have had 65, she left three very makeable birdie putts straight on line and short.

I can't imagine Patty missing all those short putts for lack of skill or misreads or mishits.  My theory is that she just got a new pair of glasses, or else she needs a new pair of glasses.

In the field is Christa Johnson, perhaps my most admired LPGA pro.  You can read why here.  She shot 70 and is T9.

Back again tomorrow.

And oh, yeah, Patty has the same M2 hybrids that I have.  She likes them, too.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"Saving" Social Security

Of course, we all know that Social Security doesn't have to be "saved".  The US government can always create enough dollars to pay Social Security benefits, forever.  The only question is whether the US economy will produce enough goods and services for those Social Security dollars to buy. 

But, we operate under the illusion that some of our Social Security taxes go, and have been going, since 1983, into a "trust fund", from which future benefits will be paid, if the annual tax is lower than the annual benefits.  And that if the "trust fund" balance falls to zero, benefits would have to be cut, or taxes raised, because there is no other source of money for the benefits.  What nonsense!  What would we do if the Defense Department had a "trust fund", and the balance went to zero?  We'd issue some Treasury Bonds and keep paying the soldiers, that's what.  (The need for bond-selling as a source of money is also an illusion, but I won't get into that today.)

Our new President has promised to “save” Social Security and Medicare, and there is even a TV commercial now showing him saying so and asking viewers to tell their Congressman to do it.

So, given the fantasy world in which we operate, it would help if we could somehow increase the balance in the Social Security "trust fund". And given the policies advocated by the current President, I have thought of a way we can do that – a way that should not be total anathema to the other party.

Jobs is the popular shared concern. Every politician is in favor of more American jobs. Clearly, some American jobs have been lost to multi-national American companies moving them to areas of lower labor cost, or outsourcing them to companies employing foreign workers at lower wages than American workers would have demanded. The well-known formula is that if you want less of something, you tax it. And then add the new tax to the Social Security “trust fund”.

The tax would be at the rate of the FICA (Social Security and Medicare) tax, and paid by companies that have outsourced work formerly done in America to other countries, whether directly or through a third party. The rate is the total (employer + employee) FICA tax rate, and the tax base is the amount that would have been paid to an American worker, not the lower amount that was actually paid to the foreign worker. Adding this tax to the “trust fund” would substitute for some or all of a tax increase or benefit cut that our illusion would otherwise demand of us.

For jobs outsourced in future years, the rate could be doubled. For jobs insourced during the tax year, the company could get a temporary break on the FICA tax, and the government would make the contribution to the “trust fund” on their behalf, just as was done in 2011 and 2012.

This plan could substitute for the proposed “border tax”, a very bad idea which would tend to reduce trade and incomes worldwide, and increase prices at the same time.

So call your Congressman, and tell him to save Social Security, and how to do it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

MMT on the mainstream media

OK, Fox News might object to being called "mainstream", but it's a lot wider audience than MMT has ever gotten before, AFAIK.  Tucker Carlson interviewed a Duke University professor, Mark Paul, about a job guarantee.  Don't put too much stock in the headline ("Takes On").  If you haven't seen Tucker before, he is staunchly conservative/libertarian, but quite civil as long as his interviewees are civil.

It turns out, he was somewhat sympathetic, in the end.

There was a lot they didn't discuss, which is a shame, but it was a short interview.  They didn't get to the best feature of JG, IMHO, which is that people with jobs mostly don't join gangs, sell illegal drugs for a living, shoot their neighbors and burn down their businesses.  They are hopeful about their lives, not desperate.

May this be just the beginning of the dialogue.

Golf achievement

Maybe you noticed I'm not on Facebook anymore.  I deleted my account, because it was sucking up too much time, and there is just too much hatred there.  I feel much calmer and more relaxed now.

I bought some new golf clubs on Friday:  Taylor Made M2 irons and hybrids.  I went to an executive course Saturday to calibrate them, didn't use my woods at all, and the new irons are two clubs longer than the old ones.  My new 4 hybrid can replace my old 3 wood.  Then Sunday I played Western Skies with Dave.  He took pictures and said he would put something on his blog but here's my side of the story:

The Holy Grail of older golfers is shooting your age.  Yesterday I shot half my age for half a round.  On the front 9 (par 35) I shot 33 with a birdie and an eagle (my 9th career eagle).  33 is my lowest ever 9-hole score, as is the 2-under-par.  The eagle came on a par 5, when I holed a wedge shot from 90 yards away.

So I'm very happy with my new clubs, and my new swing (I typically adopt a new swing every few months).  And looking forward to breaking par for 18 real soon!