Sunday, May 14, 2017

They Are Out to Get Us

The only break we in the middle class get is the mortgage interest deduction on our taxes.  I had a friend refer to his house as a money-pit because we have to spend money on maintenance.  And I've had friends who lost a lot of money selling a house that had gone "upside down" (selling for less than the existing mortgage).  Buying a house is a risk and has many challenges.  A new challenge is people who want to take away our mortgage interest tax deduction.

The New York Times article , How Home Ownership Became the Engine of American Inequality by Matthew Desmond, May 9, 2017 ( says our owning our homes increases inequality in America.  Well, our saving for retirement or saving for our children's education can also be said to increase inequality.  If you went to college, you increased income inequality.

When you hear people talking about income inequality, you better grab your wallet because someone wants to redistribute your wealth.  We in the middle class need to be alert to efforts to separate us from our money.


If you get the print edition or want to see this in the library, the article is in the Sunday 5-14-2017 New York Times Magazine, page 48.  Notice the cover article of this issue of the New York Times Magazine discusses open marriages. I just shake my head at how the NYT has changed over the years.

Teaching Our Children Exploitation is Better than Innovation

The public schools talk about teaching innovation.  Business consultants say they can teach innovation.  There has been a steady drum beat for increased innovation. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal:  The Economy’s Hidden Problem: We’re Out of Big Ideas by Greg Ip, Dec. 20, 2016 (  The article says dwindling gains in science, medicine and technology are holding back growth.  We as parents need to coach our children about how innovation actually works:  people who exploit the innovations of other people profit much more that the innovators.

Today's New York Times,  Sunday May 14, 2017, on page ST-9, has an informative article about innovation:  The Hour's Hot Toy Has a Long History by Alex Williams (  This article says the fidget spinner is #17 in the list of top 20 toys sold on  However, the inventor of this toy, Catherine Hettinger, has not made money off of her invention.

We need to tell our children that selling is harder than inventing.  If you cannot sell you invention; if you cannot exploit your innovation, then you leave it to other people to exploit and profit from your innovations.  After Catherine Hettinger's patent on the fidget spinner expired in 2005, then other people started manufacturing and selling her toy.

If your child wants wealth, then your child should learn about selling; about starting businesses; about exploiting the innovations of other people.  Remember Steve Wozniak was the Apple II computer creator, but Steve Jobs was the computer salesman and probably got most of the wealth.


I have written on this topic before, on my Texas Ascendant blog (

The Exploitation of Innovation, March 13, 2010:
Exploitation, Not Innovation,  August 5, 2012:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mathematics is the Doorway to Good Salaries

Not All College Degrees are Worth Having
Above is a chart of the top four salaries for new college graduates in 2017.  Notice they are all math intensive.  I have a friend who studied Anthropology and he drove a bread truck for a living.  Another fellow got a History degree and worked as a roofer.  Many people say a college degree is important, but some college degrees are more valuable.

The University of Texas - Dallas offers a bachelors degree in Actuarial Science from their School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics:  So it is possible to get a bachelor's in Actuarial Science.  I had thought you needed a master's degree for this field.

The data in this blog was in today's (Saturday May 13, 2017) Wall Street Journal in an article on page B13, "Outlook is Rosier for Class of 2017" by Kelsey Gee. The newspaper had a great graphic, but their website article had a terrible graphic and I had to make an Excel table to post here.  The WSJ had one version of the article here:
The WSJ had another version of the article here:

Math instruction is usually mediocre in most public schools, so remember to be involved in teaching your children math.  A plan like this might work for your children: addition in 1st grade, subtraction in 2nd grade, multiplication in 3rd grade, and division in 4th grade.  My youngest is in college, so my memory is a bit hazy, but this plan is close if not precise.  You must drill your children on their math facts because the schools will not do it.

My best wishes for the success of your children.


Update:  see the article The Quants Run Wall Street Now by Gregory Zuckerman and Bradley Hope, May 21, 2017 Wall Street Journal on line.  Mathematicians are making great money on Wall Street.