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Group Think – The NBA

I’ve long been fascinated with the works of behavioral scientists, which are devoted to trying to answer the question of why we humans think and do as we do. I’ve learned how hard-wired we are to be influenced by media and our peers, and how truly difficult it is for us to think “outside of the box,” or to avoid Group-Think. This blog will be the first in a series on this topic and will be dedicated to one of my favorite topics – NBA basketball.

Recent posts

Freedom, Accountability, and Growth

As I see it, there are two competing philosophies on the organization of human life on earth. In the first, freedom is prized above all else. The thinking here goes that every human life is imbued with a spirit from God and is on a journey of both self-discovery and growth. The second holds that most of humanity is dumb and oriented towards bad behavior, and must be controlled by a small and enlightened elite for the good of the greater society.

The Modern Era of Enlightenment

A big, fat, ugly guy abused his power position to try for sex with attractive women – and it happened in Hollywood. Surprised? Few are, despite the original feigned shock. And now the avalanche of accusations of such misconduct is a daily event in America, and Hollywood, while perhaps having more than its fair market share, is far from being the only industry where sexual abuse occurs.

You Need to Ask the Right Question

If you ask the wrong questions, the answers will probably also always be wrong, and even irrelevant.  This might seem obvious, but I’ve noticed that this truth is often completely overlooked, and even by the world’s most intelligent. While I’m certain this is so in every facet of life, for the purpose of this short paper I will focus on the investment/finance world.

Pull The State Income Tax Subsidy

The Trump Administration’s recent tax reform proclamation included an elimination of the deductibility of state income taxes on federal tax returns.  This would be painful for high-income earners who reside in states with higher tax rates, such as California, where I live. Here in California, the top end rate is 13.3%. For high-end earners, the Federal income tax rate is 39.6%. The combination of those two facts, along with a California taxpayer’s ability to deduct his state income tax payments from their federal income tax liability means that the effective state tax burden falls to 8%. The remaining state tax burden of 5.3% is borne evenly by all federal taxpayers, which is to say that citizens of other states pay about 40% of my personal California income tax burden.

While I am genuinely grateful to all of you fine Americans living in other states, and there is surely a part of me that would like to continue to have you subsidize my tax burden, I am wholly supportive of the idea to…

Thank You, Subsidizers

As I look at today’s financial markets I can’t help but notice how many very kind investors there are who are using the financial markets to generously provide wonderful subsidies to the rest of us. And I am embarrassed by how little gratitude they’ve been shown, which is the basis of this blog post – to simply say: “THANK YOU.”

What Is Inflation?

“According to central bankers, inflation is generated by the gap between demand for goods and services and the economy’s ability to supply them.” This is a direct quote from an article that recently appeared in the WSJ, in which central bankers were described at being puzzled over the low rate of inflation that the G-20 has been experiencing. Inflation is a term which has taken on different meanings over time, and which continues to lead to general confusion.