The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

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Future News: President Obama’s Last Day in Office


As President Hillary Clinton was standing on the Capitol steps today, taking the oath of office as America’s first female President, the White House released earthshaking news. In a simple one-page announcement, the White House press office informed the nation that on his last day in office, President Obama exercised his Article II Constitutional pardon power to grant sweeping amnesty to thousands of so-called “dreamers.”

In his final day in office, George Washington granted the first high-profile federal pardon to leaders of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Following our nation’s bloody Civil War, President Andrew Johnson granted sweeping pardons for thousands of former Confederate officials and military personnel.

In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter’s granted blanket amnesty to thousands of Vietnam-era draft dodgers.

In that same tradition of Christian forgiveness, President Obama has granted Presidential pardon and amnesty to certain immigrants:

1. Of good moral character who graduate from U.S. high schools,
2. Who arrived in the United States as minors,
3. Have lived in this country continuously for the least five years, and
4. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four-year institution of higher learning.

They are pardoned for having entered the United States illegally.


Written by Tom Fox

04/25/2014 at 6:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

SiIde effects of minimum wage in Kentucky

(If you are looking to find out Kentucky’s minimum wage, it’s the same as the federal minimum wage. $7.25 per hour)

Whether or not you favor an increase in the federal minimum wage, as I do, the minimum wage serves as a baseline for several purposes other to set the lower pay limit for jobs. Here is a small collection of ways the minimum wage is used in Kentucky.

  1. Kentucky offers a limited amount of state tax credits to qualified companies who are approved to offer occupational skills upgrade training to existing employees who have been employed with the company for twelve months or more. The program is administered by the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation. One of the qualifications to receive the tax credit is that the employees to receive the training are paid a base hourly wage equal to 150% of the federal minimum wage, or more. (154.12-2084)
  2. KRS 154.12-207 proveds training grants. 90% of the participants must receive a base hourly wage which is 150% of the minimum wage.
  3. What’s the maximum amount of wage garnishment? Federal and Kentucky law place a lower limit on disposable earnings that be can seized to satisfy an ordinary judgment debt through a wage garnishment as a multiple of the minimum wage. This does not apply to tax levy, bankruptcy orders or support payments. Pay that does not exceed minimum wage x 30 in any one week, at the least, is exempt from garnishment to satisfy other types of debt.
  4. KRS 533.030 allows a court to impose a work requirement as a condition of probation. Where a victim of a crime has suffered monetary damage as a result of the crime, the probationer can be ordered to make restitution “by working for or on behalf of the victim” using minimum wage to value the labor.
  5. KRS 610.360 allows the court to require juveniles to perform community labor at minimum wage rates to pay off their court costs.
  6. KRS 42.4588 allows government Economic Development Programs to make job development incentive grants that will create “at least twenty-five (25) new full-time jobs held by Kentucky residents who receive a minimum wage of at least one hundred thirty percent (130%) of the federal minimum wage”. Existing employees at the project site must be paid an average wage of at least 150% of the minimum wage.
  7. The minimum budget for each property valuation administrator’s office in Kentucky, regardless of workload or need, includes the minimum wage requirements for two full-time deputies. 132.590(6)
  8. KRS 141.390 allows a state tax credit for recycling or composting equipment and defines a “major recycling project” as having at least 750 full-time employees earning an average hourly wage of more than 300% of the minimum wage, with other requirements.


Written by Tom Fox

04/07/2014 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Electronic cigarette Internet scam update

Summary –

The free trial offer is not so free if you fail to jump through the invisible hoops, as outlined in my recent post, Anatomy of an Internet scam.

It is possible to telephone within the two week period after placing your order, and cancel the future automatic credit card charges you may have unknowingly agreed to (Is that really an agreement?) The number I called was 1-877-766-5306, but it may be a different number for you. Check the details in your first order confirmation email.

It’s not easy, so be persistent. The customer service operators are trained to give you a had sell. If you do not call, your credit card will be billed $99.67 for the electronic cigarette “starter kit.”

The fist thing they do is to offer to extend your free trial period from 14 days to 28 days.

Just say, “No. I wish to cancel the order and return the starter kit.”

Then they will offer to drop the price on the starter kit from $99.67 to $39.67. 

Just say, “No. I wish to cancel the order and return the starter kit.”

Then they will offer, in addition, to drop the price on electronic cigarette refills from $31.95 to $21.95.

Just say, “No. I wish to cancel the order and return the starter kit.”

The final price is about in line with with other e-cigarettes cost from other companies. But, it is my advice that you do not do any business with this company, even at the reduced price. If they try to scam you once, they could easily try to scam you again.

 Just say, “No. I wish to cancel the order and return the starter kit,” and then actually return it promptly. Keep your proof of mailing.


Written by Tom Fox

11/20/2012 at 12:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The myth of Romney’s fundraising advantage – updated

Looking at the campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission ( through this morning for both Romney and Obama, and what I found was that President Obama has, without exception, out-performed Romney in fundraising since January of this year through September.

The Obama campaign ended September with $99 million cash compared to Romney’s $63 million. During the month of September alone, Obama out-fundraised Romney by $50 million. The amazing thing about it is the great number of small donors contributing to Obama’s campaign.

The original of this post, from September, is here.

Written by Tom Fox

10/23/2012 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Welfare to work update

A year ago in July I compiled the caseload number of adults participating in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.  Blame it all on the 35 one-hundredths of one percent.  The numbers showed a steady decline in adult participation in the program from 2000 to 2008. Not surprisingly, those numbers also showed an uptick in adult participation when folks lost their jobs or could not find work in 2009 – 2010 during the Great Recession. Now that the caseload numbers for 2011 are available, it is time to update the chart.

As you can see, by the end of CY 2011, the numbers have begun to decline again. There are only a bit more than one million adults (parents or guardians of minor children) who are participating in the TANF program. Don’t blame Federal budget problems on imaginary “welfare queens.”


TANF caseload data

Written by Tom Fox

10/11/2012 at 8:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

U. S. Defense Spending and Income Tax Receipts

To put things into proper perspective, I gathered the annual data from the U.S. Department of Treasury, Financial Management Service, and graphed it. The easy and obvious conclusions are: (1) Defense and military spending has more than doubled during the period FY 1998 to FY 2011 (the most recent year with complete information), (2) Federal Income tax receipts have not increased nearly that fast, and (3) President Barack Obama has not reduced defense military spending during his first term, even though the rate of increase has slowed since the end of the Iraq war.















As you can see, as a percent of Federal Income Tax receipts, defense military spending has gone from about 30% to more than 60%, from 1998 to 2011.

Written by Tom Fox

10/10/2012 at 9:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A Third-party Story

 A major party candidate doesn’t need 50% of the vote to win. Look at the success that 43% of the vote brought Bill Clinton in 1992. The reason was that Clinton won a plurality in a three way race. Sure, you say, but Ross Perot got almost 19% of the vote that year. He was a bona fide contender. Otherwise, as people keep telling me, third party candidates just don’t matter.But, it’s not true. They do matter.

This year there is the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson on the ballot in 47 states for sure, with 3 more being disputed. Johnson will not draw as much as did Perot, but polls show him receiving between 3% and 7% of the vote. The question is, from which of the two major party candidates will Johnson take more of his votes? In a really close race, the answer to that question tells the tale and determines the outcome of the election. If between now and then Obama opens up a bigger lead, then Johnson will not make much difference. If the gap between Romney and Obama stays about 2% – 3%, Johnson could make a decisive difference.

There are only a few public polls that include Johnson, so far.

Written by Tom Fox

09/20/2012 at 1:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized