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And America's Richest Zip Code Is...

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The most exclusive zip code in America isn’t where you’d think it is.

It’s not in Connecticut’s Fairfield County - famous for being a haven for old-money WASPs and, increasingly, America’ nouveau riche. It’s not Berkeley or Palo Alto or some other piece of the Bay Area, where economic inequality is among the worst in the country.

Instead, it’s in South Florida, not far from Miami. The place is called Fisher Island, and with an average income of $2.5 million - beating the second-richest zip code by $1 million - it’s the wealthiest zip code in the country, according to recently released IRS data that was reviewed and analyzed by Bloomberg. The study included more than 22,000 eligible zip codes.

The average income in Fisher Island, zip code 33109, was $2.5 million in 2015, according to a Bloomberg analysis of 2015 Internal Revenue Service data. That’s $1 million more than the second-place spot, held by zip code 94027 in Silicon Valley, also known as the City of Atherton on the San Francisco Peninsula. The area’s neighbors include Stanford University and Menlo Park, home to Facebook and various tech companies. While the IRS data only provide the averages of tax returns, which can be skewed by outliers, Fisher Island is the only zip code in the Bloomberg analysis where more than half of all tax returns showed an income of over $200,000.

Fisher Island stands out for several reasons. For example, not only is it the highest earning zip code in the US, but it’s also an outlier in Bloomberg’s list because nearly all the other top spots are occupied by zip codes in the Greater New York metro area or the Bay Area. It’s also notable for its thematic consistency.


Typically high cost of living makes wealthy zip codes inaccessible to poorer individuals and families. But not only is this true of the zip code’s property values, it’s also true for another reason: Fisher Island is surrounded by water and it’s extremely difficult for outsiders to travel there.


Palm Beach (home of  President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club) and Naples were the only other two Florida zip codes that made the top 20. Meanwhile, certain suburbs of Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston also ranked high on the list.

Many of the taxpayers living on Fisher Island were able to carve out more in itemized deductions from their tax bill than most Americans can affthan Taxpayers on Fisher Island also managed to carve out an average of $448,100 in itemized deductions last spring when they were settling up with Uncle Sam.

Still, Fisher Island’s deductions were smaller than the average deduction for high net worth individuals across the US - though BBG attributed this to the fact that Florida doesn’t have an income tax, so Fisher Island residents have less to deduct.

The zip code that took the most advantage of tax deductions in 2015 was 94301 in Palo Alto, California, where the average deduction was $491,600. Fisher Island had smaller average deductions relative to its income size than other zip codes and that’s likely because Florida has no income tax, so its residents can’t take deductions from that category. On the other hand, California has a top marginal income tax rate of 13.3 percent, the highest in the country.

But deductions for the very wealthy could look a lot different this year because of the new tax cut legislation, according to Falanga.

Deductions for state and local income tax have been curtailed to a maximum of $10,000. Before the new legislation, these deductions were unlimited. Limits on charitable contribution deductions have increased to 60 percent of gross income from 50 percent. That is just for cash contributions and does not include foundations, stocks, or artwork, which have different hurdles, said Falanga.

Of course, residents of wealthy zip codes across the US are about to take a financial hit from President Trump’s tax overhaul plan because many of these areas are situated in blue states with high local taxes. The Trump tax plan dramatically curtailed deductions for state and local taxes, imposing a cap of $10,000 when previously these deductions had been unlimited.

But here’s another advantage for Fisher Island is it’s in reliably low-tax Florida.

"I haven’t seen them change, but they have been curious about what’s going on," Falanga said. "And to a certain extent, some of them will be paying more."

But one thing is for certain: Whatever the impact is, it will be much less impactful than it will be for residents of other tony enclaves like - for example - Greenwich, Conn., where the tax law and shifting tastes are creating some of the most adverse market conditions since the financial crisis.

With that in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised to see an exodus of HNW snowbirds making the journey as a move to sunny Florida looks increasingly appealing by the day.

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4 days ago
'...increasingly appealing by the day.' until the floodwaters rise and then.... disaster recovery dollars from Washington!
New Hampshire
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In Raging Tweetstorm, Trump Slams "Slippery" James Comey "As Worst FBI Director In History"

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A day after he deemed former FBI Director James Comey to be a "slime ball" and a liar, intent on exacting his revenge for his unceremonious and embarrassing firing at the hands of President Trump, the president is back with another Sunday morning tweetstorm, and this time Trump accused Comey of leaving some of the most important questions unanswered regarding his conduct during his final months in office and during the FBI's probe of Hillary Clinton.

To start off his morning tirade, Trump lashed out at Comey for his stunning admission that the he might have behaved differently toward Clinton if her polling numbers weren't as strong, and that Comey may not have reopened the Hillary probe if he thought she could lose.

According to excerpts of his memo leaked to the mainstream media, Comey admitted that he publicly revealed the reopening of the FBI's probe into Clinton's mishandling of classified information partly because he feared that, once she won, her critics would have grounds to question the legitimacy of her presidency, as we pointed out on Friday.

Trump notes - correctly according to Comey's own statement - that the FBI director's admission shows that he was making decisions during the investigation based on whether he believed Clinton would win.

Trump then points out that Comey offered no explanations for the bureau's most questionable behavior, including the DNC's refusal to let the FBI examine its email server after Wikileaks released a trove of hacked emails, as well as the $700,000 campaign contribution received by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe's wife from an ally of the Clintons.

Continuing the raging tweetstorm, Trump then complained that Comey's characterization of former AG Loretta Lynch's behavior during the campaign - particularly the pressure she exerted regarding the Clinton probe - validates many of the issues raised by her Republican critics, who have insisted that the former AG be investigated for her "impromptu meeting" with Bill Clinton days before Comey publicly announced the closure of the investigation.

Trump also denied again that he had asked Comey to swear a loyalty oath (Comey made this claim during public testimony before Congress while he was under oath).

Finally, a day after he deemed Comey a "slimeball", Trump expands on his new nickname for the former FBI director, deeming him "Slippery James Comey", although no relation to "Slippery Steve" Bannon.

Separately, Trump also touched on the Cohen raid - arguably the one thing that is keeping him up at night - repeating again that "Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past" and advising his twitter followes that "I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!"

As Politico pointed out last week, Trump's aides had hoped his visit to Peru for the summit of North and South American countries, followed by a summit with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, would distract the president from the Comey book.

But after failing to strike a Nafta deal, Trump cancelled his trip to Lima in order to focus on the Syrian airstrikes which are now also in the historical record and thus no longer preoccupying the public with their "imminence." We imagine we'll be hearing more from the president later today, as more details from Comey's interview with George Stephanopoulos - set to air at 10 pm ET - start to leak.

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7 days ago
Is it me, or dies Drumpf's stream belie the and of a female pundit. Or three?
New Hampshire
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Pat Buchanan Asks "Will The Deep State Break Trump?"

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via,

“It is becoming more obvious with each passing day that the men and the movement that broke Lyndon Johnson’s authority in 1968 are out to break Richard Nixon,” wrote David Broder on Oct. 8, 1969.

“The likelihood is great that they will succeed again.”

A columnist for The Washington Post, Broder was no fan of Nixon.

His prediction, however, proved wrong. Nixon, with his “Silent Majority” address rallied the nation and rocked the establishment. He went on to win a 49-state victory in 1972, after which his stumbles opened the door to the establishment’s revenge.

Yet, Broder’s analysis was spot on. And, today, another deep state conspiracy, to break another presidency, is underway.

Consider. To cut through the Russophobia rampant here, Trump decided to make a direct phone call to Vladimir Putin. And in that call, Trump, like Angela Merkel, congratulated Putin on his re-election victory.

Instantly, the briefing paper for the president’s call was leaked to the Post. In bold letters it read, “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”

Whereupon, the Beltway went ballistic.

How could Trump congratulate Putin, whose election was a sham? Why did he not charge Putin with the Salisbury poisoning? Why did Trump not denounce Putin for interfering with “our democracy”?

Amazing. A disloyal White House staffer betrays his trust and leaks a confidential paper to sabotage the foreign policy of a duly elected president, and he is celebrated in this capital city.

If you wish to see the deep state at work, this is it:

anti-Trump journalists using First Amendment immunities to collude with and cover up the identities of bureaucratic snakes out to damage or destroy a president they despise. No wonder democracy is a declining stock worldwide.

And, yes, they give out Pulitzers for criminal collusion like this.

The New York Times got a Pulitzer and the Post got a Hollywood movie starring Meryl Streep, for publishing stolen secret papers from the Pentagon of JFK and LBJ - to sabotage the Vietnam War policy of Richard Nixon.

Why? Because the hated Nixon was succeeding in extricating us with honor from a war that the presidents for whom the Times and Post hauled water could not win or end.

Not only have journalists given up any pretense of neutrality in this campaign to bring down the president, ex-national security officers of the highest rank are starting to sound like resisters.

Ex-CIA Director John Brennan openly speculated Tuesday that the president may have been compromised by Moscow and become an asset of the Kremlin.

“I think he’s afraid of the president of Russia,” Brennan said of Trump and Putin. “The Russians, I think, have had long experience with Mr. Trump and may have things they could expose.”

If Brennan has evidence Trump is compromised, he should relay it to Robert Mueller. If he does not, this is speculation of an especially ugly variety for someone once entrusted with America’s highest secrets.

What is going on in this city is an American version of the “color revolutions” we have employed to dump over governments in places like Georgia and Ukraine.


Break Trump’s presidency, remove him, discredit his election as contaminated by Kremlin collusion, upend the democratic verdict of 2016, and ash-can Trump’s agenda of populist conservatism.

Then, return America to the open borders, free trade, democracy-crusading Bushite globalism beloved by our Beltway elites.

Trump, in a way, is the indispensable man of the populist right.

In the 2016 primaries, no other Republican candidate shared his determination to secure the border, bring back manufacturing or end the endless wars in the Middle East that have so bled and bankrupted our nation.

Whether the Assads rule in Damascus, the Chinese fortify Scarborough Shoal, or the Taliban return to Kabul are not existential threats.

But if the borders of our country are not secured, as Reagan warned, in a generation, America will not even be a country.

Trump seems now to recognize that the special counsel’s office of Robert Mueller, which this city sees as the instrument of its deliverance, is a mortal threat to his presidency.

Mueller’s team wishes to do to Trump what Archibald Cox’s team sought to do to Nixon: Drive him out of office or set him up for the kill by a Democratic Congress in 2019.

Trump appears to recognize that the struggle with Mueller is now a political struggle - to the death.

Hence Trump’s hiring of Joe diGenova and the departure of John Dowd from his legal team. In the elegant phrase of Michael Corleone, diGenova is a wartime consigliere.

He believes that Trump is the target of a conspiracy, where Jim Comey’s FBI put in the fix to prevent Hillary’s prosecution, and then fabricated a crime of collusion with Russia to take down the new president the American people had elected.

The Trump White House is behaving as if it were the prospective target of a coup d’etat. And it is not wrong to think so.

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30 days ago
Buchanan is a long time deep stater, so he should know what he sees.
New Hampshire
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Comey's New Book Topped By Children's Story About A Rabbit

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Submitted by James Miller of the Political Insider

It’s close to Easter time, and that means the Easter bunny will soon be stopping off at your house to drop off a basket of goodies.

But it looks like one bunny is going to give someone a headache this Easter season.

Former FBI Director James Comey is looking to bank on his firing by President Trump last year, and is releasing a tell-all book – “A Higher Loyalty” – that is rumored to contain damning details about Trump’s presidency.

The Washington DC-New York City news nexus is thrilled about the book, as they think it’ll contain ammunition to finally tank the Trump presidency. CNN’s Brian Stelter, a rabid liberal partisan, wrote enthusiastically about the book, touting it’s best-seller ranking on From his obsequious write-up:

With an assist from President Trump, James Comey’s book is surging on the best sellers list. The book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” won’t be released until April 17. But on Sunday it was No.1 on Amazon’s constantly updated list of best sellers. The ranking reflects a sudden spike in pre-orders. On Saturday morning, it was No. 15. What caused the spike in the former FBI director’s book sales? Well it seems to be related to the president’s rhetoric.

At the time of Stelter’s writing, Comey’s book may have been at #1, but it’s already been surpassed by something unexpected: Comey’s tell-all memoir just got beat by a children’s book. And not just any children’s book, but one written about a pet of the Second Family!

Marlon Bundo is a bunny rabbit owned by the Pence family that has garnered quite the social media presence in the past few months. Already, his Instagram account has 18k followers.

You can learn more about Mr. Bundo below:

Bundo’s owner, Charlotte Pence, just wrote a book about the bunny’s life that skyrocketed to the top of the Amazon charts. Aimed at young readers and children, “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President” gives a vivid portrayal of the life of a rabbit inside the office of the Vice President.

Bundo’s story is already such a big success that it has topped Comey’s book as Amazon’s #1 best-seller at the time of writing:

How’s that for an Easter surprise!

Here are some good shots of Bundo in action:

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34 days ago
reply's easy, and fun, to second-class your political opponents' works! Just add money and stir!
New Hampshire
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What Economic Recovery? Half Of U.S. Companies Are Losing Money

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Authored by Baruch Lev via Knowledge Leaders Capital blog,

Baruch Lev is the Philip Bardes Professor of Accounting and Finance at the Stern School of Business, NYU. This article first appeared on the Lev End Of Accounting Blog and is shared here with his permission.

We are inundated with great economic news: The stock market is at all-time high (despite wide fluctuations), unemployment is the lowest in two decades, consumer confidence is the highest in many years, and corporate profits are surging from quarter to quarter. A real economic recovery to be sure.

So, you will be shocked to see the following figure (developed with my colleague Feng Gu), which I haven’t seen anywhere else, nor mentioned by economists and pundits. The figure shows the percentage of U.S. public companies reporting an annual loss, from 1960 through 2016. The two curves portray the percent “losers” from all public companies (lower curve), and the percent “losers” from all technology and science-based companies (computers, software, pharma, biotech, etc.), presented by the upper curve.

The main finding: Both curves are fast increasing.

The percent losers from all companies increased from 18% in 1980 to 46% in 2016.

For high tech and science-based companies the losers reached 69%! In 2016.

The loss reporting epidemic rivals now the flu. High tech and science-based enterprises seem to be perennial losers rather than growth drivers.

So, where is the economic recovery if half the companies are reporting losses? Shouldn’t a recovery be reflected by an increasing number of profitable companies? I felt that there is something fishy in those GAAP-based earnings numbers, leading me to look deeper into the data.

The effect of one-time (transitory) items: Since the FASB switched in the 1980s to a “balance sheet model,” emphasizing the valuation at fair (current) values of assets and liabilities, corporate income statements increasingly included the consequences of these valuations: one-time items, such as gains/losses from adjustments of assets and liabilities to fair values, impairments of assets and goodwill, restructuring costs, etc. Most of these items reflect past events and are irrelevant for forecasting future firm performance―the focus of investors. Indeed, analysts routinely disregard some of these items in their “Street Earnings,” and managers delete them from their non-GAAP earnings.

So, I computed the percentage of loss firms due to one-time items (“special and extraordinary items” and restructuring charges) during 2010-2016. Namely, firms that would have reported a profit if the one-time charges were eliminated. These percentages ranged between 8-10% for all loss reporters, and 5-8% for high tech and science based companies. So, one-time items are one reason for loss reporting, though not the major one. I kept digging into the data.

The effect of intangible investmentsInternally-generated intangible investments―R&D, brands, IT, human resources, organizational capital―are immediately expensed, following GAAP rules, despite the obvious fact that in modern economies these investments are the most important and consequential long-term value-drivers of business enterprises. This massive expensing in the income statements of U.S. companies―total corporate investment in intangibles during 2016 exceeds $2.1 trillion (yes, trillion!)―turns the profits of many successful and promising companies into losses. Tesla’s massive losses are mainly due to the expensing of R&D ($834 million in 2016).

So, how many loss reporting companies would have reported a profit if their R&D was capitalized? The data show that 9-10% of all “losers” and 20-26% of the loss reporting high tech and science-based companies would have reported profits if R&D were not expensed. Think about it: a quarter of all high tech and science-based firms report losses just because they invest in future growth. And you call this accounting?

But R&D is just one, and not even the largest, intangible expenditure. Other intangible investments, such as on IT, brands, human resources, designs, consulting engagements, etc., are not reported separately in the income statement by firms, and generally “buried” in SG&A (sales, general and administrative) expenses. So, what is the percentage of loss reporting firms who would have reported profits if SG&A expenses were added back to earnings (SG&A includes R&D in my data source―Compustat)? This is a big number: 43-51% of all losers and 50-56% of science-based and high tech losers during 2010-2016 would have reported profits before SG&A.

So, if I add the two major reasons for loss reporting - intangible investments and one-time items - I account for 50-60% of all the loss reporting. The fast increase in loss reporting portrayed by the figure above is thus mainly due to the increasing proliferation of new-age firms (high tech, science-based, telecom, media, etc.) whose investments are mostly intangible, and their reported earnings seriously misstated by GAAP-based financial reports.

So, while the above figure seems to contradict the economic recovery, it really doesn’t. If the archaic, detached from reality accounting rules will not be changed, we will continue to witness more and more “losing companies,” by GAAP misleading yardstick, while the economy continues to prosper. The real losers are investors who rely on GAAP-based financial reports.

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46 days ago
This on surface sounds like BS. Investments mentioned (R&D, human resources capital, brands) SHOULD be tagged as they are; the results of those investments should stand in contrast to them. Seem like a blusterous attempt to make GAAP rules seem unfair, which they might be, but not for these reasons.
New Hampshire
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Career Advice To 20-Somethings: Create Value As A Mobile Creative

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Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Finding work that fits who you are is rarely easy, especially if you don't fit into the mainstream, and usually it requires a lot of compromises, hard work and dead-ends. But that’s the process.

Establishing a satisfying career is difficult in today's economy, doubly so for those who find life within hierarchical institutions (corporate America and government) unrewarding, and triply so for those burdened with student loan debt and college educations/diplomas of uncertain market value or those re-entering the job market with skills that have been marginalized.

Given that I wrote a book entitled Get a Job, Build a Real Career, and Defy a Bewildering Economy, it's unsurprising that I get emails from young people asking for career advice.

I've also written essays of friendly advice such as A Teachable Moment: to the Young Person Who Complained About Her Job/Pay at Yelp and Was Promptly Fired.

Here is my response to a recent email from a 20-something in a familiar place: burdened with student loan debt, aware that the self-serving institutional shuck-and-jive is false (get a college degree and your future is secure), and uncertain how to proceed.

Here is my correspondent's email:

I wish my faith in our conventional institutions had faded sooner, but I borrowed a lot of money in my early 20s only to find out that most of what I was learning was utterly useless.

But I can't go back. Only forward. So with thousands of dollars in debt aside, and limited experience in the professional world (food service, retail, and industrial construction), where in the hell can I start? I get a lot of the concepts you are proposing. I get the need to create value for people. I've just never really seen it done in a "professional" environment. I've scrubbed floors, calibrated thermometers, bent tubing and made coffee. But intellectually this is obviously not satisfying.

I want to create value, I want to solve problems. Not just for altruistic reasons, but because it is the only thing that seems challenging.

So what would you tell a late 20 something, who's not used to wearing a suit and tie, starting from the bottom, with the intellectual capacity to do more than scrub floors? Because I guarantee you... there are plenty of us waiting in the shadows to exercise our inalienable human right to achievement, collaboration, and freedom.

A lot of us just resent the monstrosity that centralized thinking has created. But we need to put that bitterness aside and come out of the shadows to contribute.

Extremely well said. Here is my response:

You’re right--there’s often very little value created in “professional” environments, which is partly why so many people are dissatisfied/frustrated with their jobs/ work life.

My book Get a Job, Build a Real Career has some suggestions, which I will summarize here.

1. Lower your cost basis (cost of living) so you can live a satisfying life while earning comparatively little money. This starts with the usual drill: cook all your own food, waste nothing, etc. The first bit of advice a successful artist tells people is “get accustomed to poverty.” But low income doesn’t have to mean unhappiness/destitution.

Focus on the highest expenses where you have the most leverage, which is often housing. How can you create value? Lots of small apartment owners can’t find anyone responsible to maintain their building, so becoming that person could drop your rent a lot. Another possibility is rent a house and then rent rooms to responsible people at rates that lower your share of the rent to very low rates. You’re in charge, you keep the place tidy, you select nice, responsible people to share the house and that’s why people will pay to rent rooms in your house. You’re creating value by taking care of all the stuff most people won’t do or can’t do.

2. Find ways to get satisfaction/meaning /purpose in life regardless of the income generated. This could be a community garden, volunteering at a church or school, or pursuing some project of your own that doesn’t rely on others’ approval or money for its success. If “work” isn’t satisfying, at least you have multiple sources of satisfaction/purpose outside of work.

3. As for work, the cliché is, find an endeavor that you would do for fun or after hours regardless of the pay. This “work” will align with your character, aptitudes, interests, strengths and subconscious/unconscious drives. As Carl Jung observed, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

And as Jerry Garcia said, "You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.”

Finding work that fits who you are is rarely easy, especially if you don't fit into the mainstream, and usually it requires a lot of compromises, hard work and dead-ends. But that’s the process.

4. Trust your network. I’m not good at networking, far from it, but the more people who know you’re a responsible hard-working person who will do what you say you’ll do, and the more people who know your interests, the greater the chances that somebody will offer you some apparently tiny opportunity that might turn into something larger with time.

5. As Drew Sample points out in our recent podcast, sometimes the best way to create value is to work on ourselves, i.e. develop the eight soft skills I list in my book that are applicable to every field of endeavor and are thus always in demand. They require dedication, self-awareness, humility and hard work to acquire. They create value in every field because all fields are now collaborative, networked, global and fast-changing.

6. Set a goal of creating multiple income streams/ways of creating value for others. In terms of living an anti-fragile, fulfilling and relatively resilient life, the ideal arrangement is multiple income streams/value creation in disparate (unrelated) fields, so if one field of endeavor is disrupted then others will still continue since they're not connected to the sector that's been overturned by technological innovation, globalization, etc.

This is what I call the Mobile Creative class--not necessarily mobile in terms of physical movement between locales but mobile between sectors and ways of generating value.

The New Class: Mobile Creatives (May 1, 2014)
The Mobile Creative credo: trust the network, not the corporation or the state.

The Changing World of Work 3: "Full-Stack" Skills (April 15, 2015)

To be honest, I’ve struggled for decades to reach this understanding. I didn’t have any mentors, so I had to mentor myself, which given my lack of experience, was difficult. Sometimes we have to mentor ourselves from the perspective that we’re going to become successful at being ourselves and adding value, regardless of our income. As our own mentor, we seek to advise and encourage ourselves just as we would advise and encourage a close friend.

This advice is not age-specific. The Mobile Creative approach to creating value applies equally to people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and yes 70s.

Drew and I discuss the process of creating value from the perspective of those working outside "professional" institutional environments: The Sample Hour 184: Creating Value.

*  *  *

My new book Money and Work Unchained is $9.95 for the Kindle ebook and $20 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via

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54 days ago
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