Finances Political Commentary

The old classic, lying with statistics

Replied to Exaggerating China’s military spending, St. Louis Fed breaks all statistical rules with misleading graph (

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis published a jaw-droppingly misleading graph that portrays China as spending more on its military than the US. In reality, the Pentagon’s budget is roughly three times larger.

In an accompanying report, the St. Louis Fed admitted that China’s 2021 defense spending was just 1.7% of GDP, “which was the lowest share among the six nations in the figure”.

Yay! I love Actual Propaganda! With a good ol dose of racist fearmongering 🙃

My Biostatistics teacher in college devoted our entire first lecture to discussing ways you could lie with data, so we would be better able to recognize it — and hopefully, not do it.

If we acknowledged how much we waste on bloated military spending, we would have to come to grips with our spending priorities. We would have to acknowledge what we don’t buy with that money. Some of that money could help stop children from going hungry, or keep diabetic people (who aren’t on Medicaid) from dying for lack of affordable medicine 🤷‍♀️ (To name some real problems in the US that shouldn’t be controversial yet somehow are.)

A much more accurate graphic created by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation shows how, as of 2022, the United States spent more on its military than the next nine largest spenders combined – including China, India, the UK, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea (and several of these countries are close US allies).

Some of what our $$$$$$$ military spending buys is impressive: a rapid response force that can be wheels up in under 18 hours (the logistics of that alone are mind-blowing), a sophisticated anti-tank weapon that still beats out everything anyone else has and is making a huge impact in Ukraine, and development of GPS.

Preserving self-governance in Ukraine A+++++++ But mayyyyybe we could spare some of the $850 billion we’re spending on the military this year to care directly for people?



Liked Book publishers just spent 3 weeks in court arguing they have no idea what they’re doing by Constance Grady (Vox)

The Justice Department alleges the publishers’ proposed merger would form a monopsony, or an unfair buying market.

A monopsony is the mirror image of a monopoly, and is sometimes called a buyer’s monopoly. Instead of a market with only one seller who can charge whatever they like, a monopsony is a market with only one buyer, who can set their price however they like.

I don’t see how anyone could with a straight face say that two of the biggest publishing companies merging, who are anticipated to publish more than a third of the market, is not detrimental to writers having a competitive market to sell their work. But, we don’t seem to care about that too much 🤷‍♀️

See also: Book industry insights from Penguin Random House merger trial


Financial planning tool

Bookmarked On Trajectory (

Put Yourself on a Path
to Financial Freedom

The plans you make today can move you toward the future you seek—or not. OnTrajectory is a quick and easy way to move yourself forward, and prepare for life’s bumps and detours.

Activism Finances Resources and Reference

Research ethical investments

Bookmarked (
Entrepreneurship Finances

Cooperative Patreon alternative

Bookmarked Comradery (Comradery)

Collect money from your subscribers on a cooperatively owned platform

Activism Finances Political Commentary

Wage stagnation vs corporate profit

Bookmarked Artists You Need To Charge More: Income Inflation (Lily Williams)

If we take the average woman artist’s 1980 income of $24,153 dollars and plug it into the US Inflation Calculator, we learn that in today’s 2021 money that would be $81,073.47. However, when we compare that $81,073 to what the 2020 Census numbers are for artists… we find that the average income in 2020 was only $52,340. Meaning, yes, artists income hasn’t adjusted for inflation since the 1980s.

We know worker productivity has gone up dramatically while wages have stagnated.

We know corporate profits have gone up and CEOs are making vastly more than workers.

We know the cost of most consumer goods as a proportion of income have gone down. (Though housing and medical care and education costs have skyrocketed. Stuff is cheap, but essential needs are laughably out of reach for many. No wonder we’re such a consumerist society, it’s all we can afford.)

So… basically all those CEOs and companies are stealing from their employees by not fairly compensating them and keeping all the profit for themselves and shareholders… and/or goods should cost more.

Why aren’t people angrier? Why are we so resistant to taxing the people who are stealing from us to provide services for all? Why are so many opposed to raising the minimum wage?

Is it possible to be rich and ethical? I’m rich as workers go, owning a house in the Seattle area in a DINK household, and have money in the stock market for retirement – so I am also stealing from the share of profits that should be given to workers. But not participating in this form of capitalism won’t help workers, it’d just hurt me by having no retirement money. Can I balance participating in the system with advocacy for workers rights?

Looking forward to reading this new book Wallet Activism by Tanja Hester. Hoping to think more about how to improve the world from within capitalism while also being skeptical of change through spending.

Finances Society The Internet

UBI from Cryptocurrency

Bookmarked Proof of Humanity and the Universal Basic Income Coin by Scott Santens (

On March 10, 2021, Proof of Humanity’s UBI coin went live on the Ethereum Mainnet. For anyone who doesn’t know what that sentence means, it means that a cryptocurrency project was launched using the most popular smart contract blockchain in the world, with the goal of eventually providing a basic income to every living human being.


I’m happy to see people trying to use crypto for good instead of pyramid scheming.

But this project seems ill conceived. It incentivizes people to contest the status of other real people because then they get to keep their money. You have to have a chunk of money to start – impossible money in some parts of the world I’d say ($600ish). And the “money” you get has to be traded to be able to be spent (unless your landlord takes crypto?), so the value of your UBI might fluctuate.