March 2011 archive

The IRS may get over a billion dollar windfall because taxpayers failed to ask for it.

There is no time limit for the IRS to pursue a taxpayer for failing to file a prior year’s return when money is owed to the government. The same is not true from the taxpayer’s perspective. Time is ticking for those who failed to file a 2007 tax return upon which the government owes a …

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Judging a Horse Race Without Any Horses

Gallup recently announced the results of a survey that is interesting not so much for the results but the implied thinking about how people choose among a large list of possibilities with limited information.  Specifically the survey dealt with the Republican candidates for president in 2012, of which there are currently none. By comparison the …

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Is There Really A Relationship Between Public Union Contracts And States’ Fiscal Messes?

The recent political standoff in Wisconsin over the collective bargaining rights and benefits of public union employees received significant national attention and will likely be repeated in other states. Some newly-elected governors, such as Governor Walker of Wisconsin and Governor Kasich of Ohio, are attempting to balance their budgets in part by altering public unions’ …

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Clicks and Mortar

If I were to mention Staples (as a company, not the little metal things) you might think of the bright white letters on a red background of their storefronts.  You might think of the cute ‘easy’ buttons in their commercials.  You might think about the sports center located just a short walk from where most …

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A Primer On Creating & Using Surveys

Opinion polls (surveys) are used extensively to understand almost everything that cannot be looked up as a scientific fact.  But, poll results are only as good as the sampling technique, survey instrument, and interpretation process that underlie the reported conclusions.  Lots of things can and do go wrong in this regard. This article provides the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/03/a-primer-on-creating-using-surveys-2/

A Primer On Creating & Using Surveys

Opinion polls (surveys) are used extensively to understand almost everything that cannot be looked up as a scientific fact.  But, poll results are only as good as the sampling technique, survey instrument, and interpretation process that underlie the reported conclusions.  Lots of things can and do go wrong in this regard. This article provides the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/03/a-primer-on-creating-using-surveys/

“Too Big to Audit” is no defense

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) again reported that it cannot render an opinion on the 2010 consolidated financial statements of the federal government, because of widespread material internal control weakness, significant uncertainties, and other limitations.” This has occurred for years. Although each year the federal government states improvements are being made, the bottom line answer …

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Should the U.S. Eliminate the $1 Bill and Save $5.5 Billion?

Some in Washington are focussed on what can be done to reduce the U.S. government’s budget.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a formal proposal to the Treasury and Federal Reserve to eliminate the $1 bill and replace it with the $1 coin.  The GAO estimates that the elimination of the $1 bill will save the …

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How to Properly Prepare a Computer for Sale or Donation

New Jersey just released a report of a state audit that showed that almost 80 percent of the used computers it was ready to auction off contained information.  In some cases the disks included sensitive personal information that could be used for identity theft. The full report is available here.  It is pretty safe to say that …

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Amazon Pushes Back

California State Board of Equalization member George Runner released a statement saying that Amazon.com informed him that they will cut off all California based members of Amazon’s affiliates program if any of four proposed measures currently in the legislature become law.   Amazon’s position came in the form of a letter from Paul Misener, Amazon’s Vice President for Global Public Policy.  …

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