Cheat Sheet Q&A: 

Do we give our elected leaders in Washington too much credit for being smarter than us?

Here’s today’s entry:

Hi Brian, recently I overheard a conversation taking place regarding why our elected leaders in Washington seem to be increasingly poor at their jobs representing us.  One of the ideas suggested was that we give them too much credit for being smarter than they really are.  I thought that was interesting and what to get your perspective on that idea.

Bottom Line:  Yes – so if you have a question or topic…  Kidding… (mostly)  Great question.  To tackle this question with data, which is what I think you’d expect from me, the best metric to try to tie us all together is our IQ.  First us:


·         Avg. IQ of an American:  100


·         Average IQ of Floridians:  98  (Highest – Connecticut 113, lowest Mississippi – 85)


·         Average IQ of college grads:  115


So that provides an overview of us – the constituents.  Now let’s take a look at the people that represent us.  First Congress:


·         Average IQ of an elected US House Rep:  101


Surprised yet? Here’s the Senate (naturally it’ll be higher right?)


·         Average IQ of an elected US Senator:  98


Things that make you go hmm…  right?  Lastly here’s the range of IQ’s of former US Presidents


·         The range of IQ of US Presidents 120 – 169 (excluding Pres. Obama – this study was conducted in 2006)


Now for a point of reference here’s the IQ deviation chart:

Q Range


140 and over

Genius or near genius


Very superior intelligence


Superior intelligence


Normal or average intelligence




Borderline deficiency

Below 70

Definite feeble-mindedness



·         The average member of Congress is of average intelligence and thus is not any more intelligent than the average American & is actually a standard deviation of intelligence below the average college grad


·         The average President is actually two standard deviation of intelligence above the average American and one above the average college grad


Here’s a quote from Mensa's Lisa Van Gemert:  "Anybody with very high IQ, they have the ability to manipulate, process and interpret information at a deeper level and a higher speed than the average person”. 

If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:

Audio Report: 


With most states accounted for... how much more the same health care plan will cost you in January:

Bottom Line:  So 31 states and D.C. have complied the requests for increases by health insurance companies for 2015 policies.  It’s clearly not the final word but with more than half of the information available here’s what 2015 health insurance is looking like.


·         Average cost of like health insurance plans for 2015:  8% higher than 2014


And the average increase for the previous decade…  8%.  So in year two of the individual mandate and year one of the phase in of the employer mandate its back to usual for health insurance costs.  Which again is why regardless of your political perspective, the ACA is an abject failure.  It did nothing to address the actual crisis in healthcare…  The cost of the healthcare itself.  Even if we do see a 3% salary increase next year (which would be the best since 2007), healthcare as a percentage of our overall budget would still increase by 267% beyond your pay increase.  Unacceptable and unsustainable.  When will we learn?

Audio Report:


The other Apple announcement on the 9th - Apple to become a huge player in Mobile payments:

Bottom Line:  We know that at a minimum on the 9th Apple will announce the following:  New iPhone(s), iPad(s), iTime (their smart watch) & iOS 8.  Add mobile payments to that lineup. 

Bloomberg has confirmed that MasterCard, Visa & American Express have signed agreements for mobile payments initiated by Apple.  This means that Apple intends to take on Square, Google Wallet, PayPal, Billpay, etc.  Given that Apple is the #1 seller of smart phones and tablets they certainly could be well positioned to create a seamless mobile payment experience that may be more secure than the traditional card swipe at point-of–sale machines in traditional retail and otherwise would be similar for digital transactions. 

Audio Report:


Most Americans shopped for something over Labor Day weekend but did you get a good deal?

Bottom Line:  According to survey and research work from RetailMeNot here’s how we shopped over Labor Day weekend:


·         65% of all households participated in Labor Day sale buying


So if you were average over the weekend you were buying something on sale.  That’s up from 59% last year Labor Day weekend btw.  So how good were the sales?


·         The average item purchased on sale was 25% off its regular price


That’s not bad but I hope you kept your power mostly dry because the average item purchased on sale during Black Friday weekend which is only 2.5 months away (crazy right?) is 55% off.  In any event the increased participation is another indication of an improving second half economy for 2014.

Audio Report: 


Turns out that 2014 is turning out to be the year of the man in the workforce - don't worry ladies - it's not a bad thing:

Bottom Line:  Perhaps the biggest workforce irony, after the full devastation of the Great Recession had be realized, was the leveling of the workforce playing field.  As we know women had traditionally lagged in terms of positions of power, total numbers and income.  During the Great Recession the most heavily impacted industries, with the largest layoffs, were industries dominated by men, i.e.:  Construction, Manufacturing & banking\finance.

By 2010 for the first time ever there were more women working in the US than men (about 50.5% to 49.5%).  According to data for the Bureau of Labor Statistics that seems to have reversed over that last year and generally it’s a good thing. 

Over the past year 55% of new jobs have employed a man (clearly vs. 45% for women).  The net result is that nearly 51% of the workforce is back to being occupied by men.  That’s a positive because you do still see that if you have single income households (due to a stay at home parent) 80% of the time the woman is still the stay at home parent.  What these numbers do suggest is that many of the long term unemployed men have been going back to work of late, even if just part-time.  Regardless – it’s a positive correction that’s playing out in the job market.  

Audio Report: