How much does Donald Trump earn in a year? During Sunday's debate he said he made $694 million last year, but that's a lie. That figure represents revenue: that is, how much his various enterprises took in. You have to subtract expenses, interest on loans, and so forth to get to net profit, which is what gets passed through to Trump as personal income. Any child running a lemonade stand knows this. Selling $5 worth of lemonade doesn't mean you made any money if you also had $5 in expenses for sugar, lemons, cups, and payoffs to your little brother to go play somewhere else.

So then: how much did Trump's enterprises actually earn? Nobody knows, but MoJo's Russ Choma has uncovered a revealing nugget. Trump's records show that he's highly dependent on revenue from his golf courses: they pulled in 42 percent of his total revenue, or $296 million. But how much did they earn in profit? Nobody knows that either. But we do know how much two of his golf courses earned:

Trump's FEC financial form noted that his two Scottish golf courses earned him a combined $23 million in "golf related revenue" last year....But the public filings the courses submitted in the United Kingdom tell a much different story....When interest, depreciation, and currency exchange losses are factored in, Trump's Turnberry course lost over $2 million in 2015. And the corporate filings in the United Kingdom show that Trump's Aberdeen course lost about $1.6 million.

That means that Trump's reported income on the FEC financial disclosure forms regarding just these two projects is $26 million more than what they actually made. If these courses are representative of Trump's overall finances—$23 million in "golf related revenue" is really a $3 million loss—his declared $296 million in total "golf related revenue" may well be highly overstated.

"Highly overstated" indeed. In fairness, Trump's more established courses are likely to be more profitable than his newer Scottish ones, but even if his golf courses are well run, they'd be lucky to pull in net earnings of 10-15 percent. If Trump paid too much for them and has run them poorly—which seems likely—his golf earnings might be more like 3-4 percent. That's in the neighborhood of $10 million or so. Or maybe zero. Who knows?

There's no question that Trump is a rich man. Even independent observers figure his net worth is around $3 billion. And with that kind of wealth, he almost certainly makes a lot of money even if he manages his businesses poorly. But $694 million? Not a chance. I'd wager that his income is in the range of $50-100 million.

While Donald Trump is doing his best to immolate the Republican Party, Hillary Clinton is...making proposals to assist people in need. Boring! This is, however, the kind of thing we typically expect from presidential candidates, and Clinton's new proposal is on a subject that's been close to her heart for her entire career: helping children.

In particular, she's proposing a two-part change in the child tax credit. First, instead of kicking in at $3,000, it would kick in at $0. This would help people in the deepest poverty. Second, for families with children four and under, it would max out at $2,000 instead of $1,000. The chart below shows what families would get per child compared to the current CTC (in blue):

The mainstream press pretty clearly couldn't care less about this, and I suppose that's hardly surprising given the Hindenburg-like dimensions of the meltdown of one of America's two major parties. Still, surely it deserves a little bit of attention?

UPDATE: My original chart was wrong. The current child tax credit starts at $3,000 and increases by 15 percent of income until it maxes out. The Clinton credit starts at $0 for children of all ages, but increases more steeply for children four and under. Apologies for the error.

A new Vox poll exposes the love-hate relationship that millennials have with their smartphones:

A slight majority of those under 45 say they agree with the statement “the ability to be constantly connected to the internet with a smartphone can make me feel stressed out.” In contrast, only a quarter of those over 65 agreed with the statement. Seventy-eight percent of people under 30 found the constant connectivity of their smartphones distracting.

I imagine this feeling of being stressed comes from a feeling that you have to stay absolutely current about everything. Every alert might be something important. Donald Trump just said something stupid! Val and Kim are moving in together! This is the cutest kitten ever! Even if it's just a quick OMG, you feel like you have to participate.

I sympathize. The difference is that as a blogger, my time scale for being current is measured in hours or so. There's a certain amount of stress in that, but at least it's limited to one thing (political news) and doesn't require me to literally respond within minutes. Social use of smartphones is different. A text requires immediate response, usually within seconds or minutes—which is sort of ironic since one of the benefits of texting is supposed to be that it's asynchronous. Technically it is, but in real life hardly anyone treats it that way.

But I imagine that things will all sort themselves out. Our phones will get ever smarter, and eventually our AI avatars will just respond for us. At some point, most communications will just be our smartphones chatting with each other while pretending to be people. That way, we stay in the loop, but we can catch up with things later—and hope that our smartphone didn't make any horrible social faux pas. Welcome to the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, Republicans are fleeing from Donald Trump en masse. The Republican Party is in turmoil. But where other people see chaos and doom, Donald Trump sees an opportunity:

Thus was born today's Twitter meme:

Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald reports on the latest from Donald Trump:

At a rally in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump spoke while holding a document in his hand. He told the assembled crowd that it was an email from Blumenthal...."This just came out a little while ago," Trump said...."He's now admitting they could have done something about Benghazi," Trump said, dropping the document to the floor. "This just came out a little while ago"

Ah, Sidney Blumenthal, the unkillable Rasputin of the Clinton family. Conservatives sure do have a way of somehow putting him at the center of every scandal. This time, though, Blumenthal has an ironclad alibi: he never said this. He did email a Newsweek article to John Podesta—which was hacked and released by WikiLeaks a few days ago—but that's all. It was Kurt Eichenwald himself who said this stuff, not Blumenthal.

So how did Trump make this mistake? According to Eichenwald, the only news organization that reported this was Sputnik, a Russian controlled news agency:

This is not funny. It is terrifying. The Russians engage in a sloppy disinformation effort and, before the day is out, the Republican nominee for president is standing on a stage reciting the manufactured story as truth. How did this happen? Who in the Trump campaign was feeding him falsehoods straight from the Kremlin?

Who indeed?

News you can use from Aaron Carroll:

Perhaps no one in the United States has spent more time investigating the occurrence of bacteria on public surfaces than Charles Gerba.

According to Carroll, Gerba's research tells us that it's just fine to eat food that you've dropped on the floor. This sounds suspiciously like motivated reasoning to support the stereotypical male point of view, and I'm a little curious to learn what Mrs. Carroll thinks of this. I suppose we'll never know. In any case, the argument here is that your average floor is no more germy than any other surface in your house, and less so than many. Kitchen floors, for example, have about half the bacteria of kitchen counters.

That's all fair enough, but what about ordinary old dirt and dust? My kitchen counters have almost none of that. My kitchen floor has lots, thanks to the fact that I walk on it, the cats walk on it, the dust accumulates until I vacuum it, and so forth. It may be that dirt and dust aren't likely to make you sick, but it's still a little disgusting to have it all over your food. Or am I being a little too fastidious here?

Of course, it also depends on the food item. If a peanut M&M fell on the floor, I'd have no qualms about rubbing it clean with my shirt and then eating it. But a leftover piece of chicken? Probably not.

I wonder what Donald Trump would think of all this? He's a famous germaphobe, but he also apparently thinks that fast food is safer than other foods because it's highly processed and standardized. So what would he think about an M&M that fell on the floor?

UPDATE: Mrs. Carroll speaks!

A new paper from a trio of Fed researchers suggests that our recent sluggish growth is mostly a result of demographic changes and technological slowdown. The retired share of the population has increased, which means the working share of the population has decreased. Since workers are the ones who produce goods and services, it makes sense that GDP growth will slow down in an economy with fewer adults of working age. Ditto for an economy in which technological progress is slackening.

I've pointed out the same thing before in the case of Japan, and it makes sense. But how about in the US? The easiest way to see the rough shape of the river is to simply look at GDP per working-age adult. That eliminates most of the demographic issues. When you do this for the US, you get a trendline that still shows a decline in GDP growth: it's down by about one percentage point since 1978.

You can also look at total factor productivity, which gives us an idea of the effect of technological change that's independent of demographics. Over the past 60 years, it's been pretty flat.

Both of these are volatile series, so take them with a grain of salt. That said, productivity hasn't changed much, but GDP per working-age adult has steadily decreased anyway. This suggests that neither demographics nor technological progress really explains things. So what does?

NOTE: This bit of amateur economics was made possible by a grant from the Committee to Prevent Endless Blogging About Donald Trump. The author thanks them for their generosity.

This is only one poll, and the sample size is small. Still, it's the well-respected WSJ/NBC poll, and it suggests the possibility of unprecedented doom for the GOP in November:

In the new survey, Mrs. Clinton jumped to an 11-point lead over Mr. Trump among likely voters on a ballot including third-party candidates, up from 6 percentage points in September....The weekend survey found signs of women moving away from Mr. Trump. Mrs. Clinton’s advantage among women increased to 21 percentage points, from 12 points in the September Journal/NBC Survey. Mr. Trump retained a small, single-point advantage among men.

Eleven points! Among women, Clinton is now 21 points ahead, up nine points since the previous poll. This polling was done over the weekend, after the Pussygate tape was released but before Sunday's debate.

In other words, it might get even worse. In fact, since the rumor mill suggests that more videos of Trump are coming over the next few weeks, it probably will get worse. Trump seems to think that a press conference with Paula Jones will turn this around, but that's beyond crazy. Republicans are already jumping ship to save their own skins, and polls like today's will feed the panic. Soon Trump will have nothing left but the Old Confederacy—a fitting end for a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic creep.

Liveblogging a debate is an odd thing: You have to listen carefully to what the candidates are saying, but you're also furiously typing away to deliver your brilliant commentary to a waiting world. For me, it's exhausting. I have a one-track writing mind, and it doesn't appreciate having background distractions. That's why I can't listen to music or have the TV going while I blog.

Obviously I have no choice during debates, but it means sometimes I miss things. Especially visual things. However, I know that my readers want to be au courant on all internet memes, so here's one I missed last night: Looming Trump. Apparently Donald Trump is too hyperactive to simply sit in his chair when the other person is talking, so instead he wandered the stage. More often than not, he ended up about five feet behind Hillary Clinton, looming over her:

My guess is that this wasn't deliberate on Trump's part. It's just an instinctive part of the stupid dominance games that control his life. On the other hand, some of his stupid dominance games were very, very deliberate:

Donald Trump’s campaign sought to intimidate Hillary Clinton and embarrass her husband by seating women who have accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual abuse in the Trump family’s box at the presidential debate here Sunday night, according to four people involved in the discussions.

The campaign’s plan, which was closely held and unknown to several of Trump’s top aides, was thwarted just minutes before it could be executed when officials with the Commission on Presidential Debates intervened....The gambit to give Bill Clinton’s accusers prime seats was devised by Trump campaign chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and Jared Kushner, the candidate’s son-in-law, and approved personally by Trump.

That's Jared Kushner, as in "Ivanka Trump's husband":

As the candidates' immediate family members shook hands it was also noticeable that Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton, friends of years' standing, ignored each other. Ms Trump had spent the last few days absorbing the news that her father once called her a "voluptuous piece of a--". She looked sad, almost tearful, throughout the ensuing 90 minutes as Mr Trump attempted to crush the life out of his opponent.

Um...I'm not sure that's why Ivanka and Chelsea weren't on speaking terms. I think my boss has the better take:

I had the weirdest dream last night. I was in this big room with American flags all around, and it turned out I was watching a presidential debate. But unlike the real debate, this one featured Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. It was totally surreal. The moderators were asking Trump about sexual assault and Trump was insulting someone or another—maybe Rosie O'Donnell? I couldn't tell. But seriously, it was Donald Trump. Can you imagine?

Then I woke up. Whew. But it turns out the GOP is stuck in nightmare hell, and there's no waking up for them:

The Republican Party was at the brink of civil war on Sunday as Donald J. Trump signaled he would retaliate against lawmakers who withdraw their support from his campaign, and senior party leaders privately acknowledged that they now feared losing control of both houses of Congress.

....A wave of defections from Mr. Trump’s candidacy, prompted by the revelation of a recording that showed him bragging about sexual assault, was met with boastful defiance by the Republican presidential nominee....In a set of talking points sent to his supporters Sunday morning, Mr. Trump’s campaign urged them to attack turncoat Republicans as “more concerned with their political future than they are about the country.”

....Much of the party appeared to be in a state of paralysis, uncertain of how to achieve political distance from Mr. Trump without enraging millions of voters who remained loyal to his campaign....The Republican National Committee took on the aspect of a fortress: Numerous Republicans who sought to reach the committee’s top officials said they were unable to get through, though Reince Priebus, the committee’s chairman, flew beside Mr. Trump to the debate in St. Louis, even as Republican elected officials rejected their nominee en masse.

On Saturday I pondered what the Republican Party would do when appeals to its white base were no longer enough to win. Perhaps this is the answer: they'll go up in smoke. Maybe that's what it takes to force a major party into the kind of profound change they need to survive.