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Showing posts from 2012

Quick Thought About Being Rich

Except for those poor souls who win life's lottery early by being born into wealth, most of the people in this country who are rich, are rich by choice.

Having been in business for 30 years, I know a little bit about pricing and profit. I make a comfortable living, my employees make a decent salary, I pay enough taxes for myself and a few others, but I don't make Bill Gates-like amounts of money. I don't make Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Alex Rodriguez, Lil' Wayne, Bill Clinton or Warren Buffet type of money.

Why not? Are they that much smarter than me? Mmmm, maybe. Lucky? Probably quite a bit of that. Maybe they ask for too much money and then people give it to them.

I have always had a bit of a problem with people who can sell something for $1000 when it takes them $100 to make it. Even more so, if they sell 100,000 or even 1,000,000 of them with the same margin. Now that is gross profit.

Sure, I know what value is. It is the price someone is willing to pay for what …

1st and 2nd Amendment - It's All a Matter of Perspective

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Today on Fox News Sunday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was on to talk about the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT.

What Sen. Durbin, who always sounds sincere and grandfatherly when he speaks, said was this:
But gun control is part of it. We need to sit down and have a quiet, calm reflection on the Second Amendment. Are there guns that really shouldn’t be sold across America? Military assault weapons such as the one involved in this horrific incident in Connecticut?Are there high ammunition clips, high capacity ammunition clips that have no value, whatsoever when it comes to sporting and hunting and even self-defense? The person could buy body armor, take that body armor and use it to protect themselves as they kill innocent people.Can we have a thoughtful, calm, reflection on these things? And do it in the context of our Second Amendment? I think we need to. David Muir, on ABC News Sunday Night, said on several occasions that they will be fostering a "national conversation" throu…

Secret Obama Debt Reduction Scheme Revealed

Tuesday's agreement by mega-bank, HSBC, to pay a record $1.9 Billion in fines has inadvertently revealed a secret Obama administration scheme to quietly reduce the national debt and allow more social spending which, according to one unnamed administration official is "the funnest part of getting that mandate from the American people."

In light of the HSBC $1.9 Billion, the Standard Charter $327 Million, the $619 ING Million, and previous penalties assessed against Barclays, UBS and Citi, today's page one article in the Wall Street Journal about UBS's near settlement of yet another penalty due to interest-rate rigging, it appears that Washington has fallen upon a win-win situation.

Because these violations never result in prosecution of any individual (I guess corporations are people after all) due to a newly revealed trick called deferred prosecution, several beneficial benefits occur.

First and foremost, the number of attorneys both on the financial side and in …

Is Modern Medicine Making the Murder Charge Obsolete?

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Is it time for a new murder charge? Let's call it "intended" murder rather than "attempted" murder. According to a front page article in today's Wall Street Journal, homicides are falling despite soaring gun violence. Part of the decreasing number of deaths by shooting or stabbing is not from reduced numbers of violent acts, but from better trauma care.

Just like the space program gave us Tang and integrated circuits in the 1960s, our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the 2000s has taught our medical practitioners how to patch up and save victims who would have surely died if their misfortune had occurred only a decade before.

While this advance is hailed as a societal benefit of modern medicine, does it actually benefit the perpetrator more than the victim? The victim of traumatic violence will likely have to endure painful and sometimes disfiguring injuries for the rest of their unnatural life, while the purveyor of the deed will avoid being charged wi…

Why Higher Tax Rates for the "Rich" is not Wise

Let's be clear. Most consumers of the Obama post-campaign campaign agitprop have as much of an idea of the difference between an increase in the tax rate and an increase in tax revenue as they do the difference between profit and profit margin.

President Obama campaigned relentlessly on raising the tax rate on the top earners... "those people like me, who can afford to pay a little bit more to help reduce the deficit", he would say in that sotto voce that became so familiar on the stump.

And really, who could disagree that the filthy rich (most of whom are Democrat Party supporters), couldn't afford to pay "just a little bit more"? After all, for them, a checkbook rounding error would fund my family for a year.

So what is the harm in raising the top rate from 35% to 39.6%. I mean, that was the rate during Clinton's final years in office. They were the golden years and look how great a shape he left the economy in. (Discussion of the Internet bubble and …

The Parable and the Fairy Tale

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I found myself yelling at the TV today while watching Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner telling interviewers what "we" (meaning the President's administration) are willing to give up to avoid plunging over the Fiscal Cliff. He talked about needing a tax rate increase (nevermind the ultimate goal of revenue enhancement).

He spoke to Chris Wallace of Fox New Sunday about the trillion dollars to be saved by not fighting two wars (that President Bush had already started ending), and how they want to increase beneficial spending on extended unemployment benefits (to help relieve the mortgage crisis {he actually said that}), $150B in infrastructure, and another year of payroll tax holiday and more.

Is this guy kidding? I have never seen as cocky and condescending an individual in politics as Geithner. No wonder Sen. Mitchell laughed at his proposals and Speaker Boehner called it a "silly" proposal that left him "flabbergasted".

It all reminded me of my favor…

Fiscal Cliff or Blind Man's Bluff?

The gamesmanship and pettiness of our newly re-elected President and his enablers acolytes in the Legislative branch is fast becoming epic. Those that know Obama for what he is see that he now has donned his true cloak, that of a player, not a leader. It is obvious that this man has no plan to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, nor does he really desire one. All that his side wants is a scapegoat and many in the Republican party are lining up to be the first to slaughter.

With his lapdog, Senator Harry Reid, going after Grover Norquist while the MSM looks the other way, the pressure mounts to quickly bring the Republicans to the point where the President not only does not totally get what he wants (higher taxes on the wealthy Republicans), but the Republicans will split their party in the process of trying to stop him. Then, and only then, can Obama get down to the real work at hand.

Obama is greasing the skids even now by photo-opping with random small business persons, union leaders and rich b…

Manufacturing, the panacea for the unskilled masses?

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I just read a great blog post called Manufacturing Fallacy Debunked. It echoes many of the things I have said in the past... that the creation of that $58 Blue-Ray DVD player is a minor part of the value accumulated by the time you plunk down your hard earned cash swipe your credit card with your unemployment earnings. The process involves licensing on the parts and intellectual property (assuming that the Chinese actually pay for IP), shipping, off-loading, customs, trucking to warehouse, warehousing, re-trucking to retail store, stocking the shelf, cashiering and then clearing the money for the transaction. All of these things are profit centers that fuel HUGE amounts of additional money and jobs. PLUS, don't forget the actual profit that goes to Wal-Mart's or Target's stockholders and the state/local sales tax.

I still laugh at the term "good manufacturing jobs". No one wanted to work in these jobs. Parents forced two generations of children to get a better e…

The Next Four Years (and beyond)

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Fifty three percent (53%) of my being wants to let this corrupt and incompetent administration and its acolytes in the Congress just go ahead and have their way with this country because that is what the 53% want. It is all about the majority, right?

Even though the Republicans have a small majority in the House that can thwart some harmful legislation, there will be a white-hot push to get the Republicans to "compromise" with the Left so that we can "progress" as a nation. (Remember, Republicans who stick to their principles are called obstructionists, while Democrats who stick to their beliefs are labeled principled.)

At this point in my life, I want to let go and give these brilliant thinkers and their tribal / herd / pack-animal followers the keys to the machine. I guess I am going all "Who is John Galt" in my old age.

I am going to hunker down, grow my business to the extent possible during the expected economic decline and do what I can do to minimi…

You Won, America

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Last night was a bitter pill to swallow, but I forced myself to take it all in. I even forced myself to watch Obama's victory speech in Chicago. All of the pageantry and stagecraft came to the fore. The crowds, the flags, the huge video screens, the music, the choreography. The only thing missing was the balloon drop.

But, you won.

You won pre-existing conditions. You won free birth control pills, insurance exchanges and adult children on your employer's health insurance. You won a clear road to cap-and-trade (a clearer road than some of those  on the Jersey Shore have after Sandy), you won expanded oil and gas exploration (yeah, right) and you won lower taxes for the middle class (uh-huh). You won more green energy pushed down on you from Washington instead of up from the market. You won the ability to lay higher taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals (ask the luxury boat industry how that all worked out) and you won the right for more marriage equity or whatever you ca…

How a Layman Would Fix Health Care in the US

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I have been thinking about this a lot lately. The Left talks about health insurance as a basic human right and they make anyone who opposes universal coverage out to be a rotten, selfish bastard. As I have stated, if health care is a basic human right, then food, shelter and sex should be provided to each according to his need, as well.

This posting will stipulate that everyone needs access to health care whether they can afford it or not and whether they have helped pay for it or not. My own feelings on personal responsibility have been made well known. I do not like paying for slackers and moochers. Having said that, there are millions in the US who want to work and either cannot find work or the work that they do have does not provide any sort of health insurance. These people need some sort of protection. As for the moochers, they always seem to find a way.
I am not a professional journalist or researcher, so my facts and figures should be taken with a grain of salt, but I believ…

Ladyparts vs. Ladysmarts

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After watching the lastest spewtum from the Obama campaign, specifically the new video with Lena Dunham (any kin to Obama's maternal side of the family?) starring as the #MyFirstTime girl, I have to ask a few questions. 

Do these women really represent the majority of females in this nation? Liberal women express a reflexive and overpowering desire to have their own way with their bodies (uh, that didn't come out right did it?) while demanding seemingly unlimited intrusion by the Grand Overlord of Government on every other facet of their lives. (Speaking of Dunham, I wonder if Obama's mom had had access to the panoply of the modern tools of "Reproductive Rights", if we would even be having this discussion, but I digress.)

Be it health care, tax policy, suppression of the Second Amendment, helmet laws, Dodd-Frank, mandatory health insurance taxes, mandatory seat belt laws, mandatory recycling laws, mandatory GMO labeling, mandatory solar power, EPA control over p…

Voter suppression or empowerment?

This whole faux issue of accusing Republicans of promoting voter suppression by wanting positive ID at the polls brings up a subject that I have been solving in my mind for the past 30 years... how to stop real voter fraud at the ballot box. I would like to throw my two cents worth out there for comment.

First, I am a strong believer in requiring just a little bit of effort in order to be allowed to vote. Now, before the left goes off hollering that voting is a right that cannot and should not be suppressed by any method, according to the Constitution of the United States, there is no explicit right to vote. Most voting rights are granted by the states and by extension apply to the Federal elections. In fact, when the Constitution was written, the people actually voted for only one office, their Representative. The Senate was chosen by the several states' governing bodies, and the President and Vice President were chosen by Electors. These Electors were chosen by various state met…

How to fix the Electoral College and not have to amend the Constitution

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For the past several days, the huge topic in the Twittersphere (at least the precinct that I hang out in) has been getting Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and Virgil Goode voters to shift over to voting for Romney this November. The argument is that a vote for either of those men will be a defacto vote for Barack Obama.

One need look no further than the Ross Perot vote in 1992 to realize that Ross Perot gave us Bill Clinton for eight years. That is a fact.

Americans are typically not sell-outs (don't get me started about Middle Eastern foreign policy.) As a rule, we make up our minds and stick with it through thick and thin. How else can you explain unwavering devotion to the Chicago Cubs?

Along comes a primary season before a Presidential election. Your guy gets in there and mixes it up with the other candidates, the weak ones drop early, but the strong ones hang on, often staying in the race until the convention. At the convention the eventual winner is anointed, usually with votes from…

How America rewards it's responsible home owners

Here is a quick tale of two homeowners...

There are two houses on the same street. Both were built in the same year and both were identical houses. The first house has been owned by Joe for five years. It was a decent house when Joe got it, but Joe has neglected his home, choosing to spend his money on lottery tickets and having a good time. Joe has several kids still at home, but he never makes them mow or do anything around the house. Each year, his home is assessed at an ever decreasing value, meaning that his property tax bill decreases, even though property taxes are primarily used to fund public education for kids like his.

The second house was owned by Joe's brother who was an even bigger loser than Joe and he was finally foreclosed out of his house after three years of effort by the bank. Even though the house was just like Joe's when he bought it, he took care of it even less than Joe did. When he lost his job at the mill, and the bank started to foreclose on his mort…

Selfish Bastard

Today is the day that President Obama gives his acceptance speech at the Democrat National Convention. Driving home, listening to the POTUS channel (ch 124) on XM Radio (yes, I am hopelessly a political geek), I hear the Foo Fighters complete a song at the DNC and then a video comes on the big screen. 
From the sound of it, there are about six or seven people talking about what America is to them. A land of hope and dreams, a land where you are one paycheck away from financial destruction, one illness away from bankruptcy, and a land where there is infinite possibilities if only there is help to get to the promised land.
While hearing that, I am thinking to myself, what is wrong with all of that? Then one of the speakers blamed President Bush for an all-out assault on the middle-class. Tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the hard-working, broken-back (not broke-back) middle class workers.
Through the gauzy music and the misty eyes, I start feeling like a self…

Hopelessly Divided

Watching the Twitter stream during last night's Republican National Convention coverage was telling. On a night that featured Ann Romney, whose goal was to introduce her husband to the viewers, and Gov. Chris Christie whose goal was to fire up the base, the contrast between left and right could not have been greater.

The left whined about rich folks, back breaking work, no health care, union busting, hate, racism and despair. The right focused on God, country and the ability to pull one's self up by one's bootstraps. The right also talked about the oncoming pain that will occur when/if we break the addiction of trillions of dollars of handouts.

What I feel on the morning after the night before is a sense of "will it ever be right again?"

Our nation is divided pretty much 50-50 along the lines of "give us what we need" vs "earn what you get". The right wants limited government and the left sees that as wanting NO government. Something as simple…

Moochers, Buyers and Thieves

I've been thinking about this whole "they stole wealth from the third world" idea lately. Then I ran across this piece from George Gilder on National Review. George talks about how ideas and mental disciplines are as big of a part of production as are the raw materials... bigger actually.

It made me think about Saudi Arabia. The nationalists and the anti-colonialists decry the fact that the US, et al, are stealing the oil from the Saudis. The Saudi royal family and many other hangers-on in the kingdom are rich beyond imagination because we are paying them $85-$110 per barrel for something that costs them $5 to produce. Theft? Yes... but in the other direction.

I say that in jest, because in a non-coerced economy, we, the consumers, pay the producers what we think the value is and not a penny more. This is where we are with oil prices, right?

Back to the point of this post. How many cars, trucks, airplanes, plastics, fertilizer, cosmetics and on and on did the Arabs inven…

The Romney VP Choice: Paul Ryan

I just saw Chris Matthews on MSNBC, frothing, as he usually does, about Ryan's budget proposals. About how his proposal will cause a tax increase for the middle class... for everyone watching his program right now, just so that the richest Americans (including MANY lefties who steadfastly refuse to pay more taxes than they are currently required to pay) can get a 20% tax cut.
I am not rich, but I sure pay "my fair share" of taxes. As little as I clear each year in my business (we are supposed to make a profit aren't we?), I always cringe to find out how much I will have to come up with to make sure I have paid enough. Tax refunds? Hah!
As I have stated in a previous blog post, if the government confiscated every last penny of taxable income from the richest 1%, it would make a dent in the annual deficit but wouldn't allow for a surplus. Armed with this knowledge, even a fourth grader could figure out that by making our currently progressive tax rates more "pro…

Sick of it all. Fallout from Chick-Fil-A day.

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I just read a blog post that I was made aware of on Twitter. Shaun Dakin posted an article called "In 1966 I Would Have Been A Criminal: My Thoughts on Chick Fil A and How Religion Is Used For Hate". In it he makes the point that his marriage to an Indian-American woman would have been illegal in the State of Virginia, and that he doesn't understand how so many people could use a religion to promote hate. In a way that is a very naive point, since the second largest (maybe even the largest) organized religion in the world bases much of its raison d'ĂȘtre to hating and killing large swaths of the human population, but I digress.

First and foremost, Christians who firmly believe the Bible's teachings (that is really who these self-righteous people are attacking) are not promoting HATE. In fact, if these Christians are true believers, the Bible teaches to hate the sin but love the sinner.

At some point in any person's life, they must decide what they feel is righ…

If someone with a clue was running Romney's campaign

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Sheesh. These guys are supposed to be the smartest people in the room, right?

It is now an accepted part of the new normal that we are a 50.1% / 49.9% nation when it comes to left and right, right? Well, we didn't start out that way. As few as 30 years ago, presidential elections were competitive, but not super close. Now, armed with vast computing power and the methods by which they can slice and dice data, the cognoscenti know which 6 or 7 states are in play. They then hone their message to speak only to the demographic of the specific 'undecided' voter. (How ANYONE could be undecided in this election still boggles my mind...)

It occurred to me today that we are in this razor-thin margin situation precisely because of the ads and the polling and the scientific manipulation, not the other way around. Like any scientific observation, sometimes the reason things are the way they are can actually be caused by the scientific observation, and not so much on the static environm…