Tag Archives: finance

Who is better at economics, Leftists or my dogs?

And which group, Leftists or conservatives, truly has the best interests of the poor at heart?

Given that the tax bill is about to (hopefully) pass and the Left is in full pants-wetting mode over it, one might ask a couple questions about Leftists, and especially “Christian” Leftists:

  1. Are they qualified to opine on economic matters?
  2. Even if they were qualified to understand basic economic concepts, do they really want conservatives — and the poor! – to be successful?

I’ll answer the second question first: No.  They hate Trump and conservatives with the heat of a thousand suns and they have shown no reason to believe that they actually want to help the poor.  They could tell just by the stock market reaction just how successful this will be.   Just one example: Having a sale on taxes, so to speak, and letting corporations bring back literally trillions of dollars in profits at much lower tax rates means that we’ll reap billions in taxes that we never would have received otherwise, and that the money will be invested in the U.S.  That means lots of tax $$ and lots of jobs.  What’s not to like – unless you are an America-hating Leftist?

And if they really wanted to help poor blacks, for example, they’d  stop their open borders policies which allow illegals to take jobs and suppress the wages of remaining jobs.  They have had monopolies on education, politics, media and entertainment in inner cities for half a century and yet things keep getting worse for those residents.

A bunch of “Christian” Left drama queens got themselves arrested for an illegal protest and pretended it was because they were reading Bible verses about giving.  Right.  And the verses they read outed them for the frauds that they are, referencing, for example, how Jesus said to lay up treasures in Heaven by giving.  Yes, He said that, but no, He obviously didn’t mean that it involved petitioning Caesar to take from your neighbors by force to redistribute to others via counterproductive social programs.   He said to give your money.  Did I actually have to type that?!  Apparently so.  But wolves like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis pretended that Jesus really wants us to look to their government god and that the bill is bring brought by a bunch of big meanies trying to hurt the poor.  Uh, yeah, because we make so much money off of jobless poor people or something.  (This is also a good time to remind them that conservatives give more time, money and even blood than Leftists.)

The Left knows they’ll lose power, influence and votes when the tax changes actually help the poor and middle class, so why would they want that?  And before you accuse me of being cynical, keep in mind that the people most likely to cite the Matthew 25 “least of these” passage out of context aggressively advocate for taxpayer-funded abortions to the child’s first breath.  Because compassion.  And giving.  And patriarchy.  And Molech.

And did you notice how Nancy Pelosi, Cokie Roberts and other political and media Leftists have helped cover up sexual predators for decades while insisting that conservatives were waging a war on women?  Why would anyone trust them on anything?

So the answer to the second question is a resounding no.  And to answer the first question: Also no.  Here’s one of my all-time favorite posts explaining why.


Note: The message here is more important than the title indicates.  I’ll eventually share how Leftists literally fail at basic economic concepts and how that has enormous implications for every aspect of society.

I am not making this up: My dog once submitted a college test in Economics and passed.

OK, there is a little more to the story.

When my youngest daughter home-schooled her last two years of high school, the dogs would hang out with her all day.  Once when she was in the middle of an online Economics test one of them jumped on the bed, landed on the keyboard and submitted the partially completed test.  And he passed!  Fortunately, the folks at the school were good sports about the high-tech version of “the dog really ate my homework” story and re-opened the system so the that real student could complete the test (she got her usual 99% or so).

But I offer that as a segue to remind people of an extremely important fact about basic economic principles, namely that those on the Left literally fail at them.  They aren’t just a little worse than Conservatives, they fail horribly and it drives their ideology.  The details are here, but note the results of a simple eight question economics test given to those across the political spectrum (and especially note how my dog fared):

Letter grade
Very Conservative 84% B
Libertarian 83% B
Conservative 79% C+
My dog 72% C
Moderate 54% F
Liberal 41% F
Progressive/very Liberal 34% F

Got that?  Progressives / very Liberal people only get a third of the questions right.  They could double their scores and still only get a D.  But the more conservative people are the better they do, with very Conservative people achieving a solid B.

Here’s an example of one of the questions:

Consider one of the economic propositions in the December 2008 poll: “Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.” People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.

Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.

In this case, percentage of conservatives answering incorrectly was 22.3%, very conservatives 17.6% and libertarians 15.7%. But the percentage of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly was 67.6% and liberals 60.1%. The pattern was not an anomaly.

To recap that example, 2/3 of Leftists don’t know that restrictions — regardless of their merit — always increase costs.  How can they possibly make wise economic decisions?

Do not let the handsome canine below cause you to miss the key takeaways:

  • Understanding these basic economics concepts is crucial to leading properly. Therefore, Leftists should not be in charge of government.  Or economics.  Or much of anything else.  If you can’t get the basic building blocks of society right then all you will do is create more problems.
  • As the good folks at Freaknomics will tell you, Economics isn’t just about seemingly arcane financial metrics.  It is about behavior and incentives.  If you don’t understand how the basics of human nature work then your worldview is doomed to poor decision making.
  • The Law of Unintended Consequences will bite you far worse than my dog ever would (Italian Greyhounds are amazingly friendly) but the truth is that most consequences of Leftist policies are easy to anticipate.  The “War on Poverty” is a perfect example.  It wasn’t just a colossal flop, it was a completely predictable colossal flop.  It has deeply harmed tens of millions of people. We need to undo it as quickly as possible.  Leftists don’t realize or ignore that you get more of whatever you subsidize.  They subsidized single motherhood and got lots more of it, with the inescapable crime and poverty that comes with it.
  • This issue carries over to religion as well.  It is no surprise that Leftist Christian groups do much more harm than good.  False teachers don’t understand economics any better than they do the Bible.
  • All schools should host Junior Achievement classes.  These are proven to increase graduation rates and they teach critical life skills about budgeting, economics and more.  I taught them for 12 years and was continually impressed with their program.  You don’t need a PhD in Economics to understand the most important concepts.  Give me 30 minutes with a bunch of 7th graders and I will have them more fluent in basic economic principles like supply and demand than Congressional Democrats are.  And that isn’t an exaggeration.

 

The way people understand basic economic principles has an enormous influence on how well they will govern.  You should vote accordingly.  And if you love God and neighbor you won’t ignore how He wired the world.

——–

Economist Dog (TM), the hero of this story, could not be reached for comment.  He was on a conference call discussing how the demand for dog food is completely inelastic.   Also, he died last year.  We miss this special little guy!  He and his mate (pictured below) brought us countless blessings and good times and we thank God for that.

bluetooth dog

He also understood intellectual property rights and helped us earn a few $$ when this picture was used on a t-shirt sold by a large retailer.  But mostly he just chased squirrels and then sat on my lap and slept.  Backup Dog (TM) was equally loved but not quite as active.dogs

She was as cerebral as she looks here.
Back Camera

 

Who is better at economics: Leftists or my dogs?

Note: The message here is more important than the title indicates.  I’ll eventually share how Leftists literally fail at basic economic concepts and how that has enormous implications for every aspect of society.

I am not making this up: My dog once submitted a college test in Economics and passed.

OK, there is a little more to the story.

When my youngest daughter home-schooled her last two years of high school, the dogs would hang out with her all day.  Once when she was in the middle of an online Economics test one of them jumped on the bed, landed on the keyboard and submitted the partially completed test.  And he passed!  Fortunately, the folks at the school were good sports about the high-tech version of “the dog really ate my homework” story and re-opened the system so the that real student could complete the test (she got her usual 99% or so).

But I offer that as a segue to remind people of an extremely important fact about basic economic principles, namely that those on the Left literally fail at them.  They aren’t just a little worse than Conservatives, they fail horribly and it drives their ideology.  The details are here, but note the results of a simple eight question economics test given to those across the political spectrum (and especially note how my dog fared):

Letter grade
Very Conservative 84% B
Libertarian 83% B
Conservative 79% C+
My dog 72% C
Moderate 54% F
Liberal 41% F
Progressive/very Liberal 34% F

Got that?  Progressives / very Liberal people only get a third of the questions right.  They could double their scores and still only get a D.  But the more conservative people are the better they do, with very Conservative people achieving a solid B.

Here’s an example of one of the questions:

Consider one of the economic propositions in the December 2008 poll: “Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.” People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.

Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.

In this case, percentage of conservatives answering incorrectly was 22.3%, very conservatives 17.6% and libertarians 15.7%. But the percentage of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly was 67.6% and liberals 60.1%. The pattern was not an anomaly.

To recap that example, 2/3 of Leftists don’t know that restrictions — regardless of their merit — always increase costs.  How can they possibly make wise economic decisions?

Do not let the handsome canine below cause you to miss the key takeaways:

  • Understanding these basic economics concepts is crucial to leading properly. Therefore, Leftists should not be in charge of government.  Or economics.  Or much of anything else.  If you can’t get the basic building blocks of society right then all you will do is create more problems.
  • As the good folks at Freaknomics will tell you, Economics isn’t just about seemingly arcane financial metrics.  It is about behavior and incentives.  If you don’t understand how the basics of human nature work then your worldview is doomed to poor decision making.
  • The Law of Unintended Consequences will bite you far worse than my dog ever would (Italian Greyhounds are amazingly friendly) but the truth is that most consequences of Leftist policies are easy to anticipate.  The “War on Poverty” is a perfect example.  It wasn’t just a colossal flop, it was a completely predictable colossal flop.  It has deeply harmed tens of millions of people. We need to undo it as quickly as possible.  Leftists don’t realize or ignore that you get more of whatever you subsidize.  They subsidized single motherhood and got lots more of it, with the inescapable crime and poverty that comes with it.
  • This issue carries over to religion as well.  It is no surprise that Leftist Christian groups do much more harm than good.  False teachers don’t understand economics any better than they do the Bible.
  • All schools should host Junior Achievement classes.  These are proven to increase graduation rates and they teach critical life skills about budgeting, economics and more.  I taught them for 12 years and was continually impressed with their program.  You don’t need a PhD in Economics to understand the most important concepts.  Give me 30 minutes with a bunch of 7th graders and I will have them more fluent in basic economic principles like supply and demand than Congressional Democrats are.  And that isn’t an exaggeration.

The way people understand basic economic principles has an enormous influence on how well they will govern.  You should vote accordingly.  And if you love God and neighbor you won’t ignore how He wired the world.

——–

Economist Dog (TM), the hero of this story, could not be reached for comment.  He was on a conference call discussing how the demand for dog food is completely inelastic.   Also, he died in 2013.  We miss this special little guy!  He and his mate (pictured below) brought us countless blessings and good times and we thank God for that.

bluetooth dogHe also understood intellectual property rights and helped us earn a few $$ when the picture below was used on a t-shirt sold by a large retailer.  But mostly he just chased squirrels and then sat on my lap and slept.  Backup Dog (TM) was equally loved but not quite as active.dogs

She was as cerebral as she looks here.
Back Camera

 

The law of unintended consequences, minimum-wage style

Via Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn off the lights?

Asian Weekly, a Seattle-area weekly, spoke with several workers who had recently had their hourly wage raised to $15 and experienced the negative consequences of the mandate.“Are you happy with the $15 wage?” I asked the full-time cleaning lady.“It sounds good, but it’s not good,” the woman said.“Why?” I asked.“I lost my 401k, health insurance, paid holiday, and vacation,” she responded. “No more free food,” she added.The hotel used to feed her. Now, she has to bring her own food. Also, no overtime, she said. She used to work extra hours and received overtime pay.What else? I asked.“I have to pay for parking,” she said. [Emphasis added.]Asian Weekly also spoke with a part-time waitress who said her tips were much less than she used to get.While the results of minimum wage hike at the SeaTac has been mixed at best, Seattle’s minimum wage increase is a socio-economic experiment that has much larger ramifications. In fact, it may ultimately cost more to the workers that the hike is intended to help as well as to the city at-large than its backers realize.

That’s just one example of many.  This is simple: When the cost of wages rises too much then automated processes that used to be unfeasible become cost-effective.  Then jobs are eliminated completely.  Or sent overseas.  But hey, the do-gooders can release endorphins and tell themselves how compassionate they are.

Leftists don’t do a good job at thinking into the future, and they literally fail at basic economics.

Please read these timeless and simple investing tips

Yes, that is the most boring title ever, but please read anyway.  This is important.

The Sheep and the Wolves: Smart Investing Made Simple had some great advice for all investors.  There are always risks — especially in the economy we’re suffering through now where a major crash is possible — but this advice should work well regardless.  The risk of completely sitting out of the market is that inflation drives stocks up for a time and you miss out on those gains.

The odds of you timing the market perfectly or even well are extremely low.  Most experts can’t even do it.

Even picking individual stocks is a challenge for amateurs and pros alike.  When I used to work for Compaq / HP I sometimes had access to earning per share results and projections, the holy grail of investment information (no, I never abused it — I always invested steadily and could only trade in narrow windows each quarter).  But even with that knowledge I couldn’t guess where the stock would go, because we would sometimes see the stock dip even after record earnings.  Why?  Because of some comment about future earnings or even a misstatement by our CEO or CFO.  The lesson?  Don’t try and be an expert about market timing.  Even with the ultimate inside information I still wouldn’t have been sure to win.

I also saw how a company could drive up a stock price by mortgaging the future.  They would rush out a new product to hit quarterly earnings then suffer for years because of quality issues and customer dissatisfaction.  Or if times were tough they would consume financial reserves that had been built up in conservative years.  That gave the illusion that things were still going well, but eventually the reserves ran out.  In theory the Big 4 auditors would have done something about that, but their value is highly overrated (I say that as a CPA who used to be in a Big 8 firm, back before they started merging).

I was glad to see that two of the Vanguard Funds I’ve used for years were listed (VGSTX and VTSMX).  Vanguard is easy to use and their low cost model is crucial, especially in down years.  If your broker is churning your investments and charging you upwards of 2% over the course of a year, then in a year of 5% returns he has taken 40% of your gains, leaving you with nothing after inflation.  Buying a mix of mutual funds and holding them is the key.

The other key, of course, is to start early.  There are lots of ways to convey the benefits of compound interest, but no matter how much you make I urge you to start young.  If you save 10% per year for your career you will be fine in retirement.

Here’s a sample of the link.  I encourage you to read it all.

Stock-market investors are like these sheep farmers. Collectively, they enjoy investment returns of roughly 10 percent per year. Individually, however, things are different. Most investors suffer severe losses from the wolves of Wall Street. Wolves, by the way, who don sheep’s clothing to convince investors to trust them. (These investors also have a tendency to make things worse by selling their flocks when sheep prices fall and expanding them when prices rise.) If you want to be a successful farmer, you have to understand how farming works, and how to protect yourself from the wolves. Fortunately, it’s not as tough as it seems.

The financial industry wants you to believe that investing is difficult. If you buy into their message, if you accept the premise that you need help to invest wisely, they can charge you big bucks to handle your money. The truth is somewhat different. Investing is simple. In fact, it can be one of the easiest things you do while managing your finances. How simple? Let’s boil it down to just a few sentences.

Here’s how to invest wisely:

Set aside as much as you can in investment accounts. Prefer tax-advantaged accounts (like a 401(k) or Roth IRA) before taxable accounts.

Invest all of your money in a low-cost stock index fund, such as Vanguard’s VTSMX or Fidelity’s FSTMX.P

If the stock market makes you nervous, allocate some portion of your money to a bond fund. Or invest instead in a low-cost combo fund like Vanguard’s VGSTX or Fidelity’s FFNOX.

Continue investing as much money as possible. Never touch it. (Nothing makes a bigger difference to the size of your flock investments than how much you contribute.)

Ignore the news and ignore your fund.

That’s it. Seriously. That’s all you have to do to earn returns better than 90 percent of other investors.

There are scores of books and published research papers that support this strategy. It’s also the strategy that Warren Buffett (and other top pros) recommend for 99 percent of investors. If you’d like, you can spend days or weeks or months reading about why this works. Or you can trust these folks and do it.

Roundup

Just Brilliant! Three Things Only a PhD Can Believe — read it for the explanations.  It reminds of the quote by the philosopher J. Budziszewski: “Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that you must be highly intelligent and educated to commit. God keeps them in His arsenal to pull down mulish pride, and I discovered them all.”

Absurdity #1 There Are No Universal Standards

Absurdity #2 There Are No Essential Differences Between Men & Women

Absurdity #3  There Is No Clear Dividing Line Between Humans & Animals

Study: Christians Who Tithe Have Healthier Finances

. . . researchers compared tithers to non-tithers using nine financial health indicators, and found that tithers were better off in every category. “The weird thing is, a tither looks at that and says to himself, ‘Well I’m better off because I give.’ A non-tither looks at that and says, ‘Oh, they give because they’re better off,'” said Brian Kluth, the founder of the study.

The Takeaways: Some of the more interesting findings from the study include:

• 77% of those who “tithe” give 11%-20% or more of their income, far more than the baseline of 10%.

• 97% make it a priority to give to their local church.

• 70% “tithe” based on their gross income, not their net.

• 63% started giving 10% or more between childhood and their twenties

• Tithers carry much less debt than most people and are financially better off than Christian non-tithers—80% of “tithers” have no unpaid credit card bills; 74% have no car payments; 48% own their home; and 28% are completely debt-free.

• What keeps non-tithing Christians from giving: 38% say they can’t afford it; 33% say they have too much debt; and 18% said their spouse does not agree about tithing.

Has anyone tried the 7 minute workout?  Here’s an article about it and here’s an animation you can follow.  At a minimum it looks like a decent workout if you are short on time or traveling and don’t have equipment.  Potential buzzkill: The original article mentions repeating it 2-3 times.  Hat tip: The Christian Alert.

Triage: Obama Summons Media Lapdogs to Secret White House Meeting — I’m not surprised, but you would think that at some point these “journalists” might have just a tiny bit of shame.  But Obama owns them.

What Christians Do About Modern-Day Slavery

1. Pray for the victims.

Pray for the estimated 27 million slaves in our world today who are in bondage within affluent countries like America to Third-world countries like Haiti.

2. Raise awareness.

Raising awareness about this issue may not sound like an action point, but it is an extremely important component in tackling slavery. People need to know that this is happening, so it can be reported and prosecuted. . . .

3. Don’t look at porn.

As evil and degrading as pornography is, here’s another reason to never look at it. Porn is part of the problem. If you are looking at pornography, you are perpetuating the satanic industry of sex trafficking. . . .The authors show various connections between pornography and sexual exploitation. Many of the individuals who appear in pornography are slaves. They have been trafficked, drugged, manipulated in some way, and are forced to be part of this wicked business.

Then there are the forces of supply and demand, and the way that pornography creates more and more demand for the commercial sex industry. Pornography is like the gateway drug. People get addicted, and then they want something more. Pornography fuels prostitution (heightening the demand for prostitutes), and a higher demand for prostitutes means more lucrative opportunities for pimps, which means more women and children exploited by them for these purposes. So if you’re looking at porn, even if you’re not paying for it, you’re showing the advertisers and producers of pornography and all those involved in the sex business that demand is high, which then motivates them to shame and exploit even more people.

Think about that the next time you’re tempted to click on that website. Your momentary “pleasure” is contributing to the absolute devastation of women and girls and boys around the world.

4. Use your gifts.

What are your particular gifts and abilities that you could apply to the problem of human trafficking? There are many different sides to this, and many ways to address it. There’s the political aspect. We need stricter laws against these crimes. . . Lawyers need to vigorously prosecute these cases. Police officers need to know how to deal with these cases, so that a girl doesn’t go to jail because she’s assumed to be a voluntary prostitute, when in reality she’s a sex slave. Business professionals can address the issues of poverty that make many susceptible to being exploited. Doctors and nurses can help to care for victims of human trafficking.

. . .

5. Men, take a stand.

Northwestern student govt nominee’s confirmation blocked because he is a ‘heterosexual white male’ — Gotta have diversity!  Which means none of you white heterosexual males!

The same thing happens in corporations. The “diversity” organizations at Compaq and HP were the least diverse groups in the company. They were all black females, except for one guy, who was a gay black. I know a Liberal who did a magazine cover photo for a diversity group and she sheepishly admitted the same thing: It was all black females. If I were in their position I would have been insulted. They didn’t have any prominent roles in the rest of the company.

Ironically enough, our Christian Employee Network Group (which Compaq officially approved and HP did not — even though they approved the gay groups) was the most diverse group in the company. At some lunch time Bible studies I led we would have great diversity in ages (literally 20’s through 60’s), races (black, white, Asian), disciplines (accounting, manufacturing, etc.), levels (administrative coordinators through directors), and even denominations. All the other groups were as homogeneous as could be.

Worse yet, how does this square with Christian organizations being forced to include non-Christians as members? Note that this guy isn’t asking to be in a gay group, just a “diversity” group.

The shamelessness of pro-abortionists: Democrats in Congress Respond to Gosnell by Attacking Pregnancy Centers.  Then again, what would expect from people who support the legalized killing of babies?

Let’s see. Kermit Gosnell has just been sentenced on three counts of first degree murder in the deaths of three unborn babies aborted alive and involuntary manslaughter of a woman who died of a drug overdose during her abortion.  Another abortionist in Texas is reportedly under investigation for Gosnell-like behavior,” he says. “So what is the pro-abortion congressional response to this litany of horror stories. Well, according to The Hill Newspaper, “Dems look to crack down on anti-abortion ‘crisis pregnancy centers.’” Yes, that is their response, which is applauded by the likes of (surprise, surprise) NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Abortion Federation (NAF).

Another reason to move to Texas!

The title says it all: Texas requires losing parties of frivolous lawsuits to pay their own costs.  This has been needed for a long time.  It will eliminate waste, reduce stress for innocent people and give even more incentive for people to create businesses and jobs in Texas.  This is the kind of approach that led Texas to add more jobs over 5 years than the other 49 states combined.

From the Wall Street Journal:

This week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a law that will help free Lone Star State businesses from the threat of frivolous lawsuits by enacting “loser-pays” tort reform. Prior to the legislation, litigants faced a no-lose situation, while defendants stood to lose everything—even for the most outrageous, bizarre and wrongful accusations.

Even when defendants won, the legal fees associated with protecting themselves could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. As a result, many pre-emptively settled out of court, as the settlement payment would be less than the legal fees. Under Texas’s new legislation, however, litigants will be forced to pay for the defendant’s attorney fees if the case is determined groundless. This will compel would-be litigants to consider the practicality of their complaint before taking legal action, and it will protect defendants from the dire financial impact of frivolous cases.

The Texas legislation should serve as a national model, especially as we recover from the Great Recession. America has the most expensive civil-justice system in the world, costing $255 billion in 2008, or nearly 2% of gross domestic product, according to a 2009 study by the firm Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson). That’s more than twice as much as any other industrialized nation as a percent of the GDP.

From the commentary by the Wintery Knight:

One of the reasons why we are in an economic mess is because we have not reined in the excesses of the trial lawyers. And the Democrats will never be able to rein them in because they are the core of the Democrat party, along with labor unions, teacher unions, word-smithing academics, criminals, welfare recipients and Hollywood celebrities. The sheltered, non-productive segments of society, who have never had to run a business or make payroll.

He forgot to mention the abortion and LGBTQ lobbies, but otherwise it was very accurate.

Stealing from future generations

The constant cries by the theological Left to have the government redistribute wealth are more than just annoying.  They hurt more people than they help and they mock authentic Christianity. 

It is bad enough that they would ask “Caesar” to take – by threat of force or imprisonment – from neighbor A to “give” to neighbor B and consider it charity on the part of the theological Left.  That is the opposite of common sense and what Jesus taught.  But at least then neighbor A could voice his opposition and vote against it.

To make things worse, now they are funding their “giving” solely with additional debt.  This means that the ones who will pay for this faux giving can’t vote or may not have even been born yet.  These folks have found a way to steal from people who aren’t even alive! 

They are trying to help a small amount of poor people – who by the world’s standards are actually quite blessed – even though it will continue to drive more people into poverty.  It will ultimately destroy the goose that laid the golden egg. 

Forced wealth redistribution does not alleviate poverty.  If false teachers* really wanted to help the poor they’d do things like this instead:

  1. Establish and maintain the rule of law.
  2. Focus the jurisdiction of government primarily on maintaining the rule of law, and limit its jurisdiction over the economy and the institutions of civil society.
  3. Implement a formal property system with consistent and accessible means for securing a clear title to property one owns.
  4. Encourage economic freedom.
  5. Encourage stable families and other important private institutions which mediate between the individual and the state.
  6. Encourage belief in the truth that the universe is purposeful and makes sense.
  7. Encourage the right cultural mores.
  8. Instill a proper understanding of the nature of wealth creation and poverty.
  9. Focus on cultivating your comparative advantage rather than protecting what used to be your comparative advantage.
  10. Work hard.

I would add that Junior Achievement classes are proven to help keep kids in school longer.  Also, they teach essential life skills in how to manage money. 

And if you really want to help the poor, don’t just throw money at them.  Have them do some work for it.  Give them healthy, inexpensive food like milk, oatmeal, pasta, eggs, etc. instead of food stamps that can be abused. 

Friendly reminders: 1. Conservatives give more money and even blood than Liberals.  2. Liberals fail at basic economics

* False teachers include people like Jim "the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution" Wallis and race-baiting Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie

Illegal immigration = the ultimate outsourcing

Think about it.  The real objection to companies shifting jobs to other countries isn’t the location of the jobs, it is the move from U.S. citizens*  to non-U.S. citizens.  If the jobs went overseas to U.S. citizens I doubt people would object.

So what happens with illegal immigration?  Non-U.S. citizens take the jobs of U.S. citizens and consume far more resources than they contribute.  At least the Indian guy on the support desk isn’t demanding that you fund the medical and education costs for him and his family, and he isn’t committing crimes in this country.

The great irony is that open border Leftists like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis are the ones who claim to care about the poor.  But the illegal immigrants drive down the wages of the poor in this country and take many of their jobs.  What kind of “social justice” is that?

If anyone objects to outsourcing of U.S. jobs – and most people seem to — do a consistency check and ask them their views on illegal immigration.  Be sure to gently point out any inconsistencies.

*or guests in the U.S. — i.e., people who have the proper immigration approvals

Good and bad news about that evil richest 1%

Good news: They sure are evil, and it is fun to covet their wealth and blame them for all the problems in society (even though they do pay loads of taxes and provide countless jobs).

Bad news: If you consider the whole world and not just the U.S., then you’re probably part of that 1%. (What makes you think you only get to look at the top 1% in the U.S.? That seems rather arbitrary, especially for open border social justice types.) Anyone making $47,500 or more is in the richest 1% of the world. If you believe in wealth redistribution and truly want to be average then give away everything except $850 per year.

Go visit the Global Rich List site to see where you fit in (be sure to update the currency to whatever you use — the default is pounds).

99% of the people on the planet think you are rich. They could take half of what you make, live within their means and be completely debt free while still improving their standard of living by more than 10 times.

I hope you are feeling a bit richer now. I think we should all give generously. I just don’t think that asking the government to take from my definition of the rich to give to my definition of the poor qualifies as charity on my part.

He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving away from his treasures has reason to despair. He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice.

Randy Alcorn – The Treasure Principle

P.S. In case you couldn’t tell, the first line was sarcasm. Yes, there are evil rich people. And evil middle class people. And evil poor people.

Free advice for Communists, Socialists and general anti-business types

I came across a pro-Communism blog when the owner commented here.  He basically encourages people to do all manner of evil to fight: evil.  How consistent.

My advice to people like him: Hey, if you and your comrades are so smart, why not form your own corporations and run them by your definition of good ethics.  Then you’ll have such a swell place to work that you can hire away the best and brightest from your evil competitors, right?  You can put them out of business and do it legally!  You don’t even have to resort to violence.  (Disappointed?)

If you think that the evil insurance companies charge too much, then pool your resources and start your own insurance company.  Beat them at their own game!  You’ll either drive them out of business or force them to reduce prices and increase benefits to compete with you.  Not only are you more righteous than your competition but you are smarter as well, right?  You can’t lose!

You know you have the skills to know your markets, follow all the tax, financial reporting, environmental, labor and other laws, keep your employees safe, make payroll, create and run efficient business processes, and so much more.  And you can do all those things better than your enemies.  Beating them will be so easy.

Or do you know how to do any of that?  Would that be too much work?  Isn’t it easier to plot how to take down “the man” and then release some endorphins?

And what is your plan once you take down the evil corporations and trash everyone’s retirement accounts?  Who will be left to pay taxes to support all your dreams?

I know a little bit about business and how jobs are formed, and it is tragic that Obama’s cabinet has, by far, the least business experience of any administration. I know what sends jobs overseas. They have no idea what creates real, lasting jobs — the ones that ultimately fund the government.

As I’ve said before, capitalism has its rough edges but it beats out every other “-ism” in a serious way.  Its critics never seem to realize that their plans bring the “killing the goose that laid the golden eggs” story to life.

Roundup

25 rich and famous athletes who went broke — bad advisors, greed and bad decisions happen to non-athletes as well.  Lots of lessons there.

Taking back the schools — Now teachers are getting fired just for being conservative. 

The Left’s stranglehold on education is going almost completely unchallenged, which is one of the Right’s greatest failings, and nothing less than a dereliction of duty by federal, state, and local Republican parties. No attempt to truly advance conservative ideas or repair the damage the Left has done to this country will be complete without a full-blown offensive to restore integrity, accuracy, and fair-mindedness to the schools. Millions of children are being taught to accept at face value false premises about our form of government, historical falsehoods presented as fact, a laundry list of supposed sins tarnishing the image of their country, and other core tenets of liberalism.

A transcript from a presentation by a GLSEN group (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) —  Warning: Very graphic (though I can’t miss the irony that I reflexively warn adult readers of how gross this link is while at the same time these GLSEN leaders thought the conversations were completely appropriate for your kids).  They claim to be all about preventing bullying, but read this link then know for certain what a despicable lie that is.

These clubs are revolting and have no use in schools. They use the Trojan Horse of being anti-bullying to get them in. But why have sex clubs just for that? All you need is a simple and thoroughly enforced anti-bullying policy: If you physically or verbally harass other students on or off school grounds you will have swift and serious consequences. It doesn’t matter if you are bullying because they are gay/straight/fat/thin/smart/dumb/pretty/ugly/etc., or if it is just because you are a mean jerk.

I defy Joanne and the other GLSEN defenders to go through every word of that link then come back here with a straight face and defend it and tell me again why I should believe that these groups are just about bullying.  Then again, when people support perversions like this why should we be surprised when they lie about it?


You know you’ve won a debate on abortion when the pro-abort resorts to the worst kind of moral relativism and religious bigotry. When another commenter asked if the author accepted any intrinsic difference in the values of a calf fetus and a human fetus, the blogger replied:

There are two differences: Biologically, obviously a calf fetus is structurally different to a human fetus. And socially, the majority conventionally view humans as being of more value than animals.

But fundamentally, the way I see it is that we derive the social difference from our ability to relate to these different species. And we all have different views on the matter. For instance, monotheistic religious people tend to see humans as basically superior to all other lifeforms. Personally I have a far more complex view than that. Some people, such as vegans, don’t see any ethical difference at all between killing humans and killing animals.

What is even more sad is that the blogger was pretending to be taking the abortion debate seriously.  It is amazing what people will say to justify the unjustifiable.  They pretend to be pro-science but go into non sequitor mode as soon as you remind them of the scientific fact that a new human life begins at conception.

Car buying tips

I hate buying cars, primarily because I don’t like to be lied to.  But I know their games.  I’ll be buying another car this summer and have been getting psyched up for the experience.

Unless your current car is costing too much in terms of repairs, seriously consider holding onto it.  It is the least expensive car you’ll ever own.

Don’t just buy a new car to get better gas mileage.  Do a little math and you’ll find out that it will take years to pay back your investment.

Buy low maintenance cars and hold them a long time.

Don’t buy high-tech extras like DVDs and GPS systems.  They cost 4-5 times what portable versions do and will be outdated quickly.  They cost a lot to fix if they break.  You also can’t transfer them to other vehicles.

Don’t look too eager when talking to a salesman.  You must be ready to walk away.  They get serious about negotiations when you are walking out.

Make your best deal on the price, then tell them you don’t like surprises and you’re sure that they won’t add in any charges such as “advertising fees” when they do the final paperwork.  Those should be part of the negotiated price, but they often sneak them in later.  A guy did that to me and I told him the deal was off unless he removed the $250 charge.  He did.

Don’t let them tell you they are “only” making $25 (or whatever) on the car.  That is a silly partial truth they use to describe the intercompany profit when one division of Honda, for example, sells to another division.  It is meaningless, especially when they try it on a CPA.

Go through the fleet dealer at the dealership if you can.  Most dealerships have a sub-group that sells to businesses who buy multiple cars.  Those buyers don’t have time for the gamesmanship of spending a whole day negotiating over each car.  The prices tend to be lower and non-negotiable.  Individuals obviously don’t buy a whole fleet of cars but sometimes a group like a credit union will combine the purchasing power to get fleet deals. You can submit what you want on the web and within an hour you’ll have lots of quotes. 

Save up and pay cash.  When you tell them you’re ready to write a check when they agree to your price it gives you negotiating leverage.

Do your homework at a site like Edmund’s.

Botox

I read this morning that people in the U.S. spend over $1B per year on Botox.  Wow.  One bank will even give you a loan for this all important procedure of injecting poison into your head to temporarily reduce your wrinkles.

I was getting a haircut once and a lady who was waiting recounted her most recent Botox experience:

  • Spending hundreds of dollars plus time to get the treatment
  • 3 days of painful headaches
  • Less than stellar results, in my opinion – her forehead was as smooth as glass but rather incongruous with the rest of her face

After all that she still gave no indication of stopping future treatments.  Weird and sad.

I know we can all spend money frivolously sometimes, but when in doubt I often think of the cost of sponsoring a child with a group like World Vision ($28/month).  The cost of a Botox treatment could feed, clothe and educate a child for a year, not to mention send her a message of hope and love.