Business

Quit bashing the successful

If you spend enough time on Facebook, you’re bound to see some of the meme’s floating around about income inequality.  They point out how little one group of people make, then talk about how some CEO brings in so much more than they do.  These memes are designed to point out how gross the difference of income truly is and try to motivate people to oppose the discrepancy.

They’re also completely irrelevant.

Folks, I have run two businesses.  Both were classified as small businesses.  I own one, and was running a friends for a little while.  I know a little bit about business at this point.  Not a lot, but a little.  One thing I do know for sure is, it ain’t easy and not just anyone can do it.  This is also true of a lot of other aspects of business.  Here’s an example from Democracy for America.

DFA Meme

Now, it’s pretty obvious the difference in income.  Of course, it’s also irrelevant.  While Ray Dalio’s income really is pretty high, there are some key differences between what he does and what a teacher does.

First, teachers are far more common than hedge fund managers.  That automatically dilutes the market for their skills.  Second, Dalio works year round and most likely puts in some pretty insane hours.  That includes a lot of weekend and holidays, periods when teachers are off from work.  In addition, that summer vacation that teachers get?  Probably not a factor for Dalio.

Senate Republicans ask White House to “permanently delay” ObamaCare

A little more than a week after the Treasury Department announced that it would delay the employer mandate and reports of further problems with implemention, Senate Republicans sent a letter to the White House yesterday asking that President Obama “permanently delay” ObamaCare for all Americans.

“We write to express concern that in your recent decision to delay implementation of the employer mandate, you have unilaterally acted and failed to work with Congress on such a significant decision,” said Senate Republicans in letter signed by all 45 members party’s caucus. “Further, while your action finally acknowledges some of the many burdens this law will place on job creators, we believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families.”

“In response to questions about the administration’s decision, your senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said, ‘We are listening,’ while referring to the concerns of the business community over the onerous employer mandate that will result in fewer jobs and employees working fewer hours,” they continued. “We have been listening as well, and as more employers have attempted to understand your burdensome requirements in the Affordable Care Act, the louder their outrage has become.”

Another speech from Obama, another huge disappointment

Obama gives State of the Union

Last night during a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama gave his fifth the State of the Union address where he laid out his agenda for the next year. As was anticipated, the speech carried over the Leftist themes of last month’s inaugural address and was more aggressive in tone.

Despite recent GDP numbers showing that the economy contracted in the last quarter of 2012, President Obama started off the hour long speech by repeat a familiar line, explaining that “[t]ogether, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.”

After a couple of shots at Congress, President Obama spent a few minutes discussing the sequester, claiming that “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.” Obama claimed, “we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.”

If only that were true. In Cato Institute’s response to the State of the Union address, Michael Tanner explained, “Let’s be absolutely clear — there have been no spending cuts under this President.”

In 2010, the first year that this President was responsible for the budget, the federal government spent $3.4 trillion,” noted Tanner. “Last year, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion, and for the first four of last year, we’re spending at a fast pace than the first four months of last year.”

Obama: You didn’t build your business

Obama

President Obama has been accused of conducting class warfare.  His supporters, obviously, disagree.  They see Obama merely as fighting for the rights of the lower and middle classes against the all-powerful wealthy.  However, this latest quote from the president takes a shot that may just go astray:

If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.

Yes.  He really said that.

However, let’s look at the whole context:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Using cash for secondhand transactions now illegal in Louisiana

Sometimes I see things that I just can’t believe are true. This is one of those times.

Earlier this year, the Louisiana legislature almost unanimously passed a law that prohibits the use of cash in secondhand transactions.

The story on this one is that the law is intended to create a paper trail when people steal things like copper or other materials from a construction site. Forcing a check, money order, or electronic payment would make it easier for law enforcement to find a thief. I understand that argument, but there are some real problems with this law.

U.S. currency is valid for all transactions. On the front of our currency is the line “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” Prohibiting the use of legal tender is a bit of an oxymoron.

Records of each transaction must be kept for 3 years. When you hear people like me fussing about unnecessary government regulations hindering businesses, this is the type of thing we’re talking about. This law requires businesses to keep very specific records for each second hand transaction so that law enforcement can find people they suspect are thieves.

The information to be collected by the dealer includes: date, location of purchase, name and address of seller, driver’s license or passport number of seller, license plate of vehicle used to deliver the goods, a full description of all materials being purchased.

Libertarianism and the Center: The Appeal

I have previously argued that we as libertarians should target our appeal to centrists. Libertarians and centrists share many characteristics, mainly the common value of independence and the rejection of the Republican and Democratic ideological orthodoxies as presented. Furthermore, the center has quite clearly been the electoral kingmaker in recent history, so the political advancement of libertarians depends significantly on their success in winning centrist votes.

Obama Mocks Plumbers

See Video

Obama has run and, surprisingly, sustained one of the best managed campaigns since at least Reagan ‘84, but I believe he made a significant mistake by going after McCain with recent “Joe Plumber” attack lines. “A plumber is the guy he is fighting for”, Obama said sarcastically to a revved up crowd Thursday. Ironically, if Obama truly convinces the median voter that McCain is “fighting for plumbers”, then he will likely lose Ohio and Pennslyvania.

Unprecedented New FED Tactics

Today the Federal Reserve invoked “Emergency Powers” in order to further expand its reach into the economy. There are many inherent problems with central banking. There are even more problems with central management of the day to day workings of the economy. Seeing the recent devastation in the credit markets - which was mostly created by the FED - the FED has been trying desperately to contain the situation, but its traditional policies are just showing little to no results.

American Failings

I don’t write much over here these days.  It’s not from a lack of caring about our great nation, but trying to provide for my family. It’s just how the world works, and you’re not going to hear me complain about that.

Unfortunately, in this nation, that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Every day, someone somewhere in this country writes something about how people are being exploited. Workers, they say, are being exploited by greedy employers who only want to make money. They write that workers should be paid more.

They never mention how it’s fine for employees to expect more money but not fine for an employer to want money at all.

So many people spend time talking about the “little guy.” Everyone wants to root for the “little guy.” I get it. We love to see people succeed. Hell, half our entertainment involves the underdog winning against the more powerful foe. Why else do we love things like Star Wars?

However, when the “little guy” succeeds, he becomes the “Man.” We love stories about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates when they rise from the dregs of society, then turn on them when they work to keep the wealth they earned.

If we have a failing as a society, it’s that we spend so much effort on the “little guy,” when it should be just about the “guy.”

We should respect the individual and his efforts to achieve, but we should also respect his efforts to keep what he lawfully earned. We need to stop assuming that every employee who makes minimum wage actually should be earning a hell of a lot more.

You’re unskilled? Get some skills and get a better job.

You’ve got a degree in English Lit and you’re working as a waitress? Quit complaining about the system when you took a crap degree in the first place, knowing there weren’t jobs out there in your major.

Millions of business health plan cancellations could be looming

The millions of health insurance policy cancellations that Americans are receiving have been well-publicized and created a political firestorm for President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. But it may just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

President Obama and his apologists have insisted that the health plan cancellations only hit a small portion of the public — “fewer than 5 percent of Americans,” they say, though, that equates to as many as 15 million people. But the “grandfathered plan” regulations — which are responsible for the cancellations — affect more than just a small portion of the market.

Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) estimates that employer-based health plans may see substantial changes in 2014 that could affect anywhere between 50 million and 100 million Americans:

A new and independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall — right before the mid-term elections.
[…]
An analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, shows the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predict up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.


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