Archive for category Current Issues
I just received an email from Whitehouse.gov asking me to complete a short survey. One of the questions was, “What made you share content from Whitehouse.gov?” As background information, the content I shared is links to the petitions on the site.
Here is my answer to the survey questions.
“I like some of the petitions. I feel like it is my only way to get government to focus on the important issues, namely, following the constitution of the United States. Both parties waste time and money trying to solve peoples personal problems. We are adults, protect our rights and let us take care of ourselves.”
It is so frustrating to want something so simple and have our representatives plug their ears and keep meddling.
I have been a lender with Prosper since the fall of 2007 and am glad to say things are finally going well. There were certainly some bumps in the road those early years but the system seems to have steadied considerably. Investing this way is still not a sure fire home run, great care must be exercised when selecting individuals to loan to, but a handsome return can be had with diligent effort.
I have not borrowed on Prosper but would in a heartbeat if the need arose. It sure beats dealing with banks and helps a fellow investor at the same time.
Join me on Prosper and take a small bite out of the banking system while earning safer/better returns than the stock market.
I just added the Freakonomics Radio feed to my sidebar (bottom right). This is the best podcast anywhere for people with inquiring minds!
Senator Michael Bennet sent me an email yesterday asking for ideas on “how to reform Washington”. Here are the thoughts I respectfully provided in response.
In response to your question, “How do we reform Washington to deliver results to the American people?” I have the following thoughts.
Thank goodness for “partisan gridlock”; without it I shudder to think how much this congress would have spent. We don’t need to freeze spending at the higher levels you and President Obama have instituted, we need to SLASH spending. The historically unprecedented deficit and debt are a more serious threat to our nation than any foreign government or terrorist organization.
We need to end the thinking that “government solves problems for Americans.” Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the Governments job is to babysit citizens. The thinking that Americans need government to provide, jobs, health care, and happiness is flawed. Companies provide jobs when government gets out of the way and quits trying to control the economy. Health care is not a right; no one has a right to the labor or money of another person. Americans are the most self reliant and productive workforce in the world, quit treating us like children who cannot take care of themselves. Get out of the way and watch us grow.
Finally, quit governing to the lesser citizens. By this I mean we need to govern with the ideas in mind of how do we help the producers in our nation produce even more, hire more, innovate more. Instead our government keeps wanting to subsidize the net consumers in our populace. By subsidizing unemployment, “free” healthcare, and non-production we get increased government expenditures with no return. Oh you might get a return at the ballot box with people perfectly happy to be a dependent of the State but our Nation is made weak. No matter how much we spend subsidizing citizens who consume more than they produce, we cannot make America prosperous. However, by getting out of the way of producers and innovators we can make America strong as our history has proven.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to assisting you in reforming Washington to a “hands-off” model. Best Regards, Allyen E. Wilson III Lakewood, CO
My wife Stacy and I received an email newsletter from our Senator, Mr. Mark Udall, D-CO. The newsletter tells us how proud he is that he is supporting legislation to “put an end to credit card companies’ abuses.” He is also proud to be supporting legislation, “reining in out-of-control federal spending.” I am all for controlling spending, yet Mr. Udall wants to control federal spending while supporting the public option in health care reform, what a conflict in ideas!
Anyway, Stacy wrote and emailed the Senator with a concise and expertly written summation of our views on these matters. Please enjoy her remarks below.
Two thoughts for you in response to your newsletter.
At what point are we going to hold people responsible for using their credit cards beyond their ability to pay? Do we actually expect the credit card companies to continuously lose money because of the poor decisions made by their customers? Why is all the focus on regulating corporations, while not a word is said about individual responsibility? It doesn’t seem to matter what the industry is. The prevailing attitude seems to be to control corporations. Forget the fact that millions of Americans choose to spend beyond their means.
Which is related to my second thought. The government has an opportunity to demonstrate restraint in spending, showing Americans that it is possible to live within available means. You can’t always have everything you want when you want it. Please do not raise the Federal debt ceiling. That sends the wrong message to Americans who need to be more individually responsible. The government has got to get responsible for its behavior too.
Side note: I neither want nor expect government to ENSURE that I have:
- A job
- A house with a cheap mortgage
- Healthcare insurance
- The ability to buy whatever I want whether I can pay or notIndividual responsibility and hard work must once again become a hallmark of our society.
Here is a terrific video of MEP (member European parliament) Daniel Hannan giving British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a dressing down. The speech could just as well been directed at President Barack Obama.
I wish we had straight talking conservatives (other than radio talk show hosts) who would take up our cause like Mr. Hannan. I am going to meet him tonight, June 26, in Denver, CO. I very much look forward to it.
I just heard this letter read on the radio. It is a letter from a company owner to his employees. The document is not an actual letter but a philosophical story about American ideals of self determinism. It corresponds with my earlier post on how America has Lost its Americanism. The letter is reminiscent of Ayn Rand’s works of fiction and the hero John Galt. I wish the letter had be composed by a better writer, but the ideas are strong enough to ring loud and clear. Read the letter and tell me where it is wrong.
To All My Valued Employees,
There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.
However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.
First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Cadillac outside. You’ve seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I’m sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.
However, what you don’t see is the back story.
I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was
converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.
My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.
Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.
So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don’t. There is no “off” button for me.
When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe
this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Cadillac, the vacations… you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made.
Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who
didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.
Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.
Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:
I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.
The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?
Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.
The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.
Here is what many of you don’t understand … to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.
When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you?
Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it.
Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.
So where am I going with all this?
It’s quite simple.
If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future.
Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.
Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be
destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.
So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this
country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….
As I watch current events unfold regarding the recession and misguided efforts to stimulate the economy I am struck by the contrast of what America used to be and what she has become. America was founded and flourished with its basis in individual liberty. America was the melting pot of the world because of its opportunity. Opportunity to be free and determine your own destiny. Of course, you were not guaranteed success, only the opportunity to pursue success.
I was reminded of these concepts while recently watching the movie, Cinderella Man, starring Russell Crowe as James Braddock a heavyweight fighter in the 1920′s and 30′s. The movie portrays Braddock as an up and coming fighter with a good string of successes when the stock market crash of 1929 hits. The depression brings an abrupt halt to his fighting career. Not knowing anything else, and with jobs scarce, he does ANY job he can find to support his wife and 3 children. When his wife sends the kids to live with her sister because they have no food to eat, Braddock is angry and determined to get them back. He goes to the mens club where boxing promoters and gentlemen go to socialize, drink and smoke. Braddock removes his tattered hat and with heavy heart begs for money. He is embarrassed, humbled, and nearly defeated to be in such a position. The gentlemen give him money and are embarrassed to see such a young, strong man brought to this.
Today, no one has enough pride to feel responsible for ones own outcome. We are not only willing to beg, we demand that we be taken care of by others. The US government used to exist to provide the common defense, make treaties, regulate international trade, etc. Now, we care not for these things, we demand that we be coddled with guaranteed jobs, guaranteed health care, guaranteed outcome. The only positive outcome of this situation is we will no longer have to be concerned with illegal immigration. We will be the same, pathetic, individual debasing, nation as all the others. Our days of being a beacon of hope for the individuals in the world who want to be producers will be over.
American men like Braddock wanted to earn everything they got, they did not want charity. Only extreme conditions, almost unheard of today, could drive these men to beg. Now, Americans today don’t WANT charity, they DEMAND it as a right. In their eyes charity no longer exists, whatever they want they deserve. America is in dire need of more Americans.
When I first learned about the Nature Conservancy many years ago I was excited that there was an environmental organization that aligned with my vision of conservation through free market capitalism. Essentially, if you want to protect land from development you buy it. If you own it you can do with it as you see fit.
However, the Nature Conservancy has increasingly been falling in line with the global warming alarmists. Today I have discontinued my monetary support for them and am looking for a new organization that I can give to without being subject to the “nature good, humans bad” metallity. Your suggestions for such organizations are appreciated.
Below you can read the text of an e-mail I sent to the Nature Conservancy.
Hello, After many years of monetary support for the Nature Conservancy, my wife and I have decided to direct our money elsewhere. I am concerned about the organization’s increasing focus on human carbon emissions as a significant effect on climate change. Today I received an e-mail from the Nature Conservancy announcing that I can now “offset my carbon footprint” through the Nature Conservancy. This solidified my decision to identify another organization that aligns with our vision to conserve the environment without being distracted by the hysterics of rabid environmentalism.
As a scientist myself, I find it hard to believe that your scientists truly believe humans are a significant effect on climate. Instead, I think you are using the current carbon footprint hysteria to cash in. I understand the temptation to follow the frenzy to gain funds to do good conservation work, but the ends do not justify the means.
I totally support the objective to protect wild lands through private property ownership and stewardship, but can no longer sit by while the Nature Conservancy crafts policy based on flawed science and political expediency. Please remove me from your donor, e-mail and other communication lists.