Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Landia

A certain man (we will call him bob), leaves his homeland of Landia with his wife and young son (bob II) to escape the tyranny of an out of control King. In this new land there are no guarantees except that what is yours is yours and no one else shall take it.

Bob and his family and lives a happy life in the new land. Some years later Bob's son Bob II is the mayor of the New Landia the town that Bob founded, and decides it would benefit the greater good if everyone would trade some of their property for more security. There was much rejoicing.

Some years later Bob II's son Bob III is born in the new land, and is taught the history of the old land and the tyranny that Bob I faced when they left their family homeland. Bob III grows, is educated, and becomes a Thane of the territory of New Landia. Bob III is considered to be a wise and generous Thane, helping those who cannot help themselves, and taking only what is necessary from those who can afford to give it. There was much rejoicing.

Bob III too has a son and names his son Bob IV, as is the tradition with Bobs. In his final act Bob III declared that there will no longer be a hereditary Thane ship, but an elected Governor. Bob IV of course runs for Governor and being from the proud line of Bobs that the people of New Landia have trusted for 3 generations, Bob IV is elected.

As Governor of New Landia Bob IV must be reelected quad annually. Bob IV is no fool, he realizes that in order to be elected he must simply give the majority of people what they want, so he embarks in an ambitious program to reform New Landia to make it more livable so that the people would no longer have to live with the concerns and fears that his grandparents had to live with. To pay for this sweeping reform Bob IV takes what is necessary from the 49% of people in order to give free everything 51% to make sure they continue voting for Bob IV. Using this method Bob manages to stay in power for a very long time.

George, a citizen of New Landia is part of the 49% who has to pay for the 51%’s free everything. George regards this as Tyranny and takes his family and leaves New Landia to found New New Landia, where there are no grantees, except that what is yours is yours and no one shall take it.

George and his family and lives a happy life in the new land. Some years later George's son George II is the mayor of the New New Landia the town that George founded, and decides it would benefit the greater good if everyone would trade some of their property for more security. There was much rejoicing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fixing Healthcare While Keeping Capitalism

There is a reasonably simple solution to health care that I have not heard yet (in it's entirety from one source)

1) limit mal-practice settlements to the cost of correction and wages missed*.

2) Tax employer sponsored plans as ordinary income.

3) Allow Health Savings accounts to have pre-tax contributions and tax free withdrawals for health related expenses. (this is how it works today)

4) Mandate that all citizens have health insurance. Nothing fancy, just minimum protection for catastrophic injury. This also requires that certain states change their laws regarding minimum coverage that insurance provides to allow for the minimum coverage.

5) Incent employers to provide health insurance for employees by offering a tax reduction of x% of their marginal rate if they provide at least the minimum plan and an HSA.

eg. If the reduction was 5% and the employer was in the a 30% top marginal tax bracket the employer would pay 25% on income over the level where 30% is to be in effect. This reduction in tax paid by the employer would be calculated to be equal to the new tax generated by the tax on employer sponsored plans.**

These measures would encourage employers to provide high deductible plans with attached HSAs. The nature of these plans would require that there are no green lists of doctors who accept only certain plans allowing people to shop their treatment, causing greater competition within the health care arena. Another useful provision would be to change the way doctors are compensated to be more results oriented unfortunately I am not sure exactly how to do this. I would like to ask a doctor how this could be done.

*Use a formula based on the individual's education, and career level

** The actual percent reduction would take a lot more calculation than I can muster at 11pm.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Income Tax Slavery

In America we like to think of ourselves as a nation of free persons. We have been lead to believe that Slavery ended with the Civil War. We have been mislead. Slavery still exists in America. We as Americans own nothing, not even ourselves.

Every year on the fifteenth day of April, we file our Federal Income Taxes. A statement declaring how much money we owe to the federal government based on how much money we earned that year. We think of income tax as a tax levied on the individual, it is not. Income tax is nothing more then the Federal Government exercising it’s ownership of its citizens.

Income tax is, in reality, rent paid by our employers to the federal government for the usage of its citizens. If you are a regular W2 employee, you never get to touch any of the money that the government takes in the form of income tax. It is simply “deducted” from your paycheck and sent off to Washington, with not one red cent passing through your hands.

If you are self-employed, and file a 1099, you are renting your own services from the federal government. The money passes through your hands, but the Federal Government even goes as far to tell you that you are your own business. In that regard it is still the employer not the employee footing the bill for Federal Income Tax.

The undeniable proof that the government regards you, as their property is what happens when rent is not paid for your services. If income tax is not paid then the government has the right to come and repossess you and take you to one of their facilities (prison).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Barack wants you to pay more for what you buy

For once I agree with something that Obama wants to do. In his announcement yesterday our fearless leader said that he wants to end the practice of American corporations sending money and jobs overseas to foreign tax havens. The problem is how he wants to do it.

Barack wants to end tax havens by making everyone pay our astronomically high corporate tax rate. As it stands right now the USA has the second highest combined corporate tax rate in the developed world. Only Japan has higher. According to KPMG's 2007 Global Tax Rate Study, US corporations pay at a rate of 40%. An absurd number considering the that same study cited an average global rate of 26.8%.

This measure of effectively increasing the tax rate on any company who does any global business would do nothing but raise the price of goods in America. The reason for this is that corporations don't pay the taxes imposed on their profits, the consumer pays the taxes imposed on corporate profit. Lets say XYZ corp makes soup, and it costs XYZ corp fifty cents to make a can of soup. XYZ corp then sell the soup for one dollar, giving XYZ corp a profit of fifty cents per can. Now lets suppose that the government wants to impose a 10% tax on soup companies profits. XYZ corp isn't going to take that hit to their bottom line. XYZ corp will simply raise the price that it charges for a can of soup, in order to keep the same margins. So instead of XYZ corp charging $1.00 for a can of soup, XYZ corp would charge $1.05* so as to keep it's fifty cent per can profit intact. This would decrease the number of cans of soup bought, which would cause XYZ corp to be forced to decrease the cost of making a can of soup by either paying people less or laying off a few workers. Either way a bad situation for anyone working for XYZ corp.

A far more reasonable and pro growth measure would be to lower our corporate tax rates, and make the USA a tax haven. Lower tax rates would compel more companies to move operations to the USA, which would drive up revenues, lower prices, create jobs, make certain that the USA remain the economic power that is has been for the past century.

* to keep profit at exactly $.50 XYZ corp would have to sell their product for $1.0454545454545etc but fractions of cents aren't that easy to carry around so they would round up.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When I was younger my father told me that the real reason that you get a summer job in college wasn't to earn some money, it was to remind you why you were studying hard. The point of doing the menial labor type of job most often held for summer employment was so that you would work hard and not have to ever again hold a menial labor type of job.

Over the course of this period of unemployment, I have made a return to the world of menial labor. To keep up with the bills I have returned to my old part time job working for a catering company. I am not alone. At this one catering company I have been joined by a half-dozen other out of work professionals, including two former IT professionals, who's company went out of business, an advertising salesman, formerly of a local radio station, and an accountant who was involved in foreign trade.

In the beginning I loathed it. I hated putting on the all black uniform. I hated serving plated lunches to Mary Kay sales women, setting up buffets for bar mitzvahs, and bar tending wedding receptions. I found it demeaning. I thought "how could I Mike Morgan, with a college degree from Butler, have to stoop this low?"

I thought this until I remembered some of the advice I had been given when I was younger. I reminded myself that this job served as a reminder to always to things the right way the first time. It took a trip back to menial labor to remind me that if you are going to take a risk, research your risk very very carefully before you go and make that jump.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Elephant List

Until early February I had a financial practice associated with a large mutual insurance company. In my practice I was responsible for bringing in new clients, mostly through warm referrals. It is far easier to get someone to sit down with you if they are introduced by a friend.

The most successful tool that I used was to feed a list of people that I wanted an introduction to my clients, and if they knew anyone from the list, I would have a warm introduction.

For this purpose I had two lists that I used, the list of people that I had reason to believe that my client knew. This list was compiled of people that had some connection to my client, eg. Facebook, Linkedin, Zoominfo ect. This list was usually good for three to five referrals per meeting. These referrals tended to be lateral referrals, meaning that they were to people in the same socioeconomic vein as the client. This is fine if you are satisfied with the sort of client that you have now, but to get to bigger fish you must thing bigger.

This is where the second sort of feed list comes into play. The Elephant list.

An Elephant List is a list of big fish, people of high socioeconomic status that you have no reasonable connection to. The key to meeting these people is to know somebody, or to know somebody who knows somebody. That is where my Elephant List came into play.

At the end of each meeting I would ask my client "this is a list of people who I plan on having as clients one day, but right now I do not have a good introduction to contact them. Would you mind spending a few minutes seeing if you may know any of them?" Then I would pull out my Elephant List, a leather bound notebook, with a well penned list of people in Cincinnati who I wanted to have as clients. Some examples would be partners at law firms, owners of successful businesses, the sort of people that you see on the front page of the business section of the sunday paper.

Most of the time I didn't get any real response, but occasional I would stumble upon the nephew of a partner at a local law firm, or the next door neighbor of a high level executive. When I came across those, the biggest key was just getting the appointment, and making sure that I brought along someone with some serious experience so I didn't mess the opportunity up with my being in my early twenties.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

streamlining my name, and the thought puzzles involved

*warning this post wanders*

So today I am streamlining my everything online. I am moving every user name/ url/ public profile name to mikemorgan19. The goal of this is to simplify the process for having people finding me should they for some reason feel compelled to find this particular Mike Morgan (there are several Mike Morgans in the world). The process of changing all of my online names to mikemorgan19 begs a somewhat sizable philosophical question about the internet.

At what point does your internet persona become your real life persona?

Does the fact that I am most easily accessible by mikemorgan19 make my name mikemorgan19 insted of just simply mike, or morgan as more and more people seem to call me? In the future will people be named things that is unique to them and them alone, (such as a number or unpronounceable symbol, eg Prince) and this will be used for all means of identification.

What event makes someone's name official? (apart from the legal birth cirtificate). In Irish mythology the druid Cathbad declared Sentanta to be the "Hound of Culainn" and was from then on known as CuChulainn. If the Tain can be used as a framework for naming things then is it necessary to have Druids running around every time someone wants to rename something? Furthermore where will we find these Druids, they arn't exactly a dime a dozen anymore.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

day 59

Today is the first day of the third month of my job search. So far it has been a long slow, bumpy, miserable process. Today I attended the International Marketing SIG put on by the Cincinnati AMA. The conversation today was centered around the operations of international financing. Which talks mostly about how to take a small business and conduct global trade, securing lines of credit, insurance, and tariff drafts. All of the financial things that make most people start falling overbackward and foaming at the mouth. I on the other hand loved it. The whole thing was like being back in school again, and reminded me why I majored in international business.

The other upside to the AMA meeting today was to meet people. Being unemployed meeting new people is the only way out of the pit of joblessness. Odds are the person who has the job that I will land did not know me before February 1, 2009.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 51

Went to the Job Search Focus Group today. Its a professional networking group that meets Monday mornings at the Hyde Park Methodist Church. This was my second time going, the first time you go through an orientation, then stand in front of the group give a thirty second introduction into who you are, what you did last, and what you want to do. On my second trip I was able to observe a bit more, and to reach out and meet a few people. The second meeting was far more productive than the first.

Ive noticed that there are four types of people who attend these meetings;

1) Newly jobless: These can be classified by a certain forlorn look that is something like a dog with it's tail between it's legs. This group seems to be holding it together on the surface, but cannot manage to go ten minutes without thinking to themselves "I did something wrong and am now being punished."

2) In concentrated search mode: This group seems to have the mentality "I have a job, and that job is finding a job." They are well adjusted, and not at all at risk for nervous breakdown. At least not in public. Some of these people are veterans of being unemployed. The veterans have seen all this before and know exactly what to do, what to say, and when to say it.

3) Prolonged jobless: These folks have been out of work for a long time, sometimes a very long time. They seem ok with it. Or at least they arn't bothered by the day to day anymore. There are two sorts of prolonged jobless, those who want something very specific, and those who have something that makes them hard to hire in this economy (too much expirence for their job level, not enough expirence to not be beaten out, or are just not that personable).

4) The vulture: There is one of these in every meeting. They are preditors. They are there to prey on unsuspecting jobless, convinceing people with a slick speach to come and work in their debt reduction business, or their time share selling business, or their "firm/agency" (either Ad, financial, or marketing). There are hundrends more types of businesses that these preditors use as a front for their pyrmid scams. The nice part is that this type of scum is easy to identify. They tend to be have their speach too well rehearsed, like they had done it thousands of times before. They seem to sprint through the crowd looking for a sucker, and they will not take no for an answer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sincerely a Machine

I have been in a job transition for the past 46 days, I have had a few interviews, but nothing seems to come of it. I have gotten alot of this:

Dear Mr. Morgan
We regret to inform you
you arn't a fit
the position has been filled
an internal candidate
we will keep your resume on file
we encourage you
other positions
that match
your skills
and interests

we thank you for you interest
and wish you the best
in your career

A Machine

This email address is not monitored
so please do not reply to this message

Why is it that no one seems to want to tell you that you didn't get the job like a real person. A phone call, an email written by a person who has talked to you at some point. Anything.

there is only one thing to do, keep looking.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Paddy's day

Every St Patrick's day for the past 5 years my grandmother and I have gone to Molly Malone's, a bar in Cincinnati, named for the "Tart with the Cart" Dublin's most famous "social worker" (prostitute). Every year we go and get lunch, have a few (dozen) pints and generally be a stereotype for American St Patrick's day. A grand time is had by all.

As i sit here tonight thinking about the true meaning of St Paddy's day, I feel sort of like Charlie Brown on xmas. Is it about the beer, is it about the parties, is it about the Corned Beef and Cabbage. YES it is about all of those things, and NO it should not be. If you are American and have Irish blood, or even if you don't St Paddy's day is a grand day to reflect on who brought you to America. A day to reflect on the men and women of your blood line who made the great sacrifice, leaving their life and home behind to start a new life here in America.

Raise a pint to your ancestors today. If not for them you would still be european.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Cramer Vs. Stewart

Thursday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart promised to be a knock down drag out fight between comedian Jon Stewart and Wall Street guru Jim Cramer. We expected it to be ugly, and what we got was ugly, it just wasn't the ugly I expected. I expected Cramer to go toe to toe with the comedian, and well I didn't expect Cramer to mop the floor with Stewart (especialy on Stewart's own show) but I atleast expected Cramer to put up a fight, to throw a punch, or atleast block a punch. He did not. Cramer just sort of took it.

This was profoundly discourageing. As a Capitalist I couldn't believe that one of my own just lay down and let a nationalist socialist stomp on him. If we capitalists don't stand up and point out the obvious flaws in the nationalist socialism that the media force feeds us, we will watch our economic freedom dwindel until the government steals the entire product of our labor, disincentiveizeing any and all effort.

A sad day for capitalism