Monday, September 26, 2011

Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

It seems that "hindsight is certainly 20/20" in the case of bloggers.  Here are a few turning points of interest.  I wonder how a few slight changes may have impacted our country???
  • The citizens of the US Colonies had decided not to rebel against England.
  • The citizens of the USA had decided to accept slavery and not fought the civil war.
  • The citizens of the USA had not given women the right to vote.
  • The citizens of the USA had decided to enforce prohibition instead of repealing it.
  • The citizens of the USA had not become involved in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Middle East, etc.
  • The citizens of the USA had left the plight of the poor, weak and needy to the private charities and work houses.
  • The citizens of the USA had banned Unions.
  • The citizens of the USA had not made Public Education mandatory.
  • The citizens of the USA had converted the country to a full fledged Socialism or Communism.
  • The citizens of the USA had chosen to not support the progressive tax system.
  • The citizens of the USA had not chosen to set and enforce pollution limits.
Personally, I am not smart enough to pretend I could have made a better choice than the citizens made back at that point in time. (especially w/o the benefit of hindsight)  However I am certain that some of you are willing to try.  So what would you have changed?  What other turning points did I fail to note?

Overall this self governing thing has worked out pretty well it seems.  Or maybe you would have preferred a "Benevolent Dictatorship" that hopefully shared your beliefs?  Or my co-workers in China seem to like their efficient Government, just think of a Fall with NO political attack ads...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

National Debt - Summarized

I found this fairly straight forward, though of course they blamed only the Politicians and not all of us Constituents.  Maybe it is hard to look in the mirror, and it is probably a bad idea for a writer/news organization to blame its readers...

CNN - National Debt 5 Minute Primer

Another interesting link.
GAO: Debt Ownership

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Rich Spend Poorly?

To my question: "Do they save or spend too much?"

I found Hiram's answer fascinating: "They tend to invest too much, and spend in ways that are wasteful."

Primarily because I have no idea what it means.

In my personal life I keep 2 sets of books.  The first is the income and spending side.  These are the funds I earn at my job and spend way too fast.  The second is the long term savings or net worth accts.  Thankfully my Parents beat it into my head to start saving some of the "income" early and often.  Of course, this meant I had to be willing to live "below my means" in order to start that nest egg.  Now that nest is pretty sizable, usually growing and I am certainly not touching it until the "income" side starts to decrease.

I don't see it as terribly different for most of the "Rich".  Bill Gates has a huge nest egg that he has grown over the years.  This nest egg funds the ongoing operations of likely hundreds of companies.  He really isn't going to break into it, and would we really want him to?

As for spending "unwisely", is there such a thing?  I mean no one would benefit if one went out and burned a pile of money.  Other than that it seems that someone always benefits from most other transactions.

Being a "buy and use" it guy, I have never understood collectors and what they choose to buy.  Yet even in this seemingly senseless transaction, many people gain.  Look at the Antique Roadshow...  Someone with excess money buys an old painting for $10,000.  The agent gets a cut and the seller get cash.  Then these folks can reinvest their gains or use them to pay employees, go to the D\dentist, buy clothes and even pay taxes.

I will never understand how folks think the Government spends more wisely...  Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trickle Down Doesn't Work?

I was going to write some thoughts regarding "trickle down" and then I ran into this link over at MNPublius.

NY Times The Limping Middle Class
NY Times Prosperity/Regression Graphic

It definitely has some interesting graphics, though I am pretty sure I disagree with a fair number of his comments.  In particular with regard to his thoughts that we should be more like Germany.  Though us Minnesotans surely do like sending our money to VW, Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz.

So what do you think of the graphics and his comments/analysis?

As for my trickle down story.  Last winter I commented on MNPublius that I had seen some excellent examples of "trickle down" while snowmobiling on Lake Mtka. (ie several mansions were being remodeled) Of course one of the more Liberal commenters took exception to this...  He thought it was WRONG that people had to SERVE the wealthy to get their money...  It was very strange considering we live in a service economy.  I assume he thought higher taxes and more handouts were in someway more ethically correct. (strange values out there)

The reason this came up was because though I am upper middle class, I have been spending a great deal of money on home improvements this Summer.  To me this what trickle down is all about.  And it really hit home when I was up at the cabinet maker's shop and saw that he was employing some neighbors to build our new kitchen cabinets.  It occurred to me then: the Large Corporation that pays me, I pay the Cabinet Maker, and he pays local employees and suppliers.

Now if we all bought USA goods and services, trickle down would work much better.  Instead we buy VW, Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz, and send the money flow to Germany. (or Korea, China, Japan, etc) Maybe we could fix our economy and improve the worker incomes by just changing our buying habits.  No Governement intervention required...

It was interesting that the graphs shifted in ~1980, which is about the time buying "non-American" became fashionable.  Before that most folks would not have been caught dead with that "foreign junk" product.

G2A Made in America: The Myth?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shutdown, or Cassellius & Dayton?

Well, I have been checking occasionally for the updated MN School Report Cards and they are still not there.  Last year they were posted by early July.  And this year the kids did them on a computer...  So why the delay???  Did the 3 wk shutdown delay the posting by 2 mths?  Or is their a political conspiracy afoot?

In the mean time, here are some interesting links.  Enjoy...  I am going back to sanding cabinets...

MN Dept of Ed RAS Report Card
Star Trib  New Grad Rate Formula
Asian Scientist US 32nd in Math