Thursday, February 15, 2007

What if...

All blonde-haired, blue-eyed men named Nicolas are to be made slaves to the State. We will not be harmed, so long as we cooperate. We will have our basic needs met, and even our families will be cared for. We just won’t be free.

Shall I fight? Will you fight on my behalf?

I wonder.

My life is not threatened. My family’s life is not threatened. Only my freedom is to be dispensed with. The Bible allows me to kill in defense of my life or the life of another, but slaves are commanded to obey their masters, even abusive ones.

Perhaps under these circumstances, the right thing to do would be to submit, knowing that my life is temporary and has been bought with a price. It belongs to my Creator.

What if it were not me? What if it were blonde-haired, blue-eyed men named Adam? It would seem noble to fight on their behalf, for their freedom and natural human rights.

But is my freedom, or anyone else’s for that matter, worth the price of a life?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Cart Before the Horse: IL Receipts Tax Coming?

What is a receipts tax? Well, instead of (or in addition to) taxing the income of a company, they'd just tax the gross receipts of the company. What's the difference? If you already know, move on to the next paragraph. If you don't... The difference is that you'd be getting taxed on every dollar you take in as a business, regardless of whether or not you're actually making any money at all.

Of course it's terrible. Of course it's wrong. What else would you expect from Blago?

But here's what's really wrong. It's what's wrong with IL and most states, along with the federal gov. They've got the cart before the horse. They sit down and think of all the things they want to spend money on. Then they try to figure out how they can steal enough of your money get enough to cover their expenses. Sometimes (most of the time in the case of the feds) they just spend away, regardless of whether or not they expect to take enough money in.

When I want a new car, I don't go to my employer and tell him to give me a raise.

Blago wants healthcare for everybody. When the Lizard Queen is elected, we'll all get it. More accurately, none of us will get quality care.

Oh well... One step closer to the end times.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Thoughts on investing

Disclaimer: Do your own research and think for yourself. Assume I’m an idiot and I don’t know what I’m talking about. You still might come to the same conclusions I do, but at least you’ll know why you believe it.

Let’s talk about saving for retirement for a bit. Everyone seems to ask, “How much should I save?”. The answer is simple. Half.


Yes, half. Well maybe a third. Okay, let’s think about it. First and foremost, a key assumption here is that whatever you save will grow at about the rate of inflation. The bottom line is that the money you put away doesn’t REALLY grow when you take inflation, fees, expenses, and capital gains taxes into account. The only way around this assumption is for you to beat the masses. Clearly, everyone can’t beat everyone else on their rate of return. You can’t count on somehow beating the odds.

So what does that mean? Well, in the words of the Mogambo Guru, "Mathematically, with real (inflation-adjusted) net gains of zero, to get a hamburger in the future, you have to save a hamburger today."

If you work it all out, you’ll come to the conclusion that if you live on half of what you take home, you can have a day of retirement for every day of work If you’re going to work twice as long as you plan to spend in retirement, then you can afford to live on 2/3 of what you take home.

So, if you’re in your 20’s and plan to work for 40 years and retire for 20 (and you want to live like you do now in retirement), you’d better be socking away the equivalent of 33% of your “spending budget” every month. If you want to work for 30 and retire for 30, your retirement savings better be equal to half of what you spend. Make sense?

Now hopefully you’ll have your house paid off before you retire, so that’ll free up some cash, but chances are you’ll be replacing that expense with old-age related expenses so don’t get too excited.

So I guess we'd better either get saving, or come up with a way to beat inflation and taxes.