It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe…
Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…
This week I’ve got another abbreviated “espresso edition” of Black Coffee. My work and personal schedule has forced me to skip the snarky commentary on my favorite posts of the week. I’m sure you’re all devastated — although probably not as bad as I was after this past Tuesday’s elections.
Especially, after my fellow Californians voted to raise my taxes yet again.
I know, but it’s for the children. Right.
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Darwin’s Money – Generator Ethics
Afford Anything – The Best Thing Money Can Buy: Time
Canadian Finance Blog – Is Dividend Investing a Bad Bet Because It’s So Popular?
Money Help for Christians – Should You Support People In Ministry Who Live More Extravagantly Than Yourself?
Bible Money Matters – Hotels Too Expensive? Try These 6 Alternatives.
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From February 2011:
It’s Not Magic: You Too Can Trade Up a Paper Clip to a House – This is the very true story of a clever Canadian who took a red paperclip and, through a series of 14 savvy trades of steadily increasing value, eventually bartered his way to a two-story farmhouse.
Credits and Debits
Debit: On Tuesday a majority of Americans decided they had lost interest in individualism and self-reliance. Rather, the majority felt it would be wiser to follow in the footsteps of Europe and embrace socialism.
Debit: Apparently the majority is not concerned about subscribing to an ideology where the collective trumps the individual and where government is the solution to our problems.
Debit: The trouble is, socialism forces society’s innovators and producers to sacrifice a portion of their earnings to the collective for “the greater good.” But that ignores human nature, which is strongly biased towards self-interest.
Debit: Socialism stifles innovation and reduces productivity because people naturally lose the incentive to work hard when an increasing portion of the fruits of their labor end up being confiscated and redistributed to those who don’t produce.
Debit: Economically, socialism ends up becoming a slow, painful race to the bottom where, at best, society ends up at some unsatisfying level of mediocrity that only the ruling elite are able to escape.
Credit: Forbes summed it up this way: “Within a free economy, societal equality means everyone starts the same. Within socialism, societal equality means everyone finishes the same.”
Debit: Whether they want to admit it or not, on Tuesday the majority tacitly traded away their Constitutionally-protected liberty in exchange for the promise of more entitlements — in essence making themselves subjects to their government.
Debit: Looting the Treasury in order to pay for endless government entitlements and support crony capitalism is immoral and unsustainable. If we don’t reverse course — and soon — there will be very ugly economic consequences coming for everyone.
Debit: Here’s a preview of what’s coming to our shores: Greece was peppered with another round of riots and national strikes protesting entitlement cutbacks that the nearly-bankrupt nation is implementing in an effort to try and avoid a financial collapse.
Debit: The per-person debt in Greece — the amount owned by every man, woman, and child — is currently $39,400. In case you’re wondering, per-person debt in America is currently far worse: $53,400.
Debit: Of course, Greece is trying — in the midst of stiff resistance — to save its economy by implementing an austerity program. The United States will soon be doubling down on the spending spree it’s been on for the past four years. I know.
Debit: Remember a dollar collapse punishes responsible people. Savers who dutifully live within their means end up being hurt the most because their IRAs, 401(k)s and savings accounts end up being devalued to mere pennies on the dollar.
Debit: On the other hand, society’s debtors will make out like bandits because they had nothing to lose. It is the ultimate — and final — redistribution of wealth.
Credit: There is really only one way out of this: cut taxes immediately, significantly reduce entitlements for everyone and aggressively slash the size of our federal government.
Credit: Despite what the president says, raising taxes will do nothing to stop the bleeding. In fact, higher taxes often end up reducing revenues because businesses scale back.
Debit: The problem is, self-interest — the benevolent engine that drives capitalism — is a double-edged sword. It becomes destructive in the hands of an electorate that discovers politicians who are willing to raid the Treasury in exchange for votes.
By the Numbers
One last look at the 2012 United States Presidential Election:
57 Number of presidential elections held since the birth of the nation.
25 States carried by President Obama. (He also carried the District of Columbia.)
24 States carried by Mitt Romney. (As of Friday evening, Florida was still too close to call.)
61.4 Millions of votes cast for President Obama (That’s about 8 million fewer votes than in he received in 2008.)
58.3 Millions of votes cast for Mitt Romney. (That’s roughly 1 million fewer votes than John McCain received in 2008.)
40,000 Voters who cast their ballot for Roseanne Barr, who ran for president as a member of the Peace and Freedom Party.
3 States where Barr was on the ballot. (California, Colorado, and Florida.)
417 People who filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission to run for President in 2012.
The Question of the Week
Other Useless News
Here are the top — and bottom — five states in terms of the average number of pages viewed per visit here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days:
1. New Mexico (3.06 pages/visit)
2. Wyoming (2.51)
3. Arizona (2.17)
4. Arkansas (2.16)
5. Idaho (2.15)
46. New Jersey (1.73)
47. Hawaii (1.71)
48. Iowa (1.69)
49. Montana (1.59)
50. South Dakota (1.54)
Whether you happen to enjoy what you’re reading (like my amigos in New Mexico) — or not (ahem, South Dakota) — please don’t forget to:
1. Click on that “Like” button in the sidebar to your right and become a fan of Len Penzo dot Com on Facebook!
2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter!
And last, but not least…
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Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not!
Somebody named Fairy (no, really) passed along this little note to me last week:
I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
No kidding, Fairy. Now tell that to the Honeybee — I’ve been trying to convince her that I’ve had “the gift” for over 16 years now.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.