Friday, January 16, 2009

War on Poverty

From an article The Myth of "Failed" Policies by Robert Higgs at

"It would take little more than $50 billion to raise every poor person above the official poverty line, yet the percentage of the population classified as poor hardly budges, while annual welfare spending amounts to four times that much. Where's the money going? "

Based on a Wikipedia article the budget in 2008 for Unemployment/Welfare/Other mandatory spending was $324 billion (+1.8%). With roughly 300 million people in US, that works out to about $1000 per person. If we then figure that only 1/3 of the people pay taxes (children, retired-covered under social security), could we just give $3000 a year or $250 a month per taxpayer via the IRS tax rebate stuff and fire the entire Welfare department?

The thought with making the payment not depend on your income, then people wouldn't be faced with the choice of, if I earn another $1,000, I'm going to lose some amount in welfare. It seems like some of the time people will choose to be lazy and not lose some freebie. If we remove that, perhaps they work more.

In any case, it was just an interesting thought. Besides, the idea of gutting an entire federal agency just really appeals.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Phone call investor salesmen

I'm not sure if I get targeted by various investment firms because I'm the president of Cate Enterprises (which consists of only myself) or if everyone gets these phone calls, but I get a lot of phone calls from various firms who want me to invest through them. They've recommended oil right before it did a spike, right before it dropped from $150, gold is undervalued, gold is overvalued, and various other investments which haven't done well. So far I've politely refused, but I'm getting annoyed with the phone calls. They want to "establish a relationship" or "do a handshake" by doing some "small" starting investment of $2-3,000.

I figured out why they want this.

Either way, they get a commission out of me.

They'd prefer the investment go up because then they'll likely get to do another investment for me, getting more commissions. But even if the company goes broke, they at least got that first commission out of me. So they have a 50% chance of getting their investment right, getting to do a new investment for me. And if they get it wrong, there is still a chance I'm lazy and won't get the money out from them.

Fair pay?

I just read an article on yahoo news about "fair pay" that got me annoyed. The main thought is women get 78% of the pay of men. Don't get me wrong, if a woman is doing exactly the same work with exactly the same qualifications, she should get paid the same. However, most of the comparisons are for a 40 year old woman compared to a 40 year old man, and ignore the fact that many of those women have been home with children and as such may have 10 years less experience than the man. Would it be right to pay a woman with 10 years less experience the same amount as another woman with 10 years more experience?

If I were an employer, I would hire only women, pay them 85% so I could get them away from my competitors, and drive my sexist competitors out of business. No businesses have done this, so either they're all in cohorts or there is something more going on.

I think my "favorite" part of the bill is the guilty until proven innocent provisions.

Only winners are the lawyers.


I don't actually anticipate people reading this. I'm not planning on telling people about it, I just want a place to put into writing some of my thoughts about things that bug me. Anyway ...