Costco?! Sam’s Club! It’s for the working man!

“So Romney’s wife wants to debunk the impression America has of her husband as a money-hungry businessman by buying a 3 pack of shirts for the uber rich presidential candidate from Costco. Hmmm … FAIL!!!!”

My immediate thought to the above post on a friends Facebook page was “I should care how the Romney’s spend their money why?”  The ensuing had me wanting to laugh and cry all at the same time. America, America….

**Names and faces and have been changed in an attempt to protect the innocent, gullible and not so innocent….namely me. :P**

My immediate practice when reading things like my friends Facebook post is to research what this is all about via news sources and so on.  With about 2,730,000 results in 0.16 seconds via Google search on “Romney Costco”…..it’s a pretty hot topic. LOL So what I’m gathering is Ann purchased a few shirts at Costco, which in turn Mitt ironed himself. Hmmm, I’m of course immediately suspect because who the heck irons their white under shirts?! I sure as heck don’t. They are lucky to get folded and placed in the drawer. Yes yes, as a Marine once upon a time I DID iron them but it was more for the display in my foot locker, etc for inspections then some anal personality (analytical thinking linked to depression, yes, thank you again Google) and the effort to have crisp under shirts.  Now what irked me in particular was the term “money-hungry.” Not my friend mind you….the term. So I responded with that phrase very much in mind….

Me: “Money hungry? Capitalism. When did it become a businessman’s/business woman’s goal to be mediocre in his or her success? I could care less what Romney does or doesn’t do with is money. I am FAR more concerned with what he does with OURS. I also find it humorous to read comments regarding Romney’s money …..how much is John Kerry worth again?”

Which of course triggers IMMEDIATE response from the gnashing wailing masses of Americans who feel it is their place, no no their RIGHT to dictate to other Americans how and when to spend their monies. (left or right, doesn’t matter) Let’s trot down the usual political rhetorical of the left shall we? (rhetorical “babble, balderdash, blather, bunk, double-talk, gibberish, gobbledygook, hogwash, hooey, jabber, nonsense, poppycock, prating, rot*, rubbish*, tripe, twaddle” of the left or right are equal opportunity targets and will be shot on sight)

“If Romney paid taxes like normal people that can’t hide their earnings like payroll tax people then he can be the average Joe.”

Yes because utilizing OUR American tax laws governing and addressing maximizing our earnings is travesty I tell you. Travesty!  But wait, isn’t EVERYONE capable of maximizing their earnings…..DOING JUST THAT?!  (whistle)  It is mind boggling how entitled Americans have become. Expressing their outrage at how other Americans spend or don’t spend their money.  Utilizing our very much legal means to maximize their earnings from investments etc.  It requires a special kind of special to justify their sense of outrage that ANYONE successful utilize the means at their disposal to maximize those earnings. Yes, America, were I the lucky winner of the lotto tomorrow, you bet my little brown ass I’d be utilizing those very same means to maximize every little copper penny earned. THAT is America. THAT is using your brain.

“College tuition is unaffordable for middle class Americans and public services like public pools, community colleges, and libraries because people want to skirt their civic duty and pay taxes. “

Sorry, maximizing my earning has zero and nothing to do with civic duty. Nice try though.  I didn’t expect someone to pay my tuition anymore then I would abide someone demanding I pay for theirs.  The reality is there are many industries and opportunities in American that are steadily becoming so expensive they are nearly unobtainable.  Healthcare comes to mind. Using healthcare as an example, does it make sense to tax Americans in order to pay for this escalated cost…..or fix the system? On the college front, is EVERYONE entitled to attend at Ivy League school? No? Where is the outrage?  Like it or not, there will always be beautiful baubles out of reach of the masses…..welcome to life, get over it. Damn it! WHY oh why is there not a Hummer H1 parked in my drive way?!

“How did the rich corrupt logic to think that paying taxes was unpatriotic? Also, if Republicans were true fiscal conservatives they would raise taxes to pay down the deficit and not forecast on fictitious prosperity.”

The rich corrupt? Oh, there are absolutely corrupt rich, but being rich does not automatically make one corrupt. Neither does being a Republican or Democrat automatically make one an idiot. They have their fair share mind you. Unpatriotic? PLEASE. You want to demonstrate patriotism, serve your country. PAYING more taxes into a system that is broken does not fix a broken system. Makes about as much sense as pouring MORE gas into a can with a gaping hole in the bottom. By and by, you don’t BUY or demonstrate patriotism via your pocketbook. True patriots DO.

“BTW, John Kerry released his taxes. You can find his tax returns in public records. Romney is running for the highest public office in America. Why not release those records?”

Oh really? What exactly does Romney’s tax records have to do with the price of applesauce in Alaska? Granted, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have each released 12 years of tax returns. This demonstrates what?  You have those that would like us to believe this HAS to mean he has something to hide, surely. Seriously? I can think of many Americans far more wealthy that do not exactly run around making each and every single personal finance record public, nor should they. Hell, I don’t make MY personal finances public….nor would I!

 “But but this man is running for public office!” And?!

I don’t care what Romney does with his personal finances, my concern is what he does with the AMERICAS. Privacy for one’s personal finance does not equal a level of dishonesty and desire to obscure wrong doing. Working in the Information Security and Risk Management space I watch the lunacy of political financial disclosure with more than a slightly raised eyebrow.

“Since I have experience with international corporate tax structuring I have a feeling I know what Romney did. He did like what most US corporations do to lower their effective tax rates, which is very smart but unattainable to people like Doc, Grumpy and me in payroll taxes.” (names have been changed to protect the innocent but I was originally listed in the place of Grumpy….stop laughing)

Wait, like John Kerry?! (or ANY other wealthy person for that matter) Rather than bemoan where I am or not in life, I prefer working to OBTAIN that capability rather than wasting time attempting to dictate to other Americans what to do with their money and how to do it. I learned long ago, there is no free lunch. Hell, Denise Rich comes to mind and I applaud her don’t give a damn attitude. While I have no desire to renounce my US Citizenship, more power to her. I’m also waiting for the outrage for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin giving up his U.S. passport to become a citizen of Singapore, an offshore tax haven, before the company’s initial public offering in May. (crickets) I mean seriously people, it’s a running joke that if one fell into great fortune they’d buy an island somewhere and plant a flag and dub it the country of MINE. Can one seriously blame a person in the position to do just that? I find the charlatan behavior and attitudes of “moral outrage” and “civic duty” more than transparent. According to news sources, nearly 1,800 citizens and permanent residents (a record since data was first compiled in 1998) expatriated last year, according to government figures. Wait for my outrage…….nope, don’t care.  I suspect my friends and loved ones would not complain much as they were and became a part of the steady stream of visitors to my private island. Ok ok, maybe in jest. 😛

“ If you want to skirt your taxes buy a house to rent and deduct expenses for your business would be an obvious way to lower you effective tax from payroll. Too much to write here but I was a trained at Deloitte exactly to do what Romney did.”

Damn those financial advisors at Deloitte!! Damn them to hell I tell you! LOL In one breathe the author decries the methodology by which Americans can maximize their earnings…….but the Romney’s are wrong to do so! I weep for the species.

Supreme Court upholds health care law. What does that MEAN?

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Sections/NEWS/scotus_opinion_on_ACA_from_msnbc.com.pdf

Many are in uproar over the Supreme Court ruling. Whether it is in jubilation or disgust varies on your audience. Many are upset over the majority opinion that was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that Obamacare was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax. It’s an excellent opinion and well written. It pays to read the entire thing however. 🙂

Personally, I have always held the opinion Obamacare was a bad idea from the word go. Yes, I find it a wonderful idea to have each and every person, regardless of their means, provided with “free” quality healthcare. Just as I believe no one in the world should go hungry or suffer the oppression of a tyrannical government. Allow me to digress a moment. According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the single gravest threat to the world’s public health. Figures on actual starvation are difficult to come by, but according to the FAO, the less severe condition of undernourishment currently affects about 925 million people, or about 14% of the world population. My point? Simple. We as a PLANET cannot devise a plan to effectively address hunger and starvation. It’s a noble and honorable idea but we still have millions starving to this day. Why?

Addressing issues such as national healthcare in the US will also require more then simply….an idea. From the beginning, that has been Obamacare’s problem……an idea without a plan. Yes, I actually READ the entire thing. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details….which it sorely lacks.

http://housedocs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf

One of my favorite words in the above document outlining Obamacare is the word….create. This word is liberally used throughout but fails in describing how exactly all of this will be created…..or even better, with what funding. That’s key and I’ll discuss it more in depth later in this post. I’d recommend you also search and read thoroughly how the funding was supposed to happen in the above document.

Ideas do not equal a plan. Rather then crafting a well thought out plan, the Obama Administration resorted to what I not so fondly refer to as, “Chicago style politics.” To make this “work” back alley dealing were and still are the method of the day. For those who support Obamacare, I dare you to actually read the following via the Wall Street Journal. This has always been about MONEY. Not about providing “free” quality healthcare to Americans. Note I have placed the word free in quotations because ladies and gentlemen, nothing is free.

“Over the last year, the Energy and Commerce Committee has taken Nancy Pelosi’s advice to see what’s in the Affordable Care Act and how it passed.”

“The joint venture was forged in secret in spring 2009 amid an uneasy mix of menace and opportunism. The drug makers worried that health-care reform would revert to the liberal default of price controls and drug re-importation that Mr. Obama campaigned on, but they also understood that a new entitlement could be a windfall as taxpayers bought more of THEIR products. The White House wanted industry financial help and knew that determined business opposition could tank the bill.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303830204577446470015843822.html

Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that the law was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax. What many people are failing to realize is that it is a ruling that the law is not unconstitutional. NOT that it is good law or good policy. A major point you will NOT find liberal media reporting on is the following…recall my comment earlier on revisiting the word  funding?

“But in a major victory for the states who challenged the law, the court said that the Obama administration CANNOT coerce states to go along with the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people.”

Meaning, states can opt out with no penalty. Think about that for a minute. So, where and how is Obamacare going to be funded again? The supposed sources of major funding for this entire program has continued to dwindle from its inception. I leave you with the following…..

“In order for them to bring down the cost of healthcare the Government would have to operate the system more efficiently then the market does. I can’t think of anything the Government operates more efficiently then the market does.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWBY9LBGdS8

UPDATE:

Since my post earlier today, President Obama chose to speak out on the Supreme Courts decision. I hope that people are paying close attention to what Obama says…….and what he doesn’t. Please pay close attention to buzz topics such as “pre-existing conditions, tax on the uninsured, life time limits, dropping coverage if you get sick, jacking up premiums.”

The Supreme Court did not endorse the constitutionality of Obamacare as it was passed, under the power of the Commerce Clause, There was never any dispute that Obamacare could have been passed as a tax, but Obama vociferously denied that it was a tax because it would have enraged the electorate in an attempt to get it passed. In effect, Scotus shot down the mandate, calls it a tax. It’s really that simple and demonstrates the dishonesty of the Obama Administration and their efforts in seeing this becoming law two years ago.
The health care industry in the US has little concern for actual health. Health care is “owned” and controlled in many ways by the insurance industry and big pharmaceutical, which is primarily concerned and focused on profit and the reason that costs have continued to go up. For all the good about Obamacare, it did not take health care out of the hands of the insurance companies and big pharmaceutical, as it should have done. Yes, their are elements about Obamacare that are great ideas. However, as I stated previous, great ideas are never enough. Yes, costs will continue to rise as long as the insurance industry is in the drivers seat along with big pharmaceutical.

So again, what does the Scotus ruling REALLY mean? Probably not what you think. The 2010 law, the Affordable Care Act, requires non-exempted individuals to maintain a minimum level of health insurance or pay a tax penalty. See Roberts first point out of the gate.

The essence of Roberts’s ruling was:

•       “The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part,” Roberts wrote.

•       “The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it.”

•       But “it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but (who) choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”

Roberts made a point of noting that he and the other justices “possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

See Obama’s speech below.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/06/28/president-obama-speaks-health-reform

 

 

The Job Search: Its a Jungle Out There…

I’m sure your immediate thought would be the topic of interview techniques, resume building and various topics on making the best presentation possible for a future employer.

Unfortunately that isn’t what this posts focus is on. Since the recession began, a new target for fraud has become …..job seekers. As if the search for employment were not a jungle enough, you must also be alert and aware for the unsavory attempting to garner your personal information. A story ran as far back as 09 on Time.com on the topic, see below. Worth a read.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1930514,00.html

As if the job search effort were not exhaustive enough, you now have the added vigor that must be applied to appropriately vetting those contacting you on potential contract jobs or permanent positions. Some steps to take in vetting that new recruiter who has contacted you….

  • Google the Organization and Hiring Firm – if possible also vet the organization that is actually doing the hiring.
  • Perform a simple search for the Corporate phone number
  • Red Flags – any request for banking information, credit card information, social security number should be meant with more then slight suspicion. While a SSN is required to perform a background check, be extremely choosy in who you share that with exactly.
  • Be Alert of non company email addresses used for communication (Gmail,Yahoo, etc)

These are a few simple steps that should go far in keeping you relatively safe as you traverse that job search effort.

Compassion

Compassion.

What does it mean beyond the literal definition? We hear, see and experience a variety of events in our lives that can and typically will cause a sense of compassion or empathy for our fellow man and the creatures we share it with. I receive emails throughout the day on a variety of topics of interest to me. (and not) Topics ranging from backpacking, to gun rights to risk management. Of particular interest are emails focused on grass root efforts or activists of some kind seeking my participation in their cause. (Change.org) Through experience I have learned to take nothing at face value and perform a measure of research in order to better educate myself on various topics. One of the very first examples with Change.org in particular, was an email on the topic of “Caylee’s Law” which sought a proposed federal bill that would charge parents with a felony if they failed to report a missing child within 24 hours, or if they fail to report the death of a child within an hour. To state it went viral would be an understatement. It is safe to say this was due in no small part the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony, Caylee’s mother. Which brings me back to the focus on the word compassion. Does the creation of public policy triggered by compassion or as some would describe “purely reactive, overly discriminating and even counter-productive” laws  make sense? I personally believe compassion is a very important part of being human but like anything else, can be both misguided and ill advised.