Archives For October 2011

From the main article in today’s WSJ “The Journal Report:”

To get America’s job engine revving again, companies need to stop pinning so much of the blame on our nation’s education system. They need to drop the idea of finding perfect candidates and look for people who could do the job with a bit of training and practice.

There are plenty of ways to get workers up to speed without investing too much time and money, such as putting new employees on extended probationary periods and relying more on internal hires, who know the ropes better than outsiders would.

It’s the author’s opinion that companies could fill positions if they brought back job training. In other words, they’re being too picky. Perhaps. However, I’m thinking that with unemployment as high as it is, wouldn’t there be a glut of qualified employees? I have heard other reasons why companies aren’t hiring (like uncertainty in taxes, healthcare law, and the economy in general).

The article then goes on to suggest that companies should work with education providers, bring back the apprenticeship, and promote from within. Pretty standard stuff.

I will say one thing more that’s related to this topic. My wife works for a chemical company. She went to a recruiting event at a local university. She was talking with one of the students and she (my wife) as the student why she was getting a chemical engineering degree. The student told her it was because she was going for another degree but found out that those who were employed in that field had to work a lot of hours and she she figured chemical engineers wouldn’t have to work as much. Wrong answer. I have a feeling this student will be in for a rude awakening IF she gets a job. Maybe she should read Larry Winget’s It’s Called Work for a Reason!: Your Success Is Your Own Damn Fault*.

*Affiliate Link

It’s funny how one thing leads to another.

After I posted The Secret of Oz last week, I went to check out Bill Still’s website, The Money Masters. It was there that I saw John Trumam Wolfe’s book, Crisis by Design: The Untold Story of the Global Financial Coup and What You Can Do About It*. I found the Kindle edition for $5.99 and purchased it. What an interesting read! The book, which is essentially a collection of articles written by Wolfe, makes the case that the debt crisis was planned all along.

NOTE: Because the book is a collection of articles, one thing I found annoying was the repetitiveness of some of the pieces. I would have preferred that the author cleaned up the redundancies.

What I found interesting was his thoughts on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. From the book:

…I started following the activities of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These are “sister” organizations that were set up at the end of the Second World War essentially to help rebuild war-torn Europe with low-cost loans (the World Bank) and to foster stability in the international currency markets (the IMF).

Despite their altruistic-sounding charters, these two organizations have become nothing less than global financial predators that have turned three-fourths of the planet into debt-ridden junkies.

Sometimes evil is hard to confront. But I tell you without equivocation that the activities of these two international banks have been motivated by a cold, calculated plan to control the populations of Earth.

I know, I know—conspiracy theory and all that. But if you study their trail of financial bondage across the planet, their real intentions become all too clear. And it is not a matter of studying their conduct for a year or two; their strategic plans started decades in the past and run decades into the future.

He continues later on with an example what this might look like…

Having tracked them now for more than three decades, I can tell you that their pattern of operation repeats itself, country to country.

First, they covertly facilitate a currency crisis in the targeted country. This is not difficult to do if one understands that currencies are commodities and can be manipulated on the exchanges on which they trade. It takes capital to do it, but the mechanics are not difficult to put in place. In recent years, people like George Soros have been involved. Think Indonesia, late nineties. Soros and well-placed media outlets push the message about how weak the targeted currency is. Because of this, he is able to sell the currency short8 (“betting” it will go down). In this way he drives the value of the currency even lower while making a killing. As the currency crashes, the country experiences growing economic chaos, riots, and internal strife.

With the country now trying to participate in international trade and commerce using a currency that has all the attraction of pet food from China, their credit rating nose-dives faster than a Nancy Pelosi popularity poll. They can’t borrow from traditional sources. Business falters. Unemployment skyrockets. And in some cases, again like Indonesia, riots ensue and blood flows. When the politicians have their colons sufficiently puckered, one or both of the twin sisters of the Apocalypse (the IMF and World Bank) ride in on a white horse.

“Gee, Mr. President. It looks like you’re having a problem here. Perhaps we can provide some assistance. Would, say, five or ten billion help to tide you over?”

“Yes, well, the New York bankers have turned their backs on us for no reason at all. This currency issue is temporary, I assure you. How much did you say?”

“Five or ten billion, but we’re flexible. Our concern is for the people of your great nation.”

“Yes, of course. Who controls how the money is spent?”

“You do, sir.”

The president suppresses a smile as he thinks of his private yacht moored in the south of France and his young mistress sunbathing on the foredeck in her topless bikini.

“And what would the terms be?”

“Interest only for the first three years and then we would work out a mutually agreeable repayment plan for the principal. And, of course, you would have to execute our standard loan agreement.”

“Certainly. Do you have a copy of that handy?”

One of the bankers pulls a multipage document out of a Gucci briefcase of shimmering Italian leather and hands it to the president. He begins to scan through it. His brow furrows. He looks up.

“Eh . . . why is there a clause here that mandates how we must educate our young women on matters of family planning and contraception? That has nothing to do with the country’s economic strength.”

“Well, Mr. President, we feel it does. The population level of the country certainly has a bearing on the nation’s prosperity. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“I . . . eh, suppose so. But I can’t agree to these stipulations regarding our agricultural production or our tax policies. Those are strictly internal matters.” The president stands and straightens his back.

The two bankers stand as well. “We’re sorry to hear that, Mr. President. We were hoping we could help you reduce those unemployment figures.” They head for the door. One of them turns, “And Marseille is . . . so beautiful this time of year.”

Two weeks later headlines blare: President Signs $10 Billion IMF Loan Agreement.

The president puts a cool $500 million in his Swiss bank account. A frenzied pack of federal bureaucrats feast on the balance until only the remains of the bloodied carcass are left for state and local vultures. Perhaps 10 percent will reach the people.

The country will never be able to repay the loan, which, of course, is exactly what the IMF wanted in the first place—control of the country’s assets and the ability to dictate social engineering policy.

One other thing I found very interesting was all the ties between Goldman Sachs and the government. Scary indeed.

My next read will be Ellen Brown’s Web of Debt*.

*Affiliate Link

Thanks to RetiredAt40 for the recommendation. Good stuff.

This is related to the video I posted the other day (if you haven’t watched the video, I urge you to do so as it is very interesting). I found this two step plan on the Money Masters website:

The Two Step Plan to National Economic Reform and Recovery

Step 1: Directs the Treasury Department to issue U.S. Notes (like Lincoln’s Greenbacks; can also be in electronic deposit format) to pay off the National debt.

Step 2: Increases the reserve ratio private banks are required to maintain from 10% to 100%, thereby terminating their ability to create money, while simultaneously absorbing the funds created to retire the national debt.

These two relatively simple steps, which Congress has the power to enact, would extinguish the national debt, without inflation or deflation, and end the unjust practice of private banks creating money as loans (i.e., fractional reserve banking). Paying off the national debt would wipe out the $400+ billion annual interest payments and thereby balance the budget. This Act would stabilize the economy and end the boom-bust economic cycles caused by fractional reserve banking.

I’m still not sure how you can pay off the national debt with money created by the government out of thin air and NOT cause inflation. I’m not against this idea by any means but I just don’t see how giving congress the power to print money at no interest will not lead to more overspending.


Oh, and if you haven’t done so yet, WATCH THE VIDEO!

San Francisco Restaurants Want to Make 25% the Standard Tip.


I’m sorry but that seems excessive to me. Not only that, the very nature of a tip is to reward for service. Although I understand why restaurants do it (because some lowlifes NEVER tip appropriately), I hate the automatic gratuity that some restaurants add to my bill. It’s insulting to me personally because I’m a generous tipper and if the server goes above and beyond I leave and even bigger tip. I know…I’m not everyone. That said, I still think 25% is excessive. The price of eating out has risen dramatically over the last few years and since servers’ tips are based on the price of the meal, their tips have also grown.

The article even suggests people tip at fast food restaurants since the employees make minimum wage. Yeah, right…

“Not Yours to Give”

October 13, 2011

I read this story last night in William Bennett’s The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood* and thought it was worth sharing. I googled this story to determine its authenticity. Turns out it appears it might be a fabrication—or at least the form that it is written about here (consider the source though, RadicalReference is a “collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality.” Regardless, the point of the story remains in that it is not the government’s job to be charitable.

Originally published in “The Life of Colonel David Crockett,” by Edward Sylvester Ellis.

One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

“Mr. Speaker–I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.

“Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

“Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

“The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

“I began: ‘Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called
candidates, and—‘

“Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again.”

“This was a sockdolager…I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

” ’Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.
…But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.’

” ‘I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’

“ ‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’

” ‘Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.’

” ‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. ‘No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.’ “The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.’

” ‘So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.’

“I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

” ‘Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.’

*Affiliate Link

My thoughts (ramblings) on seven years of blogging…

Today marks the 7th onniversary of when I started blogging. I started off with a .blogspot blog called AllThingsFinancial. I moved to a paid hosting site in August of 2005 and changed the URL to Several months later I was sued by First Tennessee bank because they owned the phrase “All Things Financial” and they demanded I cease from using that name. So, I changed to and have been using that name for well over five years now.

It’s been a bumpy ride over the years. The blog grew steadily from 2004 through 2008 and then kind of wavered since 2009. I grew tired of simply blogging about personal finance topics as I felt I had already covered nearly all the basics. So, I got more into politics, which I’m sure has alienated readers.

It’s also funny that when I first started bloggin back in 2004, it was a very new form of publishing. I was probably one of 5 or 6 financial blogs at the time. It was so new that main stream media gave bloggers some coverage. Some of them made fun of blogging. Yet, it wasn’t long before main stream media started launching blogs staffed with their own writers. There was a time when articles about “The Best Blogs” focused on smaller blogs. Now they’re almost all about either company-sponsored blogs or blogs that are5. written by well-known people. All of this means, it’s a very crowded field and it makes blogging all the more frustrating.

I have always tried to adhere to the following principles in my blogging:

• Always tell the truth. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes. But, I have never lied. That’s something I’m very proud of.

• I don’t allow sponsored posts UNLESS it is made very clear to AFM readers that the post is paid for.

• I don’t do affiliate advertising UNLESS it is made clear that I do in fact make something if someone clicks a link or makes a purchase. That’s why I always use the little “*” whenever I link to an Amazon book. Other bloggers approach this differently by saying, “Readers know I have to make money some way so I don’t think I need to tell them each time I link to something that makes me money.” I disagree but that’s just me.

• I tell it like it is. Yes, I’m a conservative and I hold conservative principles near and dear. I take a lot of flack for my beliefs. I don’t care.

• I have ALWAYS encouraged “adult” discussions. No name calling or childish behavior. Those comments that I deem offensive get deleted.

• I have ALWAYS published comments of those who disagree with me UNLESS the comments are offensive.

What does the future hold for AllFinancialMatters? I have no idea. I have been kicking around a few ideas to help the blog grow. I’m hesitant to do anything drastic because I like the general concept of the blog the way it is. I have considered bringing in different authors and going for a more “professional” blog. I’m not sure I want to go that route as this blog has always been very personal in nature.

All I know is that I’m not happy with my current stats and I think it’s ridiculous that this blog isn’t more popular than it is. This is my fault because I really don’t spend any time networking (sucking up) to bigger bloggers (most of whom I don’t like). In fact, I feel kind of cheated by the bigger bloggers who used this blog and other smaller blogs to build their base and then “forgot” about us once they reached the blogging stratosphere. Many of the bigger blogs no longer link to the smaller blogs and yet, the smaller blogs still link to the bigger blogs.

Frustrations aside, I do enjoy blogging. I have enjoyed meeting people over the years. I’m even facebook friends with several AFM readers. How cool is that? I’m very honored that I have readers who have been reading AFM for YEARS! Two readers I would like to highlight just because they add lots to nearly every discussion are BG and Jack. Their passion (they usually don’t agree on much…lol) makes for very interesting discussions. I have other readers who have contributed comments over the years. People like Stacey, Sam, Kitty, Russ, RA, Miguel, Dan, Traciatim, Evan, Jon, John, Harm, BD, and all the rest of you who make this blog worth reading. My readers are the best!

Here’s to another 7 years!