Category Archives: Consider This!

How Big is the National Debt?

Consider This!

One stark and sobering way to frame the [economic] crisis is this: if the United States government were to nationalize (in other words, steal) every penny of private wealth accumulated by America’s citizens since the nation’s founding 235 years ago, the government would remain totally bankrupt.

No bankrupt nation in history has ever defended or preserved the freedoms of its citizens. In fact, it has been the exact opposite: in desperation, bankrupt governments have routinely plundered their citizens’ wealth and imposed totalitarian controls. What will make things different for the United States, the largest debtor nation in all of recorded civilization?

Putting Fiscal Year 2009’s… $9 trillion deficit another way, 17% of America’s private wealth, accumulated over a period of 235 years, was wiped out by just one year’s worth of government deficit spending…”

Note: These statements are excerpts taken from an article by Stewart Dougherty who is a specialist in inferential analysis, the practice of identifying historic and contemporary patterns and then extrapolating their likely effects upon the future. Dougherty was educated at Tufts University (B.A., magna cum laude), and Harvard Business School (M.B.A. and an academic Fellow). You can read his article in its entirety here:

Small Business Regulations

Consider This!

$1.1 Trillion! That is the annual cost to Americans for businesses to comply with mandated government business regulations, according to the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. This is more cost per household than the cost of health insurance. Think about it.

Moreover, smaller businesses bear the brunt of these government regulations and pay 45% more per employee to comply with mandated regulations, than big businesses do.

Bear in mind that these numbers are before the new regulations coming out of Congress take effect, e.g. new health care insurance. So this cost will only continue to rise.

And we wonder why small business is not hiring people, and pulling us out of the recession like it has in the past.

Of course you do know, that businesses MUST pass ALL of these costs for government regulation on to the consumers of the goods and services they provide, in order to stay in business?

Question: Isn’t this a hidden tax on every consumer, just to pay for bureaucratic bloated programs dictated by the government?

The Art of Aging

In our youth-oriented society, aging is something to be avoided at all costs—or so we think. Yet, as Sam Cooke’s famous song says: “Change is Gonna Come”…and there is nothing any of us can do to stop, or slow it.

So, how are we going to handle this inevitable change in our lives? To answer that question, I thought we might take a look at Richard and Alice Matzkin—two highly acclaimed artists who recently wrote a book about getting older, titled “The Art of Aging.”

Here is a short video of Richard and Alice discussing their book and their experiences with the process of aging that were the inspiration for the book.

(email subscribers, view on my blog)

Richard and Alice have embraced the inevitable, and handled their fears by expressing them through their art. They have determined that old age is a time for living, rather than a time of fear and despair. Each of us also needs to face our fears of growing old. We need to embrace those fears, so we can diminish them through our own endeavors. Growing older is a time for celebrating life—the life we are living and have yet to live.

There is something each of us can do with the time we have left, whether it is producing great art, joining the Peace Corp, or doing anything in-between. Older people “know things”…they have wisdom…and it is a shame if society does not appreciate and take advantage of that.

One hundred Baby Boomers turn 60 every 18 minutes—how are they going to approach this phase of their lives? My suggestion is to begin with Richard and Alice’s book “The Art of Aging.”

Alice Matzkin has two paintings hanging in the permanent gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, and during the Clinton Administration, her portrait of Chelsea Clinton hung in the White House. She has achieved national recognition by the media, and has appeared on Oprah.

Richard has achieved national acclaim through numerous one-man shows. His work is also sought after for many collections throughout the United States

The Spirit of America

Mark Johnson is one of my favorite young entrepreneurs, because he exhibits the perseverance to follow his dream—and be successful. It’s the end of the week, so I thought I would post one of his latest videos, featuring two of the Playing For Change performers; Grandpa Elliott, and Louis Mhlanga, performing at Dodger Stadium. Even though he is blind, Grandpa Elliott obviously loves his country. This should give us all something to think about.

Mark Johnson’s dream is to bring peace to the world through music, and he is following his dream and persevering in spite of the challenges. He has carried this dream for 10 years, and worked steadily on it for the past 4 years—and he shows no signs of slowing down.

How strong is your dream?

Consider This!

According to House Minority Whip, Eric Cantor, proposed programs and policies rushed through Congress “…create more debt in the first six months of this year than in the previous 220 years combined.”

I wonder if anyone besides me believes this is a lot of money.

I wonder when the spending will stop—or if.

I wonder who will pay for all this spending.

I wonder…I wonder…I wonder.

Putting Tax Cuts in Terms Everyone Can Understand

Some time ago I ran across the following post from Mark Gwilliam (see below), and I just had to post it here in its entirety. This might be a little tongue-in-cheek?

“Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you
are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost
of your daily beer by $20.”Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so
the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could
they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted
that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man
would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s
bill by roughly the same [ratio] amount, and he proceeded to work out the
amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings)

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four
continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men
began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,”declared the sixth man. He
pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”

“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back
when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get
anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine
sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the
bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough
money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how
our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the
most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for
being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they
might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat



An excerpt from:  David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. Professor of Economics University of Georgia”

Mark Gwilliam is the founder and Managing Director of the Business Advisory Services Group a professional services organisation that provides accounting; tax; corporate governance & risk management; business consulting and secretarial services throughout New Zealand and Australia. Mark’s blog is very informative for all small businesses, and can be found here.