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I have made this a rather long letter because I haven't had time to make it shorter.
-- Pascal

Blog Posts for July 2011

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Cutting Our Way to Prosperity


Recently, our president said this:

"We can't simply cut our way to prosperity," Obama said. "We need to do what's necessary to grow our economy; create good, middle-class jobs; and make it possible for all Americans to pursue their dreams."
He's more wrong than he knows.

While he advocates that cutting alone is no way to prosperity, we also can't simply spend our way to prosperity, and unfortunately for Tim Geithner, the super genius who was the only guy who could help our economy, as treasury secretary he saw the greatest increase in national debt ever.

Way to go, Tim. And way to go, Mr. President, for your, um, exceptional hiring prowess.

But back to the topic...

If we want more money, there are only two ways to achieve that:

  • Increase income.
  • Decrease expenses.
You can't become prosperous by spending more than ever you've ever spent. You'd think that was a no-brainer, but I guess they don't teach that math at Harvard.

It's much harder to increase your income than to cut your spending. Why? Because you have more control over what you spend than what you earn. Spending is your decision alone. Income requires at least the cooperation of one other person who is willing and able to pay you.

Therefore, the fastest way to become prosperous is to reduce your expenses. It's certainly better for you if you can increase your income at the same time, but not always in your control.

The government only makes money one way - by taking it from people. But you can't raise taxes to grow tax revenue. Why? Ours is an income tax. When you reduce a person's net income (via increased taxation), you reduce their ability to spend - and it's their spending that provides income to others. Less income means less income taxes collected. Whenever the government acts in a way that reduces individual or corporate net income, the economy suffers, and so do tax revenues.

Cutting taxes increases tax revenue, because people have more to spend and thereby provide more income to others, which increases tax revenue. The Congressional Budget Office showed that the Bush tax cuts improved tax revenue.

But Obama wants to do the worst of everything: he wants to raise taxes and he wants to continue spending at record levels.

Can you cut your way to prosperity? Yes. Cut taxes and cut spending and you can absolutely cut your way to prosperity.

ETC: I know some great places to cut...

Golf, flights, fundraisers, vacations... all of those could be greatly reduced, and maybe some actual work on the budget would be good.

But I guess that requires math, and math doesn't come easy at Harvard.


by Brett Rogers, 7/1/2011 8:45:54 AM

Freedom and Independence


I tell my children all the time: "You are only as free as you are independent."

But what is independence? I'll start by telling you what it isn't: it's not a life lived alone.

All of us rely upon one another. I rely on my client to pay me. My client relies on me to do the work required of me. I rely on my grocer to stock the shelves. My grocer relies on me to purchase groceries.

I choose these relationships of my own free will.

I am not dependent upon my client; I am dependent upon my willingness to search out work and excel at it. If at some point I don't like my client or vice versa, either one of us can terminate the relationship and search out an alternative.

Ditto for buying groceries.

Independence requires alternatives as much as it requires choice. If there is only one grocer in town, then everyone in town is dependent on the grocer, whether the grocer is horrible or not. But once a second grocer opens for business, dependency stops and choice enters the picture.

This is why such notions as "single payer" for health care are anti-American. They allow no alternative, therefore there is no independence, and therefore no freedom.

This is also why a thriving competitive marketplace is the very essence of a free society, and why capitalism is the only moral basis for an economy. At the heart of it all is choice and freedom and independence.

Anytime that society allows the prevention of competition, it stifles the freedom for someone to create a business. This is why regulation can be immoral, and why it is used by some companies as means to limit the playing field.

Too many people have bought into the meme that competition-stifling, non-transparent corporations represent capitalism. They don't. Generally, these companies are in bed with the government itself, using regulation and zoning and other government constructs to create hurdles before would-be competition.

Consider sport, which is only as healthy and exciting as the competition is robust. Americans should crave "single payer" and other non-competitive solutions as much as they should crave a single-team National Football League. Who would be a fan of the singular team? Who would attend? Who would care? While I am sure there are those would relish the idea that no injuries can occur when there is no opposition, football would wither and die - just as commerce withers and dies when government fosters non-competition.

Competition allows for choice, and individual choice is at the heart of independence. When people are free to choose for themselves, they are independent.

On this Independence Day, celebrate competition - and crave freedom.


by Brett Rogers, 7/4/2011 8:26:57 AM



From Will, my 247Toolset QA:

I both love and hate the depth of this software! I love it because it's fantastic and can do just about everything. I hate it because it keeps surprising me so I'll think "I'm almost done w/this section" then one link opens another whole Pandora's box of functionality.
This comes while he is testing the request component and after I introduced him to the beginnings of the fundraising module.

I loaded three years of fundraising data in for one of the organizations that use 247Toolset, and while there is a lot that remains to be done, they chose 247Toolset over other fundraising software - as did another organization that's very big here in the state of Iowa. Both did so on the strength of what was there, and before they even saw the fundraising suite.

Jonathan and I finished setting up the ability to text donations to a 247Toolset portal, and I was able to show that in a demo the other day. The woman who sat through the demo kept saying, "This seems too good to be true." That's a good thing to hear in a demo.

So it's all good news. I just keep driving value into my product. And one of these days, I'll actually finish the time zone management feature...

ETC: Sold two golf courses on it today. They want to use the Text Words function, which allows the administrator to create their own special words for use with text messages. They plan to use it for discounts and coupons, plus I'll be building in a special "check-in" feature for use with it, which will allow them to mass text message the golfers on the course in case of an emergency.

All for $19.95 a month... crazy!


by Brett Rogers, 7/6/2011 12:08:21 AM

Today's Beauty


Holy smokes, but did Sarah Jarosz catch me by surprise. I downloaded both of her albums from Amazon, and there's a deep sophistication in her bluegrass-tinged music that you wouldn't think you'd get from such a young woman - except that she's been playing since she was two.

Yumm... that music gets me in my soul. Watch how she moves with the music: after the introduction, she is curled up in that song and in a different place and time. The audience is almost irrelevant for where she's at within her own music.


by Brett Rogers, 7/7/2011 9:55:33 PM

Two Administrations Lacking Principled Fiscal Leadership


Both parties are guilty of overridingly abiding by a single principle:

My party is good; the other party sucks
Nowhere is that made more evident than in trapping politicians in their own quotes - especially quotes from when their party was out of power.

Case in point, via Glenn Reynolds:

"We've got to get our fiscal house in order here in Washington. I'm not sure it's going to happen under the current leadership."
Who said that? Barack Obama in 2006. The national debt is over $4 trillion higher since that time, and $3.7 trillion of that during Obama's term in office.

Fiscal order is a solid principle. I love that he embraced it in 2006, and in fact, in 2006, I was pretty worked up about it too and skeptical that Bush was adequate to deal with it.

But evidently Obama didn't mean a word of it. He's telling us that he has no principle but what advances him - which is no principle at all.

That's too bad. We needed someone with principles and with a head for fiscal sense.


by Brett Rogers, 7/9/2011 12:59:17 PM

Want a T-Shirt?



by Brett Rogers, 7/11/2011 2:38:27 PM

The False Choices Game


Obama: "To pay for all of these things, we can either increase the limit on our national credit card, or we can not pay all of our bills. Which is it?"

America: "Why don't we stop spending money that we don't have? We don't need all of these things."

Obama: "You obviously didn't hear the choices I gave you - now sit up, eat your peas, and pay attention... let me be clear, we can either increase the limit on our national credit card, or we can not pay all of our bills..."


by Brett Rogers, 7/12/2011 11:24:43 AM



Back in October 2008, I wrote this:

As we're about to be stuck with the huge bailout bill and as we're apparently going to elect a president who wants massive new government programs and wants to tax businesses and the successful in life when our economic future is uncertain, only one thing is certain: our kids will be stuck with the bill, just as we're being stuck today with the bill for government actions taken long ago. Who would willingly do that?
That was a month before the election. It wasn't hard to see where Obama was going to take the country, and crazily enough, there were business folk I knew and respected who chastised me for my assertions.

I wrote this about a week before the 2008 election:

There is a culture war brewing. In a minor way, it used to brew here on beatcanvas when Bella still commented. "Economic justice" would have appealed to her, as I'm sure it appeals to others like her. But the majority of Americans don't like the notion of wealth redistribution. They'd rather see more opportunity created. That was the way here in America: earn your keep. Make your own opportunity. But due to a deep desire by the media to propel Obama forward, his agenda and his words were hidden and instead he was given the most flattering and tilted press coverage ever.

And because people are tired of politics, they'll tune this new information out. Which is unfortunate. I don't think ill of people who remain uninformed, but they'll likely be some of the ones whining the loudest when Obama's socialist agenda gets going, whether from the White House or from the Senate. The Left won't stop pushing this. And the media won't give it coverage.

Which leaves the fight to just us citizens. [Want to know how the tea party got started? A lot of people were thinking this back then, not just me.]

I used to want to be polite about this. But the veneer of civilization is very thin, as Margaret Thatcher once said. When other people believe that they have a right to the property I've earned, that's theft. And I'll call a thief a thief and use my words and actions appropriately to fight any thief who threatens my family. I want my kids to grow up in an America full of opportunity with no ceiling to inhibit their talents and effort, not an America that mandates wealth management for its people.

It's 15 months before the 2012 election.

It wasn't hard to see the coming consequences of Obama's ascendancy back then. Me, the guy without a college degree, saw this coming before he was elected. For those who voted for him in 2008 or sat out the election, can you now see the consequences of four more years?

It's no longer enough to just vote in an election. You have to get involved and help our country get back on track.


by Brett Rogers, 7/13/2011 1:06:57 PM



Bully: "You have my money?"

Kid: "Yes, but I don't know why I have to give you my money."

Bully: "You'll spend it on dumb stuff."

Kid: "But it's my money... it's none of your business how I spend it."

Bully: "You getting smart with me? Don't make me call my bluff."

Kid: "Um, wait a minute - you're bluffing?"

Bully: "The amount you owe me just doubled."

Kid: "Wait - why? You told me six months ago that you weren't going to raise what I have to give you."

Bully: "I'm only doing what's fair."

Kid: "What's fair about me giving you more of my money?"

Bully: "I think at some point you have enough money. Now fork it over, or I'll tell all of the other kids you cheated me."

Kid: "But I didn't do anything to you!"

Bully: "Six months ago, I didn't make you pay more - so I actually did you a favor, and now you have to make up for it."

Kid: "I hate you."

Bully: "Wow - you're really mean. I'll make sure all of the other kids know that."


by Brett Rogers, 7/15/2011 11:10:09 AM

Today's Beauty



by Brett Rogers, 7/19/2011 7:38:36 AM

Today's Beauty - and Ugliness


Three years ago, I gave $200 of mine to help others establish a business. It wasn't much, but the $50 each that I provided to these folks, along with dozens of others who also pitched in their money, allowed them to stretch their wings a bit.

One was for "Expanding Tutoring Company."

One was for "Money for a new start up business with my partner."

One was "Following my Passion -- Helping others Succeed."

And the last was for "Property Acquisition."

As you can see in the screenshot above, all four are paid in full.

The government decided to protect us consumers from ourselves and prevent us from investing like this, and they shut it down everywhere except California.

What right does the government have to interfere in business? This was no scam. And while some people invested in loans that didn't pay off, banks do that every day - and when those loans don't pay off, we taxpayers are on the hook to bail them out.

The government is an unfair bully.


by Brett Rogers, 7/26/2011 7:30:37 AM



As we all knew, Bluffy the Job Slayer has no debt-ceiling plan, and the only budget plan he ever put forward was defeated in the most bi-partisan way possible: 0-97 (unanimously).

The emperor, ladies and gents, as I have long asserted, has no clothes. He's in way over his head with no way up. I imagine he'll just continue to sink downward. The question is whether or not the American people want to continue the plunge with him.

I sure hope not. I'm tired of seeing empty storefronts.


by Brett Rogers, 7/26/2011 4:08:32 PM

Why Didn't Obama Do Anything About the Economy, Jobs, or the Debt Ceiling?


"Leading from behind" will go down as a cornerstone of Obama's presidency, made entirely of fool's gold.

A lot of people ask, and will continue to ask, "Why didn't Obama do anything about the economy, jobs, or the debt ceiling?"

The answer is simple.

He never believed in the private sector. He believed in government-sponsored care, government-sponsored jobs, and government-imposed mandates upon society. He fully expected to control and promote all three while in office. Just this week he said:

I'd rather be talking about stuff that everybody welcomes - like new programs...
He said that because he firmly believes that this is the proper role of government - to roll out program after program. To him, that's responsible government, and it's popular government.

Except when it isn't, which is the reality he confronted this past month. When credit agencies talk seriously of downgrading our credit, we've spent too much. Many people in the US understand this, which is why they support cutting spending.

There is no more money for new programs, and outside of new government-sponsored programs (aka new spending), he has no clue how to spur job growth or the economy. And since cutting spending obviously can't create new programs, he's completely at a loss on the debt ceiling. There shouldn't be a debt ceiling in his view - or at least once he became president, anyway.

So don't be surprised. He is exactly who he said he was going to be back when it was popular to mock Joe the Plumber.

ETC: And speaking of leading from behind, Captain Courageous Mitt Romney finally chimes in about the debt ceiling.

In other news, Romney has called for the Packers to win the 2010 Super Bowl. And he thinks Aaron Rodgers has a shot at MVP.


by Brett Rogers, 7/31/2011 11:30:53 PM