Thursday, November 30, 2006

Where charity begins

This tends to be a common theme this time of the year, but it's worth repeating. Charity and giving begin with individuals, and it's good to hear that we, as a nation, continue to give year after year. Regardless of what the media and the rest of the world says, Americans are a caring and benevolent people! This article, in the Christian Science Monitor Online, is a great reminder.

We need to get the government out of the charity business. First, because they always do a horrible job at it. And secondly, because all they know is "Robin Hood" charity: taking from one group of people and giving it to another. Nothing shows love for neighbor more than sincere, un-forced giving by one human to another. The government is a poor substitute.

Walmart, bah humbug!

Why is Walmart always under attack? No one has a gun to anyone's head. No one is forced to shop or work there. There's plenty of other options when it comes to where we buy things. Walmart has low prices, they stock everything under the sun and millions of Americans have chosen to work and/or shop there. They must be doing something right? Oh wait, they make money, a lot of money. And that's bad! Only in America...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The original conception of this blog was to help educate people as to economic issues as they arise in day to day life. I really wanted to stay away from too much political conversation since the market is already saturated with political screaming.

However, I read a piece today by Thomas Sowell

that I think really encompasses political as well as economic issues. The basic treatise regards who gives more time, money, resources.... liberals or conservatives. It's an excellent analysis of the world view that separates liberals and conservatives.

It's a great read for everyone.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Cost of employment

A few years ago, I was invited to speak at a class at the Ford Sharonville plant.

The class was titled "How to Start Your Own Business". I was told by the person teaching the class the course was designed for workers in the plant and the company provided an entire diverse curriculum for the plant workers. The courses could be taken on company time with no fees.

I inquired as to why Ford would offer such a course on starting a business. The instructor told me the company has told the employees at the plant that the plant would not be open forever; that eventually they needed to prepare themselves for a life after Ford and that the company would help train the employees for their future.

While it seemed odd to me, I did offer to do a class on the costs of having employees.

During the class, I went through the mandatory taxes and benefits that company's are required to pay on behalf of their employees.

FICA match
Medicare Match
Federal unemployment
State unemployment
Workers comp.

I also discussed issues like benefits such as vacation, sick days, medical insurance, OSHA standards, ADA requirements, even the costs of non productivity like the class they were currently taking, etc., etc.

In the middle of my presentation, one of the guys asked an observant question; Why in the hell would anyone ever want employees?

I counsel clients that, depending on the business, employees need to generate 3-4 times their salaries in net income. For instance, if you pay a worker $10.00 an hour you need to get $30-$40/hour in revenue generation or other expense reductions.

So when wages go up, it's not as simple as just a wage increase, it runs all the way through the cost of production.

I just affirms my theory that when we artificially increase cost of production, company's will always outsource the production to the true "market" value.

UC Football

I have never understood the total lack of interest in UC football. Even my freshman year at UC, I was amazed that my roomates went over to Nippert to see Elder/Moeller on a Friday but I couldn't pay them to go over the next night to watch UC.

Even when the Bengals wore absolutely abysmal, you couldn't find a fan with a search warrant.

With that said, if Dantonio leaves, it will be yet another set back for a program just seems to always be "just around the corner" to big time.

It was all set up, a coach building a program long term, a respectable finish in the Big East, a nice turn out and win for the Rutgers game, probably the best bowl bid in a long time.

I have a tendency to blame the administration for this. I'm always advising clients that my services will only be as important to me as it is to them. And in that sense, the fans will only follow the university lead on big time college football.