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Tax Rates & Job Creation

Three things happened this morning that prompted me to write this post. First, a friend of mine commented on my previous post by stating that raising taxes during a recession is a bad idea. Sounds like common sense. Then I read in the Tribune about an interview with Michele Bachmann.  "We have to lower tax rates considerably on job creators. And with everything from the death tax to alternative minimum tax to 100% expensing immediately for small business,” she said on Fox News Sunday. When asked about extending unemployment benefits to regular people she replied: “I don’t think we can afford it.” OK, so we know where her priorities lie. Then I read the article about Warren Buffet. He said that we need to stop “coddling” the mega rich. He claimed that higher tax rates will have little effect on investment and job creation.
I decided to do a little digging to see if I could find some numbers and see if there’s any correlation between top marginal tax rates and unemployment. I goog…

Congress: Please Stop Being So Dysfunctional

The United States government owes too much money. Standard & Poor’s (the same folks who told us the mortgage backed securities were A-OK) has downgraded the US to AA+. This is a proud moment, isn’t it? And, is the amount of the debt the reason S&P downgraded us? Not really. It’s political dysfunction. It’s the apparent inability of the Congress to deal with the debt. It’s partially because a chunk of our elected officials were dumb enough to sign a pledge saying they would NEVER raise taxes, under any circumstance. Stupid. Problem-solving 101 says you don’t block potential solutions right off the bat. And, it gets worse. According to this morning’s Marketwatch.com: “Mitch McConnell is already sabotaging the new Congressional “Debt Super-Committee,” vowing to appoint only Republicans who have signed Grover Norquist’s ‘no new taxes’ pledge”. So, by Republican tea-party design, that committee is doomed to stalemate and ultimate failure. Why not temporary tax increases? The Bush t…

The Asteroid is Coming!

Remember those movies about asteroids hitting the earth? Deep Impact? Armageddon? Do you remember how people acted when our attempts to deflect the asteroids were thought to have failed? That’s how I feel about this debt ceiling issue. It seems all I can do is watch and fret.If our elected officials screw this up, it’s going to adversely impact almost everyone – except them. The vast majority of them are really rich, thus insulated from a lot of the harm they will cause. They won’t lose their jobs. They have great health care coverage.I think that the tea party Republicans will be the ones to blame if this all goes bad. Their intransigent stance on increasing revenues is not reasonable. Taxes have been higher in this country during better times. A modest tax increase, or closing loopholes (which is also a tax increase) will not kill the economy. I find the Republican rhetoric laughable: “tax increases on job creators…”. Please. Most of the increase will go to people who head companies…

Difficult to be Gloomy and Doomy Today

I really want to write something gloomy and unpleasant, but it's so darn nice out today I just can't do it. Low 70s. Dry. Blue skies. Light breeze. Even yard work might seem pleasant today. Perhaps that is pushing it, but it's REALLY nice out.

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Book Review: The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

I just finished a great book by a new author: Taylor Stevens. The Informationist introduces an intriguing character: Vanessa "Michael" Munroe. She's an information broker with some unorthodox methods to achieve her goals. The plot is fast paced and set in exotic locations. I finished the book satisfied with the plot resolution, but really wanted to know more about the protagonist - what makes her tick, what she's going to do next. According to Ms. Stevens' website, this will be a series. The next Munroe novel is due out December 27th. I'm looking forward to it. Pick up The Informationist if you want a good mystery / spy / not-sure-how-to-categorize-it novel.

As some of you may know, I was in the business intelligence software business for almost 15 years. Occasionally we would receive a resume from someone thinking we were in the same business as Vanessa Munroe in The Informationist. These resumes were interesting reading: CIA and military backgrounds, forei…

In Retrospect: Which Worked Better?

Hindsight is 20 / 20, but maybe there's a lesson here.

Which worked better for us? Patient, well-executed intelligence combined with a relatively small-scale effort? Or, "shock and awe"?

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THE LAST TIME (Fiction)

"I swear this is the last time I come running when she calls," Dave said.

"Yeah. I think I've heard you say that before," I replied.

Dave had called me a few hours ago and asked for my help. I didn't ask for details; I owed him.

"I know. I know. I can't help myself when it comes to her."

"Tell me again - what she said."

"She thought she was being followed. She was going to stop in Lena at a gas station and wait for me. But, the call ended abruptly. You know how crappy the reception is out this way."

We were driving west on highway 20. He was right. Cell phone service was spotty out here at best, as was security. There just wasn't enough money out in the rural areas to make it worthwhile. It was dark. The trees were thick, overhanging the road in many places. A light from one of the few farmhouses would occasionally break through the dense growth. It had been a long time since anyone had trimmed back the trees and bush…