Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Incentive to Succeed

One of my network connections sent out a weekly commentary today. Great information to spur thought and conversation.

"Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, some 40+ years ago. Based on proposals I've seen, it appears that a War on Prosperity is on its way.

Current proposals would increase the top federal income tax rate to 39.6% for those with $200,000 in AGI, or $250,000 in AGI for joint filers.

In addition, about one-third of these earner's deductions would be disallowed, and we can expect payroll (FICA) taxes to be applied to all income over $250,000.

This combination of benefits will increase taxes for taxpayers in this bracket by about half. Finally, capital gains tax rates are expected to increase to 20%.

The beauty of this strategy is that the 2% of taxpayers affected cast only about 4% of the votes."

I was drawn to the final line about "votes" represented by the impacted taxpayers. I recall the recent elections and the campaign platforms, and put the entirety of this commentary in that perspective. It suggests that the slim minority of the voting public, affected by these proposals, lack the power to respond with any force in the ballot box.

I think that a review of history and a comparison of other national economies have both shown, however, that the general prosperity intended by this redistribution would eventually drive the opposite results. The incentive to succeed, to work towards prosperity, becomes a negative incentive when the fruits of those efforts are taken away. Over time, when the rewards diminish, the incentive to prosper fades as well.

I welcome your comments and insights.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Making of a Champion

Here's a quote that I heard tonight on a conference call. It's an incredible reminder of the activity - the work, the sweat, and often the time - required to reach your victory.

The most concise description I have heard is this:
Dream, Struggle, Victory

Many want to skip right to the end! They have a dream. They expect the victory. You can't just skip a step. If you want the victory, you must endure the struggle. And the greater the victory you desire, the greater your struggle.

Besides, if was that easy, would it really be worth it?

The quote? Enjoy...

"I hated every minute of training, but I said,
'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' ''

Muhammad Ali

Sunday, March 15, 2009

History Lesson... or is that an Economy Lesson?

"All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."

John Adams

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Attitude is Everything

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."

Thomas Jefferson

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Plan for Financial Success

What if you had a plan for financial success?

Ron Blue recently testified before a Senate subcommittee conducting hearings on “Solutions for a New Era: Jobs and Families.“ Mr. Blue was appearing based on his solid reputation of financial expertise.

A Senator asked him what the average American family should do in the current economy. Ron Blue said that the American family could benefit from following a four-part financial plan:

Think long-term with goals and investing
Spend less than you earn
Maintain liquidity (or emergency savings)
Minimize the use of debt

Think Long Term: The longer term your perspective, the better financial decisions you will make.

Spend Less Than You Earn: You need to know what you are earning, what you are spending, have a plan and monitor it. Over the long term, this will contribute to financial success.

Maintain Emergency Savings: A reserve will help you ride out the surprises of life and avoid debt.

Minimize and Eliminate Debt: Debt may allow you to have more now, but it reduces your ability to have more in the future. Debt is an obligation on your future income, and because of compounding, it may represent the single most important factor influencing your future financial success.

These four principles work in concert. Together, they represent a formula for financial success.

These principles are so timely to today’s economic climate. Perhaps because they are timeless. They are by no means new; they trace back for thousands of years.

The principles have endured the test of time. They are independent of the economy - recession or boom. They are insensitive to oil prices and the real estate market. Many rich people, and likely many more poor people, can attest to them.

Those that have followed this path in recent years are comfortably surviving - some thriving - in the economic concerns of today. If you have been following them, continue. You will continue to thrive.

If you are in crisis, there is no better time to start then now. You can not establish a strong financial foundation without them. They will lead you out of your crisis, and help you prevent them in the future.

Note - reference source “Surviving Financial Meltdown” by Ron Blue and Jeremy White.

Spreading the Wealth

I received this in an e-mail recently. I welcome your comments!

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.