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>"To All My Valued Employees…"

April 29, 2009 4 comments

>Over the pond in America we recently witnessed a remarkable event – the Tea Parties.

Unlike demonstrations on the left, which are heavily organised by professional agitators, these were spontaneous expressions of people’s anger at the impoverishment of the nation in general and the next generation in particular by the Obama administration.

Here in Australia, in 2007, our government inherited the most benign economic conditions probably throughout the history of worldwide elections – strong growth, a Future Fund with tens of billions of dollars and ZERO government debt.

How many developed economies had ZERO government debt? The last government had paid of the $100 billion they inherited when they took office in 1996.

The Europeans would give their right arms if they could achieve that outcome rather than be paying billions in interest payments.

Only 18 months later and the Labor government has decided it’s OK to run up $200 BILLION in government debt. They’ve tried stimulating the economy and failed miserably. Economic forecasters are now talking about 8.5% unemployment next year, upping their prediction by 1%. Parenthetically, how many mainstream economists have made even one prediction that has been right in the last 12 months? About none. They all undershoot. Even that supposed bastion of world economic wisdom, the IMF, has been massively downgrading its forecasts as the downturn – conspicuously unpredicted by them – continues.

So we are stuffed. Completely. Which is why Kevin Rudd will go down as the worst PM we’ve ever had. Who would have thought that someone could take that title from Gough Whitlam?

One employer here in Australia has written to his employees expressing his frustration. It will resonate with every right thinking person regardless of where they live or work:

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job, however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Subaru Outback outside. You’ve seen my big home at last year’s Christmas party. I’m sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealised thoughts about my life.

However, what you don’t see is the back story.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 2 bedroom flat for 3 years. My entire living area was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of baked beans, stew and soup because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a wonky transmission. I didn’t have time to go out with women. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50,000 a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes.

Instead of hitting the David Jones for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don’t. There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend.

There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Subaru, the vacations… you never realise the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t.
The people that overspent their pay suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough.
I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes.
Payroll taxes. Workers compensation. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes.
I have to hire a accountant to manage all these taxes and then guess what?
I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a cheque to the Australian tax Office for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” cheque was? Zero. Zip. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare cheque?

Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your pay you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don’t understand …. to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had the government suddenly mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Canberra black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth.

My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of Australia and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. But the power brokers in Canberra believe the poor of Australia are the essential drivers of the Australian economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your 4WD and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalises the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a politicians that swept through this country changed its financial landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….

I started my own business when I was in my early 20s. For over a year I took $100/week in pay, as did my partners. We hired people, quickly growing to double figures. There is no off button when you work for yourself. As he says, you’re always on. How are you going to get the next deal? Are you able to make payments you’ve committed to? Can you actually supply what you’ve sold. These are issues for all businesses, as cash flow is king and it doesn’t matter how well you’re doing on paper it’s always a trick to manage your debtors ledger tightly.

Kevin Rudd and his pack of ignorant leftists do not understand what makes an economy tick.

It’s the entrepreneurship of people like me who built a company from nothing, ran it for a decade and a half and then sold it in order to move on. We created jobs that didn’t exist, and would never have existed had we not opened that business. We got no government hand outs, no free kicks and no pat on the back for what we did.

Government debt destroys jobs.

Capiche? Understand? Comprehende?

Government debt destroys jobs.

No wonder the author of that letter is so peeved.

PS – apologies for lack of posts recently but I have been spending all of my time researching another topic and haven’t had a chance to blog.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Economics, Politics

>Professor Plimer presents the real facts on climate change

April 22, 2009 4 comments

>Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and confirmed curmudgeon, released his new book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science only a few days ago. The first two runs of 5000 sold out in just two days and it’s into its 3rd run; and that’s even before Amazon puts it on sale, which they have scheduled for May 1 – an appropriate day given that the world’s socialists and the Climate Faithful are soulmates.

Which begs the question – has there ever been a faster selling book dealing with climate change than Plimer’s?

Youtube gets rightly condemned for censoring content showing Israel in a good light and Islam in a bad light, as it should be. Given the preponderence of Democrat Party members on the Google board it comes as no surprise that such activity goes on.

However, without Youtube we also wouldn’t have such easy access to the Inconvenient Truth destroying presentation given by Plimer recently. Make sure you show it to all of your believing friends.

One of the arguments that Climate Astrologers put forward to support their claim that the planet is in peril is that “this is different” to what has happened historically due to man’s influence.

My answer to that is that if it really is different then why spend all that time studying the climate before the Industrial Revolution?

It’s drivel, of course, but as with all leftists they’re too busy forming opinions to spend any real time studying facts.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Climate Astrology

>Same sex marriage – Miss California v Mr Obama

April 21, 2009 2 comments

>One of the rules for judges at the Miss USA Pageant is to not ask political or sex-related questions.

So what does trumped up nothing Perez Hilton do?

Asks for her opinion on gay marriage.

It costs her the title but at least she can sleep at night knowing that she didn’t sell out her values for the chance at fame.

Hilton is a huge Obama fan. No surprise there.

So what does Obama have to say on the same sex marriage question?

Let’s contrast and compare.

So, if Miss California is a “dumb bitch” then what does that make Mr Obama?

Come to think of it there’s probably a fair chance that Miss California, if President, would have introduced less economically and societally destructive policies than Obama…

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Politics

>Australian prime minister finally admits we’re heading for recession

April 20, 2009 1 comment

>I wonder how hard it was for Kevin Rudd, who for so long has seen himself as infallible, to utter the R word today – recession?

In spite of data from at least October last year that a recession was unavoidable Rudd and his band of Keynesian economic illiterates have committed billions of dollars of the next generation’s money to the task of avoiding a ‘technical recession’ – two negative quarters of growth in a row. This is a poor definition of recession, by the way, as inflation can mask a recession and lead to overconfidence in the current situation and bad decision making when tightening of the belt is required. A better definition is two consecutive quarters of negative production.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has admitted a recession in Australia is inevitable.

Speaking in Adelaide earlier today he said the worst global downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s had made it impossible for the Australian economy to escape recession.

“The worst global economic recession in 75 years means it’s inevitable that Australia will be dragged into recession,” Mr Rudd said. “The severity of the global recession has made it impossible for Australia to avoid a further period of negative economic growth.”
Mr Rudd added that while the government could try and soften the blow of recession, it is impossible to avoid.

“The challenge for government is to cushion the impact of recession on business and jobs, through the actions we take, through economic stimulus strategy,” he said.
A recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

The most recent economic growth figures, covering the final quarter of 2008, showed that the economy shrank by 0.5 percent.

Since then, a host of economic indicators have pointed towards a full-blown recession and some analysts are now tipping an unemployment rate of up to 10 percent by the end of next year.

Economic growth is unlikely to recover until the fourth quarter of this year.

“I expect we’ll see a contraction in the June quarter as well as the March quarter,” Besa Deda, chief economist at St George told ninemsn. “The June quarter will be tough but we could see some signs of growth indicators.”

She added that the first signs of recovery will likely come from the housing sector but that consumer spending will not recover until the end of the year.

Last week, data from Westpac and the Melbourne Institute suggested economic growth is at a 26 year low.

While the government has spent $52 billion on economic stimulus since October last year, including the current $42 billion in cash bonuses currently being mailed to taxpayers nationwide, economists believe the payments have come too late to avoid technical recession.

Regardless of Mr Rudd’s prediction, Australians will have to wait until early June for confirmation of a recession. GDP figures for the first quarter of 2009 will be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on June 3.

You may ask yourself was the recession foreseeable 6 months ago, as I claim.

Here is the data. It shows Australia’s Services, Manufacturing and Construction indexes first in October and then for March. The graphs show whether markets are expanding or contracting. Above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction (click to embiggen):

October 2008

March 2009

Now, any sane person looking at that first graph and seeing how things had tipped over, coupled with the global financial crisis and decreasing demand from our major export partners, Japan and China, would come to the conclusion that we’re headed for a recession regardless of what definition you want to use.

What does Rudd do?

First, he pisses $10 billion up against the wall at the end of 2008. You can see how well that worked by looking at the second graph.

Not finished with his attempt to avoid a recession, Rudd then imperils Australia’s financial future by committing tens of billions of dollars on all sorts of ridiculous schemes, nearly all of which will not have any short term stimulative effect.

Look at that second graph. Things are going to get much worse before they get any better.

According to the Brisbane Times (h/t: Andrew Bolt):

The mini-budget contained a provision for the nation’s gross debt to reach $200 billion… There was also the $42 billion for the second stimulus package. Should revenues be substantially worse than forecast in the mini-budget, there may be a need to borrow beyond the $200 billion limit.

Jeepers!

This government came to power with Australia in its strongest economic position ever. We had no government debt. It had all been paid off.

In just a few years’ time we will have upwards of $100 billion, and maybe double that, in an era in which $10+ billion budget surpluses are a thing of the past. If we achieve $2-$3 billion any time in the next decade then that would be great. That number, by the way, is at least the interest bill Australians will be paying on Rudd’s incompetent economic largess. How are we going to pay off such massive debt?

This debt, by the way, doesn’t include the impact of an emissions trading scheme on the economy or the yet to be felt impact of Rudd’s changes to workplace relations laws, which have reduced labour market flexibility – the very thing needed to help cushion the blow of an economic downturn.

What this government is doing is going to profoundly affect the living standards of all Australians for decades to come.

Rudd is a far, far worse prime minister than the current holder of that title, Gough Whitlam. Hopefully, the Australian people work that out before the next election. However, I fear that even Malcolm Turnbull and his shadow cabinet of Liberal wets would prove to be completely feckless and lack the political will to take the tough decisions needed to pull Australia back to prosperity.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Economics

>Sunday night rock ‘n’ roll covers

>“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a rock ballad written by George Harrison for The Beatles on their double album The Beatles (also known as The White Album). The song was ranked #135 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The song was also ranked #7 on “Rolling Stone”‘s list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time.

The Original – The Beatles

Sad Loss – Jeff Healey

This guy is great – Jake Shimabukuro

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Music

>The talent of Steve Martin

April 18, 2009 1 comment

>Steve Martin really is a talented fellow as the following clips demonstrate.

The Great Flydini – very clever

On the Banjo with the great Earl Scruggs on Letterman

And the famous King Tut song

And if you haven’t seen the hilarious The Man With Two Brains then you have missed out.

And in a classic role as Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Classic comedy.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Comedy

>Average Joe doesn’t believe global warming caused by human activity

>It comes as a big, huge non-surprise that only 34% of US voters now believe that global warming is caused by human activity.

This will come as a body blow to the credibility of Climate Astrologers, whose public opinion models had suggested that support would continue to grow.

From what I consider to be the best pollster in the US, Rasmussen, comes this survey:

Just one-out-of-three voters (34%) now believe global warming is caused by human activity, the lowest finding yet in Rasmussen Reports national surveying. However, a plurality (48%) of the Political Class believes humans are to blame.

The Political Class are greater believers than Average Joe? Imagine that. It’s clear that Average Joe has a better handle on both the science and reality than politicians.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of all likely voters attribute climate change to long-term planetary trends, while seven percent (7%) blame some other reason. Eleven percent (11%) aren’t sure.

These numbers reflect a reversal from a year ago when 47% blamed human activity while 34% said long-term planetary trends.

Most Democrats (51%) still say humans are to blame for global warming, the position taken by former Vice President Al Gore and other climate change activists. But 66% of Republicans and 47% of adults not affiliated with either party disagree.

I find it astonishing that only 51% of Democrats blame humans for warming. That can’t bode well for the support they’ll need to push through an emissions trading scheme.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of all Americans believe global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, with 33% who say it’s Very Serious. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s a not a serious problem. The overall numbers have remained largely the same for several months, but the number who say Very Serious has gone down.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Democrats say global warming is a Very Serious problem, compared to 19% of Republicans and 25% of unaffiliateds.

President Obama has made global warming a priority for his administration. Half (49%) of Americans think the president believes climate change is caused primarily by human activity. This is the first time that belief has fallen below 50% since the president took office. Just 19% say Obama attributes global warming to long-term planetary trends.

Forty-eight percent (48%) rate the president good or excellent on energy issues. Thirty-two percent (32%) give him poor grades in this area.

These are hardly strong numbers for Obama.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of adults now say finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans currently consume. However, 29% say energy conservation is the priority.

A growing number of Americans (58%) say the United States needs to build more nuclear plants. This is up five points from last month and the highest finding so far this year. Twenty-five percent (25%) oppose the building of nuclear plants.

One presumes that even though Average Joe doesn’t know where the rest of the world is he can understand that if France meets 77% of its electricity requirements through nuclear power then the arguments against it can’t be too sound.

While the economy remains the top issue for most Americans, 40% believe there is a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Thirty-one percent 31% see no such conflict, while 29% are not sure.

There should be no conflict but the fact is that Big Environment makes sure that one exists. They are a cancer on the underbelly of society.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Climate Astrology