Light at the End of the Fiscal Tunnel?

Hey! Cisco (not Bruce) the Harwich Spirits Shoppe blogging cat here….

It should come as no great surprise to anyone who regularly reads this blog that this feline is more than just a little skeptical about the future economic (and social) outlook for this country. (Just search this blog for the word ‘trillion’ and brace yourself.) If there ever was a model for American social meltdown, Hurricane Katrina was it…

Note the text below the image (emphasis mine.).

“USGS Lakeview. D.K. Demcheck’s mother-in-law’s dining room. It looks like there was a fire: That’s various shades of gray and black mold. October 3, 2005. U.S. Geological Survey “Lakeview” photographs document weekend “free time” in Lakeview. D.K. Demcheck’s mother-in-law and brother-in-law lived here. His mother-in-law’s place took 6 feet of water for two weeks. It was looted at least 3 times. The press reports of gunfire and breakdown of social order were exaggerated, but the amount of looting was not exaggerated.”

Like it or not, as we’re going right now, we’re headed for Greece type rioting and European type fiscal pandemonium.  Bartering will only last so long… After that, all hell breaks loose, rose-colored glasses or no. The bottom line is that we as a republic earn $15 trillion/per year, but we owe at least $100 trillion. As is now famous — that’s 4$ billion/day in interest alone.

So how can it be, that when we’re so economically and mathematically screwed that even our shadow is looking for Vaseline, there can possibly be ‘light at the end of the tunnel’???

The answer is absolutely stunning in it’s simplicity, and I’ll use an analogy to make my point… Go back fifteen years and imagine the best and brightest minds (and their supercomputers) trying to decode one of the proteins that makes up AIDS. Fifteen years, and no luck. Here’s what the scientists did — they made an online game of the problem and gave it to the cyber-world of rabid gamers. It took the dweebs just ten days to solve the problem (though it took a full three weeks to confirm the solution.)

Lesson learned? Is the lesson that gamers are hyper intelligent? Not exactly.  My guess is that the geeks didn’t have to worry about meetings, reports, forms, writing articles, editing articles, publishing articles,  government grants, tenure, department staffing and budgets, more meetings, more paperwork… Blah, blah, blah… No… The get-a-lifers just had to solve the damned problem.  In short… If we could just get the bureaucrats, politicians, regulations, litigation, and wildly exorbitant taxes off our backs, who knows what the American economy could do…

(Before anyone crows that I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to business… I’m Alan, the goober in the blue shirt below sitting besides Mr. Gates…

I ended up becoming the technical manager for that team as well as three others. I was eyeball deep in the hiring, training, mentoring, review, and firing process for hundreds of people at a whack over five years… So don’t give me crap about lack of experience in business.)

Right now, I’m thinking of three great businesses I could start easy breezy right here on Cape Cod. But I’ll just use one (without details) to show you why I stand pat… Let’s say I do a one day job for $1,000… Here’s how the costs would break down if I was lucky:

  • Insurance: $200… I’ve already looked into this. The number is $200 — Twenty percent right off the top so that I have a prayer should some jackass try to sue me.
  • Equipment: $20.
  • Transportation: $20.
  • Tax: $400 (I’m being very conservative here… For businesses grossing $100k to $335k, the corporate tax rate is 39%). Rest assured that local and state taxes would drive that number way up.
  • Labor: I’d need an assistant. That’s $150.
  • Unknown: Always plan for 10% or $100. (There are always fees, permits, licenses, and who knows what.)

So… Ballpark, I’d be left with $100 for an eight hour day… except that it wouldn’t be an eight hour day. It would be a 12 hour day. My business would be time intensive. That’s $8.33/hour optimistically. In the real world, $6.00/hour is more accurate. Hmmm… Why on earth would I take on the risk, heartache, and paperwork of starting my own business to make ‘sub-burger-flipping’ wages? But if we knock down the cost of taxes and insurance, then that’s do-able, and this country has a hope of crawling out of the vast hole we’re in.

Waiting by the racks…

Three cats blogging…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.

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