Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Tax Cut Redux

One of today's headlines is discussing just what sort of "stimulus" is going to be coming from Washington; in this Whitman's Sampler of bad ideas lurks what some are calling "tax cuts," a great deal of which are in fact, not tax cuts at all, but tax credits and other goodies to try to coerce people into the behaviours that our Morlock Overseers want to engender in us.

Some months ago, I posted a comment on this blog

a question about what responsibilities one bears as a citizen of a country. I am reminded of the question today, as the folks in Washington debate just how to get us out of the mess we now find ourselves in due largely to our sloth, greed, and frankly, stupidity.

Put simply, what I see is more and more people being removed from the tax rolls, who, freed from the nuisance of having to pay for the "services" that they receive, will vote to expand their goodie bags at the increasing expense of the few of us who actually have to pay for them.

I once heard a quote that pretty aptly describes liberal compassion:

Compassion is A and B voting what they are going to force C to do to "help" D.

As you consider the so-called "stimulus package," ask yourself if you are a C or a D.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

If Christmas is the time of miracles, then surely, early January is the time of lists. This one landed in my mail box this morning:

It's basically a back-of-the-envelope accounting of where the 50 "Best Places in America" to work are. Now, obviously this sample based on self-reported "satisfaction," carries with it all of the psychometric freight of that word as well as the inherent sampling bias. But setting that aside, a quick review of the list renders the following, most interesting top-line.

  1. Eight of the 50 firms are in management consulting (e.g., McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting). That's almost 20 per cent of the field. Now, given that in the industry I work in, consultants are the modern day equivalent of the biblical publicans - not sure if Jesus Christ himself would sit and have a meal with them - this is strange. And if Scott Adams is to be believed, the view goes beyond just my immediate neighbourhood. I guess these 25 year olds are just good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it, people PAY them.
  2. 10 of the 50 (20%) firms are new-styled tech (apps, software, services) companies - companies like Google, salesforce-dot-com, Citrix. I guess that there must be something to be said for loving what you do, since these guys are spending the lion's share of there time at the office working and playing ping-pong with their colleagues rather than at home with their families.
  3. There are several banks (Goldman Sachs is 26th). If this report were adjusted using linearly-weighted moving averages or some other tool for adjusting for the time component and hence implosion of Wall St, what would the outcome be?
  4. General Mills tops the list. No wonder Jerry Seinfeld always has a box or bowl of cereal in view in every episode of his show. After all, maybe they really are magically delicious.

Enjoy 2009!