Archive for November, 2008

The Little Squirrel Who wanted to share the Acorns

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Stanley squirrel was enjoying his first summer.

He had learned to leap from tree to tree using the spring of the branch to launch himself to his next target.  The feeling of exhiliration as he flew through the air was liberating.

All the first year squirrels liked to play together, chasing butterflies, splashing through the shallow creek and sunning themselves in the warm summer sunshine.

The older squirrels cautioned the newlings, ” play is fine, but as squirrels, we all must spend our time gathering acorns and other nuts for the cold winter when food becomes scarce.  If we don’t work together, we will all go hungry.”

Stanley, being somewhat stubborn and simple-minded , rebelled against the elders.

” I live to play,” He said.  ” I don’t know what winter cold is, but I’m sure it can wait a few more days.  After all, we are young and healthy and food is very plentiful…Why worry?”

Stanley and his siblings resumed their play, pretending to not hear his mothers screech of anger.

Summer passed quickly and the early fall brought cooler nights, but the days were  warm and the sun shone with a  brilliant clarity. Stanley continued to ignore the admonishment of the adults, playing and sleeping instead of gathering nuts for the winter.

One by one, all of his playmates left to join the rest of the squirrels in preparation for the coming season.

Finally it was only Stanley, and his special friend, bushy tailed, Stephanie.

” Look at all those fraidysquirrel’s, running to gather nuts” said Stanley.” We squirrels take care of each other. If we need food, the others will share their wealth,meanwhile we can play.”

Stephanie flicked her tail in his face and sprang away, with Stanley in hot pursuit.

Time passed, and late Fall turned into early Winter.

 The first snowfall of the season hit the forest. Everything was covered with a thin white blanket, and the crystals shone brightly in the morning sun.

Stanley and Stephanie sat on a bare branch of their favorite Oak tree. ” The others are still looking for food” said Stephanie, her black eyes wide with alarm.

“Don’t worry”, said Stanley,” we will look for food tomorrow.In the mean time,  the others will share their wealth with us  if we need it. ”

“Tag you’re it!” he shouted,  and sprang from the branch, sending a shower of snow to the ground below.

A few days later, Winter set in with a vengeance. The snow fell for 2 days, and the winds blew huge drifts against the trunks of the trees.

” I’m hungry ,” whined Stephanie.” All the nuts and berries are gone. What will we eat.”

 Stanley looked around.” Yes I’m hungry too. Lets go ask the others to share their wealth.”

They scampered off and went to see the Top Squirrel and the other elders.

” Can we please have something to eat.” They asked in unison.” We are hungry, and there is no food to be found in the forest.”

The Top Squirrel looked at them sadly, and shook his head.” We have been working all summer and all fall to gather enough food to keep us alive during the long cold winter.”

 He stamped his front paw.” Thats what squirels do. We work as a community to provide the food to keep us alive. Everyone must contribute or we all die.”

Stanley hung his head.” We didn’t know..” His dark eyes opened wide.” I always thought we were part of a community of squirrels.

All for one and one for all.

From each according to his means to each according to his needs.

Share and share alike

We should be be taken care of by the Community of Squirrels.”

The Top Squirrel shook his head. His eyes blazed with anger.” By ignoring  our warnings, and playing instead of working, you have jeopardised our community.

Everyone must work together for all to survive.

I’m sorry. You and Stephanie must find your own food.

We have only enough to feed those who helped gather the food. If we feed you we all starve. ”

THE MORAL of the STORY: Redistribution of wealth only works if there is some incentive to contribute to the common good.

The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back, a Parable about An Economy in Distress

Monday, November 17th, 2008

There is an old Middle Eastern tale about a poor farmer.

He lived in a  mud and straw hut , with his wife and three teenage daughters.

He owned 3 old camels .

Twice a year, at the Spring and Fall solstice,  he would pack the camels with large bags of straw and wheat.

He would kiss his wife , hug his three daughters, and then he would set off  for the 10 hour trek to the market at Dandalia.

This was a very important trip for the poor farmer, who  hoped to sell his produce and earn enough money to keep his family alive for the next 6 months.

Upon arriving in Dandalia , he would join with farmers from all over the Province . He would then set up his assigned booth, and displayting his wares.

The market would last for two full days,.The crowds were boisterous and the din was deafening. By the end of the second day, the farmer would count up his meager earnings, repack the now  empty hemp  sacks, and  tie his three camels into a caravan.

The return trip home was always much quicker, because he and Gabor, his young helper could ride the tired old camels.

One morning the farmer awoke and  found his two neighbors waiting for him in the front yard.

They offerd the farmer  bags of straw as additional produce  to bring to market.He could keep 50% of the profits for his trouble. 

The farmer was excited. With the extra money he could keep his family secure and comfortable.

The day before Spring Solstice was  cool, with a brisk gusty wind.

The farmer brought out the three old camels, and proceeded to load his bags of straw, 

He looked at the camels. They were  pretty well loaded, but he was determined to pick up the additional freight from his neighbors.

He arrived at Abmar’s yard and found 8 additional bags waiting for him. 

The camels were  loaded with much argument and posturing.

The farmer and the heavily burdened camels walked to  Fardeneen’s yard

There he found Fardeen and five additional bags of straw.

Loading the camels required a ladder, a makeshift pulley assembly and also a great deal of  discussion.

Each camel in turn staggered as the additional burdem was placed on its back. Their knees trembled, and they shifted unsteadily.

“Well,” said the farmer,” I guess I’ll be on my way.” He shook his head,” I don’t think these camels could carry another ounce of freight.”

Just then, Fardeen’s 12 year old daughter, came running out of the house. She was holding a large straw doll wrapped in a scrap of pale grey cloth. It was 2 feet tall, and had been made by weaving stalks of straw together, then dyed and clothed.

“Daddy, Daddy” she gasped, her arms wrapped around the doll’s body to hold it steady. ” You promised I could sell Esmerelda at the Solstice Market. I need the money to buy cloth for my new clothes.Mother says I am turning into a little woman, and need larger more appropriate dresses.”

He turned to the farmer,” Well ? Will you take  the doll and sell it for my Mindlee?”

The farmer looked at the three ,seemingly unsteady , overburdned camels.” I’m afraid to add any further burder to these camels. They are important to feed my family. I don’t think they can carry another thing.”

Fardeen looked at the farmer. “Come on Hamoken, share the wealth. Give my little girl a chance to get some pretty cloth for dresses. We can’t afford the cloth unless she sells the doll.”

He shook his head. ” I don’t want to disappoint  you but these camels are carrying the burden for our entire community. Let someone else share his wealth. They can’t carry any additional burden.They’ll break down.”

The farmer looked up, and spied the local tax collector approaching from the East.

Tax collector Sninndl looked at farmer Hamoken and smiled. ” I am here on the Governors business. As I’m sure you know, the irrigation project failed due to sabotage from our enemies. We are now  faced with many new poor and starving residents.

It is the Governor’s decree, that a 25% tax will be placed on all new business above last years totals. 

 New business is to buy you a  luxury .That new wealth should be shared with those citizens who have the need.”

The farmer looked distressed.” After the extra cost for a slower trip and paying for the extra market space necessary, it will not be worth anything to carry all this extra weight.”

The tax collector sneered.” The Governor has already been told of this extra tax on your load in our report to his scribes. You will have to carry the load to earn the money to pay the tax, even if it does not pay you very much.”

The farmer’s shoulders sagged. He knew he was stuck. He was being forced to do all this extra work .

He turned to Mindlee and gave her a half smile.” Come on, give me your straw man, if we can carry all these taxes for government giveaways, we can carry a little more straw. After all, straw is so lite.”

He took the straw doll, and placed it carefully on  top of the lead camel’s pile of straw filled bags.

The camel turned its head toward the farmer, and gave him a long sad look.

They heard a crack, the camels back broke, and it keeled over…dead.

The moral of the story.Too much taxation is a backbreaker

TOO MUCH TAXATION IS A BACKBREAKER

The Nasty Side of the Recession

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

The Country, indeed the World is falling deeper and deeper into what sure looks like a Depression to me.

Depression is an economic term as well as a psychological one.

The classic definition of an economic  Depression has probably not been achieved yet, but the incoming effects are obvious to anyone who deals with business and work. Things have slowed down, and are getting slower.

The Psychological effects , at this time, are less obvious but more ominous.

People are becoming short tempered and more irritable.

Nice and sweet are in short supply,  and everyone appears to be  ready to argue about anything.

Our population, especially under age 40-45 is not ready for difficult times.

We have lived through several decades of mild recessions, and quick easy fixes.

Even the dot com, followed by 9/11, was a relatively easy fix compared to the current  morass.

Nice is the operative  hope.

Nasty is the sad reality.

People are worried and stressed, and looking for something…anything to strike back at.

What a sad state of affairs!! 

How Bad is the Economy-A Small Business Observation

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

The economy is bad and getting worse.

We have been in a 12-15 month decline, which is picking up speed, as we slide down a well greased slope into…Deep Recession..Depression .

As a small business owner, I can feel the wheels grind to a halt.

The orders are down 30-40%, and collecting money is fast becoming a fight for survival.

Sadly, most of my economic predictions are  becoming prophetic.

The credit card  alternative to bank credit is proveing to be too expensive. You can not build a restaurant, or refurbish your house using Visa financing at 27-30% interest, as opposed to  bank loans at 7 or 8%. The bank loans do not exist for regular people, and the credit card payments are further destroying liquidity.

Stagflation,STAGFLATION!!!  If you read my repeated warnings of the past 8-9 months, you are familiar with the word.

Stagflation, now the rest of the economists and pundits have picked up on the word and the condition. No Growth! No Credit! Inflation! Stagnation!

One more serious affliction is beginning to hit our society.

I will explain later.

The Danger to US and our new President

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Hopefully this is based upon a false premise, but at least let us be vigilant.

It is a fact that the world is filled with a lot of “bad guys”, people who do not like us, and who are plotting to hurt us.

In 1993 we had a new and inexperienced President, and a faltering economy.

To test us and our new President ‘s resolve , terrorists executed an attack on the World Trade Center .This was an attempt to bring down the Buildings, and to  put President Clinton under pressure .

In 2001 we had a new and inexperienced President and an economy faltering from the dot com implosion.

On 9/11, a well organized group of terrorists planned and executed a successful attack on US, The World Trade Centers, and other targets. Once again we were vulnerable due to inexperienced leadership, and an economic debacle which distracted our vigilance.

Today, once again, we have a new and inexperienced President, and the biggest economic distraction in history.

President elect Obama, has many , incredibly complex problems to deal with.

Let us hope that the third time is not charm, and that some of us are able to focus on the terrorist threats to our safety.

This is Bush

Friday, November 7th, 2008

The classic meaning of Bush League, historically referred to the Minor Leagues of baseball,

A minor league would consist of  teams playing in small towns and villages, where local talent could begin the quest for advancement and recognition  from the Major League baseball teams.

The term was slightly derogatory, inferring less sophisticated, plebian tastes.

Today Bush league has a much more sinister destructive meaning.

To be Bush, is to incur the distain of 80% of your fellow citizens.

To be Bush is to be responsible for the destruction of your fellow party members.

To be Bush is to be guilty of lies and deciet.

To be Bush is to make war based upon lies., to use  an overwhelming military strength, and to almost lose the war.

To be Bush is to be an eliteist parriah to the people who depended upon you.

I wonder what sad excuse for  for a leader would ever sink to this pathetic definition of Bush.

No one could ever be that bad, so lets forget Bush.

Back to Economics

Friday, November 7th, 2008

With the Presidential marathon finally over, it is time to return our attention to the economy.

Boys and girls, we are in trouble.

The amount of debt created in the past few months, and the abrupt slow down of the economy leaves us very vulnerable to higher taxes.

The Feds, the States, the Counties, and the local towns and villages are all running deficit budgets, with the bigger the entity, the larger the deficit.

Logic would tell us that if you don’t have enough money to cover your budget, then……. cut your spending. Any fiscal Conservative will tell you that tightening the budget and reducing spending is what “we the people” have to do when we can’t afford our personal expenses.

Unfortunately at this particular junction in history, a very Liberal agenda has hijacked the Country on the Federal, State and Local level in most places.

This philosophy usually fights to keep spending constant, and increase income by raising taxes, as a way to balance their budgets.

At the beginning of what is obviously a fairly heavy Recession, raising taxes even a little bit will wipe out an alarmingly large number of small/ medium businesses, which in turn, will deepen the recession.

This is a no win situation, but our fiscally liberal  friends will not hesitate to raise our business taxes as a way to trickle up stimulate the economy.

Be prepared, trickle up economics in this economic climate is akin to trickle up depression.

Watch out below.

The Race is Over…At Long Last

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Congratulations to our new President.May he be blessed with the wisdom to protect and guide our Nation to peace and prosperity. 

To the hope and energy generated by this historic event, I would add ” It is about time for the Black youth of America to have a positive role model, who is not strictly an athlete.”

In the excitement of this historic election, let us not forget, most of the opposition to President Elect Obama was due to his extreme left wing policy. His color was a moot point for most of us.

We must watch carefully , and attempt to temper the damage that can be caused by the 3 legged stool.( Reid,Pelosi, and now the White House.)

This election was about change, but very few voters were providing a mandate for Socialism or Communism to become our economic/ geopolitical system.

Can Obama become a temperate and compromising executive? Can he rise to the occasion of greatness which the job provides? 

We can hope for wisdom while never letting go of our core principals.

The Bush Legacy

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Mr Bush you are responsible for destroying your party, splitting your country in 1/2 , and destroying the faith and  culture of tens of millions of Americans.

From all of us, I wish to say….thanks… You are the worst parriah, looser, traitor in the history of the World.

I am ashamed to admit that I bought into your B S ,

You were smarter than us.  …Way To Go big guy…. I hope you are proud.

This Election has created a serious rift in America

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Thanks to the terrible failures of George Bush and his version of  liberal Republicanism , the Country is reacting with blind anger.

They are even willing to vote for an unknown extreme Left Wing Liberal because his name is not George Bush.

The mainstream press has religiously avoided any negative press for Senator Obama, and have annointed him as a savior without having any clue of the damage that will be done.

This  lack of full disclosure has created an undercurrent of anger and distrust. Americans are not stupid. We resent being lied to and conned.

Those that have bought into the Savior mantle are happy, those of us who do not are getting increasingly agitated  and frustrated.

The passion on the Right and the Left has become so polarized that there does not appear to be a middle anymore.

The disingenuous  polarization is evident on both sides.

What ever side wins this Presidential election, the damage might be too much to heal.

Citizens of America!!! Please!!! Do not give up hope!!!

May G-d bless America.