Who should decide???

Laura and I had an interesting conversation the other night that took shape from my recent encounters (more like avoidances) of the Children International workers on the sidewalks of Manhattan. I admire their dedication and persistence, enduring the cold weather, wind and snow flurries, trying to persuade people to stop and listen to their cause. Children International is a humanitarian organization similar to World Vision or Save the Children. I did some research to see if they were legitimate and they appear to be.

One of my findings in this search is that their CEO’s salary is over 300k. My immediate reaction was negative. This seemed quite generous to say the least. But the CEO salaries of the other similar charitable organizations (World Vision, etc) were comparable if not more. And I do not want to begrudge anyone’s salary capabilities. I don’t know if that is any of my business.

Neither Laura nor I know the duties and responsibilities of a CEO. Obviously it must be worth 300k or someone would offer to do it for less, right? We started thinking of some local charities and people we know who run them. What do they get paid? What is the job worth?

We didn’t really know how to answer. 50k? 60k or 70k? Long Island, NY is not a cheap place to live. Fifty grand goes pretty quick here.

This conversation is one I have been having with myself since Joe the Plumber brought the phrase “spread the wealth around” out of now President Obama. Is redistribution right? It already takes place in various ways so I guess the question is do we need more of it? If so who decides how much, who the beneficiaries are, and who pays? Another option I have read about is a maximum wage. Again, who will determine this?

Do we really want the government doing it? Elected and appointed officials who fail to report income and pay taxes? I do not think so.

I propose voluntary redistribution. It really is “better to give than to receive”. If enough people take initiative to help those in need, it will become contagious. This cannot be regulated by government, only inspired and made easier by easing the oppressive tax burden. Most of the men and women we elect are multi-millionaires (or their spouses are). They can set the example.

One thing I hope comes out of the Obama presidency is that people will really organize in community against the injustices in our society and a great place to start is with the local, state and federal governments. Oooo…was that a tingle up my leg or I am just Chris Matthews?


When is $1000 not $1000???

When you win it on the radio and the check only says $660.00 because of taxes...buzzkill!!!

In other news, I understand that the passengers who went down in the Hudson River on the US Airways flight were awarded $5000 for their ordeal.  Is one required to pay taxes on money received for pain and suffering?  

Look that up in your 1040 booklet!   :)



2008 Books...

I never was much of a reader, but for some reason after graduating college I started liking books.  At the beginning of 2008 I made a goal to read 4 books a month.  It was an ambitious goal but with a 70 minute train ride to work and another 70 minute train ride back home I thought I would challenge myself.  I didn't make it but I did manage to read 26 books.  Here is the list by subject:

The Four-Hour Work Week by  Timothy Ferriss
Saving the World at Work by Tim Sanders
Busted Budgets and Broken Buildings by Barry LePatners
Refabricating Architecture by Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake
Building Green by  Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan

Trump: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received by Donald Trump
Building Wealth One House at a Time by John W. Shaub
Economic Facts and Fallacies by  Thomas Sowelll
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth by Ric Edelman
Applied Economics by  Thomas Sowell

Miles Gone By by William F. Buckley, Jr.
Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza
My Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas

A Theology of the Built Environment by T.J. Gorringe
The Divine Omission by Dallas Willard
The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian Mclaren
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias
Everything Must Change by Brian Mclaren

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shleas
The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality by Jerome R. Corsi

A Field Guide to Buying Organic by Luddene Perry and Dan Schultz
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Each book I read was very enjoyable and worth the time (except Refabricating Architecture).  I did attempt to read Jane Austin's Sense and Sensibility but just couldn't handle the personalities of the two sisters so I shelved it.  Last weekend Laura made me watch the movie and that was a waste of 2 hours and 16 minutes.  

I did not make any reading goals for 2009 but just ordered 5 or 6 that I want to read. Hopefully I can incorporate more fiction and politics(that is not meant to be a joke). One goal I have is to stop surfing the internet articles and blogs that react to the politics and events of the day.  I have stopped watching the political shows on the 24 hour news networks only to replace that time with the internet version.  This should free up more time to read.

If I had to pick a favorite it would be My Grandfather's Son by Clarence Thomas.  Very inspirational.  One book I would recommend especially with the "economic crisis" is Amity Shleas The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.