I Need Some Ammo Money

It’s that time of year again- cops begin offering money for unwanted guns. I have an old piece of crap Stevens single shot .22 rifle that I would like to turn in for some ammo money. I just won’t drive all the way to Orlando to get $50, especially not Pine Hills.

Oh, and the article claims a grenade was turned in at a past event. The guy got a good deal, because it was an inert grenade:

I wonder if you could buy a $15 dummy grenade and turn it in for a $50 gift certificate?

Biden’s War on Banks

So the Biden administration has just guaranteed all depositors of the SVB bank. Now that he has taken this step, this has effectively nationalized all of the deposits of all banks in the country. Now banks are free to take all of the risks that they want, because they aren’t risking their own, or even their depositors’ money. It’s more free money from Uncle Sugar’s printing press.

The thing is, those who owned stock in the bank are getting screwed out of their money. The bank has declared bankruptcy, and anyone who owned stock in the bank can’t even sell it. In fact, those who were selling the bank short have also lost all of their money. The billionaire depositors are being bailed out, but the bank’s stockholders are not.

The government has removed risk from the banking sector, now it doesn’t matter if you are a good bank manager or not, you are gonna get paid by the taxpayers. There are those calling this a failure of capitalism, but they are wrong. In a free market system, well run businesses are rewarded, poorly run businesses fail. That is how the market stays healthy- the poorly run businesses are eliminated.

Not so in our system. In this system, poorly run businesses that are favored by government are continually bailed out, thus avoiding all consequences of their poor decision making. This is the government picking winners and losers. So let’s look ahead and see the consequences:

Stocks in small banks just became a whole lot riskier, while keeping huge balances in them are now without risk. Banks will have gigantic pools of money that they are now able to use to make risky loans and investments. If the risks don’t pan out, the depositors will be made whole, and the stockholders left holding the bag. A larger bank will then buy out those risky investments for pennies on the dollar. It’s a system begging for abuse and fraud. The ultimate consequence is the destruction of small banks, concentrating all banking in the realm of banks that the government has deemed “too big to fail.”

I wonder who paid one of the Biden clan to make this happen, and how much did it cost?

Don’t Talk To Cops

AWA over at GunFreeZone shows us once again why you shouldn’t talk to cops, beyond what the law requires. In his post, he refers to a case where a cop initiates a traffic stop without any clear evidence that the target of the stop was breaking any laws. The target then hands over his license and his CCW, even though CT doesn’t require that you inform* a police officer that you are carrying a weapon. The cop then uses the fact that the target has presented a permit that the cop hasn’t bothered to verify to say that the target is likely committing the crime of carrying a weapon without a permit.

Ever since my incident in Orange County, Florida in 2001 where a Deputy Sergeant threatened to kill me when I presented him with my permit during a traffic stop, I don’t inform cops of shit. This is how it should go:

Cop: “Do you know why I stopped you?”

Driver: “No, I have no idea.” (Truthful. How do I know what he was thinking?)

Cop: “Where are you headed?”

Driver: “East on Highway 23.” (Again, be factual)

Etc. Don’t say shit.

* Title 29: Chpt. 529 Sec. 29-35 only requires that you present your permit if the officer is investigating a crime AND has observed you are are carrying a pistol or revolver. The law reads:

(b) The holder of a permit issued pursuant to section 29-28, as amended by this act, shall carry such permit upon one’s person while carrying such pistol or revolver. Such holder shall present his or her permit upon the request of a law enforcement officer who has reasonable suspicion of a crime for purposes of verification of the validity of the permit or identification of the holder, provided such holder is carrying a pistol or revolver that is observed by such law enforcement officer

Insurance as an Inflation Indicator

I closed the books on 2022 and got our taxes filed this past weekend, a full month early. I didn’t do too bad with the projections from last year. We only owed $400 this year. It’s the smallest check to the IRS I’ve written in quite a few years. With that, the financial merry go round never stops. It’s time to start on 2023’s projections.

Our insurance costs went up significantly this year. We just got our insurance bills for the year. Homeowner’s insurance is up 35%, auto insurance up 11%, and our umbrella policy is up 10%. Overall, insurance costs are 16% higher than last year.

The stunning increase came from our rental. Expenses for running our rental were up 27% year over year (2021 to 2022). We only raised rent by 11%, so we lost ground, making our margins smaller. We made a profit of about 7.4% on our investment. Our target is 8%, so we were a little under what we want to see.

This is being caused by increasing expenses. It’s going to be just as bad for 2023, and we only raised rent by 12%. For our rental, insurance is up by 56%, 2022 to 2023. In fact, we are seeing big increases across the board:

  • Insurance is up 56%
  • Pest Control up 7%
  • Termite treatments up 12%
  • Lawn Service up 10%

I do all repairs, and that is dependent on how many problems there are. Still, we are looking overall at a 20% increase in expenses there. That will mean another rent increase next year, and we may see a loss for 2023. That will mean a minimum of a 10% increase in rent for 2024, perhaps as high as 20%. I would love to hold it to less than 15%, but that depends on how the rest of 2023 goes.

There are regulatory filings with the state that are due in April. Required annual reports, fees paid to registered agents, those sorts of thing. Those remained unchanged from last year.

The next big expense will be coming in July when we get the TRIM notice of expected property taxes from the county. Since our largest expenses are insurance and taxes, that largely sets the rental rates for the coming year.

I imagine that many households are seeing similar increases in their budgets. I am guessing that inflation’s true number is somewhere around 15%, all things considered.

What the Well Dressed Criminal Will Wear in 2024

There is a company out there marketing black hoodies with a device built in that is designed to obscure the face of the wearer from identification on security cameras. Black hoodies that conceal the wearer from camera identification- who could that be marketed for?

I had a thief in my neighborhood do this using a flashlight. It’s effective.

With riot season, errr election season less than a year away, you can guess what this is for. So why not take a page from anti-gunners? The only use for this hoodie is to enable criminal activity, so anyone who has a criminal use this against them should sue the maker of this hoodie for enabling criminal activity.

Taxes Are Racist

It’s tax season, and now we have an article claiming that taxes are racist: “Black married couples face heavier tax penalties than white couples,” and it’s pure BS. This is the logic:

When a Black or white couple have the same income, deductions and family structure, they will have the same tax liability, Gale said. But given the average economic differences between white and Black couples, according to the report, Black married couples are still more likely to face penalties and smaller bonuses.

Before tearing into the faulty logic here, I want to point out that “white” is not capitalized once in the article, while “Black” is capitalized every time. A bit of subtle “othering” that happens in journalism today.

So the taxes aren’t racist, it’s just that black married couples have more children than their white counterparts and taxpayers with children generally tend to face larger penalties under our current tax code. So it would be more accurate to say that the tax code discriminates against those with children.

I call bullshit on that, too. If a couple has a child, they get additional personal exemptions, they also get:

  • child tax credit
  • dependent care credit
  • earned income credit
  • adoption credit
  • education credit

Let’s look at two married couples: they have the same income, same jobs, same financial situation. Each couple earns a combined $68,000 a year. Their employers withheld $5,000 from their paychecks for Federal taxes. The only difference is that couple one has no children, and couple two has two children.

Couple one is in the 12 percent tax bracket, with an effective tax rate of 11.03%. They will pay $4,644 in Federal income taxes this year, so they will get a $356 refund.

Couple two has two children. They are both latchkey children, so there are no childcare expenses to deduct. They are also in the 12 % bracket, and had the same effective tax rate as couple two. However, they get more credits, so only wind up paying a net $644 in Federal income tax, and will wind up with a refund of $4,356.

So if in fact black couples have more children that whites, blacks pay LESS in taxes.

Value of Employees

The left is complaining about a company that is laying off 8,000 employees while it continues to pay Matthew McConaughey $10 million a year. The article complains that CEOs aren’t making sane financial decisions. This attitude comes from a complete lack of comprehension of how employees add value to a company.

Let’s look at the numbers. Salesforce has about $31 billion a year in annual sales, earning about $200 million in profit. That’s a profit margin of less than one percent. The company employs about 80,000, meaning that 8,000 workers are about ten percent of the workforce, and cost the company somewhere around half a billion a year in salary and other HR costs. McConaughey costs the company $10 million. Since he is a contract employee, there are no real HR costs.

So how much value do those employees bring? That is, McConaughey may cost $10 million, but if him being the spokesman brings $800 million in sales, it’s a good investment. That’s why companies have celebrity spokesmen. It’s why Michael Jordan was the single best shoe salesman in Nike history.

Then consider the 8,000 employees. How much do they bring in? That’s the question that needs to be answered, which is what the CEO does. It’s a value computation, not just a cost computation. Companies are not there to be a jobs program. Companies exist to make a profit for their investors. If there is not enough profit, there are no investors. If there are no investors, there is no operating capital. If there is no operating capital, there is no business. It’s not that difficult.

If you want to make more money, make yourself more valuable as an employee. You do that by showing your employer that you can help them make more in profits. Learn a skill that your employer finds valuable. If all you know how to do is flip a burger, pick boxes before putting them down over there, or pushing an idiot stick (a broom), then you are worth very little and can be replaced by nearly anyone. Or no one.

The real minimum wage is zero.

Bathroom Breaks

This parent is upset that her child isn’t allowed to leave the classroom whenever she wants by using the claim of needing to use the bathroom. Students do this all the time. There are kids who will need to use the bathroom constantly, then will leave the classroom and wander the halls for half an hour or more. Many teachers, myself included, developed policies that were intended to keep kids in the classroom. If you don’t do so, you will find that the kids take full advantage of that, and of you.

There are some things that you hear when you are a teacher that are heard so often, they become cliché.

  • The teacher is only giving me that grade because they don’t like me
  • The teacher must have lost my homework, because I turned it in
  • I wasn’t cheating, I was using my resources
  • I need this phone to text my mom
  • I wasn’t using this phone to cheat on the test, I was texting my mom. She needs to hear from me every hour, to make sure I’m safe.
  • My kid wasn’t cheating on the test, he was texting me, you can’t tell my kid that he can’t text his mother whenever he wants to.
  • I need to go to the bathroom (before being gone for half an hour)
  • My kid should be allowed to do whatever they want.

You get the point. Kids will do anything and everything to get out of school, to get things that they shouldn’t have, etc. If you are a parent, you know how manipulative children can be. It’s a parent’s job to guide and teach their children the right way, to show them the path to becoming functional, responsible adults. Sadly, many parents fail in this duty and instead strive to be the child’s ally and friend, rather than their parent. I saw this time after time during my seven years as a teacher. It’s so tedious that it was one of the main reasons why I am no longer teaching. .

This bathroom thing is no exception to that. Let that child get hurt, and the first thing those very same parents want to know is why was their child not being supervised. It’s tiresome, and looking at this teacher’s policy in the article, it seems reasonable.

Mrs. Garrett has allegedly implemented a classroom “reward system” that allows students to earn “Garrett dollars,” which they can cash in to borrow supplies or use the bathroom, among other things. How do you earn dollars? Students can donate supplies, do extra work in the classroom, be good citizens in the classroom, etc. They can then use those dollars to buy things like a pencil or paper (which was donated by another student), bathroom trips, and other things.

It’s a great idea. It teaches the kids that work carries reward, it teaches them fairness, and helps impart a work ethic.

Instead, this parent wants to teach her child the lesson that whining and complaining is far more effective a tool to get what you want.

Sadly, that is the lesson that is learned far too often. Too many parents claim that their kid is different, their kid “would never do that,” which ties the hands of the teachers who actually DO want to do their jobs. That’s how we wind up with schools that can’t control kids, and the school becomes a discipline free for all, like this Minnesota school where parents are complaining that the violence is out of control.