Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The HR "Wish List" and Courting "Wish List" are Inexorably Intertwined

It is links between two seemingly unrelated things that start to show you the odd and sometimes amazing psychological, financial, sociological, economic, etc., relationships that exist in the world and helps bring about your understanding of the world to a clearer fruition.

One of which I hit on recently and went on at length about, but just found this whilst looking for means of employment which further proves my theory;

It's identical (not "similar," not "akin to,") but IDENTICAL to the girl/s who complain "there just aren't any good men."

Notice the year this was posted - Mid Year 2010.


1 in 5 jobs go unfilled because they CAN'T FIND A QUALIFIED EMPLOYEE?????

And nearly HALF of the organizations in your firm lack qualified workers????



Mayhaps I suggest there is a little bit of impossibility in both HR's and women's "requirement list" for potential suitors, be it for a job or a romantic suitor? That asking for a man who is 6'2" or taller, makes lots of money, loves his mother, wants to go to church, but is a bad boy in bed, but not unless you say so, who likes to write you poetry, votes liberal, but is a man's man is about as probable as finding the candidate with 10+ years uninterrupted and progressive experience with a masters in blah blah blah blah (PhD preferred, of course) and billions of certifications who is going to work for an average wage and travel 90% of the time and have no social life out of work?

But, no, no. That CAN"T be it! You keep on going. You keep waiting for that perfect candidate to come along who magically has 8 years of experience in a software that has only been on the market for 3. I mean, there's no WAY charlatans and con artists would ever get through your impenetrable filtering and screening process and just tell you what you want to hear just so they can get the job. I mean it's just like dating, right? Nobody has EVER passed through that shield of yours that was unqualified, and CERTAINLY nobody who was ever qualified did you ever shoot down only to regret later.

Of course.

That never happens.

Heh heh.

Enjoy that decline, people. Enjoy that decline.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Found This on the Floor of a Public School

Though I don't like to admit it (for it is charitable and therefore commie in nature), I do seminars at a local high school to teach juniors and seniors about various aspects of personal financial management. You know, simple things like 401k's, retirement, how you should pay for college, budgeting, etc., meaningful stuff that would actually help them in the real world unlike "Psychology" or "Peace Studies" or the bevy of "requisite" classes they force down these poor kids' throats to graduate.

Regardless, neither here nor there, it was a later seminar and by the time I packed up my LCD projector, I left the classroom and the school was deserted. I'm sure a janitor was on the grounds somewhere, but I could tell I was all of 3 people on the entire campus. And off in the corner of my vision I noticed a sole piece of paper laying on the ground that somehow didn't get swept up. So I walked over to where the paper was and picked it up.

It was a report of LBJ. I decided to keep it, bring it home, scan it in and then share it with you guys.

Now I used to substitute teach and I used to teach college econ, but I learned a long time ago, where the student has the ability and just chooses not to use it or if that student is a genuine idiot, it doesn't matter, you have to deal with the effective reality of their work.

Sadly, this is the generation I'm relying upon to produce the wealth to pay for my social security.


Horses Correlate with Bankruptcies

What do I keep telling you about horses?

I wonder if she tried to pledge them for collateral like one borrower I had the displeasure of underwriting for a while ago?

Understand people (but more importantly, BANKERS), if your client lists horses in the "assets" column of their balance sheet and NOT the liabilities section of the balance sheet, then you need to have those financial statements re-audited.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Capitalism Is NOT Why the US Will Fail

Cappy Cap readers should be really appreciative of me. Not because of the awesome economic commentary I make. Not because of the super awesome economic foresight I have. But rather because I screen out the most inane and idiotic comments that would shorten your life expectancy with high blood pressure if you did indeed read them.

Of all of them, however, there is one no more blood boiling than this one;

"CAPITALISM is what is going to destroy the US."


"The US will fail because of capitalism."

This is, without a doubt, the most ignorant, intellectually dishonest and patently wrong comment I receive.

Now, I'd like to go into detail in my typical arrogant prose, but since this post is very important, I am instead going to be brief and succinct in the hopes of keeping most people's attention. It really is just too important not to read. The reason why is that when the US economy DOES ultimately collapse, I want it recorded here exactly what kind of economic system was in place before knee-jerk college students just regurgitate what their aging hippie professors tell them.

First, we are no longer a "capitalist" economy. We are a mixed or socialist economy (please don't make posts on technicalities and nuances in the terms - they will be ignored). We have the same public sector spending as Norway (the left's favorite nation - and probably more thanks to BO).

Second, we have the world's second highest corporate tax rates at roughly 40%. An effective rate of 32.5% (I'll give a shinny nickel to a liberal who can explain the difference between the two, instead of just relying on this fact as a talking point when talking about corporate taxes).

You throw in dividend taxes and you're roughly at a 50% overall tax rate.

Third, understand the US economy and people's standards of living were growing fastest when tax rates (as measured by government spending as a percent of GDP) were the lowest. Standards of living have gone down as the US economy has become socialist;

(*I get a lot of confusion on this chart. The rolling 20 year includes 20 years worth of data. The data point I place in the middle, which is why it seems there is 10 years of data missing on the start and end of the blue line)

Fourth, understand the majority of government spending is NOT for governance, but rather income transfers, which is the epitome and definition of socialism.

Fifth, understand that it is these income transfers and entitlements into the future that are the primary reasons for our current and future projected deficits and is the primary reason we are facing bankruptcy as a nation. These are DISTINCTLY socialist policies. NOT CAPITALIST.

Now there are more statistics, but the above is enough. I cannot make it any clearer and I don't have to because it's not a matter of opinion. It's a fact. It is SOCIALISM that is destroying the United States. NOT capitalism.

Therefore, please, I beg of you idiots who just regurgitate the above inane comment, since you have the right to vote, stop being ignorant and start getting educated on economics. This isn't a "choice." This isn't a "fun little game we're playing." And this isn't some "crusade" where you try to impress the hippie grunge chick at the coffee bar by extolling socialist tripe as you try to pass it on as "virtues." You future is at stake. Your current state of unemployment is a direct result of your own ignorance. And if you'd want any kind of future for your children, let alone yourselves, knock it off with the childish "ranting" and "protesting" and grow up. The country depends on it.

Owning Property in Major US Cities Is a Liability

I've said it before, and you people didn't listen to me, but owning property in major US cities is a liability. Not only because of perpetually dropping housing prices, but the risk just isn't worth it. You have to deal with leftist regulations, the threat you'll be forced to abide by progressively increasing municipal environmental regulations (recycling, insulation, heating requirements, etc), and as capital and labor flights out of the city to the burbs, you will face a Detroit like environment. But the biggest risk, property taxes.

You don't think AFSCME and SEIU at the local government shops are going to take pay cuts do you?

And you don't think good liberals in major cities are going to vote in any kind of republicans or politicians that will cut spending, do you?

Ergo you can expect your property taxes to go up regardless of the economy and the value of your property, which will directly force your property value down further because the net cash flow it could feasible generate has gone down.

Smart people will make moves like this.

Daddy, Where Do Jobs Come From?

A repost of a classic in that unemployment is still around 10% and I'm guessing some of you might like jobs about now.

Jobs, it seems is becoming a very important issue as we seemed to have shed 5 million of them recently and are on the precipice of the worst recession since 1929. But fear not, for our president elect has a plan and it’s quite simple;

“More jobs.”

Yes, that’s about it, we’ll just “create” more jobs.

Now 3rd grade logic would tell you something is wrong. You can’t put your finger on it. Maybe you can’t full explain it. But you have this twingling sensation in the back of your head that you know something just ain’t right. That it ain’t as simple as;

“Just creating more jobs.”

It’s the same kind of twingling sensation you got back in school when you said, “Well why don’t we just print off more money.”

You intuitively knew something had to be wrong with that solution, but you perhaps couldn’t explain why. And thus it’s the same thing with Barack’s plan to create new jobs.

His idea for this massive infrastructure (and Keynesian) investment gives us all the same twingling sensation in the back of our heads. Why, if it was that simple, to just build roads, bridges and splurge more on education, what were we getting all worried about in the first place? Why are the stock markets so low? Why don’t we create jobs right now today? And so, since we all intuitively know it can’t be that simple, let me explain why. Let me explain to you where jobs come from.

Jobs come from one thing; demand.

Demand for goods and services currently existing or yet to exist. For example I demand food, a good that already exists. I also demand a hovercar and a clone of Jennifer Anitson, a good and service that have yet to exist. Regardless, if the product or service exists or can be created, and there is demand for it, then there is the potential for jobs to be created.

But demand must be met with supply and here is where the actual jobs are created. In order to supply these goods and services an entrepreneur or a company must hire people to help provide those goods and services. This includes everybody from the head of the company managing the firm to the suppliers, vendors, laborers, admins, marketers, accountants and anybody else required to bring these services to reality. However, there is a key element to make this all happen and that is profit.

Oh yes, that “evil” profit.

For you see, no entrepreneur, nor company, nor corporation is even going to bother going through the trouble of setting up the venture in the first place unless they are actually paid for it. And before you start berating these “evil capitalists” to have the temerity to demand recompense so that they may earn a living, you might want to look at yourselves in the mirror because no laborer (let alone you) is going to work unless they are compensated too. So just accept the fact we’re all financial whores, not out of evil or greed, but because it’s necessary for us to live and survive.

Regardless, immediately we see a problem with, not so much Obama’s infrastructure plan, but his fiscal policy in that he is going to raise taxes on not only the rich who employ the majority of people, but also corporations. Envy them and hate them all you want, increasing taxes on them will lower the incentive for them to invest, let alone start a new venture in the first place. And with the rapidly integrating global economy, if they really do have a great idea, why would they set up shop here in the first place? Ireland has a 12.5% corporate tax rate. Dubai has 0%. Russia has a flat tax. And “communist” China has a 20% corporate tax rate.
The good ol’ US o’ A has a 39% corporate tax.

So even though we haven’t addressed Obama’s specific infrastructure jobs creation plan, it’s quite possible other parts of his fiscal policy will impair it or destroy more jobs than it creates, simply because it destroys the incentive to create jobs in the first place; profit.

As for the specific plan itself, it’s not an issue of whether it will create jobs as much as it is a question at what cost.

Understand that to finance this infrastructure plan Obama has two choices; taxation or borrowing. And both options are going to cost jobs as well as efficiency.

In taxing people (no matter how “rich” they are) that takes money that would have been invested or spent anyway which would have created jobs as well. So if you tax the “rich jewelry dealer” an extra $50,000 so 2 employees in Obama’s Civilian Conservation Corps can pour concrete for a bridge, that’s all fine and dandy except for the fact the jewelry dealer now had to lay off his assistant and his admin to compensate for the cut. Congratulations, you created a big fat zero net new jobs.

Borrowing is no better in that the money borrowed by the government to finance the infrastructure jobs creation plan could have been borrowed by a company, an entrepreneur or even an individual to be used to create a new company, expand a factory or just plain spent, all of which would have created jobs too. Congratulations. You not only borrowed money and destroyed as many jobs as you created, but you’ve managed to increase interest rates as well! Thanks!

But the real cost is this, and is often the forgotten about or never-thought about aspect of economics, and that is efficiency. Specifically, as it relates to production.

If the money was left in the hands of the people, the people could then spend or invest that money as they saw fit and to their best benefit. Allowing people to make their own decisions as to how to expend their resources is the best way to make sure the goods and services produced in the economy are those that most benefit the people and increase standards of living the most. Of course, people make mistakes. The sickening, gluttonous binge of using one’s home equity as an ATM machine which has brought upon this financial crisis in the first place is a perfect example where the people will make mistakes. However, for all their flaws, recessions and depressions, free markets, ie- the people have historically been proven to be the best determinants of what to be produced.

Governments have not. And herein lies the flaw in Obama’s advisor’s plan; taking massive amounts of resources either through taxation or borrowing, takes money out of the hands of individuals and puts it in the hands of government. People now no longer get to decide what to spend their now dwindling resources on, and are instead forced to spend it on roads, infrastructure, and schools they may not need.

Now people may rightfully point out that things like roads, bridges, infrastructure, etc., are hardly foolish investments, and they’re right. But again the question is at what cost? Who would be better judges of how to spend this money and who would do more to help the economy out of recession;

A handful of bureaucrats and former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac advisors now consulting a no-real-world-experience-president-elect determining what the best use of your money is?


300 million Americans who are intricately familiar with their own personal financial situation and the problems/opportunities they face?

This is where the real costs come in that what determines our standards of living is whether we use our resources efficiently to produce the goods and services we NEED. We just promised $700 billion (more like $2 trillion) to bailout those same Harvard ef-ups who ran Wall Street and the government into the ground. Could the people not have used a $700 billion tax cut? Would that not have solved our little economic growth problem? No, we’re stupid, we don’t know what we’re talking about, now shut up and give us the money.

Obama’s infrastructure plan is no different (although, I will admit spending the money on bridges and roads is infinitely wiser than bailing out Ivy League deadbeats). We don’t know what’s best for us. You don’t need that money. Give it to us and we’ll build shinny new roads and bridges. Just what you wanted. No, not that new icky gross Pontiac Solstice that would ACTUALLY HELP OUT DETROIT WITHOUT A TAXPAYER BAILOUT. No Captain, that’s not what you want. You want an addition to the elementary school named after Barack Obama where a newly hired teacher will brainwash…errr….I mean “educate” the children about the evils of capitalism…errr…I mean “global warming.” That’s what you want.

It is this that is the true cost to this Keynesian nightmare. The loss of productivity and efficiency causing American’s standards of living to go down. Not because of a loss of jobs (for I’m optimistically assuming this infrastructure plan will ONLY destroy one job for each one it “creates”) but because the stuff we’re producing with it is not what the American people optimally want.

And finally, permit me a third point.

I know building bridges, though not optimal, is not a waste of money.

I know roads, albeit not optimal, are not a waste of money.

But notice how education was thrown in there?

Please. Please, just stop with the “we don’t spend enough on education.”

It’s a sickening lie and you’re not fooling anyone. By every measure, every stretch of the imagination we spend WAY TOO MUCH on education and the fact education is part of Obama’s jobs creation plan shows me just how inefficient this plan will be. Bridges, fine. Roads, fine. But more money for education would be on par with bailing out the losers of Wall Street and sub prime deadbeats.

Alas, appetizing as new roads and bridges are, it was the inclusion of education, above all else, that made me supremely confident the stork will not be bringing any new jobs to Obama with his little infrastructure plan.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Raving Rabbids Movie

Will somebody over at Ubisoft please make a movie of the Raving Rabbids? Or at least a Saturday morning cartoon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to Choose a Major

There's the hard way doing all your research, talking to people, listening to your idiotic guidance counselors that just want to blow smoke up your chute, etc.

Or just buying this book for $5 and reading it.

Paperback version if you don't have a Kindle here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Recession Medicine

I know the recession is "over," because, well the NBER said it was. All you losers who don't have jobs, shut up and quite whining. Just kidding. That's the Barack Obama/Nancy Pelosi in me talking.

For the rest of us real economists who know the recession isn't over, permit me another showing of Bing Crosby and Blue Eyes;

Because 0 Jobs that Pay $75,000 a Year is Better Than 75 Jobs that Pay $25,000 Per Year

So a court decided that the employees of a Wal-Mart in a town in Canada had the right to unionize.

Apparently, the union isn't too bright because the last time this happened, Wal-Mart closed the store down.

Ergo, what is the economic lesson to take away from this, ladies and gentlemen?

The wonderful logic of unions that zero jobs paying an imaginary $75,000 is better than 20 jobs actually paying $25,000.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Swinging Bachelor Economists Don't Buy Gold

I had a buddy ask me about "red neck gold" - ie - investment alternatives to gold because, well, frankly people can't afford $1,400 an ounce. I presumed he had gotten the term from the internet, but when I went on the internets I could not find the term nor any article about it. It actually surprised me because I would have thought "red neck gold" was a logical next step in the evolution of investing given our chaotic economic times and the prohibitively expensive prices of gold. But then again things that seem "logical" to me are horribly super-advanced complex things doctorates in econometrics need super computers to model and figure out, so permit me once again to lay down some serious old school, blue collar economic genius.

First you must ask yourself why does gold have value or become a refuge during dire economic times. The answer? Simple - it's money. Not in the "fiat" paper dollar bill, sort of money. It IS money. And what I mean by that is it has the qualities and traits that make it a good money;

1. It has an intrinsic value. Most men scoff at gold as merely a mineral that looks shiny and pretty. Well who likes shiny, pretty things? Women! Who likes women? Men! And so history is filled with instances where men slay other men for gold because of..ahem... let's just say "biology."

2. Gold is divisible. You can divide it, mint it, press it. Cars aren't. You can't just come into Whole Foods with a Prius and get a bag of groceries and use a car as payment. It would not be fair to you. You need something that can be a smallish or smaller unit of measurement (ergo a dollar, a shilling, a yen).

3. Gold sticks around for a while. It doesn't degrade or mold or deteriorate. Is it any surprise metals were the original money? Copper, gold, silver, nickle. You can put a bar of gold in the ground and because it's half life is something like 40 billion years, you're still going to have 99.9999999999% of it 10 years later.

4. It's universally accepted. You of the highest alpha-male bachelor order may have no practical use for gold (technically, nobody does), but you're no schmoe to turn down a free bar of gold. It's worth something to somebody. So you may not use it, but you could use it to buy yourself something that is valuable like an X-Box 360 or a trip to Vegas or the Captain's super awesome book on the housing crash that not only guarantees you will be smarter than whenst you started it, but chicks will dig you too.

These traits (and others that have escaped my mind) is what makes money MONEY. It is not necessarily the physical atoms that make an item an excellent candidate for money, but other traits that make it a good currency of exchange.

Ergo, the question for those of you wishing to invest in something to avoid a collapsing dollar, but can't afford gold, is what things can you buy that have those same traits, but doesn't cost $1,400 an ounce?

Well, here are a couple ideas from the ole Captain;

1. Bullets - I do not mean this in a "prepare for the collapse of society type way" (although they would definitely come in handy), but they are the perfect candidate for money. They are divisible. They have intrinsic value (you can shoot prey with them). They store well. And if times get super bad everybody would certainly accept them more than gold bracelets. Even if times AREN'T super bad, you can sell them for more when inflation goes up 50% next year because the bullets have value, Obama-dollars don't.

2. Booze - In the Wiemar Republic with hyperinflation running rampant, the Germans would use bottles of booze as a means of currency. A high end cognac would be the rough equivalent today of a $100 bill. Windsor Canadian would be the equivalent to a quarter. Regardless, again, the same traits. Divisibility. Store of value. Universally accepted. Intrinsic value. And if the world is in that bad of shape, how COULDN'T booze be in higher demand?

3. Salt - This would be more along the lines of "oh crap, the world really is collapsing." Good news is you can stock up for free essentially at restaurants by stealing salt packets.

4. Matches - Come on! Tell me how matches aren't the perfect money? AND FREE TOO! Of course if the economy doesn't DESTROY itself, then people will look at your fine match collection and say, "What, are you kidding me? I can get matches for free at the bar." But when the economy does collapse, and the lefties have shut down all the sulfur mines due to environmental concerns, boy, tell me that isn't going to be a great investment! Not to mention who are the ladies going to want to cuddle up with? Thor, the wise and mighty economist who saved up matches and has a nice warm hut, replete with roaring fire and a full arsenal of guns to protect his compound? Or Jayden, the sensitive 90's man who majored in philosophy and is now an icicle in breadline at some government feed station along with the rest of the losers who shut down the sulfur mine?

5. Tools - If you get a good set of tools think about how great that is. YOu only need one set of good tools to repair the Mad Max car you have to fight off the roving bands of marauders. But you could sell a wrench or a screwdriver for BILLIONS of Obama-dollars come 10 years from now. Regardless, tools do keep their value and are something that does have intrinsic value and would definitely be something that would hold its own against inflation.

I'm sure there are more, and if you think about it, you'll start to see them. But in the meantime if you can't afford yourself some gold, I'm sure you can afford yourself some of the items above.

This public service announcement brought to you by Cappy Cap.

I Shall Name My Child "Thor"

Honest to $#*&%#(* Christ.

You just can't make it up.


From a reader who picked something I skimmed over.

Honest to )(#@$#&)(*#$@___#@#$&#$# Christ. "lactation consultant?"

Notice the hyphenated name.

I'm outta here.

Enjoy the decline.

Friday, November 12, 2010

HOV Lanes

HOV lanes.

I shall explain HOV lanes simply, yet succinctly enough so you understand why they exist.

1. Crusaderism - Bunch of environmentalists who really don't care about the environment need to feel good about themselves AND are so egomaniacal they have no problems forcing millions of people every day to waste gas and money and time sitting in traffic. All so "they" could claim they "helped the environment" when in reality they just want to do something that gives their lives some kind of meaning. Crusaderism people, look it up on You Tube.

2. Destroying the US economy - There are people, and i firmly believe this, whose sole purpose in their lives is to destroy the US economy. They could be agents left over from the cold war days or people here in the US who just hate America and want to destroy it. There is no better way to destroy an economy by choking off the main arteries by which your labor goes to work to produce things of value.

What continues to astound me is the lemming-like mentality of people who don't rise up and vote out HOV lanes because they swallow whole the "it's good for the environment" scam.

In the meantime they can suffer the longer commutes, the less free time with their families, and OH, more CO2 emissions because 2 million cars sitting in traffic for 2 hours emits more greenhouse gases than 2 million cars sitting in traffic for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Captain is "Pro-Dog"

I always wanted a dog. If the communists and "do-gooders" of this world would have just left society alone, we would have been able to take our dogs to work, take them to the theater, and if particularly well-behaved, a restaurant.

Of course, nowadays the average child is so ill-reared by an incompetent parent a mangy mutt is a pleasant alternative to the screaming brat in the restaurant, but because of canineism (it's like racism, except against canines) we get to suffer the spoiled brat.

Regardless, I was about to adopt Dooney. I really was. I was about to get my first dog and I could then live my dream of having a hound with me to sniff out fossils and agates in the prairielands of South Dakota. The problem is that Natasha's (again) communist, anti-American, evil, fascist, dictatorship, canineist apartment management is DISCRIMINATING against poor Dooney because he is afterall, a dog, and charge an extra $50 a month to have a dog on the premises!

Since I cannot adopt him and use him to sniff out fossils and agates in the great South Dakotan prairies, perhaps somebody in the Capposphere can?

It's too bad, because he would really be like a shorter hairier version of a son to me.

Alpha Male Up in the Labor Market

I pointed out the parallels of the "check list" women have for men in the dating world versus the "check list" HR departments have for employees before in a brilliant (yet underappreciated) piece.

But mercy me almighty. It's like they're the EXACT same list here. They didn't even bother changing it for an employment purpose. It's the exact same thing as a dating check list.

Notice the emphasis on clothing, attire, appearance and youth. Also notice if you show up too early for the interview, that's like an overly eager nerdy beta boy nearly stalking the poor girl. And yes, who doesn't google or bing you before you go on a date.

It however, also confirms a theory I have about the labor market today that is ALSO similar to courting. That renegade Alphas stand a better chance at employment than conformist betas (or at least will as time goes on).

Say you are a goodie two shoes perfect employee with the perfect resume, so what? You're nothing new or unique. There's a million of you out there all desperate for a job. How do you stand out from the crowd? Well try all you might, in the end the HR department or hiring manager is going to choose the "best" candidate out of what is essentially a limitless pool of perfectly sculpted MBA graduates with 5-7 years of recent experience and certifications fresh off the assembly line. You know, like all the other drones that led the economy into a meltdown because they couldn't muster up an independent line of thought if a $14 trillion economy depended on it?

Yeah, one of those guys.

Well, in the end it's a crap shoot who has the "most bestest bestest bestest resume" and actually ends up being decided on something as stupid as a tie or your watch (or more likely who you know).

However, even though it sounds counterintuitive, if you get in their face or are at least unconventional, they'll at MINIMUM remember you. In short being notorious is better than not being remembered at all, and even though they may not like it, they REMEMBER IT and that has a statistically higher chance of you getting the job. This is the Alpha male approach.

Now, admittedly, it's anecdotal, but I've gotten more contracts and jobs since the recession hit NOT by being the "good little boy who plays well with others in the sandbox," but rather eviscerating potential employers and interrogating them worse than they've ever interrogated an employee. I remember pulling financial statements of a bank that lost $7 million in one quarter and while being interviewed asking them,

"Are the bankers who are responsible for this still here?"

When he said "well, yes, some." I responded, "Why?"

Another time I received a call and was admittedly half in the bag (just bought Modern Warfare I believe and had a bottle of Rumpleminze with me). He asked me if I would be available to come in for an interview. I said (and I quote best I can remember),

"Look, I'm not coming in if you're another run of the mill little community bank where a bunch of middle aged bankers who can't read financial statements whine and complain about me not approving loans. I don't want to hear any more bullshit about real estate deals or real estate developments that are doomed to fail and I'm not tolerating little cry babies who are incapable of realizing there's a housing crash."

I actually DID get that contract.

The reason why? I was an alpha. I was different. I stood out from the rest and laid it down.

Now, whether that's because women are attracted to alpha males (or men respect alpha males) or I just set myself apart, the larger point is that it seems to work. And if you're having trouble finding a job, yes you can go the regular route of going through HR, and saying, "Oh yes, I've always wanted to become an level 3 dataentryman." But realize that's like being on a date and saying, "Oh yes, I've always wanted to get married and hyphenate my name and do whatever my future wife would tell me to do."

It's totally beta and chicks do NOT dig it (not to mention the definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result).

Therefore change your game. Don't interview beta, interview alpha. You have to lay down your law, your standards. And when the HR manager says,

"Have you ever had a problem with a client, how did you resolve it and carry me through your thought process."

"Babe, babe, babe. Stop asking all these questions. Put on your on your helmet. I'm taking you for a motorcycle ride."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

"Skilled Workers"

"The US educational system has been a disastrous failure from the standpoint of training skilled workers in the crucial trades -- the foundations of an advanced high-tech infrastructure. By attempting to channel all students into a 4 year college track -- and neglecting the trades -- US schools have wasted the potential talent of generations of students. As the US educational establishment becomes further ossified under the control of a massive incestuous political machine involving public sector unions and ideologues at both the federal level and the university school of education level, any hope for salvaging the newer generations of prospective skilled work is slipping through the US' fingers."

Because if you think about it, who really wants to hire "unskilled workers?"

The Education Bubble Continues

The ROI of a college degree.

(Author's note - all liberal arts majors who make comments about how "college isn't just all about the money" will be summarily ignored).

Monday, November 08, 2010

Carbon Trading - RIP

Gee, you mean you can't just "force" a market to show up? Like there has to be real demand for it?

I wonder if we'll see this on CNN?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Minimalist Art - Art Only a Mother Could Love

It was above 60 degrees today and since it's November and we're in Minnesota that means you have to take a motorcycle ride. So off Natasha and I went on my motorcycle and as I usually do, I took a spin around the Lake of the Isles area where the trust fund babies of Minnesota live (and where subsequently the trust fund is running out).

However, as we were driving around, we came up on a "sculpture" that was put up this earlier this summer on this pristine piece of real estate in this Lake of the Isles area. I've been meaning to take a picture of this "sculpture" for quite some time, but I keep forgetting to bring a camera. I finally remembered this particular trip and managed to take a picture of this beautiful "sculpture." Remember this is on PRIME REAL ESTATE IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF MINNESOTA.

I've mentioned minimalistic "art" before, but the long and short of it is this - it's like a crappy drawing of a 3 year old kid. No matter how bad, the loving mother will still put it up on the fridge because she is proud of her kid. However, sometimes the 3 year old never grows up and never leaves the house. And mom isn't some regular mom, she and the father are filthy stinking rich. And instead of putting up the crappo drawing of the three year old on their fridge INSIDE THE HOUSE, they put their now 38 year old's crappo sculpture in their front yard forcing everybody to see it.

Therefore I decided to do some "art" myself to see if I could get a super rich family on Lake of the Isles to perhaps endorse me (or at least put it in front of their yard).

This I call "The Death of the Burning Mouse." You can see I am a super awesome artistic genius. The reason why you can tell this is because you cannot see the dead mouse in this picture whereas I can.

This is called "Bottle Opener in Milan Summer Nights" It is a very deep and meaningful painting with many layers and emotion. It's one of those paintings you would probably have to pay to see in the Walker Art Museum and end up looking at for 50 minutes to really get to appreciate all the different angles. But again, you are not a super art genius like me, so at most you will only see 3% of all the aspects. But still, it should move your soul and make you aspire to at least try to become a super awesome art genius like me.

I call this "The Frog of Socialist Caring" Super art geniuses like me can obviously tell he is a frog, but to close-minded evil capitalists I labeled it with a "ribbit" and a fly so you non-artistic rubes could tell what it is. I really didn't want to do this because I don't like doing "commercial art." I mean, it isn't all about money. But every once in a while I have to lower my standards and make something that will sell so I can put food on the table (even though my trust fund does that for me anyway and I live in my parent's basement).

In any case, if anybody in the Lake of the Isles area or Kenwood area or even the lesser Linden Hills area would like to purchase these fine masterpieces and display them in your front yard, let me know. You may also donate to me by clicking on the girl on the top right of the page to feed the starving artist.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Recession Medicine

As you know I do hunt fossils, fairburn agates and have been known to pan for gold in far remote creeks in the Black Hills. This beats working a real job;

Friday, November 05, 2010

How the Female "Romantic Wish List" for Men Corrupts the Functionality of HR

Originally I had in mind doing a post on "The Vanishing 24 Year Old HR Ditz." The reason why was that it has been 7 years now since I've been interviewed by a young female in her twenties, obviously oblivious to my profession, the job I was interviewing for, let alone the industry she worked in. I termed them "HR Ditzes" because they were exactly that. 20 something ditzes asking me inane, pointless questions like

"So, um, like, uh, what's your favorite color and why?" (not joking)

"And like have you ever been in a situation where you disagreed with your boss and how did you resolve it?"

"And so, like what is your biggest weakness?"

"So, like uh you do like Dogs or cats?" (not joking either)

I could never understand how a company could ever attract any talented labor with these dolts doing the initial screening for them and why you never interviewed with the hiring manager directly. Well seven years and not one 20 something HR ditz later I finally got my answer from a friend of mine who unbeknownst to me at the time was an HR manager.

Short answer - "Oh, yeah, sorry about that. We found out that didn't work so they're phasing those generalists out."

Really? You mean having young, idiotic, inexperienced morons who don't know a damn thing about the company or the job being your front line of defense for interviewing because the hiring managers are too damn lazy to do it themselves didn't work out so well? NO! Well, good thing it only took 2 decades to phase them out. Otherwise there might have been some real costs to that!

Regardless, what was infinitely more interesting and important was what I learned about how HR has changed since. Namely "check lists."

Since the elimination of the HR ditz, HR departments are now employing different and automated screening tactics. For example the much-hated "Taleo" or "Brass Ring" application forms where you regurgitate your resume (that you just uploaded) into little fields so a computer can scan for "keywords" that show you're a qualified candidate. Or the use of not only criminal background checks and drugs tests, but now credit checks. Or requiring a cover letter and analyzing the writing quality.

It was here I started to inquire if she ever thought about the unintended consequences of using such tactics?

For example smart, or at least, efficient people know they can apply for 10 times the amount of jobs where it only requires attaching your resume in the time it takes you to fill out a Taleo form. If you require they fill out a Brass Ring application, you may get less efficient or smart applicants. Same thing goes for the cover letter, that alone it 3 more applications, and you just lost an (admittedly) potentially smart applicant. Background checks, all well and fine. But you're going to do a credit check on me? You're going to pull my personal finances? Uh, not until I see your credit report first pal.

Her response?

"Well, we have 9% unemployment and we have literally hundreds of applicants each job. We have our pick of the litter and we have to filter and screen them out somehow."

And then I started to see what was happening. Not consciously, but it definitely WAS happening and there was a relation. And I only ask myself why I hadn't seen it before.

In short HR is coming up with a longer and longer check list as there are more and more applicants. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in that how does one filter out a larger and larger applicant pool. But HR is still coming up with a longer and more detailed check list.

(Does this sound familiar yet?)

There are so many applicants and jobs are so highly sought after, HR has their pick of the litter.

(Anybody going to be able to finish my line of thought here?)

I'll give you the one last hint here that might link it together - HR is still dominated by women.

And now you are having the epiphany I had the other night.

The employment check list is eerily similar to the lengthy and long check list women have of men when it comes to courtship. And not only is it similar, it's also made and created by women.

It is here while we were continuing our conversation I started to realize the parallels as well as some of the pitfalls to this;

One the impossibility factor. I didn't believe it when I was younger because frankly I couldn't believe women would have such lengthy and detailed (and some times) mutually exclusive lists. Oh, sure I knew they had STANDARDS, but I did not believe women would refuse to date a guy because he "was too short" or "wore ugly clothes" or "had a bad hair cut" or "didn't have blue eyes" or "made less than $XX,XXX." Of course come to find out in my aged 30's women actually DID have these impossible lists. I now wonder if the lists they create for potential applicants (male or female) are now just as impossible.

"You want a leader who thinks outside the box and will turn your company around, but you're only going to hire yes men who have impossibly perfect resumes, perfect credit scores and are yet docile enough to spend 2 hours filling out a Taleo application form?"

It's no different than,

"I want an alpha male, who's still sensitive and will write poetry who drives a Harley, but won't have sex until we're married, but still rocks in bed, but only once a year, who works out and makes $250,000 per year, but will do chores and housekeeping and is an Orthodox Jewish, Catholic, Muslim Agnostic."

Two was the eerily similar market to men in their teens and twenties versus today's labor market. Back in your teens and twenties women held ALL the power. Men had no clue what the rules were, were told the rules were something completely different than reality and were so desperate they'd do anything and settle for any price. Job seekers today are no different. They're desperate for a job and will do anything (including lie on their resume to make them seem perfect). I couldn't help but notice the unintentional air of arrogance or power in her voice where she said, "we have our pick of the litter." You did in your 20's and you do now today.

Three, the lead up to an inevitable collapse in the market. Understand for anybody to be getting through this impossible HR defense shield you either have to;

1. lie or

2. be so abnormal and so flawless you'd be dysfunctional

It's again why men who lied in their teens and twenties did well and honest schmoes like us kind of flailed along. But even more analogous to the courtship list vs. the HR check list is the beta male or "beta employee." The employee that magically meets the impossible checklist or the magical boyfriend who magically meets the romantic checklist.

Of course, if women were to get that "ideal" boyfriend who would write poetry, who would hyphenate his name and open doors and do whatever she wanted, what did she end up doing anyway?

That's right, dumping his weak beta butt for some motorcycle driving alpha bad boy with a criminal background. But in the employment world it's slightly different. Instead of getting dumped, they get laid off after however many years of loyal service.

However, there is another cost to hiring the obedient, behaving beta employees and this is the true economic cost - it brings about a Black Swan Event. Namely the collapse of the company.

Talk about diversity all you want, if you employ nothing but conformists and yes men, no tolls are going to be sounded and no alarms are going to rung when there are real problems (or opportunities). Because the selection and filtering method really does screen out any genuine "outside of the box" thinkers, you have nothing but highly functional automotons and no real leaders or critical analysts. Couple that with a desperate labor market and your employees are NOT going to rock the boat (for better or worse). This leaves the employer in a horribly risky situation because unless people in executive management are intimately in-tune with every aspect of the company, the company can slowly be piloted towards disaster because nobody dares to speak of the iceberg ahead or problems within their division.

Laugh as you might and say my speaking of Black Swans is all poppycock, may I point out the Black Swan events of GM going belly up? The entire banking industry going belly up? The US retirement system about to go belly up? The US government finances going belly up? Many people tried to sound the alarms for this, but they WEREN'T the well behaved beta employees just trying to hold onto a job. It was the likes of Roubini, Shiller, Schiff and others (and how many of them I wonder would pass the HR created check list let alone had women pining for them in their youth?)

In the end, like courting, the participants in the labor market will become disincentived and leave. You already see this with a collapsing labor force participation rate, people more willing to take and stay on unemployment, higher turnover and shorter average stays on a job, or people just refusing to have kids they can't afford and get by on a lower paying job and not jump the hoops.

The result? Well, as I highlighted before in the "courtship market" you will have a decrease in marriage or courtship. Economically the impossible HR check list translates into less employment, CERTAINLY less innovation, but overall less economic growth and lower standards of living. Which once again proves there's only one thing do to.

Enjoy the decline, people. Enjoy that bleeping decline.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Liberal Arts Majors Need Not Apply

Looking at possible places to go to. And what do you know, countries have requirements before you move there. And guess what? Not a lot of demand for "communications majors."

Ah, MBA's

Hat tip

On a related note

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Golden Years of California is Behind Them

A chart I'm very proud of is the "generational RGDP growth" I put together for the nation which shows the 20 year average real economic growth rate of the nation going from 4.5% to 2.25%. The ramifications which of course shows we're slowing down and are incapable of producing the economic production necessary to tax and pay for all the government goodies we've promised ourselves. However, I decided to do the same for the state of California with it's Gross State Product. The reason why is multifold;

1. The brilliant election of Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer and others show the citizens of California are still incomprehensibly ignorant when it comes to basic economics let alone their own state's historical finances.

2. I tire rather quickly of hearing people from California tell me how "everything" is created and made in California and that their economy is booming and why you're just a red-neck hick in a fly over state that doesn't understand how truly economically and culturally awesome we are.

3. California, much like the banks, is going to need a bailout at the expense of the other states in the Union, which is why (when that time comes) I advocate turning California back into a territory.

4. Californians dismissing all their economic woes by saying, "but the weather is really nice" which is the same that could be said of Cuba and Haiti.

5. Citing Silicon Valley as some kind of super economic savior when in reality that was what it was 10 years ago and has since been shipped out to India.

6. The nazis in San Francisco find it their place to tell parents how to feed their kids and have banned toys from Happy Meals.

All of these things (and much more) do NOT help bring about economic growth, but rather impede it.

So to see if my economic spidey senses were correct and to see if California is once again the economic juggernaut all pro-California people claim it is, I pulled its year to year RGSP growth rates and then averaged them over 20 years to see what the general trend it.

Once booming and a genuinely golden era of economic progress, California touted a VERY impressive 10% annual economic growth rate during the 60's and 70's.

It's now half that.

Again, I don't know how they're going to pay for all they promised their citizens and government employees (well I do know, they're going to come to other states for a bailout), but it seems with their economic growth rate cut in half, they certainly won't be growing their way out of their problems.

(statistical note, this does not include 2009 or soon to be 2010 GSP which I'm sure would only reinforce the trend).

Enjoy the decline! (or move to Arizona)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Education Bubble Continues

This is a brilliant analogy between the alchemist's paradox and today's educational system.

More education simply dilutes the value of education.

Ergo why I focus on statistics such as MBA graduates as a percent of the population and put more and more emphasis on the trades and 2 year programs than a bachelors degree in (well) pretty much anything.

People on the left constantly clamor for more education spending. Well, they got it. Tons of it. So much to the point that having an education is pretty much worthless and is nothing special. Education is now the new sausage party. You now need a masters degree. And if not that a doctorate. And oh, guess what? By the time you got your doctorate you not only have $100,000 in debt, you have no better job prospects because everybody else did what you did. And hey, by the way, how's that hope and change and stimulus coming along? Any of you recent Obamanaut 20 somethings fresh out of college employed? Yeah, how is that economy coming along? Too bad the republicans only took over the house. Stalemate from here on out my friends and at a 9% unemployment rate to boot.

Imagine though if you had just got yourself a trade or tangible skill such as roofing, or plumbing or programming, you would have spent only 2 years in school, a fraction of the cost, and would have been working for the past 10 years earning money instead of pissing it away on a progressively worthless sheepskin.

You can already start to see how similar the education bubble is to its housing bubble sister. I'm just wondering if (similar to the people who bought at the peak of the housing bubble) people with their masters in (fill in liberal arts degree name here) __________ are going to deny reality and "wait for the market to turn."

It won't kiddies. It simply won't. You want to know why? Because no matter what the aging hippie boomers taught you in "academia," in the real world (where the adults live), no economy progresses unless there is genuine economic production. And by "genuine economic production" we mean "you produce something people want."

Not "well roundedness."

Not "raising awareness."

Not "campaigning against the clubbing of seals skills."

Your doctorate in philosophy, women's studies or whatever worthless tripe you decided to avoid reality with and play "make believe I'm an adult" degree is now about as common as a TV reality show. It produces nothing of value and therefore you HAVE NOTHING OF VALUE (economically) to offer society. Your economic value is 0.

But don't listen to me. What do I know. I'm just an economic genius that's predicted every major and mediocre economic event since I was 20.

Go back to your lives people. Nothing to see here.

Who Pays Money for "Raising Awareness?"

My first shot at one of these Xtranormal films. Failed to change the camera shots.

Obama is Not a "Kineesian"

Honest to god. I feel like Kim Jong Il in Team America World Police -

"Why is everybody so f@cking stupid?"

Lo Chiamavano King/Red Dead Revolver

This has nothing to do with economics, but rather is one for the vintage video gamers out there (as well as appreciators of spaghetti westerns). Did some researching because I was quite surprised by the quality of music in the video game "Red Dead Revolver." Turns out they pulled a TON of music from the old spaghetti westerns to reincarnate them in the video game. Arguably one of the best is the one I put below (because the funk bass guitar in my humble non-musically trained mind is awesome).

This then set me on a path of appreciation for composers of the spaghetti western genre. Luis Bacalov, Ennio Morricone, etc. You kind of take it for granted that these are just scores for movies, but if you listen to enough of them you almost appreciate the symphonic quality and skill of these guys.

Ergo, since I am your captain and what would a post be without me barking orders of some kind, your mission is to go to youtube and listen to some of the soundtracks. May I suggest the perfect combination of the chimes produced by a music box and a symphony playing in the background from the finale of "For a Few Dollars More?"

Monday, November 01, 2010

Escape from Minneapolis

I love watching Minneapolis slowly turn into (as Jason Lewis says) a "cold Detroit." It is vindication or prediction of several things;

1. I was right and had foresight to escape from Minneapolis.
2. It's juicy watching the leftists in the town do it to themselves by continually voting to tax themselves higher and higher as they are unable to link their high property taxes to bike paths, $50,000 drinking fountains and green roofs while they lay off cops).
3. Proof on a municipal level that the free market is not a theory, but is reality
4. "Micro" capital and intellectual flight.
5. Property prices will continue to drop in the area
6. Neighborhoods such as Seward, Longfellow, Linden Hills, and Kenwood where the trust fund baby limosuine liberals live in Minneapolis will pay the most for their ignorance of basic economics as they finance more and more of the city's impossible and unsustainable finances

But the latest is something that you just can't make up and shows you the liberals who all reside in Minneapolis are actually the frogs in the frying pan where the heat is forever being turned up.

A friend of mine who was unable to unload his property in Minneapolis got this in the mail;

In short there is a municipal sales tax of .5% the city of Minneapolis charges. The city, now so desperate for money, has sent out letters telling residents that (get ready for this)


They are so desperate, as well as totalitarian, they find nothing wrong with forcing their citizens with the onerous task of tracking their purchases from anywhere outside Minneapolis and then adding them up and then paying .5% on all purchases come April 15th. It's like having to file now another tax return that is even more onerous than filing a federal tax return.

Now, of course the question is this;

Will all the hippies in Minneapolis who voted this tyranny upon themselves will even bother to pay this tax - not out of a desire NOT to pay, but rather because they don't even know about it?

Regardless, as time goes on, I'm progressively happier and happier I escaped Minneapolis. It's kind of like escaping the Death Star in Return of the Jedi. I hope the rest of my Minneapolis bretheren don't get caught in the explosion. Sadly, too many are taken in by the Walker Art Center, uptown coffee shops and other dying "cultural" remnants of the 1990's grunge era to escape with me and Wedge.

Obama vs. Bush

Contrast that with the half booing/half cheering crowd when Obama threw a pitch.