Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rebate Checks - Will they Matter?

taxforms.jpgI'm kind of torn about the idea of tax rebate checks, and not just because I probably won't be getting one.

Anything that gives less money to the government and more money to the people, I'm all for. I already think that the government is too big, and philosophically believe that people should keep more of their own money and give less to government.

That being said, I'm also no idiot. Without equal spending cuts somewhere, less tax dollars for the government simply means bigger deficits in the future. It is either pay now or pay later, and I would rather know what we are getting ourselves into sooner rather than later.

I think my biggest gripe with the tax rebate checks is that I honestly don't think they will matter. They definitely will not accomplish what Bush wants them to accomplish which is to stimulate spending and jump start the economy. Here is the thing. A lot of Americans are just struggling with the basics. Food and gas prices are getting to the point of ridiculous, and $600 isn't what it used to be. For most people, that is just a few weeks of food and gas, and I think most people are going to spend their money this way.

Besides, it will just exacerbate what is going on in the economy. To pay for the tax rebate, the money has to come from somewhere. There is no such thing as a free lunch, the money comes from somewhere, and it comes from abroad, namely China and the Middle East. So what happens? The government is just going to borrow money for the rebate from these countries, and see the American consumer give it right back. The typical American consumer is going to spend it on something either made in China or the gas that comes from the Middle East. It's a great deal, if you are one of these other countries.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Living Debt Free

Is it possible to live debt free?  It was a questions I saw on the front page of MSN Money today.  Since I am probably in the 1% of Americans who is 100% debt free, I felt qualified to answer this question.

Yes, it is possible to live debt free, and it really isn't all that hard.  I have found it easy becasue

  1. I grew up without much money

  2. I was determined not to grow old without money

So throughout my whole life, I have planned.  I made sure that I would end up with the right job and that I would live the right lifestyle.  So when you combine a high salary with a simple lifestyle, it becomes very easy to be debt free.

Right now, I have no debt of any kind unless you count my credit card which I pay in full every month.  I have no mortgage, no car loans, no student loans, nothing.  It's fantastic.  You just live within your means.  You do it long enough and lots of possibilities open up.  For example.  This weekend, my girlfriend and I decided to buy some furniture.  We saw a TV stand we really liked.  Like all good furniture it is expensive.  In total it cost me $1400.  This wil shortly be paired with a TV that cost $2500.  That will be followed up with a living room set that will probably cost around $2000 and that will be followed by a bedroom set that some more as well.

Now I don't ever spend money like this.  This is highly unusual for me.  But the point is, I can do it, and I can do it all without incurring any debt.  This is coming straight out of savings.  Now to be clear, debt isn't a bad thing if used correctly.  However, I believe it should only be used for productive reasons.   That is, the debt you incur should only be used if the money will be used to earn more money later or to finance a purchase that would otherwise be impossible.  This generally only means

  • Student Loans

  • Buying a house

  • Buying your first car

Student Loans is obvious, this directly leads to you being able to earn income later.  A house falls under the impossible to do without category (although this wasn't always the case).   The latter I allow for simply because it is a big ticket item that a lot of people just starting out can't afford to buy without a loan.  And since most people have to drive to work, I think it is acceptable to take out the loan.  Every car after that though I think you should have the ability to pay for it in cash.  I qualify with "ability" because even though I could now buy pretty much any car I wanted to in full, I doubt I would buy a BMW M5 in cash.  The money could be used better investing rather than laying it all out for a car.

What do you think?  How close are you to being debt free?  Do you find it hard to live with or without debt?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monthly Bills - To Spend or Not To Spend

runnerToday, I decided to upgrade my gym membership. I have access to all 24 Hour Fitness Sports. These are generally the highest level club for the chain. However they have a few limited Super Sports which are a little bit bigger and nicer. In particular the regular sports around me don't have full basketball courts but the Super Sport does, so I joined.

Now, it wasn't an easy choice for me. One thing I'm pretty adamant against is having too many financial obligations that you have month to month. It is almost a sure way to spend more money without knowing about it. It's important that most of your costs are variable, not fixed. That way, when you have to scale back, such as when you quit your job, it is much easier to do.

In the end, I decided to do it because I would use the gym a lot less if I didn't. I haven't been going to the gym as much as I would normally and it is important to me to be in good physical health. Since I love basketball as much as I do, it is really important that I have this option available. It will cost me an additional $32 a month to go, since I'm paying for me and my girlfriend's membership. That comes out to almost $400 more a year. I also had to pay $160 in total initiation fees, that kind of sucked. But it is a month to month membership, so if I decide to cancel, sometime in the future it shouldn't be a big deal.

That's the key. If you are going to take on another financial obligation, make sure you can get out of it easily. That's one reason I'm hesitant to sign up for DirecTV service even though thy probably have the best HD service around. They force you into a two year commitment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Building Empires

I did an odd thing several months ago when I came to this job.  I freely and without complait relinquished my headcount.  I had to let the person go and it turned out that we weren't going to replace him.  I didn't know it at the time, but when it was told to me I didn't complain very much.  I've learned to do more with less my whole life.

I don't know why, but people have a hard time doing this.  I sit in meetings discussing personnel and I always hear people saying how they need more people to do whatever it is they are supposed to do.  And it always seems to be the same people doing it.  You can always find these people.  They are the people who measure how important they are by the number of people who report to them.

That is not to say that I don't like managing people and don't think it is a worthwhile thing.  But I would never go say something like, "I run the biggest department in the company" as justification for anything but I've heard people do it.   I've sat in meetings with these people and they constantly talk about how they need this or that, and never understand that headcount is often fixed, and fixed at the highest levels in the company.  You can't just hire people because you feel like it, nor does that often solve the problem you are trying to solve.  In fact, it normally makes it worse.

I often wish that the workplace would institute efficiency metrics on its managers.  Basically managers would be judged by an efficiency ratio.  All their work would be divided by their headcount and their performance would be measured by how much work they got out of their employees. It would create the right incentive.  It would actually encourage managers to have less headcount and trim their budget.   I believe this actually happens in many industries.  However, it would be next to impossible to institute in my industry since it is notoriously hard to measure the output of a development team.

How would you solve this problem?  What could you do to be sure that managers didn't get employees just to build an empire?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Letting Someone Use You

I was reading an article in a Money magazine and someone asked a question of when they should tell their significant other that they are wealthy.  The questioner was divorced and had a relationship after her marriage where her new boyfriend "used her" for her money and "made her" buy him expensive things.  The writer wanted to know if she should hide her wealth from someone she was getting serious with.

Now, full disclosure time, I was pretty up front with my girlfriend about my finances.  It couldn't have been more than a few weeks before I told her what I made.  I'm not sure I told her how much I have in total for a while, but I certainly didn't hide the fact that I had a lot of money, and I make a good amount.

But that's not the point of this post.  I actually don't really care how or if people tell their significant others about their finances.  I tend to think it is a good idea to because finances are so important (the #1 reason get divorced is because of a financial problem or differences)

What bothered me more than anything was the victim mentality.  How do you "let" someone use all your money?  Nobody can make you spend money on them.  They can't reach into your pocket and force you to buy them nice things.  They may trick you into thinking they like you for some other reason than your money, but only you can actually let them spend your money.  If you think it's going to be an issue, draw boundaries.  I only buy things for my girlfriend that I'm totally willing to give.  I wouldn't be angry after the fact no matter what happens, because I choose to give what I want in that moment.

What do you think?  Would you feel bad if you spent lots of money on someone and then found out they were only with you for your money?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Turning Off Work


I'm once again making the journey between Seattle and Los Angeles.  This time I'm taking it as an opportunity to take a vacation.  We have been traveling down the Oregon Coast and have made it to Northern California as I write this.  It's been great so far.  We decided to take the slow route.  Instead of just taking Interstate 5 all the way down, we decided to take the 101 which hugs the Oregon and California coat.  There isn't a lot on the Oregon coast, but we have taken our time and enjoyed the beaches.  Well enjoyed them as much as possible on these Balmy April days.

The Oregon coast is odd.  It seems so disconnected from the rest of the world.  I say that because we would literally go an hour in the car without seeing another car going in our direction.  And it wasn't like we were driving in the middle of the night.  In fact, we only traveled during daylight hours.   I kept thinking about the towns like those in the Pixar movie Cars.  Everyone takes the Interstate and has forgotten about these little towns that use to be on the main highway.

I've taken three days off of work, this is the second day.  The first day, I kept checking my work mail.  I have a smart phone, and it allows me to stay connected almost anywhere I am.  That is normally a good thing for me, but not a good thing when you are trying to relax and have a good vacation.  So today, I made it a point to not check my mail.  I didn't even look at the subject headings.   This was exceedingly difficult for me.  My whole job is to know what is going on and to be available.  Disconnecting is very very hard for me.  But so far, I'm glad I did.  I'm still itching to check my mail, but I have to admit, I feel a lot more relaxed than I did yesterday.  Hopefully, I can stay disconnected tomorrow and decompress even more.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Attrition - The Vicious Cycle

My new company seems to be having a problem.  We seem to be losing people left and right. The turnover on the dev team seems to be very high and it is very concerning to me and others as having continuity and history on the team is very important.

It got me thinking about when I left Microsoft.  Slowly but surely, the team I left is looking less and less like the team I left.  I wouldn't say the exodus started with me, in fact I think I probably hit the middle of the cycle.  However, leaving in the middle gives me a unique view of the situation.

I could take a whole post about my reasons for leaving Microsoft, and I plan on writing that post someday soon.  But I can say now that it was in no small part to not wanting to be the last one off a sinking ship.  At my job prior to Microsoft, I actually was the last one on the ship.  I held it up as long as I could and it was tiring.  One of the key reasons that smart people work where they do is because they want to work with other smart people.  When you start seeing the other smart people leave, and leave for reasons like they are dissatisified with the team, you have to look around and wonder what is going on.

It's actually something I'm not sure upper-management always gets.  Losing good people reverberates far beyond just the person that is leaving.  I've been in discussions about key people leaving, and it is often not treated as earnestly as I would think it should be in times.  Attrition is a nasty cycle.  Good people leave causing more good people to leave.  Pretty soon, you are left with the people who aren't very good or don't have any other options.

The thing that always surprises me though is that management always sees it coming.  Rarely does a star leave without some sort of indication of his/her dissatisfaction long before a resignation is given.  The thing is, rarely if ever is anything done about it.  Often people just kind of throw their hands up and say, "there is nothing we can do about it."  It's sad how little action those capable of doing anything about it actually ever do anything about it.  I wonder if people get so high up that they  really do see people as interchangeable parts.  Do they really not realize who is responsible for doing the work?  Are they so busy trying to drive the car that they forget how necessary things are like the engine?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Want to Excel? Have an Opinion

When it comes down to how to have a successful career, I tend to think it only comes down to a few key things.  It's an odd paradox because I tend to think that it is not easy to achieve what I have but at the same time I tend to think my job isn't that hard.

The one thing that I've noticed in all the jobs that I've had is there is a lack of people who have strong opinions.  I'm not one of those people.  If you know me, you know I have strong opinions.  Right or wrong, I'm going to have something to say on most topics.  Most people sit quietly and just accept the opinions of others.  I can't tell you the number of meetings I've sat in where nothing gets done because nobody has an opinion on something.  It also is startling to think about the number of times I've seen someone win an argument because they had such conviction when they spoke only to be absolutely wrong.

To be successful at any job, you have to be a leader.  Being a leader doesn't mean having 20 people report to you, it really is about charting out a course for others to follow, and then getting those people to follow you.  Sure, it is easier to do if you are responsible for performance reviews for those people, but being someone's boss doesn't mean you are leading them.  It just means you get to tell them what to do.

Most companies have leadership voids.  It's odd because most people want desperately to move up the ladder, yet so few are willing or understand what it takes to do this.  Probably the first and most important steps is to learn to form an opinion on any decision that needs to get made.  Most people are paralyzed when it comes time to make a decision.  Don't be one of those people.  It is far better to be on the wrong side of an argument than to always stay in the middle.  You will inevitably make mistakes, that's life and people expect it.  However, it just takes that one great right decision to propel you forward.

This is not to say you should randomly pick a side and argue for it.  I've seen people do that too.  They just end up looking like idiots over the long haul.  You have to think about you are arguing about.  You need to use data to drive your arguments.  Good analysis is key.  But, after you analyze the date, you need to have strength in your convictions.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yahoo and AOL - Really?

AOL Yahoo

What is Yahoo thinking?  In an attempt to thwart or perhaps raise the Microsoft offer, Yahoo announced a possible merger with AOL.  How does this make any sense for Yahoo?

I look at this news with a raised eyebrow because, quite honestly, it seems a little desperate on Yahoo's part.  I see Yahoo has the girl who can't get the attention of the boy she likes, and is looking to be with the next guy who walks down the street in order to make the boy jealous.  I mean AOL?  Is AOL even in business any longer? How does AOL help Yahoo?  What assets does AOL bring to the table that Yahoo needs?

Microsoft has threatened to go hostile with its bid if Yahoo does not accept in the next three weeks.  My honest feeling is that while Microsoft really needs Yahoo, it doesn't need it at the price that Yahoo is asking.  When the deal was announced, Yahoo's stock rallied while Microsoft's stock went down.  Clearly showed there were already concerns about the deal Microsoft was making.  Don't see how offering more really makes any sense for Microsoft.

Let's be real about what is going on here.  Google is #1 when it comes to the internet and it is distancing itself further.   The eats at Microsoft who just can't stand to be #2 in anything, much less #3.  But by acquiring Yahoo, does anyone really think that Microsoft will close the gap and eventually take over Google?  Does a distant #2 and #3 amount to a #1?  In short, no.

I liken it to trading for a superstar in sports.  Often times, a superstar is traded for two lesser players.  Sometimes it works out for the team getting the lesser player, but it is normally to the advantage of the team getting the superstar?  Why?  Because there are just things that great players do that can't be replicated no matter how many other players you get back.  There is only one Kobe Bryant.  And there is only one basketball on the court.  And there is only one person who take the last shot in the game.  Two mediocre players might each have a 35% shot at hitting that game winner. Kobe might have a 70% shot.  However, you can't combine their chances and say they have an equal chance of hitting that shot.

Yahoo, be smart and take the deal.  I prefer you don't, as a Microsoft shareholder, but if you have any sense in you, you do it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another California Advantage

Thought of another California advantage today.  I have a black Honda Accord.  I both love and hate black cars.  Black, when clean, is the best color to have on a car.  It is very shiny and reflective and just makes the car look fantastic.  Of course, black is also impossible to maintain.  Every little scratch shows up on a black car.    Also, a dirty black car just looks faded and old.

I washed my car this weekend, and it is still clean.  The entire time I was in Seattle, I only washed my car about twice.  The problem was that whenever I washed my car in Seattle, it would rain the next day.  There goes the car wash.  So my car just stayed dirty.  I hate a dirty car, but also hated wasting my time washing the car.

But not in California.  I washed my car and my car stays washed.   It's great.  Chalk up another advantage for California.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Interview Mind Tricks

Interview Mind TricksToday I wore a very nice green shirt to work. I actually got complimented on it several times today. To one of my co-workers, I mentioned that it was the same shirt I wore to my job interview for that company. I then told him how I wore it for the specific reason that it was green, and the company's corporate color is green. I was trying to play a Jedi-mind trick by showing the people who were interviewing me that I was "one of them".

It must have worked because I got the job. I'm sure it had nothing to do with my qualifications, it all had to do with my great green shirt. But it got me thinking about things I do when in a job interview. Here are some of the basics.

  • Look the part - Dress up. I don't care if it is a casual environment, come looking like you mean business.

  • Come prepared - Nothing turns people off more than you not knowing something about both the company and the industry

  • Ask questions and listen carefully - You can almost always tell the answer someone is actually looking for by the way they react to you. You need to size up your interviewer. Figure out what they are in there to figure out about you and what is important to them. Focus on that.

  • 90% of the time, it isn't what you say but how you say it - I'm always told I interview well. It really isn't what I say, but the fact that I speak well and confidently.

  • Agree, A LOT - This is something you should do in general when trying to convince anyone of anything. You should almost always agree with someone, even if you disagree. By that I mean you need to find something you agree with in what they are saying or at least make it known that you understand or empathize with them.

And of course, wear a shirt or blouse that matches the corporate colors.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Splitting the Bill

Whenever I go out with friends, I make sure to always leave more than I should when it comes to splitting the bill.  I find that most people leave too little, usually forgetting tax or tip or often not paying for the drinks that they had.  I normally don't correct people when this happens, I hate squabbling over a few dollars, but it definitely does bother me when people don't pay their fair share.

The thing is, someone is always underpaying.  I usually don't take any money back and we usually leave the right amount.  So if I'm overpaying, someone is underpaying.   I often wonder if people realize this.  Do they think other people just don't notice, and that they are getting away with paying less than they should?  Or do people generally not know how much they should be paying?

I like to give my friends the benefit of the doubt.  I think most of them are fair and honest people and definitely not just trying to save a buck or two at my expense.  However, when I go out with people I'm not as good of friends with, I often wonder.

What are your thoughts and experiences?  Do you find yourself paying a greater portion of the bill than you should?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Finished Taxes


I finally finished my taxes this year. I'm usually not a procrastinator, but this year it was really hard for me to get to them. Between the new job and traveling back and forth to Seattle, I just haven't had a lot of free weekends to sit down and do my taxes.

So I finally did it and I got some money back. Unlike most people, this doesn't excite me. It actually upsets me to some degree since the government held my money for most of the year and has graciously decided to give me back money they should have never had. This time of year also reminds me just how much in taxes I pay. It's a lot. Since I am without kids and a house, I'm of course a second class citizen in the eyes of the government, so my deductions are few and far between. It's one of the many reasons I hate our tax code. It's a reason I would have considered voting for Huckabee despite the fact he is way too far right when it comes to social issues. I would love to see the fair tax go into place because there are so many problems with the current tax code.

I compare my experiences with California and Washington. I lived in California for 14 days this past year so I had to file a tax return. I lived in Washington for 351 days and didn't have to do squat because Washington doesn't have an income tax. I didn't have to worry about deductions, credits, or an Alternative Minimum Tax. I just blissfully ignored the fact that I lived in Washington when tax time came around.

Taxing income is just so inherently difficult. So many different definitions of what is and what is not income. It is ludicrous to me that my girlfriend, who received some land from her mother this year, actually has to hire someone to look into the tax implications of receiving said gift. All we need are property, customs, and a retail sales tax. Nice and simple and something that would greatly simplify the tax code. It would broaden the base, simplify everyone's life, and in fact probably cost people less in taxes than any alternative. Throw in the fact that you would be able to almost eliminate the IRS, tax audits, and an entire industry that is created just for compliance to the income tax code, and you have icing to go on top of that cake.

Taxing income is also pretty damn sneaky. Don't believe me? Why do you think people get excited about getting tax returns. The government has trained people to think that you are getting something good. People just don't realize how much the government is taking from them throughout the year. That's why, when they get their rebate check, they are so excited. How sick is it that the government took this money from you, interest free, and then returned a small portion of it back to you because they took to much, and people feel excited about this.

Cheap Gas Worth it?

union-76-ball.jpgGas is getting more and more expensive.   Here in California, we are at about $3.75 a gallon depending on where you are.  $4.00 looks like an absolute certainty.  Despite this lunacy, I think it is even more ridiculous the lengths people will go to to save a buck on gas.

If I asked you to just stand still for five minutes for $0.60, would you do it?  I'm betting most of my readers would not.  However, that is exactly what is going on down the street from me.  There is a 76 station down the street that is known for having the least expensive gas in the Pasadena area.  Since it is down the street, I drive by it often and regularly see lines extending out to the street to get gas.

I never wait in this line.  If there is nobody there, and I need gas, I'll get gas. But if there is the smallest hint of a line, I just go further down the street and get gas somewhere else.  The thing is, the gas is about $0.05 cheaper than it is just down the street.  On a 12 gallon fill up, that amounts to about $0.60 or a 1.3% savings.  Is that really worth waiting in line for?  I'm all about saving money when it makes sense, but this doesn't make any sense.  Now if you factor in that a lot of these cars will sit and idle while they wait, then then these people are actually spending more money by sitting and waiting then they would be just going down the street.

What do you think?  Do you think it is worth it to wait for cheap gas?  Why do you think other people think it is worth it?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Two Weeks Notice - Is It Necessary?

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about a new hire he just recruited. The new hire was to start in two weeks because he had given his two weeks notice. My coworker than told a story about how, at his former job, they required him to work the full two weeks, even requiring him to work half a day since he had told his former employer in the middle of the day.

I couldn't believe this story because giving two weeks notice is a courtesy. It is absolutely not required, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just wrong.  Now to be fair, if you will use this employer in the future as a reference, you probably want to leave on good terms.  In addition, I am a strong believer that you never burn your bridges, you never know if you will come back or where your paths may cross again.

Now, I've always given the courtesy of two weeks notice.  On a interesting side note, I once went to talk to my boss to tell him I was quitting.  He actually told me I didn't need to give him the notice because he knew that his boss was coming in to town to fire him.  If I wanted to leave the next day, I was free to do so.  Sure enough, the next day his boss came to fire him.

I've been on the other side of the table too.  I've had an employee come to give his resignation and not give me two weeks notice.  He did give me one, but even if he hadn't I wouldn't have blamed him.  I am a strong believer that people need to do what's best for them.  If it was necessary for my employee to leave sooner for a good reason, I support that 100%.  It hurt a little bit, but the truth of the matter is is that there was probably not even two weeks of work for him to do.  As soon as he gave notice, I couldn't have him work on any new projects, I just needed him to document the current stuff he was working on.  After he did that, there really wasn't much left for him to do.

Now here is the thing.  Most employees are at-will employees.  That means your employer can fire you at anytime and for any reason without giving you any notice.  It is the norm for an employer to fire an employee without any notice.  Employment is a two way street.  So if your employer isn't going to have any remorse seeing you leave without notice, why should you feel bad when the tables are turned?

What are your thoughts on the matter?  Do you think an employee should always give two weeks notice?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another Birthday

Cat lying down

There is another birthday in my household. My cat's birthday was yesterday. I actually almost forgot about it because I've been so busy.

I don't know if it is his actual birthday. I picked my cat up off the street. He was just a stray that kept coming around my apartment. I took him in one day and he stayed (or I wouldn't let him leave depending on who you ask). I know I'm approximately right because he was about two or three months old when I found him and I picked him up in June.

He is now six years old. I feel somewhat like a parent in that I can't believe he is already six years old, it certainly doesn't seem like it.  I used to give Bandit gifts for his birthday, but I realized he doesn't realize its his birthday nor does he really care.  I just said, "Happy Birthday" to him and he just ignored me.  Maybe he has reached the age where he lies to everybody how old he really is.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Housing Crisis Solution

housingcollapse.jpgCongress met today to discuss a plan to try and save owners who might be foreclosed upon because they have a loan they can not afford.  I find this somewhat laughable but then again, I find most of what our government does laughable.  This one in particular sticks out because I find it to be a strange circumstance of Congress moving too slow and too fast at the same time.

If Congress was going to do something, it should have done it years ago when it was clear to any rational person that housing prices were going up too quickly.  Of course, they wouldn't have done this, despite today's predictable situation, because too many people were getting rich quickly and nobody wanted to stop that gravy train.

Now, they are moving much too quickly.  In reality, they should not be moving at all.   People need to lose their homes.  Banks need to lose money.  Those banks that took the worse bets need to go bankrupt.  The alternative is what happened in Japan during the 90's, decade long stagnation which is probably worse than a quick correction.

Of course, our government isn't smart enough to do something like that.  They will slap together a plan that doesn't make any sense, helps the wrong people out, and in the end only makes the situation worse.  The worse part about it is that it will create incentives for the wrong people.   Think about this for a second.

There are a large number of families who would love to be first time home buyers. However, the decided, prudently, that they would only buy something they could afford.  Novel idea I know.  There is another group of people who don't do that.  These are the people who, when they want something, they just buy it and don't worry about if they can really afford it.  These are the people who have twenty credit cards and always pay the minimum balance.  Since they could do it with credit cards, these people took out two mortgages and decided that they would have it interest-only for the first few years and worry how they would pay the priciple later.  After something magical would happen to save them.

That something magical is the US government.  They will prove the idiots right.

I keep imagining the scene in Atlas Shrugged as Hank Rearden asks, "There's no way to make the irrational work.  What can save you now?" To this James Taggart cries, "Oh, you will do something!"  And he is right.  The government will save those who should have known better at the expense of those that did.