California Poverty Capital of America

The LAtimes published a story on how California is the poverty capital of America even though we have some of the highest spending on government anti-poverty programs.

The article blames a few major factors:

  • Massive government bloat (nearly a million government employees work just giving out welfare benefits)
  • Welfare programs that just give money without trying to help people into the work force
  • Blocks on new housing construction causing rents to spiral upwards

More Housing Inventory Drops Prices

Not very shocking to those who understand the laws of supply and demand, but may come as a surprise to some of the people who endlessly complain about housing prices but refuse to allow new construction:

Seattle’s rent prices are dropping significantly due to lots of new buildings coming on the market. This has raised the competition for tenants, causing prices for an apartment to go down. San Francisco, are you listening?

Doctors Continue To Scam Americans

America has the most expensive cost of giving birth in America at $32,093 on average as reported by the advocacy group Childbirth Connection. This is for an uncomplicated vaginal birth with newborn care. A caesarean section is $51,125 on average without complications.

Most other countries are far less expensive. For example, Spain is only $1,950.

The US also gets much worse medical care even though we pay the most… our infant mortality rate is 6.1 for every 1,000 live births which is higher than Slovakia & Hungary and TRIPLE the rate of Japan or Finland. We also have the WORST maternal mortality rate in the developed world.

Why is American health care so expensive yet has such bad outcomes?

Doctors have a trade union, the American Medical Association, that is the most powerful in the union and protects doctors interests over those of American citizens. The AMA uses two methods to keep doctor’s wages high:

  1. The AMA strictly limit the number of new doctor’s allowed to be trained each year. By limiting supply, they greatly increase prices.
  2. The AMA introduces lots of unnecessary medical regulations, greatly raising the cost of medical care and preventing anyone else from competing with them.

How can we reform our medical care system and get 3x better treatment like people in Japan or Finland? How can we reduce our costs by 10x? We need to strongly push for all the artificial limits on the number of doctors and the regulations preventing non-doctors from providing medical care to be reformed.

Continue reading on why American spend so much on health care and what we can do about it here. 

Business Mergers Are Almost Always Bad

The last forty years has seen huge amounts of mergers and acquisitions between companies. In my opinion, a large majority of these have negative results for investors. There are certain rare occasions where there is true strategic alignment and two companies coming together will increase profitability and results for customers. In most cases though, there are a few individuals who benefit (CEO, a couple top managers, sometimes board members) at the expense of investors, employees, and customers.

Mergers and acquisitions are usually ESPECIALLY bad for customers. There are a few cases where the acquiring company allows the other company to scale faster, or where two service offerings are complimentary. However in most cases, mergers and acquisitions cause prices to rise and quality to go down.

M&A is also bad for employees in most cases… especially when there are “redundancies” which is one of the ways an investor might be able to benefit.

Bestemor & Grandpa

I am up in Washington again for my friend Justin’s wedding and am staying with my grandparents. My grandparents are extraordinarily good people: my grandma makes great meals and has family all get together, and my grandpa gets the old Ford Contour all ship shape so I can have transportation when I visit. I hugely appreciate both of them and all of the help they have given me in life. I owe them a debt I can never repay for helping raise me and guide me to be successful.

Marine Corps Fitness Test

I took the Marine Corps Fitness test today. I ran three miles in 23:20 on a treadmill, did 17 pullups, and did 60 crunches.

I haven’t done any abs in a long time, so the crunches were the most challenging part. I feel like if I work on my abs that can improve significantly.

This would have given me a first class rating for the Marines, making me eligible for good promotions I think.

Kraig Kramers: CEO Tools

My Vistage chair John told me about Kraig Kramers and his CEO Tools. He mainly mentioned it in reference to using moving averages to help better judge how your business is doing. Some of the moving averages I am considering:

  • # of salespeople 12 month moving average
  • Actual billings trailing twelve months
  • # of transactions per month, 12 mma
  • $ realized per transaction 12 mma
  • Customer happiness index
  • Employee happiness index

 

Best Dating Advice of 2018 for LA Friend

Below is the best advice I have that I gave my friend who is single and dating in Los Angeles in 2018.

I honestly have no clue as to which dating website is the best in the LA area. I asked my wife what her friends use and she said Bumble is the most popular site right now, along with Tinder (but that’s more for casual sex).
My recommendation is that as this is the most important decision you will make for your lifetime happiness, don’t be a cheap bastard… sign up and pay for multiple of the best rated / recommended services (Okcupid, Match, Bumble, maybe plentyoffish/ eharmony) – do your own research on which are actually used by real people.
If I was to do this whole process again, here is what I would do:
  1. Approach this like a job or investment. You paid thousands for a car you will use occasionally for a few years… this is a far more important decision. If you go to law school, you will spend tons of time studying to take the LSAT… once again this decision is worth a lot more time than that.
  2. Get professional photos of yourself taken (check Yelp for highest rated photographers, should cost $2-400), and ask a female friend to help you pick your best other photos off of Facebook or Instagram or wherever you store your photos. You probably should have some sports photos to show your interests, and you flying a fighter jet wouldn’t hurt.
  3. You should provide a solid write up in your profile too… show your sense of humor and also talk about your interests (especially that you want someone athletic like you). Once again, get several trusted people to give you feedback on your profile(s). Send screenshots if you can’t send a public link.
  4. Once your profile is all set up and good to go, take all their bullshit quizzes on the sites that have them to ‘match’ you with people. This will take hours, but will pay off later.
  5. Now use your search filter settings to find all girls in your area you find attractive. Then make a short (1-3 sentences) intro message you can copy and paste many times. Move very quickly here… only 1% of the girls you message will respond. You need to send thousands. Listening to music while you do this and chill out is a decent method.
  6. When a girl messages you back, look more closely at her profile. Does she match what you are looking for with looks / interests / intellect / athleticism? If so, then send a solid follow up message and start the conversation. I would ask for a phone call. On the call, try to strike up some chemistry, but also remember you are trying to screen her out. You are looking for reasons to say no through this whole filtering process basically. If she passes here, then set up an in person date. In person dates take a long time, and can be frustrating so you want to screen people well before you ever get here. Remember you will go on lots of shitty dates, but the payoff will be enormously worth that effort.
  7. The biggest thing here is to look at this as a part time job… it will take a few months of an hour or two a day (and more time than that when you have a date). In recruiting, a big rule is that you can find a reason to say “yes” for every candidate…. your job is to find a reason to say “no”. Make a list of what’s important to you (looks, sex appeal, stability, intelligence, athleticism, career, debt, views on family, etc.). Use that to screen people out as quickly and early in your process as you can.
My wife also says you should just have fun with this too :). Just go on lots of dates even though it will get exhausting and frustrating.
Good luck!

Conscience

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Ryan yesterday on the topic of conscience. He mentioned that he believed conscience was something all of us had… just some hear it more or less quietly. He thought it shared common principles.

I disagree. I think conscience has two parts:

  • Genetic: this is the amity – enmity theory… basically people will take care of and love people in their “in” group, and not care if bad things happen to those in their “out” group.
  • Socially learned: behaviors ranging from cutting someone off in traffic, stealing, caring for the environment, all the way up to things like murder. Each society has different byzantine learned rules. For example in our society is perfectly okay for a military person to kill on command, but not okay for a “unlawful” killing to happen.

 

California Public Employee Pensions Should Be Defunded

California public employee pensions were negotiated by unions (who had representatives who STRONGLY and PASSIONATELY cared for their members) and politicians (who strongly and passionately cared that the union members vote for them, but did not care much about the taxpayer).

What was the result?

The union members got unfairly huge payouts at the expense of regular citizens and taxpayers, most of whom have never received remotely as good of benefits and the government workers did.

This was not just a one time thing… this has continued for a hundred years in California, with the unions getting bigger and bigger chunks of our GDP.

The only way to correct this balance is to undo the unfair deals that were done in years past.

In the future, public employee unions should be disallowed. You can’t have a fair negotiation when there is no one who will represent one side.