Posted October 5, 2013 at 10:00 am
By Cindy Perman
TV and film characters like Don Draper from “Mad Men” and Gordon Gekko from “Wall Street” may have you thinking that their professions are enviably glitzy, but the truth is, they’re not all that glamorous.
Job site CareerCast is out with its annual lists of the most overrated and most underrated jobs and with apologies to Messrs. Draper and Gekko, they’re both overrated.
“It’s all about perception. It’s the perception that it’s a great job,” said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast. “Every one of these overrated jobs, people think of as, ‘I’ve got huge autonomy. I’m in control of my day and I manage everything the way I want to manage it,’” Lee said.
If you like this list, check out this one too: The 12 Most Underrated Jobs of 2013.”The reality is that either due to a poor hiring outlook, falling salary, rising stress or a number of other criteria, it’s not as great as it appears,” he said.
To come up with these lists, CareerCast takes a look at 200 jobs, using Labor Department and other statistics. On average, Lee said, hiring in those jobs are expected to increase by about 12 percent during this decade. What’s particularly encouraging, he said, is that CareerCast has found more job openings for each one of the occupations on the list than in at least the last five years.
Read on to check out the most overrated jobs of 2013:
Median salary: $71,720
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 15%
“If you look across the New York Stock Exchange, how many stockbrokers do you see compared to a few years ago?” Lee asked.
A lot fewer, that’s for sure.
“Most trading is automated, staring at a computer screen. Compensation, while good, is not phenomenal—they’re not rolling in money,” Lee said.
But wait, you say. The market is at an all-time high!
In fact, market volatility has taken an already high-stress job to meteoric levels of stress. And you know what the biggest complaint from clients is now in this market?
“They’re not making enough money!” Lee said.
Plus, they don’t have the budgets they used to, so there aren’t as many steak dinners with clients as there used to be.
Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:00 am
By Simon Black
“Truth. noun. The quality of state of being in accordance with fact or reality.”
This is how my dictionary defines truth: it can be ‘fact’. But it can also mean ‘reality’.
The people who control the system have figured this out– if they can change someone’s reality, they control the truth.
Think about all the pithy aphorisms thrown about, particularly here in the Land of the Free. For example, “They hate us for our freedom.” Or, “You’re innocent until proven guilty.”
These statements are total nonsense, completely unsupported by the facts.
But through sheer volume of repetition, they’ve become reality for most unquestioning citizens… and hence, truth.
This is also the case in finance and economics. For example, I heard the following statements just in the last 48-hours while visiting the Land of the Free:
“America will never default on its debt.”
“The debt doesn’t matter because we owe it to ourselves.”
Again, these statements are totally unsupported by the facts.
The notion that the US government won’t default on its debt is simply historically inaccurate.
As recently as 1979 in the midst of another debt-ceiling debacle, the government failed to pay on $120 million in Treasuries according to stated terms, resulting in a class-action lawsuit Barton vs. United States.
And in 1934, FDR unilaterally abrogated the repayment terms for Liberty Bonds that were supposed to have been paid back in gold… or at least gold-backed currency.
Roosevelt refused to repay the bonds in gold, then devalued the dollar by as much as 40%, paying back bondholders in worthless paper.
But probably the most ignorant economic postulate is that the debt doesn’t matter because ‘we owe it to ourselves…’
It is accurate that only a third of the official US debt is owed to foreigners. The rest is owed to intragovernmental agencies like the Social Security Trust Fund, or to the US Federal Reserve.
But I’m mystified at how people find this comforting.
Posted July 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm
Friday humor: A modest proposal
By Simon Black
Decades ago, John Maynard Keynes famously wrote in his book The General Theory:
“If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with bank-notes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal-mines. . . and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again. . . there need be no more unemployment.”
To Keynes, all that mattered was that people were employed doing something, anything. The quality of employment didn’t matter.
Clearly this line of reasoning worked out well for the Soviets; as was said of their economic system producing mounds of left boots with no right boots, “We pretended to work, and they pretended to pay us.”
Today, famous Nobel Prize-winning economists like Paul Krugman echo Keynes’ sentiment.
Krugman has even suggested that spending trillions of dollars to defend against a phony alien invasion would save the economy.
This, coming from a man who has won society’s most ‘esteemed’ prize for intellectual achievement.
Given several years of a ‘print money with wanton abandon’ monetary policy, it seems like Ben Bernanke goes to bed at night with Keynes’ General Theory on his bedside table.
Posted July 12, 2013 at 8:34 am
We’re in the age of technology obsession because…
By Aaron Pressman, The Exchange (Yahoo! Finance)
It may be rude, annoying and even dangerous but it seems some people just can’t put down their smartphones.
Nearly one third of U.S. adults admitted using their phone in a movie theater or on a dinner date, according to a new Harris Interactive online survey. One in five said they used their phone in church or other place of worship and one in 10 even admitted checking in the shower or during sex.
And more than half – 55% – admitted they couldn’t put their phone down while driving.
For an additional read on this topic…
By Masuma Ahuja, Washington Post
Today’s teens spend more than 71/2 hours a day consuming media — watching TV, listening to music, surfing the Web, social networking, and playing video games, according to a 2010 study of 8- to 18-year-olds conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The study also found a particular rise in time spent on mobile devices and an overall increase of about an hour and 20 minutes since 1999.
Teens today, also known as the Facebook Generation or “digital natives,” are part of the first U.S. generation to be so closely identified with technology.
For most teens, the big increase in screen time is on their cellphones. More than three-quarters of all teens own cellphones, according to a 2011 study conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project. This is an increase from the 45 percent of teens who owned cellphones in 2004, Pew said.
Teens use their cellphones to text (an average of 60 times a day, according to the Pew study), check Facebook, play games and listen to music.
Posted July 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm
By Deron Desautels
A new flick called ‘The Wolf of Wall Street‘ is set to be released later in the year.
It’s based on the real-life story of Jordan Belfort and details this once-wealthy stock broker’s rise and subsequent fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. A quick quote from the book description, released in 2007:
“By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it
as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting.
“From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht, crashed a
Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to
the wife and kids who waited for him at home, and the fast-talking,
hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did
his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of
the ill-fated genius they called… The Wolf of Wall Street”
If you’d like just a taste of the greed, insider-activity, and deviousness that can be found within the names of the big boys of Wall Street, this movie is a must-see.
Check out the preview here:
Posted June 1, 2012 at 3:28 am
by Bill Bonner
What would the world be without chumps? Suckers? Bagmen and patsies?
Who would buy a ladies handbag for $1,500? Or blue-jeans for $150? Who would buy an oversized show-off pickup…or a $4 million McMansion?
Who would buy Facebook?
The Facebook IPO seemed to attract dumb money. Billions of it. Investors thought they could buy it at the offer price and get an almost guaranteed “pop.” They thought the fix was in.
They were right. Trouble was, the fixers ‘f’ed up. The fix was broken even before the market opened. Smart insiders were supposed to sell their shares — which they got in the IPO — to the dumb outsiders on the open market.
But so many investors had gotten shares at the IPO price, and hoped to get out at a higher price, there wasn’t enough dumb money to take their shares. Everybody lost money…with the stock falling to $28 yesterday.
It made us think more about what a vital role dumb money plays in our economy.
Typically, lottery and IPO winners have dumb money. Sports stars often have dumb money too. Of course, a lot of wealthy people — the ‘patsy rich’ — have money so dumb it should be forcibly sterilized.
When poor people get money it is usually dumb money. They don’t know what to do with it. So, they do dumb things. That’s why they’re poor. They pay more than they should…often for things that aren’t worth buying at all. Fancy cars…fancy houses…fancy restaurants… They think the idea is to get rid of money. Usually, they part company with their loot quickly…and they’re poor again.
People think the rich are different. They think the rich are smart about money. But very often, it ain’t so.
Wall Street is a sophisticated industry. It has developed products that appeal to every taste and every budget. It’s good at separating the poor and middle classes from their money; they put their dough into mutual funds and Facebook shares. They’re even better at separating the rich from their money. Why? The rich have more money to lose.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Were it Not for Dumb Money…" ]
Posted May 31, 2012 at 2:23 am
by John Stossel
People like the idea of licensing. We license drivers. We license dogs. It seems prudent. People naively think this government seal of approval makes us safer.
This naivete is used to justify all sorts of rules that kill competition.
Las Vegas regulators require anyone who wants to start a limousine business to prove his new business is needed and, worse, will not “adversely affect other carriers.” But every new business intends to beat its competitors. That’s the point. Competition is good for us. Las Vegas’ anticompetitive licensing rules mean limo customers pay more.
In Nashville, Tenn., regulators ruled it illegal for a limo to charge less than $45 a ride. One entrepreneur had won customers by charging half that, but the new regulations mean the established car service businesses no longer have to worry about him.
Perhaps Nashville’s and Vegas’ regulators really believe “this is an area where the free market doesn’t work,” as the manager of the Nevada Transportation Services Authority put it. But it’s fishy that charging big fees for licenses just happens to be a very effective shakedown operation. Vegas cab and limousine businesses give “substantial” donations to Vegas-area political candidates, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Our big government has justified its existence (at least since the Progressive Era) by claiming it is a “countervailing influence” to corporate power—when it is, in fact, incestuously entwined with corporations.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Why Business's Desire for Profit Is a Good Thing" ]
Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:05 am
by Quentin Fottrell
Lawyers say the social network contributes to an increasing number of marriage breakups.
More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a U.K. survey by Divorce Online, a legal services firm. And over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
“Affairs happen with a lightning speed on Facebook,” says K. Jason Krafsky, who authored the book Facebook and Your Marriage with his wife Kelli. In the real world, he says, office romances and out-of-town trysts can take months or even years to develop.
“On Facebook,” he says, “they happen in just a few clicks.” The social network is different from most social networks or dating sites in that it both re-connects old flames and allows people to “friend” someone they may only met once in passing.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Does Facebook Wreck Marriages?" ]
Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm
by Simon Black
This week, the universally stupid brainchild of US Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey known as the Ex-PATRIOT Act inched a bit closer towards becoming law.
‘Ex-PATRIOT’ is an absurd acronym that stands for “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy”. I call it the Tax Slave Act… and it proposes three key provisions:
1) Individuals who are deemed, in the sole discretion of the US government, to have renounced US citizenship in order to avoid US taxes, will be permanently barred from re-entering the United States.
2) Such individuals will also be required to pay a 30% capital gains tax to the United States government on ALL future investment gains derived from the US. Currently, non-citizens who do not reside in the US pay no US capital gains tax.
3) These proposals are RETROACTIVE, and, if passed, would apply to anyone who renounced his/her citizenship within the last 10-years.
During a Sunday interview with ABC News, House Speaker John Boehner threw his support behind the bill… certainly a big step towards its eventual passage.
In the years since the exit tax on assets was established, two things have happened:
1) The number of Americans renouncing US citizenship has risen steadily, from 235 people in 2008 to 1,780 last year (according to Schumer’s office).
2) The asset bubble has burst, and assets are worth much less than just a few years ago. As such, the government isn’t collecting as much revenue from the exit tax.
My sense is that the government has been watching the number of expatriates rise over the years, and simultaneously watching the value of the exit tax fall… and they’ve been looking for an excuse to make sweeping (i.e. retroactive) changes.
Eduardo Saverin is the perfect excuse. The Facebook co-founder’s recent renunciation of US citizenship has become a rallying cry for politicians to go back in time and steal money from former citizens retroactively…plus establish a larger base for future tax revenues.
This is a truly despicable thing to do considering that these former citizens followed the appropriate rules at the time, paid the tax, and moved on with their lives.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "US citizens now one step closer to becoming permanent tax slaves" ]
Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm
by Bobby Casey
What isn’t so widely distributed is the news of Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin renouncing his US citizenship to presumably save 10′s of millions of dollars in taxes. With a 4% stake in the company, Saverin stands to make about $4B with his shares so the savings would clearly be tremendous.
Saverin was born in 1982 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and grew up mostly in Miami, Florida. Being born in Brazil he holds Brazilian citizenship and a passport. Once his family came to the US, they naturalized as US citizens making Saverin a dual American/Brazilian citizen.
Since 2009 however, Saverin has been living in Singapore. In 2011 Saverin renounced his US citizenship and is now a Brazilian citizen and permanent Singapore resident. Sounds like Saverin really understands the meaning of Geo-arbitrage.
While the press on this is relatively light, what is out there is attempting to eat him alive. He is being labeled as un-patriotic, a tax cheat (he stands to save 10′s of millions of dollars in taxes since Singapore has no tax on capital gains), and generally an immoral human being for robbing the US of taxes due.
I could likely write a book about this topic (maybe I will…), but for sake of time and space let’s leave out the concept of immorality with regards to income taxation.
The US is the only developed nation in the world that still taxes its citizens and permanent residents based on their citizenship, not residency. Every other country in the world only taxes its people when they live in the country while the US taxes its people no matter where they live in the world.
This is an absurd concept. If a German citizen moves to Australia he no longer files a German tax return or pay German tax. He would only be subject to Australian tax since that is where he lives.
As an American, if you move to Australia, you would still file a US tax return and pay taxes in both the US and Australia.
Of course there are some complicated tax treaties and the US earned income exclusion, but if you have investment income or are a high earner, you will owe tax in both places even though you are only consuming the public resources in your country of residence.
From my perspective, Saverin should not have been paying any US taxes since he moved to Singapore in 2009. Why would he? He isn’t using the public services in the US. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Like any smart businessperson, he made an intelligent business decision – he renounced his US citizenship and gave up the most expensive passport in the world.
In the business world there is a profit motive and the free trade of goods and services for money. Businesses compete with other businesses for quality people to employ in their work force. It is only rational. They provide competitive salaries, benefits and perks to attract the smartest and most productive employees.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Are You an Un-Patriotic, Immoral Tax Cheat?" ]