Steve Gillman's Blog
This is my personal blog. My writing services are offered
on the website homepage.
Here I just keep readers of my books and my newsletter subscribers
up to date on what I'm doing. I also use this as a creative outlet
for anything I feel like writing about.
Is No Income Tax a Good Thing?
13, 2015 - Florida has no individual income tax, a situation
my wife and I could appreciate when we first moved here. As our
income dropped it became less relevant. But apart from our personal
cost/benefit analysis, what does a lack of income tax mean to
various groups of people, and specifically, what does it mean
to the poor?
Logically, when compared to states that do
tax income, Florida's lack of a personal income tax benefits
those who have larger incomes. The poor don't have as much income
to tax, so they can't benefit as much from such an arrangement.
That's clear enough, right?
Of course the tinkle-down theory suggests
that, when left untaxed, the wealthy will shower the poor with
wonderful jobs cleaning their toilets, mowing their lawns, and...
Read More: No
My Monday Money Games
7, 2014 - This year I've made money dozens of ways and used dozens
of strategies to cut our expenses. The bills get paid and we
save money. But I make it a point to enjoy most of what I do,
which is why I'm not getting rich.
The self-help theory found in many books that
says you should "Do what you love and the money will follow"
is largely nonsense. Well, unless you happen to love sales and
marketing and self-promotion as much as the authors of those
books -- in which case the money often does follow. Otherwise,
I figure if you enjoy your work and can pay the bills, great
-- and if you hate your job, well, make enough money to do what
you love even if more money doesn't follow.
What I love to do is play money games,
but on a small scale. I enjoy chasing credit card points, getting
bank bonuses, and using intricate savings strategies, like "stacking
savings. An example of the latter: I recently bought our cat
food for 50% off by buying it on sale, using a coupon, and paying
with a discounted gift card that I bought using a 2% cash-back
credit card (that's four strategies on... Read More: Money Games
Falling Wages - My Own Measures and What the Statistics Say
October 17, 2015 - Are wages going up or falling?
You might think it's an easy question to answer, but there are
so many different ways to measure how much we make that it is
difficult to know exactly what's happening to employees in the
For example, should we look at household income
as being indicative of how well people are doing? The problem
with this figure is that it might remain the same as more and
more households have two people working or employees work longer
hours. Can we really say that we're doing no worse if we need
to work harder than ever to make the same amount of money?
I have my own ways of comparing what I experienced
in the past to the situation today. For example, my old journals
and notes tell me that I averaged $8.63 per hour as a pizza delivery
driver in 1985, in Traverse City, Michigan. The BLS inflation
calculator says that's equivalent to... Read More: Falling
The Job Interview Answers in Your Head
11, 2015 - Do you have a job interview coming soon? Honesty is
the best policy if you want to keep those unemployment compensation
checks coming. But what if you want that job you're applying
for, or at least want the paycheck and health insurance that
comes with it? In that case you might have to massage the truth
a little to come up with answers an employer wants to hear.
Of course, when your future boss looks at
you and asks you things that are too personal, too stupid, or
just can't be answered honestly while maintaining any chance
of getting the job, you can always look him in the eye and, doing
your best Jack Nicholson, say, "You want the truth? You
can't handle the truth!"
But say it in your head, of course. That's
where you have to keep all of your best responses. This more-interesting
conversation going on in your imagination will... Read
Flying El Cheapo Airlines
3, 2014 - When I booked my $285 flight from Tampa to Denver with
Frontier Airlines, I assumed it would be a low quality experience
and that they probably don't clean the planes. I also assumed
they would charge for food and checked luggage and the seat assignment
if I wanted to pick mine. But I didn't care where I sat and I
bring snacks and hand sanitizer. I just wanted a cheap flight.
Of course the modus operandi of big business
these days is deception. It is deception verging on fraud, but
perhaps not quite crossing the line (although I might draw the
line differently if I was a regulator). There's a reason why
Airlines is the most hated airline in the U.S., and it isn't
because of the uncomfortable seats.
I booked the flight through Expedia, and somewhere
in the process (and it is a process), they mentioned that
"The airline may have extra charges for carry-on luggage
and extra services." I don't recall if I learned this before
or after... Read More: El
My Accidental Participation in Democracy
18, 2014 - This is my mostly true story of a trip to the polls...
One November morning I went to our local public
library to get a book. You know, one of those square things made
out of pieces of paper that have things printed on them. Anyhow,
as soon as I got out of the car and saw the gauntlet I would
have to walk through I realized it was Election Day (which is
apparently important enough to be capitalized according to my
grammar checker). There are laws stipulating that political activities
have to be a certain distance from the polls, but our library
has a long covered walkway leading to the door, providing just
enough barely-legal space for a dozen red-faced people to loudly
educate us citizens.
I took the pamphlets that were handed to me
because well... you have to if you want to pass by without the
voices getting louder. I glanced at the political sales pitches
briefly once inside. Mostly they explained... Read More: Choosing Which
Turd to Vote For
How to Make $2 per Hour Writing
August 12, 2014 - The pay scale indicator
started at $2 per hour. That should have been a clue. I had signed
up for Freelancer.com,
a popular freelance platform to look for writing jobs, and I
poked around to see what was currently available. One project
that caught my eye involved finance articles. I could do that.
But I noticed the rate was $3 per article, and the client required
that the writer have a Bachelor's degree from a U.S. university.
I laughed, thinking this was an anomaly. Then I started to get
emails like the following from the website: Here are the latest
projects and contests matching your profile and... Read
I Made $2.71 per Hour
My internet business income had been falling
for a couple years so I decided in early 2013 that it was time
to get a job, just in case. I didn't realize how low typical
pay was now, because I hadn't had a job in about nine or ten
years. After discovering that a 48-year-old with no recent job
experience is not what most employers are looking for, I went
to Labor Finders, a temporary work... Read More: Less
Than Minimum Wage
Is Non-Conformity a Mental Disorder?
Did I have a mental disorder as a child? Perhaps
not according to the standards of the time, but using today's
"scientific" understanding I must have had one, because
I was crazy enough to think for myself. For example, when I was
in junior high school me and a friend were accused of knocking
over some tables in the lunchroom and so we were ordered by a
teacher to stay after lunch and clean the room as punishment.
Since I didn't knock over any tables, and the teacher didn't
want to hear that, I simply left, and my friend followed... Read
My Skeptical Look at Jury Duty
I received a juror summons a few days ago,
and so each evening after 6:00 I have to call in to see if I'm
needed at the courthouse the next morning. It's rude to give
us prospective jurors just twelve hours' notice that we can't
go to work the next day, and it's exploitive to pay us just $15
daily for serving. I'm a skeptic of the whole "duty"
concept, to say the least. It's possible I'll get in trouble
for snickering or sighing when the judge bring ups that "citizens
duty" crap, as he probably will. I've been through the selection
process once before and listened to the little speech the well-paid
judge made. For those readers who do not know about my attitude
and/or perspective on such "social duties," I'll make
it very clear: "Duty" is a concept invented to... Read
The Politics of Personal Responsibility
I want to suggest a set of rules that we can
use when deciding who to vote for and what laws to support. We
might call them strong guidelines, because I do not believe in
absolute rules, but these ones make sense to me in most contexts.
They start with the simple proposition that we should not support
laws which require actions which we would feel were unethical
if we did them ourselves. In other words, if it is wrong for
me to do something, it is wrong for me to hire others to do it
(which is what we are doing when we vote for... Read More:
Windows for President
It had been rumored for months that the first
non-human candidate might be entering the presidential race,
but now it is official. At a press conference held this morning
Microsoft announced that its new Windows 8 operating system will
soon be on the ballot in all 50 states. It isn't clear how this
will be accomplished, but the process has "been in the works
for a while" according to a Microsoft spokesperson. High-ranking
members of the Republican and Democratic parties were consulted
as far back as two years ago, but negotiations broke down quickly
with... Read More: President
Monkey Prostitution - A
true story from the economics lab.
Family Duty - What do you
really owe to your family?
Context - How important
it is in judging almost anything and anyone.
The Morbid Math Report
- How many people will die as you read this page?
A Case for Higher Tax Rates on the Rich - I try to clear up some misconceptions.
The Politics of Personal Responsibility - Is it right to vote for that which I could not
Taxing the Middle Class
- An example of how the rich pay less.
What is the
Value of Labor? - More questions than
About Money - Wages as profit and
Living Cheap in Naples
- Part two; cheap meals and entertainment.
Are We Less Violent? - A look at the evidence of history.
The Stroop Test - Test your mental coordination!
for President - Microsoft makes a
Welfare Reform - Lower cost for a
bigger safety net?
Do I Love
This Country? - I don't hate it.
Can We Be Born Again? - My non-Christian answer.
of Pathogenic Ideas - A parallel with
Bounty Hunting - An excerpt from 101 Weird Ways to Make Money.
Against Atheists - It is common, to
say the least.
Is It Arrogant
to Think for Yourself? - An answer.
and Immigration - If we eliminate
marriage, what about immigration?
Mountains I Have
Climbed - A list and links to pages
were I've written about my experiences.
Television Interview - On FOX news.
Contact | Terms | Privacy
All Content Copyright Steve Gillman and Webhiker LLC 2010 -2015