Peace Love Profits

Scroll to Info & Navigation

Why I’m a Conservative….

This was was entry for the CPAC essay contest. I didn’t win but there’s always next  year.

I’m a Conservative because I care about America’s future and my own future. I believe that America’s best and brightest days are still ahead if we embrace free markets, capitalism and business.

Believe me, I’m not a Conservative because I’m taking the easy way out. Far from it. Try telling a room full of teenagers - my friends and peers - that the free markets and capitalism are the strongest forces for freedom, human advancement and prosperity. Some won’t understand, others won’t care.

Then there’s the group that have a strong opposite opinion usually based on a recent movie they saw where the villain is almost always the businessman, a biased report from the mainstream media, or in many cases, a view simply based on social issues.

My Conservative views, in contrast to what most of my peers think, have nothing to do with social issues. In fact, one of the main things about being Conservative is that government, for the most part, should stay out of my private life. Personal freedom is to be cherished above all things. Don’t get me wrong, my parents have a lot to say about my freedom but the last thing we need is government acting like a nanny!

My religious views or my feelings about morality have nothing to do with what I think is the best way to ensure that everybody can achieve their version of The American Dream. Actually, being a Conservative means never taking the easy way out. Guiding conservative principles like free markets and individual responsibility mean I control my own destiny; I need to work hard for what I want, and the more effort I put into something, the greater personal success I will have and the happier I’ll be.

Free markets also promote hope in the future, in everybody’s future. It creates businesses and ignites innovation. It provides opportunities and choices. Free enterprise means more jobs, crucial for rebuilding America’s economy. Since 2008, the teen unemployment rate has been above 20 percent, that’s currently three times the national jobless rate. We, the American people, can do better than that.

Technology is opening up the entire world for my generation, but things cost money, a lot of money. And, and as parents always tell me, it doesn’t grow on trees. I want to be able to earn it for myself. I need to know that when I get out of college there’s going to be a good job, that I’ve earned through hard work, waiting for me, One that is going to be personally rewarding and enable me to live the life that I envision for myself and my family.

My father’s life began in an orphanage in Cincinnati, Ohio. He had nobody, but yet he had everything. He had life. And he went on to be adopted and raised in a loving, conservative home. Those conservative values have been passed on to my younger brother and me. And it’s those conservative values – family, community, education, fairness, respect, hard work, earned success– that keep us grounded yet determined to achieve all our goals.

Liberals like to say that Conservative principles are old and tired. I hate to admit it but they’re half right. We are tired – tired of high unemployment, low economic growth and a government too big to move out of the way. But old? No way. We’re young and determined… determined to get our economy back on track and make America work for each and every one of its citizens lucky enough to live here.

That’s why I’m a Conservative.

Peace Love Profits,

Blake

What’s AAAApp?

In case you’re in need of a little more evidence that The American Dream is alive and well, here’s this.

An immigrant from the Ukraine just sold his company a couple of days ago to FaceBook for $19 billion. You’ve probably heard all about it for a couple of reasons: it involves a tech company that billions of people use, it involves billions of dollars, and it’s got a pretty rich back-story too.

Jan Koum immigrated in the early 1990s to the United States with his mom and grandmother. They lived in Northern California in a two-bedroom apartment where babysitting, cleaning, food stamps and welfare helped them survive.

His interest in computer programming eventually led him to a job at Yahoo where is future business partner Brian Acton also worked. They worked there for nine years, and then took a year off to travel and play Ultimate Frisbee. When Koum returned to the United States, he applied for jobs at Facebook and Twitter and was turned down by both companies.

In 2009, he got an iPhone and started to develop an idea for an app that would send text messages internationally for free. He trademarked WhatsApp several months later, and now the company has more than 450 million users and is growing its user base by one million people per day.

This is a pretty simplified version of what really happened, what’s missing are the months and years of blood, sweat and tears that went into building a multi billion dollar company. But, the basic foundation is here. It’s the will-do, can-do, never-give-up-attitude that’s needed to achieve The American Dream. And although Jan Koum’s dream has turned into a very wealthy reality, it’s not all about the money. Living the American Dream is about achieving your own happiness, your own fulfillment, your own personal earned success story.

The American Dream dates back to the Declaration of Independence that proclaimed people are "endowed with certain inalienable rights like Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And in 1931, historian James Truslow Adams, the person credited with popularizing the term American Dream, described it “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.”

Nobody is more familiar with this ideal better than the entrepreneur. They’re on a mission to be happy with their earned success and they’re not going to let stop them. Research shows that the average entrepreneur makes just under $45,000 per year and fails an average of 3.8 times before succeeding.

Recently, the quest for the American Dream has come under question. A recent study on The 2013 State of the American Family suggests that for my generation, the Millennials, the dream is is really more about day-to day control of your life. High unemployment and worries about the economy are making the American Dream seem like more of a pipe dream for some people.

Don’t tell this to Jan Koum who handled more than a few potholes on his path to success. His determination and brilliant ideas led him right back to where he started, sort of; he signed his multi billion-dollar deal at the former North County Social Services Office where he once lined up for food stamps.

Who knows, there might even be a little more Ultimate Frisbee in his future.

Peace Love Profits,

Blake

What’s Twerking on Wall Street?

What a year it was. Miley Cyrus was christened as the Queen of Twerk, a royal baby was born and a new Pope anointed. Add a stellar stock market and it doesn’t get much better than that.

When it comes to stocks, 2013 proved to be a winning year on Wall Street. Sure, there were many events that could have derailed it – the Government Shutdown, the botched rollout of Obamacare and plenty of turmoil overseas - just to name a few. But Wall Street still managed to make a run for it, posting the biggest gains seen in more than a decade.

For the year, the number crunching goes like this: the S&P 500 posted its biggest gain since 1997, up 29.6%, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 26.5%, it’s biggest jump since 1987, and the Nasdaq posted a 38% jump.

Although the averages all posted hefty gains for the year, there were of course, individual winners and losers. Among them, Netflix was last year’s biggest winner, with a stock price up about 300%. Unfortunately, a different story for investors in Newmont Mining, this year’s biggest loser. Shares of this gold mining company lost about 50% as the price gold fell for the first time since the year 2000.

And all this matters… why? Well it obviously matters to your money if you are invested in the stock market and apparently a lot of people are. Investors poured more that $348 billion into stock-based funds last year. But it also matters to Main Street because a healthy stock market and healthy economy could mean more jobs for many Americans. And with the jobless rate at 7% and 10.9 million people unemployed, more jobs are exactly what the country needs right now.

So here’s hoping stocks can gain even more ground in the New Year. And, here’s something to could help with your financial forecast.

It’s known as the January Effect and it’s been around since Yale Hirsch invented it in 1972. It’s a stock market barometer that says as January goes, so goes the market. According to the January Effect, if the S&P 500 posts a gain at the end of January, the stock market will post a gain for the entire year. If you don’t want wait a month for your financial forecast, just look at the first five days of trading in the New Year. It’s predicted the stock market’s direction correctly about 86% of the time in the last 36 years.

We’ll have to wait and see whether the stock market will continue to make new highs in 2014, but here’s hoping your New Year is a healthy and happy one.

Peace Love Profits,

Blake

Yes, Scott, There is a Santa Claus.

I’m a believer. Big time. I believe in The American Dream, I believe that all men and women are created equal, that everything happens for a reason and I believe in Santa Claus. “How could I?” You may be asking. Well, how could I not?!

He’s here, there and everywhere doing exactly what he is supposed to do: spread Christmas joy throughout the world to everyone who’s lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him. I may not be jumping in Santa’s lap anymore but the feeling I get when I see him isn’t waning with my teenage years, it’s becoming even stronger. Once you realize that Santa isn’t about wrapping paper and ribbon, you get to appreciate the true magic of Christmas.

And I am proud to say I’m not a standalone in my belief. Of course, there’s the younger generation who would bet their entire train set that Santa and his sack full of toys will come down their chimney Christmas Eve, but there’s also a whole other group of Santa supporters. According to the Happy Holidays Poll conducted by the Siena Research Institute, thirty percent of New York residents over eighteen believe in Santa Claus. Among his biggest believers are older New Yorkers, women, Catholics and Republicans.

Earlier this month, a family member came this close to saying bah humbug to the holidays. My younger brother found out that those presents under the tree don’t come from Santa’s workshop; they come from the mall. Shock, disbelief and disappointment quickly set in. You mean there’s no nice and naughty list he asked? Nope. What about the reindeer on the roof? No way. Questions about The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy followed. No and No.

But my little brother was quick to catch on. And after several days of head shaking and eye rolling every time mom or dad would mention the name Santa, he proudly announced that he is still a believer. He realized the true meaning of the season isn’t necessarily inside a Santa suit; it’s the traditions, beliefs and joy that we share as a family that makes Christmas the best time of the year.

And yes, I will be baking cookies to leave for Santa again this year, along with some reindeer mix for Rudolph and his team. It’s a very busy week for all of them☺

That’s the best thing about our country: we are free to be and to believe. Let’s count our blessings.

Peace Love Profits,

Blake

Do You Really Need Eight Maids-a-Milking? The True Cost of Christmas

image

We all know that the holidays are not supposed to be about the presents you give and get, but about the more important things in life like peace, love, joy, family and friends. But let’s be a little realistic here, it’s called the holiday shopping season for a reason. Santa delivers a lot of joy to good girls and boys all over the world and it’s usually wrapped up in a big box with a bow.

The National Retail Federation forecasts that this year’s holiday sales are going to be bigger than last year, up 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion for November and December. However, consumers say they plan to purchase two-percent less this year, $737.95 on average per person.

But those holiday shoppers looking for true love, may have to spend a little more than that. According to something called the Christmas Price Index, to buy all the gifts that my true love gave to me in the classic Christmas carol “Twelve Days of Christmas,” it will cost 7.7% more money this year than last year. From One Partridge in a Pear Tree to Ten Lords a-Leaping, that’s a total of $27,393.17.

This year’s biggest price increases are for Nine Ladies Dancing (twerking? probably not) and Ten Lords-a-Leaping. The least expensive item on the list, and the only one to drop in price this year, is the partridge with its very own pear tree for $204.99.

But if you want to buy it all in cyberspace it’s going to cost $12,300 more. Shipping can get pretty expensive on Swimming Swans, Pipers Piping and Drummers Drumming.

The Xmas Index has been around for 30 years, and although it’s a comical take on the cost of Christmas, it’s been pretty accurate when compared to the rate of inflation in the United States. PNC Wealth Management, which puts the index together, says that year-over-year increases have averaged 2.9 percent, the same number as the U.S. inflation index.

Who says you can’t put a price tag true love?

Peace Love Profits & Partridges,

Blake

Turkey Time

image

I love the smells and the sounds of the season – the turkey roasting in the oven, the bands marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade - it’s all that and our family traditions that thankfully, I get to look forward to all year. What makes Thanksgiving one of the best times of the year for me? It was hard to narrow it down, but here are my top five reasons.

I’m proud to be an American and on Thanksgiving I am reminded of the incredible people, past and present, and the sacrifices they endured to help make this country the best place on earth. From the founders of Plymouth Colony who had the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621, to George Washington who in 1789 issued the first national Thanksgiving proclamation calling upon all Americans to be thankful for our country’s independence and for the U.S. Constitution. To Sarah Josepha Hale who campaigned to get Thanksgiving established as a national holiday, and to President Lincoln who in 1863 during the Civil War asked all Americans to “heal the wounds of our nation” and proclaimed Thanksgiving the last Thursday in November. And, to our troops who help keep our country safe all the days of the year.

Being surrounded by family and friends. Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year. There’s no traffic jam, nor check-in line too long to keep family and friends apart. An estimated 25 million people will travel by air this year, that’s 1.5 percent more than last year, with 80 million more more travelling by roads and rails. It’s a day to give thanks for the love we share and to realize how fortunate we are to have one another in our lives.

The turkey and all the trimmings. I’m talking stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, and my personal favorite pumpkin pie. About 46 million turkeys are served at Thanksgiving, and 50 million pumpkin pies are eaten. And in case you’re counting, 3,000 to 5,000 calories are consumed.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 87 years and counting. Even if you can’t get there to see the parade in person, turn the TV on, sit in your pajamas, and watch the floats go by. More than 50 million people will be doing the same thing. And, after Santa and his sleigh have made their way down the two and a half mile parade route, there’s another holiday tradition to tune into at my house, Thanksgiving Day football.

It’s the kick-off of the holiday season and who doesn’t love that. In fact this year, the holiday season starts the night before Thanksgiving with the first night of Hanukah. And with just four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, you can bet that eager holiday shoppers will finish their meal and head to the mall to get a jump on their holiday shopping.

Here’s one more reason why Americans may say pass the pumpkin pie a few more times this year. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for ten is $49.04, that’s down 0.9 percent from last year.

Peace Love Profits & Pumpkin Pie,

Blake