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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

JOB CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK...

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

- Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It used to be, if you wanted a job you would simply complete an application form, attach your resume, come in for an interview, and you would either be selected or dropped from consideration. Case closed. However, due to our litigious society and hyperactive Human Resource (HR) Departments, it is no longer that simple. In fact, it can be a downright painful process. Aside from the application and interview, there are typically seven types of background checks to verify your credentials:

EMPLOYMENT CHECK - to verify the past jobs you have held. HR will ask for references, but this is something typically not offered anymore as it might lead to a lawsuit. For example, if the job candidate is said to be a good worker by his previous employer, but turns out to be a dud, the former employer could be sued for false representation. Conversely, if they say the candidate is bad, they could be sued for character assassination. Consequentially, companies rarely offer references anymore, just verification of employment, including the dates they worked and the job titles they held.

ACADEMIC CHECK - falsifying academic records for the purpose of employment is a crime, and companies take this very seriously. I knew a classmate who falsified his college records and was caught. This cost his dearly, not only in terms of crime and punishment, but in prestige among the members of our class. It it embarrassing, and it is just plain wrong.

CRAFT CHECK - sometimes it is necessary to demonstrate the knowledge of your craft. For example, if you are a programmer, you may be asked to take a technical test to verify your knowledge and demonstrate your skills. If you are a technical writer, you might be asked to solve a test case. Even if you have certification or a degree in a particular subject, be prepared to demonstrate your knowledge.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK - Now it gets interesting. Most medium to large companies today perform a criminal background check. When interviewing, do not lie about your checkered past as it will surely come to light. Discuss your problems of the past frankly and openly. The doors will not always close in your face for a past indiscretion, but the company definitely wants to know about it.

DRUG CHECK - Many companies today insist on a drug free work environment, not to mention alcohol as well. Consequently, you will likely be asked to pass a drug test, not just before being hired, but as an on-going program within the company. Look, it's simple; do not come to work stoned or drunk.

CREDIT CHECK - Companies often run a credit check on new employees, just to see how well they manage finances. A low credit rating could detect a potential problem and risk to the company, hence another reason to manage your finances.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHECK - This is the one check most young people overlook. What you post on social media (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) will be reviewed by your employer. If there are some risqué photos or comments on your site, remove them now. If you have photos or videos showing tattoos that might offend people, eliminate them. This category alone is the most overlooked by young people and probably the greatest threat to a candidate being hired. Even after you have been hired, if you post pictures of a drunken party you were at over the weekend, you can expect a phone call on Monday. If you cannot project a dignified image on social media, do not do it. Also, do not try to use an alias as someone will eventually find out.

Regardless if today's application process seems like overkill, this is the world we now live in. It's true, HR has become an obnoxious bureaucracy, but these checks are designed to minimize the chances for a company to be sued. So you can thank the lawyers as well.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  100 WATTS GOES A LONG WAY - How tiny WZIG-FM in Palm Harbor is conquering the airwaves, and presenting our area to the world.

LAST TIME:  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC? - Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington
"The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Monday, October 20, 2014

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC?

BRYCE ON HISTORY

- Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Through my columns I occasionally write something related to American history. I do this because I believe young people are losing their sense of history and are doomed to repeat mistakes we've made in the past. The same is true in industrial history, in my case the computer field. To illustrate, a few years ago I inherited my father's UNIVAC Zippo lighter. I always admired it; it was small, sleek, and had an impressive UNIVAC logo engraved on it. I believe he got it back in the early 1960's. As an aside, my father was one of the first fifty computer programmers in the United States, starting back in 1954 when he worked on the UNIVAC I at the US Bureau of Census. I also have his original programming book from 1954 and template (and photos), along with some print wheels from the first high speed printer, a UNIVAC I magnetic tape (made of metal), and some plugboards. However, it was the small lighter he carried which I fancied.

Nonetheless, I was recently at a meeting where I met a gentleman, approximately 40 years of age, who is also actively engaged in the computer business. I pulled him aside and proudly showed him the lighter. He looked at it with a blank stare and said, "What is a UNIVAC?" I was thunderstruck by the comment. Even though it represented the first commercial computer, he had no idea of what it was, nor seemed to care.

It occurred to me there is no sense of industrial history anymore. Through my father and my own personal experiences, I have a deep sense of history for my craft, but I must be an anomaly. Some time ago I wrote a paper entitled, "A Short History of Systems Development," in the hopes of recording some of these historical milestones. It was well received, but I fear students are not learning such lessons from the college professors, or simply do not care.

I also recently met with some high school students interested in a career in computing. Their sense of history only goes as far back as Microsoft, Apple, and the Internet. Most were knowledgeable with the C and C++ programming languages, but little else. I then asked them if they knew what a 4GL was; a handful knew. I next asked what a 1GL, 2GL, or 3GL was. None knew. I explained it as:

1GL - First Generation Language - programming in machine language.
2GL - Second Generation Language - Assembly language.
3GL - Third Generation Language - procedural languages such as COBOL, Fortran, PL/1, C and C++.
4GL - Fourth Generation Language - interpreters/specification driven tools to produce code.

I then went into a dissertation of how and why these languages were invented. As an aside, the 3GL, was based on a manual procedural language derived from Broadway scripts (invented by Les Matthies, "The Dean of Systems"). When the Navy's Admiral Grace Hopper developed COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language), she used Les Matthies' "playscript" technique and automated it. COBOL was then emulated and simplified by ensuing programming languages. We also discussed the premise behind the JAVA language ("Write once, run everywhere").

I next asked if they were familiar with the various DBMS models (Data Base Management Systems). Again, none knew anything about them. I then went on to explain the differences between the Hierarchical Model (e.g., IBM's IMS and D-BOMP), the CODASYL Network Model (e.g., IDS, TOTAL, IDMS, and ADABAS), the Relational model (used by most computers today, e.g., DB2 and ORACLE), and the Object Oriented Model which is slowly gaining in acceptance. More importantly, I explained why the DBMS was invented. A large amount of the credit goes to Charles Bachman of GE/Honeywell where he invented IDS to implement Bill of Materials processing (BOMP) in manufacturing.

My point to the young students, and to you, is that it is important to study the past so we do not replicate the same mistakes. This is what craftsmen do regardless of the industry. Regretfully, I see little of this in business anymore, particularly in the computer field. It is difficult to innovate and invent without a sense of such history. Considerable time and effort is wasted as a result.

As to UNIVAC itself (UNIVersal Automatic Computer), the computer was invented by the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation which became a division of the Remington Rand corporation. Remington was acquired by the Sperry Rand corporation and dubbed the computer division, Sperry Univac, then just UNIVAC. In 1986, the company merged with Burroughs Corporation, another maker of mainframe computers, to become UNISYS.

I think I will continue to carry my father's UNIVAC lighter in case I run into more people involved with the computer business. It's quite a conversational piece.

One last bit of trivia, who were the "BUNCH" competing with IBM in the mainframe wars of yesteryear? Answer: Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, CDC, and Honeywell. Where are they now?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  JOB CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK... - Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

LAST TIME:  WORKING FOR GOONS - Making the work environment unbearable.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington
"The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Friday, October 17, 2014

WORKING FOR GOONS

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

- Making the work environment unbearable.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of the reasons Scott Adams' cartoon, "Dilbert," is so successful is because it hits close to home in depicting office life. Corporate management is one of Adams' favorite targets in which they are shown as bumbling idiots. They are very determined in controlling all activities of the business. Their approach is predictably wrong, and they embrace every management fad that comes along. Because of their strong sense of authority and control, perhaps "goons" is a more appropriate label. This is essentially no different than Hitler's goon squads during World War II where they harassed people, and practiced thuggery to implement the Führer's policies. Under this approach, management's policies are implemented top-down with no bottom-up input being tolerated.

Earlier this year, I wrote a column entitled, "Beware of the MBA's," whereby I made the observation today's management tends to manage people more from a numbers point of view as opposed to a results perspective and their ability to work with others. I recently saw this first hand in a company with a national chain of outlets for manufacturing products. After several years at the helm, the founder and president stepped aside and retired. Shortly thereafter, the board of directors appointed a new CEO, someone with experience in the company but who was much younger and ambitious. The first thing he did was replace all of the regional sales managers with younger people (late twenties), and office managers in their early twenties. The more experienced sales and office managers were demoted and pushed aside. Instead of sales volume, the sales force was managed by a series of spreadsheets which considered the number of sales calls made, both in person and on the telephone. Instead of worrying about customer care and satisfaction, the numbers were of paramount importance. To make matters worse, whereas salesmen had previously been managed by the local sales manager, who was there to review their progress and solve their problems, the sales force now reported to a goon squad of regional sales managers, who were located out of state, and local office managers who acted as the eyes and ears of the regional managers.

This resulted in a serious morale problem. Since people were managed primarily by numbers, they became apathetic in the company's business. They quickly realized concepts such as customer service and quality assurance were considered passé. They also knew they could easily outfox the young office managers who lacked experience. Over time, the office units started to experience delays in shipments to customers, lost revenue, sloppy inventory, and a general disregard for the company overall. Since they realized fighting the goon squad was futile, they undermined the company instead. Conditions became so bad, the employees began to resign, the key ones first (sales and customer service), then the clerical workers. Today, approximately 40% of the people in the local office have resigned and moved on. At first, the goon squad believed it would be easy to find replacements, but after realizing what the corporate culture entailed, the company can only afford mediocre workers. Maybe that is how management wants it.

Businesses certainly do not have a monopoly on goon squads. Nonprofit organizations typically have more than commercial enterprises. When the goons have captured the leadership of such groups, they recruit assistants and deputies not because they are intelligent or hard workers, but because they know how to follow orders with gusto, regardless if they know them to be harmful.

To the goons, it is not about offering inspired leadership, it is all about maintaining control over the organization and stifling resistance. It is no small wonder we live in an age of autocratic rule (Theory X). Goon squads are not interested in listening to the input of the workers. You either play ball or be prepared to be turned out. Such a management philosophy is dangerous in my opinion. It means spreadsheets take precedence over customer service, sales calls over sales volume, and in the case of nonprofits, suffocating rules over flourishing membership.

I am certainly not suggesting all companies operate in this fashion, but the reality is Scott Adams has a lot of material to work with for a long time. If we cannot relate to it, it wouldn't exist. Unfortunately, goon squads are very much alive and well in this country.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC? - Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

LAST TIME:  GANG MARKINGS - Gangs exist because parents fail.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington
"The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GANG MARKINGS

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

- Gangs exist because parents fail.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently attended a couple of meetings on gang activity here in Pinellas County. They were conducted by the county's special prosecutors. Although we do not have as massive a problem as places like Los Angeles or Miami, make no mistake, there is gang activity in beautiful Pinellas County (more in the south as opposed to north county).

In Florida, gangs are defined as three or more people with similar markings and plot to conduct illicit criminal activities. No, the Masons are not on the watch list. Not everyone who wears uniform clothing is a gang member, but this is what law enforcement is trained to observe. They are also trained to look for certain tattoos and body piercings.

Tattoos are not just for decoration any more. It is not uncommon to see criminal bodies totally covered much like Ray Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man." Gang tattoos are more designed for meaning as opposed to artwork. They denote membership in a specific gang, describe personal history (what crimes they have committed), the skills they possess (e.g., burglary, drugs, murder, etc.), and the gang's history which evidently is very important to the gang members. By depicting gang history, the tattoos represent a celebration of the gang's past and cherished members, much like depicting a family member.

Click HERE for a sampling of gang related tattoos.

The only problem with tattoos, they are a convenient means for the public to identify lawbreakers, and for law enforcement to check criminal backgrounds. Because of this, a recent AP report indicates the use of tattoos are starting to decline as gang members want to avoid being identified.

What is puzzling is why anyone would want to join a gang in the first place. Gangs simply represent a surrogate family. While the family unit has slowly deteriorated in America, especially among the poor, young people gravitate to gang leaders who assume parental responsibility and give the person a sense of purpose. The military does likewise, but gang members start at a very young age, much too young to serve in the military.

Within the gang, the younger members learn their moral values from their leaders, something they never learned from their parents. The more they identify with the other members of the gang, the more loyal they become and act more like a family. Nevertheless, the rise of gang activity in this country can be directly attributed to the decline of parenting.

Consider this, music is very important to gang members, particularly Rap music. This helps to build spirituality amongst its members. Again, this is something lost in the family unit but enforced within the gangs.

If the moral values of gangs weren't so evil in intent, gangs would be a great way to raise kids from broken homes. Perhaps a younger version of military service would be more beneficial. Something that would teach structure, purpose, and morality. I believe we used to call them "Boy Scouts."

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WORKING FOR GOONS - Making the work environment unbearable.

LAST TIME:  HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)   - Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington
"The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Monday, October 13, 2014

HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

- Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Like any other red-blooded American male on a Sunday afternoon, I like to exercise my right to surf the television channels using my remote control from the comfort of my easy chair. Years ago, when there was only four channels on TV, such a device wasn't really needed, but now with the hundreds of available channels, it would be unimaginable to live without one. Nonetheless, I was flipping through the channels and started to notice something...

CLICK - a show describing the men and women serving in our military. The show highlights their spirit of teamwork and sacrifice for the betterment of all.

CLICK - a documentary describing the proliferation of street gangs and how people become territorial and find ways to beat the system for personal greed and vice.

CLICK - a Wall Street report on the virtues of the free enterprise system and how the entrepreneurial spirit of small companies promote job growth.

CLICK - a show describing the plight of the homeless and why it is necessary to redistribute the wealth in this country.

CLICK - a report on the Tea Party and 9.12 movements.

CLICK - a community talk show featuring a college professor discussing why conservative values are no longer valid in the world today.

CLICK - a variety of shows providing a forum to worship God.

CLICK - a program discussing the point of view of atheists and agnostics who want to have "In God we Trust" removed from American currency.

It struck me there were extreme opposites for just about everything in our society. The incompatibility between extremes is such, you start to wonder how this country survived for over 200 years. Then again, I guess it is not surprising as America's melting pot represents a heterogeneous society, most definitely not homogeneous. This is nothing new and has been with us a long time. Also, think how boring our society would be if we all thought the same.

The only difference is we no longer practice tolerance and have forgotten how to engage in honest debate. For example, on the Internet, rarely is there any respect for other opinions and beliefs. Instead, people are inclined to viciously attack others and slander their character, a sort of "attack mode" of operating. I guess this is the price we must pay for becoming a technology based society.

French writer Voltaire is credited with saying, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I don't think people feel this way anymore. Instead of talking through a problem or issue, as all of the great civilizations have done before us, we have to suffer through spin and attack. Plain and simply, we no longer know how to practice the art of honest discourse, which I interpret as a sign of deterioration of our culture.

We may not always agree with each other, but we must find ways to work together, not apart. This requires tolerance, respect, and the need to be a heck of a lot more articulate than just saying, "Up yours!"

Originally published: December 11, 2009

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  GANG MARKINGS - Gangs exist because parents fail.

  - Or is it a misnomer?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington
"The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Friday, October 10, 2014

WHAT DOES CORPORATE 'INFUSION' MEAN?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Or is it a misnomer?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of the latest $3 words invented by the media is "inversion" and is used to describe the transfer of corporate headquarters, and jobs, to another locale outside of the United States. When I first heard the expression, it conjured up an image of an office turned inside-out, but that is not exactly what is meant. Perhaps the best example for describing the concept is the recent merger of Canadian based Tim Horton's restaurants (coffee and donuts) with fast food giant Burger King of Miami, Florida. In doing so, Burger King opened the door to move their headquarters from Miami to Toronto, thereby escaping America's high corporate tax rates.

A handful of Senate Democrats cried foul when they learned of the move and accused Burger King of being unpatriotic and not paying their fair share of taxes. Patriotism has nothing to do with it. This is a smart business move in these troubled economic times and, frankly, I'm surprised we do not see more of it.

The impetus for this, of course, is America's high corporate tax rate. Of all of the modern industrial countries in the world, America has the highest tax rate at 40%. By comparison, Canada offers a paltry 26.5%. Since Canada began dropping their tax rate in 2008, the Canadian economy has rebounded and turned into a dynamo.

Likewise, Japan, who had higher rates than the United States, began lowering their rates in 2012 and is experiencing a resurgence in their economy. In 2008, Germany also dropped their rates from 38% to 29%.

Today, the United Kingdom is at 21%. Switzerland is at 17.92%, and Ireland at 12.5%, which explains why a lot of companies are moving to these countries. It's not unpatriotic, it is called survival. However, in doing so, a lot of jobs leave our shores and unemployment rises. One would think the Democrats do not understand the situation, that lowering the corporate tax rates would ignite the economy. Actually they understand the concept quite well, but are unwilling to drop the rate in fear of losing tax income. By keeping America's corporate tax rate high, they are encouraging businesses to leave. The hard truth is "inversion" is not about corporate greed as it is about government stupidity.

Even the public understands what is going on better than government officials. In a recent Toronto Sun poll, when people were asked, "Should Burger King move to Canada?"

76% - Sure
19% - No
05% - Maybe

Then again, most of the people responding were likely Canadians and fully cognizant of the benefits derived from lowering corporate tax rates.

With all this said, I tend to believe the expression "infusion" is a misnomer. Perhaps it should be called a "transfusion" as overseas tax rates provide the means to survive.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF) - Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

  - The government or the individual?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington
"The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WHO SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHARITY?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The government or the individual?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I am concerned about our perspective on charity. President Obama seems to believe it is our duty to help others. His mantra is, "We are all in this together." There is only one problem with this concept; some people are givers and some are takers. We are certainly not rowing on the same oar in unison. Consequently, I reject the president's position. This certainly doesn't make me a miser as I have made more than my fair share of volunteer donations over the years and helped many causes. If I believe the person or charity is worthy, and I can afford it, I will gladly help out. As a Mason I am admonished to help others in destitute circumstances if it is within my power. I am also reminded of the passage in Corinthians (13:13, King James), "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

There is nothing in this passage defining how charity is to be implemented. Most people see this as a voluntary act, from one person to another. Others see this as mandated by government and borders on Socialism. In this regard, there are two types of people; those such as myself who consider charity a voluntary act, and; those who believe government is more fit to determine the needs of the people and tax accordingly.

Historically, the moral fiber of the country called for people to work and not become a burden on society. Not surprisingly, concepts such as divorce, bankruptcy, and unemployment were considered a disgrace. Not anymore. Today, such things are considered commonplace, and are celebrated as opposed to bringing shame on the person. Today's moral values are certainly not those of yesteryear, and this is particularly disturbing to those people working hard and being asked to support those who do not.

Over time, the government created safety nets to help people when they either failed or became disabled, such as unemployment and welfare. Some use it as it was intended, others as a loop hole for free money and services. We are all familiar with stories of people exploiting the system. Interestingly, we never seem to hear of violators who have been apprehended and penalized accordingly.

Whereas we used to believe everyone should lead a worthy and productive life, and there is dignity in all forms of legitimate work, today we prefer exploiting the system and becoming a freeloader as exemplified by the Aesop fable, "The Ant and the Grasshopper."

In many cases, exploiting the system is now cause for celebration and a sense of pride, just as any criminal who gets away with an illicit activity.

Instead of creating programs to encourage people to work, the government does the opposite. Compensating people for six months does not encourage them to seek employment any faster, nor does compensating people who do not genuinely seek employment. By taking this tact, the government is encouraging a slave mentality where people become wards of the state. Frankly, I deeply resent seeing our country turn into a welfare state. It is tearing apart the moral fabric of America.

Admittedly, the government is better equipped to deliver mass goods and equipment in times of emergency, such as those disasters caused by Mother Nature. These situations are essentially no different than defending our country through times of military conflict. Under these circumstances, I consider helping those injured by natural disasters no different than going to war.

So, who is more faithful to the concept of altruism, the person who helps when he can, or the government who does it for political purposes (e.g., promising "a chicken in every pot" or a free iPhone, liquor and lobster in every household). Coerced charity certainly does not promote brotherhood. It is simply a redistribution of the wealth.

Charity begins at home (1 Timothy 5:8), not in our government.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT DOES CORPORATE 'INFUSION' MEAN? - Or is it a misnomer?

LAST TIME:  ADAPTING TO CHANGE
  - Before we can adapt to it, we have to understand it.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington
"The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.