The Duchess’ Diary

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Internet Marketing Interrupted September 30th, 2008

Well, the Duchess missed much of our friend Steve Renner’s meeting this evening on account of needing to attend to wedding details.  Since the big day is Saturday, we’re pretty much down to the wire and things really have to happen. 

In a conversation with the Duchess yesterday, the bride indicated yesterday that she was overwhelmed with her ‘to do’ list, so the Duchess asked what she might do to assist.  “Find the candles for the unity candle ceremony,” was the answer, so the Duchess did the research and located the items.  Fortunately, they were found close to the bride’s place of work and she was able to run over to approve them before moving on to her scheduled evening appointments (all of which focused on the wedding preparations). 

So the Duchess dropped the Duke off at Mr. Renner’s office and went on her way to tend to several wedding-related issues, including picking up the candles at Yankee Candle Company in the Mall of America.  As is often the case, the errands took longer than she’d hoped, so she didn’t get in on as much of the meeting as she would have liked.  But these things certainly are not able to be put off a few days, so coming late to the meeting just had to be done.  Before moving on to the subject of the meeting, however, the Duchess will comment that the fellow – Robert, by name – that was manning the register in the Yankee Candle Company store was most kind and helpful.   He gets a gold star in the Duchess’ book!

At the meeting, she learned more changes have been made in the marketing plan.  Steve is always looking to upgrade the plan and has found several ways to do so.  It’s really pretty doggone impressive, once you get to understanding it. 

Because the company has now paid out over a million dollars to the members of the iNetGlobal system since it started the AdPacs program in late July, there was a cake brought in by Merryn Flavell.  This fulfilled a promise she made to Steve when things were just launching: when we crossed the milliion dollar mark in payouts, she’d bring chocolate cake.  And so, she did!  Actually, she brought two.  One said, “1,000,000 and many more,” and the other qyoted on of Steve’s favorite expressions: “It’s the bomb!”  So everyone celebrated this important event with a tasty piece of cake from the famous Wuollet‘s bakery.  They make mighty good stuff!  

Now the Duchess is thinking it’s time to head up the wooden hill.  Of late, shhe hasn’t been too good about getting a decent night’s sleep and is really working to fix that, so she’s not completely out of it at the wedding!  So, dear readers, she’s going to beg off this evening – oops!  it’s slipped past midnight, so instead of bidding you a good night, she’ll say, “Good morning to all!  Sweet dreams!” 

Duke and Duchess take a night off with the MN Twins September 28th, 2008

Well, the day is past, but the Duchess does wish to comment on the events of Thursday evening before the impending wedding overwhelms all other issues this coming week. 

Months ago, it was planned to attend the baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox.  It was guessed at that time that, if the season was rather dull for the Twins (as was expected by many at the beginning, since this was to be a rebuilding year with the departures of some key players), then this might be a good choice just because the rivalry between the two teams often makes for some interesting games.  On the other hand, it was fully realized at the time that, if things went well during the season, it could be a fairly important contest and what better time to see the two grapple on the diamond than the last game of a three-game series?

Well, that latter assumption proved to be the case – in spades! – this past Thursday evening.  The two teams were embroiled in a fight for first place in the division.  This was the last game of the three and the Twins had won both the previous games.  So excitement levels were pretty high when the Duke, the Duchess and their season-ticket-owning, long-time friends, Lana and Jerry, entered the Metrodome Stadium at took their usual seats on the upper deck behind home plate.

Things started out well, and the Twins took a 1-0 lead right away.  Then there was an outfield mishap where two players collided (neither got the ball, of course) and then things deteriorated into an absolute debacle of an inning for the Twins’ infield as well.  By the time the dust settled, it was 6-1.  Jerry can’t stand this kind of play, so he went to take a walk around the Dome’s hallways and drown his sorrows in a large diet cola.

Just as an aside, at one point in the game, Lana looked at the Duchess and asked the date.  She was informed it was the 26th – whereupon Lana exclaimed, “My goodness, it’s our 26th wedding anniversary and I completely forgot!”  It was quickly established that Jerry was in the same boat!  A good laugh was had by all over the fact that the two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies they have recently added to their household have just taken over all their attention and efforts, such that they even forgot their anniversary.  So a proper celebration with the Duke and Duchess will be scheduled in the near future!

Back on the diamond, however, the Twins began chipping away at the Sox’ lead and the game just got more and more exciting as it went.  By the latter part of the game, it had all the earmarks and wild excitement of a playoff or Series game – the entire crowd on their feet, cheering and clapping in support of the pitcher or the batter, as the case may be, depending upon it being the top or bottom of the inning, of course.  The Duchess thought she would have red palms for days!  And when the hits came – and the Twins had 15 of them in the end – they brought even more cheering.  The Duchess, normally a person of a fair amount of decorum, found herself more than once with both hands in the air aboveo her head, jumping up and down with the pure joy of the celebration of what was being accomplished.  By the time they reached the ninth inning, the teams were tied – so the extra innings were on.  It only took until the tenth before the Twins got that last base hit that sealed the deal and brought the house down with one of the longest Dome ovations the Duchess has ever witnessed.  What a night!  What a game! – from the ridiculous to the sublime!

Outside, it was truly a beautiful and balmy evening – especially given that this was the 26th of September.  The parking ramp in which the quartet had parked was so jammed that it was impossible to leave, so the group – since they were parked on the top level of the ramp – admired the Minneapolis skyline and listened to the shouts, cheers, honking, whistles and all kinds of celebretory din rising from the streets below.  From a building across the way, birds joined the cacophony – though probably more in protest than celebration -at being disturbed from their rest. 

Eventually the happy noises from below largely quieted, as the birds.  Then, at long last – it was probably the better part of an hour – there came signs that cars in the ramp were stirring and able to make the descent.  So all four piled back into the Duke’s van and slowly made their way down the levels of the ramp.  Heading for home all rejoiced at the events of the last couple of days in general and those of that night in particular as our beloved Twins – warts and all – swept their way into first place in the division.  Aaaaaaah! :)  How sweet it was! 

No telling, of course, how all will ultimately play out in these last days of the season, but all that doesn’t obscure the enjoyment of the moment and the Duchess just wanted to share it with you.  May you have something to celebrate this week that feels as good! 

…And, with all respect to the Chisox, may the Twins hang on today to take the division title!

United First Financial VIP Meeting in Minneapolis September 28th, 2008

As mentioned earlier this week in this weblog, United First Financial held a leadership and training meeting these past two days in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park.  Mac Saunders, national Director of Sales for the company, was here to share his time and a ton of information largely focused on Version 4 of the Money Merge Account, which is UFF’s stellar debt-elimination system. 

Both the Duke and Duchess attended this meeting and both felt it a worthwhile event. 

One thing that the Duchess plans to check out is a book mentioned by Michael Isakson, one of the speakers.  It is The Dream Giver, written by Bruce Wilkinson.   Another thing, shared by speaker Bill Blanchard, is a quote from Jim Rohn:  “Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”

This last notion leads nicely into remarks shared by Gene Harris, who, like Isakson and Blanchard, is a Branch Manager with UFF.  Harris taught school for 31 years before retiring.  He was also a football coach – actually still does coach.  He shared this thought: The great Vince Lombardi worked his team on the fundamentals of the sport (starting with, “This is a football.”) and he did it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over – well, you get the idea.  He drilled his teams endlessly on the basics so that they could perform properly under the pressure of game conditions.  In the light of Lombardi’s approach to coaching, Harris relates the progression through the stages of incompetence or competence in dealing with situations in business – whether one’s business is football or not.

He says there are four stages of growth in any business person’s experience and that, to succeed, one must develop a beginner’s frame of mind – an awareness that will allow one to get one’s own self out of one’s own way.  This represents a humility of thought that is willing to learn.  But sometimes it takes a bit for one to realize that one needs a bit of assistance in getting there.  He points out that failure is often the agent that provides the awakening wherein one learns to be receptive to mentoring.   Commenting that all success is built on failure, he cites some of his own failures and then the numberous failures of another man, asking if we know who the man is.  His record reads like this (the Duchess sincerely hopes she got all this down correctly):

This man had a difficult childhood.  He failed in business in 1831.  Was defeated when he ran for the legislature in 1832.  Tried another business and failed in 1833.  His fiancee died in 1835.  Ran for speaker in 1838 and was defeated.  Ran for elector in 1840 with the same result.  By 1842, he was in a troubled marriage.  He was defeated in his run for Congress in 1843 and did succeed (hooray for him!) in being elected in 1846.  The Senate was his next attempt in 1855; he was not elected.  In 1856 he ran for Vice President – no dice.  Two years later, he lost a race for the Senate.  One bright spot in all these attempts, folks. 

But, of course the story doesn’t end there.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, this may be the hint that tells you his identity: He ran for President in 1860 and was elected.  This gave our country one of its finest Presidents: Abraham Lincoln.

So what stages did Mr. Lincoln go through as he battled his way up the ladder?  What are the stages that everyone must face in getting to the point of running a good business?  As previously stated, there are four.

The first one is called unconscious incompetence – it’s that sorry state of affairs wherein a fellow doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know.  He may think he can do, but he really isn’t ready to, so he bumbles along until he realizes he has completely botched the job.

The second stage, which is called conscious competence, is born of that experience of failure – and that experience brings the dawning within the thought that one doesn’t really know how to achieve the goal.  This leads to the conclusion that perhaps some training or a mentor would be a good idea – and it’s truly right where one wants to be.  A truly full perception of this view brings with it a humble, receptive, listening state of mind.  One becomes willing to be a student through the recognition of what they don’t know.

So with this epiphany, comes the forming of a conscious purpose and effort to grow in competence.  This is the frame of mind that would bring one to such a trainig session as we were sitting in today.  The fruit of this striving and educating is the third stage: conscious competence – being aware that one is now capable of doing the task. 

And the last phase comes as the result of performing the fundamentals learned in gaining the conscious competence.  By this time, the individual – as Mr. Harris humorously puts it – has developed “ninja lips.”  Those with ninja lips have become so proficient in their business that they have moved into the ultimate stage, called unconscious competence.  Having this unconscious competence signifies that one can pretty much run on auto-pilot because the information or action required is thoroughly ingrained and one can still deal successfully with the  task, even without thinking too much about it.

So, as he wraps up his comments, he poses the question:  “Where are you today on this scale of one to four?”  And he adds this urging: “Develop the purpose to become an unconscious competent!”  

There was much more and perhaps the Duchess can share some later, but now she’s off to catch some zees – and sends her wishes to all the world for sweet dreams tonight!

United First Financial Exec Comes to Minneapolis This Week September 24th, 2008

Mac Saunders, one of the top executives at the award-winning company, United First Financial, is coming to town this weekend to spend some time with the troops in the Minnesota field.  Saunders comes in the wake of a series of outstanding recognitions for his company, including the Ernest and Young Entrepreneuer of the Year Award, Utah Region, presented at the end of June.  Douglas Andrews of “Missed Fortune” fame also endorsed the UFF software at that same time, as did Personal Real Estate Investor magazine

There will be training for agents offered, which will focus on the new Version 4 software, which leaves all other programs in the dust, including UFF’s own Version 3.  This software carries a capability NO ONE ELSE has – and the results of which NO ONE can duplicate on their own.  That may sound like over-the-top bragging, but it’s the truth.  So how come that is?  This new version not only utilizes an extremely complex algorithm, but it also exercises the benefits of factorial math to determine the fastest way for the client to get his or her debts to zero.  And there’s the other benefit of the Version 4 – the client doesn’t have to have a mortgage to make it work.  This program will work with any kind of debt – and in this financially woeful day and age, that’s a BEAUTIFUL thing

If you’re in the Minneapolis area and would like to learn more, c’mon down to the Doubletree Park Place hotel in St. Louis Park.  It’s just south of of I-394 and Xenia/Park Place exit.  The meeting starts at 7:00 P.M. this Friday evening, September 26th.  Come early to get a good seat, because the Duchess expects the place will be hopping!  And when you get there, ask those at the registration desk how to find the Duchess of Earle – and she and the Duke will be glad to greet you!  Come and let Mac Saunders show you how you can get out of debt faster than you ever thought possible! 

Building Connections for the Deaf at Dreambuilders Club September 23rd, 2008

The Duchess and her Duke have just gotten home from the Monday evening Dreambuilders Club meeting, which ran especially late tonight.  At the meeting tonight was a young man – Joel by name – who is home from Africa, where he’s been for 11 years.  Raised here in Minneapolis and Bloomington, he now teaches there, including teaching the deaf.  He has come back to the States for several months with the purpose of raising funds for his organization,  Global Deaf Connection .

Global Deaf Connection has been given office space in a South Minneapolis church which provides Lutheran services for the deaf.  Merryn Flavell and the Duchess have met with prospective deaf students at the church, in hopes of offering them the opportunity to study for a liberal arts bachelor’s degree through Flavell International University.  The fact that this is an online university (based on the Great Books) tends to level the playing field for the deaf students.  Because the deaf in most of the world are not allowed any occupation but begging, his organization has the goal of teaching the deaf so that they can teach the next generation of the deaf – all with the aim of raising their standard of living and more fully utilzing the vast human potential for good that these intelligent people represent. 

Here follows a statement from the website:

THE VISION of GDC is to see Deaf people around the world actively using their native sign language to support Deaf children to excel academically, gain meaningful employment, continually further human rights, and make major contributions that sustain their Deaf communities.

OUR MISSION is to develop self-sustaining cycles of Deaf education and leadership skills through advocacy, multi-cultural exchange, college scholarships, and mentor support. These cycles will empower Deaf people in developing countries to achieve greater access to universal human rights which will increase their social and economic self sufficiency.

So Merryn and the Duchess are introducing him to people, looking to find beneficial connections in that field.  After the meeting and the networking were over, this Duchess played chauffer at the end of the evening and gave him a ride home.  It was gratifying to hear him say that he really enjoyed meeting the people and that he felt he had made two really good contacts this evening. 

So, it was an evening well spent!  And the Duchess was truly grateful to hear it! :)

Mills’ Midwest SuperConference Concludes September 22nd, 2008

Well, it’s all over – and yet, it’s not. 

Jeff Mills’ Midwest Superconference closed today after three days packed with info and networking.  But while it may look like the end, new things are beginning.  New relationships are being formed between the presenters and their new students and participants are keeping contacts amongst themselves, in effort to support each other as they grow their internet marketing businesses. 

Mr. Mills presented a parade of experts in a number of different fields and it was truly an educational and growing event.  Assembling this kind of program presents a herculean task and he and his team deserve kudos and gratitude for staging the opportunity-packed weekend.

In the next days, the Duchess will share a few of the nuggets she got from the speakers at the conference, in hopes that you, too, may benefit from Jeff’s generous offering to the internet marketing community.

Stay tuned! 

Midwest Superconference Second Day September 21st, 2008

Well, it was another active day for Jeff Mills’ Midwest Internet Marketing SuperconferenceThe Duchess and Merryn had planned to arrive together, but it didn’t turn out that way in the end.  The Duchess decided she needed to have her own wheels at some point, since she had a couple of wedding errands to run – and since the wedding is two weeks away as of this date, these things cannot be ignored!  This meant she missed a bit of the day’s programming, alas! but at least those things got addressed.  Back at the conference she heard about selling on eBay and was around for Steve Renner’s presentations, including a mini-Rally following the main presentation, on iNetGlobal and AdPacs.

After the mini-Rally, there was a break while the room was reset for the evening meal and networking.  After dinner,  there was a party – and Steve Renner’s The Blues Rockers furnished the live music,  which went on until about 10:30. 

The Duchess had gone home to grab a bit to eat and bring the Duke back with her.  Not too many folks were still there when they returned, but that turned out nicely, as it afforded them the opportunity to sit to chat with Jeff Mills, who kindly shared some helpful information with the Duchess about embedding graphics onto a page.  One of these days, she’s going to try it, but she’s going to wait for a time when she’s not so sleepy as she is at the present.  So she’ll sign off for now and expect to post a few notes from the conference speakers.  Watch for the next installment!

The Duchess bids you good night – or should she say, good morning, since the clock is about to strike one?!  

Jeff Mills’ Midwest Internet Marketing Superconference Airs Live September 19th, 2008

Greetings, everyone! 

Jeff Mills’ Midwest Internet Marketing Superconference began today at the Holiday Inn at Appletree Square, that golden-windowed complex just east of Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America.  Jeff has quite a line-up of speakers – plus he’s airing the entire conference LIVE – and at no charge!  So, kiddies, you’re all invited!  You get to hear free of charge what most everybody else paid to hear!  Just click on this link to go there – it runs all day Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  (There is an enhanced version with some whistles and bells that costs just under $7.00 – take your pick of the freebie or the whistles.)

Earlier in the day, Reed Floren will offer his take on Joint Venturing, which is always a good thing to listen to.  The Duchess has heard this presentation three or four times and always learns something more every time she hears it.

Tomorrow in the latter part of the afternoon, Steve Renner will be holding forth on his program, iNetGlobal, with its new AdPacs program, which is a permission-based advertising company.   Right after he finishes his part of the program, Steve will be holding a mini-Rally for new members of AdPacs to purchase advertising packages at a dollar apiece.  (These packages earn rebates on your purchases and commissions on your sales to other clients.)

Following the mini-Rally and dinner, Renner will join with his band, The Blues Rockers, and play the night away for a networking party.  For a sample of the music, click here.  So Renner will roll in with his amazing list of services in the afternoon and rock on through the evening with his band and the conference attendees.

The Duchess invites you all to consider coming to the conference next year.  Don’t know the dates yet, but will be happy to post them when she finds out.

Signing off for now – it’s time to hit the hay!  The Duchess, instead of counting sheep, will surely be counting sweet internet dreams of regularly written blog posts, articles, backlinks to her postings, youtube, twitter, AdPacs, et cetera, et….e…t…c…z…z…z..z..z.z.z.zzzzzzzz


Great Goodness, Miss Sally – It’s a Mini-AdPacs Rally! September 13th, 2008

Saturday morning rolls around and it’s time for the Mini-Rally at the Hampton Inn in Bloomington – a convenient location just across the parking lot from Steve Renner’s Bloomington, Minnesota, office.

Coffee and doughnuts are the order of the morning.  The Duchess is grateful to be here after her adventure with attempting to recover her gas cap on the way over to the hotel.

 Steve begins by sharing his experience as he began his internet marketing voyage.  He speaks of meeting a fellow named Jim, who made a lot of money in a direct marketing company.  He shares that he never finished high school: he got busy at the beach after his junior year, surfing, chasing girls, drinking beer.  The months slipped by and he just never went back.  He did eventually face the draft, so he volunteered and they tested him and gave him a GED when he passed the exam.  But he’s never had any further education, beyond what’s he’s learned at various seminars he’s attended and what’s he’s learned from people like the aforementioned Jim.

In the last couple of years, he’s been doing more promoting and consulting.  He found a lot of this was repetitive and decided to launch a training service online.  It was originally called The Affiliate Community (TAC), because it was focused on affiliate marketing.  After a time of running that, he realized that what they were teaching was really internet marketing, so he reinvented the company as IMTrain.  And then the next unfoldment was providing the services to all the people that were taking his training – and, voila! iNetGlobal was born!

The services are varied and constantly moving toward a more complete internet marketing service. 

Technical difficulties halt the progress for a short time – and then he interrupts his more formal presentation with the question, “Say – do you want to do something fun?”  So he sits down at his computer to show us about posting a blog.  He has already typed up a posting, but decides to add a photo to it.  He has Jonathan come to the front of the room to take the picture while he gets in with the crowd at the meeting.  Jonathan snaps the photo and Steve sits down to put it into the blog post.  The picture comes up on the screen – and there are the Duke and Duchess in the front row.  Check it out – the Duke’s the handsome fellow in the blue shirt and the Duchess, in cheerful pink (chosen to brighten the cloudy, misty morning), is between him and her mother, Elaine.  So at 9:38 he’s got the posting up on his blog with the photo and he clicks and sends it out to the world.  Take a look by clicking here.

Next he asks if anyone has a website.  A lady offers her website, called Fashion Tidbits.  We look her site and discuss the fact that it’s up, working for her twenty-four/seven/three hundred sixty-five.  Discussing the costs of the services she’s paying, Steve arrives at the daily expense of having the site up.  The beauty of Renner’s program is that it keeps costs at a reasonable level.

The services include Cash Cards International, IMTrain, SEO Link Network, Blogpros, V-Mail autoresponder service, V-Webcast and V-Shops (affiliate program and shopping cart service).  The thing, however, that he knows many people are here today for is one of his newer services: the online advertising service called AdPacs. 

The biggest question he gets is how to get more traffic to websites.  Traffic is the lifeblood, the oxygen, the gasoline – pick the image that most appeals to you – of your website.  There are three ways to get traffic.  The first is to buy it – and this works quickly.  The second way is to borrow it:  joint ventures are a good example of borrowing traffic.  Or, the third way, is to do what he humorously calls stealing it – which means that you jump in front of others’ advertising and divert it to your website.  He says this last kind of traffic is the most difficult to get and that it takes experience (but, the Duchess would like to point out, the cost is far and away more reasonable).

He interrupts his sentence to remind himself that it’s time to check on the blog posting.  He finds that it took 12 minutes to get the number one listing for the keywords “Minneapolis Internet Marketing Seminar.”  Then he asks if anybody would like to be able to do the same thing he has just done. 

Next he discusses the need to take ACTION.  He brings out a twenty dollar bill and holding it aloft, asking if it would be worth it to spend ten if it made you twenty.  The Duchess knows where he’s going with this, so she immediately starts digging in her purse for a ten dollar bill, so that she can offer one as soon as he invites a trade.   When he says the word, she is the first to produce her money to trade for a twenty.  More folks follow – there must have been a dozen folks that took the action.  Steve just thinned out his wallet by half, but he got a number of folks to TAKE ACTION, which was the goal.  Say, we like the results!  The audience offers an appreciative round of applause.  This is fun – let’s do that some more!

So next he starts to talk about the advertising on his new search engine,  The really neat thing about this search engine is that it has a new feature: paid to search.  So when people use the search engine, they’ll be earning credits for the searching that’s done.  If one has a search bar on their website and a visitor to one’s website uses the search bar, the owner of the site will get the credit for it because there will be a little cookie that will tell them where the traffic came from.

He begins to talk about iNetGlobal’s marketing plan.  First he makes it clear that his is not a passive, put-your-money-in-and-forget-it type company.  Earnings are based on sales, so this business is not a passive one at all.  He says if you’re looking for that, you’re in the wrong place. 

He predicts this company will be doing $100,000,000 per month by next year this time and that there will be some that make a million a month in this company.  Sales is one of the highest paid positions in the world – and this company’s activity is based on sales.

If a person wishes, they can be either a regular customer.  If they wish to market iNet Global, they can be a distributor.  If they want to move up to the VIP level, the must have $50 per month in sale volume, have three active distributors and requires $2000 in sales in a month.  Once at the VIP level, minimum sales in a month are $100.  The monthly fee, which at this point is $39.95, counts toward that $100.  One must find the other $60.05 in sales, either through one’s own purchases or through selling to others. 

Fifty-one percent of one’s sales must come from one’s own sales – either what one purchases one’s self or to others. 

Product packages include:

Home Business Package, which costs $39.95/month, costs $20.00 to set up, gets unlimited hosting, a domain registration credit, full access to IMTrain and 100 AdPac Credits.  The next levels are Markets, Corporate and Enterprise.  Each level goes up $20, and the services available increase with each level.  If one signs up now, at any level, one can try out the service for $39.95 for the rest of the year – what a steal of a deal!

Minimum AdPac purchase is $20, but they do encourage a base purchase of $50.00.

There are also special product packages, bronze, silver, gold and gold deluxe.  Each level comes with the enterprise package and a certain number of AdPacs.  For the purchase of these packages, he will double the number of AdPacs given with this purchase through the end of September. 

Today, for those who just wish to purchase AdPacs, there is a 100% match for purchases and a 50% match for the sponsor.  The Duchess will be signing off soon here, because, since faithful Jonathan had to leave early today, she has been recruited to assist with the AdPacs sales.

The Duchess will close today with a confidential greeting to Sandra in the UK – so glad to have you aboard.  You’ve been a trooper and that quality will stand you in good stead!


Interesting Comments Discovered in Unusual Places September 9th, 2008

Good afternoon to all!

This will be a quick posting (I hope) to this Diary, but one the Duchess thought worthy of sharing.  This crossed her path because she recently learned from her Dreambuilders Club friend, Les LaMotte, that one can have a Google alert out on certain keywords.  So for the fun and education of it, the Duchess decided to give it a try – largely since some commenters to this Diary have mentioned learning about this weblog in places such as chat rooms and sites such as Technorati.  Well, it’s been a mixed bag of results, since – as one might expect – most (but, happily, not all!) alerts seem related to members of the artistocracy on the other side of the Atlantic (after all, who would be looking for them here!).  So this little bit of info crosses the Duchess’ path as a result of the Google alert and, as usual, it is discussing the nobility across the pond.  But it has an American twist to it, which is what perked up the Duchess’ ears. 

It’s a numismatist’s comment on what goes on in the good ol’ US of A in regard to small business, taxes and the economy.  He writes about a certain type of coin (Maltravers Farthings) and begins in the middle of the story, so the Duchess presumes he must be composing a series of articles on the history of coins in the United Kingdom.  He begins with introducing a fellow named Thomas, Viscount Wentworth like this:

“There were a few stumbling blocks on the way to Thomas, now Viscount Wentworth (promoted from Baron Wentworth), taking up the office of Lord Deputy of Ireland. Most obvious, of course, is the fact that he didn’t even arrive in Ireland until the summer of 1633. This was more than a year after his original appointment.”

After some additional exposition, a bit farther down he writes:

“Wentworth needed to make Ireland prosperous in order to be able to steal more money. Piracy on the seas and banditry on land worked against this goal. Consequently, the new Lord Deputy went to work suppressing piracy on the high seas with such good will and to such good effect that less than four years later he could claim that, “there was not so much as a rumour of Turk, St. Sebastian’s man, or Dunkirker” [all various types of pirates] along the coast and that merchants might at last pursue their commerce in peace.”1

“Pursuing commerce in peace was a very important part of Wentworth’s program. Not a stupid man, the new Lord Deputy knew very well that it is impossible to tax the poor, however good or ill your motives might be, and however well-intended your projects. Further, if you tax the middle class and rich beyond what they can truly afford to pay, they have a tendency not to engage in productive activities, thereby eroding the tax base and decreasing revenues to the State (or, as in Wentworth’s case, the tax collector).

“One bizarre example of how the State can kill the goose that lays the golden eggs is the tax code in the United States and most developed countries. There is a “Catch-22” in the Internal Revenue Code, given the combination of the regressive Social Security tax, progressive income tax, and IRA contribution,2 and adding in the ill-fitting standard deduction, personal exemption, and earned income credit. Self-employed individuals in the United States – the types who tend to be most entrepreneurial and productive – can net less money the more they make within a certain range. This range is roughly $12,000 to $25,000 – the very income bracket into which many new entrepreneurs fall when starting a small business.

“Experiencing this, many would-be entrepreneurs simply chuck it and go back into the wage system and pay a less unjust tax, ending up with more disposable income with less effort. Since big businesses that generate workers’ taxable wages usually only grow from viable small businesses, the tax system works against itself by choking off potentially productive enterprises and taxing what survives in ways that simply raise prices to consumers. (Corporate and other business taxes, along with interest and fixed wage and benefit packages are costs of doing business. When the cost of doing business goes up, companies raise their prices in order to meet the additional costs, passing the increased costs along to the consumer. When customers no longer want to pay the higher prices or cannot do so, companies go out of business. Workers lose their jobs, and the State loses a portion of both its corporate and its individual tax bases.)

“To do him justice, the new Lord Deputy was anxious to avoid such counter-productive measures. Of course, his object was, ultimately, to make the people richer so that he could steal more, but he still first had to make them prosperous. A wise thief doesn’t kill a victim or take all he has. He leaves him enough with which to make more, and well enough to do so. This works up to a point.”

Don’t we all wish the legislative bodies here and elsewhere might borrow the hint about avoiding counter-productive business taxation measures from Viscount Wentworth’s approach! :) 

To read the full article, please click here.  If you’re into history, business or the economy, the Duchess encourages you to check it out just for the fun of it and hopes you enjoy the read as much as she did!  And she sends out a friendly and appreciative shout to the Numismaster in Iola, Vis-CON-sin from your next-door neighbor in Minne-SO-ta!