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Charge For Meeting? Ask Anne The Pro Writer

Questions about freelance writingHi Anne,

I love your blog, tips, and all of the knowledge you share and look forward to your emails.

I was wondering if freelance writers should charge for meetings? I have a client whom I regularly meet with weekly, which is fine, but recently she’s been asking to meet with me three or four times a week, and they tend to run long and often not need me for much (when they also involve others); this is time I’m losing from other projects I’m working on. What would you do?

Also, the same client has me writing and sending daily e-mail blasts including weekends, which was simply assumed that I would do. I know it’s my own fault for not clarifying what “daily” meant in the first place­on my own part, I had made an assumption that daily meant week days!­and making it clear that I don’t want to be up at six AM every single day sending these things (especially on holidays), but I’ve been doing it for a couple of months now and don’t want to be a jerk about it! What would you do in this situation?

Thanks Anne, you rock!

Sara (in comments)

Hi Sara,

I’m so glad you like the blog!

You’re not the first to learn through experience about getting clear on contracts before they start. And it will go on as long as you’re a freelancer. You’ll get better at your contracts, but then the situation will change.

You’ve really got two problems – the extra meetings and the seven days a week email.  The first question to ask yourself is if you really want this particular gig. It may be easier to let it go than to change it. If you really want to keep the job set up an appointment with her, probably in her office so she can shut the door.

Then tell her briefly and succinctly you need to change the way your working for her. Don’t explain why, even if she asks. (If she does ask simply say something like “the extra work doesn’t work for me.”) Spell out that for the fee they are paying you you’re willing to have one meeting a week and send emails daily, Monday – Friday. Tell her you’ll have the emails out by 9 a.m. You might, although I probably wouldn’t, tell her this new schedule will start in a week.

Now, once you’ve said this briefly and clearly, shut up and let her talk. Stay quiet until she speaks.  There’s no telling what will happen, so be prepared for anything. Have in mind a price for extra meetings and a price for weekend emails. It may not come up. She may surprise you and agree, or she may fire you or something in between.

Jobs do change and both of you have let this one change more than either of you should. No blame. Truly. It happens.

Assuming she agrees, the next time she wants you to come to an extra meeting remind her gently you’re going to charge for it. If she insists, and you decide to go bill her. The same thing is true if she wants weekend emails – remind her it’s going to cost her.  Remember too, you don’t have to do more than you promised. You can simply say ‘no.’ ‘No’ is a magic word.

[askanne] [respond] [sig]

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{ 66 comments… add one }
  • If you get a solar power system, don’t forget to order the lunar collector option for watching TV after dusk.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Stranded in Mexico =-.

  • Anne, since you’re interested in solar power, here are a couple Web sites for you:
    The Florida Solar Energy Center at the U. of Central Florida: http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/index.php
    There’s also a vote solar campaign: http://www.votesolar.org/

    Florida could definitely benefit from solar. We’re paying 40 percent more for our electricity just since 2005!
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

  • Ah, yes, but I’ll bet Kathleen Sebelius, who used to work as the chief lobbyist for her state’s trial lawyers association, always charged for meetings!!
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Stranded in Mexico =-.

  • Interesting article on BO’s healthcare plans. Especially this quote: “Scheiner is critical of Obama’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary–Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who used to work as the chief lobbyist for her state’s trial lawyers association.”


    Is it starting to make sense now?

  • Anne, perfect example of unreality driving someone’s political thinking. Can you name any society in the history of the human race that did not have some members who were able to exert more influence than everyone else? Do you honestly think that there could ever be such a society? Do you, for instance, think there will ever be a society in which a blind deaf mutes have as much political influence as charismatic oratory geniuses?

    Hopefully, you’ll agree that it’s never happened and won’t ever happen. Then, the conversation becomes, “So, how do you choose who you want to have influence and why?” ]

    You seem to be paranoid that people with money (or assets) will influence decisions. Do you fear those people more than you fear, for example, religious people, ideologues, broke people, or a particular physical characteristic – say, skin color, intelligence level, number of fingers/toes – being the ones to have influence? Who is it that you think should have influence?

    I’ll go ahead and admit my paranoia as well – we all have them. The people I am most afraid will have undue influence on policy decisions are charismatic oratory geniuses and power-mad ego maniacs.

    In fact, as I think of the different influencers, those with wealth are near the top of my Favorites list, right behind intelligent people – as long as I get to decide who’s intelligent. LOL

    Wealthy people almost always have some positive attributes – work ethic being chief among them. Plus, the desire to be wealthy drives so much of our innovation and new technology – second only to our desire not to lose a war. If you eliminate the possibility of being wealthy, or the possibility of war, you reduce the desire to innovate.

    Hopefully, you wouldn’t want broke people setting policy.

  • They’re now saying the bonds were forgeries perpetrated by the Mafia, which is all very plausible and logical. Is it true or just a cover story – who knows? You knew there would be some plausible cover story come out.

    I can deal with illogical debaters better than those that deal in non-reality. For example, making a policy decision in the hopes of ending wars, or stopping drug use, or ending abortion, or ending prejudice, or making everyone have an equal opportunity. Or making decisions based on expecting other countries to do something unrealistic, such as play fairly, or ignore their own circumstances for the betterment of all. Or policy decisions that ignore reality – such as the fact that there are thousands (millions?) of people determined to kill Americans.

    Again, not trying to be partisan, but as “progressives,” the Dems pitch the unreal stuff more – the foundation of their platform is promising people that the current reality will change. Of course, things do change, but very, very, slowly, but they lie to people by promising to change it faster. Granted, BO is changing things pretty fast – but he’s lying about it all. Here’s a great link that describes the fraudulence:


    On the other hand, being conservative, by definition the GOP doesn’t want anything to change. And they lie to us that don’t want change by promising the status quo. But their pitch is to prey on fears.

    And the Great Unwashed can’t seem to recognize both lies. They either buy into the Dem lies or the GOP lies.

    But, again, I just have an easier time debating conservatives, and find them more logical and truthful, because they are dealing with reality, and not some starry-eyed dreams of a beautiful world that doesn’t, and won’t ever, exist.

    They’re still just as wrong most of the time, but I can at least talk to them about it.

  • Ron, I agree with you that it’s hard to debate people logically. If they were limited to logical and rational arguments, it could work. Their biases inevitably creep in, though.

    That article about the men caught with all those U.S. dollars is very scary. I almost tweeted it, but there’s already enough bad news out there. I haven’t heard anything about it on cable news shows … hmmm. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

  • I’ve tried the debate thing before, posted hundreds of blogs on a site battling opposing views. Don’t really have that interest anymore because …

    I find most people are too invested in their beliefs to discuss anything rationally. For example, they might believe “Bush lied,” but their guy doesn’t, or they believe wars can be ended, everybody can be equal, or racism and prejudice can be stopped. They believe their God is right and others’ is wrong. They believe evil exists, but they only see the evil they worry about, and not the evil any one else worries about, even though both exist.

    You can’t debate anyone’s beliefs, and I wouldn’t want to any way. People are entitled to their beliefs. If their beliefs are simply wrong, well, they’re entitled to be stupid.

    I like to deal in reality. The reality is that there have always been wars, so I accept that there will almost certainly always be wars, and I try to understand why and how they can benefit mankind. The one certainty I have concluded is that it is way better to be on the winning side, so I believe we have to do whatever it takes to remain the most powerful country on Earth, regardless whether it’s “fair” to others. If the shoe were on the other foot, and some other country was most powerful, I have no expectation that they would do what is “fair” towards us. Liberals need look no further than Darwin to understand what I’m saying. The strong survive. Anyone who believes other countries have our interests in mind are fools. They are all dying to knock us off the top rung. BO seems determined to jump off the top rung. No living Americans understand what it’s like not to be most powerful, so they talk about a global community as if everyone will just come happily play in our sandbox and our lives won’t change. Believe me, life it very different as the second or third most powerful country.

    I see that prejudice has always existed and will always exist, and no amount of legislation can end that. It may be that one prejudice fades away, as perhaps, racial prejudice is fading now. But it will be replaced by others. Can anyone doubt that prejudice against overweight people, smokers, Christians, Muslims, ugly people, stupid people, old people, introverts, free-spirits, and dozens of other types of people exists? I think those prejudices are actually growing and are a lot worse than racial prejudice.

    So honestly, I think racial prejudice is overblown BS, used by politicians to drive campaign donations and create voter blocs. My mother married a black man back in ’62 (she and I are white). I was dating a black woman until a couple of months ago. My son is engaged to a Hispanic girl. I’ve also dated Hispanic women. My two step daughters are white and have both dated black boys and Hispanic boys. We have a black president. The greatest amount of racial prejudice left in America exists in black people; the irrefutable proof of which is that they voted 95% for BO. There is simply no mathematical or logical explanation for that except racial prejudice.

    I see that there has never been equality. In every civilization – democracy, dictatorships, socialist, capitalism – it doesn’t matter, elites have existed and they live very different lives than the rest of us. It is simply a reality that people are not equal. If BO were a broke nobody, I could understand people believing his Yes we can BS. But he’s an elitist, worth millions of dollars (that I believe was derived from being a corrupt politician). Why does anyone believe he gives a hoot about poor people. If he likes poor people so much, why isn’t he giving away all that money of his? Just like Chavez and Castro – supposed saviors of the poor people, yet living in mansions and flying around in private planes.

    Which brings up another reality: why do people believe BO could have risen through the cesspool that is Chicago politics and not be corrupt? The old saying, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” applies. It’s as we’ve been handed a dog turd and been told it’s a sweet smelling rose, and darn if people aren’t imagining the scent of potpouri . Had he come out and said, “Look people, I’ve fought my way through Chicago muck, backstabbing and bribing my way to the top. Yes, it’s made me very rich, but don’t you want someone that will stab the people you hate in the back? Sure, me and my friends will get richer, but if you vote for me, you’ll be one of my friends. Screw the other side.” I might have voted for the first honest politician I’d ever heard.

    Reality is a tough argument to defeat, so people won’t debate me on those issues. You know how many times I’ve written about the stupidity of the government being in the marriage business? Easily 20 different articles/blogs. I’ve never had one person refute my logic or even offer any rationale for me being wrong. Yet, the next time the subject comes up, they’re ignoring everything I said and still arguing either for or against gay marriage.

    Just like I point out all of the underreporting tax cheats, and the people who don’t even try to earn income – two realities that logically overwhelm and refute the basic principles of our corrupt tax system – I’ve written that blog dozens of times as well. Same response – nothing. My opponents ignore what I say, crawl back down their holes, only to appear again a few weeks later making the same stupid arguments for or against some fantasy tax rate without even addressing the inaccurate income figures those rates purport to be based on, or the tax breaks given to people who are basically not even trying.

    That’s why it’s hard to debate. People don’t even know what a debate is – they’ve been taught that those photo-op presidential “debates” are how one is supposed to debate, so they ignore questions they can’t answer, change the subject, make up facts, and in general, take a “whoever-blusters-loud-and-long-enough-wins” attitude.

    I think, Anne, if you and I were restricted to dealing with reality, and left out those things that are not reality, we’d reach compromises pretty quickly because … reality offers few choices.

  • And if this story doesn’t make you Google “Costa Rica+thatched huts,” I don’t know what will.


  • FYI, if anyone cares to read up on the unfolding corruption of inspector generals being fired for investigating government waste, it’s scary. Drudge, as usual, has the best links. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-tc-nw-inspectors-0617-0618jun18,0,5718990.story


    It could almost serve as an insane extremist litmus test: “Please explain why it is OK for Clinton to fire more federal attorneys than Bush and for Obama to fire inspector generals that investigate his contributors.” If they can look you in the face while trying to answer that question positively, they are insane extremists.

    And, you can tell the sane extremists, too: they’re the ones that just read that question and, somehow, turned it into me supporting Bush.

    That’s what it’s like trying to debate people.

  • Ron, I do agree with you about the tax cheats. We all do it because the government makes it so difficult to hang on to our money. Most politicians think they know better than us what to do with our money. I worked hard for it, don’t I deserve to keep most of it?

    When the government does rake in our money, they waste it on $600 toilet seats and insane research that tells us about the sex life of owls or something insane.
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

  • Anne, did you get your information on Hamilton from “The Federalist Papers”? I still have that book. 🙂

    It’s difficult to extrapolate what the founding fathers would think today, because we have the Internet, telephone, computers and so many other tools they couldn’t conceive back then. I believe in mininal federal intervention on most issues, unless it involves national security and the economy.

    You and Ron could start a “Hannity and Colmes” type blog. It’d be very interesting to do point/counterpoint. You could sell ads to generate income.

    Keep trying to bridge that political divide, Anne!
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

  • Alas, one of the major problems with our society is that apathetic people want “concise.” Doesn’t matter that the problems are hugely complex with many different perspectives, if your solution can’t be stated in 25 words or less, and ideally captured in a pic, then no one listens.

    It’s that mindset that is vulnerable to cliche phrases and RahRah campaign slogans like “Yes, We Can!,” despite history proving over and over for centuries that politicians mean, “No, We Won’t!”

    We’re a soundbite nation. A survey a couple of years ago found that 2/3 of Americans don’t have the slightest clue about how politics work. Most did not understand the incongruity of voting to increase entitlements and to reduce taxes.

    Notice how no one responded to my statements describing all the tax cheats under reporting income – including many of us? Americans don’t want to see what’s right in front of their faces. Instead, the only think what the media tells them to think.


  • Hmm. In’eresting. Ron et al: I don’t mind ranting; but if your name scrolls off the top of my screen and the end isn’t in sight, I jump to the next post.
    Anne, you are brilliant! And concise, too. Eisenhower warned us, and we did listen; but the M-I complex needs an occasional whuppin’ to keep them in line.
    A few lines below his M-I warning was this: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Stranded in Mexico =-.

  • From the WSJ today, quoting BO: “intervened on behalf of GM and Chrysler, he says, because his only options were to continue to send them taxpayer money without strings attached, or see them liquidate.”

    Accepting that you have personal reasons, Lisa, what was wrong with “liquidate”? All around the country, people are liquidating. Now there are a bunch of Chrysler dealers (mostly Republicans BTW, the Dem dealers got a better deal) liquidating. We didn’t elect the Dems to decide which companies get to stay in business.

    FYI, the GOP is calling for Pelosi’s head, it’s just that the MSM won’t play their message.


  • Ron, good luck to you with the nonprofit. That is quite the task, to educate people to not be afraid of death. I’ve come close to dying at least twice, so I’m getting better with that fear but haven’t totally overcome it.

    I couldn’t agree more with you about blaming the president for everything while Congress gets a free ride. I’m going to be partisan here and hold up Nancy Pelosi as a perfect example. If she were president, wouldn’t the Republicans and many others be screaming for her resignation? Most people realize that she lied about the CIA feeding her lies. All you have to do is ask whether the CIA has anything to gain by lying to Congress. If people look beyond the headlines and screaming and think about what motivates someone, they’d realize that Pelosi was just saving her ass. Since her party is in power, she gets a free pass. I’m surprised the Republicans aren’t yelling for her head on a platter, because when their speakers were in trouble, the Dems called for resignations and usually got them. I realize, though, that lying has become accepted and is not as terrible as violating ethics, stealing and other forms of corruption.

    I do fear the government getting so involved in running businesses. Who says that they know better than GM and Chrysler how to run things? OK, these companies have screwed up big time, but why not let them go through bankruptcy? Chrysler has been there before but got bought by Daimler Benz and emerged with some better models and redesigned favorites like my Jeep Grand Cherokee. Obviously, I have a bias in that I want Chrysler to survive so I can still get parts and service. 🙂

    This starts a dangerous precedent, however, and one that our European allies have learned is not always advantageous. Sarkozy is desperately trying to get the French to work more than 35 hours a week again. The unions have destroyed most of Europe, going on strike whenever they please. Chicago was like that in the 1970s, with the teachers and transit workers regularly striking until the first Mayor Daley ordered them back to work. Fortunately, my family was living in the suburbs and we didn’t have strikes!

    I’ve been seeing stories that doctors are returning to house calls. My dad was fortunate to have a podiatrist come out to the house because he no longer drives and my mom can’t. It took a month or so to get the appointment, but he did get his foot problem resolved.

    Once again, it comes back to the lawyers who sue because they are greedy. If doctors could practice medicine without having attorneys breathing down their necks, our medical costs would drop considerably. Ditto for the insurance companies. They charge outrageous premiums for malpractice because of lawyers. Those premiums get passed along to us via rising doctors’ fees. Tort reform would tremendously lower all our costs, but as long as we keep electing lawyers as presidents, representatives and senators, nothing will change.
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

  • WooHoo! AnneArchy! I’m not quite there yet, and hope we never get there. As I’ve said, people start wars, not just governments. Get rid of all governments, and new ones would quickly form as groups of people huddled together for protection.

    Actually, that’s my rationale for supporting Christians: Muslims, whether you like them are not, are growing rapidly. 1.5 billion and counting, and they want to run things their way. They have demonstrated time and again that they value their religion more than their countries. Somehow I gotta think that a society bonding around American Idol, NASCAR races, and a melting pot of hundreds of other different values and ethics is going to scatter in the breeze under that onslaught. It’s already happening in Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. When the crap goes down, believe me, the Christians will hold out longer than NEA, the AFL-CIO, the GOP, Dems, and any other group the community organizers can sign up. I predict that the last battleground will be in Australia – great people, those Aussies. They learned well from us and the Brits. Shame we forgot what we taught them.

    Many of our greatest problems simply cannot change in a generation. It takes people dying off and new attitudes being born. People’s attitudes change very little during their lives. Racism is the easy example.

    But people don’t accept that, they look at the world through the pinhole of their own existence and demand change today. And then some corrupt politician will round up a bunch of these deluded people, promise to make their fantasies come true, and get elected. Worse is if he’s given Godzilla-like status, free to go stomping on the tiny skyscrapers like we’re seeing today.

    People hate change as much as they want it. Mark my words, BO is going to be a very unpopular guy before long.

    As for quoting Jefferson’s fear of aristocrats, that’s kinda weak. You’re talking about a time in history where all there were was kingdoms. When you’re starting the first democracy, of course all aristocrats look bad. But that’s what people do – quote those concepts from the Founding Fathers that support their side. Who knows how Jefferson would feel about modern corporations, the concept was probably unimaginable to him? I just don’t think you can assume anything.

    On the other hand, I think we can safely assume that Jefferson would not have approved of another modern concept that does easily translate to his era. The government interceding in a legally binding loan agreement between two parties (Chrysler and their secured bondholders), stealing the security pledged under the agreement, and giving it away to a third party (labor unions). Theft was common in those days, so was pledging collateral for a loan. The fact that the third party was one of the biggest financial supporters of the politicians responsible for the theft would have been particularly irksome to Jefferson, I’m sure.

    I think that of all the mistakes in domestic policy BO is making, that is the worst. He told the world that contracts don’t mean anything in America; that we’re no better than Chavez nationalizing oil company assets in Venezuela. Now you see all the foreign capital fleeing our markets, they’re trying to dump the US dollar. And he has Wall Street terrified.

    Of course, everyone who’s bought into the victim theology likes seeing Wall Street get its comeuppance. But stabbing your heart is never a good solution – whether you just have a slight murmur or full blown cardiac arrest, stabbing your heart doesn’t fix the problem. Neither will turning Wall Street from a free-wheeling capitalistic orgy into a wimpy little tea party. Google “tea party” and Google “orgy” to see which is more likely to pay our bills.

    And of course, Jefferson and the founding fathers did not include an income tax in the Constitution, and would likely not approve of it since they were more about States’ rights.

    I never get the “corporate welfare” label. You say that as if every tax dollar paid by every corporation does not really come out of mine and your pockets. Corporate taxes are just taxes on you and me, the cost of every product or service you buy has those corporate taxes buried in them. Politicians have just learned that we fall for indirect taxation. We’re sooooo stupid.

    And I’m sorry for venting on this topic, but you’ve touched on one of my pet peeves. I hate that the media has trained people to blame the President for everything. It’s not Bush’s tax cuts. Congress controls the pursestrings. Congress drafted that legislation and passed it. Bush only had the option of signing or vetoing. Yes, Bush asked for tax cuts, but the tax cuts delivered were not the ones he asked for, and it still wouldn’t matter if they were – Congress is responsible for our money.

    Just as it isn’t Obama’s stimulus bill. Yes, he asked for something – no one knows what – and Congress passed something – and no one knows what – but it is Congress’s baby, not Obama’s. He’s got enough of his own problems.

    The media does it to sell ads. They can’t get your attention and rile you up unless they can focus your anger – 400+ members of Congress just don’t make a good photo op and you can’t pin any of its corruption on just one person. So the President gets the blame, instead, and damn if people don’t then vote based on those stupid lies.

    Did Bush get us into Iraq, or did Congress approve every dollar spent there? Dems get elected in ’06 pledging to get us out … all lies. They could do it any time they wanted; they have the pursestrings. But they just lie to apathetic fools, who forget and then fall for new lies next election. It’s really sickening.

    What drives up healtcare costs? I told you, lawyers and people overusing the system because they have insurance. It’s just a sad fact that people are so terrified of dying that they will go bankrupt and ruin their children’s inheritance for an extra few months in the nursing home.

    Yes, life expectancy has gone up in the last 100 years, from around 60 to over 70 years now. But how much of that can be credited to all the high dollar procedures and multimillion dollar operations being performed? The reality is, very little. Most of that growth can be traced to better economic conditions and a few specific drugs – the ones that have eliminated TB, most flu strains, etc.

    We could, I think, go back to the doctor that makes house calls, and small hospitals and see very little drop in average life expectancy. And the major demographic that would be impacted is exactly who you’d expect – old, frail people. The Indians had it right: just walk off in the snow.

    The answer, you see, is to make people not afraid of dying. And BTW, I’m starting up a non-profit for exactly that purpose as we speak, but I can’t talk about it yet. Stay tuned.


    • Anne

      Oh Ron! Actually, I’m opposed to fundamentalists of any stripe. It’s fundamentalism that got Dr. Teller killed for example. There seem to be fundamentalists in every faith… including of all things Buddhism! It’s not the God that’s worshiped that’s the problem, it’s the fundamentalism that a small, but important part that’s the problem. Suspect there are fundamentalist NASCAR folks that could cause a problem.

      But I’m going to withdraw from this debate here. (maybe you and I ought to start a joint blog and see if we can vent our way to agreement)

    • Not long ago (2002-2003) there were studies first refuting Boas, then other reconfirming, and a third one trying to reconcile both the refutation and the reconciliation somehow. Let's see how it's gonna be in this case.

  • One last thing… I am opposed to estate taxes or any tax where you’re being taxed two or three times. We fought the Revolution against that. As Ron pointed out, you pay every time a car is sold. That’s just ridiculous.

    Government should stay out of abortion and marriage, too. These are personal decisions between people, their families and God. Wow, I’m getting to sound more like a libertarian every day. 🙂 I stop short of liking Ron Paul, though. That guy is just strange. Ha, ha.
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

    • Anne

      Lisa, just be sure when you oppose a tax you understand as many of the ramifications as possible.

  • Ugh, Anne, I really abhor Rush Limbaugh. He’s crazy saying he hopes Obama fails.

    There has to be a fairer tax system, true. It’s way too complicated now and I pay an accountant because I don’t want to mess with it, frankly. It’d be really nice, though, if we could all fill out a one-page form online and be done with it.

    I don’t believe in the redistribution of wealth, however. People like Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey worked hard for their money; they employ thousands of people and should be able to spend it on charity or however they see fit. I have not done enough research on Bush’s tax cuts to see how they really affected the middle class; they seemed to help for a while, but there were so many other variables that caused the economy to collapse, so it’s hard to zero in on just that.

    All I know is that people are hurting as badly as they were in the ’70s. Despite all the retro fashion, that time really sucked. We were at the whim of OPEC and Iran, and Carter did not have a clue. Then he got on TV and blamed us for the malaise! When he was supposed to lead us out of it. Thank God for Ronald Reagan; I didn’t even like him in the ’80s, but now he looks incredibly wise compared to who we’ve had since.

    I had hoped that Obama might similarly appeal to the public and restore some pride in our country, but we have become so divided by both parties and the media. The parties haven’t really come together since 9/11, it seems. Not only is it sad, it’s destructive to our families because the real issues never get addressed.

    I don’t even have a clue why Medicare has four parts to it. My mom’s on it and she doesn’t know what C and D are, either. She’s a pretty intelligent woman, too. She voted for Obama, but she doesn’t think socialized medicine is the answer.

    Meanwhile, we pay more than any other developed nation for our health care, so something has to be done. It’d be nice if an independent panel of experts could create a solution, but I’m dreaming. Instead, there’ll be a lot of wrassling, shouting and in the end, nothing will be passed. I really can’t get that worked up about it because I’m pretty sure the insurance companies will defeat it AGAIN.

    Thanks for letting us vent, Anne. I’m going back to work!
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

    • Anne

      Lisa, just to be clear, as I understand it T. Jefferson thought wealth should be limited to avoid an aristocracy-like class of people that used their money to buy too much influence; Hamilton opposed his view and was more like you… I obviously come down on the Jefferson side of things.

      Not sure about Carter – he was the one who urged solar and put it on the white house, which Reagan took down. If we had moved, during and after the Carter presidency toward solar and other non-oil and non-nuclear energy I strongly believe the politics of the world would be quite different and better on the whole. Buckminster Fuller, a wonderful visionary, once said something like: we’re a planed to 4 billion billionaires and we don’t know it. But the energy from the sun could, if properly used make us all rich. His plan went way beyond what we think of as solar today and shows in this book Critical Path how a truly global energy grid could work to benefit all. http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2009/02/buckminster-fullers-critical-path.html

      I truly don’t know how to bridge the huge divide in this country, but I do keep trying 😉

      I too pay an accountant… I go catatonic when I try to figure it out… taxes that is.

  • Lisa,
    Hmm, I don’t find it offensive that you’ve never been known for tact – but I assume others have. As you might guess, I offend people from time to time. 🙂
    Here’s another good story about healthcare, http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D98RBO9G0&show_article=1

    Reporting on the AMA members booing BO yesterday it provided this information:

    “Studies have shown that as much as 30 cents of the U.S. health care dollar may be going for tests and procedures that are of little or no value to patients.”

    Most of that waste is caused by doctors and hospitals, but how much of that part is due to fears of being sued by greedy lawyers. Doctors order every test they can possibly think of just to protect themselves. And a lot of the rest is due to hypochondriac patients.

    Crazy story – that back ache that sent me to the doctor. Knowing I only needed pain pills, and broke, I went to the ER just to ask the admitting person’s advice on finding a doctor that would see me without insurance – I had tried one doctor and he refused.

    The lady wouldn’t even let me get my question out. She interrupts with, “we don’t care that you don’t have insurance, just sign in and we’ll take care of you.” OK, I think, fine. I told her I could pay, and if they’ll just give me pills, it can’t cost much. She said, “Oh no, just give us $75 today and it’ll reduce your bill by 50%.”

    Huh? I’m offering to pay and they don’t want my money. But the crazy part – they never sent me a bill.

    On the other hand, they only gave me a handful of pills and I had to sit in their waiting room for 5 hours to see the doctor. There was, as I recall, one other English-speaking group in the waiting room, the rest were seemingly illegal aliens.

    When those pills were gone, they wouldn’t renew the prescription, so I was back at square one. Finally found a doctor to see me. That was the $500 cost I referred to earlier. Only took an hour to see him, and he was very helpful with instructions and advice. Plus, he did give me enough pills to get through the episode.

    So, why do I need insurance? Looks like the hospital will take me in for free.

    Seriously, does that sound broken or what?

    It all goes back to the lawyers extorting money from everyone in the system so that no one makes a move without covering their asses.

    I get the concept behind progressive tax rates – redistribution of wealth – and I don’t totally disagree with it, but there’s got to be a better way rather than creating the class warfare we have in this country due to the IRS.

    What is the justification if making one person pay a higher percentage of their $50k income than a person who makes $30k? Are those really the people whose wealth needs to be redistributed? I understand them paying more because they make more (still hate that it has to be that way – it’s like having three roommates that pay very little of the rent while you pay the rest), but to pay a higher percentage doesn’t make sense.

    If you put on rose-colored glasses and ignore reality, you can rationalize it – Democrats love ignoring reality. But there are two realities that make the concept patently unfair and destructive:

    1. As I stated earlier, we’re not dealing with accurate numbers – we all know that millions of people under report income. One of my best friends is a mechanic and accepts nothing but cash payments. I know for a fact that he doesn’t report it all. I’d estimate that he makes $80-$100k per year, he has a nice house, cars, other toys, and gets an EIC refund every year. Compare him to the corporate employee making the same wages, whose taxes are withheld and tell me the tax system is fair.

    2. That rose-colored reality pretends that everyone is trying to make as much income as they can, but some are just “disadvantaged” such that they deserve a tax break and to have wealth redistributed to them. It’s ludicrous. I gave up trying to make money a few years ago out of disgust. I know many people – so do you – that choose personal happiness over money grubbing. So, when someone says, “screw it, I’m going to Margaritaville, I’m tired of the rat race,” the get a free ride on paying their fair share of America’s costs????? That’s how the tax system works. If you want a free ride, it’s yours.

    I simply cannot fathom a rational argument against every American paying their fair share of our country’s costs. Yet, today, around 40% of federal tax filers pay no income tax. BO not only wants to add more people to that number, he wants to give them money – refunds of taxes they never paid.

    It’s fricking crazy.

    Is Costa Rica sounding better yet? Does this sound like the America you were led to believe in?


  • No offense, Ron, but I’ve never been known for my tact. It does, however, make me a good writer and investigator.

    I voted for John Anderson in my first election because I wanted him to get the matching funds. I considered voting for Perot, but changed my mind when he weirded out towards the end. I regretted voting for Clinton, though. The best thing he did was sign the welfare reform bill.

    I urge you to get some kind of health insurance, because I had cancer when I was 27. If I hadn’t had insurance, I would have gone bankrupt. I got mine through United; it’s called Golden Rule. At least if I’m hospitalized, I won’t go broke. We all know how much hospitals charge for an aspirin; it’s so outrageous.

    OK, I’ll bite. Why are you not a fan of progressive tax rates?
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

  • “Gee, Ron, you really should have your own blog”

    Dang, when am I going to learn how to be that tactful? LOL

    Here’s a neat article I saw this morning that backs up some of what I said about healthcare costs. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/06/15/wrong-way_health_reform_96997.html

    Forget the Obama part of it – note it admits in the last line that all Presidents have been wrong on the issue. The part that caught me is that insurance itself makes healthcare spending go up; if they have it, people will go to the doctor more often. And there’s no motivation anywhere in the system to make people go less.

    I’ve not had insurance since I started freelancing three years ago. It would be nice, but I can’t afford it. So I’ve not been to the doctor except one time for a back ache. Ended up costing me about $500 for a guy to tell me exactly what I already knew – that I had sciatica and could only take pain pills until it healed (diagnosed myself online, got it exactly right). Basically, $500 for a bottle of 20 pills.

    So, why is that a reality? Why can’t I decide as an adult that I just sprained my back and buy a bottle of pain pills for $40? The answer is: idiots and lawyers. Idiots abuse pain pills and flip out, and lawyers have sued everyone up and down the line so many times that CYA costs permeate every aspect.

    I think the President should be bi-partisan. S/He is the one person that is elected by and represents all Americans. If both houses of Congress are controlled by one party, the President is all we have to protect us. Obama promised that he was going to reach across the aisle. He definitely has not. I do not wish him to succeed in implementing policies that almost half of Americans didn’t vote for, and which a majority of Americans don’t support now. But I do want American to succeed.

    We NEED him to reach across the aisle. I think he is spitting in the face of half of America by not representing them. And Bush did the same thing.

    Throughout history, whenever one party has controlled Congress and the Presidency at the same time, we suffered. I’d love to see it changed so that legislation requires the 75% of the votes to pass, not just the majority. And especially the Supreme Court nominees.

    I don’t mind bias in the media – when it is properly labeled as such. O’Reilly, Hannity, Olberman, etc., don’t bother me at all. If you don’t like it, turn it off. What I hate is CNN, the AP, and major networks and newspapers that fraudulently portray themselves as non-biased reporters of actual events while they inject their bias into everything. The reality has become that there is simply no un-biased source for news and information. Heck, even Wikipedia is a biased source.

    Somehow, I expect Mel Gibson bought his huge Costa Rican estate expecting more than coconuts for dinner. And many more. I have a friend who moved there, built a big mansion and rents it out to tourists. It’s a nice life.

    I’ve voted for whatever 3rd party candidate had the best numbers in every presidential election since Bush1 – they have to get 5% of the vote to receive matching fed funds, and I want to encourage them.

    I’m not a fan of progressive tax rates, so I don’t totally support the Fair Tax, but I love it for those reasons I named. It does have a progressive mechanism that rebates sales tax – whether paid or not – to low income families. Kind of an Earned Income Credit that sends those families several thousand dollars a month.

    • Anne

      Interesting article on health insurance and matches my rough understanding of the numbers. I think it’s also an argument for single payer which could/would negotiate with the providers, including doctors, and drug companies. It was so very shameful that Medicare Part D outlawed negotiating with the drug cos.

      I don’t really understand where the cost is or why it’s so darned high. Rush L. continues to rant about 6 people in Florida or was it 9, but even their total bill, while horrid, doesn’t answer the questions about what drives up the costs.

      The so-called free market isn’t working… it might if it were really a free market – that is if the market didn’t depend on government supplied things like roads, the post office, water, power plus a ton of tax breaks, but as it is it doesn’t work. But enough for today – I’ve got clients to write for!

  • Gee, Ron, you really should have your own blog. You have so much to say and most of it’s true and well researched.

    I hate lawyers as much as you; they have hurt doctor-patient relationships and make us pay more for everything, especially insurance. Tort reform was something the first President Bush wanted, but the lawyers weren’t going to let that happen.

    Part of the reason I did not vote for Obama is because he and his wife are attorneys. Lawyers are programmed to delay and make money, not solve problems.

    I don’t love or even like most politicians, I just believe in giving the president a chance. When Democrats complained that Bush was not elected fair and square, I told them to get over it. We should support our president unless he commits a crime. We can, of course, write and say what we want about him. Yet in the long run, I want Obama to succeed, because too many people’s lives are at stake. The old saying “If you can’t say something nice about somebody, then say nothing at all” should be revived. Our media is polluted with people attacking each other for no good reason.

    I’ve never been to Costa Rica, so I guess comparing it to Jamaica was unfair. I admit that I didn’t do any research about it, but I don’t care. I have no interest in leaving the best country in the world to dine on coconuts or whatever. I’d be bored within 15 minutes.

    I have heard a lot about the fair tax, but I’m not sure exactly how it would work and how fair it is. That’s on my long to-do list.
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..If you’re black and live in a city, get tested for cancer =-.

  • Hi Lisa, we’re pretty close on most issues – I bet you and I could reach a compromise easily. Anne and I could to, with a little well-intended effort. Why can’t our politicians?

    I do disagree with our entire tax system, and my major problem is the tax cheats.

    You know who they are. Chances are, many of us are included. Drive down your town’s Main Street and tick off the businesses – the auto mechanic, the hair stylist, the convenience stores, the restaurants, and dozens of others. Chances are good that every one of those businesses under reports its income or claims false expenses. Anyone that takes cash payments probably under reports that income. Any restaurant owner who feeds his family out of the kitchen, any convenience store owner who takes stuff of the shelf for his family and claims shoplifting losses is a tax cheat. Do you think every freelance writer reports all those PayPal payments?

    We need a system that truly and accurately makes everyone pay their share. Once we have that, I’d be willing to discuss what percentage is paid. Otherwise, it’s all just a corrupt conversation based on what we know are inaccurate numbers.

    A national sales tax solves all of that. It captures illegal income (drug dealers, etc.), income from illegal immigrants, and gets more revenue from foreign visitors.

    Have you read about the Fair Tax? Not perfect, but it does solve the other huge problem as well: the complexity of our tax laws. There is no reason the tax code should be as big as a phone book, and require us to spend hours/days filing. The Fair Tax throws all of that out, and in the process, eliminates all the costs of tax compliance from every phase of a product’s cost. They estimate 20% savings across the board, which almost breaks even on the 23% Sales Tax the plan uses instead. If a car that costs $10k costs only $8k once all the tax and compliance costs are eliminated, then who cares that they tack 23% tax on the car? Do the math – that car would now cost $9,840.

    Even if their numbers are slightly off, maybe the car needs to cost $11,000, that still better than what we pay now. Plus, we can now sell that car for $8,000 overseas to gain competitive advantage.

    The current tax laws are used to create the class warfare that keeps Americans polarized, and they are supported by the lobbyists representing CPAs and by the bureaucrats running the IRS. Yes, it would mean those people are out of business, but I don’t care.

    Finally, you do seem to suffer from the universal need to believe politicians are inherently good. Obama is not trying to help all Americans, he is only trying to help the ones that donated to his campaign. I can’t think of a single thing he’s done that I agree with. And I didn’t like most of Bush’s actions either, or Clinton’s. I have to admit to bailing on politics after earning my PS degree and law school – got married and a career and drifted away, so I don’t have much opinion before Bush1.


    What I especially like about a national sales tax is that it captures all the tax cheatsjust as society could

    • Anne

      Lisa I don’t think you’re right about tax cheats – oh they are wrong, no doubt about it, but I doubt if they are a truly significant cause of deficits. I think the problem lies not with cheating individuals and cheating small business, but the big companies that have lobbied for so many tax breaks or moved off shore to avoid taxes altogether.

      Sales tax is truly regressive and the original idea behind the income tax was a progressive tax. The founders, or at least Jefferson feared corporations and family wealth because they feared the aristocracy-like behavior that comes with corporations that can’t die and families that pass wealth on for generations.

      So I’d like to see the end of corporate welfare, the rescinding of the Bush tax cuts and the continuing of estate tax – if we did all three we could well afford health care for all. And keep in mind that we already pay more for health care in this country than any other country.

      Your fair tax sounds like value added tax – don’t know enough to have an opinion.

  • Great response, Anne!!! You did read my statement about every issue having multiple valid sides!!

    You are absolutely right, it is about creating a system that leads to compromise. Currently, we have Presidents who believe that by winning 52-48% (or whatever similar #s), they have a “mandate” to enforce their views on everyone – as if the 48% don’t matter.

    The solution: term limits on Congress. It solves 90% of our problems.

    The real problem, however, is apathy. Governments exist at all because people are too apathetic to protect themselves. We want to just lead our everyday lives without having to think about all the tough decisions or provide for our own safety and defense. And we do need defense – humans inherently clash and as the population grows we will definitely be fighting more (it’s not that evil govs start wars, without govs we’d have even more wars).

    The cycle repeats over and over. We grow dissatisfied with those leaders (maybe because we lost a war) overthrow the government and install a new government. The new “leaders” are OK at first, but as soon as we go back to being apathetic, those snake oil salesman politicians invade the system and turn government into their corrupt piggy bank. Eventually, a people rise up and throw the bums out and the cycle starts again. I think America is on the verge of a new cycle.

    The long term solution is to eliminate “leaders.” I don’t need BO to give me hope or change. I didn’t need GWB to tell me I wasn’t safe. I need trained, skilled professionals running our bureaucracy – not political appointees. And we don’t need ideological zealots representing us, we need dutiful servants that listen to their constituents and vote accordingly.

    When the Constitution was written, we absolutely needed leaders and strong negotiators to represent us. There was not mass communication – our reps rode to Washington on horseback and stayed for months making the decisions. They couldn’t consult with their constituents so we needed to make sure that they agreed with our views and ideology.

    But this is a different world. Any rep could set up telephone or online surveys to get accurate feedback from constituents instantly – we don’t need Reps and Senators to make our decisions for us anymore; we have the means to tell them how to vote. We just need obedient representatives, skilled in the administrative tasks associated with the job, not in the political aspects.

    But the pols don’t want that, of course. They are all power-mad and corrupt. All of the stimulus and recovery efforts underway do not have our best interests at heart – they have the interests of the entrenched pols at heart. The efforts are only intended to keep us from rising up and overthrowing the corrupt government.

    Term limits stops all of that. There might still be a little bribery, but KStreet as a whole would disappear. Earmarks disappear. But most importantly, this insane cycle of either one party having enough power to totally inflict their ideology on us, or both parties deadlocked so that nothing happens.

    We have to have a process that creates true compromise, not bought and paid for compromise.

    Today, we don’t even have valid arguments being heard because the zealots are in control. For example:

    Gay marriage – all we hear is either for or against. The most valid argument is: why is the government into marriage at all? Government should treat every citizen exactly the same, regardless of who they have sex with. Every right currently given to married couples can be enforced by contract – those same civil unions being offered to gays. Instead, we have government interfering in marriage such that:

    My fiance won’t marry me because she doesn’t want the legal liability.
    My mother had to marry my stepfather even those she didn’t want to in order to get insurance benefits.
    Happily married people have to get divorced – in order to secure Medicare benefits, older couples will divorce and transfer all assets to one partner so that the partner in need can declare bankruptcy and qualify for Medicare.
    You have men forced to financially support children that are not theirs. If you are married to the woman when she becomes pregnant, you have to pay child support, even if DNA proves it is not your child.
    And, of course, people that want to get married – gays – can’t.

    It’s crazy and the simple solution is for government to get out of the marriage business and, instead, simply enforce contract law.

    Other ones (well, actually, all issues qualify) are abortion and drugs. Why is the government trying to enforce laws that simply can’t be enforced? We’ve been fighting the war against drugs for decades, spending billions every year, for nothing. People aren’t going to stop using drugs, just like they didn’t stop drinking during Prohibition. As much as the zealots portray abortions as fetus-sucking debauchery in the OR, the reality is that almost all abortions today use the RU-486 pills. If we can’t stop planeloads of cocaine from flying into our country every week, how do we ever expect to stop a single 55-gallon drum of RU-486 from getting here? It’s a useless, stupid effort intended only to drive campaign contributions.

    I can go on with those examples all day. So why are we not hearing about these compromise options? Because pols don’t get campaign donations from people who want to compromise. They get them from zealots who want to enforce their agenda on others.

    So you are on the right track, Anne. We have to get the money and power motivation out of the legislative process, but the place to start is getting rid of the money-hungry, power-mad politicians, not by trying to put them on a leash. Since they are the ones that would design and implement the lease, expect that no one would be holding the other end.

    • Anne

      Ron, at first I thought you were a rabid right wing conservative. Then I climbed down of my liberal high horse and thought, no, he’s more a libertarian. Now I’m wondering if you aren’t an anarchist which is something my liberal soul has been drawn too.

      I believe in community – it’s just darn hard to form one in today’s society. I know ’cause I”m working on it now right where I live. May actually move closer to friends who have been intheir neighborhood forever and therefore truly know more folks.

      I’ve wanted the government out of marriage forever and agree they stay in for fees and the illusion of control.

      I’d repeal the drug laws because they are uninforceable.. I’d keep murder, rape and other violent crimes on the books until we’d evolved more.

      What I can’t figure out, and maybe you can, is how do you handle stuff like pollution. The idea that everyone has to dump upstream would help, but what about air pollution? Does it make sense to let the so-called free market determine which airplanes I fall – and I could only decide after some had fallen out of the sky?

      Do borders really make sense?

      Do you see what I mean? I haven’t been able to figure out a better way, not for lack of asking, but for lack of imagination.

  • Anne, this country is hurting too much right now for even one more, tiny little tax. Just the fact that people making less than $20,000 a year still have to pay taxes burns me up.

    The sales tax, for example, is regressive. True, people who are wealthy and buy more pay more. But if you are on welfare, you still have to pay it. Food and medicine are exempt in Florida, but clothing and utilities are not. Politicians love to tack hidden fees onto the utility bills so that they can’t start a state income tax. If they did, they’d be run out of office on a rail.

    This morning, I heard the $1.2 trillion health care plan might be paid for with taxes on the health insurance we already get. I’m self-employed and can barely afford the $162 a month I’m paying. Where are these taxes going to end?

    The Democrats once did a study, this is no lie, that claimed people would keep working until 95 percent of their income was taxed. Who did they talk to, aliens from Mars? Their own little Beltway friends?

    I’ve heard a lot of Americans say Costa Rica is great. Maybe it is. But I’m an American and proud of my country. I don’t think we’ll be gone in 30 years; we are still the strongest nation on earth. Look at the Middle East, what’s going on in Iran now. Their government is shutting down all electronic communication. Could that ever happen here? I seriously doubt it.

    The funny thing about celebrities is, every election we hear one side or the other say if their opponent gets elected, they are moving to Canada. Yet they are still in Hollyweird! They should just keep their big mouths shut and not alienate half their fans; the smarter ones do. They are sad creatures, actually, because life is just one big money racket to them. Most of them aren’t happy and we love to read about them and feel better about ourselves because we might have family and friends and they don’t know who stays with them because of their wealth.

    Anne, I don’t know if every law should expire after so many years. I don’t think murder and rape are covered in the Constitution, are they? Don’t get me started on how short rape sentences are. LOL

    The problem with these laws is they are way too complicated. That stimulus package was how thick and how could anyone possibly read that? Congress is passing laws without considering the consequences. The more I read about NAFTA, I wonder if some of the Democrats aren’t right. We did lose a lot of jobs to other countries, but at the same time, we can’t be protectionists. Companies have to adjust their business plans to survive. The car companies, banks and newspapers failed to do that, so they are collapsing. If so many jobs weren’t being lost, we should let them die. Yet if the politicians let that happen, they won’t get re-elected in their districts. It’s a vicious cycle.

    We all need to get used to living with less — less credit, less services, less welfare and Medicare. We have been living outside our means, off and on, for almost 40 years. I don’t advocate a return to the “good old days” of our youth, however. Heck, I remember the ’70s and they were god-awful. I sure don’t want to see 21 percent interest rates and gas lines again.

    We can work together if we remember we are in this crisis together and listen to each other. Simple communication and compromise are the answers. We also have to lighten up and quit this gloom-and-doom mentality. Ronald Reagan brought us out of a very dark time, with help from us. Obama is trying, he’s just inexperienced. I like how he admits his mistakes, as Reagan sometimes did.

    America made it through the Great Depression; we will thrive again.
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..Chef cooks up chemo for his tongue cancer =-.

  • Feel free to ignore me, Anne :-). I’m just spewing hot air. Some days I just need to vent, but I probably shouldn’t be ranting on your blog.

    Living in America is like being locked inside an insane asylum run by the inmates. It’s driving me crazy.

    I don’t mind corporations and all their excesses, just like I don’t mind a car with a little too much horsepower – it’s nice to have if you need it and it beats the heck out of walking. What’s important is the person (or government) steering and working the gas and brakes. In America, like all countries, the government system works so that the most corrupt, power-mad, ego-centric and conniving people rise to top of government. The pols play with our lives like we’re their personal ant farm.

    And everyone knows it. Politicians consistently rank near the bottom of all polls in areas like trust, honestly, etc. Congress is literally despised by about 80% of Americans. And yet, all the media has to do is tell y’all these people are the most qualified, and you vote them in. All the pols have to do to tell all the naive trusting fools what they want to hear, and you vote them in.

    “Vote for me, and I’ll protect you.” “Vote for me and I’ll get our troops out of Iraq.” “Vote for me and I’ll raise/not raise taxes.” “Vote for me and I’ll reach across the aisle to work for all Americans.”

    It’s all lies – bald-faced lies. And people lap it up.

    Worse are the people the media parades in front of us (especially our gullible children), as role models and allow to dominate mass communications to the exclusion of other voices. Do the research on Hollywood to just try to find anyone with a college degree – 95% of actors you have ever heard of are uneducated idiots with no value to add to any policy discussion, yet, their views are trumpeted in headlines, while brilliant people who have subject matter expertise are ignored.

    Really, we deserve everything that’s coming to us. In a sense, I guess, we are all victims, like the Democrats want us to believe. Victims of our own apathy, ignorance, gullibility, and fears. We elect “leaders” who have never led anything in their lives. There was a time, and it’s still true to an extent, that we could and did attract the smartest minds in the world to our country. The reason: capitalism – those terrible corporations that can allow a nobody like Bill Gates and Michael Dell to become billionaires, or John Doe to open a small business and earn a decent living. Nowhere else in the world was there more opportunity than America.

    Now, when we could be still aggressively recruiting those smart minds with offers of education and citizenship, we instead just allow the dregs and losers of the world to illegally invade our country, use up our schools and healthcare system, and then ship our money back home.

    Capturing the smartest people in the world would make us the global economic powerhouse for centuries to come, but we turn them away because they all apply to enter the country legally and we don’t allow that. But if you have a 4th grade education, no skills, and are starving, we encourage you to enter illegally and then give you free services.

    It is fricking insane.

    Costa Rica is “The Switzerland of Central America.” Stable democracy (ah, remember when we were kids) for 50 years. No income tax. Socialized medicine for a few bucks a month. If you live away from the coasts, in the interior valley, its temperate all year, no need for A/C. Low violent crime. Petty theft is common, but only if you turn your back on them. But I don’t plan on acquiring a bunch of stuff worth stealing. I figure 4 pairs of shorts, 2 jeans, a good pair of sandals, sun block, my laptop, and the Amex card and I’m living fine.


    • Anne

      Ron I was going to respond point by point when it dawned on my this might be a golden opportunity for another approach. My question the last several years is how do people of good heart but with truly opposing views ever come together to help make needed changes? Or what’s your solution?

      I think my first solution would be to get the money out of as much politics as I could. That would mean I think, Federal Funding of campaigns (and yeah, I know that’s got its own problems, but I think the benefits would far outweigh the problems – yep, funded by taxes) and no earmarks on any bill even for my own favorite causes.

      Another thought I’ve had and am not sure I have the courage to advocate is every law but the constitution and its amendments outlaws in seven or 15 years or some number like that.

      So, what do you think? How can we work together in spite of it all?


  • Thanks, Lisa, for the support.

    As for disagreeing with me about the MarxMobile manufacturers, I think you’re just looking at a different perspective. I didn’t mean that their cars don’t run or last, they can. What I said is that their cars are so crappy that they’re losing out to foreign manufacturers – which they absolutely are. Did you hear about them going bankrupt? Have you heard about Toyota going bankrupt?

    Obviously, both companies have some very loyal customers. I’m just suggesting that they’ve also lost some very loyal customers by becoming taxpayer-funded and union-owned. I absolutely know many people who will never buy another car from those companies until, if it every happens, they are again private companies with no ownership by the gov or unions.

    If you know any betting types, I’m offering odds that all government cars will soon be Generalisimo Motors or Chryslers.

    As for all pols not being corrupt … I guess we could differ on the exact meaning of corrupt. I am just of the opinion that the two parties do not let anyone make it to Washington under their banners unless the person has kowtowed to their agenda – which is a corrupt one. I’ll accept that there might be some local or state politicians that aren’t corrupt. And there used to be a Rep from Oklahoma that we honest – he promised to only serve two terms as I recall, and despite his popularity, did just that.

    The fact is that every pol in DC makes every decision based on one factor: whether it will enhance their chances at re-election. I guess, in a perfect world, one could rationalize that the pol must obey his/her constituents to get re-elected, but it’s simply not true. If the pol does not kiss party behind, he won’t get any committee assignments, he won’t be able to introduce bills, or speak on the floor. And, his district will suddenly find itself without pork. Being an Independent only makes that worse.

    THE major problems, IMHO, with health care are twofold. Most importantly, it’s legal costs. My father-in-law was a neurosurgeon and despised the trial lawyers (they own the Democratic Party BTW, think John Edwards x1000). It’s not just malpractice insurance, the partisans will cite the low percentage of overall costs represented by those premiums, it’s all of the unnecessary and over-the-top processes that have been added to healthcare delivery to protect against malpractice liability. It’s just like other industries – walk through WalMart and you can see added costs in almost every product that resulted from trial lawyers suing for liability. It doesn’t matter that many plaintiffs are equally or more at fault, or if other parties were at fault – as long as the attorney can convince a jury that the deep-pocketed defendent had any small share of the blame, that defendent can be made to shoulder all of the costs. Our litigious society costs every citizen thousands of dollars per year and the trial lawyers are the ones getting rich.

    The other cause of rising healthcare costs is longer life expectancy. Unfortunately, the added years are not quality years. People think they should live forever and that no expense is too great if it lets them stay alive another few months. Or, greedy doctors prey on our sympathies to convince us to expend every effort and expense in prolonging the life of a loved one, even when that additional lifetime is spent in a nursing home with full-time attendants.

    There is a reason that Canadians, Germans, and people from all over the world come to America for critical healthcare – and it is directly related to the fact that their hospitals are socialized. Socialized medicine has not produced the quality of care available in American in any country in which its been tried. For example, I’ve been in the socialized Mexican hospitals and would almost prefer to die on the street than check myself into them.

    The victim theology is ruining this country Hopefully, I won’t be around to see it, but I don’t expect the US to last another 30 years, probably not 20. And when the crap goes down, those 3rd world countries that no one cares about are going to look mighty safe.

    But really, comparing Jamaica and other bankrupt ghettos to Costa Rica is not accurate. Check it out.

  • Gee, Ron, I hope you know Spanish. LOL

    Seriously, though, you make a lot of excellent points. I venture, however, that ALL politicos aren’t corrupt, just the ones who are allowed to spend 30 or 40 years in Washington. If we didn’t hand them big fat pensions and all these other perks and initiated term limits, things would change.

    As Ross Perot once said, they all should have to fly on regular planes, eat bad meals and get their luggage lost. The fat cats get used to eating all the mice they can and totally ignore us little people back home.

    He lost because both parties are heavily invested in not allowing a third party. That would destroy their whole Beltway Fantasyland.

    I disagree with you about Chrysler and GM. I have a 9-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee that has had very minimal problems. My parents owned a Dodge van with the 318 engine that’s probably still running somewhere. When they sold it, it was a rust bucket but it got them and my siblings everywhere for at least 14 years. I think my dad cried the day he sold it to a guy who was gonna transport migrant workers.

    They have a 1984 Buick Regal that still runs. They don’t know how many miles it has because the odometer and speedometer broke, but people are always stopping by and want to buy it. Not just for parts, either.

    I don’t have much sympathy for union workers. As I wrote above, I lost a job for having cancer, not by choice. Most union workers have little education and few skills, yet make $26 and more an hour. They got fat pensions with health insurance. They’ve known for 20 years or so that the car companies were in trouble; why not change careers?

    Still, I would not live in any other country. If you’ve been to Jamaica or another third-world area, you will thank your lucky stars you were born here or became a citizen in the U.S.

    Canada and the U.K. both have long lines for health care. People wait on lists for heart or cataract surgery; they come here to get the best health care. Why don’t Obama and Congress consider the German plan? It’s supposed to be very efficient. Why model ourselves after a mess?

    The other trouble with government is that once an agency or program is established, it never goes away. Is the Tennessee Valley Authority (electricity) still around? It existed at least 30 years longer than needed. If we quickly push through a health care plan that won’t work, we’ll be stuck with another Medicare. Isn’t it bad enough that the government’s now running our banks and car companies? Socialism is not the answer.

    Ronald Reagan was right when he said “Government is not the solution to our problems; government IS the problem.”
    .-= Lisa Cunningham´s last blog ..Chef cooks up chemo for his tongue cancer =-.

  • Anne,
    Oh my, can’t you let just a little news in? Just apply the BS filter to ferret out the facts. I say that because …

    You seem to be a bit partisan, very skewed one way. So much so, that I doubt anyone will ever get you back to open-minded consideration, but I’ll try :-). Note that in everything I write, there is no partisan support for either political party. I hate them both equally.

    Here is a very true statement that you need to think about:

    For every issue, there are valid arguments for opposing viewpoints. Were there not, it would not be an issue.

    Pick an issue and I can tell you at least two sides that are valid, and probably a third that the politicians don’t want you to discuss.

    For example, from your post:

    Wars can be very cost effective – ask Lockheed Martin and Haliburton, ask the Vikings, Hitler, Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, et al. Not so much for the losing side however. You will prefer to be on the winning side.

    Corporate greed didn’t “cause” the banking crisis or health insurance problems – Lord, you sound ultra-left wing – if anything, it was “personal greed” of people working at corporations … combined with personal greed, power lust, and corruption in our politicians … combined with personal greed, materialistic insanity, and financial stupidity by most of us for overborrowing … combined with the glorification of wealth-at-any-cost, keep-up-with-the-jones, multiculturalist non-morality, disregard for family, and lying-bias-disguised-as-objective-journalism that has come to permeate our society – much of it spewed on us by an agenda-driven media and entertainment industry.

    Unions are an anachronism from a bygone era that have no relevance in modern economies and only continue to exist because of the legal protection afforded them by politicians to extort large corporations. For example, have you any doubt that when the numbers are crunched, the major differences between profitable foreign car manufacturers and their American counterparts are 1) the cost for labor, and 2) the work quality produced by those laborers? High paid, job-protected union employees produced the crappy cars that drove buyers away from Chrysler and GM. Now the Dems have stolen from the secured lenders to those companies and given their assets to the unions. Guess how many Americans will now never buy another Chrysler or GM Marxmobile? I for one, and I can immediately name 20 others. Those companies now have no chance of ever returning to profitability in the free market – half of the country hates what they represent. Instead, the Dems will award them all the government contracts they can to keep them afloat, with the result that you basically have the American taxpayers paying to keep union members employed, just as we currently pay to keep the underperforming teacher’s union’s members employed.

    I can’t imagine what you dislike about allowing drugmakers to advertise. What I dislike is that people are too stupid and that they fall for the advertising. If I tell you a lie that you should absolutely know to be a lie, am I the bad guy when you believe me, or is your stupidity the real problem? Hint: there will always be bad guys, the solution is to not be stupid.

    I do agree with your statement about money buying influence in Congress, but there you go again with your universal Monster, the “corporations.” Do you not understand that most of the blatant corruption is not huge corporations. Look at Rep. Murtha and the pork barrel contracts his influence has secured for his relatives – those companies are not huge, but $5m here and there add up. Yes, big corporations lobby, but they’re not usually the ones bribing.

    But you miss the big picture with your partisan hysteria about corporations – the politicians are the problem. They allow themselves to be influenced. They accept bribes. They are corrupt. The solution is a simple as the nose on your face: TERM LIMITS. It works great with Presidents and could be just fine with Congress as well. But, of course, they’ll never vote it in. It will be left to the People, and the fastest solution is to just not elect any incumbent. Unofficial Term Limits.

    If anyone lacked fear in your hearts until he/she listened to George Bush, they are either naive or ignorant. 9/11 did happen. It was Islamic terrorists that perpetrated the act. The same people have attacked the US more than 30 times since 1979 when the last pacifist idiot, Jimmy Carter, tried to appease them. Do you think all of the widows and orphans from 9/11, the embassy bombings, the bombing of our barracks in Saudi Arabia, the Lockerbee crash, and on and on, had no reason to be fearful until George Bush told them to be? I’ve never heard anything so preposterous.

    Can’t imagine, again, what you mean by “trashing science education.” I had children in the public schools at the time and their science curriculum never changed. You really sound like you been drinking left-wing conspiracy theory Kool-aid. Instead, if you are really worried about education, don’t just focus on science – the entire public school system is a failure. Private schools produce better results with less money across the board. The problem is your buddies again, the unions. The NEA doesn’t care about our children, except that they want to indoctrinate them in their victim ideology. They only care about keeping their members employed. They made a travesty of No Child Left Behind. My kids are supposed to take a test every year to evaluate how well they’ve been taught. The corrupt school administrators refuse to let the test make that evaluation because they know how lousy of a job they’re doing. Instead, my kids spend several hours each week taking a class that teaches them how to take the evaluation test. The test is now meaningless. Just a small example, but the entire school system is crap and the only answer the NEA has is “more money, more money, more money.” Catholic schools, for example, beat public schools in every performance metric and spend about 25% less per child according to the last data I read.

    There just seems to be this ongoing theme in your statements of avoiding personal responsibility. You aren’t a coward or fearful, the big bad government “sold” you on the concept. You didn’t want to buy those worthless over-priced drugs, the drug company advertisements made you do it. People didn’t borrow themselves into a hole buying bigger houses, nicer cars, or taking vacations they couldn’t afford – the big bad corporations “sold” them on high interest/high-risk loans. You’ve bought into the entire “victim” theology of the Democrats, which makes you no better than anyone who bought into Bush’s warnings that Islamic terrorists want to kill us. Personally, because I do believe there are Islamic terrorists who want to kill us, you sound worse.

    My recommendation is that you not isolate yourself from news, but I agree with the advertising (Tivo rocks!). You just have to understand that EVERYONE is lying, and learn how to separate the agenda-driven bias from the actual facts, and then use common sense to figure out what the facts mean.

    But mostly, you need to understand that first statement above. You name an issue, and I can tell you valid arguments for both sides, or more accurately, for all sides. Because that is the other HUGE problem with our society: we’ve let the corrupt GOP and Dems make us believe that there are just two sides to every issue, and that they represent those two sides. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The reality is that the two parties need each other. Whenever one party gets weak, as the GOP is now and the Dems were in ’04, the other party will intentionally screw up (can you say “stimulus bill”) to allow the other party back in the game. You see, it’s kind of hard to drum up campaign contributions without a viable opponent.

    And yes, I could go on as well, Anne. You really need to see politicians as the blood-sucking, ego maniac, power-mad criminals that they are. None of them have our best interests at heart. An honest person cannot be elected to Washington – at least, by either of the two major parties. The amount of bribes and corruption being flung around DC at this very moment, as Democratic partisans try to steal that stimulus money, is probably unprecedented in our history. The Republicans did the same with the Iraq funding money when they had the purse strings, and before them it was the Democrats turn again with Abscam and assorted other crimes.

    All politicians either rely on our fear or our hopes and dreams for their very existence. Fear is a government institution, always has been. It’s actually the one legitimate reason to have governments. Fear of war, fear of recession, fear of starvation, poverty, blah, blah. Everything being done right now to “save our economy” is actually being done “to save the politicians’ @ss,” so that we don’t revolt and break out the guillotines.

    But we should be fearful. There is evil in the world. The Feds don’t get us into wars. I dare anyone to name any date in the history of mankind when there wasn’t a war being waged somewhere. Trust me, the Feds had nothing to do with all those wars. People start wars, always have, always will, and none of liberals’ wishing and dreaming will change that.

    If GWB is guilty of fear-mongering, the BO is guilty of manipulating our desires for peace and understanding. He isn’t going to get us out of Iraq, never was, never intended to. The Dems were given Congress in ’06 by a bunch of idiots who believed their lies about getting us out of Iraq. I offered high odds to anyone willing to bet that it wouldn’t happen. Amazingly, people believed those lies, but they wouldn’t bet me.

    You want some predictions? The GOP will gain seats in Congress in ’10. We’ll still be in Iraq and Afghanistan when BO leaves office. Global warming will fade away. The economy will get better, as it would have anyway. And the Dems and BO will never reach across the aisle as he promised.

    It has always amazed me that liberals denigrate religion and expound on the virtues of Darwinism, but then refuse to allow Darwinism (the strong survive) to have its effect on society. There can never be “equal opportunity” when people are not equal. Some of us are smarter, more diligent, more ambitious, etc. than others. How can you make a stupid, lazy, complacent person have an equal opportunity against that competition? The liberals answer is to penalize and restrain those stronger people to keep them at the same level as the idiots. Darwin would be rolling over in his grave. I, on the other hand, am going to bail on this corrupt society as soon as I can get someone to buy my house. Costa Rica, here I come!!

    • Anne

      Ron, I’m not ignoring you… I’ve copied your comments into word so they are easier to read… don’t want to just shoot from the hip. Although it amuses me you want to go to costa rica… so do I!

  • Tell me one thing the federal government does cost effectively and I might listen to some rationale for involving them in health care. However, since I could list hundreds of things they’ve screwed up, it would still be an uphill battle. They screw up anything and everything, and yet apathetic voters continue to believe their lies.

    I just don’t understand how America changed from the most powerful, innovative, and richest country in the world, into a bunch of sniveling cowards crying for the corrupt politicians to please take care of us.

    Suck it up, people. Bite the bullet, pay the consequences, and most importantly, change your ways. Don’t you have children???

    There’s never going to be world peace until we get the politicians out of government. Quit enabling them. Even if you think you like one, vote someone new in every term. The only qualification we require of politicians is that they do what we say – that shouldn’t take years of experience and influential contacts. A new politician should be able to do what we say just as well as one who’s been in office for 20 years. Don’t be afraid, just throw them out. Trust me, it’ll work out.


    • Anne

      The feds sure go to war – of course war isn’t cost effective unless, maybe, it’s on our own soil.

      One of the ways the US has changed is bowing to the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. When we allowed the mistaken ruling of the Supreme Court that corporations were ‘persons’ we set the stage for the corporate greed and welfare that has caused the current banking crisis and the current health insurance crisis. Reagan’s union busting and destruction of much of the Taft Hartley anti-trust legislation began to frost the current cake.

      Allowing drug companies to advertise all sorts of new illnesses and pitch perscriptions is one of the major problems with our health care system today.

      Money = free speech has allowed incredible amounts of money to be spent by corporations to essentially buy congress.

      The W. Bush admin used 911 to strike fear into the hears of many Americans and trashed science education… not alone, that had started long ago.

      I could go on Ron, but I would say that at least in part cowardice and fear have been sold to us right along with SUVs.

      My personal solution has been to have no TV and restrict news and advertising in my life.

      And I’d get the money out of politics by restricting money as speech… but I’ve noticed ‘they’ never call and ask me how to fix things, so I call them.


  • Anne, yes, the criminal part is that being dropped like that STILL happens!

    I’m concerned, however, about the Kennedy health care plan because it has no verbage about how we will pay for it. Florida Sen. Connie Mack, also a cancer survivor, was one of the first to propose a single card with cradle-to-grave coverage back in the ’80s. Over 20 years later, health insurance companies continue to lobby against it.
    [rq=3655,0,blog][/rq]Chef cooks up chemo for his tongue cancer

    • Anne

      If we’re ever fortunate enough to have single payer like they do in canada, the UK, etc. it will be paid with taxes. If we’d stop corporate welfare I suspect most of it could come from there. But some of it will come out of our income tax… I”d rather that than war.

  • Anne

    Ron, what, and lose a tremendous opportunity to finally understand the women in your life?

  • Oh my, I think y’all lost all the guys in this thread, LOL. Another dozen e-mail notifications from this girl talk today and I might turn off my preferences. 🙂

  • Lisa, my God. I am sorry that you had to go through that, but I’m glad you’re doing better now. Sara, I hope your health is better now, too!
    Journalists tend to be workaholics–it’s sort of the nature of the job–but it can take a terrible toll. It’s hard, but important, to find a healthy balance. I’m certainly no expert at it myself, though!

  • Luckily for me, Sara, I had a very curable tongue and neck cancer, similar to what chef Grant Achatz had. Mine was caught in an early stage, however, by an alert dentist. I learned the importance of living in the moment and my best friends are those who do the same.

    I hope your heart troubles are over. That’s just as scary as cancer.

    A lot of Buddhists emphasize living in the moment. If you like meditation, I recommend Thich Nhat Han’s books and recordings. He has an amazingly calm presence that relieves stress.

    Lisa Cunningham’s last blog post..Chef cooks up chemo for his tongue cancer

  • Wow, Lisa, that’s dreadful. I’m 26–was laid off when I was 25–and had a similar thing happen only not nearly as bad as cancer; I started having heart troubles, high blood pressure, severe weight gain, and a slew of other problems–ending up with me in the hospital with two surgeries last summer, only to be laid off months later. I, too, realized that it was sooo not worth it.

    Thanks again for the advice; I wish more people would take the time to live in the moment instead of working themselves into the ground. I know I’m trying to!

    Sara Schmidt’s last blog post..Home Ec 101

    • Anne

      Sara, amen to living in the moment and when you think about it, what else have we got?

  • Sara, I’m so glad we were able to help.

    When I was 27, I was a workaholic, putting in 50 hours a week as an editor. Since my deadlines were late Friday night and Saturday till about 7 p.m., I had no social life. I was getting divorced, anyway, so I figured it didn’t matter.

    Ha. I got diagnosed with cancer, the company let me go because their health insurance would probably go up and I learned a valuable lesson. Never love a job because it won’t love you back.

    I’m glad I learned that when I was young! It was almost worth having cancer.

    Lisa Cunningham’s last blog post..Chef cooks up chemo for his tongue cancer

    • Anne

      Lisa, your story re health insurance is why I’m working to push single payer… that’s simply criminal in my opinion. Love the never love a job ’cause it won’t love you back. Ought to be tshirt or a bumper sticker!

  • Wow, thank you all so much for the insights! Anne, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my letter. I really have enough other projects right now that I can let this client go and am considering it.

    JMS, I love your idea, and I do that (schedule content to be posted) with some social networking for this very client–but unfortunately this software is completely manual.

    Jennifer and Jorge, thank you so much for your comments. This definitely isn’t a gig that pays well enough for weekend work, in my opinion.

    Ron, I appreciate the comments, and it’s not the time I’m wary of–it’s the needing me every. Single. Day. She also schedules weekend meetings that are routinely canceled at the last moment. I have a young child and a family and, well, a life, and I don’t like having to work on Easter and Mother’s Day–or weekends, really. None of my other clients call for this.

    I was an editor for years before being laid off when my company went broke last year, and I was definitely a workaholic then–weekends, 16-hour days, the whole bit on salary. I’d really like to keep a balanced life this time around and all of your advice has helped so much. Thank you!

    Sara Schmidt’s last blog post..Home Ec 101

  • I, personally, wouldn’t take the confrontational approach. The next time the client called to ask for a meeting, I’d apologize profusely and claim to be deep into another project that prevents me from taking the time out to visit at her location. I’d sound real concerned about the possibility of losing her business and plead for a chance to just meet over the phone this time.

    Done correctly, the client would almost surely let you slide this time and accept the phone meeting.

    Next time she calls, consider making the meeting, but then plead out of the next 2-3 meetings as well. The goal is to show the client that you don’t need to have personal meetings.

    However, I suspect that your client wants the in-person meetings because of her inability to communicate otherwise – she’s probably ADHD. I had a client like that who wanted me to read my work over the phone to her because of her inability to concentrate long enough. I had to drop her because that still didn’t solve her communication problems.

    As for the 6am and weekend emails, I haven’t a clue why you complain. Freelancing is a global gig, if you stick to US concepts of weekends off and 8-5 EST work hours, you’re eliminating a lot of the world as possible clients. It’s a fair trade-off to me – for most of my jobs, I can choose to do the work anytime I want. If occasionally I have to accommodate a client’s schedule, it’s just the cost of doing this business. Get over it.

    Ditto for Meghna, although I’d never tie up my system for an 8-18 hour download. Have those clients FedEx the CDs of the app. If that’s not possible, Google “pay as you go wifi” to find many solutions that can give you the broadband access you need for the day. If it was $50, it’s still cheaper than twiddling your thumbs for 18 hours.

  • Oops, I meant Sara’s client, of course.

    jorgekafkazar’s last blog post..Stranded in Mexico

  • It’s totally unreasonable for a client to expect a contractor to work 7 days a week on his/her stuff, unless there’s a compelling and urgent reason to do so. If I had to do Saturday and Sunday reports, per contractual terms, I’d just send brief messages: “No progress.” or “Prepared schedule for next week.” or “Archived draft files.” or “Meeting with other clients.”

    It sounds to me as if Meghna’s client is power tripping and/or taking advantage. If daily meetings are not specified in the contract, then I’d refuse to take part, claiming a prior appointment: “I can’t meet with you Tuesday; I have a doctor’s appointment. How does Friday look?” Easy for me to say, but the contract is the defining document for the work. One approach would be, if it doesn’t say you can’t charge for meetings, just start invoicing for them and see what happens.

    Does anyone here have a sample contract they’d care to share? I’ll be happy to comment on it, if desired.

    jorgekafkazar’s last blog post..Stranded in Mexico

  • Ack. I felt stressed out just reading Sara’s original post.

    I think if I were in Sara’s situation, I’d do one of two things, although I’m not sure which one. I’d either 1) think hard about perhaps letting that client go or 2) scheduling yet another meeting to talk about all this extra meeting and the weekend assignments. If the job paid well, I’d probably go with option no. 2. If it didn’t, I’d probably go with option no. 1. The client may not be aware that she’s suddenly requiring that much time and effort from you–or that you are also working for other clients.

    And Anne’s right. If you go with option no. 2, you will probably have to take a deep breath and remind her frequently that you will be billing her for that time.

    I’m eager to find out what happens now!

    Jennifer L’s last blog post..Working for (or during) the weekend

  • Excellent advice. I’ve decided to spell things out from the beginning with a contract, which is what we all need to do. Just as an attorney charges for her time, you have to gently remind them that each minute or hour is going to run more money. It’s like a taxi meter. It really cuts down on needless rewrites and edits.

    It’s so important to balance your time and just say no if you’re overwhelmed.

    Lisa’s last blog post..Kids teach us volumes about coping with cancer

  • Meghna

    Oops.. looks like I got your name wrong too Devon 😛
    Sorry 🙂

  • Meghna

    Thanks Devan. I plan to do so from now on. 🙂

    I should also point out that my name is Meghna, and not Meghan 🙂

    It’s a bit unusual name, and everyone seems to get it wrong. It’s actually a Sanskrit word and means lightning (yeah, as in thunder and lightning). 😛

  • Anne, as usual, is wonderful and diplomatic.

    Meetings cut into the workday. They are paid time, including travel time to and from the meetings.

    Redefine “Daily” to mean Monday – Friday. If they want 7 days/week, you get paid doubletime for the weekend emails.

    Meghan, absolutely, you are paid for download time. It’s part of the job.

    Time = billed time.

    Never assume ANYTHING. Put even the most mundane, common-sense details into your contracts.

    Devon Ellington’s last blog post..Friday, May 22, 2009

  • JMS

    About the timing of the daily e-mail blast… I don’t know what kind of software Sara is using to send out the e-mails, but some applications allow you to schedule a blast ahead of time. Would it be possible to write the e-mail the day/night before, then set it to go out at a certain time (whether that is 6 AM or 9 AM)?

  • Meghna

    I have to charge by the hour, since it is not possible to estimate how much time I will need to learn the product unless I see it and a lot also depends on collaboration between their IT team.

    I have been thinking I should charge for heavy downloads but I wasn’t sure if it was ethical since I am not actually doing any billable work for them at that time.

    Thanks for the advice Anne. I think I will discuss it at the start of my next project with my clients, maybe charge them at lower rate for that time and see how it goes with them.

  • Meghna


    I have a similiar problem.

    As a technical writer, I often have to install very heavy softwares’ on my PC so I can write out product documentations. There are times when downloading them can take 8-12 hours (I have even had one clients software suite download and install run into 18 hours). This is time I cannot use productively since my internet will run too slow to be of much use. By using internet simultaneously, I also run the risk of cancelling out the download by taking away bandwidth from it and then I would need to start all over again.

    I guess I could leave on the software downloads at night but since my projects are generally quite time-consuming and demand a high-level of concentration, I prefer to take up at max only a couple at times, so either I am working or I am downloading. Also, if I take up more I run the risk of having conflicting software installed that would interfere with each other and just mess up everything. To an extent, I do get around it by using external drives but it still isn’t possible to work on more than 1-2 projects at a time when each project runs into a 100-300 hours each on average.

    Getting another PC with another broadband connection isn’t possible for me and would be too expensive even if I could.

    Do you think i should charge my clients for the time I use to install the software since it generally means the loss of 1-2 workdays for me? Would it even be ethical?

    • Anne

      Meghna, I can’t tell if you bill by the hour or do each project as a flat fee. I will say you should get paid for a download of that nature… even three or four hours. It might make sense to charge at a slightly lower hourly rate than you do when you’re actually learning the software and writing, but if it’s tying up your equipment you deserve to be paid. Does that make sense?

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