Notes on Negotiation

Tips on getting what you want, and getting what everyone wants, in negotiations.

Tips on getting what you want, and getting what everyone wants, in negotiations.

When Eisenhower became President, Truman was rumored to have said, “Ike can’t just tell people what to do like he could in the Army. When you are president, you only get what you can negotiate.” Whether this story actually happened is irrelevant. In life, you only get what you negotiate.

Tactics

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Government Officials and Flights – Abuse of Money and Power?

The dangers of making decisions too quickly, with too little information, or with too much emotion.

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, was forced to resign after revelations that he took charted civilian and military aircraft on trips that were of debatable value to the US taxpayer. The price tag was over $400,000 for the civilian flights and about $500,000 for the military airlift. Since his tenure in office was about eight months (10 February to 29 September 2017), Price spent over $100,000 per month for these flights alone; seemingly an impressive rate of burning taxpayer money. This appears to be prima facie evidence of corruption, or at least rank insensitivity to the needs and resources of the American people.

Price is not the only one. According to the New York Times[1], Secretary Ryan Zinke (Interior), Administrator Scott Pruitt (EPA), Secretary David Shulkin (VA), Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Treasury), and others also garnered criticism for flights from Las Vegas to Europe. These accusations are serious, as public service is a public trust and leaders must act with discretion. Several of these Cabinet members protested that they followed proper procedures, and they may have, but the damage remains. In this time of enormous Federal deficits, and national debts, leaders must not only be squeaky clean; they must appear squeaky clean.

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Understanding Authority

Since the Fall, man has hated authority. America has built a culture on the hatred of authority, and yet God is still Lord, and He still appoints people over us. What do we do?

The US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is alleged to have said “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” Whether he said this or not, the idea of questioning authority has woven itself into the DNA of American culture. But the idea of questioning authority is not new; indeed, it is as old as man. Since the serpent convinced Eve to question God’s authority in the Garden of Eden, sinful man has questioned authority. Even more, we have an inherent dislike of it. The idea that anyone or anything should be “over” us in some way is anathema to man, especially individualistic Americans.

Before we continue, we must define our terms. For our purposes, “to question” will be “to ask” or even “to challenge” authority but not to automatically reject it. We will define “authority” as “the power to give orders or make decisions: the power or right to direct or control someone or something.”[1] Note that authority is not the same as power. Power is simple ability, while authority is ability plus legitimacy. A man holding a gun may have the power to take your money, but he doesn’t have the authority to do so. A tax collector in a democratic government has both the power and the legitimacy, hence the authority, to take your money.

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Values-Aligned Investing

Put your money where your heart is, and live your conscious with your finances. 

Christians often have a conflicted relationship with money. On one hand, Paul was a tentmaker who supported himself in ministry, and he tells Timothy that “a man who fails to care for his family is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8).” Many saints in the Bible were wealthy, from Abraham to Joseph of Arimathea, and they used their wealth to further the Kingdom of God.

Simultaneously, the Bible speaks often of money, and warns repeatedly against pursuing wealth. Paul says, “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10).” Agur advises “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain (Proverbs 30:8-9).” Jesus Himself warns, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24).”

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Useful Quotations on Money, Poverty and Wealth

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

Mark 10:29 – Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,

30 – but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

31 – “But many who are first, will be last; and the last, first.”

 

“I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.” E E Cummings (1894-1962)

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

“If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.” J. Paul Getty (1892-1976)

“Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), U.S. president. Speech, 21 March 1864, in reply to committee from the New York Workingmen’s Association.

“Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.” Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), U.S. Republican (later Progressive) politician, president. Speech, 23 Aug. 1902, Providence, R.I.

“The forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Radio broadcast, 7 April 1932.

How to Improve your Health and Health Care

Most people get lost in the maze of health care, and suffer as a result. Some strategies help…

Throughout Central Asia, the Middle East, and much of the developing world, people have told me that they cannot get good medical care. In some cases good care is too expensive, in other cases medical care is affordable but poor quality, and in still other cases medical care, good or bad, does not exist. Some friends with significant health care problems labor in austere conditions never knowing when a medical emergency will strike, and if they will be able to get help when and where they need.

Some people have similar problems in the developed world, even including the United States. America has been swept by debates about health care, especially about how to make quality health care available to all Americans. Medicare is a government single payer program for the elderly and Medicaid is the same for the poor, but these programs pay providers too little and yet are unsustainably expensive for the nation. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the most recent Federal attempt to improve Americans’ health, but the results have been mixed. Fundamentally the ACA was health insurance reform, not health care reform, and providing someone with an insurance card is not the same as providing them with health care. Hence we have millions who lost their insurance, millions who got new insurance, and millions waving their new insurance cards in the air who cannot get care because it doesn’t exist in their area, wait times are too long, or the system pays so little that providers cannot afford to take these patients.

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