Tag Archives: money

The Rich Get! Everyone Else is on Their Own.

22 Dec

The 1.1 trillion dollar budget legislation approved by Congress and signed this week by the President, included a provision that is supposed to prevent an implosion of multi-employer pension plans. Those in favor of this provision claim that it is better to preserve some pension benefits for workers rather than letting plans collapse… especially because the multi-employer fund is “supposed to” run out of money within 10 years. And If the multi-employer system were to collapse, pensioners would  be left with no benefits. But the multi-employer plans are insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federally sponsored agency that insures private sector pensions. So what’s the problem?

Remember when all of those banks were about to go under because of their predatory lending scams and derivative packaging frauds and phoney bond rating swindles? And the federal agency that insures their money put it all back to the tune of trillions and trillions of dollars at tax payer expense? And then the bankers and wall street execs gave themselves million dollar bonuses for all of their good (dishonest) work?

So why can’t these at risk pension plans receive a giant infusion of money from that same federal government to save them and bail them out to keep their pensioners getting their full hard earned pensions…just like when all of those banks and bankers were bailed out? Because according to the plan as set forth in this bill, the maximum cuts permitted under the law for retired union workers are pretty drastic. For a retiree with 25 years of service and a $25,000 annual benefit, the maximum annual cut permitted under the law is… $13,200! That’s more than half of what is already a fairly meager amount, especially when you compare it to a millionaire’s bonus money.

Imagine being a middle aged man receiving a 2 million dollar bonus annually and having it cut by 1 million? You still get a million dollar bonus…and it’s a bonus! Now imagine being 70 years old and living on 25K per year and then being told you’ll have to live on 13,500 dollars! And did you know that this recent budget legislation, besides cutting these multi-employer pension benefits, includes the loosening of regulations that will make it easier for those same U.S. banks to lose all of their (our) money again?…If and whenever they please that is.

So, if the rich keep getting richer, and those who run our government are rich and are backed by the even richer, then what future is there for the honest working men and women of this country and their other hard earned retirement plans like public sector pensions, Social Security and Medicare?

According to financial experts full pension benefits shouldn’t be considered a sure thing anymore and everyone should have a Plan B…like saving your money to “make sure you have something to rely on in the future”. That’s if you work for a living of course, and have money laying around that isn’t sunk into an underwater mortgage or inflated college tuition or predatory credit card debt at up to 20% interest. If you do you can save it for the future…at .1% interest… from the big banks.

And what do you suppose is the super rich’s plan B when times get tough?

Thanks to Congress That’s an easy one… Just steal all the money again!

The GM Defense

8 Jul

It’s funny how people process their morality. It seems that the higher the monetary stakes the more likely it is that a person will find a reason to behave immorally. Especially if the person is far away from the other people that his decisions will be affecting and most definitely if those people are of another class/culture or race.

So money gained minus people hurt divided by class/culture and race, times distance from those affected equals the probability of altering one’s moral turpitude…or

$ – P/CCR x D = M                  

  …or something like that.

Anyway, it doesn’t take an Einstein to know that causing the deaths of 12 people because you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money redesigning and recalling your automobile is wrong…does it?…but then again I don’t work for or own or represent General Motors. I’m just one of the poor, affected, middle class saps who bought one of their cars.

So try this technique should you ever find yourself on the wrong side of a murder/homicide.

If you’re the one holding the smoking gun just fire as many bullets as you can at the floor or ceiling or wherever there aren’t any other humans for as long as you can until the police arrive to arrest you.

Then at your trial have your lawyer point out that you fired over 10,000 bullets and only hit and killed one person! Who would spend that kind of time and money on murder? It was obviously just a mistaken and costly accident.

Call it the General Motors defense!

And, oh yeah…you’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

Raise Your Hand If You’d Like a Raise

3 Jun

It was recently reported that the median CEO salary in America is 10.5 million dollars per year.

That’s an increase of 8.8% over last years median CEO salary.

That’s almost a 1 million dollar raise…per year.

How big of a raise did you get last year?…if you got one at all…

(You might have even taken a pay cut…or had your entire job cut.)

How long can our Republic continue on this path of immense raises to our wealthiest, while middle and lower income earners stagnate under lower wages, lessened benefits and the burden of increasing debt?

I understand that it works great for the wealthy but…How is this a responsible and sustainable economic model for the free and modern world?

 

 

 

Hunger Games?

9 May

Tonight is one of the most exciting nights of the year for NFL teams and their fans and not one game will be played.

It’s the night of the exciting and nail biting NFL draft where thousands of NFL fans will gather around to wait, sit and then watch as 32, billion dollar NFL team franchises, select a few dozen elite college football players, who will then go on to sign contracts averaging about 5 million dollars per year…for as long as they can remain healthy and in one physical piece that is…

It can be quite touching and emotional to watch as NFL experts wax poetic and pontificate as to which team will draft which player while the clock ticks between each highly anticipated selection…and then to watch the young football players overcome with genuine emotion as they realize that their selection as one of the top NFL draft picks this year means instant fame and fortune for themselves and their immediate families…

And yet these “college students” have each already spent 4 years representing United States colleges and universities that have earned millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars in their name while they, the players and performers, have not been allowed to earn even one penny. Instead they have each been compensated with a college education from an educational institution that most probably didn’t even require their attending class…much.

Because sadly but all too true, The percentage of college football players who graduate prior to going to the NFL is only…27%… and while many will go on to graduate after their playing days are over, still less than 50% will ever see a college diploma.

But even more disturbing than that is the fact that these athletes, while playing college football on autumn Saturdays throughout America, do so in front of millions of fellow college students who now owe over 1 trillion dollars in student loans to the very same institutions that have been making billions of dollars peddling their athletic peers as entertainment.

So College students owe colleges over 1 trillion dollars while College athletes who play in front of college students and the public for colleges, are paid no dollars and colleges and professional institutions who broadcast and promote those college games to their students and the general public earn billions and billions of dollars!?

And did you know that The National Football League is a non-profit organization that takes in more than $9.5 billion per year and is exempt from Federal taxes – yet it stands as one of the greatest profit-generating commercial advertising, entertainment and media enterprises ever created… And most Colleges and Universities in the United States are not for profit institutions.

So who gets all the money? And what do students and student athletes get…besides broken bank accounts, broken bones and broken (concussed) brains? And how long can this “American higher educational model” be sustained under our country’s current economic conditions?

Any thoughts? We still have 15 minutes until the next pick…

 

Isn’t It All Just Really About the Benjamins?

30 Apr

Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’ve heard about Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clipper’s basketball franchise…and probably not much else for the past day or so. He’s the billionaire racist who, because of remarks that were recorded by his girlfriend, will from now on be forever known as… the billionaire racist.

Now of course no one in their right mind can agree with the statements that he has been credited with making, as countless television and radio personalities have been pointing out ad infinitum all day long, but while I was listening to all of the talk and debate I was amazed to hear that through it all, Mr. Sterling’s wife still supports him… But I thought that he had a girlfriend… Which of course he does have. He has both a wife and a girlfriend and not only is it not a secret, but apparently everyone is cool with that. The NBA, the media, the fans, the owners, the wife, the girlfriend…everyone! That’s a non story.

The real story is that Mr. Sterling is a selfish, racist, old bastard. I mean really, who could have seen that coming?

Not his wife, who while defending her husband’s comments is also suing him for damages because he has been spending “community money” on his girlfriend rather than “his own” money on his girlfriend.

Not his girlfriend, who has been too busy enjoying all of the cars and houses and jewelry that he has been buying her to notice that deep down he’s always really been just a creep.

Not the media, who can’t seem to get enough of all things Mr Sterling these days including the sudden recollection of previous stories that can prove that he has been a racist old fart for as long as anyone can remember.

Even the NAACP gave Mr. Sterling a life time achievement award a few years ago to honor his billionaire largess. What were they thinking? Couldn’t they see past his wallet far enough to notice he was a misogynist bigot?

In fact just about everyone everywhere has been outraged by Mr Sterling’s comments, and justifiably so, especially the NBA players and their fans…just not outraged enough to stop working for him or to stop attending the games played by his team. We all have morals but if the checks are signed and the tickets are already paid for what can one do?

Anyway, my point is that if Mr. Sterling’s first name weren’t Billionaire, we probably all would have been done with him long ago or not even bothered to have mentioned him at all in the first place. But luckily for Mr. Sterling, he is a billionaire and billionaire’s have money and lots of it, which, according to the Supreme Court of the United States, in their most recent decision, is equivalent to free speech and apparently even freer, although more expensive, than speech itself…so Mr. Sterling should have kept letting his money do all of the the talking while keeping his big mouth shut…at least in front of recording devices, because it seems as though all of the people who can now remember all of the bigoted things he used to say… had for some reason, somehow, forgotten them.

And besides, Mr. Sterling really need not worry too much because only a few months ago that same Supreme Court also struck down the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965 effectively declaring racism pretty much dead and gone to heaven, at least here in the USA. So how can he be a racist when there is no more racism?

Besides, now that he is out of the basketball business he can always just use his money to buy…excuse me…speak to… a few (or as many as he likes) Congressmen and Senators and then instruct them…excuse me…suggest to them that they create a new law that makes racism officially, once and for all, extinct and anyone who says otherwise can and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, so help me God…and don’t laugh. That definitely can be done now. Just ask those 5 Justices.

And speaking of God, if Mr. Sterling is for some reason particularly concerned about his soul and future standing in heaven (he is 80 years old) then he can always pay (make a donation to) his church for the guarantee of his soul’s absolution. They still do that don’t they? I’m Catholic and that’s how we used to do it (and why you’re all Protestants now) but I don’t think we say it out loud anymore…sometimes you have to learn lessons the hard way.

I know I probably sound too cynical but I bet that even if I do make it up to heaven some day there will probably be an entrance fee. Okay, now you think I’ve gone too far. Heaven has to be free, whether you’re poor or rich, or else it just wouldn’t be fair. But I know that you’ll probably have to pay if you want to get one of the nice condos with a view. And don’t tell me they don’t have condos up there because I’ve already paid for the 12 cassette program that an Evangelical sold me explaining all about the mansions that God is preparing in heaven… so put a credit card in my casket because I’m pretty sure they won’t take cash. Better put some coins over my eyes too so I can pay for parking…there’s never free parking…and never enough of it so I can probably expect to have to drive around…forever…waiting for a space to open up. What are the chances of that happening?

Anyway, that’s probably Purgatory: getting close but winding up in the parking lot on a hot day waiting for a space to open up. Maybe that’s where we are when we contact Jonathan Edward on the satellite radio so we can talk to our living relatives back on Earth, while they’re all tuned into Larry King on pay cable?

Oh well, I wonder who’ll be waiting for us at the Pearly Gates? Will it be old Saint Pete, or Mr. B. Franklin… As in Benjamin? Because you just know that when you die… if you want to end up some place nice… somebody is gonna have to show someone the Benjamins…and lots of em’!

 

 

Charter Charlatans?

27 Mar

If you live in the NYC area then you know that newly elected mayor, Bill DiBlasio, is working to fulfill a campaign pledge to charge rent to charter schools. The mayor said he wants to charge rent based on how much a school can afford to pay, and he also wants to slow or perhaps even stop the continued growth of the NYC charter school movement so that more focus can be brought back to the public schools. Naturally the charter schools are up in arms over this proposal because charter schools receive rent-free space in city buildings even though they are privately run.

During Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, Money for charter schools increased from $32 million to $659 million and what was once a modest collection of 17 charter schools has now expanded to 159 charter schools within the city…and overall the NYC education budget has almost doubled to 25 billion dollars from the 13 billion dollars that was being spent when mayor Bloomberg took office.

But the city charter schools, along with receiving free rent from the city also raise quite a lot of money from the private sector including large donations from “philanthropists” like the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, and the hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, along with other prominent Wall Street tycoons, (You probably remember them from the great financial crash of 2008)… Anyway, That’s how Success Academy Charter Schools’ chief executive officer, Eva Moskowitz. can make nearly $500,000 a year to run only 22 “non-profit” schools.

That’s also how Mayor DiBlasio can be opposed by a “nonprofit” charter advocacy group called Families for Excellent Schools. They have organized rallies in Albany, created an internet website and spent 3.6 million dollars on commercials that can be seen constantly throughout the day on television here in the tri-state area. Charter school political action committees have even donated more than 100 thousand dollars to NY Governor Cuomo and other NY state politicians.

So is it a surprise that The Governor says that he is now “Excited” about charter school growth and that Mayor Di Blasio is now beginning to step away from his hardline campaign stance against charter schools?

Isn’t it amazing what money can do? Teachers and educators have always known that money makes a difference when it comes to your child’s education. Can your public schools use its public money to advertise in favor of the public school budget? Do your public schools have 3.6 million dollars that they don’t need for educating your children, to use for creating commercials to “convince” local politicians and influence you to support their efforts in passing the public school budget, let alone raising the school budget?

Money matters! And one has to ask why billionaires are so interested in paying large sums of money in order to gain control of and advertise for the privatization of the public schools in our country… What’s in it for them? And most importantly, what do you think is really in it for you and your children? In the short term privatization always looks good, especially when there is a multimillion dollar ad campaign to help you to try and make up your mind.

But in the long run? Just ask yourself this: When have Wal-Mart, Wall Street tycoons and billionaires ever been interested in spending money on the poorer classes of this country…except when it leads to greater class exploitation and increased profits for themselves?

 

 

 

 

Wanna Bet?

19 Mar

Warren Buffet, Quicken Loans and Yahoo Sports are teaming up to offer 1 billion dollars to the first sports enthusiast to correctly pick a perfect bracket of winners for the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament. However, They are limiting the number of contestants to 15 million and should more than one sports enthusiast win, then they will have to split the prize.

But, I wouldn’t worry about that because the odds of picking 63 tournament games correctly are…

9.2 quintillion-to-1!

But that’s if you are just guessing, otherwise, if you know something about NCAA basketball, experts say that your odds increase to…

128 billion- to-1!…So it is possible.

But, no one has ever had a perfect bracket in over 30 million entries in the ESPN competition, which began in 1998…So, it’s a pretty safe bet that this is just a gigantic publicity stunt and an attempt to entice some folks to refinance their homes with a Quicken Loan, while they attempt to fill out their brackets on-line.

But, let’s just say that just one someone…perhaps myself…has picked 62 games correctly… and now with just 1 game to go between the 2 remaining teams, say, Boondock College Vs. MegaState University, and all the world focuses on…ME… to see whether or not I will become an overnight billionaire! And it all hinges on one game! Winner take all! Loser gets Nada. What Hoopla! What Excitement!

And here’s why that could never happen.

If I need Boondock College to win the game so I can become a billionaire all I have to do is to announce that if I win, every player on Megastate U. will get 1 million dollars, and I’ll even throw in 10 million dollars to the University to use for scholarships or bills or whatever…and to be completely fair and magnanimous, I’ll announce the same largess to the Boondock College players and university; A benevolent gift for all involved…as long as I win of course… because I won’t be a billionaire should I lose will I?

I won’t be asking anyone to lose on purpose or not play fair or even suggest anything improper or out of the ordinary. I will just make known my planned generosity should I win the final game of my bracket. I’ll even put in in writing. A total of about 50 million dollars in gifts to all players and both Colleges involved in this most momentous event…after all I stand to win 1,000 million so what’s 50 give or take?

Of course once I do that, everyone in the USA and world for that matter, will bet on Boondock College to win. How could they lose? That would mean that Las Vegas would have to immediately cancel all betting and Warren Buffet might as well just get out his check book and start writing and the NCAA would probably just cancel the game anyway because what a circus this would become…heck, I might as well just make my announcement when I get to the final 4. That would be a 100 million dollar pledge on a 1,000 million dollar win so…maybe I’ll just do it when I get to the elite 8? Then 200 gets me 1,000. How about the sweet 16?

In any event, 1 billion dollars is a lot of money and sooner or later I’m betting that the NCAA would just have to shut down the tournament and send the students back to class. (Did I just use NCAA, students and class all in the same sentence?) Anyway, 1 billion dollars may not be a lot of money to Yahoo, Quicken Loans, Warren Buffet or, sadly, even the NCAA… but to us regular folks and poor college athletes, I’m pretty sure it could buy a lot of good will and some creative play making in the final stages of the… “tournament”.

What do you think?

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