Tag Archives: money

Spending Spree!?

7 Feb

Image result for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife posing with money

House Majority Leader, Paul Ryan, tweeted recently that “a secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week …  she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.”

That’s 78 bucks per year and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, pictured above with his lovely wife and their lovely trophy (or is that trophy wife and their lovely money?) said that 90 percent of American workers will see some kind of an increase in their take-home pay.

My increase was $7.38 per week for a total tax break of 384 big ones! But of course I have not filed my taxes for 2018 yet because it’s not 2019 yet so I still have to wait a whole year to see how much of the 384 dollar yearly raise I will actually be able to keep. All of it? Some of it? Will I have to give it back plus some because of the other changes to my tax deductions? After all I live in… New Jersey!!!!

Anyway, if you read this blog I would be interested to know what your tax break looks like…

If you would like to share, please leave the size of your weekly pay increase (or bi-weekly or monthly if you choose) in the comments column. I’d be interested to see a cross section of readers and their “raises”. Thanks!

Man of the (swamp)People?

25 Feb

Image result for trumps travel spending

“I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done and I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off… You don’t have time to take time off.” -D. Trump

“Taxpayers are paying a fortune for the use of Air Force One on the campaign trail by President Obama and Crooked Hillary.  A total disgrace!” -D. Trump

“I say we cannot afford to let Obama fly around on Air Force 1, at a cost of millions of dollars a day, for the purpose of politics and play!” -D. Trump

Last Monday, President Trump returned to the White House from his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, which he calls the “Southern White House”. He’s spent the last 3 weekends there (of his 4 weekend presidency!) And based on White House travel reports he’s done that at a cost of 10 million dollars in taxpayer money!

Add in the two international trips Trump’s adult sons have taken to promote President Trump’s hotels and businesses and we’re up to 11.3 million dollars! Taxpayers are also on the hook for protecting First Lady Melania Trump, who would rather live in New York City (The Yankee White House?) than be the First Lady who lives in the real White House (isn’t she special?)  Because police officials estimate the annual cost of guarding Trump Tower could be as high as $183 million. That’s $15 million per month!

President Trump and his Royal Family have spent 26.3 million dollars in their first month as the First Family of America….just on traveling away from the White House! President Obama and his family averaged 12 million dollars PER YEAR in travel expenses. So the Trumps have trumped that number to the tune of over 100% or more than double in just one month!

If the President keeps this up he and his family will spend 1 billion 262 million dollars just on traveling over the next 4 years! And to top it off President Trump who repeatedly criticized President Obama for playing golf while president, played his 6th round of golf so far during his first month as POTUS.

And…In order to have constant access to the commander-in-chief, the military is forced to rent space in Trump Tower at a taxpayer expense of about 1 and a half million dollars a year. And guess who gets those payments? The Trumps of course! And at 200,000 dollars a pop you can be a member of Mar-a-Lago (Trump Change!) and watch him do top secret stuff (sans the Emails!) …If I were a country, and I had an Intelligence Service, I’d be buying me some memberships right about now! (This makes spying too easy!!!!)

And while spending millions in taxpayer dollars and making millions in taxpayer dollars President Trump has his experts working on proposed budget cuts for things that he finds America can’t afford… like Public Broadcasting, Americorps, The National Endowment for the Arts, Food Stamps, Planned Parenthood and Legal Aid Services…just to name a few.

GOOD GRIEF! Talk about draining the swamp?! President Trump and his family have taken to the swamp like Yoda and Luke Skywalker on Dagobah! The Air Force One is with him now… thanks to all of his loyal supporters who still believe that his lying is a strategy to somehow help make America (and not himself)  great again.

As Yoda would say: A sucker born every minute there is!

TrickleReaganTrumpanomics

28 Sep

Image result for reaganomics

Donald Trump announced his grand economic plan at the debate last night. And mostly it includes tax cuts for the wealthy because the wealthy love to create jobs for the common folk and so if you give the wealthy more money then they will spend it on you.

Sadly, we can never propose to give the poor folk more money because that would be socialism and the more money you give to the poor the worse it gets for them because they only get lazy and then waste the money on drugs and then need more socialism.

The wealthy however are never lazy and do not waste any money on drugs but rather only wish to spend their excess money on making things better for the poor by creating more business/job opportunities which is a good thing that in turn makes more money for the wealthy which is another good thing and since there is nothing social about it, just business… It is a great thing.

Except no matter how many times this economic plan is tried, no matter where, no matter when, it always fails to produce the results expected…or hoped for. And why is that? Because when wealthy people get more money, they keep it and add it to their collection of money. Or they spend it on the extravagances that they enjoy that require special services and servants and not you…unless you are a low wage worker in one of the many service industries. Or they pass it on to their relatives.

Who, thanks to Mr. Trump’s other tax proposal (to eliminate the inheritance tax) can keep it all without paying any taxes on it, ever. So they can in turn pass it on to their relatives and so on and so on ad infinitum, tax free.

And even Mr. Trump agrees that to not pay any taxes is a good and smart thing to do if you are wealthy. When he had to show his income taxes to NJ state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax at all. “That makes me smart.” Said his wealthiness.

And as the debate continued, Mr. Trump complained that the U.S. Treasury has accumulated too much debt while the government has neglected American infrastructure. “We’re a debtor nation,” he said. But no matter, because even if Mr. Trump and his fellow wealthy Americans paid their fare share “It would be squandered, too, believe me.” He added.

So to sum up Donald trump’s tax plan:
Give more money to the wealthiest Americans in the form of tax reductions. They in turn, will create great jobs and bring their businesses and money back to America…unless they are  smart and possess good business minds, then of course it will be their business duty to figure out how to pay even less or nothing in taxes, while continuing to make things in China and Bangladesh, like Trump companies do.
And that is how he will fund the rebuilding of our infrastructure, continue the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and with ISIS, fight cyber-terror, build the wall on the Mexican border, deport millions of illegal aliens, pay down the debt and make America Great again.
After all, who needs money to pay for government expenses? I’m sure that when you try to think of ways to pay your ever inflating expenses your first thought is always: Hey! Maybe I can reduce my income?! Yeah that oughta do it…and declaring bankruptcy 4 times might help also…oh, but I think that’s for rich people too.

Making America Safe…

20 Jul

https://i0.wp.com/i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/01/18/gfx-isis-attacks-northamerica.png

And From Whom?

According to CNN, since declaring its caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has conducted or inspired at least 126 terrorist attacks in 23 countries other than Iraq and Syria. Those attacks have killed at least 1,735 people and injured thousands more.

In North America there have been 7 attacks inspired by ISIS

On October 23, 2014 A man with a hatchet attacked four police officers in New York. Police said the attacker, was self-radicalized and believed to have been inspired by ISIS. On May 3, 2015 — Two men opened fire outside a Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in a Dallas suburb. The gunmen wounded a security guard before police shot and killed them. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS. On November 4, 2015 — A University of California student stabbed four people before being shot to death by police. The FBI concluded the attack appeared to be terror-inspired. On December 2, 2015 — Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, shot 14 people to death and injured 21 others at a gathering of local government health workers in San Bernardino, California. On January 8, 2016 — A man was arrested after a Philadelphia police officer was shot and wounded. The assailant later claimed to have committed the attack on ISIS’ behalf…
And On June 12, 2016 — A gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The shooter, was killed by police three hours after taking hostages in the club. He was a 27-year old U.S. citizen of Afghan descent who pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 phone call during the siege. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
There is no doubt that these have all been horrible attacks carried out in the name of a Radical Islamic organization, leaving 63 dead and 79 injured throughout North America. Many Americans are outraged and want these attacks avenged, no matter the cost and no matter how long it takes. America’s 2 political parties will be debating 24/7 how to solve this crisis for the next 5 months and beyond.
Earlier this year 100,000 citizens were discovered poisoned with lead in the Michigan city of Flint. The Governor of Michigan was hoping to save money for the state by rerouting the cities perfectly clean water supply through a corrosively polluted river and into the cities aging lead lined pipes. This went on for nearly 2 years before the state would admit to any wrong doing on their part.
We hear about ISIS every day on the news but Flint, Michigan? Not so much anymore. The Governor of Michigan just had to say “My bad” and everyone in America seems to be satisfied even though the residents of Flint will never, ever, recover from their lead poisoning.
Now Imagine for one second that ISIS had been responsible for the poisoning of 100,000 American citizens over the course of 2 years while American state government did nothing to stop it even though they had been aware of it all along.
That’s all I have…just imagine that…

Welcome to 1984!

18 May

I think that President Obama has done a good job as President of the United States. I know that not everyone agrees with me and even though I don’t agree with everything that President O. has done, our 44th elected President is about to do something that no other president in the history of the United States has ever accomplished.

He is about to become the only president who has been at war during all 8 years of his presidency! And when you consider that President G.W. Bush had the nation at war for the last 6 years of his presidency then the United States has been at war for the past 14 years, non stop…with no stopping in sight.

Hillary Clinton, should she become our next president, is well known in Washington for being a “war hawk” herself… and Donald trump, should he become our next Commander in Chief, has vowed to “Bomb the shit out of them!” Whoever “they” may be…but does that matter anymore? Who they are?

Does anyone know why we fight everywhere and for always these days? We’ve been at war now 7 times as long as we were involved in WWI and almost 4 times as long as we were involved in WWII. And Vietnam, our longest war, was a matinee short compared to our current involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even President Lincoln was able to bring about the conclusion of our very own Civil War in one third of the time that it has taken for our present day armed forces to secure the fighting “Over There”against nations that don’t even have governments, let alone, armies.

So why do we fight so long and so hard and at such great expense to our nation and our citizens? We are currently over 19 trillion dollars in debt and a 2011 Brown University study concluded that the cost of war since 2001 will reach 5 trillion dollars, or $16,000 per American; $64,000 for a family of four…by 2020. And that was a 2011, Pre-ISIS, estimate!

If you are voting this year for a political party or person who you think will reduce our national debt…good luck with that! Unless you are hoping that our government will trade Social Security and Medicare spending for a reduction in the debt, it will just never happen. And even then the ever increasing costs of our never ending wars will simply chew up that savings and add more debt to our society anyway.

And then what would we be left with… but war, debt and absolutely no societal programs for our society that we have been fighting to protect? What does it avail a nation to spend a fortune and lose it’s soul?

But now, at 19 trillion dollars in debt and rising by the minute, how will we, without war, keep the peace… and the economy? Our dollars now remain strong because we back them up not with gold (we ran out of that in the 1970s) but with guns instead.

In 1960 President Eisenhower admonished us to “beware the military-industrial complex”, and we apparently have not, for it seems to me that war has now become peace in the minds of many if not most Americans. So shall our ignorance become our strength too?

 

 

 

 

Old Macdonald Had a Farm?

25 Mar

Just something I saw and found interesting…

According to the USDA’s 2014 farm bill policies 79.55% of U.S. government farm subsidies go to corn, grains and soy oil. 13% goes to cotton. 3% to dairy. 2% to livestock. 2% to tobacco and .45% to fruits and vegetables.

That would make for a yummy meal of 1 loaf of bread fried in soy oil, 1 meat slider with a brush of catsup (vegetable) washed down with a sip of milk, while smoking a cigarette with a yummy bag of cotton candy for desert! (not really, because cotton candy isn’t cotton) but you could wipe your mouth with a nice soft napkin afterwards, I guess.

Why, in a free market capitalist society, we subsidize food that is not particularly good for us, let alone food that the very same USDA that subsidizes it recommends that we don’t eat very much of…is a mystery to me. Doesn’t sound very capitalistic, free or democratic does it?

With a diet like that no wonder some folks think it’s a waste to spend money subsidizing healthcare…That would be some kind of socialism wouldn’t it?!

Anyway, that’s what’s for dinner in the United States, USDA Farm Bill style. Bon appetit!

 

 

The American Dream is Dead! (mostly)

26 Feb

 

 

According to a recent Harvard poll, just about half of all American millennials say that the American dream is dead! Actually 48% said it was dead and 49% said it was still alive… with 3% left among the undead I suppose?

For those who don’t do a lot of dreaming anymore the American Dream is the age old belief that in a society of freedom and opportunity (like here in the USA)  every US citizen should be equal in their ability to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative…regardless of ones social class or circumstances of birth.

But today in the 21st century Millennials owe over 1 trillion dollars in unpaid student loans, a far cry from their grandparents who went to college for free under the GI Bill and their parents who could pay their tuition with a summer job.

And they owe it mostly to a  U.S. government that owes 18 trillion dollars itself! Neither of which are very good signs that the “Dream” will be awakening from its coma and coming off life support any time soon.

Plus, home ownership in America, (another staple of the American Dream) is down, especially for Millennials,…And the median American household income, when a Baby Boomer is the head of household, is 20 times greater than when the household is headed by a Millennial…and the promise of doing better than the generation before you (also part of the dream) is now more hope than promise.

So achieving the American dream still involves one’s self achievement, determination and initiative and while Millennials are still graduating from college and still determined to be successful and still believe in family and home ownership, just like the generations of Americans before them,  it’s now costing a lot more and being financed with debt and not income.

But money is the stuff dreams are made of and debt is definitely not dreamy!… Unless one dreams of not having to pay it back…So where did all of the money go? And who’s responsible for killing the American Dream and why are they doing it? Or is life just the stuff dreams are made of…all hope and little promise?

As the new millennium continues, I guess we shall see…but so far many Millennials are not looking forward to what may be a rude awakening.

 

It’s Good To Be Rich…and Getting Better All the Time!

18 Feb

New medical studies show that being in the top 10% of income earners means that you will live on average 15 years longer than folks who are in the bottom 10%… and that gap is growing in leaps and bounds! 30 years ago the difference in life expectancy between the very rich and very poor was only 6 years.

But there have been big advances in medicine, technology and education, in the United States in the past 30 years…available for all people…no? So how come the longevity gap between high-income and low-income Americans has been widening? Public health researchers say that they are still investigating the causes for such a large gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor?

Gee, could it be that the rich are rich?… and in our society money buys whatever is for sale?… and although we all hate to admit it, health care, like all things American, is for sale. If you can’t pay for it, then all of the advances of the modern age might just as well be imaginary…N’es pas? Or French for that matter, I guess.

500 years ago there were 500 million humans on Earth. Today there are over 7 billion thanks in no small part and perhaps ironically, to advances in medicine, technology and education. Yet here we sit, in a free and modern country still openly debating whether or not all citizens should have access to affordable health care. And those who are opposed to that proposition can honestly only site one objection. It might cost too much.

And so at the dawn of this new age of longer life…and most probably, with continued medical and technological advances, even immortality… we are faced with the question: What will it avail a man to live long if he is to live long and be poor rather than prosper?

And what might those who prosper now want to save their money for in the future rather than share it in the present by making medicines and medical advances affordable and available to all their brethren? Well, if you only have billions today and are planning on living forever then you very well might need every penny of it for spending in your never ending future. Life I’m sure will be pretty expensive then too.

So let them eat cake and drink poisoned water and let their pensions run dry. For the rich  have got a lot of living to do!

 

Debtor’s Prison

14 Jan

This just in! Total student loan debt in the US has reached 1. 3 TRILLION dollars…and that starts with T, which rhymes with P and that stands for Payments you’ll never finish Paying.

Because according to the Associated Press Americans who are between the ages of 35 to 50 still owe as much money on their student loan debt as new graduates do! Thanks to interest… and not the kind that the bank pays you but rather the kind that you pay to the bank when the bank loans you money from the pile of depositors money that they are not paying interest on to depositors… a college loan is the gift that you keep on paying for!

There is even a website that you can go to now to watch the U.S. student debt rise as it happens in real time… at a rate of $2,726.27 per second!

But Huzzah! The Federal government is stepping in with a plan to cap student borrowers monthly loan payments at 10% of their discretionary income. And since discretionary income is the money you have left after deducting taxes, other mandatory charges, and expenditure on necessary items. (loan payments are now even surpassing groceries as the biggest monthly expense for many households) Which begs the question: Are groceries necessary?

So in any event…you should be repaying that loan…forever! Or at least until you check into that nursing home, at which time the Nursing home and your Alma Mater will have to duke it out to see whose debt trumps whose. Or is that whom? Which rhymes with tomb…

College debt is becoming a veritable debtor’s prison, where you get to stay at home, but only if you can afford one, that is.

So parents, when your kids grow up and start to inquire about college you might want to trot out a new twist on an old phrase…”Ignorance is cheap. ‘Tis folly to be wise!”

 

 

 

 

Some Sobering Facts

13 Jan

Here’s something new that I just learned. In Iran the drinking of alcohol is prohibited. As a result Iranians drink an average of 60 million liters of alcohol every year. That’s 16 million gallons of booze to us here in the States.

Which is roughly the amount that Wisconsin drinks in a year…not the state but the people in it…and we have 49 other states, many of which I do believe are thirstier than Wisconsin! So I wonder, is it freedom or religion (or lack thereof?) that makes us such booze hounds?

Also, did you know that as far as internet speeds go (and we do love our internet here in the U.S.) the United States is 16th in internet speed! Latvia is 9th! Latvia??? And it costs us Americans about 50 dollars per month to use our 16th fastest internet. So you can just imagine how much it must cost in Latvia!

Okay, stop imagining. It costs 12 bucks over there. South Korea is first in internet speed at almost twice our speed…and you guessed it…at less than half the cost. And why is that?

Probably because we drink so much… I guess?

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