Tag Archives: money

Who’s Struggling Now?

28 Sep
American citizens (along with other international students) can now attend all German universities…for free! And that’s because the last German state to charge university tuition has eliminated those fees! Wow! How do they do it? College for free? And for foreigners too? Didn’t we go to war with this country… and win… 70 years ago? Shouldn’t we be charging them money to go to our universities? And so much so that school is free for all of us Americans? You know, like that wall Donald trump wants to build and make the Mexicans pay for.
So what gives? Why is Germany being so nice to us and how can they afford it? Apparently most German statesmen and stateswomen believe that tuition fees are unjust and that they discourage young people, who do not have a traditional academic family background, from taking up study. Gee, In the Unites States that’s the whole point of higher education isn’t it?… To separate the haves from their money while also separating them from the have-nots, who don’t have any money to be separated from in the first place.
The Germans also believe that It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard that is free of charge. For goodness sake where did they get these ideas? In the U.S. the core task of politics is to raise the interest rate on student loans while making sure that those loans are exempt from bankruptcy filings guaranteeing that America’s young students will be in debt to financial institutions for all time…and so far to the tune of over 1 trillion dollars!
And get this! Even before Germany abolished college tuition for all students, typical semester fees were around $630 and German students could also count on discounts for food, clothing, events, and inexpensive or even free transportation to and from school…Come to think of it we used to do that here in the states too, back in the 70s. I remember that because I was there! But then we got wise and realized that marketing to students, teenagers and even little kids is tremendously lucrative, especially when they have to borrow all of their money from adults! It was like taking candy from babies! or, er, well, selling candy to babies! And today we are all proud to say that the average student loan debt in the U.S. is now almost 30 thousand dollars…with a bullet!
Silly Germans! What are they thinking? Have they gone socialist on us…in just 70 years? We sure didn’t indoctrinate those folks very well did we? They never learned anything about free enterprise and unfettered capitalism! Now they are just giving valuable educations… to their children…for free?! And they want to include our children as well!!
Ach, du lieber! Mein Kampf! When they ask your children what language they’d like to study in high School, make sure you tell them to say, German! Duh, I mean Deutsch! And forget that college savings plan. Just start booking those tickets now! This is America, remember?! By next year a ticket from here to Germany will probably cost $100,000!!! One way!

For the Love of Reagan

22 Sep

When Jeb Bush was asked which woman from American history should appear on the new ten dollar bill he answered, “Margaret Thatcher.” He said that was because she worked so well with president Ronald Reagan who is considered by most Republicans to have been the greatest president who ever lived.

So great apparently is Jeb Bush’s love for the former president that he can’t even think of one woman from the United States’ glorious historic past…or present… who could possibly represent the United States on its 10 dollar bill…not one! All he can think of is an English woman who supported and mirrored President Reagan’s policies while she was the Prime Minister of Great Britain!  Mr. Bush added that it probably would be illegal and not allowed, but Margaret Thatcher would be his choice for the tenner.

Wow! That’s quite a bro-mance wouldn’t you say? They say that some people see stars in their eyes when they’re in love but…I guess if your a woman who is an American citizen then there’s probably not much that you can do to attract the good governor’s attention… for he’s got eyes for someone else…probably not even if you vote for him!

What’s Wrong With Everything…Still?

4 Jul

I wrote this post 2 years ago and it seems to me that…Here’s what’s wrong with everything…still.

Banks can borrow money from the federal government at less than 1% interest. 0.75% to be exact.

Can you? Nope. You can borrow it from the banks at about 5 times that rate, if you’re lucky, wealthy or not a student looking to get an education.

Banks already have your money and pay you less than 1% interest to do whatever they want with it…including putting it in places that it doesn’t belong…and then losing it!

As if that should even be possible. And banks only have to keep 3% of our money on hand in case we ask for some of it back.

And why do banks who have our money to play with… basically for free… need to borrow money from the feds anyway?

How much does the bank charge you to: write a check? Make a withdrawal at an ATM? Take out a home loan? Take out a student loan? Take out an equity loan? Pay interest on credit cards? Close an account? Receive a paper statement? Use a human teller??? …and all at a place that has your money to begin with?

This is not how it used to be and Can anyone explain why this is how it is now… and how these policies will lead to a better future for you or your children or your communities? (I am assuming you don’t own a bank)

I…continue to… welcome all thoughts, insights and explanations.

Live to Eat

22 Apr

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Sun Trust bank has revealed that many Americans can’t save money these days because…they eat it! Not literally of course…it’s just that they spend it all at restaurants in exchange for eating food.
The poll found that as many as 44% of American households that earn 75,000 dollars or more a year, describe their households as “living paycheck to paycheck”  because they dine out too much.

And A full 71% of Millennials with the same household income, say that entertainment and dining out expenses devour most of their extra income, making it almost impossible for them to save money for that possible future “rainy day” or other important living expenses that one might encounter in the future, such as weddings, vacations, children etc…

The bank commissioned the study to try to find out why folks and families aren’t saving more money. Similar studies on spending habits have uncovered that Americans now even spend more at restaurants than grocery stores. In January alone the country spent 50.4 billion dollars…eating and entertaining themselves at restaurants! Together, at home and in those restaurants, Americans spend over 100 billion dollars each month on food. That’s over 1 trillion dollars spent on food each year in the USA!

Yow! That’s a lot of eats! And wouldn’t you know it, that as of 2013 there were also 108 million American dieters, making 4-5 dieting attempts per year and spending close to 70 billion dollars on dieting and weight loss! That’s a whole lot of money spent on attempted weight loss after eating and gaining weight…when you figure that you could have just not eaten the food in the first place. Imagine the savings then?! I’m sure that Sun Trust Bank can…but we Americans would rather bight our tongues and eat them… rather than save money…or at least that’s sure how it seems.

But get this! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, when it comes to consumer food purchases, Americans spend the least on food consumed at home compared with just about every other country in the world…and our spending on food — proportional to our income — has actually declined since 1960!  In fact, the average share of per capita income spent on food fell from 17.5 percent in 1960 to 9.9 percent in 2013.

So we, the richest citizens in the richest country in the world, could really be rich…if we’d just stop eating all of the profits…at bars and restaurants!

However, even in America, the less you make, the bigger your food spending will be relative to your income. For example: In 2013, people in the lowest income bracket spent an average of 3,655 dollars annually on food, which was 36 percent of their total income, while people in the highest income bracket, spent about 11,000 dollars annually on food, which was only about 8 percent of their earnings. So rich folks can spend 3 times as much on food as poor folks do but at 4 times the savings…so to speak. Go figure!

Which begs my final thought on the matter. Why do all of the wealthiest Americans get so bent out of shape about providing food stamps for the poorest and hungriest Americans, When it’s already 4 times more costly for the poor in America to eat, as a percentage of their income? Especially when eating seems to be our country’s national past time, with over-eating a close second?!…and besides, if we all really needed more money for ourselves, then, rather than taking food stamps out of hungry parent’s and children’s mouths…we could just as simply stop putting extra food…AKA our extra cash…in ours!

Let’s face it, rich Americans have more food to eat than anyone else in the world, and also love to show off about how fancy and extravagant they can be about eating it…But give a hungry guy a food stamp and watch him try to buy steak or lobster or even a cold soda so he can get in on the national orgy and enjoy a little fancy eating too, and we all want to burn him at the stake!

And if you just saw that as a barbecue metaphor…I rest my case.

Double Identity!

14 Apr

Well, it has finally happened! I apparently am suffering from an identity crisis…and all because my bank has just informed me that I can’t withdraw any money from the drive-up or teller window unless I show them 2 forms of identification! Who do they think I am anyway?… Do I know?

They take my money just fine without so much as a how-do-ya-do…but when I ask for some…just some… of it back? They can’t tell me, from Bonnie and Clyde! The Teller was very nice, and I know it’s not her fault nor her policy, and she gave me my money (this time) with only my driver’s license as ID…(you know, the one that I could only get when I proved who I was by showing 7 points of Identification to the State of New Jersey) oh, AND MY FACE! Did I mention I had my face with me? My face??? The same one I’ve been wearing for 60 years… this May!

She said, “I can give you your money this time because we know who you are. But next time you’ll need to have 2 forms of identification. I guess It’s because of all of the bank fraud and fake IDs going around these day.”

Really? How is it possible that people are defrauding their own banks, where they do their banking,  with fake IDs…IN PERSON?!?! Did I mention that I was wearing my face at the time? And did you notice that her sentence had “We know who you are” in it? That’s probably because I have been going to that bank for 30 years, looking like I always have looked…except a little older each time…with the same ID and the same bank account and the same FACE! And…did I mention…THEY KNOW WHO I AM!

It is now easier to go buy a gun, with one ID (or none?) return to the teller window, and then just hold up the bank and get my money that way, than it is to ask for it politely with 1 ID and a bank check and a signature. And I’d probably get away with it too because when the police showed up the teller would be like, “Gee officer, I don’t know who the man was. All I saw was his gun and 1 form of ID! He could have been anybody… I guess?”

I just hope I don’t live to see the day when I show up to the bank with my bag of IDs, personal attorney and birth certificate and hear the words. “Money? What money?”

It’s Priceless

8 Apr

Duke 68, Wisconsin 63: 2015 NCAA Basketball Championship final score

$1.1 million: Duke university president salary

$525,000: U. of Wisconsin System president salary

$9,682,032: Duke U. basketball coach earnings

$2,946,000: Wisconsin U. basketball coach earnings

$1.67 million: amount earned per conference per team in the field of 64

$27 million: Duke basketball revenue

$800 million: annual NCAA tournament Net in licensing deals

$9 billion: Amount bet by fans on the basketball tournament

Priceless: What student/athletes earn yearly and for participating in the NCAA basketball tournament

No seriously… priceless… as in 0, zip, zilch, Nada, nothing. And for the fans in the stands…

$27,711.00: Average UW-Madison student loan debt

$21,884.00: Average Duke U. student loan debt

Here in the USA we love to be entertained, and we love our entertainers.

Education and our students?… Not so much…

Oh yeah, and by the way, The NCAA is a tax-exempt, non-profit association…their chairman earns 1.7 million dollars per year and they just signed a 10.8 billion dollar, fourteen-year, contract with CBS and Turner Broadcasting just to televise college games.

Also Priceless: 501 (c)(3) charitable status…at least it can’t hurt.

What a Pip!

4 Apr

Charles Dickens desk chair

The desk of the late, great Charles Dickens, author of Great Expectations and many other famous English novels, has been found! And purchased for £780,000! That’s 1,156, 591.US dollars…and 80 cents.

The desk where I write is probably worth closer to the 80 cents than any other part of that monetary amount…but more than likely it will end up in a landfill somewhere or as kindling for some local fireplace because, alas, I have not written anything famous…except for that last word.

Dickens’ desk however, and accompanying chair (my apologies to the chair…for which truly has the greatest claim to fame? The desk upon which the paper sat or the chair upon which the author sat?) were purchased by England’s National Heritage Memorial Fund and the furniture will go on display at the Charles ­Dickens Museum, one of the author’s former homes in London, where he lived for two years.

More than 1,200 items and places have been preserved by the fund, which exists to safeguard England’s heritage. My desk should at least be famous to some of the members of my family. It’s where I have spent many a moment in my life… when I wasn’t paying any attention to them, that is, so perhaps infamous, would be a better word.

Still…we humans have a strange penchant for wanting to preserve that which we think or feel has some special meaning… for all time. Especially if it is old. The older the better it seems. And the older, the more venerable or holy the object or place becomes. Although sometimes what we think as valuable becomes less so, if even valuable at all, after we die. Then the value of said object or place is up to whoever gets to possess it after you.

In the case of Charles Dickens’ desk, what was once just a desk, where once upon a time a man sat and wrote, is now a million dollar work of art. Whereas my desk?…well, somewhere in the future, someone might be cursing the man who somehow managed to get such a giant monstrosity through such a little door…while they search the rest of the house for the old man’s axe.

But still…a million dollars for a desk!?!!!

Ah well, Somewhere the ghost of Charles Dickens is penning a new novel about poor, hungry, disenfranchised and homeless souls searching for a place to sleep and a crust of bread to eat while somewhere nearby in a large country estate, well-to-do official sorts, sit and discuss over hot tea and crackers how to spend over 1 million dollars on one single museum piece in order to..as the newspaper article so aptly put it, “save the nation’s best heritage in memory of those who gave their lives for the UK.”

Goodnight sweet desk: And £780,000 sing thee to thy rest!…You’ve now got it better than most.


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