Bailout

Looks like we’re gonna bail out the airlines…they get our money and we get, um, nuthin.

Well maybe we’ve gotta make a deal.  Maybe they’ll get my tax money but how about no more of this baggage charge nonsense, back to one bag domestic and two bags international, we get rid of most of the carry-on army who get to load first because they can pay more ridiculous fees.

Let’s make it real simple, a seat costs X, has a reasonable amount of legroom, includes a checked bag, and we load by rows with families with children or handicapped first.  How’s that?

This goes back to my blog about what’s wrong with our priorities,  “The Question” and Yo Mama

Provide a service at a reasonable profit and everyone’s happy, provide a service and squeeze every cent you can out of your customers and they just look for an opportunity for paybacks, and maybe here it is.

Have some pretzels.

Stop Trying to Make Biden Happen, or Why Not Bernie, Why Not Warren

So it’s pretty obvious that the high muckity mucks of the Democratic party want Biden to happen, just like they wanted Hillary to happen.  It seems like this is swimming the wrong way in a rip current to me.  Why try to take a colorless candidate like Biden, or even like in 2016, an unpopular candidate like Clinton, and back them to the exclusion of all else?

Ok, last time it was at least partially because they arrogantly thought there was no way the other guy could win…maybe, and maybe this time they are again misreading the depth of fed-up-atude in the voters.  Health care, wage gap, student debt, drug cost, energy…Republican or Democrat, all promises and band aids.

Why back Biden?  My bet is that he is the candidate who has the most to lose by changing the status quo.  He’s gotten money from all the major players, he’s been at this a long time and has never really stood up to big lobby. If you let Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren run and they win, the apple cart that has been political funding for decades might get upset.  Make no mistake, both parties are working for their parties not the people, they are competing for who get the most lobby slush, not to clean it up.  So what the Democrats what is a nice friendly, middle of the road, well know face with few scandals and is fully invested in the corporate influence machine of the party…not some reckless reformer who might kill the golden goose…and pay no attention to those torches and pitchforks.

Higher Education, No Cost No Value?

I don’t think FREE college education is a good idea.  Making a child work to buy that bike he wants has long been a way of making the child value the bike, they won’t leave it out in the rain if they had to sweat to get it.  I’ve seen too many students who are at the university because it’s what’s next and don’t take it seriously.  I propose that we set the cost to the undergrad student for a year’s worth of public university education to be 80% of a summer’s worth of minimum wage.  It’s an attainable amount is not a crushing sum if the student decides to travel for a summer of has other unpaid responsibilities, and yet it instills a sense of value in the student for the education.  The student needs some skin in the game…but not a major organ.

In the current debate about student loans, tuition, and higher education I am certainly in the camp of providing students with all the education we can get into them.  In an educated society we can have informed discussions about a host of troubling issues.  I believe a good bit of the difficulty we are having today is because rather than being informed by a good education people are being informed by information bits, some true, some false, and don’t really have the tools to discern one from the other.  The smooth delivery of the factoid they want to be true is the one they pick…so education.

If you are a parent with kids in college you know that the cost of education is ridiculous.  When we were in school in the 80’s the proposal outlined above pretty much held for all public universities, now a summer job is chump change compared with the cost.  Why? Well the facilities are pretty posh, it would be nice to be able to opt out of the student center with the climbing wall for the sake of cost…especially since serious students don’t have much opportunity to use it.  High powered research professors? undergrads seldom see these guys, they give the institution chops but do they contribute to your child’s education…I don’t know.  Whatever the reason, we need to get these cost down to an attainable level, the cost of both the student debt and the lack of education in our society is snowballing.

The Other Price of Freedom

Let’s talk about the other price of freedom. Many of us have people who have served in the military, fathers, brothers, sons, and daughters. Some have died or had their lives changed forever by terrible injuries or memories. It’s certainly easy to see this price for our freedom, it’s pointed out all the time to motivate this or that action or behavior… but there is another price, one that it seems less and less people are willing to pay. It is the price of our safety.
It’s a risk to give your neighbor the freedom to be different from you, but if we don’t pay this price, if we don’t sacrifice our safety, a price that is sometimes paid in blood and violence at home, then neither your neighbor nor you are truly free. You may not like that your neighbor is gay and lives with his partner, or that she is a Muslim and wears her hijab to the store. You may not like it that he burns the flag, HIS flag on HIS front lawn. You may not like the confederate flag in his pickup truck, or that she’s disrespectful to your religion, or our country. That said, if we are a free county it all needs to be allowed.
We all have to follow the law, we should all treat each other with decency, but that doesn’t always happen, and we can’t be both free and safe. Sure, those who step over the line need to be found and punished, it is a travesty that some of the perpetrators of some of the most infamous violence against blacks in the 60’are just now being found out. When actual planned violence can be seen coming it should be stopped, but you can’t just ostracize a whole people because some of them MIGHT be dangerous, what kind of freedom is that, and how long before this preemptive justice is applied to you.
Allowing you only the freedom to do what I like is no freedom at all.

HSA

It’s a new year and one of my resolutions is to give this woefully neglected blog a little more attention.  So what have I decided to write about on this auspicious kick off you ask?  Well I’ve decided to write about:

The shiny new health insurance policy we have been blessed with this year.  My employer, and in their defense this is a national trend,  has switched us to a HSA/High deductible plan.  It saves a little on your premium, it saves a lot on the company’s premium, and you can save up for when you get sick since the HSA or “health savings account” can roll over into next year if you don’t use it.  This sounds good right?  We’re pretty healthy, well here comes the sticker shock.  Since you will be paying 100% of the first $3000 you might be surprised to find out that the doctor visit is between $60 and $90.  Multiply that  times how ever many are in your family and it adds up fast.  Now just suppose you need a prescription every month, thyroid around $160 per month, suppose you have a child with ADD, $330 per month, suppose you have more than one.  You’ll burn through that $3000 pretty fast this year…and next year and the year after.

The move to shift health care costs off of employers is national, and I can’t say it’s bad, but the shift to the employee is awful.  I can afford this, or at least it won’t break me, but what about all the people just getting by?  Obamacare was supposed to fix this but it seems like it just made it OK for employers to shift the costs faster.  Wages are stagnant, costs are going up, this system is going to crash and crash hard.  The sad part is it doesn’t have to be this way.

The Fun Size

Well, it’s the day after Halloween and we are left with the “cushion” of several bags of candy that we got just in case the handful of trick or treaters that make it down our 200 yard driveway somehow morphed into a shuffling mob of candy zombies. Well they didn’t so I’m here in my office mustering the courage to set all that chocolate free…unfortunately some of the “Fun Size” bars aren’t going to make it, I am weak!

In the course of my culling of the candy herd, I have notice that the Fun Size bars are…thinner. I think they are the same length and height, the wrapper is even the same size, but the thinner bar has a lot more freedom in the wrapper than it used to. I can only assume that:

  1. They have managed to pack more fun in a smaller package.
  2. They have reduced the fun by about 20%.
  3. There have been cases of too much fun in years past and thank god now we have some regulation.

I suspect it’s number 1 because I seem to be here in my chair just jittering to go release some of this stored fun.  Apparently they contain plenty.  An informal poll of parents of small children indicate that there has been no reduction of wall bouncing fun.  Well I gotta go.

LISTEN TO US!

Right now, the rich and powerful are trying to marginalize the group called “Occupy Wall Street.”  They are saying that this mix of blue collar and professional, working and unemployed, fearful and the foreclosed, this group of regular people, don’t have a coherent message, that no one knows what they want.  Well it’s true that they don’t have a public relations rep, or a lobby group but they do have a unifying message.  Their message, and it runs through the whole spectrum of people involved is…are you ready:

WE ARE SICK AND TIRED IF BEING POWERLESS!

Yup, that’s it.  As individuals, they feel they have no voice against injustice.  They are:

POWERLESS to stop being abused by BANKS,

To demand an interest rate that approaches inflation instead of 100 times less than inflation (0.01% last time I looked).

To stop them from using fees as a gotcha profit center.

To demand accountability for their actions and for the use of our bailout money for…what?

POWERLESS to demand that our Government represent us instead of Corporations and whoever can buy their time and attention.

Why can’t we have a choice during an election, we are forced to pick who will do the least damage, the leper with the most fingers and then we are told that we are responsible for his actions.

POWERLESS to control the actions of Corporations.

The corporate person has all the rights that we have but is not held accountable for his actions, his only goal is to maximize profits, and he has a lot more resources to achieve his goals.

POWERLESS to stop the Wall Street and Corporate boards from dismantling and corrupting key institutions for short term gain.

POWERLESS to stop the Health Care Industry and the Insurance Industry from preying upon us at our most vulnerable and blocking every effort to reform them with fear, mistrust, and misinformation.

POWERLESS against a media that is more interested in selling the show, or representing a viewpoint (or an owner), than delivering news and information that could be used for informed decision making.

Here’s a real shocker for you, the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the Tea Party crowd are after the same thing, empowerment.  Unfortunately the Tea Party seems to think the problem is Government and want to remove of it as much as possible.  I believe that the Government is the only one with a stick big enough to represent us against the true enemy of individual and corporate greed and power, unfortunately they appear to be uninterested in representing us.