Monthly Archives: May 2012

Social Security fraud and your money

This weekend it was reported in the WSJ that thieves filed fraudulent returns  using stolen Social Security numbers before the real individuals could, and provided mail box drops or vacant homes to pick up the refund/cash cards.    That the IRS even uses such currency is frightening; checks require an ID; whereas debit/cash cards do not.   Far worse is that Social Security lost an estimated 11 billion- 5 billion established, an additional 6 billion in losses/theft estimated,  when its solvency is already short-lived.  This seems like a mortal wound for an agency that has reported it will be bankrupt in 12 years.

This massive fraud demonstrates the inability of government to exercise control and security and if they were private companies, there would be an outcry for an investigation, at the very least, someone would be fired- paging Donald Trump?  However, these trusty folks are the same folks that will manage your healthcare which will just enlarge the pot for fraud and abuse.     Like a borrower that proves himself imprudent and  childish and asks for a bigger budget, we, and hopefully the Supreme Court, must recognize this wake-up call, and definitively answer NO.   All politics aside, no single entity, government or otherwise, should have this much at stake that could so easily be breached.

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Healthcare- the next bailout?

It was reported last week that several organizations promote the preventative AIDS prescription.   We taxpayers are going to pay for a preventative daily pill to protect those ‘at-risk’ of Aids.  Why are they considered ‘at risk’?   Because they have multiple partners and won’t use a condom.   If you assumed these were teens, you’d be wrong.  The largest ‘at risk’ group is comprised of adult males, who have no excuse for such reckless habits.    Once again, those that conduct themselves irresponsibly  are bailed out by the  responsible whose  taxes are allocated toward protecting a group of individuals hellbent on engaging  in selfish, destructive and dangerous practices, when a simple drugstore condom would suffice.  But here’s the real kicker; in testing the drug’s efficacy, 10% of these folks actually contracted the disease from the prescription intended to prevent it, and then required the intense Aids cocktail therapy to beat it.    Under what medical category is this lunacy billed?   This is NOT medical care, it’s a bailout.


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The “Pickle Jar”, the only ‘Change’ you can, and should, believe in

I received this as part of a chain email.  I have no idea who the author is, but it  resonated with me; we’ve got  pretzel jar that serves  the same purpose.   It’s a lengthy read, but well worth the time, lesson, and sentiment.

“The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on
the floor beside the dresser in my parents’ bedroom. 

When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty
his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.
As a small boy, I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins
made as they were dropped into the jar.

They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty.
Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.
I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar to admire
the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate’s
treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.
When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and
roll the coins before taking them to the bank.

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production.
Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were
placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.

Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would
look at me hopefully. ‘Those coins are going to keep you
out of the textile mill, son. You’re going to do better than
me. This old mill town’s not going to hold you back.’

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled
coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier,
he would grin proudly. ‘These are for my son’s college
fund. He’ll never work at the mill all his life like me.’

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping
for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad
always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream
parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the
few coins nestled in his palm. ‘When we get home,
we’ll start filling the jar again.’ He always let me drop
the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around
with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other.
‘You’ll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and
quarters,’ he said. ‘But you’ll get there; I’ll see to that. No
matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued
to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer
when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to
serve dried beans several times a week, not a single
dime was taken from the jar.

To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me,
pouring catsup over my beans to make them more
palatable, he became more determined than ever to
make a way out for me ‘When you finish college, Son,’
he told me, his eyes glistening, ‘You’ll never have to
eat beans again – unless you want to.’

The years passed, and I finished college and took a
job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents,
I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that
the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose
and had been removed.

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside
the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad
was a man of few words: he never lectured me on the
values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The
pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more
eloquently than the most flowery of words could have
done. When I married, I told my wife Susan about the
significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my
life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than
anything else, how much my dad had loved me.

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born,
we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom
and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns
cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper
softly, and Susan took her from Dad’s arms. ‘She probably
needs to be changed,’ she said, carrying the baby into my
parents’ bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back
into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes.

She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand
and leading me into the room. ‘Look,’ she said softly, her
eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser.
To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed,
stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with
coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my
pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of
emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I
looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped
quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was
feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could
speak. ”

Never underestimate the power of your actions.
With one small gesture or seemingly insignificant practice, you can change a person’s life.



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Artificially low student loan rates rob the middle class

Without easy access to student loans, colleges would not be able to charge such outrageous tuition.  The wealthy can pay, but there simply are not enough of them, despite Buffet’s claim that his proposed millionaires tax will have any impact.   The middle class is credit worthy enough to secure loans, which subsidize the “economically, socially/racially disadvantaged”, who cannot.  This is tantamount to a redistribution of capital, from the pockets of those who have worked to contribute the most to the economy, to those who will be granted permission to contribute the least.

Both government and higher education are complicit in this theft, with government policies ensuring that college tuition skyrockets unabated, and that the cost of educating certain [favored] students is billed to other [less favored] students,  literally a class action suit worthy of a high profile law firm.   Congress should permit the rate hike, to stem reckless borrowing and debt, and massive default.  Universities and colleges will have no choice but to lower tuition and operate within a budget.   Otherwise, this will be the next big bailout.

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