Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Allentown NIZ How Can This Not Be Poaching?

"NIZ developers -- chiefly City Center Lehigh Valley -- have approached at least a half-dozen Bethlehem businesses in recent months..."

My Comments About The Article Above
The entire purpose of the of the NIZ was meant to bring more businesses into Pennsylvania. This does not go towards achieving those ends.

Even more alarming over the last few days WFMZ reported a developer said "The sky's the limit in Allentown", "Seventy-percent of the 128-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone is undeveloped."

We already committed nearly $1 billion Does this mean it could end up costing Pennsylvania taxpayers $3 billion?

This is insane !

Aliens From Space Where Are They?

I posed this question before. What if we are we are the only ones? What if we are the first and only intelligent species?

With that in mind here are a few articles that deal with the subject of aliens from space.

'Popular'. "Perhaps we're looking too far back in time through WISE, and alien civilizations have advanced since then. Two, the civilizations out there are about on par with humanity, and no more advanced. Three, there really is a "Great Filter" and civilizations destroy themselves before they become interstellar. Or maybe there's just nothing out there."

Search for Advanced Civilizations Finds Nothing Obvious

5 Insane Theories About Why We Haven't Discovered Alien Life

10 Reasons That We Still Haven’t Found Aliens

The universe as far as we know thus far is about 13.8b years old. Earth is about 4.54b years old. One would think if the universe is 3x's older then Earth's existence a few species might have had a jump on us. So where are they?

Just what if we're nothing more then artificial intelligence in much the same way as we create such robotic software replicating ourselves to our current level of available technology?

One day our computer programs may question who and what they are, never to know who their creators were (given it was never a part of their programming) for fear they might supersede those who created them.

Something to think about, eh?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore The Real Problem Is...

Stupid People

* Stupid citizens who resist authority and refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
* Stupid cops who act irresponsible not respecting people they are suppose to protect and become too authoritarian.

Let me expand on this. What is happening in Baltimore is neither a black nor white issue. It's largely a problem that infects the entire human species. We see it in the middle east where the exact same thing can be said of them which has nothing to be with being either black or white. As I've said.. STUPID PEOPLE.

You get enough stupid people on one side and enough on the other and this happens time and time again throughout the course of human history. Every time it does it mostly affects the majority of innocent people who have to suffer because of them. Sometimes it's under the banner of nationalism. Other times religion or ethnicity. A few bone heads decide to have a go at it and all the rest of us in the much greater majority have to suffer.

Over the last few days I've seen all kinds of finger pointing. The most outlandish of all of these being somehow this can all be resolved by leaders who are accused of dropping the ball.

Yeah about that. There once was this guy about 2,000 years ago who tried to address peoples differences. Perhaps you've heard of him? He went by the name Jesus of Nazareth. Some called him the 'Prince of Peace'. The guy told people not to judge others, pay your taxes & shut up (render unto Caesar). He also urged people to put down their swords and forgive one another. We all know how that turned out. The way I figured it if he couldn't do it (with all he had going for him) what chance does the mayor of Baltimore, the President or anyone else from stopping stupid people from doing what they do. Here's the punch line. After humans whacked him they went on killing 100's of millions of each other in his name.


Every so often when there is enough accumulation of stupid people this is what happens. It happened before. It's happening now. It will happen again.

So what can innocent people who want no part of this to do? Hopefully remove themselves as far a way as possible until both sides either exhaust or kill one another and hope for the best. Sorry but that's just the way the world has always worked since the beginning. There's no way of ridding the world of evil (stupid people). That's just the way it is.

Getting Back Specifically To Baltimore...
Last night (Monday, April 27, 2015)
Cops were pissed off because of the lack of support and criticism as they perceived things. So they stood down and left the city experience what it would be like if they didn't have a forceful presence. As for the Mayor, she gave church leaders and others a chance to try and calm things down before going all Ferguson on the crowds. Nice try no cigar.

Tonight (Tuesday, April 28, 2015)
Tonight will be nothing like Monday night. The cops made their point and a bunch of citizens (no matter which side) want law & order restored. And so it shall be. Authorities had the time to ship in box trucks loaded with gas grenades, protective gear and rubber bullets. This along with about 3,000 national guard members. Hang on to your hat folks it's going to be a bumpy ride !

Monday, April 27, 2015

Could We One Day Fix Stupid?


The Study Of Neurogenesis

NBC Left Brian Williams Out To Twist In The Wind?

"Corporations want to put things behind them. If they make the decision to bring Brian back that doesn’t put it behind them."
My Comments About The Article Above
In my opinion say what you will but FOX News stands behind their people unlike NBC. I am of the opinion NBC leaks this kind of stuff deliberately When I look back over many of things said by FOX news hosts Brian's sins pale in comparison. NBC did much the same thing in abandoning IMUS when he was at MSNBC when he made satirical remarks. Much as they do with firings when it comes to their local affiliate in Philadelphia who has a history of turnovers are well in my opinion.

Hopefully Brian can develop a legal case of defamation against them. In my opinion nothing is leaked that wasn't meant to be leaked otherwise someone leaking such information would have been fired as well. So far that hasn't happened.

Is Brian perfect?
Surely not. Anyone who sets out to trash anyone of their employees is sure to find something that can be used to tarnish every one of them in some way.

Seems to me (in my opinion) this network is going out of it's way to be spiteful.

I tend to think this is more about the huge amount of money promised Brian and a way out of paying him. 'Variety' reported back in December 2014 rumors were Williams could have received as much as $10 million per year for up to five years. As far as I'm concerned this was a financial business move rather then that of Brian's integrity.

If NBC does this to their own it makes me question how their business model fits into their other methods of reporting.

All of this is entirely of that of my own opinion of course, but I wonder what others think regarding this?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

CBO Future Budget Projections All Bad News

According to 'The Congressional Budget Office', "Under current law, CBO estimates the deficit will total 2.7 percent of GDP in 2015, drop to roughly 2.4 percent for the following three years, and then begin to rise. By 2025, debt held by the public is projected to reach 77 percent of GDP."

According to the CBO's "Baseline Projections for Social Security"..
     The bad news is by 2025 SS will have a $228b revenue shortfall.
     The good news is by 2025 SS will still have a $2+ trillion balance.
     The bad news is the SS trust fund assets will be exhausted in 2039.

Combine this at the federal level with what state budgets are going through it doesn't bode well. When more is going out then what is coming in for either individuals or at government levels things are sure to turn out badly.

Some Solutions (to name a few)
     * Revisit trade agreements to increase GDP revenues.
     * Increase minim wages to generate more revenue.
     * Eliminate tax breaks where they are unnecessary.
     * Reduce spending on subsidies, foreign aide/loans and military engagements.

Anybody got other thoughts on this?

Ronnie Reagan Ancient History To Today's Young Voters

"College Students Don't Recognize Ronald Reagan"

My Take
If the Republicans wish to capture the youth vote they will have to reinvent the party. Young voters have no idea who this stalwart conservative President from the late 80's was over ten years before they were born when he assumed office in 1981.

Same goes for Democrats who assume today's young voters have any idea of who Bill Clinton is. Many of these kids weren't born yet either when Bill first assumed office 22 years ago in 1993. It's not entirely these kids' fault in not recognizing them. For these students it's ancient history.

I think both parties have a lot of ground to cover if they wish to appeal to young voters. Candidates may manage to get elected without them, but if we're to elect someone who represents all age groups it's important to our future success to include them.

A Little Sunday Swing (Music Video)

Filmed at the JCC in Manhattan. Swing Remix Highlights Winter 2014-15
Special Events & Video Edited By 'Jumpin Entertainment'

Saturday, April 25, 2015

They Swing/Boogie Woogie All Around The World

I Thought It Was Only An American Thing.
Guess not !

Some Swing/Boogie Woogie Stars Of Dance, Rhythm Of Today And Yesterday

Video Courtesy: 'Unicorno Rosso'

How The Democrats Can Lose The Whitehouse

I'll put this briefly as possible. If the Democrats are intending to win the Whitehouse they can't put all their chips on Hillary Clinton.. PERIOD!
When It Comes to Foreign Donations, Hillary Can’t Cry ‘Right-Wing Conspiracy’

I said this for a long time. Republicans have been arming themselves for years against Hillary for when she decided run. They probably have more dirt on her then we can possibly imagine. They've had years to prepare. It seems the Clintons have so much baggage it would give king kong a hernia.

If Democrats are intent on winning I can only hope for their sake they are using Hillary as a false flag (to distract Republicans) over whom they really intend to run. It's still early. There's plenty of time to introduce an alternate candidate. If Demos fail to do so or this isn't the plan there'll be no boohooing coming from me when (not if) they lose the oval office.

I believe many Americans, are sick of both the Bush and Clinton families. There's 300+ million others in the United States to chose from.

It's time both party's wake up and pick a candidate that doesn't put big business interests before those of the average schmuck. Spend our tax dollars on foreign nation building while expending our military on such endeavors. This at the same time placing their own self interests and aspirations before those of the average student, American worker, retiree or their families.

So far none of the declared candidates meet this criteria as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, April 24, 2015

How Much Do You Pay For TV Cable?

Before "cutting the cord" read this first.

In order to come up with a fair evaluation I've taken an audit of the actual TV we watch monthly and how much we pay for it. I added up all the regular entertainment, sports and news programs. Then broke them down to the number of hours we watch each month. What I came up with was less then a buck a program !

I didn't factor in Service Electric's local programming nor the Phillies or the Eagles games I sometimes watch. If I had it would be less then a buck an hour for sure.

Now before someone gets all hopped up accusing us of watching too much TV I suggest taking stock of their own viewing habits. Also keep in mind we DVR over half of them. Thus are able to watch a one hour program in about 40 minutes.

Yes some of these can be seen streaming online for free, but well over half of the ones we choose to watch cannot. About another half of those aren't available either on DVD nor via other streaming services (like Amazon or Hulu) w/o purchasing a subscription upgrade. This may be fine for some, but doesn't fit our viewing preferences. It certainly wouldn't add up to less then a buck a show after all was said and done that's for sure.

Name me one outside venue that would cost less then a buck for just one person yet alone the entire family. It's fine once and a while to go see a movie, concert or sports game. Still there's no way any one of these wouldn't cost more then 10x's that amount for just one person.

So it turns our Cable TV is still a bargain. It only seems to be expensive until you break it down.

NO I do not work for cable TV nor compensated in anyway by them.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ASD Paying Some Teachers To Do Union Business

According to 'Pennsylvania Independent'-- "At least 18 public school teachers who never stepped foot in a classroom last year made more than $1.7 million from the School District of Philadelphia... some smaller districts, such as Scranton and Allentown, allow only a few teachers to work for the union each year.."

Although this article concerns 63 fulltime Philly (ghost teachers) questions remain..
     * Have Lehigh Valley taxpayers been reimbursed by the union?
     * If they have, are taxpayers not still on the hook for their pensions?
     * Why have none of the local media reported on any of this?
     * Exactly how many are there in the Lehigh Valley?
     * How much is this costing our local districts (taxpayers)?
     * Why do I have to keep finding out about this stuff from other bloggers and distant news sources?

Seems all the local media is good for is reprinting police reports and fund raisers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Another Bullshit Allentown Parking Authority Piece

'Lehigh Valley InSite'
Allentown Parking Authority Changes Explained by Executive Director

April 22nd, 2015 posted by Ryan Hogan
"Discussions related to increased rates or expanded enforcement are never pleasant or easy. However, the Allentown Parking Authority needs to make these difficult and unpleasant decisions to ensure parking access to businesses in the downtown can continue to grow and flourish, while still providing ample opportunities for residents as well."

My Comments About The Article Above
About the author of this article. Lehigh Valley InSite-- Our Bloggers -- "Ryan Hogan is Discover Lehigh Valley’s marketing director. A Scranton native, Ryan has called Lehigh Valley home for the last 17 years. He currently resides in Macungie.. "

OMG yet another one telling us about how things should be who don't live within the city. Add him to the long list along with the Brooks Brothers, Reilly, hotel & restaurant owners, directors at LVH and National Penn Bank and dozens more.

They all come to dip into the money pit, but at the end of the day get in their cars and go home where their families live anywhere but in Allentown.


Quick Look @ Headlines Along With My Comments

'Molovinsky On Allentown':
EMAIL From Ed Pawlowski
(Concerning the Allentown School District)

In My Opinion-- I'm in agreement with what MM said.. "Do you honestly feel that these goals are not shared by the existing board, and the other candidates that are running?" (See also my comment there)

Should Bethlehem and Allentown be able to keep their 911 dispatch centers?

Amendment saving Allentown, Bethlehem 911 centers fails in State House

In My Opinion-- Dittos. I'm in agreement with Pa. state Rep. Mike Schlossberg.

Money-saving consultants have cost SEPTA $2.8 million
In My Opinion-- I don't think SEPTA can afford these kind of savings

'New York Post':
IRS’ overloaded phone system hung up on over 8M taxpayers
In My Opinion-- Many are hot on the idea that the private sector does a better job. Yeah but they don't do it for free. Why then should the IRS's provide these free @ the expense to other taxpayers who didn't call them? Is that fair?

'Raw Story':
Pregnant fast food manager fired when she wouldn’t reimburse money [$400] stolen in armed robbery
In My Opinion-- Sounds to me the crook made out better then she. So much for trying to make a honest living.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More Outrage Over Suggesting Cuts To Social Security

This time it comes from the rightwing leaning 'New York Post"

"I do not give Chris Christie or anyone else permission to lower my Social Security benefits, increase the age at which I can retire, or alter anything else about the government “old age” program into which I was forcibly enrolled when I was 16 years old."

"If Washington wants to take actions like these, let it ask permission from me and the hundreds of millions of other people who have paid, and are still paying, into Social Security."

My Comments About The Article Above

Even "Donald Trump Rails Against Cutting Social Security, Medicare During GOP Summit" If you check out that link he also speaks of how China is ripping us off under these trade deals. More jobs means more income which equates to more salaries going towards Social Security.

The short and long in all of this is.. any candidate that is not speaking towards renegotiating these trade deals or in strong support of Social Security I have no use for. I don't care if it's Hilliary, Cruz or anyone in between.

First Labor Strike In United States

Came In 1619 By Polish Immigrants

Monday, April 20, 2015

Will U.S. Renege On It's Financial Debts?

This is about Social Security and the recent talk about cutting payments, raising the age and restructuring the program.

Problem.. What Problem?
Currently the Social Security Trust fund would have a surplus of over $2.7 trillion if congress hadn't exchanged taxpayers' contributions for a bunch of IOU's.

The U.S. has three separate budgets. The General Budget. Post Office Budget and the one for Social Security. Each separate from one another (or at least suppose to be). Out of the three only Social Security has a multi trillion dollar surplus (if it were not for congressional pilfering).

So What's The Problem !
Like any other debt the United States makes to other countries, investors/bondholders on Wall Street, the U.S. government is obligated to repay these loans. If investors lost faith the U.S. would be no longer be able to borrow. Thus the economic system would fail. Borrowing on promises made to Social Security should and cannot be any different then any other of the U.S.'s national debts.

The United States wouldn't dare renege on the terms or amounts they promised to repay to any other group. Being there is such a huge surplus why then are retirees and future retirees made to feel somehow they should get boned when none of these other debt holders are even being considered?

The government would be the first to prosecute anyone in the private sector who did a bait and switch to it's investors. There's no reason why Social Security should be treated any differently.

Again I repeat. Social Security has over a $2.7 trillion surplus on paper. If legislators decided to borrow all that money they have a obligation to repay it just like they would anyone else as part of our national debt. I'm sick of hearing how much it's costing the general fund. That has nothing to do with anything. The government overspent money before they had it. Congress authorized borrowing and now must repay. End of story.

Shut up already why retirees (and those who will be one day) should take it on the chin. Try doing that to the wall streeters, banks and foreign governments who lent money and see how it goes. They wouldn't put up with it and neither should all who are part of Social Security system.

Suppose I gave someone $10,000's of dollars to hold for me and they went and spent it. They'd be a low life dishonest crook deserving jail time. Any of these Bernie Madoff types engaged in politics who suggest we can't afford SS after government spent what was supposed to be held in trust are just like him as far as I'm concerned.


Further Reading On This Subject
"Social Security Trust -- Or, Never Lend Money to a Conservative"

Published on Dec 15, 2014

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My Man For President

Bernie Sanders on Fox News Sunday (04/19/2015)

Now For My Thoughts

First off let's define the term "socialist". When Bernie describes himself as such he doesn't mean he favors government owned businesses nor a Soviet style of government as many may assume. What he means is more like "socialism" in terms of a philosophy where people are more equal financially among one another and in all other aspects when given the opportunity to do so. This doesn't mean he wants to rob the rich, but rather to level the playing field over the present system. A system which tends to stack the deck against the average schmuck in almost every aspect. These areas include the justice system, healthcare, worker compensation and all other areas where the wealthy & powerful have a greater say then most of the average John Q. Public. In other words defend the average hard working Joe Schmo from having less value then those who are well connected players.

One of Bernie's most important causes is healthcare. Yes he favors a national healthcare plan for everyone. So let's take a look at that. 'Raw Story is reporting Indiana's largest health provider ripped off Medicaid. That's the bad news. The good news is "In similar cases, Columbia University paid a $5.1 million fine in 2002 and New York University Downtown Hospital paid $2.1 million two years later. The three organizations face up to $100 million in penalties and fines should they lose in court."

I'm not going to go into them all here but much of this same stuff occurred in the Medicare program. So the problem isn't in these programs in-so-much as the thieving well educated white collar crooks who are attempting to steal from these programs. Insurance companies on the other hand don't pose nearly a threat. I'm certain if the crooks think little of stealing from the U.S. government they have lesser qualms from insurance companies.

Companies trying to make a profit are more likely to pass those costs along rather then dedicate a huge amount of legal resources to hospitals over billing them. Think of it this way. The courts are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. The same government who makes the laws and runs these programs. Who do you think judges favor when it comes to stealing from the government (their employer)? How many headlines have you read where insurance companies got these kind of settlements? They haven't. That why the government can do a better job enforcing and providing a more efficient healthcare system nationally.

Another of Bernie's pet peeves is how these trade deals were drawn up against the American worker. Bernie also recognizes the fact what the defense department wants it gets. He's not advocating for a weaker military but rather a more financially effective one.

I will not elaborate on and on. All I'm asking is that people look into what Bernie stands for. What he has done. Give him a fair hearing as to whether he'd be a better candidate. Forget your preconceived notions or what you might have heard and take a look for yourself at one of his many videos on YouTube. After doing that for myself I have no illusions. Most likely Hillary would not stand against the powers-that-be to any of which of this would be of benefit to the average citizen on most every level.

Realistically, could Bernie win?
     Probably not.

That said... I'm already sick of the presidential politicking which is still a year and one half out. How about you?

Filthy Fossil Fuels

An 'Associated Press' investigation revealed on April 15, 2015...

"A oil spill in Gulf of Mexico is far worse than previously reported"

Still Leaking For Over A Decade !

"Man ruptures gas line at California police gun range causing massive blast"

"Colorado facility went up in flames after a fracking tanker was hit by lightning"


I realize there's very little that can be done by average citizens nor by blogging about this. I know I'm sounding like a broken record bringing this up over and over again. Still I can't help expressing my disgust with those responsible for promoting the continued use of fossil fuels. Especially in situations where it can be avoided via the use of solar panels (electric or passive) and turbines. This may not solve all our energy needs but it surely would reduce the amount of consumption and the resulting pollution from harvesting, transporting then burning them.

Let's also keep in mind how polluted the Pacific Ocean has become (and still is becoming) after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. These are not just screwing up our oceans but also the dry lands where we farm and build our homes. Here we are fracking using huge quantities of water while fewer precious amounts are becoming available. Some possibly over earthquake prone areas,

I'm not certain how much more the grounds (and waters) beneath our feet, the oceans & air can withstand. One thing I am certain. If we continue in this same direction the rallying cry of "drill baby drill" in a few years will become "kill baby kill"... and not just for the fish.

What Can We do?
* Those that can afford the alternative electric cars & devices should buy them.
* Government should be offering incentives to new homes being built.
* Media needs to get on board in a big way and do it's job such as the 'AP' & 'National Geographic' has done.
* People need to vote out politicians who ignore the handwriting on the wall. We need greater oversight. Not less.

Video Courtesy 04/15/2015: 'National Geographic'
"Is Gulf Oil Spill's Damage Over or Still Unfolding?"

3 Of The Best Music Videos I Came Across This Week

Truth Surge
"All Dead, All Dead" (Original by 'Queen')

Jenny Daniels (Germany) & Donny Nichol-"Every Other Weekend"
Original by Reba McEntire & Kenny Chesney

Jenny on Facebook

Isto's (Christopher White) New Band, 'King Isto's Tropical String Band'
Cover of Sonny Cunha's "Hula Girl"

His Website

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pay Up Or We'll Kill Your Dog

CNN Money: "Dogs Killed Over Unpaid Fines"
"In some cases, dogs don't even have to leave the yard for animal control to come calling. Last year, Riverside County inspectors incited controversy for going door-to-door and giving out citations of up to $400 per dog.. Some hold people's pets until they settle their bills, even if it means they end up killed. "

Almost seems like legal kidnapping then holding them for ransom doesn't it? In some cases executing pets whose owners cannot come up with the cash in time. Sometimes before they can even appeal. Well ain't that nice.

The question boils down to this. Are these dogs living in homes without vaccinations and licenses better off dead?

4:00AM Bar Closings In Pennsylvania?

4:00AM bar closing time keep Millennials in Pennsylvania?
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times
"State. Rep Jordan Harris, D- Philadelphia, says he thinks so."

My Comments About The Article Above
Are you kidding me. Anyone who has ever read the headlines about the after hour clubs (booze or no booze) for years already know how these things always turn out.

Is this the first step in granting 24/7/365 operations?
     I think so.

Who cares if they go to Jersey.. Let them. Then that will be Jersey's problem. It simply amazes me how enthusiastic legislators are in allowing booze in every corner of our marketplace and parks all in the name of the almighty dollar. Encouraging gambling, marijuana and booze sends the wrong message. Anyone who thinks America will be better off for it needs to re-evaluate their priorities. Enough said.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Allentown Mayor Tosses His Hat Into Ring 4 U.S. Senate

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has officially announced he's running for U.S. Senate.

It's Kinda Like..
The company I worked had a superintendent that developed a inventory control system called KPIP. Never mind what that stood for. The point is it never worked. But before the headquarters in Chicago figured that out they promoted him. Gave him a significant raise and a high level office.

Regarding this mayor of Allentown...
Criticize him as some may, what have any of the other candidates or those presently holding office done either?

To my way of thinking it amazes how the United States continues to function despite these windbags. If it were not for the common everyday people and those who have the common sense to make this system work we'd all be in trouble. So yeah, why wouldn't he be just as qualified as the present batch of monkeys we already have in congress?

Whatever Pawlowski would do couldn't be worse then the things Pat Toomey has voted against. Either the mayor or Joe Sestak getting elected would be fine with me. Either of these two would be better then the alternative of having Pat Toomey getting reelected.

Putting all of that aside if the mayor ended up going to Washington who then would become the mayor in Allentown?
OMG.. can you only imagine !

TMC Publishes Allentown Mayor's Timeline w/o Comment

The Morning Call-- Timeline: Ed Pawlowski in Allentown

And this is useful, how?
What's the point if they are not presenting the pro and cons nor none of the details?

Any idiot can do something that only requires a simple search of Google. I'm not sure why they considered this worth mentioning. Can anyone explain the thought process that went behind this down at 6th & Linden?

We Should Rethink Drivers License Suspensions

I came across this news story in the 'New York Times'. Driver’s License Suspensions Create Cycle of Debt

This got me to thinking how horrible an idea this is when licenses are suspended for reasons other then violating driving laws.

According to the reporter, "..some states have begun suspending driver’s licenses for unsatisfied debts stemming from any criminal case, from misdemeanors like marijuana possession to felonies.."

As the article goes on to point out it's no wonder so many people are driving while their license is under suspension. Seems to me the punishment doesn't fit the crime. It also seems to me if we take away someone's means to support themselves there's little chance they will ever have the opportunity to make good on the debts they owe. We must remember not all these people have alternative transportation available. Most employers won't hire someone without a car. Not everyone lives in a high density area where public transportation is readily available. Ever check out the bus schedules to where you work in the Lehigh Valley?

I have no problem taking away drivers privileges from jerks behind the wheel. I do have a problem with blackmailing people with the threat of removing their privileges on entirely unrelated matters. Taking away a persons means of a livelihood does neither they nor the persons they owe any good. It only serves to kick a person already down more then they need be. I find this to be not only revengeful but spiteful as well. Both should have no place in what we'd like to think of as justice within our system.

I dread to think how far this could go now that we've cracked this door open.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Like The IRS To Bill You?

The New York Times is asking, Would You Let the I.R.S. Prepare Your Taxes?

Why not?
We already get itemized bills for our phones, cable, hospital bills and a whole host of others. I'm warm to the idea as long as it's optional and not compulsory.

The IRS has all the information already. All we're doing to re-entering what the IRS already knows. The only thing we have a say in is how we wish to take advantage of the available reductions. In my case, like the vast majority of us, I end up taking the standard deductions anyway. It always has beat out those when I try itemizing everything. As such it turns out a waste of my time and the $76.30 I spent this year with the tax preparation software I used. Besides, if I make a error it could cost me a penalty.

Maybe this won't work for businesses so well, but I believe for most Americans having the IRS billing us would work out just fine.

As for the paranoid who walk among us who don't trust the IRS I'd ask this. Who do you trust more with all yours financial details. Some third party accountant, an online service or the government which is going to scrutinize and go over the filings anyway with all the information they already are privy to?

So yeah I kinda like the idea. I'd like Pennsylvania to do this as well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Voter Literacy Tests?

Ann Coulter: US Needs Literacy Tests To Make It 'More Difficult To Vote'

Been There. Done That !

Christie's Proposed Changes To Social Security

New Jersey governor Chris Christie has come up with a few ideas on how'd he would change Social Security.

As much as I'm tempted I won't discuss this along partisan political lines.

Nor repeat, as I have so many times before, my views on SS itself. Instead I will focus purely on his proposal and why I think it's a lousy idea.

(1) Christie proposes raising the full retirement age from 67 to 69 years old.
(a) Considering the problem younger people face finding too few jobs I don't think it's a good idea to discourage older workers from leaving the workforce. This would compound the situation.

(b) Most older workers over 55 are finding it more difficult to get hired as well. Most companies prefer healthier perhaps even better educated younger workers. Many of these oldsters are unskilled and just hanging in there long enough to reach 62. Another part of his plan is to raise that age to 64 before one is eligible for SS.

The bottom line is we'd have not just those looking to retire at 62 being forced to work two more years, but those at the other end waiting for 69 so they can get full benefits. That's 100,000's of jobs that younger workers may not have the opportunity to replace if these older workers were being forced to stay longer.

(2) Cut benefits to those making $80,000+. Cutting them entirely for those $200,000+
(a) For 2015 the maximum SS taxes are capped at $118,500. Total SS taxes amount to 12.4% (half paid by employees/half employers). This translates to $14,694 someone will have to pay into SS if they earn $118,500+. Here's the rub. If someone is doing well for himself and earns $200,000+ they would be no longer eligible to collect under Christie's plan. This amounts to a huge tax increase w/o any of the benefits. Shouldn't these folks then be entitled to all their money back with interest?

(b) Many of those who start collecting before 67 are already getting their benefits cut (including those making $80,000). For 2015 the maximum one can earn before full retirement age is $15,720. Anything above that results in benefits being reduced $1 for every $2 earned over that amount. So say for example someone is earning $80,000. That's $64,280 over the limit. The maximum benefit SS pays in 2015 is $2,663 a month ($31,956 a year) Thus it's conceivable someone earning $80,000 may not receive anything at all even under the present system.

It looks like under Christie plan he would take this a step further. Someone making $80k+ would see their benefits reduced even if they wait until their full age of retirement. Again in this case these payers would have paid the full fare and only receive partial benefits down the line.

(c) No I'm not boo hooing for the wealthy. $80K seems like a lot of income, but 30 or 40 years from now I expect this amount would be what most middle income people will be earning. When I first started out working I earned $5,200 a year. This was enough to raise a child and support my wife who worked part time. These days it takes 6 or 7 times that amount. So therefore it's more then likely someone starting out at $25,000 a year right now could expect to earn well over $100,000 a year by the time they reach retirement age.

Christie's plan would raise Medicare age from 65 to 67 (by 2040)
This along with several other changes to Medicare itself. This would cause the burden to fall on workers and employers to extend their healthcare plans two years longer. If older workers have trouble finding jobs with healthcare benefits this surely isn't going to encourage employers to hire them over younger workers either.

A lot of this is bracket creep in nature. Many of these dollar amounts which seem innocuous today will affect nearly everyone 30 or 40 years from now. I tend to see this as a backdoor tax if one day people aren't entitled to receive what they were promised after paying into SS over their working life. In other words a sneaky way of doing a tax increase.

Every article I read concerning this matter keeps phrasing their reports to say these "entitlements" are too expensive for the "government". I question that very line of reasoning. First off "the government" is us. Not some money tree people are sponging off. They are called "entitlements" for a reason. Legislation was setup for Social Security entirely separate and apart from the U. S. general budget. People pay into this expecting they will receive what they were promised. It's should not be used as a cash cow via government borrowing from it like they have been since it's inception. That would be a bait and switch.

The other thing that annoys me. NO IT'S NOT A PONZI SCHEME. A Ponzi is where someone gets paid via new investors rather then from profits earned. First off SS was never set up to make profit. Secondly it aligns more closely to that of how insurance companies function. People pay into insurance pooling their money to help pay for others and themselves when (not if) they have a need for it in the future.

I'd be more concerned with government forcing people to pay taxes only to give it away to other nations with citizens getting nothing in return. I'd be more concerned with government handing out other taxpayers money to those who contributed nothing to it's revenue in so many other ways. As long as people stand up against these kind of SS schemes social security will remain strong.

Here Are Some Fixes.
* Raise the earning caps letting even wealthy people remain entitled to what they paid for. Many who may not live long enough to collect like many of us.

* If workers & employers have to pay 12.4% tax on earnings, wouldn't raising wages provide additional revenue?

* Young workers start earning money later and later because of colleges requiring 4 years. Why not compress studies to 3 years or less? Increase incentives for 2 year trade schools, etc.

* Currently 70% of our population didn't graduate college. We need to get them well paying employment (think bad trade deals).

The problem isn't with SS, but rather the lack of will by
certain politicians who'd rather not face the tough political choices.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Screwing Over Retail Workers

According to 'Reuters News Service, "New York's attorney general has questioned 13 national retailers, including Gap Inc, Target Corp and JC Penney, about "on-call shifts," a staffing practice that requires workers to find out just hours before their shift whether or not they need to report to work."

There's not a doubt in my mind the New York AG has no say in what an employer can or cannot do. Still, isn't this a kick in the butt to employees?

It's the old story of companies doing whatever they want as long as employees are willing to put up with it. How do employers expect people to give a hoot about them if they don't give two nickels about those under their employ?

This doesn't bode well for neither party nor the customers they serve. The short and long of this is... garbage in ='s garbage out. No loyalty given. None received.

Apparently ethics in business is no longer being taught in our institutes of higher learning. What a world it's become when people no longer give a rat. Quite sad really.