Thursday, 15 October 2009

A $250 Non-Necessity

So this is the deal….every year….the social security guys give out a raise….that goes hand in hand with inflation. Sometimes, it’s one percent. Sometimes, it’s two percent. Sometimes, it’s three percent. Well…this year…inflation was negative growth…first time since 1975.

So naturally, the government feels awful damn sorry and woeful over this lack of a pay raise for you folks over 65. So, in typical stimulus fashion….they are now chatting over a January $250 one-time check to be issued….which you can rush out and plan a trip to some casino, buy a new flat TV (the cheaper 32” type), buy a case of Jacky D’s on sale, or spend five days at some Orlando 2-star resort hotel.

The curious thing is that there was zero growth….in fact, negative growth. So there should have zero added onto the yearly payment, and no $250 payment. Instead, you have the mindset that we have to pay these kindly folks something…anything….to make things right.

What happens if next year’s growth is negative? Well…same deal….another $250 check for these retirees. And 2011? Same thing….could be another $250 check. The logic here is that you shouldn’t pay anything and just do things by the book, and save the nation $500 million or more. But we aren’t that ethical or capable….are we?

So my advice…when you get the $250 check….go over to the butcher and order up $250 of beef steak…at a discount….and make the beef ranchers of America happy. Every two weeks, you could enjoy a fine steak with a baked potato for most of the year. The money would stay in America and you’d actually enjoy the $250 over a lengthy period of time.

And if this isn’t your cup of tea….then get yourself a new set of tires made in the Philippines.

Some People

My associate came over today. His girlfriend is in the medical profession…a contractor of sorts. Apparently, the government had a position up in the UK….and found this person to hire (a GS hire from the states). So they did the contract, arranged for shipping for the gal’s baggage, and flew her over. She in processed on Monday. On Friday morning, she came into the office and announced she couldn’t take this anymore and was going to leave over the weekend. She stayed less than seven days in country.

The amusing thing is that her household goods had yet to arrive, and the government won’t pay to immediately ship it back.

She never gave an explanation…just that she couldn’t take UK living and had to go.
It’s a funny thing about military people….we are all forced into moving to undesirable or unusual places. We just accept it. From the states….folks who never spent time in the military….I’d imagine that fifty percent couldn’t take living overseas….in any civilized or uncivilized location.

If you came up to me….and offered me a job in Honduras for twelve months for the right pay….I’d go. I wouldn’t make a big deal about surroundings or environment….but that’s more due to military training than anything else.

The Non-Profit Charity-Mafia

It was an interesting NPR news episode today....US aid to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The boys who all run the charity-mafia-non-profit aid programs are highly disturbed. Basically, they believe the State Department and the administration are cutting them out their special deal. There were several serious complaints as the boys cried to the NPR journalists.

First, apparently that evil Czar of the region, Holbrook.....has been pushing take the chunk of money that America flushes toward Pakistan for aid....and just hand to the Pakistani government to run via their own programs. Naturally, this is really terrible because it cuts out the funding bucket that these non-profit charity-mafia organizations were taking their cash from.

Second, they were upset that the State Department hasn’t appointed a chief of aid....which naturally...would disperse the cash the way that the non-profit charity-mafia organizations desired. Their fondest hopes? That the government would just take their suggestions for the guy to appoint and make sure the “right” guy got appointed. For some reason....Holbrook and the boys are delaying this appointment....maybe until hell freezes over.

Then, the boys were upset that the aid-for-the world mentality wasn’t getting them the status like the Pentagon guys. They believe that aid ought to have the same level as the war business. This discussion went on for a minute or two as they made a passionate appeal for real recognition.

The problem here is that since the 1950s when aid first started up....nothing in the uncivilized world has really improved. Billions upon billions have been flushed into every region of the world, and you can’t show any significant improvement.

In the original vision....the idea was to take US grown corn, wheat, beans, and rice....and buy via a government program, which would increase the value to farmers. More competition....more money. In the 1950s, it was simple.

You bought 10,000 tons of corn. You put it into standard bags with a US flag on it and stamped it “made-in-America”. You got US freighters to deliver it to various countries. You had trucks pick up the 500 bags of 80-lb of corn. Then you drove to the middle of nowhere and offered up a bag of 80 pounds of corn to Joe....free of charge. Joe was happy...and this provided some level of extra food for a month or two. It was free, so naturally, no one turned it down.

The program grew. In the 1970s, it became an organizational thing. Various charity groups began to hire up some college educated guys and turn this into a massive program.

By the 1990s, the charity-mafia groups began to sleep and drink with congressmen and senators....plus the Administration folks.....to get more money and funding. They grew to a higher class of non-profit charity-mafia. Naturally, if you asked them....they would always say there is plenty of work but they can’t cite a end point....which is the curious thing.

Before the 1950s....you survived or you died. These charities came around and started pumping you up with pictures of half-starved folks. Naturally, they didn’t have the heart to tell you the entire story or to really think through a plan to make these people flourish on their own.

Holbrook in this case is correct....if you gave the money to the local government and said just make the program work correctly....they’d do a better job than the non-profit charity-mafia crowd. But then, there is this corruption factor....you can’t be sure of anything over the money. Then you turn back to the non-profit charity-mafia folks, and you start to laugh over their management and salary structure.

The amazing thing is that some folks have spent their entire lives involved in the charity-mafia, and they don’t have much else to show for their resume. If they were unemployed, then what? You’d have to find them work and there just isn’t anything that matches up to something like this.

So much for non-profit charity-mafia operations.....