Saturday, 27 March 2010

How Much Can You Take?

I watch the news alot. Yeah, probably more than the mortal man should. I've found over the past year or two...especially the last sixty days after moving to Arlington...that I have a limit on what I can take.

For example...Rush Limbaugh? I can take about twelve minutes max of Rush...before I hit the "next" button or mute button. I'm not exactly anti-Rush...but there's a limit to what I really care to hear or consume.

Larry King? I can take about eight minutes of Larry on average. There are some guests where the questions are 5-star in nature and I could take half-an-hour. This past week, I watched one interview and was ready to hit mute after three minutes of Larry.

Glen Beck? If it's a history lesson...maybe forty-five minutes. If it's some rant...60 seconds.

Rachel Madow of MSNBC? Five minutes...max. Her flip side version of things....sometimes is necessary....but then you get flip after flip after flip. By her vision, the whole Republican party is like some group of aliens who have invaded the Earth, and we need to fight them off. Plus, if the Republicans didn't exist...she'd basically have nothing to report...which is kinda sad for a news commentator to admit.

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC? I can typically take about fifteen minutes of Olbermann...on a good night. Out of an entire week....he actually can tell a neutral story five or six times...so you have to just be standing there at the right moment to catch it.

Chris Mathews of MSNBC? If he wouldn't interrupt people so often and just let them speak on their own instead of putting words in their mouth....he might be a 3-star journalist. Otherwise...I can take six minutes of Chris max....for the whole evening. Also, another thing...ever looked at the pictures they used for Chris in their advertisements? He looks like he's 40 years old. On camera....today, he looks like he's seventy.

Anderson Cooper of CNN? He pleads and pleads for you to believe him...and looks really great in black t-shirts. As for time I can take from him? Eight to ten minutes max. He actually appears to be the least knowledgeable guy on TV today and he should just shift over to the Today Show (perfect match for his skills).

Matt Lauer of Today Show? Fifteen minutes max. There's the "Matt-angle" to every story and you sit there and laugh through the majority of stories that he tries to tell. As for actual news skills? He'd be the last guy you want on a live-action on-going emergency newscast.

Ed Schultz of MSNBC? I can actually sit and take around thirty minutes of Ed. I realize that he's half bogus on some stories and he's like a used car dealer....but he has that southern appeal. You'd like to have lunch with Ed...but I probably wouldn't buy a Buick from him.

O'Reilly of Fox? Yeah, I admit I can watch sixty minutes straight of O'Reilly. I realize that's he's a pain and very difficult on guests. But he also captures the moment and often puts you square in the middle of a story.

Neil Cavuto of Fox? I can take almost thirty minutes of Neil. He asks the questions and actually digs into the topic. I admit he might lean to the right but he's pretty much digging into the entire story so you have some key facts to think about beyond his sells job.

Greta of Fox? I can actually sit there and watch almost thirty minutes of Greta. At least she's appealing and gets to the point on stories. I realize she's a lawyer and she'd not a 4-star journalist....but at least she is trying.

Hannity of Fox? Five minutes is the most I can take for an entire evening. He's not a four-star journalist....and he's terrible at interviews. He is trying to sell you on every single topic he brings up and you sit there laughing at the discussion.

John King of CNN? Way beyond himself for an entire hour. He could do a good eight minute story....but he's just not the guy to host an entire hour-long show on news.

John Stossel of Fox Business? I can take sixteen hours straight of John. Generally...if I had to cross the US in a RV and had to pick three folks to ride with me....John would be one of them. He's telling the regular guy version of every story. There's not much vanilla or whipped cream on the story...just facts.

Dave Ramsey of Fox Business? Dave actually makes an entertaining show and I could sit there and listen to it for thirty minutes. The numbers always make sense.

G Gordon Liddy? I could probably take an entire hour of G Gordon. I admit...he is a nut at times. I admit he is a bit right wing. But he entertains you to the ninth degree. You just can't take his news as being absolute.

Shepard Smith of Fox? Shep in the thirty-minute range. He is a sales freak and shifts story a bit around....so you have to pay attention to what he says and what the facts are. Shep is a bit liberal but you have to appreciate his simple presentations and the way he unfolds an entire story.

A Class Act

I tried to make sense out of it...the Class Act. No one spoke about it over the past six months...and somewhere in the health care bill signed...it's sitting there. No one in the media has spoken up much about it and I suspect that people are waking up today and discovering this thing for the first time.

The Class Act is really known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act. Course, you would be scratching your head and wondering what that means. It's basically the government's long-term care program....which will be voluntary (at least until someone says otherwise).

In the old days...up until the day that the healthcare bill was passed...Medicare had a major deal in taking care of your long-term care requirements...meaning when you got bad enough and had to go to the old folks home. With the Class Act in full force....and vast money cut from Medicare....you now began to understand how the puzzle fits.

Gasping now?

So how much? Well....somewhere between $150 to $250 a month, roughly. It'll all depend on your age and salary. This will all add up to $109 billion a year within ten years....if everyone played along.

The neat thing (the only neat thing)...is that it doesn't start this year. The feds will come up and notify your boss and company...about the upcoming deduction.

You have a five-year vesting period....meaning that you won't be able to even claim the money until you've got at least five years of contributions. So you can already imagine this massive pot of money sitting there from 2011 on...until around 2016 when you could take money out. The amount you are limited to? $75 a day.

I sat and looked at this....thinking that it's voluntary right now but it wouldn't take that much to push it up one notch. How many guys will sign up? If you are 21...zero. I will readily predict that it won't be of interest to anyone except guys over the age of 45. How many folks want to put $150 a month into something like this? Well...if you started at eighteen....putting $250 a month into an investment fund...you'd have $400k easily by age sixty. If you were going to do something of a drastic nature...I'd go for the investment fund and forget this.