Saturday, 26 January 2013

Some Advice

I will occasionally dispense some advice....although it probably won't help.

For the university quietly offering up a chancellorship to Hillary Clinton after she leaves the State Department...you might want to consider this....she's a good talker but a lousy management person.  If you have one single kid to die or pass away on the campus for any reason....you'd best expect parents to ask stupid questions and to bring lawsuits.  If your security around campus is two-star at best....don't expect any free rides via the state legal system.

For the folks around Illinois ...I'd advise you to read up on what low bond ratings really mean.  When you got dumped down to A-minus status yesterday....that's the lowest of the fifty states and their bond status ratings.  It means that if you borrow money....you pay a heck of a lot more....than most other states in taxes to repay the bond.  For every mile of road you pave....you can figure there's at least ten percent more costs added into the bond costs.  Hoping to get a better rating?  Unless you felt like firing a bunch of folks....don't kid yourself.

For banks listening in on Chicago's Mayor (Rahm Emanuel) and his talk to dump gun makers as clients....you might want to consider how many people are members of your bank and actually own a gun.  Around Chicago?  I'd be guessing that eighty percent of all adults in the city of Chicago own a gun, and most might take offense if you chose some morale path to make the media happy.  Could you afford to lose ten percent of your customer base?  Could you afford to lose ten percent of your small-business base?

For the FBI that has some evidence of some Senator going off to the Dominican Republican and having relations with young gals under eighteen?  Well...unless you can find a law that was violated in the US....just drop the whole investigation.  For the news organizations quietly holding onto the reports and refusing to publish on New Jersey's Bob Martinez?  Eventually, some idiot will figure out the reports, and your organizations, and put you in the press spotlight.  Bob might be target number one, but the fact that you just wouldn't say nothing about this in public?  No....folks aren't going to believe that.

And for those who quietly look for positive signs in the economy?  The experts admitted that new home sales in December dropped by seven percent.  No, it's not a big deal....but if you wanted something to help you feel good about the 2013 economy ...this isn't one of the positive features.

Simply Observations

If you remember the Chandra Levy episode....young intern...disappeared....her House Representative accused of possibly killing her...no body...eventually the Rep gets off the hook....body found in the woods around DC, and some criminal in DC eventually accused of the crime.  This was all back in 2001.  Well....the case has come back up because the accusations that were substantiated by a cell-mate of the accused....may not be totally true.  There's secret talks going on with the authorities and lawyers.  Without DNA evidence....this was not a very cut-and-dry case.  The fact that prosecutors have avoided any contact with the Levy family....kinda suggests that mistakes are going to be admitted in public shortly, and the guy will be let off the hook.  The Levy episode will just end as mysteriously as it started.

This talk of North Korea doing a nuke test?  Well...it's talk.  Everyone wants to pretend that it won't go too far.  The North Koreans?  I'm guessing that a group of five or six scientists are huddled around this plan to run up a nuke explosion of some variety....just to get their yearly bonus and get more money for research.  Eventually, the North Koreans will launch a missile that comes within a hundred miles of Coos Bay, Oregon, and then a bunch of west coast folks will freak out.  The Obama team will huddle and crank up some $20 billion dollar umbrella to protect the west coast folks....all because of a third-world country.  Who pays the $20 billion?  Mostly to come from loans via the Chinese....but it's best not to ask.

This single report by Fox News of the Social Security Disability Fund running out of money by 2016?  Well....it's built up on some data by a think-tank.  The truth?  You don't know.  The government won't dare go into this topic because there is an end-point to the fund, but it's best not to admit this until you get ninety days away, and then do the hour-by-hour dance at Congress to find funds to cover this.  We are creating more and more disabled folks....than what we did back in the 1970s.  This vast new part of our American society didn't exist until the last couple of decades.  Fixing it?  Well....you'd have to charge even more for Social Security, and I doubt that anyone would be happy about this.

Finally, some Mennonites have stood up and said this Discovery Channel show....Amish Mafia....is a show of bigotry.  Yes, after a century or so....the Mennonites have actually found some group who is making bigotry-type comments about them.  Course, you'd have to ask this question....how would you know this....unless you watched it on a TV, which is kinda illegal and goes against the group's rules?  Well.....it's best not to ask.

The Thirty-Two Hour Week?

So the DoD services are laying out the deal for civilian employees, with this sequestration situation.  At the end of March....most every single GS employee will have to schedule out twenty-two days of furlough, which have to be used by 1 October.

You can figure it out....it's roughly one day off per week.  Figure twenty percent of your monthly take-home pay is gone.

Then you start to calculate how things work....if you only come into the office thirty-two hours a week.  You have to cram as much into your thirty-two hours, then hope that this Karl that you interface with on Mondays and Wednesdays....to get some odd project done....decides that Monday is an awful fine day to take off.  So the project is getting less and less traction...as the weeks go by.

Three-day weekends?  Every week?  You start to plan out landscaping projects.  Maybe that garage paint-job?  Maybe visiting relatives that you don't normally visit?  Maybe seeing some part of the state that you talk about checking out but just haven't done it.

So the weeks go by.  Less work is actually accomplished.  Guys toss leave into this mix and suddenly take more four and five-day weekends.  People start to contemplate how to get the most done possible....with only thirty-two hours.

Then you come to October, and realize that nothing much has been fixed with the budget, and the generals start talking about restarting a thirty-two hour agenda in January of 2014....repeating the same mess again.

You thought that this twenty percent loss of pay was just a one-time deal.  Now?  You start to calculate that you will face nine months in 2014 with this same mess of twenty-two days of furlough.

That kid you need to send off to college in the fall of 2014?  Well....you are $10k short on the tuition because of all this short-pay situations.  That bulky $15k a year that you were sending into your government 401k deal?  Well....you can't possibly get to $15, with this limiting factor.  So there's less money planned out for retirement.  Another year of work....maybe two years more than expected?

What happens in October of 2014?  Well....another repeat?  Yeah....probably so.  So for the next four years or until the Senate can get it's act together.....you will make around fifteen percent less a year with these twenty-two furlough days figured into life's little mess.  The President might give you a pay-raise, and maybe you are a GS-12, GS-13, or GS-14.....but that check won't come to equal the right amount.

Just a humble guess, but by the end of 2014....a number of government executives will figure out this mess and realize that they will never get ahead....so why bother staying?  The President will try to hustle up a commission to determine why no one is staying around, and maybe even offer a ten-percent pay raise.....to work thirty-two hour weeks.

The answer to this mess?  The French folks have gotten use to 35-hour a week jobs over the last decade.  It would seem like we'd need to bring a bunch of French executives into the US government operation....to make this all work.  Just my humble opinion.