Daily Archives: October 23, 2008

Jobs, Benefits, and Thoughts

  • I was talking to someone at work this week, and he swore up and down that he was poor.  He works a job 3-4 days per week and makes roughly $55,000 per year.  He has a nice house, insurance for him, his wife, and his child, a nice car, goes out to eat when he wants, and does not lack for material goods, but he argued with me for 15 minutes that he is poor.  What is wrong with this picture?
  • I had another discussion for over an hour with a friend who is a veteran, pro-American, free market minded, and has a strong opinion (like myself and others who disagree with my position).  He raised some great ideas for ways to fix our current health care problems.  Be ware, this could be offensive.
  1. Make a separately run government health system of hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics which utilize students and doctors who went to school under a government contract who must give a certain number of years service at a very modest salary.
  2. The current medicaid recipients and income qualified get to use the services of this health system.  If you agree to those services, you waive the right to sue for monetary damages.
  3. Hospitals that are not under this system do not have to do more than basic treatment to stabilize a patient who shows up.
  4. Legislate a restriction on the amount of money that can be awarded for damages, both actual and punitive in court and mandate that attorneys cannot receive higher than a certain percentage of those damages, and institute a “loser pay”  requirement on the plaintiff side.
  • That should reduce expenses and the continued problem of costs being passed on to the payers from those whose bills are written off due to their inability to pay.  Those who utilize the private system through their insurance benefit from the weight of non payers being lifted, tort reform bringing relief to the massive liability insurance required for doctors to practice medicine, and the emergency care of the uninsured should be reduced if not ended.
  • As for our food stamps system, why do we give cards to those receiving benefits to go to a grocery store where they can buy name brand products, cola, candy, and cake?  I am of the belief that grocery stores and big food companies have lobbied the government for the current system.  A much more efficient system would be to end the qualification process so that everyone can benefit from government distributed food.  You could have surplus foods marked with “government issued” which would supply staples but no frills.  Milk, canned meat, rice, beans, and veggies available for all.
  • As a case manager for 7 years, I have seen the cart of many food stamp recipients.  This may not apply to some of you out there who receive food stamps, so do not take offense if not applicable.  But many times it is filled with sugary snacks, junk food, name brand colas, name brand cereal, and so forth.  I am no person to look for nutritional advice from, but if you look in my grocery cart (paid for with money I have had to earn) you will find fresh meat, frozen veggies, cheese, lettuce, and very rarely a case of store brand cola.  Yet, a food stamps EBT card cannot be used to purchase cleaning supplies, bleach, diapers, or toilet paper.  Something is wrong with this picture.
  • If you closed out the current system, it would be so much more cost efficient, it would end the common practice of food stamp recipients of buying groceries for people without benefits and selling them for cash at a discount rate so that they can purchase booze, cigarettes, and even drugs.  If people are forced to go to a government center to receive their benefits or vouchers for commodities and staples, it would hopefully cut back on the fraud and place back a level of accountability on those who anonymously shop for their groceries without the stigma of the old food stamp system.
  • The current front runner according to the national polls believes in a system of taxation that is in essence a form of welfare.  95% of Americans under his plan will get a tax cut.  Roughly 60% of Americans pay taxes.  Therefore, if you look at this promise, there will be a significant portion of Americans who will receive more tax refunds than they pay in, in some cases receiving a check even though they paid no taxes at all.
  • The purpose of taxation should be to fund legitimate functions of the government.  If it was about fairness, everyone would pay the same rate and all credits, deductions, and graduated rates would be stopped.  Taking people off the tax rolls completely takes away incentives to succeed and move from one class to another.
  • As a married couple who own a house and have no children, Marcela and I pay more in taxes than most.  We pay for schools we do not use, do not get to claim more exemptions on our taxes, and we do not get the child tax credits.  Those who have children and do not own a house or property get the credits for the children, they get to claim more people on their taxes, and they do not pay for the schools they use.  Like I said, our current tax system is not geared toward fairness, but welfareness (my new word).
  • Enough of that, lets talk about something else.  I am considering accepting the offer to take off Sunday so I can be at church.  Usually on Sundays, they ask for volunteers to go home since we are overstaffed on weekends.  If I go home, I will lose 8 hours of pay, but I will get to be at church.  I still have not decided.
  • I am considering heading down to Plantation Key for service if I do.  We will see.

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The Ant and the Grasshopper – updated

Thanks to Neal Boortz for this version of the Ant and the Grasshopper which I have tweaked very slightly for this election cycle.

OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MODERN VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.  America is stunned by the sharp contrast.  How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Jesse Jackson then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake. Nancy Pelosi & Barney Franks exclaim in an interview with Katie Couric that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his “fair share.” Finally, the EEOC drafts the “Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act,” retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.  Barack Obama gets his old organization ACORN to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Obama appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients. The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around him because he doesn’t maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

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