Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is now a good time...

...to panic? I think maybe, just maybe, it is. Because come next Tuesday, the United States defaults on all its debts, and China will come to repossess us. I don't think we'll be permitted to call ourselves the United States of China. They'll probably rename us something those of us speaking American English can't pronounce, and that'll be just ONE of the things that sucks.

On the table are apparently a few things that will affect me directly. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. And the truly fun part is no longer knowing who's responsible for what. The Republicans and Democrats have switched sides, from what I've gathered via Jon Stewart, meaning that I'm no longer sure who I should be yelling at. President Obama's idea of calling my Congressman to give my two cents seems about as useful as a of gallon of gas during a house fire.

I don't understand the gripe that the rich have with being taxed. If one is rich, and intelligently so, then there are bank accounts chock full of money. Paying a few extra percentiles of taxes should NOT be that much of a problem, as there will still be plenty of money left in your precious bank accounts. (Or have you all lived the American dream beyond your credit, too, and are now so in debt that your savings accounts are empty?) The lower and middle classes don't have extra tax breaks, so pony up and pay your share too. Call it "the price of being wealthy."

That's all I have for the citizenry. For the government, I have quite a few choice words, like, "STOP BEING MORONS!"

We can start by dumping the penny. No one will miss it. That's a few million dollars no longer spent, right there.

Creating useless agencies would also be a big help. Like the department in charge of trying to simplify paperwork and cut down on paper actually used. by other departments. (I read about it once, but can't find it again to save my life.) The result of creating said department was the creation of even more paperwork. It's akin to creating "the Organization to Organize Organizations." It's probably out there...I just refuse to look, as I fear I might actually find it. Stop the uselessness!

These wars for foreign oil, (and that's what most are them are really about), need to end. Our men and women serving overseas, while serving their country is quite noble, are also costing their country a lot of money. By bringing our beloved soldiers home and we could put a HUGE dent in our country's spending.

I say the next time Congress "votes itself a raise," we strap C-4 to all of them, blow them to smithereens, and start again with people willing to take a smaller paycheck. Better yet...Let's see how their service to their country becomes a greater concern to themselves by reducing their pay to the poverty level. I'll bet you a million imaginary dollars that they'll all start working harder to eliminate poverty, and all associated condition, after that move. And they'll be required to do so without increasing spending on anything connected to welfare.

Run the government on Windows '98, instead of constantly passing on the cost of upgrades to the tax payers!

Gah! GRRRRR! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!

I'm really not helping much, am I?

I didn't think so.

The thing is that after 2 August, rumor has it that Social Security checks may not be going out to those enrolled. That would include yours truly. Think I did a lot of begging when I started this blog? Just wait until I'm getting NOTHING each month!

The people of this country seem to be sitting back, hoping that the people they voted into office will iron things out and get us back on track. Our politicians, however, haven't been doing very well of late, and so my faith in them is rapidly slipping away. I'm now praying there'll be a check coming my way next Wednesday.

I'll also be digging through my storage containers for my electronic thumb and my towel.

3 comments:

Zeb The Troll said...

I'm going to make my response a little bit out of order here (as in "not in the same order you did it, not "You're OUT OF ORDER!") 8-P

I firmly believe there is no reason to panic. NO ONE in Congress or the White House wants the default to happen. I predict that at the last minute a short term approbal will be passed and we'll do this again at election time. Checks will go out in the mail and Medicare/Medicaid will continue to work.

Besides, even if these social program cuts go through, they aren't talking about immediate cuts. They're talking about reworking how they're done in general, but the effect won't be seen by this generation. It'll be the next one. Yes, people who were counting on Social Security for retirement will get screwed in 20 years, but not the people already on it. And let's face it, these things are NOT being done in the most efficient manner possible. Something has to change. It's just that no one wants to take on that risk themselves.

There are a lot of things about the current situation that I find appalling and I don't understand. For example, why does someone who makes $2M a year still get to collect Social Security when they retire? There should be an upper limit to that that's reviewed periodically to account for inflation. Will Bill Gates REALLY need that extra few thousand dollars a year? I doubt it, but he's entitled to it right now.

(*Note, that's not a jab at Mr. Gates. He's one of the most philanthropic billionaires in the US right now and I sincerely doubt he's campaigning to be able to keep that money. It's just the name of a rich person that I know everyone will recognize.)

As for our elected officials, I honestly feel that they should work for free. I'm not joking. Most of them don't need the money anyway, and those that aren't independently wealthy are given enough government funding to be able to do their jobs and then some. I don't think politicians at that level are doing what they do for money anyway. Either they're idealistic and stupid (my apologies to any idealistic politicians reading this, but that's how I feel it is), or they're in it for the power.

I know you weren't serious about running things on Win98 specifically, but I do have to take exception to the rant about making taxpayers pay for the recurring upgrades. As someone in the know, I don't think it works like you think it works. We don't just roll out the newest flashy thing whenever it rolls out of Redmond. For example, the FBI has only just this year upgraded to WinXP. This is bad. Why? WinXP isn't even be supported by Microsoft anymore unless you paid for an extended support plan. We don't have to be on the bleeding edge of technology, but we can't be bringing up the rear either. Those who seek to harm us aren't, I can assure you. This isn't a "or the terrorists win" platitude, either. I remember when I was supporting the National Cancer Institute when some Chinese ne'er-do-wells hacked half of our websites and changed them all to anti-US propaganda. This will not do. And the newer versions offer levels of stability and security that simply weren't available on previous platforms.

(cont.)

Zeb The Troll said...

(cont)

On the penny, it's a pain in the ass and several other countries don't bother to deal in hundredths of their base currency and they get along fine. I got to experience this while I was stationed in Korea. Even on base, they didn't accept or return pennies as change. it pretty much breaks even between being rounded up and rounded down. I liked the system a lot. Besides, I'm sure I read somewhere that the metals IN a penny are worth more than 1c. So we're losing money just by minting them. That's like a counterfeiter spending $21 per bill to have fake $20 bills. Just ... dumb.

And lastly, on the "contact your Congressmen" note. I have it on good authority that this is actually effective. I'm sure the numbers have changed by now with new media, but at one point in time, one person writing their Congressman was considered to be representative of 40 thousand voters. Even if we dilute that to 400 voters today since all we have to do is Twitter or email them, the fact remains that the vast majority of voters don't make their wishes known. I heard on the radio just today that after The President's speech, the webites for both John Boehner and Harry Reid both crashed under the flood or responses. Don't think for a moment they didn't notice that.

That all being said, I'm sick to death of all the posturing. All of it. But mostly I'm sick to death of these freshmen Tea Party nut jobs that have been told that compromise is off the table and they took it to heart. They're holding government hostage for the sake of unreasonable goals that are not universally wanted or welcome. Yeah, some of them won upset landslide elections making them think they own the consensus of the voters. They don't. Hard line right, hard line left, these aren't what the average voter wants. They want people who know how to meet in the middle. That's why they're called "Independents". A whole lot of us don't just vote a straight ticket without looking at the options and weighing them intelligently.

Mrrrf. Okay, Rob. I'm sorry I went on for so long on your blog. For the most part, though, I agree with you. Americans don't want their government to be a recurring cliffhanger always resolved at the last minute. This should have been resolved months ago. Years ago. (Bill? Yeah, some of us remember that you actually balanced our budget right before term limits kicked you out of office before we could capitalize on them.)

Huh, there's a character limit for replies. Who knew?

Nightsgale said...

So okay, I'm a few days behind in making this comment. I don't check your blog on a daily routine, but I do make it a point to check in on you and see that you're, y'know, not dead from tripping over an air molecule or the like.

Back to the point, however.

You made mention of the fact that those people in the United States so blessed as to be Upper-class and actually be considered "rich" are being asked to pay higher taxes, which by logic, they should be able to pay, due to, well... being rich.

I would present the concept that our rich individuals, the Corporate CEOs, the Politicians... they need to accept that they don't -need- that much money. Having all the money you'll ever need is a part of the American Dream, and no citizen should ever be told that they can't have that dream, or be told that they simply cannot attain it. However, on the opposite side of that particular statement lies the fact that some people get all the money they'll ever need and a -whole lot- more.
I would propose that the people in positions where they earn hundreds of thousands of dollars every -month- accept that they have no real -need- for that much income. Properly maintained, no person in the world should -need- that much money to live comfortably and happily.

A few months ago, I came across a video story on a website, wimp.com, that shows "neat videos" (tech stories, cute stuff, impressive personal feats, etc). It was about a Japanese businessman who ran his company with a very personal touch, and when he realized that, as it was performing, the company would go into the Red and -stay- there... he changed things up. He took a personal pay-cut that amounted to something close to half of what he -was- getting, and -asked- (not forced) the rest of his work force to do the same... when things were done, the company was making more than enough profit to be in and stay in the Green.

At that time, I was awed by the simple willingness for someone to go that far, and wondered how many impossible acts would have to happen first before any American companies or political positions might consider such an act.

And then yesterday I read an article on Kotaku.com. The article is here: http://kotaku.com/5825872/nintendo-president-takes-blame-for-3ds-getting-50-percent-pay-cut
This is again, a Japanese man taking responsibility for his acts and making actions that no American would reasonably consider.

I find myself asking "Why? Why would no American company CEO consider doing as these two Japanese men have done?"

To summarize my point from all of this:
The rich are already rich enough; let them reach a certain point of wealth, and ask them to maintain -that- level, and the remaining income of wealth they would otherwise have received be profit seen elsewhere in this country.