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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

$21 trillion! Can you imagine?

OK, two blog posts ago,  I promised to show how FREE MONEY could help us reduce our national debt--which now exceeds $21 TRILLION or $65,000 for every man, woman and child living in the United States. Sadly, true.

First, a basic question: How much is a trillion dollars? 
  • If you were given $1 a second, in just 32 years of seconds, you would be a billionaire. But it would take an additional 31,000 years of seconds to become a trillionaire!
  • If you stacked $1 bills, it would reach 60,000 miles into space.
  • It would take 44,000 18-wheel, 25-ton trucks to transport $1 trillion.
  • To cover our debt, 420 Bill Gates or 210 Jeff Bezos--before the divorce. (yep! There are people that rich.)
 So, as that number increases daily--with interest added--how are we ever going to get out of the hole? Well, we just have to start, and if we ever have enough years before the apocalypse, maybe we can make a dent.

And what better way than with free money? Two posts ago (scroll down or click here)  I showed you STEP ONE, how Dave (in the movie Dave) did it... cutting back on the many frivolous-sounding grants our government--some worthy, many not--makes to causes that often help them get re-elected. Money not spent counts double! That total in 2016  was 1/2 billion. (Don't laugh... it's a start.)

Now for the good stuff:

Step two: TSA reports that the pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters airline passengers forget to pick up from those big grey trays after going through airport check-ins, exceeded $1 million this past year. So $1 million for the next thousand years and we're talking real bucks.

Step three: A few entrepreneurs  have found $100 million in change in the wreckage of crushed cars we send to China as scrap. They buy the  ground up aluminum waste back from China, digs out the coins--many mangled and crushed-- and sell them back to our mint for their recycled value. The world number for lost change recycled is estimated to be as high as $50 billion!

Step four: Loose change in old sofa cushions and other places coins like to hide is estimated to be a number in the millions of dollars, not unbelievable when you figure that, as a nation of 350 million people, we have many millions of couches. What's your personal take?

Steps five through 12 you won't believe. but they are more real than the money saved in every "BIG PRESIDENT'S DAY (or week or month or any excuse for a sale) SALE... save hundreds of dollars." Perhaps theoretical but you get the idea. Just remember, many billionaires made their fortunes on theoretical ideas that worked.

Step five and beyond (thanks to Wall Street Journalist Joe Queenan who researched this in 2013): Harvard research estimated that sleep deprivation costs U.S businesses $63.2 billion a year (with no revenue to tax) in lost productivity.. WAKE UP WORKERS! We need the money

Step six: Cats cost us taxpayers $37.7 billion added in lost productivity due to work absences for owners to take their cats to the vets. And Dogs, perhaps double that.

Step seven thru 12 or 13 or more estimated by actual sources for some reason or another: Tweeting, $112 billion a year; transfurring vinyl LPs to MP3 format, $11.7 mil; Grumpy workers (Let a smile be your umbrella--NOT) $26.8 billion; time Americans spend listening to banjo music, $13.7 billion--not to mention piano, drums, sax, violas, harmonica,  etc; not carryng an umbrella, $35.6 million used as an excuse to not do this or that,;foolishly ingnoring maternal advice (mom told you so; $132.7 miliion annually, similarly not listening to dad, and we didn't even get to sneezing, itching, yawning, etc.

The list goes on and on, but hey, where is that American "Can Do" spirit that has always come through for us?

I actually feel better now knowing we can do--or not do in some cases--this. I just know Congress will lead the way.

God Bless America! REALLY, please!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The earth is definitely round, it's my tire that's flat.

When's the last time you had a flat tire? (Flat on one side does't count.) It has been years and years... and it still isn't much fun. That's the bad news.

But life, as we move through,  gives glimpses of its riches that remind us of all the good that's out there. (Watching the news is not one of them.)

My tire gave little hint that it was about to happen, but a sharp object pierced its sole (as in shoe rubber, right?) and it gave up its spirit with a whoosh. I was on a narrow, heavily traveled two-lane blacktop with no shoulder so I had to drive about 100 yards to a safer spot. Tire didn't like that either.

I called AAA and was advised I'd be an hour or so for help to arrive--in 90 degree full sun--giving a real life sense of how hot a car can get in just minutes. After moving myself to a tree-shaded spot, six or seven cars stopped to ask if they could help me. Good Samaritans come in a mix of races, genders and ethnicities but come they did. Each got my sincere "Thanks but help is on the way."

About 30-minutes in and no AAA in sight. a baby-size fire truck pulled over and after the firefighter affirmed I had a spare, said, "Then let's get that sucker changed."

He called his buddies at the nearby station house and in minutes, there were two trucks and three good Samaritans with a professional-size jack and enthusiasm to match. I cancelled my AAA help call and in 15 minutes, with great conversation included, I was ready to roll.

My take-away moment: Into each life a little rain will fall (right mom?) so don't forget to look for the rainbow... and all the good Samaritans out there.

If you are old enough, you remember the days when tires weren't as dependable and blow-outs or 'bubbles' were pretty common. I have changed dozens of tires... one impressing a college professor who asked "Can you REALLY change my tire?" to a hair raising, first car experience at 2 am under a "NO STOPPING FOR ANY REASON" sign on a narrow two-lane bridge with a grid floor, because I didn't have money for another ruined tire replacement. I was pretty fast then, hoping for no flashing red lights..

Monday, June 10, 2019

Can someone be bad and good at the same time? Dave can. He is the man with a plan to save the USA with just a few simple steps.,,, some of which you will find hard to believe.

Remember the 1993 movie Dave? We loved it (4 1/2 stars) because it made us feel good... and, come to think of it, when was the last time you felt good?

It featured actor Kevin Klein as both The Good President and The Bad President. Movie critic Roger Ebert says:

"Dave" takes that old plot about an ordinary person who is suddenly thrust into a position of power, and finds a fresh way to tell it. The movie's about a nice guy who runs an employment agency and is otherwise undistinguished, except that he happens to look exactly like the President of the United States. When the president wants to sneak away for a quickie with his mistress, he is recruited by the secret service to act as a stand-in. Then the president has a stroke and Dave is hired on a more or less permanent basis." 

The movie unfolds a lot like director Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, with a number of twists and  turns that sends everyone viewing, home happy. I won't divulge much more because it you haven't seen Dave, you should, and if you have, then you must watch it again. (Amazon Prime Video.)

Now about saving the United States:

One of the key scenes shows Dave, acting as the President, saving funding for a child daycare center so needed and desired by the the real President's wife (Sigourney Weaver), who doesn't yet know Dave isn't her real husband. All this with the bad guy in the back ground, powerless to stop him.Yes, it sounds confusing, but trust me, the movie  is worth it.

And while finding the critical funding for the important stuff--as acting President Dave does with a flair--is small potatoes to help reduce our $21 trillion and growing national debt,  it is step one.

Cutting federal waste, duplication and weird or unnecessary spending of grants--in excess of $1/2 billion of our hard earned tax dollars dollars in 2016 alone--is just one of the many ways we can gain without spending a dollar. (Says Congress, "What fat?")
Actually, anyone who has bought a house or a car or financed anything big knows, spending an extra hundred or thousand dollars at that time comes easy in comparison to the big number... but it sure adds up in what we have to repay with interest added. Right now, each American is on the hook for $65,000 of our $21 TRILLION national debt.!


Not counting schools or roads or municipal governments or prisons, or life's necessities, we also paid for *these real grants:
  • Sex education for prostitutes (The California Prostitutes Education Project. About $1.5 mil lion) 
  • Designing condoms (For Massachusetts, $200,000 to address a "lack of adequate lubrication.")
  • Video games for Your Future Self (In Virginia, $650,000 to "make the future feel close" for young people.)
  • Pedestrian Training in China (In Alabama, $187,750 to develop a virtual reality platform to teach Chinese children how to cross the street.) 
  • Galactic animated cartoons ($2.5 million Alabama grant to produce a "Space Raiders" children's video game where characters embark on galactic adventures.)
  • Zombies computer game ($658,000 Massachusetts grant where children create their own blue creatures.
  • Hobo Day($12,000 for South Dakota residents to dress up like 'hobos' and parade through the streets.)
Oh, there are more, but you get the picture.

So thanks Dave for showing the way. But as I promised, there are more-- I said MORE--paths to free money. Next blog takes you on an unbelievable fantasy of free money... with a touch of reality.

*Caveat: Not to say every grant is unworthy, but many are quite suspect and  help  local congresspersons get re-elected. Should we all pay for special interests that may be a whole continent away from where we live,  or is it, 'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours?