PDA

View Full Version : I crunched some numbers this morning...



Steve Lambert
04-09-2011, 05:13 AM
... because when Washington tosses around numbers in the trillions it's impossible to grasp what that means in terms of our lives. I posted this on Facebook but here it is in black and white...

Last night's "historic" budget agreement cut $38 billion from the federal budget. With federal debt of $14.6 trillion that's the equivalent of you and I having credit card debt totaling $14,600 and trimming $38 from our ANNUAL budget while borrowing an additional $1645 this year and ending up $16,245 in debt next year.

Here's a real-life picture based on my early-morning calculations. And all I did was divide every number by 1,000,000,000 in order to get more manageable numbers for us to understand...

The government's projected 2011 total spending is $3.83 trillion
The government's projected 2011 income is $2.18 trillion
The government's projected 2011 budget shortfall is $1.65 trillion
The government's current debt is $14.6 trillion
The government's "historic tax cut" compromise last night was $38 billion

Here's the equivalent in real-life "homeschool dollars"...

Your teenage son owes you $14,600 that he borrowed three years ago to buy a car which he promised to pay back.

Your son tells you this year, gas to operate his car will cost him $3,830.

Your son projects he will earn $2,147 this year from his part-time job.

Your son tells you that unfortunately, once again this year, he won't be able to make any payments on his car loan since he doesn't even earn enough to cover his gasoline expense, let alone pay down his debt.

Your son asks to borrow another $1,683 this year to make up the difference between his gas expense and his part-time job income.

You quickly calculate that your son simply can't afford this car based on his income and that not only has he not payed back the money he already owes you, but that by year's end he's going to owe you $16,283 instead of $14,600.

You realize that the four-year-old Honda your son borrowed money to buy three years ago is now seven years old, has 218,000 miles on it has a cracked windshield, needs tires and burns oil. If he was REALLY LUCKY he might be able to get $2,000 by selling it- certainly not enough to pay back the $14,600 he owes you.

So you BEG him to find a way to cut down on his gasoline expense- perhaps walk more or car pool with friends to save on gas money. He might even consider simply parking the car for a year and walking everywhere so that he could begin to pay down the debt he owes you.

After lots of hand-wringing and tears your son proudly comes in and announces that he has taken your concerns seriously and HAS figured out how to reduce his gas expenses this year. He's managed to cut more than $3 each month from his projected spending- $38 this year in total!!! :eek:

In ceremoniously announcing "this historic event" (to use President Obama's words in describing the 11th hour budget agreement last night) your son informs you he will ONLY need to borrow an additional $1,645 from you this year instead of $1,683 as he originally requested, and that by year's end he will ONLY owe you $16,245 instead of $16,283. Isn't that GREAT?

Makes you proud to be his mother, doesn't it? :eyes:

Trudy
04-09-2011, 06:50 AM
Great analogy, that really puts it in perspective.

Jane R
04-09-2011, 07:08 AM
The inmates are in charge of the asylum.

Sorry, not in the best of moods this morning.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Sheri
04-09-2011, 07:20 AM
Can I move to Canada? (Sigh)

There is a website or something called End of America 44...pretty scary stuff.

Robin(CA)
04-09-2011, 07:24 AM
Just read that aloud to the family. Like I said on FB, you have a GREAT gift of explaining numbers. I had no idea that the "budget cuts" were so ridiculously small. When you start throwing around terms like "billions of dollars," it sounds like a lot. :eyes:

Angela Rose
04-09-2011, 07:38 AM
Thanks Steve, This is just disgusting...such a waste...such disrespect for the hardworking American people.

Do you mind if I share the analogy?

Tracey
04-09-2011, 07:41 AM
Steve, thanks so much!

Tracey
04-09-2011, 07:42 AM
The inmates are in charge of the asylum.

Sorry, not in the best of moods this morning.

Come, Lord Jesus!

:lol::lol:

Tracey
04-09-2011, 07:42 AM
Can I move to Canada? (Sigh)

There is a website or something called End of America 44...pretty scary stuff.

Can you take us with you?

Joy in Alabama
04-09-2011, 08:06 AM
My son lives in Canada. It's not that great. :no:

Melanie
04-09-2011, 08:09 AM
Wow...just wow. That is all I can think to say right now.

Steve, thank you for putting this sad situation in perspective! You do have a way of explaining numbers.

Steve Lambert
04-09-2011, 09:10 AM
You can feel free to use my analogy and numbers anywhere you'd like.

And here's one FINAL point. In my fanciful little story, the teenage son was so happy to have figured out how to reduce expenses by $38 per year.

Originally, the Democrats (including the president) proposed budget cuts of $6 per year.

The Republicans were demanding cuts of $33 per year.

The Tea Party movement was demanding cuts of $61 per year.

NONE OF THIS is going to balance the budget!!

In ONE WEEK ALONE (February 11, 2011 was the week I happened to pull up via Google) the Fed via the Treasury Department borrowed an additional $191!! (Again using our simplified numbers. That's actually $191 BILLION of course!)

If your son had never paid back a dime of the $14,600 he already owed you, would YOU want to loan him another $191 this week?!?

As we get further and further in debt it becomes harder and harder to find anyone who wants to loan us any additional money- and who can blame them?!?! Would YOU continue to loan your "son" more money year after year??

And just for fun :eyes: ponder this thought. Our number ONE foreign lender is China. Currently, we owe them $1.154 trillion- or the equivalent of $1154 of the $14,600 our hypothetical son owes.

So whenever you see the word TRILLION thrown around, think of your hypothetical son and think THOUSANDS. $14.6 trillion (our current deficit) equals $14,600. This year's deficit is $1.6 trillion, or about $1,600.

Whenever you see the word BILLION thrown around think DOLLARS. So a $38 billion budget cut equals $38 in our real-world analogy.

Whenever you see the word MILLION thrown around think "tenths of a cent". (Yes- you read that right!!) so $100 MILLION equals 1 and 20 million equals 2/10 of 1

The Raytheon Tomahawk Cruise missiles are valued at just over $1 million apiece- which is 1/1000 of a dollar in our example. In the current Libyan conflict, the US has fired 214 cruise missiles at a cost of $214 million. In our analogy, that's the equivalent of just slightly more than 2 if you can believe that. NOW do you see why congress thinks NOTHING of a trifling $214 million expenditure? That's the equivalent of 2 in our world. And a $1 billion here or there is the equivalent of $1 in our world.

If your hypothetical teenage son dropped $5 on on a #1 "Value Meal" at McDonalds- that's the equivalent of $5 BILLION in Washington-speak.

If he fills up his worn out Honda automobile with 13 gallons of gas at $3.85 a gallon for a total of $50, that's the equivalent of $3.85 BILLION per gallon and a $50 BILLION fill-up in Congress-speak-- just another drip in the daily bucket of life.

When I was in grade school, one US Congressman was attributed with the quote: "A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about a lot of money!" :eyes: Of course that was 50 years ago.

In "our world" that's saying, "A dollar here and a dollar there and pretty soon you're talking about a lot of money!" Yeppers!

Of course in 1960 (I was 10 years old) the ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET was only $92 billion- or the equivalent of $92 in our "homeschool world" story.

Can you IMAGINE that? We ran the entire federal government for $92 each year in 1960. Now we're spending nearly $4000 annually (in comparative dollars) Do you SEE how much government has grown in 50 years?!?

What was done for $92 in 1960 (with no deficit and 51 left over to go into savings, by the way) today costs $3800+ with a $1600+ DEFICIT and we ALREADY OWE $14,600 we can't pay back!

NOW you know what the numbers mean in "our world".

So aren't we grateful that congress "managed" to cut $38 from our annual budget last night so we'll only overspend our income by $1,628 this year. THANK YOU WASHINGTON!

CINDY LB OH
04-09-2011, 09:30 AM
So... where does that leave us?

What's the REAL answer to the problem?

Or do we just wait for the government to implode upon itself? And take all of us with it?

Gitel in nj
04-09-2011, 09:32 AM
Sticking my neck out here but first let me start this post by saying I understand what you are saying and to some extent I agree..however, the analogy is not really entirely fair...

If we are going to carry the analogy through my teenage son could charge each of his over 311 million friends and family a tax to drive them around (provide a service) of .0000053 per year (numbers can lie in both directions) which will close his budget gap or he could cut his driving services to help out these friends and family...Maybe he shouldn't drive his grandmother to the doctor or maybe he should let his siblings walk to church past the neighborhood thugs who taunt them and throw rocks at them...after all that would cut costs. Or like you said, maybe he should just park it.

Again, I see your point and I don't necessarily disagree with it. I do not want to pay the $5,275/per person (which is what that .0000053 number really is) to close the gap. But I am willing to pay something. What services should we cut and how do we agree on them? Governments are not cars, teenagers and families...they provide jobs, services, support, defense and more to a huge populace. It is hard to turn the ship around--although we sure do need to try.

Just my .02--let the stoning begin :lol:

Gitel in nj
04-09-2011, 09:49 AM
Of course in 1960 (I was 10 years old) the ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET was only $92 billion- or the equivalent of $92 in our "homeschool world" story.



The population in 1960 was 179,323,175 the population today is 311,133,237 (I was added in 1960 :) ) That is a 73.5% increase in the number of people that the government is servicing-- granted it is also collecting more money because of more people to tax. Of course everything costs more in 2011 than it did in 1960, including food, gas, clothing etc. NOT just the government. According to this (http://www.measuringworth.com/ppowerus/result.php) website $1 in 1960 buys what $7.24 bought in 2009 (as far as the figures go)

I can't wrap this all up nice and neat, but I sure do know that it is not as easy as saying it cost x to run the government in 1960 and it costs y to run it in 2011. The analogy is not fair..

Let me also say once again that I agree it is broken and we need to fix it!

Loree'
04-09-2011, 11:38 AM
We can always count on you Steve!!!! I am so reposting this!!!!!!!!!

Jody in PA
04-09-2011, 12:51 PM
I hope somebody down there can get this country on the right track. However, I think we are going to be headed for very very tough times. I hope I am wrong.

However, when I went to get some chicken feed yesterday it went up $3.00 a bag in two weeks time. So today, my husband is butchering some of the older ones that probably don't lay eggs anymore.

Steve Lambert
04-09-2011, 01:09 PM
I agree that the government DOES provide some needed services.

They also provide many UNneeded and UNwanted services at great expense. And in many cases, the services they DO provide are far, far more costly to the taxpayer than if the job was sub-contracted to private industry.

And as long as we're talking about "each person's portion" what we currently owe ($14.6 trillion) works out to nearly $47,000 for every man, woman and child in this country, given a population of 311 million. That's your share to pay off. If you have 4 children then your family's share is $281,400 as of this very moment.

Unfortunately this is only a snapshot and our government's financial incompetence is a movie- ever growing. By next year we'll each owe a great deal more than "just" $47,000 per person.

Worse still is the interest on the debt. It costs each one of us (man, woman, and newborn baby) real money that we don't get to spend for groceries, gasoline or healthcare. In 2008, for instance, the INTEREST on our federal deficit was $240 Billion- or about $770 per person. For your hypothetical family of six that means you still OWE $281,400 in debt, and just to make the interest-only payment cost you more than $4600 that year; $400+ monthly.

The "good news" if you dare call it that, is that the crushing recession of the past 3 years has actually LOWERED our debt interest because interest rates have fallen to all-time historic lows. BUT... if rates RISE significantly in the next 10 years, you could EASILY be looking at $10,000 - $20,000 in INTEREST ALONE per family of 6! :eek: $1000 per month per family isn't unrealistic. Those are REAL numbers and they go on FOREVER since the principal is never paid off.

So the bottom line is this... we HAVE to dramatically cut government spending and/or dramatically increase taxes. I think most of us (except perhaps Joe Biden) agree that dramatic increases in taxes aren't going to help us or our nation's employers.

So the answer means SIGNIFICANT cuts to spending. Just to BALANCE the budget means cutting the current budget by nearly 50%- from $3.83 Trillion (our current spending) to $2.18 Trillion (our current income).

We are currently SPENDING $12,315 per person (that's $73,890 per family of 6 for those of you keeping score). Did your family get $73,890 worth of goods and services this year from the federal government? No- I didn't think so. :no:

If we just write off the nearly $15 trillion in debt and pretend it's not there, we still need to cut our federal spending down to ONLY :eyes: $7000 per person per year, or $42,000 annually for a family of 6.

Something is seriously wrong when the average government employee earns nearly TWICE as much as the average private sector employee including benefits. Just a quick glance at those numbers tells even a 5th grader that we could reduce federal spending by nearly half if we simply fired 100% of the government employees and outsourced every one of those jobs to private industry.

That's obviously VERY simplistic (and impossible) but it's food for thought. There's a REASON why the three wealthiest counties in America surround Washington DC. There's a REASON why the news is filled with stories of the government buying $1000 toilet seats and $500 hammers.

As someone said in the thread earlier- the inmates are now running the asylum.

May God help us all,

Steve

Shelly in MN
04-09-2011, 01:40 PM
Your analogy is excellent, Steve.

Since I'm a highly visual learner, this cartoon helped put things in perspective a bit. The proposed GOP and Democratic cuts combined don't add up to a decent bite of crumbs.

TonyaP
04-09-2011, 01:41 PM
As the spouse of a government employee, I can guarantee you that if the price offered to do the job were halved my DH would take a different job. There are lots of things he could be doing that are much less burdensome on home life, health and family. The job he does is stressful and requires a very specific skill set. The time and effort spent training to perform his job would be the equivalent to acquiring a graduate degree in the private sector. If he or any trainee cannot complete the training process, they can be transferred to a location of the government's choosing or simply let go. His job is not transferable to the private sector. Any time and effort invested in training or improving skills becomes useless.

The requirements to hold the job are invasive and pervasive in our lives. He is at risk of losing his job if he develops any number of health conditions that are entirely outside his control. He faced not getting paid this week because of a temporary illness that would have put him on the furlough list. A chronic condition could result in unemployment. If the employee hasn't vested enough years, those "great" benefits are gone along with the job.

I "get" that it's easy to point to a big group of people who aren't "us" and say if they just gave up what they had the rest of "us" would be better off. But those government employees are people too. Many of them give much, serve much and deserve our appreciation, not our scorn.

Steve Lambert
04-09-2011, 02:14 PM
Tonya (and others)...

It's not my intention to scorn government employees. I DO however think that government legislators deserve our scorn. We simply can not afford all of the things we're buying and all people we're paying. Period.

MUCH of the expense of our government is NOT employees, but rather federal giveaways and subsidies such as medicare, food stamps, social security, foreign aid, etc. AND the purchase of objects such as courthouses, bombs and bullets.

So what are we willing to give up? Where are we willing to cut back? If it's not a reduction in the number of government employees or the paycheck of government employees or the retirement or health insurance of government employees then what ARE we willing to give up?

Welfare payments? Food stamps? VA hospitals? Disability benefits? End the three wars we're currently involved in? Substantially downsize our military? Eliminate food inspectors? Eliminate VA loans or veteran's education benefits? Eliminate social security? Shut down or dramatically reduce medicare? Medicaid?

WHO is going to give something up? Where are the cuts going to come from? NOBODY is willing to give up ANYTHING it seems.

Every employee wants to keep his job, his insurance, his retirement benefits and his tenure and security.

Every recipient of government largesse wants to keep every penny he's receiving and figure out how to receive more.

Every department of the federal government believes they are of vital importance to the American public- whether the American public wants them or not.

Who?

How?

When?

What?

Something simply has to give. It's that simple.

I'll tell just ONE very simple anecdotal story. It means NOTHING and is admittedly taken out of context. But I find it instructive. I have a very close friend in Michigan who was trying to get a contractor to do some work for them last month. They called 12 contractors in the yellow pages. 6 never returned the call and only 2 bothered to show up and give a job bid. Why? With Michigan unemployment the highest in the nation wouldn't people be FIGHTING over the opportunity to work? Nope. Why not?

Well, in talking with one of the contractors this was his story. He said, "Buddy, I'm receiving food stamps, unemployment, earned income tax credit, etc. My kids are receiving free state health insurance and I've done the calculations. In order to come out ahead, I'd have to earn more than $86,000 this year before taxes and I've never earned $86,000 in my life. So why should I bid a job and work. I'm far better off financially to just watch TV and collect the government benefits."

Isolated story? Maybe so. But the system is broken and something is going to have to change or our grandchildren will be living in a third-world country.

I may have the hardest working, most diligent, most stressed-out and over-worked pool man, yard man and house keeper in the country. They all bust their tails to keep my swimming pool crystal clear, my yard looking like a golf course and my house glowing and spotless.

But if I have to BORROW the money to pay them every month I had NO BUSINESS hiring them in the first place! And for THAT matter I had no business buying a swimming pool or a house that's so big I can't take care of the lawn myself or keep the house clean!! I'm living a lie and it CAN NOT GO ON INDEFINITELY! There will come a day of reckoning.

Steve - who does NOT have a swimming pool!

Cara in WA
04-09-2011, 02:36 PM
Steve, I've always thought you should run for president! You would definitely get my vote. Common sense is completely non-existent in Washington D.C.

I think that, however one feels about Planned Parenthood, if we can't afford to subsidize that, we can't afford it. It becomes something different than convictions or ideals when the money isn't there to pay for it. And not only Planned Parenthood, but other gov't subsidized industries.

It would seem they need to take EVERYTHING off the table, everything that costs the government money, and then priortize. Military? Yes, let's pay for that, but maybe we could bring some troops home, find ways to reduce costs or reduce the size of the force, work smarter, not harder. Salaries? Buildings? And so on, through all of the myriad programs and subsidies and contracts and whatever else, even good things.

Just an example from my experience- our church is hosting a 5-week workshop for married people to be able to improve their relationships, but it's funded through a government program. (Our church is donating the space for the workshop, and because it's funded by the gov't there is no mention of religion, just general concepts like trust, communication, etc. ) So the government is paying for the speaker's time and childcare so husbands and wives can strengthen their marriages. It's nice, right? But, to me, a waste of taxpayer money. Already, there are probably 50 churches in town who offer some sort of marriage enrichment courses for free on a weekly basis.

Yes, this program creates a job for the speaker who goes around and does this. Yes, he works hard, yes, it's crucial for society to be built around strong marriages and strong families. I'm not denying any of that, but WHY ARE WE FUNDING THESE PROGRAMS WE CAN'T AFFORD? It makes me crazy.

Steve, thank-you for being a voice of reason, I appreciate everything you've said.

Jody in PA
04-09-2011, 02:58 PM
Cara,
I agree with you! My question is why is the Government getting involved with the church. There is where the churches and Pastor's can reach out help the communities. I hate to say it but our Government is too big and if we downsized it where would them people get a job.

We have shipped so many jobs overseas that if we start taking Govenment jobs away the unemployment will go higher too. That is why they aren't downsizing there.

Than lets start taking all the dumb rules and laws away so us American Dreamer's can do small business's. We are regulated so much nobody has desire to do a home business. In fact, the Amish are hurting in this area, so the latest spring, summer, fall thing was Chicken B-B-Q 's on Fridays and Saturdays in the tourist area. Now the state and Fed's tell them they don't have the right equiptment to do the job. Guess what they need to upgrade or get what they call right equiptment. This doesn't make better food, but control their pocketbook.:sad: Well, doing so they can't even begin to make a profit, so now they had a great idea to make extra money they needed. The Amish don't take any govenment hand outs. I soon think the Government wants to control us with all the handouts. Their are so many people who want to suceed in something but can't! :eek:

It

Steve Lambert
04-09-2011, 03:02 PM
I agree Cara. Ever think about running for Vice President? ;)

The marriage seminar at your church is lovely- and a complete total waste of taxpayer money as it duplicates readily available free services. AND I'm willing to bet the people who put it on make 10 times what "normal people" make doing the same job.

As you may know, Jane and I do marriage seminars from time to time. What do we get paid? NOTHING! Nada! Zilch! We "charge" $119 for a 2-day seminar BUT we allow ANYONE to write their own scholarship up to 100% with no questions asked. In other words, we'd LIKE you to pay $119 so we can break even but we want you to come even if you pay nothing. It works out that the average couple pays about $42 to attend. After we fly to the city, pay for our meals and the course materials, it works out that Jane and I LOSE approximately $2500 every single weekend when we do these seminars. We pay that out of our own pocket.

Why? Because we think it's IMPORTANT to help troubled homeschool marriages- and YES, we talk about Jesus... a LOT! :cool:

So if the government is paying the speaker coming to your church even as much as $1 he's getting paid WAY MORE than we get paid. We PAY for the privilege of helping hurting marriages- $2500 per weekend. And every single one of the people attending the meetings held at your church this weekend could have come to ours for free if they wanted to and we would have paid our own expenses to come and share.

And, FWIW, Jane and I pay our own health insurance ($1740 per month and that's with a $3500 annual deductible EACH because being 61 years old self-employed is expensive!) And yes, we fund our own retirement program because we don't HAVE a retirement program since we're self employed. And no, we don't get ANY of the 10 paid federal holidays, personal days, vacation days or in-service training days because we're self-employed. And yes, we pay self-employment tax on ourselves because there's nobody to pay it for us. And no, we don't have continuing education credits or tuition, or maternity (or paternity) leave, or any of the other benefits government employees enjoy. We pay for ours... AND we pay for theirs!

So while I absolutely and TOTALLY believe many government employees work hard and are stressed out and would refuse to do the job for less money, many (such as your local non-religious marriage mentor) have NO business being on the government's payroll and sooner or later we're going to have to realize we can't keep borrowing to pay our employees. If we don't have the money to pay them.... well... I don't know. You finish the sentence. :unsure:

Thanks for sharing a real-life example,

Steve

Gitel in nj
04-09-2011, 03:09 PM
Tonya (and others)...



Who?

How?

When?

What?

Something simply has to give. It's that simple.

and isn't that the crux of the matter? Who? How? When? What? We are, indeed in a jam, but because of what has come before how do we make these decisions? Who looses out, how do we cut them loose? when? why?


I'll tell just ONE very simple anecdotal story. It means NOTHING and is admittedly taken out of context. But I find it instructive. I have a very close friend in Michigan who was trying to get a contractor to do some work for them last month. They called 12 contractors in the yellow pages. 6 never returned the call and only 2 bothered to show up and give a job bid. Why? With Michigan unemployment the highest in the nation wouldn't people be FIGHTING over the opportunity to work? Nope. Why not?

Well, in talking with one of the contractors this was his story. He said, "Buddy, I'm receiving food stamps, unemployment, earned income tax credit, etc. My kids are receiving free state health insurance and I've done the calculations. In order to come out ahead, I'd have to earn more than $86,000 this year before taxes and I've never earned $86,000 in my life. So why should I bid a job and work. I'm far better off financially to just watch TV and collect the government benefits." Steve

I'm sorry I find this story incredibly hard to believe, and I think you are right to say it is out of context. First, let me start by saying that my husband is a contractor. Earning 86K as a contractor owning your own business is not that difficult in the boom times. Now? lets just say my husband has gone from doing several 200K jobs per year to being happy if he can get a job installing a front door. He is bending over backwards to get what he can. Most contractors I know are hardworking guys who do not want a hand out.They WANT to work!

Also, would one of the two contractors that called him back tell him this? I think not. If they called him back they likely wanted the job, and would be presenting themselves in the best possible light. Wouldn't you think? Also, as an owner of a business (unless he is incorporated) how is he collecting unemployment?





Steve, I've always thought you should run for president! You would definitely get my vote. Common sense is completely non-existent in Washington D.C.

I think that, however one feels about Planned Parenthood, if we can't afford to subsidize that, we can't afford it. It becomes something different than convictions or ideals when the money isn't there to pay for it. And not only Planned Parenthood, but other gov't subsidized industries. You know sometimes when you take away, you may cause other (more costly) issues down the line..


It would seem they need to take EVERYTHING off the table, everything that costs the government money, and then priortize. Military? Yes, let's pay for that, but maybe we could bring some troops home, find ways to reduce costs or reduce the size of the force, work smarter, not harder. Salaries? Buildings? And so on, through all of the myriad programs and subsidies and contracts and whatever else, even good things. Who gets to make these decisions? Who chooses? and what happens to the people who loose their safety net or job or whatever? Some people on these boards avail themselves of these services-- It's not that simple, and the mess was not just made by this administration or any of the people in Washington now (of course they have added to it)...it has been a long time coming and sadly, the sh*t is hitting the fan now.


Just an example from my experience- our church is hosting a 5-week workshop for married people to be able to improve their relationships, but it's funded through a government program. (Our church is donating the space for the workshop, and because it's funded by the gov't there is no mention of religion, just general concepts like trust, communication, etc. ) So the government is paying for the speaker's time and childcare so husbands and wives can strengthen their marriages. It's nice, right? But, to me, a waste of taxpayer money. Already, there are probably 50 churches in town who offer some sort of marriage enrichment courses for free on a weekly basis.

Yes, this program creates a job for the speaker who goes around and does this. Yes, he works hard, yes, it's crucial for society to be built around strong marriages and strong families. I'm not denying any of that, but WHY ARE WE FUNDING THESE PROGRAMS WE CAN'T AFFORD? It makes me crazy.



We can get rid of this (if it is really being paid for by the government) :eek:

Steve Lambert
04-09-2011, 03:13 PM
Jody,

Good points. Just locally here in the past year we've had a news story about a 75-year-old man who has been fixing up, painting and selling used bicycles for nearly 50 years out of his garage. Many families have bought their bicycles from him for three generations. But now the government has forced him to close his doors as he's been doing business in an area that's not zoned commercial for all these decades. Heaven knows the 2 or 3 folks who come to his home on Saturday afternoons to buy their child a used bicycle are ruining the neighborhood! :eyes:

And it took SEVERAL well-paid government employees to investigate, file the motions and petitions, take him to court and enforce the ruling that he can't earn a few extra dollars making kids happy anymore.

And just south of Kansas City has been a gas station that dates back to the early 1900's. For 4 generations the family has been making and selling sandwiches in what amounts to an early version of 7-Eleven of QT. You could fill up your tank, pick up a a bologna or ham sandwich and a bottle of root beer while you visited with your neighbors at the counter.

Nope- no more. Government "agents" swooped down in a big "bust" because the old cutting board counter top that had served for 80 years wasn't properly "sanitized" for commercial kitchen standards, there were "dangerous" cans of motor oil and antifreeze in the same building, etc., etc., etc. They're out of business now because the few gallons of gas they sold didn't make enough to keep food on the family's table. It was the $2 and $3 sandwiches they sold that had kept a rural family alive for 4 generations. Now they're gone.

And sadly- it was highly paid government health inspectors, attorneys and judges who put them out of business and NOW I'm guessing they're probably living on welfare, food stamps and medicaid because their business and self-sufficiency was taken away and there's no place for locals to buy gas anymore.

So a proud family that used to earn $35,000 a year, ran their own small business and paid income tax is now paying nothing in income tax, receiving $5000 in earned income credit each year, and receiving $30,000-$40,000 in government subsidies, food stamps, unemployment an health benefits. And it's all because we paid government agents handsome salaries with gold-plated benefits to put them out of business and place them on the welfare roles.

It's insane,

Steve

Gitel in nj
04-09-2011, 03:18 PM
And, FWIW, Jane and I pay our own health insurance ($1740 per month and that's with a $3500 annual deductible EACH because being 61 years old self-employed is expensive!) And yes, we fund our own retirement program because we don't HAVE a retirement program since we're self employed. And no, we don't get ANY of the 10 paid federal holidays, personal days, vacation days or in-service training days because we're self-employed. And yes, we pay self-employment tax on ourselves because there's nobody to pay it for us. And no, we don't have continuing education credits or tuition, or maternity (or paternity) leave, or any of the other benefits government employees enjoy. We pay for ours... AND we pay for theirs!

So while I absolutely and TOTALLY believe many government employees work hard and are stressed out and would refuse to do the job for less money, many (such as your local non-religious marriage mentor) have NO business being on the government's payroll and sooner or later we're going to have to realize we can't keep borrowing to pay our employees. If we don't have the money to pay them.... well... I don't know. You finish the sentence. :unsure:



Steve

:hi: We are in the same boat...but I still don't see how we take the floats away from others without causing a stinking mess...

Steve Lambert
04-09-2011, 03:22 PM
I'm sorry I find this story incredibly hard to believe, and I think you are right to say it is out of context...

Also, would one of the two contractors that called him back tell him this? I think not. If they called him back they likely wanted the job, and would be presenting themselves in the best possible light. Wouldn't you think?

Here's the inside story- believe it or not. The story came from one of the contractors who did NOT bid on the job but who was a long-time acquaintance of our friend. They had known each other well for several years and my friend phoned to ask why the guy hadn't even bid on the job. And so the guy told him.

Now my friend was appalled and disgusted but that's straight from the horse's mouth if the guy was telling the truth. And I can't imagine why he would LIE about that since it's hardly a story to brag about. And as for the specifics of the various sources of financial aid (such as unemployment vs food stamps, etc.) I don't actually know and didn't ask. All I remember is that the number $86,000 in pre-tax income was stamped VIVIDLY in my memory. That makes reasonable sense if you paid $15,000 or so in various taxes and then had to pay for your own health insurance, groceries, etc.

The job that was eventually done per bid was a $15,000 sheet rock job that included about $5000 in materials and 2 weeks labor for a small crew. What was the profit on that job? Who knows- maybe $2000-$3000 for the contractor after all wages and benefits were paid.

Interestingly, of the two companies who bid, the other guy bid $8700 including $5000 in materials. He said point blank (and I quote verbatim, "You won't get a cheaper price because I use all Mexican workers and I pay them cash under the table. I have no insurance, I'm not bonded nor am I licensed and it doesn't bother me if it doesn't bother you."

Well of course it DID bother my friend and he chose the other contractor but illegal immigration and fair employment practices are two MORE topics!!

Steve

Jodi B
04-09-2011, 03:28 PM
Your analogy is excellent, Steve.

Since I'm a highly visual learner, this cartoon helped put things in perspective a bit. The proposed GOP and Democratic cuts combined don't add up to a decent bite of crumbs.

:thumb: I've seen that too and was one of the first things to come to mind.

Great analogy Steve! :yes:

Here (http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/03/feed-your-family-on-10-billion-a-day.html) is another perspective on it, based on what this government spends every day, and a good response to the "tax the rich more" argument.

Oney
04-09-2011, 03:33 PM
In my home, if I cannot afford to buy, do, rent, XYZ, then we don't do it. We figure out another way to get by.

I don't understand why the government isn't run the same way. I've been reading about some things our government spends money on. I do understand the government employee's interest in all of this but at what point does one say ok, enough?

There are SO many different things not working right in our government. They might be well-meaning but it's not working. Am I grateful for the CHP+ (one step away from Medicaid) health insurance my kids are on? Absolutely! Do I pay any premiums? Nope. Am I willing to pay some each month? Of course. How many different mailings each month do I get from CHP+ offices? Several. How many different people send those out? Several. Do they all say the exact same thing (and in 7 different languages)? Yes. :angry: THIS is wasteful spending. It's a lot of little things that add up to tremendous amounts of money.

More wasteful/questionable spending in other news can be read about here: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/327/666/TOP_20_CRAZY_GOVERNMENT_WASTEFUL_SPENDING_PROJECTS .html

Yes. Take everything off the table and prioritize...and can I just stick MY neck out there and say that AMERICAN citizens should have priority? NOT illegal immigrants. You would not believe what all Rick had to provide (official documents) in order to prove he was a legal resident/citizen of the USA...and yet, some others are just handed whatever aid/program funds etc. without so much a bother.

It is frustrating.

Theresa
04-09-2011, 10:09 PM
I appreciate you getting this to a level I can understand.

Allie
04-10-2011, 12:57 AM
Steve, I appreciate you posting all that you did here. All of it is so upsetting. I here from good sources Paul Ryan's plan is good,(and at least someone is showing some leadership) but it will take awhile longer to balance the budget. Rand Paul's plan will do it in 5 years.

Robin in Colorado
04-10-2011, 08:48 AM
In our state, we have a big problem with beetle-killed pine in our national forests, which cover a large part of the Rocky Mountains. This is a fire danger of almost unimaginable proportions.

Because this wood can be used for furniture, flooring, and other uses, the opportunity for private industry is great. In some cases companies have been trying to lease the land, log the wood and use it. It solves the problem of the beetle kill and gets the government a little $ to boot.

However, environmentalists want the land to remain 'pristine' (no human interference) and are fighting the whole ideal.

Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from one of my senators this week - he has gotten $40 MILLION diverted so that the government can spend this amount on the trees - and says he is trying to get $49 million more to spend on it, would I please support him?

Uh, no. Get a CLUE. STOP SPENDING. If we don't have it, DON'T SPEND IT. It doesn't matter how worthy the program, if we can't afford it, we can't afford it. Sadly lots of good programs will have to be cut, but it has to be done.

KarenF
04-10-2011, 08:57 AM
Very interesting thread. Times a scary and I can't believe how sad this all is and the horrible future we are leaving for our children.

Dear Jesus, please ask your Daddy if you can come back today. Thanks!

Steve Lambert
04-10-2011, 09:16 AM
Two quick thoughts off the top of my noggin' before church this morning...

And neither one will ever be adopted, BUT...

1. Cut EVERY federal department's budget by 40% (I didn't check my figures but I THINK that's roughly the amount we're over budget.) Yes, it would be VERY, VERY difficult but it distributes the pain equally.

2. Start with items of national (hence FEDERAL!) importance such as Defense, Immigration, Border Patrol, Social Security, Medicare, etc. These programs serve a broad spectrum of Americans on a national level.

That means ELIMINATING 1000's of programs that have local or at most regional interest which could more easily be adopted by local charity, cities, counties and states *IF* the people in those cities, areas or regions REALLY felt they were essential services. And certainly in some areas (I'm thinking of the ultra-green states like Oregon or Washington for instance) they might VERY WELL vote for a tax increase to fund the protection of local forests, beetles, bats or rivers. Afterall- it's in THEIR interest to fund those types of things and of little concern to folks in Connecticut or Florida.

After all, I was brought up to believe that the FEDERAL government would concern itself with NATIONAL interests rather than funding $300million initiatives to study the impact of a local development project on the owl population, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.

Just journaling for myself more or less... just thinking out loud.

Off to church,

Steve

CindyJ
04-10-2011, 04:16 PM
Steve - I love things like this because I think that is one problem.... most Americans cannot wrap their brain around numbers like this. I've printed out your example to share (hope that's ok).

Have you seen it converted into seconds?
One Million seconds will pass in the next 11 days....
One Billion seconds will pass in the next 32 years....
One Trillion seconds will pass in the next (get ready) 31,688 years!!

If you could make a dollar every second, it would take over 31,000 YEARS to make just one trillion dollars. AND our national debt is 14 TIMES that!! So that would only take 443,632 years.....

How anyone cannot see that this level of spending is irresponsible is beyond me!!

Jodi B
04-10-2011, 05:37 PM
:eek1: Cindy!

Here is another visualization of what a trillion dollars looks like (http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html) -- and then multiply that by 14! :eek1: :eek1: :eek1:

Steve Lambert
04-10-2011, 08:46 PM
:eek1: Cindy!

Here is another visualization of what a trillion dollars looks like (http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html) -- and then multiply that by 14! :eek1: :eek1: :eek1:

And we're spending nearly TWO of those every year that we DON'T HAVE and are having to BORROW from individuals and foreign countries- the largest buyer being China.

Do we *REALLY* want to owe our national soul to China?!?!?

We HAVE to downsize government.
We HAVE to stop spending.
We HAVE to make hard choices.
We HAVE to leave SOMETHING for our children and our grandchildren.

Allie
04-10-2011, 10:06 PM
And we're spending nearly TWO of those every year that we DON'T HAVE and are having to BORROW from individuals and foreign countries- the largest buyer being China.

Do we *REALLY* want to owe our national soul to China?!?!?

We HAVE to downsize government.
We HAVE to stop spending.
We HAVE to make hard choices.
We HAVE to leave SOMETHING for our children and our grandchildren.

No we don't and yes, yes, yes, yes. Let's hope the voter's feel the same way in 2012. Praying and will continue to pray for our country's future.

eta: Robin you're example in Co. is nauseating. And so frustrating. ugh! Just like all the pet projects in the stimulas bill. Money spent on studies about cow flatulence and seeing if college students know how to watch tv or some similar absurdity regarding college kids and tv. It's insane and so unfair to those of us who have to pay taxes.