At one time we saved more than 10% of our paychecks. Now we are saving at half that rate. The expression “save for a rainy day” goes back centuries. Apparently many think it’s blue skies ahead. However, it might rain.
Millions of families have no choice. They have to live paycheck to paycheck. Many are stuck in low paying jobs (sometimes more than one) and are constantly teetering on the brink of financial disaster.
Other families could afford to save but choose to live it up. I have a neighbor who depends on lots of overtime so he can afford his sports cars. We have all heard stories of athletes and entertainers that lost multimillion dollar fortunes. The idea of delayed gratification seems to be a notion of another era.
I am living proof that it can rain. A brain tumor ended my work career before I was fifty. Fortunately I had a very good job, lived frugally and invested my money wisely. Others may not be so lucky.
Americans strongly disapprove of Obamacare. Republicans in Congress are unanimously against it. Yet, for the moment, efforts to replace it are dead. The fault clearly belongs to a group of far right politicians.
For the bill to get through the House, the moderate Republicans must go along. Over twenty of them come from districts that Hillary Clinton won. The key to keeping Republicans in the majority is being able to hang on to those seats.
Some conservatives seem not to care what happens to Obamacare. They demanded changes to the bill. One of the leaders of this group said they had made six demands and four and a half were met. Yet they still wanted more. President Trump and Speaker Ryan eventually gave them so much that the moderates pulled out.
I really don’t understand their thinking. It seems that all that matters to them is to remain ideologically pure. What happens to the country or the party is irrelevant. The Constitution they claim to love only came about because of compromise.
Democrats, I suggest you stop belittling the Tea Party types. They are the best friends you’ve got.
Many in the press have been terribly unfair to Donald Trump. They have even written stories that are totally untrue. However, President Trump is also being unfair. Time and time again he has complained about “fake news”. His definition seems to be any news he doesn’t like.
A perfect example is his recent visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. There have been many stories that said the meeting didn’t go well. While posing for pictures, she asked him if he wanted to shake hands. He didn’t respond (his spokesperson claimed he didn’t hear the question). After the meeting he roundly criticized Germany for their lack of military spending. Given these facts and his abrasive personal style, it is doubtful that they are now BFFs. However, he said that the meeting went well and any story to the contrary was fake news.
It looks like he expects the media to only write what he tells them. That would be fine if he were a dictator, but he is president of a democracy that treasures its freedoms. My biggest objection to him is not his policies or his temperament. After spending his working life as a feudal lord, he just doesn’t seem very comfortable with some of our democratic ideals.
Every president since George Washington has had problems with the press. He is the first one to have problems with the First Amendment.
Our media and popular culture are full of hatred toward Donald Trump. No story is off limits whether it is true or not. No slur is considered too vicious. Going after his family is perfectly acceptable. However, that isn’t enough. Now we are seeing out and out crime being encouraged.
Recently a group of environmental activists vandalized a Trump golf course. The Washington Post seemed to praise them by declaring it to be a “daring act of defiance”. They did eventually change the wording to “an elaborate act of vandalism”. Even so, the idea that a supposedly unbiased reporter would have encouraging words for a bunch of lawbreakers is hard to imagine.
Rapper Snoop Dogg recently released a video that depicted him shooting a clown that looked like Donald Trump. Actually this is the third song about killing Trump. After the attacks on police by groups like Black Lives Matter, we have seen a sharp increase in police killings. Perhaps the artists doing these disgusting songs have the same thought.
Let’s hope that people like this never get into power. It is obvious that they have no respect for our democracy and the freedoms it guarantees us.
Today the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the American Health Care Act, the bill recently introduced in the House. It was a mixed message. Insurance premiums, taxes and the deficit would go down while the number of uninsured would rise.
One question that few people are asking is how we should judge this or any health care reform bill. Most important is the quality and cost of health care. As with Obamacare, all the focus is on the funding of health care only. This is very short-sighted.
Democrats seem to measure it solely on the basis of number of uninsured. Obamacare started with the premise that the government decides for the people what health insurance they need. Many young, healthy people deliberately choose to go uninsured. The real measure is the number of people who want insurance but can’t afford it.
We should also look at how it affects our personal budgets. Will it increase or decrease premiums? Will we pay more or less in taxes? Since we are running large deficits, the impact on the federal budget is vital.
There are other intangibles that must be considered. Is it sustainable? What unintended consequences might happen? Is it constitutional?
I have not studied the bill so can’t comment on it. Since both Democrats and conservative Republicans are criticizing it, they must be doing something right.
We are used to President Trump’s controversial tweets but weren’t prepared for what happened a few days ago. He claimed that President Obama had his phone at Trump Towers wiretapped. The real question is whether it is true, false or has an element of truth.
There is no legal basis for a president to order surveillance on another person. That is done by the Department of Justice. In essence, he is claiming that his predecessor committed a crime. I find that extremely unlikely.
The statement issued through Obama’s spokesperson is very interesting. It claims that nobody in the White House ordered surveillance on Trump or his campaign staff. It said nothing about other elements of the government. In addition, there have been a number of stories about obtaining a warrant to spy on members of the campaign staff, even from media outlets opposed to Trump. So it seems quite likely that there is an element of truth to the story.
We may never know what happened. It does seem that the White House was obsessed about trying to tie campaign staff to the Russian hacking. The most plausible explanation is that Justice launched an investigation that included surveillance. I find it very unlikely they would do so without notifying the White House.
Democrats are trying to have it both ways. They claim Trump’s campaign staff colluded with Russia and the Obama administration did nothing to find any evidence. This is a political gotcha. They make a claim, offer no evidence and then demand an investigation because of the serious nature of the charges.
Once again, this is an example of both sides being wrong. Trump made wild charges without evidence. The Obama administration had the most political Department of Justice since Nixon. The American people deserve better.
Life was much easier when I entered the workforce forty years ago. College was fairly cheap and any degree could get you a good job. Many with high school degrees could have a middle class lifestyle working in a factory, often in jobs that required relatively little skill.
Now college is frightfully expensive and many majors are of no help in finding a job. Those manufacturing jobs are long gone. We are in the midst of a serious crisis. The low unemployment rate masks those who gave up looking, work part-time or in low paying service jobs. It could get a lot worse. We are losing our lead in technology. Our educational system is not turning out people with the skills needed to get a good job.
The big question is what we can do about it. There is only so much the government can do. People will have to do whatever it takes, whether it’s going back to school or be willing to move.
The Obama administration seemed to care little about jobs. He came into office in a time of economic crisis, threw money at the problem and then focused on what he wanted to do. He hated businesses and created unnecessary regulations. Blue-collar workers were ignored even demonized as “deplorables”.
Whatever you think of President Trump, you have to give him credit for talking about those who are affected. His solution is to expel illegal immigrants, get tough on trade, reduce regulations and cut corporate taxes. Most illegals have low paying jobs. Instead, I believe the focus should be on creating good jobs. Arbitrarily creating new tariffs and trying to put a wall around America will cause a trade war and damage the economy. Besides, studies show that 80% of lost manufacturing jobs were due to technology. Cutting regulations will help assuming it isn’t done in a haphazard manner. Giving every business a tax cut and hoping some of it will be used for expansion will have a limited effect.
So what should be done? I believe government at all levels should concentrate on three areas:
1. Helping businesses grow – Rather than a general business tax cut, there should be increased tax credits for companies that expand. Ineffective regulations should be eliminated. We should go to bat for companies that are being treated unfairly by other nations. Most important of all is to vastly increase assistance to small businesses. This is where most new jobs are created.
2. Technology – We are losing our technological superiority. I know someone in the laser business and he says that other countries are ahead of us. The loss of manufacturing jobs will pale in comparison to having the future Apples and Googles set up shop elsewhere. Government should work closely with universities and industries to stay on top.
3. Education – It does no good to create good jobs if the workers don’t have the skills to fill them. We need to rethink how we educate our young. If not, many will face a very bleak future.
While I enjoy getting senior discounts, I would gladly give them up if businesses would implement junior discounts. They are the ones that really need it.