Monday, 22 May 2017

By on May 22nd, 2017 in personal

08:54 – It was 57.3F (13C) when I took Colin out at about 0700 this morning, bright and sunny. Barbara is off to the gym, and then it’ll be more science kit stuff today. She has a busy week on tap, with the Friends bookstore tomorrow afternoon, a trip down to Winston Wednesday afternoon, returning Thursday, and then preparing to depart for a week-long craft class on Sunday, returning the following Saturday. Colin and I need to get prepared for WW&P while she’s gone.

Yesterday, I read a summary of a report from the Fed that said 23% of American families couldn’t pay all of their monthly bills and that 44% of them did not have the cash or equivalent on hand to deal with an unexpected $400 expense. I remember seeing similar figures in the past that something like 75% of US families couldn’t deal with an unexpected $1,000 expense and more than 90% with a $2,500 expense. In other words, the vast majority of US families are living on the edge economically.

And that’s not limited to young people, poorer people, or uneducated people. Obviously, all of those make the problem worse, but there are plenty of middle-class and upper middle-class families whose breadwinner(s) are well-educated, in their 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s, and have few if any financial reserves. This does not bode well for any of us.

The fundamental problem is that most people, whatever their incomes, are living at or above their means. I’ve known many people over the years whose incomes put them in the top 10%, 5%, or even 1%, but they spent their money as fast as or faster than it came in. They put nothing aside for a rainy day. In other words, they’re irresponsible. And I’m afraid that they may soon reap what they’ve sown.


55 Comments and discussion on "Monday, 22 May 2017"

  1. nick flandrey says:

    Yep, but because there are so many of them, once again the prudent will be forced to take care of the imprudent.

    The bill to forgive some student loans has passed a first hurdle, forex.

    I’ll add that I’ve been there. Several times in my life, I was down to my last $20 or less. Each time, some small favor put me back on the path to success. EVERYONE has some way to save money, or better, generate more. Many are not willing to do what it takes. Some don’t recognize the possibilities. I’m living proof that you can get out of debt. You can get past student loans, IRS past due, tax liens, unemployment, bankruptcy, and you can break the cycle of ‘just in time’ payments and incomes. It’s hard, it takes time, it requires sacrifice, but the rewards are large.

    73F and raining here this am. I’ll be doing some indoor work I guess.


    ADDED- I’ve watched two siblings go thru the same transformation too. From living JIT, to having assets and getting rid of debt. It can be done.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    But there’s no effort to encourage being financially responsible on any level, from individual families up to all levels of government. It almost seems this is all intentional on the part of governments, to foster an ever-increasing level of dependency on the government. The government WANTS fat, dumb, and happy voters. Those of us who are independent, responsible, and productive make up an increasingly small percentage of the population. Remember the title of Ayn Rand’s best-known and prescient work: Atlas Shrugged. There’s definitely a hard reset coming. Keep your powder dry.

  3. Harold says:

    Nick F. – I hear you and you have my respect.
    I lost my retirement when MCI went bankrupt and was looking at a bleak future, then I read Rich Dad Poor Dad and completely changed my view on money & wealth. I cut back on everything, started a few businesses (one failed) and now can see a decent income when I retire from my IT job in a year or so. When my son was murdered in 1995 I was too depressed to file my taxes that year. So I had to pay IRS back taxes for years but finaly got clean. I now buy everything for cash, no debt. Not at all easy but well worth the effort.

  4. nick flandrey says:

    Yep, I’ve been broke, and had a solid job. I’ve abused credit and rehabilitated myself.

    It’s hard but it’s doable.

    With the IRS, talk to your case agent. Make a deal

    With the student loan collectors, make a deal. They paid only a few cents on the dollar. They will do a cash settlement. ‘Course you have to have the cash.

    Most folks have a bunch of unexamined ideas about money, just like they do about food. Many of the current pop gurus will at least make you think of money in a different way.

    The best advice I ever got about money was- put 10% of everything you make away. If you need it, use it. Pay off debt, and avoid it in the future. Think of your income or work as a portfolio in the same way you’d think of investments in a portfolio. Sometimes you have high reward, high pay work, sometimes you have low reward, high pay work, sometimes you have high reward but low pay, etc. Your ‘values’ for the work will change with the work and with time. Look for balance in your ‘portfolio’.

    The portfolio idea comes from a book called The Age of Unreason. The other idea that changed how I think came from that book too. It’s the idea that a shelf has two sides. If there is no room on the top of a shelf, use the bottom too. (Works both literally in your cabinets, and figuratively.)


  5. OFD says:

    49 this AM with strong wind gusts all night long and continuing; rain for the rest of today, and then 70 and sunny tomorrow and Wednesday, allegedly. Gotta go retrieve wife from MIL’s later and do inside and back porch stuff today, I guess.

    WRT to financial responsibility, etc.; wife and I made some bad mistakes over the years and now we’re trying to fix them, but as noted, it’s a hard slog. The time to do that or not make those mistakes in the first place was twenty years ago.

    As I pointed out to her last night on the phone, our first step is latching onto a tax lawyer and consolidating all our Fed and state tax liabilities, while simultaneously shooting 30% of our revenue every month automatically to the relevant Fed and state offices. That done, we can then focus on increasing our independent revenue sources here and getting out from under the bastards that much faster. While also doing stuff we like/love for a change.

    As for retirement and savings? We’ve gone through four retirement accounts over those twenty years just to pay bills and expenses, and have zero saved anywhere. We expect to work until we can’t and our assets are tending to be hard assets, in the form of property, tools, and other material goods. Soft assets are determination, resiliency and skillz either already acquired or in-process. But a minimum goal for me is to have three to six months of expenses stashed in the form of cash, anyway.

    It’s not like we splurge on luxury goods and vacations, either; but having to pay for wife’s accommodations and rental cars in advance and then wait many weeks to be paid again, plus our daughter’s seven-year BA program has made it tough. Also my having been laid off from IBM four years ago. And THAT’S where a big mistake occurred, i.e., not getting the tax mess under control back THEN. But we were all tied up with spending MANY hours per week trying to buy this house, ultimately successful but it took us a year of hassle and struggle.

    Our mess is of our own making, mainly, and we’re trying to rectify it and get rolling again this year while the getting is still good.

  6. Greg Norton says:

    The bill to forgive some student loans has passed a first hurdle, forex.

    IIRC, if the bill passes, forgiveness would happen through the Bankruptcy Court system. Most of the snowflakes wouldn’t like having their financial lives placed under the scrutiny of the typical court-appointed trustee charged with administering that process. I have friends who couldn’t even handle the voluntary programs through CCCS because it crimped their lifestyles too severely.

    I doubt the bill will make it to Trump’s desk, but it is a sign that the Republican establishment is worried about 2018 and 2020. I could see a Prog easliy riding into the White House on a promise of blanket student loan forgiveness of, say, any balance less than $50,000.

    As bad as the higher ed bubble has been over the last 20 years, the Doh-bamacare bill made things worse by effectively nationalizing the student loan program to help pay for the fiasco. Remember, we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.

  7. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    If they do forgive student loans, I think they should do so only to the extent that the full amounts of the loans can be recovered from the colleges and universities and trade schools that received the monies from the students. With the exception of STEM and a very few other subjects, these kids were sold a worthless bill of goods by these so-called educational institutions. If it drives a bunch of them into bankruptcy and wipes out the pension plans of their faculty and in particular their adminstrative staff, so much the better. Higher “education” is as much in need of a hard reset as the rest of this society.

    Again, it has to happen, and I just wish it had happened 40 years ago when I was young and capable. A hard reset is really going to suck for guys our age.

  8. MrAtoz says:

    If the Redumblicans and Dumbocrats keep kicking the can down the road, MrsAtoz and I will live comfortably on dual SS, mil pension, medicare and IRAs. Even if we decide to croak in our Vegas condo. But minus the IRAs, it’s all gooberment dollars.

    We started a college fund for the Twins as babies and it grew to $50K for each. Since the commute from home, we hope to have about $10K left after their BS’s. They are talking about moving to San Antonio and getting MS’s in bio engineering field, etc. That’s up to them, we’re just happy they will graduate with no student debt.

    All five kids will have degrees with no debt. Number two is just finishing a MS at Columbia and is applying for the PhD program in Education.

  9. Greg Norton says:

    If it drives a bunch of them into bankruptcy and wipes out the pension plans of their faculty and in particular their adminstrative staff, so much the better. Higher “education” is as much in need of a hard reset as the rest of this society.

    I’m done with my grad program as of last week, and I applied for a permanent job with the CS department. After a couple of interviews, I pulled my application when it became apparent to me that no one in the administration was really interested in doing much to expand the department services provided to the students at the branch campus or fixing the rampant academic dishonesty in both the undergraduate and graduate levels of the program.

  10. Nightraker says:

    “But there’s no effort to encourage being financially responsible on any level, from individual families up to all levels of government.”

    Most folks are so busy running flat out just to stay in place. And as the dollar depreciates, savings are disincentivized. Not saying your point isn’t mightily true though. As Americans, we are so rich that just getting by is pretty good and can last indefinitely until a personal black swan lands.

    I’ve spent decades with less than $40 left in my pocket after expenses or other spending. I dug myself out of holes I made for myself: memorably came within a lottery odds closeness of having the car repossessed once. (The VIN didn’t match the repossessors’ paperwork.) Paid off a credit card without offsetting income twice.
    Cash or nothing for the last 20 years and I was extremely, extremely fortunate in having savers for elders.

    Advice I should take myself: start a business grey market or better and get off the employer / employee rat wheel. Self employment is the best solution to cash flow woe, a fact I’ve been aware of for a very long time. Must admit that even I can’t seem to have the idea to jump start it.

  11. OFD says:

    Nice work, Mr. and Mrs. Atoz!

    Our two will have also graduated with zero student debt, made easier by them attending Canadian universities that made them WORK their asses off. Son’s degree was a History Honors, but he’s parlayed that as a piece of paper to get him to the upper echelons at, having paid his dues slaving at a car rental chain and a restaurant back in the day. Daughter’s will be a double in languages and music but she is evidently finding ways to score dough with the latter and can always find work somewhere or other as a translator, having at last count, ten languages.

    So the kids will evidently be doing better than us, which is really all most parents hope for, amirite?

    @MrAtoz; wife got her masters in public health at Columbia. ABD PhD at Dartmouth.

    And if they can’t kick the can down the road anymore and/or there are any combination of Perfect Storm/Black Swan events, we’ll be living by our wits and our hands up here, and doing that hard reset thing in our 60s, 70s and maybe 80s as though it was 1900 again in northern rural New England. And probably consider ourselves damn lucky to be alive anyway.

  12. DadCooks says:

    Dad’s simple reminder, from experience, as much as we hate lawyers they are the only way to go when dealing with the gooberment. You need that lawyer client privilege that only a lawyer can provide. If you use some “service” they can easily be forced to divulge all that you have or may reveal to them.

    It is too late for many here, but my Wife and I (and my kids’) have always put any pay raises and bonuses into savings.

    We are/were not perfect with money. I got us into credit card problems when we were stupid and got into Amway (another long story), using one credit card to pay off another until we limited everything out. We went to Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS). They really tried to help us but 2 of the 6 credit card companies would not accept a payment plan. So we found a great lawyer (who is now a WA State Supreme Court Judge) and filed bankruptcy and wiped the slate totally clean (with today’s bankruptcy laws we would have had too many assets to go through bankruptcy). We then turned around and used our savings to totally pay off the 4 credit card companies that were willing to work with us and CCCS. The 2 other credit card companies got nothing from us and I don’t feel bad about it. And sweet revenge is that a few years later they both went belly up and got absorbed for pennies on the dollar.

    BTW, CCCS had us use a “cash envelope system” to handle our budget; when the envelope for a category was empty, no more spending; any leftover at the end the month went into savings.

    We did that for many years and essentially still do it today, only using our checking account (in which we get 1.25% interest on the $10,000.00 balance we keep in there, anything above only gets 0.05%). Credit Unions are great!

  13. Harold says:

    Just a note, beware loan, credit forgiveness programs. My brother ran up big $$$ on his cards for lawyers then ended up spending a few years in the pen. While behind bars he obviously couldn’t make payments so he negotiated a huge write down on what he owed. (around $22,000) What he didn’t know is that the IRS counts this as INCOME. So going from a huge bill to AMEX he went to a huge IRS debt. Not a good trade.

  14. CowboySlim says:

    Took out mortgage to buy this house 50 years ago and paid it off 20 years ago. Outside of that, five loans for new cars, of three years each (last one 11 years ago), but nothing else borrowed, ever.

    Both children with CSULB master’s degrees, girl teaches school and boy EE.

    Now, establishing college funds for grand kids, boy 17 and girl 14. They will both be fully funded, boy definitely STEM and girl most likely, too.

    70°F here and overcast (as typical for May AM here). Sunny and probably up to 80°F this afternoon.

    Some OFD type stuff yesterday: spar varnish on my picnic table. Getting ready for summer backyard BBQs.

  15. nick flandrey says:

    Rain has stopped which means I’m out picking up auction items.

    Given the number of times I’ve pulled up on a car fire, I have been buying ‘out of date’ but fully working fire extinguishers. They are MUCH cheaper than new and work fine. It was getting expensive to replace the extinguishers in my truck. I got 25 working ones for $10 in my last auction, so I’ll hold some back and list some on craigslist. I’ve got other stuff to pick up from last week’s auctions.

    I hope this stuff will help restart my ebay sales. As noted before, they’ve collapsed. It could be because I didn’t add many listings in the last month as I was very busy with general life stuff. I’ve definitely noticed that the key to selling is to always be listing new things.


  16. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ve bought three cars (1980, 1993, 2012) over the years – paid cash for all of them. I’m okay at the moment but I need a bit more self discipline.

    A guy I knew developed a real addiction to hookers. In 1985, when I first met him, he was driving a BMW. A couple of years later it was an Alfa Romeo. Then a 15 year old Chrysler Valiant. After a while he couldn’t even afford that, so he sold it and bludged off his sister (who was living at my place at the time, their parents had given her the use of one of their cars.) She’d ask on Sunday night after church (!) “Greg, is it okay if Neil stays here this week?” (So he can have the use of my car.)

    That got old very quick.

    We sprung him going into an escort agency one evening. This was the reason he couldn’t afford his own car. And his parents had borrowed money against their house so he wouldn’t have to go bankrupt. And he was spending more on hookers. I guess that’s his business if he can pay for it himself, but he couldn’t. So he put his parents’ home at risk.

    Haven’t seen him for 25 years, no great loss.

    Meanwhile, Australian aboriginal “leaders” are asking for 3% of Australian GDP as compensation for past white misdeeds…

  17. Miles_Teg says:

    This POS is talking crap again. Months ago he was saying the world was closer to catastrophe than at any time since about 1952 because of Trump and AGW. (He’d never heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis or Able Archer 83, it seems.)

    Now there’s this:

  18. MrAtoz says:

    The whole Libturdian mantra now is “impeach” tRump. They use fake news, what if’s, and out and out lies. I believe it will backfire on them. They are preaching to their choir and Independents are running away. Please, oh please, run Coffin Cankles in 2020.

  19. ech says:

    And that’s not limited to young people, poorer people, or uneducated people.

    I’ve mentioned before that I lived in a top 1% neighborhood for a while. It was not uncommon for the help (nanny, maid, etc.) to not get paid until the breadwinner got his paycheck later in the week or month – because they had no cash. We never missed a payday for our nanny. But then, we didn’t lease luxury cars on one or two year leases, vacation in expensive resorts, dine out 4-5 nights a week, and wear designer clothes. They let wants get in the way of needs. (To be fair, some of them had jobs that required expensive business wear. You expect a law firm partner to dress the part.)

  20. Miles_Teg says:

    Heh, one of my pals used to work in merchant banking. He not only had to wear a good suit, but it had to be the right colour. Brown suits used to be all the rage for lesser life forms like myself, but he said he’d be sent home if he wore one to work.

  21. Harold says:

    Self employment is the best solution to cash flow woe

    Not the BEST solution but better than being an employee. As Robert Kiyosaki, points out in “Cash Flow Quadrant”, the self employed pay the highest taxes and have the least opportunity to generate wealth. Since their income is based on use of their own time they have a limited resource to sell. I saw this when I was an Independent Consultant in the 80’s and 90’s. I was making great $$$ but there were only so many days in a week I could work. I had people coming to me for work but there wasn’t enough of me to go around. I was turning down work. I was STUPID !!! I SHOULD have sub-contracted the work, and focused on developing the relationships with the customers and if I had, I could have been running a niche consulting firm making HUGE $$$. But I identified as “self employed” and never thought of bringing people on-board and becoming a business owner. The BEST tax breaks are given to Investors and Business Owners. Now, in my 60’s, I’ve created four successful (so far) business and one failure (a bar). I own a self storage facility, several rental houses, a rental management company, and an ATM business (by far the most profitable and least hands-on). There are LOTS of financial self-help books out there, I prefer Robert Kiyosaki’s.

  22. Ray Thompson says:

    IIRC, if the bill passes, forgiveness would happen through the Bankruptcy Court system

    The system should count any forgiveness on student loans as taxable income. Teach those precious snowflakes something about the real world.

    these kids were sold a worthless bill of goods by these so-called educational institutions

    The major goal of most universities is to make money anyway they can. The second goal is to employ the unemployable, those with degrees in fluff programs who cannot get a job at McDonalds.

    So going from a huge bill to AMEX he went to a huge IRS debt

    Probably got charged interest at twice the normal lending rate and penalties that raise the amount owed on which the IRS can also charge interest.

    Our two will have also graduated with zero student debt

    My son graduated without any debt as I paid for his education. For his first year he was on a scholarship which covered about half his tuition. But he screwed around and lost that costing me several more thousands of dollars, about $36K. I was not at all happy.

    The school did not help. One of his classes the instructor spoke English as a third or fourth language. No one in the class could understand the teacher. Several of the students went the administration and complained and the administration’s response was the teacher was qualified, too bad for the students. 90% of the students dropped the class in the first two weeks but of course no one could get their money back.

    It was even worse that the class was not really one that was needed for my son’s degree path. It was simply a course thrown in that the students were forced to take to employ an unemployable and keep the students in school longer and thus more money for the university.

    When it was time to graduate the school had entered his degree path incorrectly in the system and thus he needed other classes. We had paper work from his adviser showing the exact classes and the degree program. Not acceptable by the school as the adviser no longer worked for the school.

    The school could change the designation in the computer but the school had since changed the degree requirements with more fluff classes. My son would have to take those classes. Oh by the way, those classes were full as priority was given to freshmen.

    Wife and I made a trip to the school, started in the office that did the classes and were well on our way to making it to the office of the president of the university when the school “found an opening” in one the classes. Thus my son only had to stay an extra semester.

    The school also made 1st and 2nd year students purchase a “Raider’s Bucks” card for $250 each semester. The card could be used at the cafeteria, book store, etc. The card was mandatory. At the end of the semester if the student had not used all the money on the card the school kept the money. In my way of thinking that was theft.

    Another time I got the bill for his classes in the mail on a Friday. Payment was due that day. The bills were sent out two weeks late. I called the school and said I could pay but it would take a few days for the check to reach them. Not good enough. School said the mail processor they used made a mistake and thus the bills were late. But the due date was the same. I asked what would have happened if the bill arrived on Saturday and their response was that all my son’s classes would have been cancelled. I said it was their mistake, they said tough, it was my responsibility to know when the tuition was due. Sending a bill in the mail was only done as a favor.

    The office then said I could pay online with a credit card using my student ID. I said I had no student ID as it was for my son. They again said, tough. I asked if they could take the fee over the phone. Nope, they don’t do that.

    MTSU is loaded with fucking idiots and I suspect is the norm for most universities.

    I’ve spent decades with less than $40 left in my pocket after expenses or other spending

    Been there, done that. What put me over the edge was when I got laid off. I knew it was coming a year in advance so I had prepared. Got down to some slim pickings before I got a job.

    After that I made a real effort to get out of debt. Credit card debt was especially bad but was able to get rid of it. Then got the vehicles paid off. Finally the house.

    Then built up a significant emergency fund that was enough to last a year. Made life much easier.

  23. Harold says:

    Good point Ech … we MUST teach our children the diference between WANTS and NEEDS. Most of the young people I speak to don’t know the diference.

    And I have known my share of people who blew away windfalls. One aquiantce won a judgment for $750K a few years back. Suddenly he was driving a Range Rover and bought a corvette for his girl friend. Bought a big house, took his friends on lavish vacations, and dropped a wad in Vegas. Inside 2 years the the house, cars, vacations, and girl friend were gone and he was working in a body shop and living in a single wide. He never figured on taxes and bought everything on credit.
    I know an oil patch worker who had made it up to Master driller and was in demand all over the world. he was pulling down $300K+ a year working 3 on 1 off. Yet he could never say “NO” to his wife’s lavish tastes and when the oil bust hit he was lucky to make $40k a year. He lost his lake house, Cadilac Espliade, Dodge Charger, and almost his wife. He’s back earing big 6 figures now that oil has revovered but he’s learned his lesson. CASH is king.

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    Too bad he didn’t lose the wife.

  25. lynn says:

    All five kids will have degrees with no debt.

    That appears to be a big blessing nowadays. Congratulations !

  26. lynn says:

    The best advice I ever got about money was- put 10% of everything you make away. If you need it, use it. Pay off debt, and avoid it in the future.

    We have debt on both our house and our commercial property. No car or credit card debt though. We have about 40% equity in our house.

    Almost all of our retirement money is tied up in two real estate investments. One is five acres on an FM (farm to market) road with 330 ft of frontage. That is owned by my IRA and is debt free. But there is no income as it is held for a future sale. So my IRA pays the real estate tax and mowing fee. I have been offered 2X what my IRA paid for it but I don’t want the cash. Yet.

    The other is the nine acre property on the same FM road that the wife and I own directly. We have a mortgage on it that will be paid off in 6 or 7 years. It produces about 28% more income than it costs on a monthly basis. I have three tenants on the property and one of them is my primary business that I manage and work for. We had to remortgage our almost paid off house for the cash to buy this property and that worked out ok since we moved since then and bought a new home. It is my intent to add one or two more 5,000 ft2 office warehouses to the property in the future when the funds become available.

  27. lynn says:


    “Every time I try to be mad at Trump, the media reel me back in by launching some ridiculous, unprovoked attack. This time, it’s the fake news story about Trump “leaking” classified information to the Russkies.”

    “The president can’t “leak” classified information: It’s his to declassify. ”

    This editorial was in our paper yesterday. Just a bunch of common sense.

  28. lynn says:

    “More Puerto Rico Agencies Enter Bankruptcy”

    “The federal board overseeing Puerto Rico’s financial rehabilitation is enlarging the U.S. territory’s court-supervised bankruptcy, placing its nearly depleted pension system and its transportation agency under court protection.”

    They are only proposing a 10% cut in retiree pensions. I suspect that number will increase radically.

  29. Greg Norton says:

    Please, oh please, run Coffin Cankles in 2020.

    Or better yet, Bernie! Cankles might get something done, but all Bernie will get out of Congress is Supreme Court pics. Maybe.

    My money is still on Gavin Newsom being the Democrat nominee. Trump will be the last of the Boomer Presidents.

  30. lynn says:

    Trump will be the last of the Boomer Presidents.

    What ? The boomers are from 1945 to 1965. I was born in 1960 and am 56 years old.

    Oh gosh, Donald Trump is only 14 years older than me. I am old ! ! !

  31. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Rand Paul 1963.

  32. SteveF says:

    The boomers are from 1945 to 1965

    Yah, that’s pretty much bullshit. Ignore what the marketers and the overly categorical say. Kids born in the mid 1960s — eg myself — have essentially nothing in common with kids born in 1945.

    Please, oh please, run Coffin Cankles in 2020.

    I predict McCain will switch parties — ie, formalize what everyone knows has been the case for decades — and run as one of 25 Dem candidates in 2020.

  33. lynn says:

    The baby boomer generation has nothing to do with kids having anything in common except that they were born in the high birth period following WWII. Some people say it goes through 1960, some say 1965.


  34. Miles_Teg says:

    The Boom ended in about 1961 I thought.

  35. nick flandrey says:

    As a cultural signifier the term Boomer definitely stops before ’65.

    I’m a “child of the ’80’s” as those were my formative years. And NO I have very little in common with anyone born in the 40’s or 50’s or early 60’s.


  36. nick flandrey says:

    20 Dead, 100s Injured After “Suspected Suicide Bombing” At Ariana Grande Concert In Manchester – Live Feed

    you dirty fuckers- rot in hell

  37. Ray Thompson says:

    I was born in ’51 and was created by my father to stay out of Korea, as were my two brothers. I am considered a baby boomer and I have nothing in common with people born in 1945 nor do I have much in common with people born in the 60’s.

    Just got my paperwork back from the VA. They refused to increase my benefit. Apparently my disability is largely based on limitation of movement and to hell with the pain. The examining Dr. did no measurements to avoid the pain. I guess in the VA’s mind I still have the same movement. Next up is to appeal the decision.

    20 Dead, 100s Injured After “Suspected Suicide Bombing”

    Avoid large crowds.

  38. CowboySlim says:

    I have nothing in common with baby boomers. And no, I wasn’t scheduled to keep my Dad out of WWII.

    Slim ’38

  39. dkreck says:

    Sadly 19 dead. OTH a boost for Ms May and Brexit.

  40. dkreck says:

    17:00 and 100F with 17% Rh. Mini heat wave but bearable as low rh makes swamp cooler very effective. I’ve yet to resort to AC. Predict week 101, 97. 88 then 82 on Fri.

  41. SteveF says:

    I was born in ’51 and was created by my father to stay out of Korea

    My mother was born 8 3/4 months after Pearl Harbor. Just sayin’…

  42. SteveF says:

    OTH a boost for Ms May and Brexit.

    Now, I’m not saying that the Islamorrhoids are stupid and lacking in any self-control…

    Oh, bullshit. They’re morons or they’re less mature than our toddlers. Or they have an entirely unjustified view of themselves as the natural rulers of all mankind and able to do anything they like without consequence. Or all of the above.

    Most likely, the third item is the most important, though I’d never rule out the first two. “Allah wills it” is their sword and shield for anything they want to do. No need to think about whether they’re going to enrage the native population — which enormously outnumbers them — into evicting or even executing them all. “Allah wills it” and they don’t have to trouble themselves with thinking.

    (Now we just have to hope that the European natives have any courage or instinct to survive that they can reach for. So far it’s not looking good and the rapefugees’ belief that they are the conquerors is starting to look justified.)

  43. dkreck says:

    Britain may be coming around. The French haven’t had it since Napoleon and don’t seem to care. The Germans are afraid of their historic mirror (so far). Scandinavia appears lost.

  44. SteveF says:

    Britons are disarmed and their betters (sneer quotes just don’t do justice to my contempt for that concept) are much more entrenched than ours. I wish them well and would be willing for some of my tax dollars to be used in air-dropping millions of Liberator pistols on Britain, but I’m not optimistic.

  45. OFD says:

    The UK might still wake up in time, and several of the eastern European countries look ready to defend themselves. We shall see.

    I guess we’ll also eventually get to see how that sorta thang might work here in CONUS.

  46. lynn says:

    “The price tag on universal health care is in, and it’s bigger than California’s budget”

    “The price tag is in: It would cost $400 billion to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal heath care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.”

    “California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, including in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations Committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.”


  47. nick flandrey says:

    The demand for a free good is infinite….


  48. lynn says:

    The demand for a free good is infinite….

    My poor research says that Medicare covers 15% of the people in the USA and pays 25% of the medical bills at severe discounts. Just taking that $700 billion budget for Medicare and dividing it by 0.25 gets a cost of $2.8 trillion.

    I was thinking that we could fund Medicare for All ™ by just increasing the 1.45% that both the employee and employer pay to 6%. But today, I read that 40% of the Medicare budget is not covered by the Medicare tax so the Medicare tax might need to be 10% for both the employer and the employee.


  49. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I still maintain that doctors and hospitals contribute almost nothing to life expectancy. I’d guess 99% or more of the increased life expectancy we’ve seen over the last 100 years is because of better sanitation, better food, vaccines, and antibiotics. Most of what physicians and surgeons do is useless at best and often actually harmful.

    If hospitals and medical care disappeared entirely, I don’t think it would decrease average life expectancy at all. In fact, it might actually increase it. Hospitals and doctors kill a lot of people. And if we don’t need them, we certainly don’t need medical insurance.

  50. lynn says:

    I’d guess 99% or more of the increased life expectancy we’ve seen over the last 100 years is because of better sanitation, better food, vaccines, and antibiotics.

    Blood pressure meds enable about half of the population to extend their lives from 55 to 75 or even 85 years of age.

  51. DadCooks says:

    In my opinion it is not about life expectancy but quality of life. People are living longer but how many have a real quality of life. I have known many people who have undergone years of hellish cancer treatments. Then when they get their last treatment they live for only a year or two. So many have said that it wasn’t worth it, all those years of treatment were not fun and the collateral costs destroyed any savings. If they hadn’t had treatment sure they would have died sooner but the reality is they would have had more years of quality life without the treatments.

    Yes, there are exceptions, those are the few lucky ones. But don’t kid yourself, take a hard realistic look.

    Scott Adams has a good blog post today:

    President Trump just gave ISIS its new name: Losers. (Short for Evil Losers).

    If you think that’s no big deal, you’re wrong. It’s a big deal. This is – literally – weapons-grade persuasion from the most powerful Master Persuader of our time.

    As I have taught you in this blog, President Trump’s clever nicknames for people are not random. They are deeply engineered for visual impact and future confirmation bias.

    In this case, the visuals will be provided by future terror attacks. That reinforces the “evil” part, obviously. But more importantly, the Losers will be doing nothing but losing on the battlefield from now until “annihilation.” They are surrounded, and the clock is ticking. Oh, and the press isn’t allowed to watch the final battles. In other words, we won’t need to build new holding cells on Guantanamo Bay this time. No press means no prisoners, if you know what I mean. (American soldiers won’t be shooting the prisoners. We have allies for that sort of thing.)

    As you know, “annihilation” of the Losers in Loserdom won’t stop the loser’s ideas from spreading. You still have to kill the ideas. And that takes persuasion, not bullets. President Trump just mapped out the persuasion solution: Evil Losers.

    Quickly, name one other way you could label/insult the Losers that would be as powerful as the word Loser. You can’t do it with any other name or insult that is also repeatable in polite company.

    What kinds of people join the Losers? Mostly young males. And you know what brand young males do not want on them? Right: Losers.

    If you call them monsters, they like it. If you call them ISIS or ISIL they put it on a flag and wave it around. If you call them non-Muslim, it just rolls off their backs because they have Korans and stuff. Almost any other “brand” you can imagine is either inert or beneficial to Loser recruitment.

    Loser is different. No one joins the Loser movement. Try at home, with your family or friends, to concoct a more effective brand poisoning than Loser. You probably can’t. Remember, your brand has to fit with future confirmation evidence. The Losers on the battlefield will continue to be losing, so the brand is engineered to get stickier over time. Your alternative idea for a brand solution has to have that quality of future confirmation too. Good luck finding a better persuasion brand.

    This is not accidental. President Trump does (laugh if you will) have the best words, at least for this sort of thing. He’s proven it over and over. Just ask Jeb, Ted, and HIllary.

    As a mental experiment, imagine the CEOs of the major browser companies, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the open source products getting together to stop the spread of Loser propaganda. They could collectively decide to program their browsers to auto-convert ISIS or Al-Quaeda or other cool terror names to Evil Losers. If all the browser products agree, that’s all your teenager in Europe will see as he tries to self-radicalize. That would, in time, end recruitment for Losers.

    An hour ago you believed there was no way to stop the spread of the ideas behind terrorism. I just told you how to do it by the end of the week. While I don’t expect the browser companies to take my suggestion, I do expect some of you will realize for the first time how winnable the war of ideas is.

    So long as your Commander in Chief is also a Master Persuader.

    Otherwise you’re out of luck.

    America, as it turns out, has lots of luck left in it.

    You haven’t seen anything yet. We’re just getting started.

  52. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “Blood pressure meds enable about half of the population to extend their lives from 55 to 75 or even 85 years of age.”

    Sorry, but I don’t buy that. The problem with this and a lot of the other supposed benefits that accrue from “modern medicine” are squishy data derived by proxy, often on self-reported data. They aren’t reliable, and they aren’t outcome-based.

    I’m often reminded of that old joke about the guy tossing strips of paper out of the window of a moving train in Vermont. When asked why he was doing that, he replied that it was to keep elephants away. When told that there were no elephants in Vermont, he replied, “See, it works.”

    The situation with drugs like hypertensive medications is analogous. No one has ever done controlled studies or anything even approaching them. All of the so-called “data” concerning them is anecdotal, self-reported, and uncontrolled for other factors. In other words, those so-called data are useless.

  53. OFD says:

    “When told that there were no elephants in Vermont…”

    That’s wrong, though; there are at least four or five female elephants on this village street. And they smoke cigarettes, too. Even seen an elephant smoking a ciggie?

    Interesting commentary from Adams; we’ll see if it sticks. He seems to believe that tRump is in total control of it all and everything is planned out accordingly, nothing accidental. OK.

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