Monday, May 25, 2015

The Buffet Rule

Don't even know if Buffet said the things attributed to him in this email I received. Doesn't really matter the source though. It's the principals that matter.

 Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. 
Warren Buffet is one of the richest men in the world. He made his money partly by being smart with the stock market (a good thing) and partly by manipulating politicians to pass laws that drove his competitors out of business without really hurting him, all in the name of "protecting the consumer."Any ideas he proposes need to be examined very carefully.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
We must support this - pass it on and let’s see if these idiots understand what people pressure is all about.
Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE
Actually, CEO's get 3-4 times this much (or more). This doesn't sound out of line to me for the CEO of the most powerful country in the world. Of course, it doesn't count that his housing, travel and a whole bunch more is paid for outside this salary. So this is actually an artificially/dishonestly low number but even then not unreasonably high.

Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE This is stupid
Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE This is really stupid
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE Ditto last line
As we discussed, "for life" needs to end. However, if the entire US budget were $1.00, Congress and presidential salaries and benefits would come to a fraction of a penny. This is not where America's biggest financial problems lie.

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .. $40,065

This is for 9 months of work per year, or about $53,000 if they actually worked a whole year like everyone else; Dead Average. Certainly not something to pity them over, especially since many don't work 40 hours per week for this pay. This is included here as an emotional trigger and doesn't really have anything to do with government.

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000

This doesn't count his room and board, though, does it? Isn't this on top of Uncle Sam giving him food, clothes, medicine and housing? So this is a dishonest number meant to pull on our emotions, as the teacher numbers are.
I think we found where the cuts should be made! If you agree pass it on, as I just did.
As I just said, congress is a tiny fraction of the government's money. Cutting out 100% wouldn't affect our budget one twit. Military and social security are the biggest expenses, followed by social programs. Public Schools (another unconstitutional idea) are the biggest problem for state budgets. 

As I said Sunday, give congress a raise, but make them pay for all their own staff and goodies like the rest of us do. They want to hire their wife as a full time assistant? Great! They can pay her salary instead of us. That's fair. Currently, the congressman gets his pay, his wife gets an additional salary as his "assistant," his adult kids, cousins, best friends, etc all also get additional salaries paid for by the tax payer. Talk about milking the system...

Warren Buffet, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
"I could end the deficit in five minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election".
Agreed! though, I firmly believe in term limits which makes this irrelevant. They would be ineligible for re-election by the mere fact that they are in congress.

Actually, Buffet could end the debt in 30 seconds by simply writing a check (he's that rich), but that's besides the point...

And "no budget = no pay!" It's stupid for us to constantly run without a budget. It keeps them from being accountable and making it so we can see what is going on.

Also, we need to require honest bookkeeping. Currently, all budgets are made for the next ten years. All numbers you see are intentionally reported in such a way as to hide what they are really doing. When you hear the complaint "The Republicans hate (say) children because they cut (say) school budgets by 50%" what they are really saying is "The Republicans only approved a 30% school budget raise ten years from now instead of a 60% raise." We need to force them to use honest budgeting methods that show the truth.

The 26th Amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.
Historically, if an amendment doesn't pass within a couple of years, it never will.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2015
1. No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.


And a limit of one term for the senate and two for the house. No more aristocracy.

Actually Andy says what we should go back to the states each choosing their Senator (like the Constitution says) and have the House filled through a lottery system; anyone with an income of $40,000 and who voted in the last election goes into an electronic "hat." Whoever is chosen at random (and the state appointed senators) gets a good quality computer and free internet, a congressional salary, and is required to join eCongress meetings. This would make the House truly normal citizens (because it could easily be argued that only the mentally ill/narcissistic would choose to participate in current politics). Doing it electronically would mean they continue to live in their home towns (not DC fairyland) keeping the reps in the real world, connected with those they are supposed to represent.
2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.

Well, I personally believe SS should be fazed out. It is unconstitutional and really nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, but since so many have been depending on it for so many years, we need to set an age (35? 40?) and say "If you are over this, nothing changes. You still get SS. We will continue to go in debt to keep our promise to you. If you are younger, you don't pay SS taxes, your employer doesn't pay them (15% total), but you must save for your own retirement." Before SS the average American saved 20% for "a rainy day" Today it's less than 1%. Chili did this a few years ago and it is working well.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose. Meh, Ok.

The real problem with SS, though, is that we don't have enough babies. Anyone who can do basic math can see that if you have 4 retiring grandparents for every 1.8 workers being born (the current birth rate) you WILL run into problems eventually. Ponzi schemes only work as long as the base keeps getting bigger and bigger. Simply making everyone responsible for their own retirement instead of taking from their kids and grandkids (that's how SS runs) solves this problem.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do. Should, not do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

The American People do not have one type of healthcare. Many have insurance paid for by their employers (some better than others). I have no problem with serving officials getting health care as part of their employment package. But when they leave office, it goes away.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
"All (hu)men(s) are created equal..." -Declaration of Independence. This is what this means! It's already law.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/15. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.
Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work. Amen!
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?
Fix congress, yes, sort of. This is actually just a knee jerk reaction that makes us feel better but doesn't address the problem. Our government needs to be returned to what our founding fathers first set up, with only a few tweaks (the postal service, for example, is in the Constitution and I supposed the FF could be forgiven for not foreseeing UPS, FedEx, email and texting, but the principal of USPS violates the principals of the Constitution. The government needs to get out of mail service.)

I once looked up the US budget and roughly figured what was not constitutional (about 2/3). Then I looked up all the unconstitutional taxes (such as income tax, SS tax) and fees. Eliminating the unconstitutional expenses would eliminate the "need" for the unconstitutional incomes. Or in reverse, congress violates the Constitution to collect money for programs that violate the Constitution and remove our freedoms to control our own lives.

Government is like fire. We must have fire to live (cook our food, heat our homes, cars run on tiny fire/explosions, etc.) But fire is dangerous and must be kept as small and controlled as possible to do the job. And if the job can be done with a different tool it should be. You could, theoretically, cut the wood to build a house with fire, but it would be dangerous, messy and wasteful.

Government is necessary but must be kept as small and controlled as possible. It is too dangerous to use it for anything more than absolutely necessary. If we can do the job without government it is safest and most efficient to pursue that method.  

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