Oops. That Light Bulb Is Rather Dim!

Some of us, most of us, have known this all along. Is this really news?

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warned on Monday that there is a “real and growing” threat that skyrocketing U.S. debt will cause a catastrophic economic implosion if swift, bold action is not immediately taken to stop the fiscal insanity in Washington.

According to Bernanke, the moment is rapidly approaching at which something will have to give, one way or another. Our exploding deficits will have to be accounted for at some point.

It took two years for the powers that be (aka Democrats) to completely destroy what was left of our economy, and it seems it took the Fed Chairman just as long to realize the danger in them doing so.

Maybe next time, you know — after we come back from the economic abyss, we should pick a Fed Chairman that actually knows something about economics without the whole ‘trial and error’ thing.

— Posted with Stuffr! —

An Outrageous Fortune

My mom sent me an email with a link to Transparent Nevada, which is a website that is tracking the salaries of public employees in the state of Nevada. As far as I can tell the salaries of METRO (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) employees are not included in their analysis, but I can tell you that most of those salaries are not outrageous at all. Click on the image to the left to see a list of the top 25 earners in the state. The two yellow triangles next to two names indicate that the amounts shown include termination settlements.

I worked for METRO for six years and I definitely wasn’t making the kind of money even fifty pages into their report. Heck, I wasn’t even making the average they show for Clark County on their site. Granted, I worked there 15-20 years ago, but even adjusting for that, it wasn’t pretty.

How does anyone justify paying a fire battalion chief $643,511.82 in salary, longevity pay, vehicle allowance, clothing allowance, boot allowance, tool allowance, incentive pay, sellbacks, standby and final separation pay? That chief makes more money than 14 “average cost” employees. If you drill down on the fire battalion chief position, you will see that no chief made less than $237,000 in 2008.

Does this even make sense?

Firefighters put their lives in danger every day, or at least the risk is there depending on the type of emergency, but when was the last time any of those fire battalian chiefs carried a hose or entered a burning building?

If this isn’t one of the most outrageous examples of wasted taxpayer (on the state level) dollars, I have no idea what is. Battalion chiefs make a minimum of $237,000, fire captains make a minimum of $167,000, and you have go 45 pages into a 157 page result to find a salary under $100,000.

Are their numbers wrong? Am I missing something? Maybe I moved away from Las Vegas at the wrong time.

Our lives are defined by opportunities. Even the ones we miss.

Something Stinks, And It Isn’t Caviar

It’s no secret, times are tough. Many families are struggling to keep up with their bills and some are having a hard time keeping food on the table.

With the costs associated with the bailout fiascos introduced by the Bush administration and the continued bailouts, stimulus packages, and proposed health care tax increases by the Obama administration families across this country will have a rough time for an extended period of time.

During this time of economic upheaval, the administration as well as members of Congress should be cutting back, shouldn’t they? Shouldn’t they be trying to save money wherever possible, especially when many of their expenses are paid by us, the American people?

With the idea of “cutting back” in your mind, guess how many members of Congress made the trip to Copenhagen for the climate change conference last month? Three? Five? Ten? How about Twenty?

CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports that cameras spotted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the summit. She called the shots on who got to go. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and embattled Chairman of the Tax Committee Charles Rangel were also there.

They were joined by 17 colleagues: Democrats: Waxman, Miller, Markey, Gordon, Levin, Blumenauer, DeGette, Inslee, Ryan, Butterfield, Cleaver, Giffords, and Republicans: Barton, Upton, Moore Capito, Sullivan, Blackburn and Sensenbrenner.

Why did the United States need 20 members of Congress at this conference? I guess we won’t know because Speaker Pelosi’s office hasn’t released any cost estimates and would not agree to be interviewed by the reporter who wrote the article.

So how did they get there? They used two military 737’s and a Gulfstream 5 to get there. The Gulfstream held up to 64 passengers.

But wait. There is more.

Additional Senators (with their staff) also attended the conference, some with their spouses. To be fair, the spouses may have utilized open seats on the military jet, and the room costs were the same whether there was one person or two sleeping there.

CBS reports that there were up to “101 Congress-related” attendees. They also report:

Until required filings are made in the coming weeks, we can only figure bits and pieces of the cost to you.

  • Three military jets at $9,900 per hour – $168,000 just in flight time.
  • Dozens flew commercial at up to $2,000 each.
  • 321 hotel nights booked – the bulk at Copenhagen’s five-star Marriott.
  • Meals add tens of thousands more.

Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, wasn’t against a U.S. presence. But he said, “Every penny counts. Congress should be shaking the couch cushions looking for change, rather than spending cash for everybody to go to Copenhagen.”

I agree completely. I don’t care what they’re reasoning is, did we really need to send such a large presence to the conference and produce enough carbon dioxide to fill 10,000 Olympic sized swimming pools? I thought the conference was all about climate change and saving the planet?

Forget the checkbooks and accountability for a second. The members of Congress who attended the conference did more to choke our planet in one day than you, and I, and a hundred of our friends would (or could) in an entire year.

Kudos to CBS for calling out Congress on this one. The problem with members of Congress is they aren’t used to being held accountable for anything.

Have I Got A Deal For You!

Before I begin tonight’s post, I think you’ll like this “commercial”.


I spent most of today working on a couple projects, and trying to keep the house warm. It’s so cold outside the heaters (with the help of the fireplace) only got the house up to 72 today, which of course means it going to be much colder tonight than it was last night.

I found a post today at Free Republic that shed some light on 401k / IRA investments that if true really doesn’t surprise me.

The U.S. Treasury and Labor Departments will ask for public comment as soon as next week on ways to promote the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams, according to Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi and Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Iwry, who are spearheading the effort.

I am horrible when it comes to investment matters, but after reading that post it seems to me that the goverment is going to try and force all 401k / IRA contributions into Treasuries. I know enough about the industry to know that will kill the stock market. When I had my 401k, I had a choice which areas to invest my money in. It sounds to me like people will no longer have a choice, and the government will be forcing us, the American public, to purchase all that bad debt they’ve been piling up.

How do you monetize debt? Can they really do that? If so, I have a couple credit card debts you may want to invest in.

That’s all I really had to write about tonight. I need to make sure I have enough firewood in the house for tonight so I don’t have to open the front door later on.

Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.
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