Sunday, November 27, 2011


BLACK FRIDAY: What color was your Friday, the day after Thanksgiving? Why do they call it black Friday? Don't know? Well, then I'll enlighten you. It is the day that merchants hope to turn their red ink black for the year. They hope to get enough shoppers in their places of business, buying items that they have put on sale, and that enough money will enter the business coffers, to turn that business into a profitable business for the current year. Whew. Stop for breath here. So, they put their wares on sale, hoping that people will buy. And they do. One news report said there was 9000 people camped out waiting to get into Macy's in new york city. OK let's try that again. NEW YORK CITY. That is about how many people are in the city close to where I live, with a few dogs and cats thrown in, perhaps. Too many people for this old country kid. At least crowded into one place at a time. Is there actually that many bargains in one store at one time for that many people to all buy something to turn Macy's red ink black. Must be, or they wouldn't be there shopping. MLWFAE and I went to a neighboring small city in a neighboring State here in the southwest and bought a piece of furniture. It was regularly priced at over $400.00 but was on sale for $399.00. However, for black Friday they took off an additional 15%, thus costing us $340.00 for a furniture piece that was originally priced at over $100 more than that. Now! if this store, ( and all others like them ) can price item's like this and get their red ink to turn to black, wouldn't it make more business sense to price things like that all year long, and have people buying all year long, and keep the ink black all year long and not have to worry about the crush at this time of year. Just saying. And THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I'm going to do something with this blog that I have never done before, and probably sill never do again. At least not often, if ever. And that is to quote, verbatim, or nearly so, an article that came out in an AARP news paper. See the heading of this post for the title of that article. So here goes.
When he signed the law creating Social Security, Franklin D. Roosevelt believed the program was so well insulated that "no damn politician" could tinker with it. He was right to worry. The linchpin was the payroll tax demanded of all workers. Once they paid into the Social Security system, he calculated, they would have a stake and never abandon it. For decades now, his foresight has been vindicated. Beneficiaries hail the system, and still, the damn politicians can't stop trying to tinker. Over three generations, a smattering of politicians and economists, from libertarians to liberals have blasted the system as wasteful and dishonest and more recently have trivialized it as little more than a Ponzi scheme. Since the master schemer, Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi had many schemes, none of which paid out any funds for any length of time, and all payouts were financed by new investors, and all ended in a matter of weeks. And he wound up in jail numerous times. And some of his schemes even caused banks to fail.
The reasons Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, or even close, are numerous. Most importantly, it has endured for 76 years and never missed a payment. The financing is secure and the administrative costs are practically nothing.
So why the fuss? Politics, mostly, plus simple math and demographics. A soaring federal deficit, a declining number of workers per Social Security beneficiary and a growing number of older people living longer. :-) This puts new pressure on the Social Security trust fund. But instead of making the minor adjustments that would strengthen the system, budget critics have a different agenda. They hope to raid it or privatize it or end it.
Anyone doubting its value need only check the latest national poverty statistics. More Americans slid into poverty in the past year than at any time in the past four decades. Most vulnerable were people 55 to 64, one in ten of whom now live below the poverty line. Over 800,000 people 45 to 64 lost health insurance. By contrast, the economic turmoil of the past year drove far fewer Americans over 65 into poverty. No surprise. That's the segment of the population protected by Medicare and by Social Security---the Ponzi scheme that isn't. This article was written by Jim Toedtman, Editor of the paper. Also, I did paraphrase some of the article and I did leave out some of it. But the bulk of it is there.
My wife and I are beneficiaries of this program. And we paid into it for decades. And since I have returned to work for a short period of time, I am still paying into the system. And a payment for Medicare is held out of our Social Security check each month, just like a monthly insurance premium payment. So I do not feel that this is a government handout, like so many programs are. This is funded by those who pay into the system, while so many other programs are just taken from tax payers pockets.
also, most of the few of you that will actually read this message will also be recipients of this program someday. I encourage each of you to pay close attention to the Damn Politicians and what they want to do and let them know that they are to leave this system alone. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.