Welcome to Part II of ‘Things I Don’t Get’

A Boomer’s Journal

by Tom Anselm

Here we go.  There seems to be a lot of vitriol about the evil of pensions. Too expensive to the employer, not fair to those who don’t have them. Well, as a beneficiary of a teacher pension, I say, hands off. I earned this, and even though I knew I wasn’t going to get rich in my chosen profession, I at least had the comfort of a good deal in my retirement, and for my wife if I should check out before her.

And it’s not like teachers got a free ride. We contributed at least 18% of our gross into this. Sure, the districts also pay in, but isn’t that considered part of the cost of educating your kids? Besides, you can bet that a lot of people would rather have the pension system than the risk of 401K-market-tied investments.

Not to mention that the political-types who have their boxers in a knot on this are sure to get a nice, taxpayer-funded annual chunk when their government service comes to an end.

On another education related note, I just completed a  reading  training program that has been around about 10 years or so, but is seeing a greater usage. It is based on sounds associated with letters and words, using these elements to build sentences. It grows in complexity as students grow in skill.

I mentioned to the instructor that it is a lot like how I learned reading. Things seem to go in a circle in the “ejumakashum bidness”, and it keeps coming back to the basics. Folks in my age group don’t know how lucky we were.

Florissant was cited recently by CNN Money as one of the top 100 places to live in the United States. We reported this in our Aug. 23RD edition. Good old North County, which takes a back seat to West County and South County in local reputation, puts up a winner. Eat your heart out Webster, Clayton

Some say that if drugs were legalized, and taxed, the problem of abuse and addictions would be manageable. Yeah, how’s that worked out for alcohol and tobacco? When I hear this bandied about, I can only think of the consequences of adding a greater number of pharmaceutically impaired drivers and a societal slide into zombie-ism.

“Hey, hon, going to the store for some bread and milk and heroin. Need anything else?” I’m not sure what the answer is to this growing problem, but I’m pretty sure legalization isn’t in there. By the way, does it strike you as odd that there is a federal agency known as The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? Seems an unlikely combination, wouldn’t you say?

Why is the availability of contraception tied directly to women’s health? I can see breast cancer and heart disease research, but free birth control pills? As a beginner in the Final Third of Life Sweepstakes, I am very interested in the Medicare shuttlecock that is being batted back and forth by both presidential campaigns. Each side says they have the answer to sustain it and fix it, and that they the other guys will kill it off and leave our seniors out in the cold.

Seems that they’re both right on both counts, but just with different approaches. I can’t see either side blowing up the system, especially with so many boomer votes at stake. And once again, Twain’s quote about statistics applies. (See “Things I Don’t Get, Part I”, Sept. 20, 2012 edition.)

Speaking of money, which all this election sees to be really about, the chief of The Federal Reserve, which is neither “federal” nor “reserved”, recently announced another “Quantitative Easing”, or “QE3”. What it amounts to is printing more money to buy up a big bunch of mortgage-backed securities at a rate of $40,000,000,000 per month. That’s $480 billion a year. And with no end date in sight! So I wonder, if he can do that, why doesn’t he just order up an extra 16,000,000,000,000 dollar bills and pay off the national debt? Save a ton of interest paid to China. Seems simple enough to me. And so ends this ramble.


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