Brewster’s Millions Paradox

Unstoppable

Spend $30 million in 30 days to inherit $300 million.  This was 1985, so today you would be spending $67 million to inherit $665 million!  The catch, at the end of the 30 days you had to have nothing to show for it.  Not a single possession could come with you other than the clothes you had on the day this all started.

His solution, run for office.  The twist, he didn’t want to be the person elected.  He wanted people to understand that they were trapped picking between two unlikable individuals who didn’t offer anything.  Welcome to 2016.

There are attributes that each of the major players possess that are of value.  And then there is just an overwhelming amount of things that make me wonder if I can truly get away with leaving that portion of the electronic ballet blank without being told I have to chose someone.

People are spending Billions of dollars to attain an office that pays $400,000.  Every economics class I ever took would tell you that is the worst kind of return on your investment you could ever find.  Even the crappy interest rates paid out by banks would gain you a profit of $85 million after four years, more than double that if you get re-elected!  Don’t even get me started with just average returns over four years with that same money invested and left alone.

Politics are personal.  Everyone has a different viewpoint for the same events.  100 people in a room would tell you a slightly different version of the same movie they sat through.  Witness statements from victims of crimes tend to be unreliable for the same reason.

No one is right and many they are just plain wrong.  And for people who truly don’t understand the very basic nature of government, this check and balances thing ensures that nothing gets done unless you have such an overwhelming number of people of the same party and same mindset.

I’m a economist and I can’t tell you want will happen 5 years from now.  I can barely make an argument for two years into the future.  The world changes and with it the variables.  Insert joke about the Butterfly Effect?  Sure why not!  A girl in Japan writes an App that takes over every other texting program and not only does Apple lose value, so does Microsoft, Facebook and WhatsApp.  Why?  Because said young lady didn’t like that her personal information was being sold resulting in odd ads popping up in her email.

In politics the next great idea rarely has the same momentum.  Too many people want to ride the coattails with their lesser ideas and welcome to stalemates.

Personally I believe we need to fire every single Senator and Congress-person and start over.  Adopt term limits?  Requires a Constitutional Amendment and you don’t want to know the process that requires!

Obama was not my guy, but I would have liked to see the change he spoke about.  The country elected a single person with a wide-ranging dream that required the people he was surrounded by to be different.  That’s where that failure falls on the voting public and even harder on those who didn’t vote.

Trump is right about there being problems in this country.  Homelessness, health of every person, violence of every kind, and the ability for every person to achieve to their highest abilities are my personal issues.  Work on those things and plenty of other issues will work themselves out in a generation, possibly two.

Hillary is also right that there are bright moments that we need to cling to.  Just look towards the number of people who come out after these violent episodes to help in any way they can.  The world is a better place when you try to understand your neighbor rather than scream about our differences.

I’ll never see how the next few years play out.  But I hope for one simple thing, [a cure for cancer?  not in my lifetime!  sorry gallows humor?].  That we get to a point where it’s more important to help each other not step over each other.  [I have learned this from years of running a business where even I admit to having adopted some sociopathic tendencies to get things done.  Not my prouder moments, but necessary unfortunately].

Bill and Ted had it right, be good to one another!

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A Gathering of Lesbian Druids Ice Skating

Natural

240 some odd years ago a bunch of white, privileged males gathered in a room to decide the fate of a nation.  Sounds dramatic?  What they really wanted was the ability to decide for themselves who they were going to hang around and what price they were willing to pay for that to happen.

Way too many people seem to get hung up on their Second Amendment rights.  That would be the one that says the government makes an exception for people to own guns to form a militia.  No army, we weren’t a country at that point!  But this was also a legal distinction that they wanted to provide since what they were attempting was to succeed from another country that had far superior armory.  History class would call that a response to the Sedition Acts passed by the British Parliament.

Anyway, let’s back track to that First Amendment.  The first thing that they addressed was the ability for people of different religions, economic backgrounds and depending on what part of the country you were living in at the time racial makeup to gather without fear of government interfering.  [They didn’t get it all right, but it was a start?]

Every now and then I see a sign that invites Lesbian Druids to gather at a Ice Skating Rink to discuss their cancer diagnosis while eating Organic Cat Food.  An exaggeration for sure, but if this group might exist, there’s no reason they should feel safe.

I don’t know if biology, society, or a random flip of the coin this morning is behind how people turn out.  But that also shouldn’t matter.  While religion is not a part of my life, I do believe that people really shouldn’t point fingers at others.  Maybe for the person dressed as a clown, juggling sex toys standing outside a Whole Foods might be worth the chuckle.  But I can walk in the other way rather than pick up some piece of garbage and throw it in their general direction.

Sure, I’m tall, white, overly-educated and came from a privileged household.  It’s easy for me to make statements like this without fear of others.  But I have also read as much as I can about my uncle who was present during those Colonial times.  He was in the room and all of the letters between him and my aunt are public documents (that would be anything about John & Abigail Adams).  There were so many times he wasn’t sure they were doing the right thing and she called him on it.  Do the right thing, even if not easy.  [another reason why I have a fascination with strong women, history taught me well.]

There are several life lessons I have drawn from their conversations held via the postal service.  Imagine if they had email or even worse Twitter?

To be clear, I’m not against guns.  I learned how to handle them as a kid.  Do I think someone needs a weapon like a AR-15?  I’m not sure.  I don’t see the point.  But some people buy $300,000 cars to drive on public streets.  Overkill?  Poor choice of words…

Is it ironic to find that in order for some groups to gather and talk,  not plot to kill, not smuggle children in for repugnant activities, just sit across the table and find a way to advance their own thoughts; they some times need armed guards?  Heavily armed people to protect speech.

We no longer want to hear opposing views, just our own?  How can I possibly learn anything.  Would the world still be flat?  That we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around the Earth?  Zeus is ticked off and throwing bolts of energy?  Until we understood why these things happen, we tried to at least explain them.

I’m very sorry some families had to learn that their brother, sisters, children and friends didn’t get a chance to come home simply because someone didn’t let them.  It’s not the first, won’t be the last.  And there’s nothing I can suggest that will stop it either.

But I will be willing to stand at the door and tell others that the people inside have ever right to gather and enjoy music, poetry, a lecture, movie or anything in the world.  They should have gone home and thought about the nice time they had.  The new people they met.  They should have seen the sun come up.

So the next time a bunch of Asian Power-lifters want to gather and dress in togas to re-enact the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, let me know.

Destructive Politics – Ready, Set, Done!

Ready, Set, Done!

I’m so glad that the political ads have stopped! The endless barrage of people saying they know better than their opponent. Constant reminders of something they wrote in college about a topic they barely understood that now they have to explain for the impending news cycle. It has always been this way, decades, centuries of politicians crying about how they will do better than the last person, only to be just as ineffective as the last.

On the television I watched a commentator rip apart public policy just because it was in opposition to the leanings of their editorial board. People were being harmed by this policy in some way or another. The result pushing through an agenda that few understood and even fewer took the time to learn about. All so that someone could eventually point the finger [or give someone the finger]!

The history of people running for office usually ends with small victories followed by years of trying to assure the population as a whole of their good intentions. Running for office the minute you have just finished the last election cycle. The monies being spent increasing on an exponential scale. Billions every few years wasted in the name of obtaining an office that pays a fraction of what was spent to get there.

At some point, not only will our political system crumble under the weight of individuals who are now elected for life in some cases, but also as a result of no one actually doing anything. Pointing the finger across the aisle, saying they are at fault, we only want to help you. They might mean it, they may even believe they are having the best of intentions; but in the end we find ourselves grasping with issues so complex that letting a select group decide them for us, only adds to our collective unhappiness with the resulting choices.

Find a way to feed the population, not just aid to other countries, but the people starving in your backyard. Stop trying to spend every dollar you get your hands on and start paying back those we owe. Stop thinking about your political party and start thinking about the people who elected you. Most of all remember, there is always someone smarter than you, always more knows something you don’t [even if you are an expert].

What that new system is, I have no idea. But we need to start helping each other rather than our own parochial interests! The world is a big place, let’s try to leave it in better shape then when we entered it!