― Mark Twain
Does that quote by Mark Twain make sense?
How do you feel about the condition of our government and their capabilities to support you when you are ready to retire?
Hopefully, there are some of you that feel like I do when it comes to wondering whether or not there will be any retirement security for our generation when we decide to retire.
Let me make a few things clear before I start rambling……
I am neither Republican nor Democrat.
I have never voted in an election.
I refuse to sign any political (or religious or bureaucratic or jurisdictional or…you get my point) petitions and will never, ever, ever, ever, ever watch politics on the news.
My friends, no matter how you look at it, for better or worse, I don't want to get involved in our government and I, in no way, am ever going to make any changes to it.
I am resolved to the fact that our government is broken.
I am resolved to the fact that our government is corrupt.
I am resolved to the fact that our government works through an insidious balance of corporate and interest group favoritism.
I am OK with that.
Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of our country states:
“Experience has shown that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
There has been a historical writing floating (attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scottish born lawyer) around since the late 1700's on principles that were well known to our founders, which is:
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (hand-outs) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: "From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage."
Why does this happen and why do I so readily accept the fact that our government is defective?
Aung San Suu Kyi in her essay states:
“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
Maybe David Byrne (who I consider one of the greatest philosophers of our generation) the founding member and principal songwriter of the American New Wave band Talking Heads, sanctifies my resolve the best when he said in the song " Wild, Wild Life":
"Things fall apart, it's scientific".
Did you know that the antonym of the word "political" is "local?"
That's what I am……."local"
As I get older, I'm becoming more and more apolitical and more and more "local"
I think the most revolutionary thing you can do is just live your life to the fullest, love those around you, help those that you can and have a good time doing it before they come to scoop you up off the street when it's all over.
I believe in taking care of my own first.
Recently, a good friend of mine from Hawaii, Steve Haney, sent me this dissertation below on the all-powerful and mighty Wal-Mart.
You may or may not have seen it floating around on the internet social medium.
I found it completely fascinating so I decided to check out if it was totally factual.
Well guess what……..the great majority of it is.
This got me to thinking (again) about the question of whether our government should be run as a formal corporation with a formal corporate structure with a formal citizenship type of stockholder checks and balances system.
I guess I will let you make that decision after reading the amazing facts about Wal-Mart Corporation below since I am soooooo apolitical and "local"…….LOL.
Before I begin, you will notice that the figures and substantiation used in describing Wal-Mart is from the year 2008. I apologize up front for the age of this information but it was the most readily available and easiest to verify.
I have a sneaking suspicion that most of these sales facts and figures has increased handily over the past 4 years and the financial story of Wal-Mart looks even rosier than it did in 2008.
No doubt, Wal-Mart is the behemoth of the retail business world.
In November 2008, as many other retailers were retrenching while experiencing plummeting sales figures amidst a severe economic downturn, Wal-Mart's same-stores sales actually exceeded its expectations, increasing by 3.4 percent over the previous year.
The figures cited below attempt to place the scale of Wal-Mart's operations in context, demonstrating how truly large it is even in comparison with the other top retails chains in the U.S.
According to Wal-Mart's corporate fact sheet, the chain recorded $374,526,000,000 in sales for the fiscal year ending 31 January 2008.
That works out to an average of $42,754,109 in sales per hour (although this figure includes worldwide revenues, not just money spent by Americans).
2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute.
Wal-Mart's income statement for fiscal 2008 reports a 5.8% operating margin, so that figure appears to be an accurate one.
Given the figures provided in the previous entry and this entry (sales of $36,000,000 per hour at a 5.8% profit margin), that would work out to a profit of approximately $34,880 per minute, not $20,928.
For the $42,754,109 worldwide sales figure we used above, the corresponding per minute profit would be about $41,400 – Not Bad, huh?
3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.
The 76 days that pass between January 1 to March 17 represent 20.8% of one year.
If we take 20.8% of Wal-Mart's sales for fiscal 2008 ($374,526,000,000), that works out to a total of $77,901,408,000 for a 76-day period.
We acknowledge that this is only an approximation, since sales are not evenly distributed throughout the year.
Target stores reported sales of $63,367,000,000 for fiscal 2008, so it's fair to say that Wal-Mart does indeed sell more (in dollar terms) between New Year's Day and St. Patrick's Day than Target sells all year.
4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Costco and Sears/K-Mart combined.
Using Yahoo! Finance, we obtained the following yearly sales figures for fiscal 2008 for the listed retail chains:
Home Depot $77,349,000,000
In the aggregate, these five companies accounted for $334,137,020,000 in yearly sales.
If sales is the metric used to determine "bigness," then Wal-Mart, with over $374,000,000,000 in yearly sales, is indeed "bigger" than these five large retailers combined.
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world's largest private employer, and most speak English.
According to Wal-Mart's corporate fact sheet, the company employs 2 million associates worldwide, including 1.4 million in the United States.
This makes Wal-Mart the largest private, non-governmental employer in the U.S.
Does everyone who works for Wal-Mart speak English? No lo se'.
6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.
This statement is somewhat ambiguous, since it doesn't indicate what metric is being used for size.
Does it mean: Largest number of outlets? Greatest number of employees? Highest Gross revenues? Biggest Net profits?
Fortune magazine, which ranks the world's largest corporations in its Global 500 list based on gross revenues, does indeed place Wal-Mart in the #1 spot in that regard, with the next three contenders all being oil companies: Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP.
Forbes magazine, which ranks companies in its Global 2000 list according to four metrics (sales, profits, assets and market value), places Wal-Mart at #16.
7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined.
Keep in mind they did this in only fifteen years.
In 1988 Wal-Mart developed its supercenter "one-stop family shopping" concept, which combined a full grocery and general merchandise under one roof.
In the two decades since then, Wal-Mart has opened over 2,600 supercenters and has grown to become one of the nation's leading grocers.
It's difficult to validate the statement made above with hard numbers since (as far as we can tell) Wal-Mart does not break down its sales figures by category, but it seems likely that Wal-Mart supercenters generate more food sales than the Kroger and Safeway grocery chains combined.
Remember, during this same period, 31 big supermarket chains sought bankruptcy in the US.
8. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at Wal-Mart stores.
Compare this to the fact that the Earth's population is approximately 6.5 Billion.
9. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart.
The statistic that anywhere from 90% to 94% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart is a frequently cited item, but we don't know the origin of that stat or how it was determined (and therefore how accurate it might be).
The 2006 book The Wal-Mart Effect cites the following statistics about the proximity of U.S. consumers to Wal-Mart stores:
- 53 percent of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Wal-Mart
- 90 percent of the U.S. population lives within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart
- 97 percent of the U.S. population lives within twenty-five miles of a Wal-Mart
How is our current government and its profusion of worthless, pork barrel programs, bloated salaries and ever increasing tax subsidies doing when compared to an organization like Wal-Mart?
The corporation we know as "The United States Government" is run by President Obama and 535 voting members of Congress, 435 members in the House of Representatives and the 100 members of the Senate.
That's just the C-Level executives that make decisions for us on a daily basis.
I think we can officially declare that the majority of them are in one way or another corrupt.
Here are some examples:
A. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775.
I believe it is the single largest independent government agency in the US.
The USPS is structured like a business in that revenues from the sale of postal products generally cover costs, and it receives virtually no federal appropriations.
The organization is the second-largest civilian employer in the United States—after Wal-Mart—with about 600,000 workers.
If the USPS were a private company, it would rank about 28th on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies.
The USPS is in deep financial trouble as a result of declining mail volume, bloated operating expenses, a costly and inflexible unionized workforce, and constant congressional meddling.
At the same time, electronic communications and other technological advances are making physical mail delivery less relevant.
The USPS is broke and nobody saw it coming. Congress has had 237 years to modernize, update, improve and prepare the agency for the future.
Nobody saw this coming?
C. Fannie Mae was established in 1938.
The government has had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
D. The "War on Poverty" started in 1964.
The government has had 48 years to get it right and it's broke.
Over $1 trillion of our money is confiscated by the government each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.
E. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965.
The government has had 47 years to get it right and they are broke.
F. Freddie Mac was established in 1970.
The government has had 42 years to get it right and it is broke.
G. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence
on foreign oil.
It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before.
The government has had 35 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.
Our government leaders have failed in every "executive and bureaucratic service" provided while overspending and "stealing" our tax dollars.
And now, our President wants his country to believe that his "company" can be trusted to develop and run a "government controlled healthcare system.
I think I would rather buy my healthcare policy at Wal-Mart.
I heard with each policy you get 50% off fruits and vegetables at the Supercenter grocery stores.
While supplies last.
The government can't help our own seniors, veterans, disabled, handicapped, mentally ill, orphans, or homeless, etc., etc., etc...........
But, in the last year we have provided billions of dollars in foreign aid to Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt, and Pakistan ........the previous home of Bin Laden.
Seriously, billions of dollars.
Here's a quick breakout of some "classic" aid figures:
The total foreign aid budget for 2013 is over $56 Billion.
Our retired seniors living on a 'fixed income' receive no extra aid nor do they get any special breaks and now Congress wants to freeze Social Security payments.
You do know that Congress voted themselves a pay raise for 2013, right?
This Congress has pushed the fiscal cliff to the brink and has been the least productive since at least the 1940s.
No matter, lawmakers will get a pay raise in 2013, reports The Weekly Standard.
The annual salary of members of Congress will rise from $174,000 to 174,900.
Leadership in Congress, including the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, will likewise get a hefty increase.
Under current federal law lawmakers' pay automatically rises unless they specifically vote to deny themselves a raise - which this year they didn't.
The $900-a-year raise is in line with what other federal workers will get in the coming year.
That's because President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving federal workers a raise.
I think you get my point.
That felt good.
Since I started with a quote from the great Mark Twain, let me finish with one as well.
“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, only when it deserves it.”
― Mark Twain
Thanks for joining me...........................