Our actions


As we were walking into the grocery store the other day, my daughter started picking up trash that others had left, a pop bottle, a piece of paper, cups etc.  My knee jerk reaction was “DON’T touch that! It’s filled with germs.”  My daughter stopped and looked at me and very simply responded. ” They are littering and I am setting an example of how to take care of our earth. Because as you are always telling us MOM actions speak louder than words.”  Oh, yes that was me that said that.  So often we fail to back our words up with our actions. I ate my words that morning and we picked up the trash and deposited in the trash can as we walked into the grocery store.  I had a humbling moment that morning when I realized that my daughter really does listen to my words, and even more so reminds me when my actions don’t match my words.  

Saving is Stupid!?


 I’ve only heard one person actually say savings is stupid, and while it was surprising to hear the words I see people saying it loudly with their actions all the time.  Just look around it’s not hard to hear someone talking about the latest incident where life caused an expense they hadn’t really thought about.  Nor is it hard to find people buying things they obviously don’t need. Most American’s may never out right say they believe savings is stupid, but they don’t have too their actions say it for them. We have become so used to making due paycheck to paycheck that it’s just become a way of life! 

 Even after the fiasco of the budget and debt ceiling that shut down out government half a month ago I’m catching myself slipping into old habits.  The pain from that experience is fading, and I find myself wondering if I am strong enough to continue. To be honest I wasn’t counting on the pain going away, EVER.  It was so real and raw until the threat went away, albeit temporarily, and then the country seemingly began life again like nothing had ever happened.   I know that to continue down the road I desperately want to walk down now is the time that will be the hardest. So I remind myself of what Robert Frost wrote in his  poem, “ The Road Not Taken

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Dear Veterans Affairs


Dear Veterans Affairs,

           It has been more than a DECADE since the US began these seemingly never ending wars in the Middle East, and it’s no secret that we have a major mental health crisis on our hands.  Yet the VA is still inadequately staffed to help veterans with mental health care. I don’t understand how you can have more than ten years to correct a KNOWN problem and make no headway. Nor do I understand how you expect the existing therapists to take on ENORMOUS loads and be able to help the veterans in anyway. We have an epidemic on our hands 22 OIF/ OEF veterans kill them selves a DAY!  Veterans are waiting for years to get claims through YOUR process. They have to worry about money on top of struggling with mental and physical wounds, and here you are unable to give them the assistance when they need it the most.   When we transferred from the Kansas VA to the Dallas VA one of the first things they informed us was “ We don’t have enough therapists here you’ll have to find an outside therapist.”  To their credit they gave us information about the Vet centers.  However, they too are overwhelmed and couldn’t see my husband as much as he needed to be seen.  So this leaves us with the option of finding a mental health counselor who has worked with veterans, that won’t charge us an arm and a leg, so my husband WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY can get the help he needs.  It’s disgusting to me that ANYONE would get bonuses in a VA system that is fatally broken.  You are charged with caring for our VETERANS, these people put their lives on the line for YOU! Yet the federal government and the VA can’t pull enough funding for mental health care workers to even make headway on this problem. You keep talking about the problems but act like you don’t know WHY.  Well I’ll tell you WHY we have so many homeless veterans, so many suicides, and so many veterans unable to move forward?  It’s because the mental health care WASN’T there!  Why should ANY veteran have to pay out of pocket for treatment for wounds received while serving in combat?  I am at a loss for the VA’s inability to get congress to push through funding specifically aimed at resolving this issue.  It’s not like they aren’t aware of this problem.  I understand the congressional deadlock that has all but ruined our system, but it’s pretty clear that BOTH sides understand our veterans deserve better than they are receiving. So quite tip toeing around the problem in the room and FIX it.  

 

A veteran and his family. 

You might be a congressional leader if…


Over the weekend my husband and I were watching Blue Collar Comedy Tour, because honestly we needed a good laugh.  When Jeff Foxworthy began his  “ You might be a red neck if” this version came to me.   

 You might be a congressional leader if….

You think repeating the same tactic over and over again will yield different results.

You might be a congressional leader if….

             You think only 800,000 people suffered in your shut down.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            You don’t know what a clean CR is.

You might be a congressional leader if….

             You’ve never seen a budget that didn’t have pork in it.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            Roaches, foot fungus and dog poop are more popular than you.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            You think the 23 billion wasted in the shut down isn’t that big of a deal.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            Finger pointing is apart of your job description.

You might be a congressional leader if….

             Kicking the can down the road has become the best solution you can come up with.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            You don’t know how to compromise.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            You find it appropriate to teach what a losing strategy looks like while the country waits.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            You think careening over the debt ceiling might not be so bad.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            You think you should get paid no matter what.

You might be a congressional leader if….

            You only listen to “your base” to determine what America wants.

You might be a congressional leader if….

        You get caught on a live mic  back stage, and try to change your story when you get called out.

You might be a congressional leader if….

           You think your job is safe come election time, because you’re an incumbent.   

You might be a congressional leader if….

          Balancing the budget means removing the things you don’t like, but keeping all the waste you approve of. 

Are YOU a communist, uh, I mean Socialist?!


             Finger pointing seems to be a permanent fixture in our government, but the recent finger pointing over who is a “socialist” spooks me.  Because you know everything a socialist does is evil!  Therefore anyone who does something you don’t like should now be labeled a socialist.  Forget party lines; forget everything you ever knew if you don’t agree with me you will be held responsible for those actions!   Can I get a here, here?  Who has their pitch forks and fire handy?! 

            Okay, not really, but this mentality SHOULD be familiar to you.  A man named McCarthy pulled this stunt in the 1950’s.  Except he wasn’t worried about socialists it was the Communists back then.   Instead, of fully understanding the situation the American public simply jumped into the hysteria.  Just like I see some doing right now.  Look folks, the world will not end over a piece of bad legislation, nor will it be fixed by calling people who don’t agree with you “socialists”.   A house divided FALLS.  Instead of encouraging our government to be divided we need to encourage unity and problem solving to get the best resolution out of a sticky situation. Although, I’m still all for replacing everyone in congress with people who are capable of common sense, and compromise.  Yes, we have a budget and deficit problem, but taking an axe and chopping off what you don’t like doesn’t resolve it.  Yes, ACA has major flaws, but holding up the government and screwing with the economy doesn’t resolve that either.  So before we start having congressional hearings over who is a socialist lets get back to some common sense and really try to actually understand the underlying problem and resolve it. 

Pork in the Budget?


Putting “pork” in a bill that eventually passes congress is not a new idea, but it is eroding our country one piece of “pork” at a time.   There has been lots of talk on how to get a budget funded that creates a more balanced situation for our country.  Which needs to happen, but it won’t.  I know that’s pessimistic of me to say, and it’s because there are things that are preventing us from balancing a budget. 

Let’s start with the debt ceiling; it’s like a credit card with very little restrictions.  It’s meant to be used to pay existing debt/bills that congress has authorized.   However, the problem with this is because Congress authorizes what is spent they tend to throw in “extras” to the tune of several million dollars for each piece of “pork”.    It’s fluff that does NOTHING to bring down the deficit.  Let me show you what I mean. 

 Simple Example Budget-

 

                                       Credit/money that comes in          Debit/ money that you spend

 

Income                                             1,000

Rent/mortgage                                                                                        200

Utilities                                                                                                  100

Car payment                                                                                          100

Food                                                                                                       200

Insurance                                                                                                200

Gasoline                                                                                                 100

Credit card bills                                                                                      100

Total                                           1,000                                                  1,000     = 0

Makes sense right?!   Okay, but instead of stopping when you’re out of money lots of us, including the government, get out the trusty old credit card and pay INTEREST on crap purchases.

Before we know it our debt to income looks more like this:

Income                                             1,000

Rent/mortgage                                                                                        200

Utilities                                                                                                  100

Car payment                                                                                          100

Food                                                                                                       200

Insurance                                                                                                200

Gasoline                                                                                                 100

Credit card bills                                                                                      300

Total                                           1,000                                                  1,200     = -200

 

Instead of stopping there and digging ourselves out we go get MORE credit and dig ourselves further into the debt pit.   Here’s another way to look at the “pork” in a simple budget. 

Income                                             1,000

 Rent/mortgage                                                                                        200

Candy             *Pork                                                                             100

Utilities                                                                                                  100

Car payment                                                                                          100

New computer            *Pork                                                                300

Food                                                                                                       200

New car           *Pork                                                                             500

Insurance                                                                                                200

Gasoline                                                                                                 100

Total                                           1,000                                                  1,900     = -900

THIS is what congress is doing!!!!!!  The budget should NOT include unessential things So, until congress stops floating additional debt as a compromise to get our budget passed we will continue to hit the debt ceiling.  The only way to put our country and your budget in balance is to cut unnecessary spending.  That means ALL of it not just the portions that you think you could stand living without. 

 

Example Budget-

 

                                       Credit/money that comes in          Debit/ money that you spend

 

Income                                             1,000

Rent/mortgage                                                                                        200

Utilities                                                                                                  100

Car payment                                                                                          100

Food                                                                                                       200

Insurance                                                                                                200

Gasoline                                                                                                 100

Paid off, and cut up credit card,  payment now goes to saving             0

Savings/ emergency fund                                                                       100                                                   

Total                                           1,000                                                  1,000     = 0

 

I’ve heard several opinions on how much savings you should have first before turning the extra money to paying down other debt faster.   For my family, due to fear from the shut down, we are saving a full month’s worth FIRST before putting the extra money towards paying down debt faster. 

 Example Budget paying down debt faster-

 

                                       Credit/money that comes in          Debit/ money that you spend

 

Income                                             1,000

Rent/mortgage                                                                                        200

Utilities                                                                                                  100

Car payment                                                                                          100 + 100= 200

Food                                                                                                       200

Insurance                                                                                                200

Gasoline                                                                                                 100

Paid off, and cut up credit card, now goes to car                                   0

Total                                           1,000                                                  1,000     = 0

 

Once your debts are paid off you start putting back into savings again.   Now the kicker is when you want something extra thats out of the budget.  YOU SAVE FOR IT.   

Sen. Ted Cruz, and Congress


Dear Senator Ted Cruz,

I am your constituent, and not by choice, I moved into TX effectively inheriting you as a senator.   I closely follow your erratic, knee jerk moves and responses, because you sir, scare me.

I agree ObamaCare has flaws and they should be fixed.  It’s not the best solution because it doesn’t get to the root of the problem.  The root problem I see is we have a system set up on greed.  Americans have to pay a monthly insurance bill just so the hospitals and doctors will negotiate a slightly less outrageous fee. Remove the greed by removing the insurance companies hold on the doctors and hospitals, and legislate fair prices for health care procedures.  This I know isn’t likely to be any easier to do as it means taking a big business and neutering it, but sometimes what is best for the people isn’t the easy answer.  You seem well rehearsed in doing what you want therefore you should understand.

With that being said the way you went about the ObamaCare problem was completely wrong.  All you did was HURT the veterans and others who hold positions in government offices. You INTENTINALLY caused damage to the economy armed with a tactic that never stood a chance. Somehow you rationalized that withholding pay from others that are hard working, while keeping yours, to get what you wanted was a good idea. What’s even worse is you FAIL to see the lesson that should have been learned! You still are out there saying you won’t rule out using this tactic in the future. You do realize that repeating your tactic will define the word insanity, right?

As your constituent I feel you are failing as a senator of Texas, and will be voting against you in the next election.  To be honest every last one of you in congress should be removed from power and replaced with people who understand the day-to-day sacrifices the average American and our veterans put forth.  None of you are in a place that I feel I could say I want to stand behind.  My faith in congresses ability to get a budget and deficit deal done without kicking the can down the road is zilch. I will be putting my money back and buying very little over the holiday season, because of this ill thought out plan that congress put forth.

Congress,

The “clean” CR that was put forth with all its disgusting add-ons makes me sick to my stomach.  I sat down to read through it last night and found many things that had NOTHING to do with the budget and debt ceiling.  What it really said to me was that many in congress agreed to the deal because they got something, unrelated, they wanted in return!  Yet, the American public, you know the people you’re supposed to represent, got a deal chalk full of extras to the tune of millions of dollars that didn’t have anything to do with addressing the problem!  What we DID get was more debt and worry that we will see a repeat of this mess come January.   Not only did putting in those extras go against all the chatter of “ balancing a budget” and “reducing the deficit” it proves that congress is simply a talking head in the government that believes the American people are dumb!

A sincerely disgusted veteran and his family