I DEBT, I MEAN I DO! DO YOU TAKE THIS DEBT, UM BRIDE!

Image result for WEDDING CAKE TOPPERS“I now pronounce you man and debt. WHAT!”

First you propose, then she says I do. Next thing you know you’re planning for a wedding. Once the big day gets here, you and her are so nervous, you don’t think you’ll make it down the aisle. But the day is a success with an I do and some fun and dance with friends and family. Then, as you guys settle in for the night you think to yourself, ahh, marriage. This is going to be such a great life together; or so you think.

You’ll be surprised how many people get married and not look into the life of the person they are marrying. And this topic won’t be about infidelity or some other dark hidden secret. It’s about something people neglect to think about before saying I do. They don’t ask the question, “How much debt do you have?” Uh, what, what kind of question is that. Shouldn’t people be focused on more important aspects of marriage. Well, that is an important thing to focus on. Well, why is it so important?

When you get married you guys are not just one emotionally, but financially. That means any debts that person has accrued prior to marrying you is now yours. Let’s say for instance I want to marry a woman and she has the following: $10,000 credit card debt, $100,000 college loans, $500 overdraft bank account, $400 car payment behind by 3 months, and $1,000 in unpaid parking tickets. Now, I understand the college debt, which is the norm, especially in society today where a college education tends to run this amount.

Next, lets look at the $500 overdraft fee, which typically in society comes from using a debit card for more than you have in the bank. I have overdraft before 10 cents, $10, hell even $30. But $500 is some serious swiping of the card. I go fine, that can be an easy fix. She put up $250, I’ll help her with the other $250. Now on to the parking tickets, wow, $1,000. Where the hell is she parking that cost that much money. Not to mention if these fines are not paid, a boot will be placed on the car. Then that’s a cost for the boot and the tickets. So I have to pay that ASAP.

Ok, on to the car payments, sheesh, $1,200 unpaid. This has to get paid because we need our cars to get back and forth to work. So how will I do this, I know dip into my own personal savings. I know, I know, not a good idea, but it’s necessary. Wait a minute, what the hell is this bill! Unpaid car insurance as well, she didn’t tell me about this. God this woman is starting to get to me. Now that that’s out of the way, yikes, $10,000 in credit card debt.

What was she buying to rack up that much debt in credit cards. Jesus, SAKS Fifth, Bloomingdales, and MACY’S. We’re going to have to put her on some type of payment plan. Not to mention all the student loan debt that has to be worked out soon. And with all this said, “Is a person’s debt situation a deal breaker? Should you call off the engagement or accept it for what it is? Cause then again, you’re accepting this person for their flaws right? Some say wrong, you have to hold that person accountable as well. I mean God forbid you get sick or die, and they’re over your assets.

But see, I put that in the context of me and a woman. What about women with men. Is it a deal breaker to women if his debt is out of control? Or better yet, what if he has a child in which he is behind on child support? There are some places where the wife’s wages are extracted to pay for his inability to keep up with his child support payments. Can you imagine ladies, you work 40 hours a week, for every two weeks. You get ready to contribute your portion of the household expenses and you fall short. Why, because he’s not keeping up with his business. So the state goes, “Hey, you’re in one house, you’re under the same roof.” “You are him and he is you.” “We can’t get him, so how about the next best thing; his new wife.”

A woman would kill a man if she worked the whole month to come home to nothing. So with that said, do you still accept the person’s debt and work with them. In my opinion it depends on why the debt exist. Some people are flat out fiscally irresponsible, which is something to take into consideration before marrying them. Others have racked up debt, that it starts to get away from them. Then it piles and piles, to where they are overwhelmed. They could use your help and over time regain their hold on the situation.

How do you gauge the situation? Is it on the basis of money? Is it not money, yet what the debt is connect to? Or is unacceptable period to have outstanding debts? Whatever the case may be, it’s something everyone should discuss, yet many skip over this aspect of, “I do.” I would strongly encourage you to do so before walking down the aisle. It could save you a lot time and money, as well as an insight into who you are spending the rest of your life with before you jump the broom.

EPIEPRICE!! THE HIGH COST OF HEALTHCARE

Image result for epipen

“Where do you draw the line between business of greed?”

Recently in the news, the high cost of the Epipen has caused quite the controversy. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Epipen it was is designed to inject epinephrine into the system. The shot’s purpose is used in the case of severe allergic reactions. It aids in blood flow, keeping muscles from becoming constricted, improves breathing, and  increases heart rates. The pharmaceutical company Mylan branded the pen for over $600. But the original amount that consumers were spending was $50 – $60 for a pack. So in response to the outcry from the public, the company stated it would roll out the generic version for $300.

Now, it sounds like they’re giving a deal, but it’s not. Especially considering the original amount was less than $100. Price hikes came a result of trying to remain competitive in the marketplace. But I ask the question; when does competition becomes pure greed. You mean in order for a company to compete, the prices needed to be raised from $50 to $600. There was also criticism over the CEO receiving, or better yet, giving herself a raise. And we’re not talking a few dollars or even a few hundred thousand dollars. She received a nearly $20 million payday, about $18 million up from her previous salary.

Now as a society, we’re always hearing about the government getting tough on insurance companies for their practices. But what about the pharmaceutical companies as well. If you don’t already know, not even a few years ago, another businessman purchased an AIDS vaccine. After purchasing the pills, the price was taken from $13.50 to $750 per pill. The move prompted the government to intervene. And this is why we have so much federal regulation in the United States as it pertains to the corporate world.

But at what point is it greed? How much money is enough or is there ever enough? While these multinational corporations generate revenues hand over fist, the average American suffers. Who can can afford to pay an increase in Epiepen shots even if the cost is down to $300. Still, I have been waiting to hear from the president, but still no answer. I wish that I could say it’s a particular administration, but it’s all of them. None of them will come out and attack what should be illegal business practices.

Charging the highest amount that the market is willing and able to afford, while shifting deadweight loss to the consumer sounds familiar. Oh yeah, it’s called a monopoly. Monopolies under the law are suppose to be prohibited, but we have other names for companies that fit under monopoly like categories such as Oligopolies. Which is few competitors in the marketplace who control nearly the entire market. The government says it makes it easier for them to regulate having the big four or the big five instead of the big ten or big twenty.

Whatever the case may be, I don’t much regulation. It seems as if the government’s regulations are no more than words on paper. Words that only are used to make people feel good, yet never enforced. In the end price increases are normal in business, but not by hundreds of percent. Prices that are so high it’s beyond obvious that the company raising the prices are getting over on the consumers.

Change We Can (Can’t) Believe In

“We had change, but was it good.”

It has already been eight years since Barack H. Obama first took office as the 44th President of the United States of America. I can still remember hearing his slogan chanted as an undergraduate student, “Yes we can.” “Change we can believe in.” Now I ask myself what has changed in America? Let’s look a few areas of interest: economics, social, healthcare, and educational.

The economy has been the biggest topic of discussion since he has taken office. From my stand point I don’t feel any different with him in the White House than had it have been anyone else. Maybe because I am not that fond of a lot of politicians from the start. Look at the job market, the president says jobs have been created, as matter of fact he said over 500,000 the last time he spoke. But I ask myself, what job exactly? Are these 40 hour per week, full medical & dental, 4 weeks paid vacation, as well as maternity leave. My best guess it no, they are not. A lot of those jobs are low wage, 10 – 20 hours, no medical or dental, and no vacation time or maternity leave.

Even with the federal minimum wage being raised, it still doesn’t make a difference because the hours are being cut. So now people are making less money getting a higher wage. For example, if you made $7.00 per hour for 40 hours, you were full time. This meant making $280 per week. But now people are making $8.00 per hour and getting 20 – 30 hours making $160 to $240 per week. They make more money and are losing $40 per week. Doesn’t sound like much to someone in the middle or upper. But when you’re poor, an extra $40 per week ($160 per month) goes a long way. Depending on where you live in the country, that’s two utilities or even a month’s groceries for a family.

Another area where change was promised was socially. America in Obama’s second term has seen a spike in the racial relationship. And I’m not talking race as it pertains to the human species. I’m talking about socially. Socially, the relationship between Predominantly White law enforcement officers and African American males in predominantly Black communities. This is a relationship that spans nearly 400 years in America since the first Black people were brought from Africa as indentured servants. Since then Black and White has been a hot topic. But what is Black and White really?

Sammy Sosa is Black and Adriana Lima is White by American standards. Why because of their skin color. We don’t call it out because they are public figures, but unknown and walking the streets of America, they fall under the Black or White category. Is that the change Barack was talking, but wait a minute that’s not change, that’s business as usual. Then what change, you mean how the race for president in 2016 has brought out as the people flying their Confederate flags in the south. A flag that most have felt was a symbol of oppression in America. If change has taken place, how does this still exist.

What other social change, like gays given the ability to marry in America. That was passed, but yet there is still push back from people not adhering to the law. One woman, Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis refused to even issue a marriage license to a gay couple. She stated it was against what she described as, “God’s definition of marriage.” Further stating, “It would be against her religious freedom.” How is this all taking place a this new America. My knowledge tells me it’s always happened, we just pay attention more. Because the issue of social relationships has now gone into the Hispanic and Islamic community.

But does that mean the same goes for another issue in America which is healthcare. Healthcare as well has caused a stir since the passing of Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare plan. A plan that would allow for all American’s the right, not the privilege to be covered in case of emergency and in need of hospital treatment. Sounds good right, I mean who wouldn’t want to live in a country where everyone has healthcare coverage. This is the problem; number one you’re forced to have it. If not, at the end of the year, you’re penalized on your taxes. Hard to stomach when Obama stated it would be an, “OPTION.”

Is it really an option if I make you do something. For instance, I have a slice of cheese cake and slice of pound cake. You have the option to choose, but soon as you take the cheese cake I punch you in the face. You gave me a choice, but I felt it was the wrong one. Then tell me I don’t have a choice, instead of punching me. The other problem with the healthcare plan is that small businesses laid-off workers and hours have even been cut at companies for employees. Why? Well it has to do with cutting into profits, and the business not being able to sustain. You can’t hire people if the monetary cost are running through the roof. Some people have to get cut and others employed can’t get hired. And even if you do get hired, you’re forced to pay your own insurance. Tough, when you’re getting 10 – 20 hours on the job.

So where is the change; how about education. Every year students are graduating in mass from institutions across the country. Then, once they walk across the stage, receive their diploma, and the celebration is over, now what? And that question leaves so many young people baffled at what direction to in; what does my future look like. In today’s society so many young men and women are forced to take on other outside jobs. Meaning if you work in an office building Monday through Friday, then maybe pickup more hours freelancing in the evenings and weekends. Why? Well because the new full time is 35 hours, so a lot of 20’s coming from school are only getting 20 – 30 hours on the job.

20 – 30 hours! Who can live off of that in this country. Especially if you are in a major metropolitan city. Not to mention student loan debt that must be repaid after that 6 month grave period. So a lot of people go directly into graduate school. There you go, pile on more debt, to an already crisis situation. But graduate school is an even shorter timeframe than undergrad. So your debt is even more, no job, the prospects you do have pay low wages, and on top of that in your mid to late 20’s still living with mom and dad.

That is just the White males and females, the landscape is even more bleak for minorities coming from school. What are young people left to do? They have to go into their own ventures to make ends meet. Becoming an entrepreneur is now more than ever a necessity than a leap of faith in the past. Because while big business and government fight it out, the people suffer. With all that has been said, one again, what has changed. Seems to me like business as usual. The only difference is that we see things more now than in the past. The internet, cell phone footage, and sharing via social media has made it difficult to hide things from the populace. In the end if this is change, then we need to change the change, because we still have a long way to go if it is change.

What Is Heritage Really: The Confederate Flag Argument

Image result

“Is it about segregation or self-sustainability?”

Throughout the United States history, the Confederate flag has long been a subject of a lot of debates. What does this flag truly mean? Some say it is the flag that is representation of people who wanted to keep slavery going; in addition to the fact they lost the war.  Others state that it is a representation against the government not allowing the southern regions to express the freedom of the states. Then you have the those who are more overt that feel it is segregation and proud of it. I myself have views on what the Confederate flag means and why people still today fly it with pride.

In my view of what the Confederate flag means, I first try to look at the side of people who are for the flag. All throughout my own life I have heard the words pride. People state that, “It’s not racism, it’s heritage.” Now I have disagreed, but as a rational thinker I have to understand what it is before showing resentment myself. So I observe the history of the south. At the height of not only slavery, but Jim Crow, the south was the dominant region. You could almost say, if not for the most part, it’s what built the United States. Toward the end of slavery, America was the wealthiest country in the world, and it came in part because of the strong leadership of the men who built and maintained the Confederacy. (We’ll come back to the slavery aspect later).

Not only did these men lead the Confederacy, you could almost say they have taken the blame for keeping slavery going. In their defense, they would say yes we did, but the north benefited as well, if not more. To call these men in the south a bunch of hillbillies who hated African Americans was just inaccurate. Especially considering it’s what provided so much economic stability for the country that gave the men up north their power positions. Not only that, but Confederates wanted to express their own freedom of the places in which they dwelled. They felt, “We have our own government, our own self-sustaining economy, our own trade deals.” “Why should we be forced to conform to the North’s way when we obviously can have our own state.

Well this is where the idea of racism comes into play. That strong leadership, that strong economy, that strong self-sustaining system was due to African Americans being held against their will. Slavery kept the machine motors running. But in today’s society, people fly the flag and say it’s not hatred, it’s heritage. Tough to say considering the subjugation is what kept the system strong. How I see the matter, is if the Confederates would have been told, “Fine, keep your system, keep your flag, keep your everything.” “But, you can not hold these group of people against their will.” “We are not saying you’re forced to employ them or give them anything, but they are no longer held to service you.” There still would have been resistance in telling these men how to run their region of the country.

And that is what makes the heritage argument so difficult for me to understand. Because I have always asked the question, what is heritage really? It’s tough for people to explain because keeping the power was keeping Black people against their will. Now had the Confederates have said fine, we’ll free them, but we want our own system from here on out in the south. We want our own power base. Meaning our own trade deals, currency, farming techniques, government structure, and so forth. Had they have done this, the resistance would or course be there. Hell, I might even disagree, just off of the fact that we would have a split nation, but then I could to a great degree remove the slavery aspect.

And that is what makes the topic so divisive. I’m sure there are people who fly the flag as a symbol of wanting more freedom of state, or even in rebellion against our current system’s policies. But the fact remains that the men who fought so hard “did” want to keep slavery going. They “did” want to hold a group of people against their will. And whether you want to believe it or not they “were” bigoted and lost the war. So today in the year 2016 is that the case, I can’t say for sure. But in that time period it “was” about slavery as well as a symbol fighting desegregation in the south during Jim Crow.

Do We Really Have Nothing To Lose

Donald Trump made a statement recently in his effort to gain the African American vote. “What do you really have to lose?” That is a very interesting question considering we are in the process of choosing a new president coming off of the nation’s first Black president. Black president where there was so much optimism in the environment. The feeling of our work is complete and maybe, this is the beginning for what is going to be the first step in moving forward. Moving forward from the past few centuries of harsh treatment, segregation, discrimination, ostracism; in a country that is suppose to be the land of the free. Everything looked optimal; the present and the future.

Or at least that is what Black people thought. The last 8 years of Barack Obama’s political career as president didn’t feel like much of a change. Don’t get me wrong, the energy that got him elected was so powerful, you felt this new feeling in America. It was as if the past never even happened. His first election was one of the best ran presidential processes in American history. Obama checked off all the boxes: Black, White, Latino, East Asian; Young and Old; Heterosexual and LGBT; Poor and Wealthy; High school diplomas and PhDs; Male and Female; and Cops, National Guard, and US Military.

But as I sit here I go, what has actually changed. All presidents have some sort of policy, but when I say change, I don’t mean just policy. What happened to the internal change, that social change? What about the employment situation? How about the race relationships? In Obama’s second term, the race relations popped up multiple times throughout the years. A lot of which had to do with law enforcement in the Black community. Along with a high crime rate in major inner cities, mainly Chicago, his home base. Or how about lack of support to impoverished areas in America which has hit mainly Black families. Now I go back to Trump’s comment, “What do you really have to lose?”

Do we; could our lives be any worst as Black people? I mean look at history for a moment. Transatlantic Slavery, Jim Crow, Heroin, Welfare, Powder Cocaine, Crack Rocks, High Crime Stats, Poor Education, and lack of employment opportunities. Not to mention a whole host of other issues related to our health in the Black community. So I say, for just one moment, what if he won? What would happen if we voted Trump over Hilary? For starters, Black people would see immediately that Hilary doesn’t care. Oh trust and believe, she would remember this one. Second of all, from the moment he is sworn in, then what. Are we moved to the side, shipped out the country, or killed. My guess is neither, Black people are nearly $3 trillion of America’s $17 trillion. You can’t lose those domestic dollars, any economist will tell you that is suicide. And if so, our White men and women prepared break their backs for each other to pick up the lose. Meaning become even more of slaves to the system just to make the system better, not necessarily their lives better; I say no.

Now, this is a hypothetical to the highest degree. Why because removing an ethnic group is indeed suicide, especially nearly 20% of the country’s economy. So what for us, what do we do. Could he maybe provide the change that the Obama administration couldn’t? If he did, how would that shift the vote for elections to come? Can you imagine Black people becoming better off under Trump than Obama or any other Democrat. I don’t think he will win because the push to keep him out is too strong. Bu if he did, maybe he’ll be just as status quo as the rest; business as usual. Comments have been flying as to whether is was racially charged regarding his comments to Black people. It sound to me like he was saying, “Hey, I may not have a plan to benefit you, but if you do better than you are now, it’s a home run.” That just isn’t promising enough, not just for us, but the country as well.

Whatever the case may be, Trump has touched on something that could make this election go in a lot of directions. Like I said, I don’t think he will win, but wouldn’t shock me if he did. Only time will tell as we move closer and closer toward the general election.

The Rio Most Will Never See

“What they won’t show.”

As the Olympics games are in full swing in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, there is something most people  don’t know or won’t ever see; favelas. For those of you who are uneducated in what this word means let me explain to you what it is. The favelas is the name of the slums where the poorest of people in Brazil dwell. When the games opened just over a week ago, there was a sight that people living in the slums witnessed that was a lot different than the spectators in the crowd or us at home.

The photo to the right shows the view of how most Brazilians saw the opening ceremonies. If you notice, the young people are observing the fireworks from slums. Their clothes are caked with grim and graffiti are sprayed on concrete blocks. From this view, the Olympic games seems like a world away. As a citizen of the United States, I have a better view of the Rio Games from my flat screen television than citizens in Brazil.

So that leaves the question, who is to blame? Why, in a country where such poverty and crime exist would a nation spend hundreds of millions of dollars just to prepare for sporting events. Events which will only last a little less than a month with athletes who most likely are never stepping foot in Rio again. Well, it’s not about the athletes, or the games, or even the citizens. It’s about the money generated.

The Rio Olympics are expecting to generate billions of dollars through a variety of corporate sponsorships and multinational television network deals. What you don’t see is the negative impact it has on its citizens. Well what do I mean by negative impact, I mean the money spent to keep the various facilities going after the games. It is estimated that millions of dollars will be spent just for maintenance alone on facilities once the games are over.

Now I ask the question, who built these facilities? Were the citizens in Rio offered an opportunity to work and build these facilities. This way income is generated for poor families who will then in turn contribute to their nation’s economy. My guess is very little if any opportunity was allotted to families living in areas like the favelas. Private contractors and private investment pumped money into these games and even dubbed the games, “The Green Games for a Blue Planet.” How dare they, how dare they promote green initiatives. All the while you walk a few miles up into the hills where children frolic in raw sewage. Drug cartels and municipal police face off in the streets and protestors take over the streets.

As for the athletes with a platform, why don’t more of them step up. Is it that they are aware and don’t want to lose their corporate dollars. Or is it because they don’t know at all. Whatever the case may be, we will have to add Rio to the list of many countries vying for an Olympics in 2024 and beyond consisting of poor citizens that will never benefit from the Olympic games. Nations where they come up with money for Olympic games, but not enough to feed and employ its own citizens.

Who Really Owns Our Country?

“United States of Saudi America.”

Congress met and proposed a bill that will allow September 11th victims access to file lawsuits against Saudi Arabia for harboring those linked to the World Trade Towers, The Pentagon, as well as the passengers deaths on the airlines. Saudi Arabia came back and decided to put out a statement saying that if America passed such bill, they would unload as much as $750 billion of American assets into the open market. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I have some questions regarding the Saudi’s response. Why do they own three quarters of a trillion dollars of American assets? And what are these assets connected to: land, natural resources, currency, our debt of other nations, or us the people. Could it be our land?

Land makes a lot of sense to me. Since America was founded, the land has been in use to mainly grow crop and sell domestically; occasional international sales. Is it possible that they own the very land we are living on? Interesting because I’ll see these men walking around with their rifles in hand saying going on about their first amendment. Stating that no one will take their guns nor their land. But if the land is the most valuable resource, then what land on yours are these men with guns referring to? If the Saudis own so much money in assets, and the land is the asset, are they majority American land owners? Maybe the reason the militarization of the police is such because the government has to protect it’s debtors assets. Can’t have groups of Americans running around town with guns, ruining the investment of it’s Allie.

Well, what if not land and instead the asset is natural resources. I mean America is leading the world in the production of so many minerals like copper, iron, bauxite, and coal. In addition the USA has large quantities of nickel, gold, and silver. Saudi Arabia on the other hand is also a major in the production of copper, iron, gold, and petroleum. So if the assets are $750 billion owned, how much are in our natural resources? so much of our infrastructure is dependent on the construction industry, energy, and forestry. But wait a minute, America has oil fields as well; with fishing as a major industry as well. What if a great deal of these resources are owned by the Saudis? This means they are the drivers behind so much of our employment in these various industries. What does the future of America jobs means under this type of ownership?

What about for instance our currency? The American dollar has been strong for decades, but has been surpassed by a few currencies (Euro and British Pound). Could that be the asset? The Saudi Arabians may own a lot of our dollars. With this being true, it could mean all kinds of financial implications for the United States. Our dollars being effected could mean the market place going haywire. As a matter of fact when the Saudis threatened to release $750 billion of US assets the US government also warned of the windfall on the world economy if this were to happen. This also means our dollars as well as global dollars of other nations as well.

But wait a minute, did I say other nation’s currencies. In addition to owing debt, Americans are debt holders as well. Well, who are those debt holders? The majority of the countries that owe the United States in debt are European nations. But the biggest countries are China and Japan. The total global debt owed to the USA is around $6 trillion. With America holding so much debt and Saudi Arabia holding our debt, then I understand the American government’s concern. This could not only cause global problems, but adversaries for Saudi Arabia as well. Some which Saudi Arabia may not want.

Now let’s think for a second, we have went through all the checklist of what they could own. But there is still something open. That open asset that Saudi Arabia could own would be manpower or us as the people. Now I know you’re thinking, come on, why would America give it’s people to their allies. Well, let me give you a little bit of a history lesson. There was something called slavery in which people were owned and forced into subjugation. Forced to work the land for free making America the richest nation on Earth when it ended. Could it be that slavery is still here, just in another form. Could it be that our hard working time put into our jobs is really to make Saudi Arabia a better nation? Hopefully not, because if so, we are nothing more than slaves, given the illusion that this is our country. An illusion that has been kept up by speculation and promises. Promises that will never be delivered.