Category: Politics, Finance and Other Absurdities

A recent discussion on the TradeKing forums prompted me to respond with some questions that I never hear anyone answer intelligently.  With the hot topic up for debate in the upcoming Presidential election being the Economy, the answers to these questions are important.

I don’t have the answers, and I wouldn’t expect the general reader to have the answers.  However, those in power to make decisions that impact the U.S. Economy should have the answers.  Unfortunately, either they don’t have the answers, or they do have the answers and choose to act for their own benefit rather than for the benefit of the nation’s Citizens.  Or perhaps their answers are just flawed, or they are simply ignorant on economic matters (?!).

You be the judge.  And you be the jury with your upcoming votes.

Here are just a few questions I’d like to hear discussed in the upcoming debates.  They pertain to proposed Government spending cuts and the myriad topics that are related (tax reform, revenue generation, etc.).  The forum post was drafted in direct response to another forum member (“incubus”) that posted the following, “A country can’t disconnect itself from liability for constituents like a company can, the citizen is always a citizen, an ex employee finds a new job.  A citizen is either going to be a contribution to GDP or a liability, an executive doesn’t have this problem, his hands are wiped clean after layoff.”

I welcome an intelligent discussion on this matter, private and/or public.  From the thoughtful meanderings of one of my other internet identities:

“So the crux of the matter is how to minimize the liability of those who either are not capable of contributing or are not willing to contribute to their skill level.

Is there less liability by creating redundant government jobs to keep people busy and somewhat productive?  Or is there less liability putting these folks out on the street to either find private employment (assuming they have the necessary skills) or draw SSI payments from the government?

What if SSI payments were discontinued in conjunction with eliminating government positions?  Would that create less liability considering that desperate people will often resort to crime to survive?

Is it better to have the less fortunate die off rather than live a menial life drawing government payments?

Someone put some calculations to work.

Give a man a fish, teach a man to fish, hope the man can find a job at a fishery, hope the man will buy a boat and start his own fishery, or feed the man to the fish?

On the surface, it sounds noble to say that laid off government employees will make better for themselves by starting their own business or advancing in private industry.  The truth of the matter is, though, that it takes a special individual to have the drive, intelligence and common sense to start a business and successfully maintain and grow it.  Only a small percentage will try and only a small percentage of those that try will succeed.  Transitioning into the private sector as an employee is easier, but are the number of open positions sufficient to support the number of laid off job seekers plus those entering the workforce?

Talking heads make it sound so simple to solve, so cut and dry, so black and white.  It’s not.  We live in shades of gray, and the cost/benefit shifts on a sliding scale.”

Bridges need crossed in our near future. Is this one of them? [Photograph by I Am Janosik@Riverhills Design, LLC]

In the coming year, more and more homeowners insurance companies will be non-renewing sinkhole loss coverage, then requiring an inspection prior to issuing coverage again.  No big deal, right?  Wrong.

These “Sinkhole Surveys” are simply a curtain to hide the underhandedness of these sly corporations.  While it appears they are simply doing their due diligence in assessing their risk to insure, in reality they are laying the groundwork to outright deny coverage for sinkhole losses.  It seems like they’ve taken a page from the health insurance industry regarding pre-existing conditions (and we all know how that’s going); however, they are denying sinkhole loss coverage for pre-existing conditions that don’t exist.

In short, they are denying coverage for sinkhole loss without properly determining what the risk for sinkhole activity is.  How so?  Well, in my case, I was denied sinkhole loss coverage because of cracks in my concrete driveway.  No engineering firm performed a geotechnical study to assess if there was sinkhole activity or a risk for sinkhole development on my property.  There was only a brief visual inspection that I handed over $90 to have performed.  I suppose the insurance underwriters equate driveway cracks to a sinkhole loss; if this were actually the case, nearly all current policies in force would be a sinkhole loss.  Having their cake, and eating it too.  For now.

In my opinion, the “Sinkhole Survey” inspections are an underhanded and illegal tactic to reduce their liability.

FS 627.706(1)(b) states that the “…insurer shall make available, for an appropriate additional premium, coverage for sinkhole losses on any structure…” It goes on to say that the insurer can inspect the property prior to issuing coverage, but it gives no latitude for them to completely deny coverage.  In practice, the insurance companies are being lazy and denying coverage completely, rather than calculating the appropriate premium increase based on risk.  And what they are doing is not per the direction of the Laws of Florida.

Where are the lawyers and our governing representatives regarding this matter? I’m not hearing much.

Google Image Search Result.

Teachers, show me the light.

I’ve skimmed through SB 736 and it seems consistent with performance measures for private professions. It seems overkill to pass a bill that ties pay to performance, though. Isn’t your pay already tied to your performance? Do you feel that your peers in education are being fairly compensated at this time? 

We’ll see what happens. Not sure how they plan to make this work and at the same time cut education funding. It’s like jumping into a pool that’s been drained.

There are provisions to judge performance based on other metrics in addition to or in lieu of the FCAT scores. Hopefully they’ll attach certain baselines to poor performing students, so that teachers aren’t dinged for not making miracles happen with the lumps of clay (poor performers) each year the student progresses. Yeah, I just called poor performing students lumps of clay. Lumps of clay aren’t not necessarily bad (see below).

I think the system needs reformed to be able to fail students that are failing. The responsiblity to learn falls on the students and parents, even if the teachers are sub-par. That’s what textbooks are for! Teachers are facilitators, not magicians! You can’t teach a lump of clay to do calculus. And sometimes, maybe, lumps of clay do better as a piece of pottery (not everyone is going to be able to do calculus).  We need trade schools, art schools, etc.

It’s all going to be in how things are executed. Of course, I’m sure they’ll go the easy route.

Now give me some things to think about. Point me to what lines in the bill are causing major indigestion:

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