Why Are There Homeless Veterans In America?

IwojimaIt upsets me to no end when I read statistics stating there are roughly 131,000 homeless veterans in America.  Why are there homeless veterans?! If the motto “leave no man behind” holds true, why has the US government abandoned the very people who served their country the most?

Whether you’ve served in the military for 1 year or 20 years, veterans  should be able to count on the government for the bare minimum of food, clothing, and shelter.  The government needs to provide maximum support for those wishing to transition to the private sector with job placement and continued training.

Six Figure Incomes & Unemployment – Challenging Reality By Engaging The Community

UnderarockFree Money Finance wrote a solid post on how to make “6 Figures in 7 years” over at GRS. By the time I got to his post, there were already 95 comments with a very negative undertone.  When I just questioned whether only 5.6% of the working population makes over $100,000/yr, there was even more negative reaction.  Fellow commenter Sarah wrote, “You are out of touch with reality!” Umm, I didn’t make a statement, I just asked a question.

I challenged the 5.6% assumption because out of the 100+ comments, 20 people claim they make over 100k.  That’s 20% of the sample set, and much more than the US Census Bureau’s data would suggest.  Perhaps the whole topic just brings about more people who are making over 100K to begin with.  If that’s the case, what are you doing commenting on a post on how to make over 100K if you’re already there?  Bragging isn’t very becoming, although I’d be curious to know what all readers make over here at FS.

We’re Ignorant Idiots! Please Tell Us Why A Flat Tax Is Not Fair

Can someone please give us a rational argument why implementing a Flat Tax system in America is not fair? We don’t know if we can continue posting without thoroughly understanding this issue first. From a percentage basis, each person pays an equal amount of their income towards taxes, and from an absolute basis, richer people pay more!

Why don’t we just start taxing people according to height? The shorter you are, the more you have to pay! Brilliant idea, thanks.  Here’s a commentary from a site that really got me thinking about the word “comrade” and the phrase “melt your pots for bullets.”

Those of you rich folks in the top 35% tax bracket (~$380,000 and higher) need to stop whining. You don’t get to whine. I hope this administration taxes the beejesus out of you all…it’s time you paid your fair share and get with the program. It’s only fair the wealthy pay more out of their millions and billions of dollars to subsidize the rest of us who need it the most. We are struggling in this recession and it’s time to fix the problem – by taxing the rich!

Gee whiz, last I checked, we live in America not North Korea. Why people believe it’s fair to tax one class of citizen a higher percentage than another confuses us. Is this not a pure form of discrimination? Fine, let’s agree that anybody below the poverty line of $25,000 for a family of four ($10,000 for a single person) are exempt from all income taxation.

Ken Lewis from Bank of America is Gone! Noooo!!

A reader writes in:  “FS, not sure if you heard the news, but Ken Lewis is stepping down as CEO of Bank of America by year end!  My colleagues and I work for a boutique bank, and were all hoping Ken would go on an acquisition binge again and take us out at a huge premium just like he did with Merrill Lynch.  What are we going to do?  A couple of us have already made plans to buy nice presents for our wives this Christmas on hopes that big Ken would show us the money!  Who do you think will be the new Ken to take us out?  Thanks, Jeff”

Slicing Response: Hey Jeff, we heard! We consider Ken Lewis to be one of America’s greatest Empire Builders of this century.  After swallowing Countrywide Financial, Ken’s decision to pay $50 billion for Merrill Lynch BEFORE the market opened when futures showed a 5% decline, rather than AFTER the market close was amazing!  What’s overpaying by at least $25 billion more among shareholders?  Ken was a great hero to thousands of Merrill employees for bailing them out.  Ken was also seen as the savior for many others in the industry who knew that so long as there was someone out there paying huge premiums, there was a chance at striking it rich.

An Open Letter To Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup

Every now and again, it’s good for the little people to ask the big people for some help.  Our inaugural “Open Letter Series” is inspired by a bank teller friend of mine at Citigroup who lost her job through no fault of her own.  She recently found a new position at a private bank (congrats!) and wishes all her non-executive old colleagues to flourish again.  If you have an open letter idea in mind, please let us know!

Dear Vik,

Tax Payers Bailout, Tax Payers Buy Back & Repeat

Tax Payers Bail Out, Tax Payers Buy Back, Repeat, Get Rich.

After collecting more than $45 billion in government support last year, Citigroup is considered by many as the true “Bank of America”.  We the people own 34% of Citigroup, so we were quite disappointed when you decided to jack up our credit card interest rate from 7% to 14% earlier in the year.  We’ve never been late, have always payed in full, and are fully aware the Fed Funds and 10 year treasury yields are at record lows.  What happened to rewarding customer loyalty?  What’s more, you let go of our favorite bank teller at the main branch we went to for the past 5 years.

We’re happy you went on record last Thursday in NYC saying, “Yes, $100,000,000 in bonus money for one of your employees is too much.” However, we’re then disappointed you proceed to say “all the noise will disappear” if you continue “executing your strategy.” Trust us, as long as our credit card rate along with millions of others is usurously high, and as long as we still own a large chunk of Citigroup, the noise will never go away.

Our advice to you is quite simple Vik. First, just pay Andrew Hall his $100,000,000 in stock that vests over a 10-year period.  You know a contract is a contract and you’re going to pay him anyway despite what you were quoted earlier.  Suddenly, his bonus “only” looks like $10 million a year and critics will be tricked into appeasment.  In ten years, Andrew will probably ironically make more than $100 million given where you’re striking him today.  Second, take Timothy Geithner, Head of the US Treasury Depart out to Smith & Wollensky’s (don’t expense it though) and tell him over a hard vodka tonic and medium-rare rib-eye to hurry up and put a syndication together to offload America’s 34% stake!

You know the stock markets are back to their risk-loving ways.  As soon as the government offloads their stake, critics will have nothing to say.  You win because Citigroup essentially gets a “free” 10 month survival loan since you state the government is not all up in your business.  You’ve even been able to raise base salaries of thousands of executives by 50% this year as well.  By selling the government stake back to the very public who helped bail you out, you’re just in time to implement attractive pay packages to you and and thousands of employees for 2009. You can even hire back our hard working friend, who never caused any trouble.  Not sure if she wants to go back though!

Vik, by following our advice, you’ll be able to party like it’s 2007 again.  You can even raise base pay for executives by another 50% while the rest of America struggles if you want to (that might cause a revolt, so better not).  Given all this good advice, at the very least, can you tell your credit card department head to lower our interest rate down to 7% again?  We’re on a fixed income and what you guys did crimps our style.  Oh, and maybe you can give all the readers at Financial Samurai a reprieve as well.  If you accept the people’s assistance, please also protect your own common employees who aren’t making the mega-millions.  Thanks buddy.  Long live America!

Related Posts:

“Government Employee Entitled to $100,000,000 Bonus!”

“Do Higher Taxes Lead To Socialism In America?”

“America’s Shadow Government”


Financial Samurai

“Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”