I’m not a Beatles fan.  I’ve said that before, and I’ll probably say it again.  Sometimes, though– there just isn’t a better way to express what is going on in the world.

I read the news today, oh boy!

Story #1:  Student told to take U.S. flag off bike

Here’s the gist.  Cody Alecia flies a flag on his bike when he rides back and forth between school and home.  The school district tells him to take off the flag.  I wrote about a similar situation back in May, dealing with the students at Live Oak High School.  Click HERE to re-read that story.  My take back then was that these kids were trying to piss people off, but they were within their rights to do so.  My take on young Mr. Alecia is that this is a kid that is doing what he believes is right, and he is doing it in the exact right way.

I’ve told you for years now that you need to stand up for what is right and not allow people (adults) to sit you down and shut you up.  This young man may not have ever heard of or read Finance For Youth, but based on all the stories that have been in the news about him, he certainly follows the QUALITIES OF SUCCESS that I’ve been talking about for a few years now. 

That’s all well and good, but the surprising thing is that this was in the news.  Young people express themselves.  Some do it in a positive way.  Others do so in a less positive way.  The problem is that we adults have forgotten that there is a difference.

About a lucky man who made the grade..,

Story #2:  Charles Rangel Convicted of Ethics Violations

Main ImageHouse Ways and Means committee.  You know, the group that writes the tax laws?  Charles Rangel used to be in charge of that group.  Charles Rangel has been a Congressman from New York for 40 some years, and has recently won reelection by a wide margin.  Charles Rangel has been found guilty of 11 charges that he broke the House ethics rules by doing things like:

  • Asking for money for a personal project from people who were asking for things from Congress
    • In other words, let’s say you work for Walmart.  I come in and ask for an item.  The item is in the warehouse, but not yet on the sales floor.  While we are walking towards the area where the item should be, you and I start chatting.  You mention that you need to buy a new car because you have to take your mother to her dialysis treatments and to get her medicine.  I give you money to help you.  Right after, you go to the back and get the item I came in for.  Is there anything wrong here?  Maybe.  Wrong enough that there is a rule against it.
  • Using House of Representative stationary to write letters asking for money for Rangel’s center. 
    • If Charlie Rangel asks for money on a regular piece of paper, then its just a guy asking for money.  When he does so using the company stationary, it sounds like the House of Representatives is asking for money.  I can say no to some guy.  I think twice about saying no to a big group.
  • Misusing his Congressional staff to ask for money.
    • I pay Charlie Rangel’s staff.  I want them doing Congressional things, not writing letters asking for money for his personal ego center.
  • Failure to accurately report financial reports.
    • The guy had a house in the Dominican Republic.  He didn’t pay taxes on it.
    • He had several rent-controlled apartments that he used as campaign headquarters.
      • Rent control means that there is a limit as to how much rent can be charged.  This program is designed to allow people who couldn’t ordinarily live in a neighborhood because of the price to move in.  Charlie Rangel has enough money that he shouldn’t even qualify for the program, yet here we are.

You can read all of the charges in their entirety HERE:  In addition to violating many of the aforementioned QUALITIES OF SUCCESS, Rangel has acted with great dirtbaggery.  He’s one of those that I had in mind when I recently warned you to be careful of who you follow.  Here’s the very worst part of it all.  Charlie said he never did anything to enrich himself.  He said he might be considered stupid, sloppy, or any number of other things, but not corrupt.  He was in charge of the group that writes the tax laws!  He cheated on his taxes!  He is stupid but not corrupt?  That is too much.

And though the news was rather sad, I just had to laugh…,

Story #3: Bush-era “Tax Cuts” set to expire.

I didn’t set a link for this one because there are so many links with differing points of view that I don’t want to pick one over the other.  Let’s just boil it down.

In 2001 and again in 2003, former President George W. Bush cut the amount of federal income taxes.  The congress at the time wouldn’t do it unless the cuts were deemed to be temporary, expiring NOW!  Nobody knew we’d be in the early stages of the greater depression at the time.  Everybody believed that happy times would be here again.

Fast forward to today and the outgoing Democrat Congress wants to make permanent the current tax rates.  For everybody except those who do most of the hiring and already pay most of the taxes.  They cloak their desires in words like “middle-class tax cuts” and “protect 98% of the tax payers”.  Here’s the fact.  As I said in an earlier POST it is your money.  What the government employees don’t understand is that it isn’t their money.  What they are talking about isn’t resetting the tax rates to the way they were when Clinton was in office.  They are talking about raising taxes on people who pay more taxes than anybody else.  I’m not rich, and I don’t even want to be rich, but I don’t begrudge those who have put in the hard work to become so the fruits of their labor.

What does it all mean?

There are other huge news stories, but I just couldn’t rehash all of them today.  I mean, I could but doing so would only serve to depress me more.  I don’t always like being right about this stuff.  I really don’t even like being able to sit back and see how all these pieces fit together, but here we are.

For you, there are some things that you should consider doing as well.

  1. Educate yourself.  Sure, read F4Y, but then jump online to do some fact-checking.  I’m not going to tell you that I am the only answer out there.  I’m not even telling you that I’m the best answer.  If you read something that you think smells fishy, if you are like my friend here, eat it.  If not, verify it. 
    1. But don’t stop with F4Y.  Go out and learn what’s going on in the world.  I generally don’t cover news stories.  I don’t do so for a reason.  There are a bunch of websites out there that do cover the news.  I follow a bunch of them, so should you.
  2. Understand that EVERYBODY has a point of view or bias.  I’m admitting mine, but there are many “news companies” out there tat are far less forthcoming.
  3. Get out!  Get out and meet with others.  Talk with them.  Argue and disagree with them. 
    1. Disagree without being a dick.  Some of the most fun I have on Facebook comes from heated debates I have with people.  We disagree on almost every issue, but we can still find humor in life. 
    2. As much as I hate to admit it, I want you to turn off your computer and go meet real people.
    3. We have compartmentalized ourselves, separating ourselves from each other by using “social” media (Facebook, MySpace, et al), iPods with ear buds, Nintendo DSi, or anything else designed for individual usage.  I’ve already mentioned one way that I use social media to be, you know- social.

Given the tenor of this post, I’m afraid there is only one song I can end this post with.  The problem is that dislike of the Beatles won’t allow me to post one of their videos.  I’d like to thank the band Phish for allowing me to keep to my personal morals.


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