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Crazy Money

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” — Mark Twain

Just got the annual news from Social Security about how much they will be sending me each month in 2016. Last year, they upped me from 565 dollars to 575, not much of an increase, but this year the powers that be have declared: there was no increase in the cost of living in 2015. Thus zero increase in Social Security for me, though my Medicare payment is going up, so actually less money for me.

For our own government, I mean our own corporate-controlled Congress and President, to claim the cost of living did not go up in 2015 is akin to saying peanuts grow on trees and rain falls upward from the ground. The absurdity of their claim is more than enough proof we have been taken over by a bunch of amoral sadistic poop heads. How, you may wonder, did they come to the startling conclusion that the cost of living did not rise, given that food prices have gone through the roof, ditto rent, healthcare, insurance, you name it. They came to this startling conclusion because they do not count food and insurance and healthcare and rent in their calculations. What, you may ask, do they count? Nothing that matters to most people.

“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” — Oscar Wilde

In oddly related news, the San Francisco Giants just signed a six-year deal with pitcher Johnny Cueto for, I hope you’re sitting down, 130 million dollars. That comes to 21.6 million dollars a year. Now in a good year, Johnny will throw about 2700 pitches that count, which means he will make 7,777 dollars per pitch. That means every time he throws a pitch in a regular season baseball game, he will make eight hundred dollars more than I get in an entire year from Social Security. Per pitch. I know, I know. There’s nothing stopping me from getting down to work and making of myself an elite major league baseball player. Okay. So I’m lazy.

“Life’s two great questions: “Why me?” and “What do I do now?” — William L. De Andrea

Marcia and I recently spent two nights in Santa Rosa visiting Marcia’s mother, and while we were there I went into a Safeway store for the first time in almost forty years. Yikes. We were questing for a particular soap Marcia’s mother likes and beer. Everything in the store had a price and a club price, and the club price was much lower than the non-club price. Everyone in the market seemed to be in a huge hurry, a life-and-death kind of hurry; as if they thought the store might explode at any minute.

Just for fun, we decided to dip our toes in the future and try the self-checkout line where a customer, theoretically, doesn’t need to interact with a human being to buy things. But they won’t let you self-checkout alcohol in Safeway because you might be a minor and the machine wouldn’t know that, so we ended up going through a regular checkout line.

When we got to the regular checker, he rang up the soap and beer and said, “Run your club card through the slot to get your discount.”

“We don’t have a club card,” I admitted. I was going to say this was my first time in Safeway in forty years, but I thought he might call Security if I said that, so I left things at not having a card.

“You could ask your neighbor?” said the checker, smiling at me and then smiling at the man in line behind us, a fellow buying an eight-pack of bottles of wine.

And before I could ask the checker what on earth he was talking about, the fellow buying the wine reached over and swiped his club card through the slot and our total went down from 22.84 to 18.37.

“Now go get your own card,” said the checker, winking at us. “Just takes a minute at the club registry. Right over there.”

But since we probably won’t be going to Safeway for another forty years, we made a beeline for the exit, and right outside the store we came upon a man and a woman and their two small children huddled in the freezing cold together with three suitcases, the man holding up a sign saying he had just lost his job, they had been kicked out of their apartment, they were hungry and cold, please help.

We gave them five dollars. The woman thanked us, but the fact is our neighbor in the checkout line had just saved us almost five dollars we would have been glad to spend on beer and soap, so why not give the money to these cold hungry people?

“The only way to be absolutely safe is never try anything for the first time.” — Dr. Magnus Pyke

We’re giving Bernie Sanders some money to help him run for President of the United States, though I’m fairly certain, no, I’m absolutely certain there is no chance he will be given a chance to win the nomination. So why give Bernie money? Because we think his attempt is a valiant one, and though the overlords have directed their media managers to give Bernie as little coverage as possible, he does speak for a vast majority of Americans, even if many in that majority don’t know he does.

Furthermore, I believe Donald Trump is being used to clog the media so those who need most to hear Bernie will not. Yes, that sounds like a conspiracy theory because anything suggesting we’ve been taken over by amoral sadistic poop heads is labeled a conspiracy theory.

But imagine if Bernie had the money to buy some prime time television hours to talk directly to the American people without Hilary or some other corporate stooge interrupting him. Imagine Bernie having as much money as Johnny Cueto to make his pitch.

(Todd Walton’s website is


  1. BB Grace December 30, 2015

    142 Democrat candidates
    204 Republican candidates
    416 third party and independent candidates combined
    762 presidential candidates for 2016. Who knew?

  2. Stephen Rosenthal December 31, 2015

    Six out of the nine lowest annual Social Security COLA increases have occurred during President Hope and Change’s administration, as well as the only three ZERO percent insults. But he sure does take care of his corporate and Wall Street friends. Todd breaks down how the annual COLA is calculated; this formula was changed by Obama’s cronies to the detriment of seniors without a whimper from the self-serving con artists at AARP. Is it mere coincidence that this formulaic change occurred soon after the 2008 financial meltdown, of which none (again as in ZERO) of the perpetrators has been prosecuted or imprisoned by Obama’s Justice Department? Despite all his “thoughts and prayers” missives, all things considered this guy ranks among the worst POTUSs in history.

  3. LouisBedrock December 31, 2015

    Good column, Todd.

    Good comment by Mr. Rosenthal (as usual).

    Even after Obama leaves office, we will have to live with his awful legacy.
    The Cadillac Tax–part of the AHA fiasco, goes into effect in 2018–after the bastard is out of office and working as a multimillion dollar a year lobbyist.

  4. izzy January 1, 2016

    All too true, and I carp about it all the time, even if only to myself. And to no effect. They could’ve done this, they could’ve done that – but they didn’t and they won’t. It’s a sick game, with The Donald, Hellary and Bernie currently starring in the distracting sideshow. Now, with the planet in an ongoing and accelerating meltdown, underlying dynamics that can’t be changed or jiggered for PR purposes are ensuring some real catastrophes will soon overwhelm us. No beer at all? A seldom-mentioned cause of the Syrian refugee crisis is several years of severe drought and associated crop failures that push the population to leave or die.

    “People Get Ready” – Curtis Mayfield

  5. Jeff Costello January 1, 2016

    Money isn’t everything but it’s way ahead of whatever is in second place. — unknown source, early 60’s

  6. Jeff Costello January 1, 2016

    What? People aren’t buying all those wonderful books and music recordings?

  7. Jim Updegraff January 1, 2016

    Social Security was never intended to be the sole source of income when people retired. as a side comment when I had my first job – washing dishes in a restaurant after school I made 25 cents a hour and they took out a deduction for social security.

  8. Diane Campbell January 2, 2016

    Bernie Sanders is indeed getting ridiculously little media coverage and yet the CWA, communications workers union has already come out in support of him at @90% level. I so hope the amoral sadistic poopheads (well-said) get a bad surprise in the caucuses. Thanks to the CA canvassers in Reno, supplying much needed momentum to the NV populace, so far too reluctant to get up off their dusty butts.

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