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Two Gorilla Surprise!

Two gorilla surpriseWe’re the board of directors at the zoo, and our original budget called for one(1) gorilla in the simian enclosure, along with all the other screeching apes, monkeys, chimps & baboons. Now we find ourselves with two unplanned 900lb gorillas who, along with the other primates, are eating us out of house and home!

One faction suggests we seek out more efficient ways of buying provisions: increase the volume, use cheaper quality and ask for extended terms, discounts, etc. Others think the simians, especially the gorillas, need stricter diets, reduced intakes {and out- goings!} and need to exercise/work more.

Call the first group feed the beast’rs{FTB’S}. They don’t seem concerned about a weight problem. They think animals instinctively know how much to eat, know when they’re getting fat and will stop eating. Evidently, at 900lbs and growing, the regulators don’t work or are out of calibration! Something along the lines – Brain to mouth; Brain to mouth; Drop that banana! Mouth to brain > screw you!

Starve the beast’rs{STB’S} aren’t willing to keep the goody train going. We don’t trust animal instincts & worry the entire zoo is in jeopardy if we don’t come up with a solution, and quickly. Half the animals are fine, watching what they eat, getting daily exercise, their overall upkeep staying on budget. The other half not so good. They seem to be following the gorilla’s example, letting themselves go. Two ravenous gorillas with eating frenzy cousins, combined with half the remaining zoo population following their example, is biting bigger & bigger pieces from the zoo’s budget, becoming a real problem.

Soshie the gorillaThe older gorilla is a female called Soshie and, contrary to those FTB’rs {full-to-bustin’ for you anglophiles} saying she isn’t hurting us with her huge appetite, she’s grabbingeverything in sight and filling her gob, and will continue doingso for about 20 more years, according to which vet you listen to, before morbid obesity bursts her gut, heart, whatever. All agree a diet is necessary.

FTB’rs look at immediate costs and say she’s within budget, but they don’t factor in steadily increasing intake, higher future costs of feed and upkeep, and declining zoo attendance. Call these un- funded liabilities. Each passing year they steadily accumulate in the wings, off budget, ready at some future date to topple onto the balance sheet and ruin everybody’s day.

 

Madakar the gorilla

The other gorilla is a younger male named Madakar, but he’s already bigger than Soshie, gorging away. It’s feared he could possibly grow to more than double his current size, and zoo staff are furiously running the numbers to see what impact this will have on the zoo’s fiscal 2014/’15/’16  budgets.

His current lodgings will soon be a problem, along with his creature comforts, potential mates, etc. The zoo simply never envisioned this situation, having two monstrous gorillas growing by the minute, becoming costlier and costlier as they age and mature.

 

Zoo societyHere’s some ideas for cutting their diets and re-training them to become more productive members of zoo society, perhaps performing tricks to incite interest, increasing zoo visitors.

Regarding Soshie, she gets up in the morning and starts eating about 7:00am. How about not feeding her until 8:00a? Also, she gets about 20lbs of banana’s and other fruits/vegetables, so why

not cut it back to 18lbs? Then there’s been a tendency to inch up her daily meal volumes, I guess to keep up with her appetites.

Let’s slow this down temporarily, and in future offer a more constant meal size year to year?  Finally, Soshie doesn’t mind sharing food with Madakar, but this encourages him to eat more! Let’s keep her food in a secure place where he can’t get at it.

For Madakar, some of these ideas apply. Additionally, why not plant some foods, like bushes, grasses and trees and make him gather them himself, so the zoo doesn’t buy so much? Also reduce the number of food choices that are provided regularly, forcing him to rely more and more on his own gathering for nutrition and sustenance.

The examples for how to reduce costs offer a great comparison with our real-world gorillas of Social Security & Medicare/Caid.  Let’s go through item by item & see where big savings can be found.

For social security, we can begin by raising full retirement age to 68/69, with early retirement to 65. For early retirees we can require total AGI on their returns limits their benefits, not just earned income. For each dollar AGI exceeds benefit amount 50 cents of the benefits are given up/lost.

We can stipulate that, even in full retirement, AGI becomes a limiting factor at a certain level, say $100,000. So if someone is getting full retirement benefits of $2500mo, and AGI without benefits is $100,000 , they begin losing a percent of benefits, to a max reduction of 50% at $250,000. Example: if someone 70 has AGI of $258,000 without considering benefits, their monthly benefit would reduce to half, or $1250. At $190,000 reduction is: 50% X [90/150] = 30% of $2500mo = $750 less =  $1750mo.

We could also tax benefits received by those with AGI’s over $100,000, not counting soc sec, at 100%. Currently it’s 85%.

We could set the cap on earnings during the pay-in phase higher.

Right now it’s $110,100; raise it immediately to $350,000 , the level at which higher taxes kick in.

We could change the base rate being paid of 6.2% to 6.7% on everybody, with a higher employer match of 7%, then phase in higher rates at higher incomes. Example: up to $100K pay 6.7%; between $100 -$200K pay 7%; $200 – $275K pay 7.5% with equal employer match; $275 – $350K pay 8% with equal match.

Finally, we can stipulate a max full benefit period of 20yrs, then begin a phaseout. Example: retire & begin collecting benefits at 69; collect full benefit until 89, then begin reducing the benefit the next 20yrs by 2.5% per yr, to age 109, at which time it is half the original benefit amount. In tandem with this could be revised COLA adjustments. Presently these are set by prevailing rates of inflation nationally. Continue using this criteria, but only allow a 70-80% COLA increase of the amount originally determined.

Regarding Medicare, the obvious cost-savings would come from some minimum level of self-insurance, based on means testing, augmenting Medicare coverage. Also, increase basic Medicare premiums by at least 10%; continue increasing premiums for higher incomes, starting at AGI of $100,000; begin phasing out coverages at $250,000, down to a minimum of 60% of the base coverage at $500,000. In other words, people with AGI $500K+ would only be allowed access to 60% of Medicare benefits, and those between $250 – $500K would lose 4% for each $25000 or fraction thereof over $250K. Someone with an AGI of $330K would get: $330 less $250 = $80/25 = 3.2; this 3.2 rounds up to 4 x 4% = 16% reduction in coverage.

Like with soc sec, we could raise the rate from 1.45% to 1.8% with an employer match of 2% and no earnings cap. If budget folks would pencil out these cost saving measures, they will see immediate savings in the hundreds of billions, allowing both programs to self-sustain and enjoy permanency. More important the entire federal budget will begin to balance.

One more thing: there can be no more borrowing/raiding of the social security trust fund. Monies paid in, stay in! If intra-depart- mental loans are made, borrowed amounts must be contracted with stipulated terms/rates of interest. Other government agencies using this funding avenue must be accountable as to their ability to meet debt service, and for being able to retire the debt according to the original terms of the borrowing, restoring the monies back to social security. No more I.O.U.’s!

Key word is accountability. Every program, project, agency and department must be accountable for the use of its funds, never being allowed to borrow more than it can reasonably expect to repay, according to its normal mission and funding.

Raising the Debt Ceilingis ignoring these two gorillas roaming freely up & down the aisles of congress, the halls, conference rooms and inner sanctums of government. They won’t leave on their own. They must be dealt with using a firm hand, one that recognizes if left to their own appetites, they’ll bring down the entire governmental edifice.

If action isn’t taken, if corrective measures are not immediately implemented, the zoo will have to shut down. Every reasonable professional animal handler should join in, using a shutdown to voice their protest!

Gorilla
Conditions in the zoo are unacceptable! Costs are skyrocketing for certain animals, jeopardizing the health, safety and happiness of the others. The zoo itself cannot thrive and function, under these circumstances.

I think any animal handler who ignores or refuses to deal with this reality should be required to take a gorilla home for a week-end, and see how they like having such a beast in their midst, causing havoc and mayhem amongst their family. I guess for some, it’s the only way they’ll get the message.   .    .

 

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I’m Al Shane

Alvan I. Shane Author, The Day Liberty Wept 2270 N Euclid Ave Frequent Op-Ed Contributor Upland, Calif 91784 Political Donor to Cons Grps / Causes (909) 946-5104 Ex-Marine / California native info@shaneview.com Tax Accountant / Mar 43yrs / 1 son
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