Playing a Zero Sum Game

My country, the United States of America, is a country blessed with many riches.  It possesses a land endowed with many natural resources.  Americans are a strong, hardworking, God-fearing and generous people.  The American form of government has been designed to nurture the American way of life, preserve our liberty and foster the pursuit of happiness.

So what went wrong?  Why do most Americans feel that our country is on the wrong track now?  I offer the following three excessive expenditures as examples of American excess.  These examples typify the squandering of our nation’s capital that is now a plague upon our country.

  • $4B was spent on the 2010 elections, far more than has ever been spent on a non-presidential election.  The Supreme Court allowing corporate spending on elections facilitated this cost growth.  For this increased capital outlay, we still have the same number of governors, congressmen and senators that we had before the election.  They are just newer and more expensive.
  • The $2.5B for the Spread Network’s high-speed, straight as a line connection between New York and Chicago represents a three milliseconds time advantage in the ongoing arms race of high frequency trading.  I’m sure that this is going to help my 401K savings.
  • Why pay $500+ for a cup of coffee?  I mean really, even if it was some sort of fancy latté, that is way more than the $4 that Starbucks charges.  Don’t worry, I’ll eventually go off on this topic too.

I have included two pictures with this post that aptly symbolize the greatness of the American spirit, its ingenuity and its past accomplishments.  While the United States squanders it capital with political squabbling, financial wrangling and lattés.  The once third world is striving to put us in the second back bench of the world economy’s Econoline van.  Americans be prepared to be bounced!

I heard on NPR (this phrase represents a whole new blogging opportunity in itself) that China now has 4,000 miles of high-speed rail transportation and in the next few years it is projected to have the majority of the world’s high-speed rail.  Meanwhile we as a people, pay more for our politicians, allow fat cats to skim off the cream from our 401K savings and sometimes pay too much for coffee.

I like a good cup of coffee as much as the next guy, maybe even more than the next guy.  I have a pretty heavy Starbucks habit.  I’m not proud of it, but neither am I ashamed of it either.  You see folks; this whole rant is just preamble to my announcement that I had an automobile accident on Thursday morning.

It wasn’t much of an accident.  My passenger side mirror clipped the driver side mirror of a parked car.  It tore it clean off and with no damage to my car.  I pulled into a parking space, just a couple of cars up from the offended vehicle, as I would have anyway on an ordinary workday’s Starbucks run.  I wrestled with the devil, but left a note.  I had to double-check my cell’s number.  I never leave it, so I don’t know it.  I Starbucked and then jetted off to work.

It was only after that I got to work that I thought and then kicked myself.  I should have taken pictures, at least for the blog if for nothing else.  I ended up filing my claim on my iPhone and my insurance company’s app asked for pictures (stupid, stupid, stupid).  My deductible is $500, hence the $500+ latté.  I spoke with the offended party and exchanged information.  At the end of the day, I spoke with a representative of my insurance company.  After taking my recorded statement he absolved me of all responsibility, until our next contract.

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