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ĎTIS THE TIME OF YEAR TO REFLECT
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  December 9, 2004 - reprinted with permission

  How quickly time seems to fly particularly when one passes the 80+ mark. I guess at our advanced age we may have a little more time to reflect on our mortality. Also I find it is easy to procrastinate which frustrates me. I donít know about you but I am overwhelmed with paper, you know the kind that comes via snail express. Why is it so easy to accumulate the paper that seems so important at the time and months later we can throw most of it away without a second thought? Surprisingly at least in our case, life is more interesting every day with 2 grandsons and 1 grand daughter in college and I might add also much more expensive. Speaking of expenses I wonder if the younger generation will change their minds when they reach our age that the cost of living for retirees actually goes up or our quality of life goes down? Lately I have come to the conclusion that whether people want to hear it or not I have on various occasions spoken in a somewhat assertive mood that it is amazing after 20+ years of retirement we are still surviving. Donít you wonder if the younger generation will ever survive 30 or more years of retirement without a hand out from government or the retired parents? Isnít it interesting what a role reversal we have seen in just one generation? You know the kids never seem to leave home and they add the grandkids as an added bonus? I think back in my case when I graduated high-school I was out the door, worked my way through college, moved into the work force, entered the Navy, went back to work, got married, had kids and never came back home other than to visit. In our case we got married like the rest before going into the service and fortunately had no kids until we at least felt we could afford them. I also look at the difference in expected life style when I think of our first home. It was 20 foot by 20 foot for a total of 400 sq. feet. It had a living, dining and living space in half the home and a bedroom, bath and utility room in the other half. This was also the time, at least in our home town of Bloomington Minnesota, where many could only afford to live in the basement portion of the home and when they could afford it they built the rest of the house on top of the basement. What is interesting is these modest homes on larger lots, are after 60+ years still very well kept up. It seems the convenient location keeps these beginner homes and on the other end of the spectrum retirement homes, in demand.

Fast forward to the present and speaking of the home we live in where is this crazy burst of home demand and prices in Las Vegas leading to? In our case having lived in the same home since 1984 we have lived through more than the first half our time in Las Vegas with little more than eight tenth of one percent increase in home value (in spite of what ex-government employee Guy Hobbs wants us to think) and only in the last five years have we seen much increase in value. I have never seen such goofiness to grow with so little quality in planning and thinking out what do we actually want Las Vegas to be. If you look at the demographics we are little more than a vast sea of homes for common labor jobs and sadly with very little need for the college graduate. It is very disappointing to me that we donít have a strong vocational program. With such a large part of our economy in the construction industry why arenít the educrates and unions insisting we push more of that and less Rebel programs if you want to look at priorities.

In this economy we retirees are very substantial contributors to this economy far beyond what most people in power will admit. I understand that, since we have not joined our forces of numbers for political clout. Interestingly we are such a major voting block we should really join forces and insist on real quality in a well planned sensible economy. Since when is it so important to be the town of a common labor pool with an unbelievable debt that grows by the minute like the Megabucks machine in the casinos? My friend K.A. defends Las Vegas as the example of capitalism at work where anyone of modest means can succeed capitalism and I add as defined in Mexico City. Sure things arenít all bad, were still alive and kicking.

OTHER THINGS OF INTEREST

THE STATE OF NEVADA CONTROLLER WALKS AND WE GET NO TAX CAP.

Kathy Augustine the State of Nevada Controller walks. If you recall we recommended that if the Governor wanted to look like a winner why not take up the real-estate cap issue at the same time a political hanging was being considered using our hard earned money. At least part of the time would have been spent in a meaningful manner. I just knew Kathy would walk and so who really cares? After all she has only two more years at eighty grand a year and someone needs to do the job. The question was never her running the office in fact she has done a good job of collecting substantial sums due Nevada that no one else in that office had done.

WE CANT FIND PERS AND ITS FINANCIAL CONDITION

Speaking of the Controllers office we were able to obtain the consolidated State of Nevada Comprehensive Financial Report from her office to investigate whether the PERS shortfall of some $3.6 billion and growing was shown. Interestingly the table of contents page shows page 92 listed as Schedule of Funding Progress-Pension Plans. We thought we had what we were looking for. Well surprise, surprise page 92 is for the Schedule of Infrastructure Condition and Maintenance Data which refers to the spending required to proper upkeep of roads and bridges. What happened to the government employees PERS pension fund status including its shortfall? Well hopefully come January we will have the answer not only at the state level but also from Wall-Street.

WE WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND JOYOUS NEW YEAR

It is nice in particular to wish you a Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year without worrying about the ACLU getting on our case. You know the outfit that no longer thinks we can mention God or even sing religious holiday songs that are older than this nation. Can you just imagine what our money would look like if our government had to smudge out the words ďIN GOD WE TRUSTĒ. Maybe we should do it just to anger every freedom loving person in this great nation enough boot this bunch of nation destroyers, the ACLU out of this country and give them a one way ticket to whatever part of the world they would be to live happy in. ITíS NICE KNOWING ALL OF YOU. WE LOVE YOU AND LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER GREAT WONDERFUL YEAR.

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