Letter 3

Dear Listeners,

Talk about a tempest in a teapot. All this fuss about Rick Perry and his senior moment. Anyone who has reached Puberty has been distracted during a conversation, lost their train of thought and then asked, “Where was I?” The press has made a federal case out of this with Mr. Perry. If a momentary lapse of memory of this kind results in being disqualified from high office, public service or holding a responsible job, we then must lower the age qualification for President from 35 to perhaps the teens.

Most will remember a few weeks ago when a huge snow storm hit the Eastern part of our country. Among other results, air traffic was a disaster. About 28 planes were diverted from the Newark and New York areas to Hartford, Connecticut. Unavoidable. Consider the foreign incoming flights that were diverted to Hartford. I believe they should get first priority to deplane. Why? Those folks have been on an airplane already for some 7 hours on average, maybe more and as much as 17 hours and more if coming from Hong Kong or Singapore. Imagine you’ve been on a flight for 17 hours and then get stranded on the ground for an additional 9. Government officials were quoted saying “we have our rules, we have to get Customs and Immigration people to the airport or those people cannot be allowed to deplane”. That may be the rule but isn’t that ridiculous? How many terrorists are going to figure out that since there’s a storm brewing in the United States, they could possibly get diverted, which could allow them an easier entrance into the United States? On the off chance of being diverted, they race out and buy a ticket. If they’re that smart, we’re beat! The same rationale may apply to a drug smuggler. At the very worst, if all of these rules were temporarily abandoned, someone may not declare a watch or diamond bracelet they ordinarily might have. I’m prepared to stand the tiny tax loss. There should be a stand-by official on watch 24/7 that would not have to be worried about covering his rear end that was able to make this call. They would make the decision from wherever they are to allow passengers to deplane, pick up their bags and get on their way. The danger from terrorists is so tiny as to be incalculable. I’m suggesting an easy solution. If there is specific information about a suspect passenger, the police who are always at the airport could be alerted and that person detained. Why do we keep people isolated on an airplane who have been traveling many, many hours simply because we couldn’t get the routine customs and immigration people who are on duty, in place? We detain them because “we have our rules”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have one government fiat that made sense? Would you object and if so, why?

We are still pursuing our interests and the possibilities of a Podcast. We are talking to qualified parties about how to accomplish the technical side. My staff will handle the programming. A necessary ingredient which still must be resolved is to determine how to make this financially feasible paying its own way at the very least. We are working on this endeavor every day. We’ll keep you updated on our progress. Jump in with your comments askbruce@brucewilliams.com Each one is read and carefully considered and you can take that to the bank.

Another department here on our party line is sharing some of your comments with your fellow readers. We have edited for brevity the following comments and we invite your input and of course if you disagree, let me know.

J.J wrote: “School taxes come from property taxes. My husband and I own property but do not have any children. In addition, people who do not own property but have children do not have to pay any school taxes. I believe school revenue should come from a different form of tax, maybe sales taxes.” P.C. wrote: “I had to laugh at your comment about the $5 charge that Bank of America wanted to assess. I work in the financial industry and parts of our duties are to issue checks for 401(k) distributions. People get so upset over a check fee or wire fee when they request a distribution. They just don’t understand all the behind the scenes reporting and processing that takes place with their account.” J.K wrote: “I certainly do expect banks to make a profit but I do have a problem with them making “record profits” and executives receiving record bonuses after having been bailed out on the public dole.” K.G wrote: “Yesterday I watched a whole family traipse into a Chili’s like place wearing those damn pajama pants, even the mom and dad. The foul words on the t-shirts were unbelievable.” D.B wrote: I am a Mormon, have lived in Utah, vote Republican and don’t drink. I think it’s ridiculous when the government begins to regulate like the Taliban. I am disappointed in “my people”.” I.T. wrote: Regarding Occupy Wall Street: “There are always going to be unruly elements in all protest movements but your simplistic dismissal of this group indicates you have not read or understand what they are about. I am prosperous and maybe even rich by some standards but I share their sentiments 100%. They are angry at financial institutions that created the mess with derivatives, credit default swaps, securitized mortgages and were bailed out by the tax payer and then to add insult to injury continued to pay themselves huge salaries and bonuses.”

FROM THE TRAVEL CORNER – Alternate Airports. It’s smart to compare the costs between nearby airports to your destination. In some cases there are none. For example, going to Detroit, while there may be some commuter airports of which I’m unaware, by in large unlike the New York area which is served by 3 major airports, Detroit only has one. If you are leaving from an area that has 2 airports within reasonable distance, for example Tampa and Orlando (about 100 miles), it is well worthwhile to check the airfare from both airports to the single airport you are visiting. For example going to San Juan, Puerto Rico (where there’s only one airport) from either Tampa or Orlando. Depending on the time of year and the day of travel, Orlando to San Juan can cost $224, while comparing the same day from Tampa to San Juan, is only $164. We compared coach class and reasonable travel times. Credit Cards. If you’re going to be traveling out of the U.S., be certain to check with your credit card issuer and determine if you are going to be charged a surcharge, around 3%, for money you spend in a foreign country. There are some cards that do not impose a surcharge notably, Capital One who advertises there is no surcharge on any of their cards, period! Chase Bank has removed foreign transaction fees on seven of their travel-oriented and upscale cards while Citi Bank eliminated foreign transaction fees on two of their premier cards. Read the fine print. Some will sneak in a charge and you’ll never know until it hits your bill. When you spend a $1,000, that’s $30 in surcharges. Not exactly chopped liver.

Well my friends, we extend a wonderful Thanksgiving wish to you and all of your families and we will be talking to you again between now and that most wonderful holiday, Christmas. Please let me know your thoughts and of course if you have something you want to discuss, as I mentioned in our first letter, that is controversial and wish to remain anonymous, please let us know. Remember when responding to these letters please click here: askbruce@brucewilliams.com Keep In Touch!

Bruce H. Williams