Wednesday, July 6, 2011

who’s in charge?……..

A few days ago, I went by a sign that said something about cigarettes being on sale for $6.57 a pack.   Because I’m a non-smoker, I’ve never really thought about cigarettes, what a pack of them costs, and why people continue to smoke.  $6.57! 

Now, I know the vast majority of the cost of those things goes to pay off the settlements with the states that measure in the billions of dollars for each state.  No wonder they need to get $6.57 a pack. 

And, I also know the states really don’t get that money anymore, because all of them were standing at their windows yelling “It’s my money and I want it now!”  So, they all took their structured settlements and went to J.G. Wentworth and settled at pennies on the billions of dollars. 

The city of Chicago sold all of their parking spaces and Illinois sold its toll roads.  They even sold the Skyway.  They must be very smart, selling off all of the revenue producing assets and keeping the ones that produce zippo.  Even Indiana sold its toll road.

What was supposed to be punishment for something that kills people, turned into a revenue drug.  What was supposed to be something that paid off road construction on a user basis, has now been leveraged to the hills.  And those machines that take your money in quarters for the right to squat your car in downtown Chicago now belong to the suits.  Free parking on Wednesday?  Not on your fat wallet.

So, as our state and federal legislators figure out how to pay for the ever burgeoning gap between revenue and expenditures, I’m wondering the same thing.  How are we going to fix this mess?

It seems the people we elect to protect our interests are pretty bad business people. 

And, that got me to thinking.  What if the guys who are able to sell a product that kills you for ten times what it cost a few decades ago, or at least makes you sick, is illegal in most public places, can’t be advertised, and makes you smell bad…What if they were in charge?   


  1. Then we'd all die sooner? :o )

    Funny anecdote about cigarettes: A couple of years ago, I was with a friend who popped into a convenience store to buy a pack of her cigs. I thought she handed the guy a $5. She had handed him a $10 and got just coins in return. She spent nearly $10 on a pack of ... wait for it ... *organic* cigarettes.

    What? I wanted to say, "Darlin', it ain't the pesticides that are going to get you. It's the inhaling of smoke into your lungs day after day after day."

    She still smokes them.


  2. You're right, Tom. My best friend Jim midwived the cig deal in Connecticut. When we play cards at his place, we all look out over his new greenhouse out back and smile: Settlement Cash. Gee: the lawyers win again?