THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
AUGUST 5, 2017
DISCLAIMER: THE CADILLAC NEWS DID NOT PUBLISH THIS COLUMN IN PRINT OR ONLINE.
The daily news has something for any interest, but one thing seems to be interesting to everyone – money. There's something about the inflow and outflow of cash that causes our radar to go on full alert.
For example, did you hear about the guy in Toronto who found an Astroturf green suit jacket at a thrift store? He paid $5, much to his wife's chagrin. Well, that jacket just sold at auction for $139,344. You see, it turned out to be a Master's golf tournament jacket. “Green jackets bearing the Augusta National logo are given to each member of the club plus each year’s Masters winner. However, only the Masters champion may take their green jacket off the grounds of the club, and then only for their one year on the throne.” How this one turned up at a thrift shop is a mystery, but it may be the best $5 anyone ever spent. (https://www.sbnation.com/2017/4/9/15235926/masters-jacket-found-in-thrift-store-for-5-sold-for-139k-at-auction)
Searching for Master's jackets at thrift shops is time consuming, so you may want to hire someone to do it for you. That's because: “People who dole out cash to save time on things like housekeeping, delivery services and taxis are a little bit happier than those who don't.” Research has determined that “people felt happier after saving time than buying stuff.”
Lead author of the study, Ashley Whillans at the Harvard Business School, observed: “The right way is paying someone else to do the time-consuming drudge work that you don't like. When people do that, they report feeling greater life satisfaction in general and happier that day. But when they buy material objects, it tends not to bring people the happiness they expect.” (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/massachusetts/articles/2017-07-24/yes-you-can-buy-happiness-if-you-spend-it-to-save-time)
If this study is true, you may want to hire someone to park your car. “Motorists spend an average of 17 hours a year searching for spots on streets, in lots, or in garages, according to a report. The hunt adds up to an estimated $345 per driver in wasted time, fuel, and emissions.”
The worst place in America to search for parking is New York City. In New York City drivers on average spend 107 hours a year looking for parking spots. The searches add up to $2,243 in wasted time, fuel, and emissions per driver, plus $4.3 billion in costs to the Big Apple.” Nationwide, 42 percent of the U.S. respondents said they missed an appointment, 34 percent abandoned a trip, and 23 percent experienced road rage,” because of parking issues. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/07/12/parking-pain-causes-financial-and-personal-strain/467637001/)
One reason most of us park is to go to work. According to Wallet Hub: “Nearly 93 percent of dads with kids younger than 18 are employed. But some working dads — those who live in states where economic opportunity abounds and quality of life is emphasized —have it better than others.” The best state in which to be a working dad is Connecticut. The worst state for dads is Mississippi. Michigan ranks number 37. (https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-working-dads/13458/#main-findings)
Wisconsin ranked 8th in the dads survey. That state just landed a big Foxconn deal for that company to build a technology manufacturing facility. That would seem to be great news on the jobs front, but in terms of money the deal is a head scratcher. Wisconsin is giving Foxconn huge incentives. “Approval of the full incentive package would mean Foxconn, which made nearly $140 billion in revenue in 2015, could net up to $1.5 billion for creating Wisconsin jobs and another $1.35 billion for building the plant in the state’s southeast area.” The factory is supposed to generate 13,000 jobs, which works out as a “rough cost to the state of about $230,700 per worker.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/27/foxconn-deal-would-cost-wisconsin-230700-per-worker)
Another Wisconsin company is also trying something high tech. “A small Wisconsin company plans to implant tiny microchips in employees' hands...raising questions about health and privacy risks. The sales pitch is that workers will no longer have to swipe badges to open doors or bother with security log-ins at their PCs. The chip reader will do the work instead.”
The company will save some money on badges, but some wonder if efficiency is worth it? Does 'embedding a small device that communicates with other electronics pose a health risk and does it bring us a step closer to a surveillance state.'
Speaking of health risks and costs, you may have recently heard President Trump say: “The U.S. cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
It might be useful when considering this expenditure to put it in perspective. “A report for the Pentagon last year found that transition-related care would cost between about $2.4 and $8.4 million per year — less than 0.14% of the military's medical budget. That's roughly the cost of four of Trump's trips to Mar-A-Lago, even using a conservative estimate of $2 million per trip.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/07/27/transgender-soldiers-cost-u-s-less-than-trumps-mar-a-lago-trips/515058001/)
Now consider this (taxpayer funded) expenditure. “Military Times first reported in 2015 that the Defense Health Agency the year before spent $84.2 million on erectile dysfunction medications for active-duty troops, eligible family members and retirees. Moreover, the military health system had filled nearly 1.18 million prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medications since 2014 and spent a total of $294 million on those drugs since 2011.” (https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2017/07/26/the-military-spends-more-on-giving-retirees-erections-than-on-transgender-troops/)
Finally, sometimes even things that cost no money initially can be troublesome. Like an Ohio woman who called 911 because her pet boa constrictor was biting her face. “The boa constrictor has a hold of your nose?” the dispatcher asks. “Can you pry its jaw open if you picked at the jaw?”
“No, I’m trying, there’s blood everywhere,” the caller says. A fireman eventually removed the reptile by cutting off its head with a knife.
She got the snake for free because it was a rescued “pet.” The bottom line here is that something free is not always good, especially if that something gnaws off your face. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/07/29/ohio-woman-pet-boa-constrictor-attacking-her-face-tells-911-theres-blood-everywhere/522437001/)
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.