The VA….A Sign Of Things To Come?

I am going to tack on at the end of this post another blog I wrote about the VA and submitted to the Denver Post. I guess they found it unprintable but then again so many of my musings probably should be. Regardless of my feelings, the VA is probably too big and under financed for the job ahead. There are almost 1800 facilities seeing 200,000 veterans a day. This is only going to get worse and therein lies the rub. They are not alone.

Sooner or later our dreams are going to catch up with our checkbook. We have saved soldiers on the field of battle from what would have been sure death in Viet Nam or WW II. We have brought them home bruised and broken both physically as well as psychologically. You can’t put a price tag on their care but it is going to swell costs well beyond any foreseeable budget. Who is going to pay for this? Memorial Day sounds very patriotic until you start hitting the US of A in its wallet.

Medicare was devised in the mid 1960’s. No one could have dreamed of the advances in medical science and drugs. We have transplants, artificial limbs and organs. We have also discovered diseases that are so rare that only a few hundred people may be affected. We have heart procedures that cost $500,000. Medicines that require an annual outlay of $450,000 and higher. I believe if you pull out all the stops there are very few obstacles in medicine that can’t be overcome to prolong people’s lives for weeks months and years. No one is discussing those stops.

I am not Ted Kervorkian but someone, anyone please tell me how we are going to pay for all this? We have people hitting 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day. As a portion of the federal budget, medicine has soared from 6% in the 90’s to 17-18% now and hitting the 25% range within 10 years. It will require premiums to increase with more deductibles and less coverage. Rationing is a dirty word when it comes to healthcare but we may just come down to it being the only practical way out.

Getting back to the VA, I have to wait a few weeks(not months) for various appointments but I get them. But I can live with it…literally. Maybe it’s unfair for me to equate my personal situation because I am in decent shape and good health. But that still begs the question if you have screwed up your body should you be eligible for non stop cures? We have so many questions that will require incredible decision making and ethical calls. I am sure in some back room of NIH or Harvard Med School these tortured enigmas are longing for clear cut answers but it sure is beyond the pay grade of the gang in Congress. But under the moniker of Obamacare or any other acronym we are all going to be in this together.

I find it fascinating that during all the deliberations of the above, all we worried about was getting people under the insurance tent. No one discussed the current and future costs and how they might be reduced to something sustainable by the American public. You could soak the 1% up to their gills and not come up with the necessary numbers. You even work your way down to the 5%, 10% 0r even 25%. The beans can be counted every which way but loose but the bottom line does not lie.

When we travelled through the South there were huge billboards for this emergency room or that citing the waiting times to be seen. The clarion of 8 or 12 minutes gave you clear sailing with your cold or stomach ache all the while spending the highest treatment dollars available. In Denver several hospitals are enlarging their emergency facilities to satisfy the increased demand and of course reap the most profit. You can text “ER” to get the full rundown of those gurneys and treatment rooms just waiting for you and your loved one. Are we that incredibly stupid or just naive enough to think this will just work itself out somehow? Left to our own designs we will probably perish.

I draw these conclusions. The VA is too large with 1800 facilities and not enough professional managers to ensure top quality care without the inherent imperfections associated with a government bureaucracy. Overall our medical costs will continue to soar as we further implant profit motives into making people well. Competition has not yielded the hoped for lowering in costs. Both the Congress and its electorate(us) will not make the hard decisions to bring costs under control. The obvious solutions of means testing for social services, increasing the retirement age and a proactive form of preventive medicine will not sell back home. And after all the will of the people supersedes any rational thought to the contrary.

You know the old story about buffets. People will gorge themselves to “get their money’s worth”. Overeating and over consuming have become a national creed. Bureaucracies tend to foster cheats and scammers. We will have the obligatory investigation and heads will roll. Sort of. We knew about the VA back in the Bush years. Cerberus must be fed. We have created the monster and it has to eat. The solution? Starvation diet. Don’t bet on it. Wait isn’t there a show called The Biggest Loser?

As always
Ted The Great
Soliris is a drug treating a rare blood disorder that perhaps 500 Americans have. The annual cost is $409,000.
Ditto Elaprase for people with Hunter Syndrome. Annual cost $375,000
Lastly ACTH which is used for infants who have spasms. Monthly cost is $115,000.

Heart transplant…total cost before and after surgery in 2011 $997,700
Lung Transplant. $561,200 Double Lung…$797,300



The Wily Veteran

The cause celebre at the moment is the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ranking right up there with motherhood and apple pie you mess with vets you are barking up the wrong tree. As with other favorite whipping boys the press dig and trip the light fantastical stopping every now and then to retrieve a fact or two. All the news that fits the print. Leave out anything that doesn’t fortify your premise.

This all started with a VA Hospital in Phoenix. A retired doctor stated at least fifty people died while waiting for appointments. There were rumors of a fake waiting list that prevented these people from seeing a doctor for months,even years. That there was doctoring of books is not beyond the realm of possibility and probably real. Did these people die of natural causes while in the system? The doctor couldn’t say. Was the number really fifty? Once again no way of knowing at this time. He stated he may have exaggerated.

I am a veteran. I am enrolled in the VA medical system. After being exposed to Agent Orange I was bumped up a couple of notches on a priority list. It provides me a simple access to medications but moreso it can provide long term benefits should I become incapacitated in later years. In simple terms if I go to LaLa land Kathy can just send me out and finally be done with me. Not just yet sweetie.

About three years ago I showed up on a Saturday afternoon in February for my entry physical. My appointment (which took three weeks to get) was for 2:00P.M.To be fair it does not have the appearance of the Mayo Clinic but the people were beyond friendly and courteous. I was ushered in at 1:55. A woman sat behind a slightly dated computer terminal and asked me to sit down. Then the fun began.

She took a variety of readings from temperature to blood pressure. All the while she was asking me questions regarding my medical history. Depending on whether I answered yes or no, new trees of questions were generated. Wait a minute. You mean I don’t have to fill out twenty pages of questions in triplicate and all the while printing my name,birth date and SSN on every scrap of paper. No sir, it is all right here. I like this place.

The business man in me got intrigued. How long have they had this program? It seems that it has been in place for many years. It is public domain software and is used in several foreign countries. But wait, why don’t we use it in private medicine? Oh I get it. Not invented here. Now every time I show up I give them my last name and last four of my SSN and presto my entire history pops up. It has a fail safe if two or more drugs don’t interact properly you can’t prescribe. This is too easy.

I then received a physical covering vital systems and coordination(must have flunked) that is one of the most comprehensive I have ever gotten. I receive a flu shot, pneumonia shot and tetanus shot all in one sitting. They schedule blood tests and while we are going through this there is a knock at the door.It is a pharmacist with my prescriptions filled. The practitioner gave me her card with her cell phone and said to call her with any questions.When I strolled through the front door of our house at 701 Williams at 3:15 Kathy said, “What happened?” I said, “You wouldn’t believe it”.

Without going on and on I have been seen by dermatology, hematology, and had various scans and tests appropriate for my age. I have never in some 10 plus appointments ever had to wait more than 10 minutes past my scheduled time. Most of the time they are early. I am addressed as Sir not because I was a former officer but because I am a patient. I had an exam and biopsy for skin cancer that took less than 30 minutes. Any prescription refills are mailed to me. In a word, I am a happy camper. Maybe it’s a fluke. I don’t think so.

When I read all the hue and cry I had to write this. There are 1800 VA medical sites throughout the country. They see 200,000 people per working day or a total of 8.76 million visits per annum. I pondered if there are 1% disgruntled patrons that would be 2,000 per day. I am not one of them. With those massive numbers do things fall through the cracks? Of course. If there are 5% of the facilities that are poorly run that comes to 90 clinics and hospitals. They should be taken to task but think about all the good ones out there. What do you think is the failure rate in private institutions?

The staff is beyond competent with many doing internships and residencies at the Colorado Medical Center. They are proactive. When I just mentioned I wanted to lose weight in my initial interview I received a phone call following up. When I came home from Florida there was a note saying I had to call to make an appointment for my annual checkup. Does this sound like a bunch of screwups to you? Not all apples in the barrel are rotten. It just takes a wily veteran to understand this.

As always
Ted The Great.


There are three distinct areas of the Department of Veterans Affairs.:Medical, Benefits(such as disability and GI Bill) and Burials and Memorials. It employs just under 300,,000 people. It has an annual budget of approximately $90 billion.

There are 21 million veterans in the US today. Approximately 3/4 of that group has served in a war or time of conflict. The responsibility to care for veterans, spouses, survivors and dependents can last a long time. Two children of Civil War veterans still draw VA benefits. About 184 children and widows of Spanish-American War veterans still receive VA compensation or pensions.

I pay a copay on any visit to a specialty based on my income. I have a copay of $9 per month per prescription. They can change the drugs to a similar or generic at their option. Because of this the VA pays approximately 40% less for drugs than Medicare Part D.







Begging Your Indulgence…..

This is a reprint of a chapter I wrote in a book that was recently published about Swift Boats in Viet Nam. I was also able in some small way to help edit the book, “Restoration of a Legacy” Maritime Museum of San Diego. It’s a little longer than most Ted’s Heads. I beg your pardon

What The Hell Am I Doing Here?….
By Ted Kenny
I have asked myself this question several times during my life. I remember asking it on more than one occasion in the surface Navy and probably daily in Vietnam on a floating beer can called a Swift Boat.

I have always loved the water. The year was 1967 and most everyone was serving whether they wanted to or not. The Navy was a natural for me and became even more imperative when I reported to my induction physical at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn . The standard “turn your head and cough” and “bend over and spread your cheeks” routine suggested to me that the Army was not the way to go.

But real fear reared its ugly head when a fellow inductee had an eye exam. The medic shouted over to the sergeant that this guy couldn’t see out of his left eye. The noncom barked if he could see out of the right eye? Affirmative, came the reply. He passed the physical. Oh my God. They are taking any warm body.

Now at this time I was waiting for orders to Navy Officers’ Candidate School in Newport , R.I. It was a race to the finish and I won. I raised my right hand and punched my ticket to Narragansett Bay . At that very moment my induction notice was being delivered to my parent’s house. Thank heavens for small favors.

My first two years as a line officer were uneventful and even offered spare time in one of the country’s best cities, Boston . My ship was in the yards and I decided to put off reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace in favor of cavorting from one end of town to the other with one of my shipmates. The XO actually told me once that he was grateful I had the duty every four days so my liver would hold up until my next duty station.

There in Boston I met the cutest thing, who would eventually become my wife. She was living with four girls I went to Georgetown with. It was love at first sight, but I couldn’t go quietly. I mean I have my standards. Sure enough we had not just a lover’s quarrel but a full blown breakup. It was Dear Ted or Dear Kathy depending on how you looked at it.

The plot thickens. Enter Stage Right, my detailer—the guy in Washington who allegedly looks after you when you need new orders. “Where would you like to go?” Just get my ass out of here, I said. East Coast? West Coast? Just get me out as fast as possible. Long deliberation and thoughtful reasoning hasn‘t always been part of my modus operandi.

Six weeks later I had now made up with my then girl friend now wife and the phone rang in the ship’s office. “It’s for you Mr. Kenny.” Uh oh, the Detailer! He told me I was going to Coastal Squadron One. Hmm, I thought, staff duty. How nice. I asked where this palatial outpost was and got a little queasy when he said in-country, Vietnam . Just what am I going to be doing? You will be an Officer-in-Charge of a PCF. What’s that? Look it up in Jane’s Fighting Ships, he said, and hung up.

Sorry for all the discourse but you all should be aware I didn’t quite volunteer. On the other hand  I truly felt that if a guy with a wife and kids was over there it wasn’t my time to bail. But, neither was I running through the door with an M60 in hand and grenades strapped across my chest.

Fast-forward to a Flying Tiger 707 coming into Cam Ranh Bay. We had left Seattle in late afternoon and followed the sunset across the wide Pacific. The planes running lights were darkened  and I was now further from home than I have ever been.

As we taxied to a halt, I could feel the oppressive heat even in the middle of the night. Inside the terminal we were briefed and I noticed a chap of Asian descent darting to and fro with an Army issue nine-volt battery strapped to something. Holy Shit! He’s got a bomb and I’m not even here 30 minutes. Of course it was a transistor radio tuned to AFVN. I knew that.

Here was the start of my tour. I had 365 days and a wakeup to go. Start counting. But first I had to make many startling discoveries that weren’t particularly combat-oriented. It was one of the true ironies of modern war.

The beaches were vast and unspoiled. Saigon still had most of the trappings of a slightly seedy, delightfully wicked French colonial port city. Vung Tau, on the sea at the northeast corner of the Mekong Delta, was in many ways a resort. Do fifty or sixty days in the jungles and canals and then have a wonderful dinner with a vodka and tonic.

Yet Sea Float—our Swift base on floating barges moored in the middle of an estuary deep in the Ca Mau Peninsula, offered a totally different reality. Agent Orange rendered lifeless anything from the shoreline inland for 100 yards. No hustle and bustle. We owned 500 yards of water and wasteland in the middle of nowhere. The other side owned the rest. Welcome to Club Dead.

The Brown Water Navy was an apt description for where we were and what we did. Prolific tide changes reminded me of a toilet being flushed. The banks oozed mud and you shook your head as you watched one villager brushing his teeth, another washing clothes and a third taking a dump within shouting distance of each other. I sure hope they switched sides when the tide reversed.

I was 24, “Captain,” “skipper,” “boss” or “Ted” depending on who was talking. I was totally responsible for five crewmen and a 50-foot boat. There were no watches. I was on all the time. 24 hours a day. The guys were great but you were the man.  If you caught a catnap you were jolted awake when the engine speeds changed a mere 50 rpm. Guns. Positions. Radios. Code books. Keep everybody up and alert. Ain’t nobody but you holding this thing together.

Train all you want, the most amazing and challenging part was making split second decisions. You tried to skew the odds as best you could, but you realized if you screwed up there wasn’t much latitude. You had a bit of a swagger. You were a Swiftie. But you tried to keep your emotions and arrogance in check. We were playing for keeps.

There were, of course, hijinks here and there. Some planned. Some embarrassing. One of our brethren and his band of merry men had all fallen asleep when they plowed through some guy’s hut from the bedroom to the living room. Although funny at first the reality of invasion of these people’s world was sobering. Sometimes you just couldn’t win hearts and minds no matter what you did. And their lives were changed forever.

I felt for the villagers who had probably traveled to a city maybe once in their lives even though it was only ten miles away. You got the feeling they didn’t care if we were VC or American. Just leave us alone to fish and exist. Over centuries how often were these same thoughts shared by simple people who were just pawns in the battle over power and domination. Tough stuff.

There was a camaraderie among fellow officers and crewmen that can’t be duplicated. We lived on boats, barges and barracks, ate crappy food and laughed and kept each other safe. Arguments were rare. That was the one thing that was probably not healthy for anyone.

Another was that you actually liked a fast pace—several patrols in a 24-hour period—because time passed quickly. And the scariest part was that it did become our home. You fell into a rhythm. A routine. You haven’t lived until you shower with ice cold water provided by a cistern. There were so many mosquitoes it sounded like JFK airport at night.

Every so often you had “Merry Go Round watch”. One boat circled the base and a nest of moored gunboats. They were parked there for the night to get some much needed rest. We continually dropped concussion grenades on our loop to ward off sappers all the while gunners from the base were firing 50 caliber rounds into the woods to keep them low. Not exactly a night at the Ritz but we all dealt with it. Life’s a bitch. Then you die. Hope not.

So many years have passed. Memories fog. We always err on the plus side and embellishment seems to be the order of the day. But my thoughts aren’t on this rice paddy or that. I can’t remember the names of the rivers and checkpoints. To this day I have no affinity for guns or high capacity magazines.

I think I have earned to right to speak of war as a horrendous waste of money and men’s and women’s lives. Not as a Vietnam veteran against the war. Not as a pacifist. Just as a thinking and sometimes sane person who looks at the facts and draws an obvious conclusion about the futility of such folly as the few pursue power and domination. And then once again I have to ask, “What the hell are we doing here?”

Ted Kenny Ltjg. USNR

Self Made Men….and Women

Our world is replete with men and woman who are more than happy to tell how smart, talented, rich, good looking and famous they are. Just ask them. They have braved the new world, conquered hardship, fought the good fight all on their own. The are to be respected and worshipped or idolized depending on your religious bent. They are Eden, Nirvanna and Superhero all rolled into one. Wow! What a guy or girl!

The Donald was crowing at Doral a few weeks ago that he and he alone had created this wonderful golf course. Who else could get Tiger Woods to let him put his name on a villa? Larry Ellison can buy sail boat racing’s America’s Cup. It was his vision. His money. His superior brainpower designed the vague resemblance to a yacht. How did these guys do it? Truth be told, they and you and I had help.

There is no doubt that advanced stages of egoism carry the tragic DNA that causes one to go blind and have severe memory lapses. Fr. Pat in a homily a few weeks ago called attention to this and it has stuck with yours truly. A skyscraper or Megamansion is not a “Monument to Me”. It is the result of thousands of hours put in by architects to engineers. Skilled steelworkers to common laborers. Yes lawyers and bankers and real estate professionals too.

If you wear a $5,000 suit, someone had to weave the fabric. To go to the very beginning a farmer provided the raw material of wool or silk. Another common man had to sew it, tailor it and even after the fact dry clean it. Your alligator or suede shoes were donated by a friend in the animal kingdom. They were cut and sewn by a craftsman. Socks. Skivvies. you name it. You had no part in the manufacture of your fabulous wardrobe. You were just dumb enough to pay an exorbitant price for it. Get a grip.

Let’s get even more basic. If you were born with a silver spoon, good for you. If you weren’t there was a mom and a dad that worked their butts off at home and in the office to give you a chance. They could have been great or not so but they were there and except in very rare circumstances provided a roof over your head and food on your table. I have spoken before of the “Lucky Sperm Club” and every millionaire or billionaire today is a testament to it.

Now I can hear the chorus now about it takes a village and all the sarcastic comments to go with it. Sorry kids but we are interdependent more than ever. The global economy is here to stay and if you don’t believe me look at the countries of origin in your closet, garage or golf bag. Check out your phone, laptop and TV. I would love to buy only American but then I would probably starve or get bored to death. The world is flat and getting flatter.

Hand in hand with self importance is our ability to put a lot of distance between us and where we came from. I remember growing up on Wall Street with friends with whom I drank beer and ate hamburgers in the early days. Later on as titles were painted on doors I was with one at dinner one evening when he declared an expensive wine, swill. Selective Alzheimer’s I guess.

Bill Simon, former Secretary of the Treasury came to our trading desk as young man for orientation when he first came into the municipal bond business. My dad kept track of his career as he made his way up the chain from Salomon Brothers to DC. Simon put my father on a guest list for his going away party from the Beltway. My dad called his office and asked for Bill to tell him of his regrets. His rather officious secretary told JJ that Mr. Simon was a very busy man. My father replied,”So am I” and slammed the phone down. Within minutes it was the Secretary himself calling back to apologize.

We get lost in our self importance. I think TV personalities, movie stars and high level execs get so used to people kissing their butts and saying yes sir or ma’am that they begin to believe their own press releases. I can’t help but feel they are so locked into their enclaves they lose all touch with everyday people. They forget the where and the how. “You are jealous TTG”, you say. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t begrudge anybody a dime. Just wear it well or as Lou Holtz says,”Look like you have been there before when you score a touchdown.”

Whether you are in Congress, sports, Hollywood or just Main Street America you got there as the result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people, many of whom you have never known. Arrogance is by Webster, an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people. I happen to feel it is the ultimate personification of stupidity and insecurity. But that is just me.

As we get older and older our world becomes smaller and smaller. We want it to reflect our state in life. We want to be comfortable with those we have something in common with. Don’t rock the boat. They like to be with self made people. They say no one else would understand. You got that right.

As always
Ted The Great

Multi billionaire, Ken Langone’s father was a plumber in Roslyn,NY and his mother a cafeteria worker. Larry Ellison, the founder and CEO of Oracle, was born on the lower East Side of New York and was given up for adoption to an aunt in Chicago. Donald Trump was born to money in the person of a millionaire father who made his money in real estate. Oprah Winfrey was born impoverished in rural Mississippi.

At Gucci you can buy a leather jogging pant for $3995. Perhaps a Givenchy T shirt for $835. My favorite is a Fendi tote bag for $2550. From Dolce and Gabbana how about a christening coat for $1885? Amen sister or brother.

Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich. According to a recent survey of the top 1 percent of American earners, slightly less than 14 percent were involved in banking or finance. Roughly a third were entrepreneurs or managers of non financial businesses. Nearly 16 percent were doctors or other medical professionals.Lawyers made up slightly more than 8 percent, and engineers, scientists and computer professionals another 6.6 percent.Sports and entertainment figures composed almost 2 percent. Someone helped somewhere. Just ask Kevin Durant.



Volunteer Army….

I was chatting with my daughter Megan the other day. She was bewailing the fact that not enough people get involved in volunteer activities at her girls’ school. Only 25%. I told her things hadn’t changed much since she was in school and Kathy and I put in out time on various PTOS. cynicism aside I began to think of all the work volunteers do.

Just look around you. Go to a park and there are volunteer guides. Look at the city streets and there are those helping the homeless. Food banks. Americorps. Habitat for Humanity. Churches. Hospitals. Crisis centers. Suicide Hot Lines. Sierra Club. Save the Everglades. Donators of blood.

Incredibly there are doctors and nurses that visit foreign countries at no cost. There is a young nurse at hospice who took her vacation time to go to Mexico and assist surgeons doing cleft palate procedures. There was that poor devil from Chicago who was in an Afghani hospital when some loony decided to try out his new AK47. Some would say, what a waste. Do you really think so?

It is easy to look askance and call them do gooders or whack jobs. Tree huggers and the like. I am not sure if that is an observation or assuaging whatever guilt we might have for not being part of them. Hey I am a busy man. They have nothing else to do. Those bums have to learn to stand on their own two feet. Yadda. Yadda.

This is not a lecture on altruism because Lord knows I should do a lot more. Some folks just don’t look at things the same way. I get that. But I wondered what causes me to try to help. I think it is a combination of compassion and a sense of community that everyone should pitch in to help. That produces a quandary for TTG. My giving is countered by the fact that people do have to become self reliant. I will help until you become a pariah. Then it is adios.

But what if you went completely the other way? The antonym of altruism is selfishness or more probably in today’s lexicon, objectivism. There are two classes of people, the hard working sorts and those that want to live off the land or the government as it were. Illegal immigrants. Vagrants. Lawyers. Oops. I have now opened Pandora’s box.

All kidding aside it is good lesson for me. I was kind of blown away when I started looking for anti charitable pieces. It seems many feel volunteers are taking away jobs from the masses. They are ill equipped and not worth the trouble they cause. It takes away from the responsibility of governments to provide. Now that you have helped us, what do we do when you leave? You think you are high and mighty coming in here and showing us your ways. Why don’t you just clean up your own act? Wow.

This really plays into politics and could be a primordial reason for our divide. The Dems want the government to provide everything and by the vehicle of extreme taxation redistribute the wealth. The GOP says do it on your own. Less interference means more money and ergo loftier goals of success. That is a serious divide based not only on economic philosophies but on deep seeded emotions. Can you do both?

As in all matters cosmic the devil is in the details. Rich Liberals give far less than Conservatives. The left will say all the Koch Brothers do is write checks. We get out there with the people. The right says that charity is more from the heart when it is an individual choice and not the dole. Houston, we do have a serious problem. It really is exacerbated by the fanatical wings of both sides that want the fan the flames rather than put the fire out or at least bring it under control. Got to keep market share and ratings up.

I watched a fascinating documentary on Nature last night. An Irish lad traversed the River Shannon during various seasons. Beyond beautiful it told the story of life and death on the river. Not men but animals. All without the bias and spins of an intellectual society. There was a cycle. You were born, nurtured and then set out on your own. There was feeling of family that helped where it could. But there was also a sense that some would not make it and fall prey to disease or hunter. Haves and have nots. Harsh but incredibly real.

This all won’t sway my basic instincts. I will help wherever I can and keep looking for the elusive dream of why God put me on this earth. But it will also give me pause when I am so quick to criticize this or that. I can only ponder what your soul thinks however far left or right. I will probably stay in the middle which is not a cop out. I just think collaboration is more fruitful than confrontation.

Man did this piece come full circle. Sorry about that. I wish I was smart enough to come up with an all encompassing philosophy that lasted all the days of my life. Stubborn and unyielding in my ways would make life simpler. But then again I couldn’t look for possibilities. I couldn’t think in color. Only black and white. Every day is an adventure in learning. Not routine. Most of all I ain’t giving up. I will continue to pursue my army of the center. Any volunteers?

As always
Ted The Great

92% of Americans give some sort of charitable  contribution. Low-income working families are the most generous group in America, giving away about 4.5% of their income on average, compared with about 2.5 percent among the middle class, and 3 percent among high-income families. The ultimate charitable gift is an anonymous one.

In 2012, 64.5 million Americans (26.5% of the population. Sound familiar?) contributed 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth an estimated $175 billion of service.

Since 1961 there have been 215,000 Peace Corps volunteers. 63% are women. 37% are male. Minorities account for 24% of those contributing.

Arthur Brooks in his book “Who Really Cares,” sees “four forces in American life that are primarily responsible for making Americans charitable” — “religion, skepticism about the role of government in economic life, strong families, and personal entrepreneurism.”Brooks’ research has shown that conservatives donate about 30 percent more than do liberals.  Interestingly, on average, conservatives earn less than liberals. A separate study by Google said the number was closer to 50%.
Did all that clear anything up or make it murkier?