What does $3.5 trillion look like?
The Democrats now own both houses and the presidency. No one can stop them. They want to spend an additional $3.5 trillion to the already bloated federal spending.
Let’s break $3.5 trillion down.
There are 144.3 million taxpayers in America. That’s $24,255 per taxpayer. That’s roughly $50,000 per working couple. That hurts thinking of it that way.
If we pooled all those 144 million taxpayer’s $24,255 piles of cash into one pile that would be one enormous pile. That got me thinking. What does $3,500,000,000,000 actually look like?
A dollar bill is 0.010922 centimeters (0.0043 inches) thick. It would take about 233 bills stacked up to make one inch.
Nearly 2,800 bills to make a foot. So how high would $3.5 trillion be? Simple 0.010922 X 3,500,000,000,000 = 38,227,000,000 cm. There are 100,000 cm. per kilometer.
Therefore, our $3.5 trillion stack of money would be 382,270 kilometers (237,531 miles) high.
How high is that? Well it turns out that is almost identical to the average distance the moon is from Earth, which is about 384,000 kilometers. The moon gets as close as 363,104 kilometers away. So they really are spending to the moon. Literally, if we stacked up that pile of money, the moon would knock it over as it passed by.
If we stacked bills end to end, $3.5 trillion would be 339 million miles long. That would go beyond Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and more than twice as far as the sun.
That’s what $3,500,000,000,000 looks like.
Redistribute low-priority police duties
I am writing regarding the police reform issues of today.
In regard to this, I have a proven idea that could help with staffing issues that departments have in the area.
I have proposed this in the past to a local department and didn’t even receive a response.
In other areas, mainly in the South, civilian employees are utilized as “public safety” officers and they respond to mundane calls, such as property damage accidents, barking dog calls, simple report calls, traffic directing calls, etc.
This takes the higher-trained police officer away from these calls and places she or he on the calls where police are needed more, such as domestic disputes, personal injury accidents, robberies in progress, etc.
It also releases them from these “low-priority calls.”
These officers require less training and wages; retired officers could even be utilized.
This would be cost saving and could get these low-priority calls handled more quickly and keep the police officers doing the job they are more highly trained for.
In my mind. this is something that should be looked into.
But here in New York, for some reason, we are very reluctant to change the way it has always been done.
Dems must address immigration problem
Democrats wish to provide a path to citizenship for those that either they or their parents have broken existing immigration laws. I have doubts about the long-term viability of a country that choses to reward law breaking.
As a practical matter, l suggest further acts of criminal behavior by noncitizens can be dealt with by exporting them to their country of origin rather than having the law abiding assuming the cost of their incarceration.
Also, I’m glad Biden has seen fit to save us money by not having them vaccinated, and coincidentally totally undermining efforts to have the rest of the population vaccinated.
A simple solution to dealing with those who wish to jump the line for legal entry into the country is for the Democrats to bite the bullet and build Trump’s wall.
Kiernan is best for finance commissioner
I urge you to review the qualifications of JoAnne Kiernan, a candidate for the vital position of commissioner of finance in Saratoga Springs.
JoAnne is a Certified Public Accountant with extensive experience and extraordinary skills in all areas of finance, especially developing budgets that are sustainable for businesses, institutions and associations with sound fiscal responsibility.
Additionally, she has been elected to the Saratoga Springs City School District Board of Education several times and served as its president.
No other candidate for this position has the experience, qualifications and ability to perform the necessary tasks required.
Please join me in voting for JoAnne Kiernan on Nov. 2 to be our next commissioner of finance.
Niskayuna delivering transparent gov’t
I want to bring clarity to recent Niskayuna news stories and editorials. They’ve had a similar theme: After years of effective open governance, the town board woke up one day and decided to be less transparent. This is inaccurate.
The pandemic has made town government more transparent.
Public meetings, many of which required attendance to view, are now all viewable live. Last year’s budget process is a perfect example. All meetings were broadcast.
The town supervisor recently decided to resume virtual town meetings. This was not a decision of the town board. At my request, they are in person again.
Our decision to trim 4% from the town budget was not a secret. It was discussed in open meeting, which everyone could watch. The state comptroller’s letter (not report or audit) merely advised more notice – it was not “damning,” as was printed in the paper. We have held the line on taxes year after year.
The police chief selection process included asking the public for candidate questions, which we included in the interviews.
No matter how much some people want the gritty personnel details that may be included in town investigations into HR issues, we can never act against HR policies or law to satisfy prurient curiosity.
This would have a chilling effect on employees who participate in these investigations and may needlessly embarrass or undermine hard-working staff.
We all benefit when government is open to the people. And that’s just what Niskayuna’s town government delivers.
John Della Ratta
The writer is a Niskayuna Town Board member.
Town should oppose spot-zone change
We have lived in the town of Rotterdam on Eugene Drive for 28 years. We have raised our children in Rotterdam and have always enjoyed living in this quiet neighborhood.
We have felt secure knowing the land around our home was zoned “Single Family” so that if there was ever any development, we were confident it would be developed in a manner consistent to our neighborhood. This has all been put in jeopardy.
A developer has petitioned the town to change the zoning of 2625 Curry Road behind my home for Single Family Residential to Multi-Family Residential to permit the construction of a huge apartment complex. In July, the Rotterdam Planning Commission voted overwhelmingly 6-1 against the project.
The commission noted in their opposition to the project that the addition of several hundred more cars on Curry Road would create safety issues for surrounding neighborhoods. Curry Road is already at capacity, peripheral neighborhoods are already used as alternative routes to avoid the traffic jam on Curry Road.
This project would make a bad situation worse for the residents.
Despite the overwhelming opposition to the project by the Rotterdam Town Planning Commission, the Rotterdam Town Board has advanced the “spot zone” change and is most likely going to vote on this issue at its next meeting in October.
We are pleading with the Town Board to respect the finding of its own Planning Commission and oppose the “spot zone “ change. Keep Rotterdam “A Nice Place to Live.”
Efforts should have been on prevention
The U.S. FDA and CDC recently expanded access to Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots but retained inadvisable eligibility restrictions. Boosters should be offered to all. The agencies were correctly satisfied on one issue: mRNA vaccines are effectively limiting clinically severe illness.
However, FDA and CDC dismissed two additional issues that indicate the need for unrestricted boosters.
First, caution is needed where new SARS-CoV-2 variants are being selected strongly to exploit personal immunological weaknesses. Second, the virus may be persistent after ‘cure,’ even if infected people had experienced only mild symptoms, or no symptoms.
Many viruses are persistent. After ‘cure,’ they remain in ‘refugia.’ If you had the virus, you might never be fully rid of it. Indeed, many viruses can re-emerge opportunistically, when people are weakened physiologically by malnutrition or with other illnesses, or immunologically with aging.
New exposure and external re-infection are unnecessary.
Such reactivation of long-dormant viruses may cause serious illness. Examples include childhood chickenpox (Varicella zoster). The chickenpox may have been ‘cured,’ but the V. zoster virus may persist, and cause shingles many decades later. Likewise, people ‘cured’ of Ebola still may harbor the virus and initiate Ebola outbreaks years later.
That is why public health professionals apply the ‘precautionary principle’ to avert serious credible, even though uncertain, consequences. FDA and CDC did not.
The agencies’ overriding public health concern should have been to prevent future SARS-CoV-2 infections, not tolerate them by assuming that they will not impose major public health and associated economic burdens in the future.
Robert A. Michaels, PhD, CEP
Personhood starts at birth, not conception
In his Sept. 18 letter (“Bearing children is an extraordinary privilege”), Rick Savage states his belief that personhood starts at conception. I certainly disagree.
First of all, we have Date of Birth, not Date of Conception. Until the cord is cut and the fetus can live on its own, the fetus is part of the woman, not an individual.
During the summer of 1957, after three years of med school, I worked at a 100-bed hospital in rural Maryland. I recall two unusual events.
One was a woman holding the leg of her fetus on her stomach when I cut the cord.
The other was a miscarriage. I cut the cord and threw the fetus into an ER sink before admitting the woman. When I returned to clean the ER, I noticed movement.
I then spent the next six hours trying to keep the 29-ounce baby alive. My supervisor was mad at me because he had to file both a birth certificate and death certificate.
Jack L. Underwood, M.D.
Tired of Niskayuna board’s blunders
I thought Peter Struzzi’s Sept. 4 letter (“Return integrity to Nisky government”) fairly pointed out that the 2021 Niskayuna Town budget failed a state comptroller audit and that the negative report was hidden from taxpayers. He highlighted the continuous failure of our town board with respect to our town budget.
But I didn’t agree about the events surrounding the Blackface photo. I’ve seen nothing indicating that the former comptroller was an “exemplary employee” who was wronged, as Mr. Struzzi wrote.
Based on comments from friends of mine who are former employees of the town, it appears the town board and the former comptroller, together, denied town employees access to an unbiased human resources system and protection from workplace misconduct.
I also have concerns about what happened with Interim Police Chief Fran Wall. She was not treated fairly and what was done to her is further evidence that the HR system is still not fair or unbiased.
I am tired of reading about the blunders of this town board in the newspaper. They seem to be in this for their own self-aggrandizement.
Let’s vote for new board members that can speak for us and their own conscience, and not vote the way the party chair dictates.
Oncology merger is a welcome change
I read the article (“Center expands cancer treatment”) in the Sept. 22 Gazette about the Ellis Hospital and Roswell Park Medical Oncology collaboration.
Ellis Medicine’s CEO acknowledged they send some patients out of Schenectady to cancer centers including New York and Boston. Some cancer patients I have known traveled to Albany for continuation of treatment, too.
There are many without the means, time, ability or desire to leave home and travel, so for cancer care and treatment, this is wonderful.
I can’t write this and not remember that our community has other serious health issues. Some services will be denied with the Ellis/St. Peters hospital merger and people will have to travel if they have the means, time, ability or desire to leave home.
I am left with a couple of questions: Was the collaboration part of a St. Peters and Ellis hospital merger agreement? Will Roswell Park Medical Oncology be limited in patient services because of the St. Peters/Trinity Health doctrine?
Maintain separation of church and state
So, are politicians no longer adhering to the separation of church and state (which in all actuality is a metaphor and taken out of context, but that’s a whole other topic)? Gov. Kathleen Hochul recently made the claim that “vaccines are from God” and if “you don’t get the vaccine, you’re not listening to God.”
She asked the parishioners of a church in Brooklyn to be her “apostles” and go out and convince people to get the vaccine.
I was floored when I read it. She really went there? Yes, she did.
I’m not sure who her “god” is, but her condemnation of those not vaccinated (some have natural immunity, let’s not forget) was not just appalling, it was ungodly!
People have strong convictions. A person should not be forced to violate their conscience to keep their job or enjoy their life.
If she’s going to inject God into her argument to get vaccinated, I dare her to pick up the Bible first.
Let’s also consider 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
God used Moses to free His people from Pharaoh, who was a hard-hearted totalitarian tyrant. It seems that she is the one not listening to God. She is the tyrant.
I didn’t think it was possible, but this governor is proving to be far worse than her predecessor. Is she even American?
Fishing canals is not as easy as advertised
I almost choked on my coffee when reading the Sept. 28 Gazette article (“History and recreation meet on the state Canal System”) how the Canal Conference mentioned fishing as part of its canal hoopla on how to make the canal a better destination.
Obviously not many of these folks fish or enjoy the beauty of the canal.
Lock 7 is now framed in by giant bright orange barriers and chains that could stop a battleship.
The prime fishing spots below the dam have been restricted and more frequently patrolled by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
I’d like someone to explain how these measures make my paddling and fishing more enjoyable.
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