Archive for August, 2012
In the old days employers used to provide welfare benefit to any employees who got into difficulty and some of the retirement plans were remarkably generous. Those were the compassionate times when employers recognized the levels of pay were low and prevented the employees from saving for their retirement. Indeed, this practice actually hung on through the decades and new laws were required as recently as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. This deals with the management of the retirement funds established over the years. All employees pay a small percentage of their pay into the fund and it tops up the pension when they retire and leaves enough to cover funeral expenses.
While the country remain in the grip of these socialists, everyone saw good returns from these retirement funds. Even though there were minor recessions and more serious depressions, these funds were solid, steady performers. During the boom years, they grew spectacularly. And that’s when the problems began. The owners of these businesses began to question why so much cash was being left sitting around doing nothing. With the economy doing well, many of these funds were therefore used to fund dramatic expansions of the businesses. The owners always meant to pay the money back except, this was a cheaper source of funding than using the banks. Repayments were therefore delayed.
There are some very comprehensive rules protecting European citizens when they travel around Europe. If the airlines fail to comply with these rules, they will be prosecuted and heavy fines are payable. So it’s in your interests to know your rights. Let’s start with the not uncommon situation of overbooked flights. You have paid for your ticket, you told the airline you were coming, and you present yourself at the airport on time only to find there are too many bodies waiting to get on the same flight. If this happens to you, the airline must first call for volunteers to give up their seats in return for agreed compensation. But suppose no one volunteers. Well, the choice falls to you.
If you decide not to travel, you are entitled to a full refund and compensation of up to 600 Euro. The actual amount varies depending on how long the intended flight and how many miles. But if it will still be worth traveling onward, you are entitled to be booked on to the first available flight to your destination. If you are offered a seat upgrade, the airline cannot ask you for the difference in price. If you must now break your journey and catch a connecting flight, all expenses must be met. Food and accommodation may also be necessary. Should the only available seats be in a lower class, you are entitled to a refund of the difference in ticket price.
Over the last two decades, there’s been a revolution in the way we assess childhood behavior. In the good old days because the pharmaceutical industry began inventing new drugs to treat all these new diseases and disorders, we had well-behaved children and those we were forced to tolerate. Now the medical profession has invented Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and now prescribes several varieties of pill to control it, we have a cultural dilemma. In the good old day, parents would give their “naughty” children a gentle blow to the head or some other sensitive part of the body and, repeated as necessary, this tended to produce a sullen silence. Today, we’re not supposed to use corporal punishment, at least in public. Instead we administer pills and sit back quietly hoping they will soon take effect and give everyone’s eardrums a rest.