Stan looks at America by the dollars

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Americans spend $109 billion a year on illegal marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. Note the word “illegal.” Now that marijuana has become legal in parts of the United States can we look forward to that number going down?

The Transportation Safety Administration tells us about the $500,000 in loose change that was left behind at airport screening stations last year. How much did they not tell us about? Am I saying that members of the Transportation Safety Administration are not honest? You betcha I am. While most of them are, we read stories about some who are not.

An 18-acre estate in East Hampton has been sold for $145 million, setting a new record for the highest-priced residential sale in the United States. Who’s the buyer? No. Not me. My bid was a bit low. You might be thinking that New York is the most expensive area in America to reside. Not on average: the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that while the national average cost for housing is about $16,887 a year, housing in the District of Columbia, at almost $29,000 a year, is the most expensive place in the country to live.

I do know about the home in California that is listed at $195 million, but at the time of this writing, that particular home has not yet been sold. I was considering sending in a bid — but to live in California? I don’t think so. It’s just a matter of time before the San Andreas Fault sends the Golden State into the Pacific Ocean. I’d probably do better buying some cheap desert land in Nevada. When that tragedy happens I’ll become a billionaire owning some wonderful beachfront.

The Lion King broke the record held by the Phantom of the Opera. The Disney hit is now the top theater ticket of all time. The stage musical version of the 1994 flick has earned $6.2 billion in global sales since its debut on Broadway in 1997, passing the Phantom’s $6-billion mark. My roommate and I saw the show when it opened on Broadway, again in Tampa a few years ago, and we have plans to see a road company again this winter. Yes, it is that good.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a whopping $4 billion was spent on the recent congressional campaigns, making it the most expensive midterms ever. The “Rejection Election” is also known as the “Money Midterms.” Did you get the results you wanted?

I just found this in a popular weekly magazine: 49 percent of Americans say they carry $20 or less in their wallets every day, and 9 percent don’t carry cash at all. According to a poll of 3,200 drivers, the average driver has about $22 in change in his car. Thank you for telling us. We can probably look forward to more automobile break-ins.

Actor William Devane, in a TV commercial that I’ve seen at least two dozen times, tells us that the debt of the United States increases by $500 million a day. Will this great country ever be able to crawl out from under this debt? In our lifetime?

Fifty-four percent of all grocery shoppers in the United States do their buying at the local supermarket. According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average American household spent $102.90 there every week. That was the number for the year before last. The totals for 2014 are still being tabulated. Have you been to Waldbaum’s lately? If you have, I am certain that you’ve already noticed the increases in every aisle. I wonder what the totals will be this year.

Disgraced Internal Revenue Service director Lois Lerner told a lie, took the fifth, “lost” the important e-mails, and is looking forward to a pension of $100,000 a year for the rest of her life. I am telling you that my friends from both sides of the aisle are ticked off at this. Are you?

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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