Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm Feeling Cranky!

I'm feeling cranky. Why you ask? Am I not getting enough bran in my morning cereal? No, that's not the problem.

Has my panty hose finally become so tight that the circulation to my head has been substantially diminished, you query? Nope, but nice guess.

Have they stopped producing Pepsi or Ballreich potato chips? No, thank goodness that's not it either.

No, the crankiness started a few days ago when I first heard about the Presidential/Congressional rebate they want to send my way. Sure, at first, I was excited at the prospect of a bunch of Benjamin Franklin's making their way into my waiting palms. But then I got to thinking about the reason this wad of cash was coming my way.

Both Washington and leading economists are worried about a recession (though the “experts” keep telling us that we have a fundamentally sound economy). The folks in Washington suddenly realized in an “I could have had a V-8 moment” that you and I were spending more on groceries, gas and utilities and were therefore no longer spending money on non-essential things.

All this fiscal responsibility on our part has been affecting the fundamentally sound economy in a fundamentally unsound way. (Hey, aren't these the same people who keep telling us we need to save more for retirement? Gees, I wish they would make up their minds!)

And this led me to think about other items I am now spending more money on than I had in the past, like, for example, NARA reproductions.

NARA imposed a 103% increase last October on reproductions of Civil War pension files, and a 131% increase on land entry files. All of which NARA said they needed in order to cover the cost of doing these reproductions. Except of course, initially they said they really, truly, absolutely needed a 238% increase on the Civil War pension files and I don't know, maybe it was just a case of somebody's calculator needing new batteries, because when all was said and done they only needed a 103% increase. (But that was only for the first 100 pages, anything after that they decided they needed an additional $.65 a page.)

So the 26 pages that I received in great-great-grandpa's Civil War pension package, which cost $1.43 per page, would now cost me $2.88 a page. And the cost of GGGG grandpa Ezekial Anderson's compiled 1812 military record, which cost me $8.50 for each of the two pages it contained, and would now cost me $12.50 per page. The four pages in GGG grandpa Joseph Good's land entry file, which cost $4.44 per page, would now cost $10 a page. Well, you get the idea. (I did get a bargain of 160 pages for $37, which would now cost $ 114 — boy am I laughing myself silly over that one!)

The joke is, of course, that you never know exactly what you are going to get when you order from NARA. Twenty-six pages or a hundred pages — it's all a mystery until you open up the nice little envelope. Of course, you are dealing with the government, so you can feel safe that they will charge you in an appropriate fair, what it cost them manner.

Anyway, the whole idea of the IRS, a governmental entity, sending me money so I could turn around and send the money back to NARA, another governmental entity, seemed kind of ironic — and irony very often makes me cranky. Maybe I SHOULD go check the bran content in my morning cereal.

This is me ranting — Until Next Time!

For a serious look at the valuable information to be gleaned from Civil War pension files, see a series of posts at “Genealogy — Diggin up Dirt”
starting with the January 5th post “The Fat File” and running through the January 20th post “Clearing Up Facts.”

Note this post first published online, January 28, 2008, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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