Stan tells you where the money’s at

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So where is all the money? We call this “America by the Dollars.”

We learned last year that the United States is the world’s champion when it comes to incarceration. Add the costs of maintenance of the prisons, dietary laws, gymnasiums, televisions for the inmates, and a laundry list of giveaways, our system is successful at a cost of $80 billion a year.

Why does a college education cost so much? Even with all the partial scholarships, every parent and grandparent I know is still digging deep. Here’s one reason. You are writing large checks and shelling out mucho taxes if your loved one is a student at Ohio State University because President E. Gordon Gee drew a salary last year of $1.9 million. That makes him the highest paid university president in America.

As if that isn’t enough, the man submitted another $1.7 million in expenses for his country club dues, private jets, and fund-raising dinners. Why? Does that make Sheldon a better student?

• • •

From the 2012 tally is in and here it is. The amount of money Americans spent on the more than 10 million cosmetic procedures topped $11 bBillion. Momma, if your child wants to go into medicine, encourage him to be a plastic surgeon.

• • •

The value of the sales of gift cards rose last year to more than $118 billion. More than a billion dollars in value on the cards goes unredeemed annually.

What did you do with that $100 gift card that Aunt Mary sent you last Christmas? You bought a DVD and two CDs. There’s 60 bucks left on it. Where is the card? Well, 27 percent of us use up to half the value of the card and toss it into a drawer and forget about it.

By the time they remember the gift and attempt to find it, there’s a good chance that the card has expired or — catch this — the company is no longer in business. Think not? tells us that almost 18 million people are holding a total of $210 million in Borders gift cards. The bankrupt book dealer closed the last of its stores almost three years ago.

So, what’s left on your card — and where is it?

And where is that Starbucks gift card that grandma gave you at Christmas? Ten percent of American adults received one over the holidays. The coffee company sold four billion dollars’ worth of gift cards last year with $1.4 billion sold in the last quarter alone.

• • •

An envious neighbor noticed us collecting our luggage immediately after getting out of a taxi.

“Another vacation?” she asked. “Who could be as rich as you?”

I smiled as I quipped back, “Well there’s Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and me. That’s about all.”

At this moment Bill Gates is worth $78.5 Billion. I am saying that except for a few zeros, I am running close behind.

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