Better Way To Solve Shutdown and Migrant Crisis

$367.0M goal

Campaign created 1 month ago
A faster, better, sometimes cheaper way to solve the shutdown and migrant crisis


When it comes to fully funding the programs described below, the federal govt has been up to 75%-80% AWOL for years anyway, not just since mid December 2018. So even if the federal govt officially reopens before the deadline of March 1st, 2019, when Section 8 is scheduled to run out of money, this GoFundMe campaign will continue, with barely a hickup.


According to ( see excerpt from Facebook below) the actual cost of building the Trump border wall is $50 billion dollars or more, not $5 billion dollars. And the length of time required to complete the project is ‘beyond Trump’s lifetime’.

John Thielking, sole proprietor of CouchHosting.org, is pledging to use the money raised in this GoFundMe campaign in two basic ways:


1) It is possible that the govt shutdown may drag on well beyond March 1st, 2019, when Section 8 funding is set to run out. Also, there is already a homelessness crisis (exacerbated by govt employees not getting paid) that could be reduced by providing additional rental assistance to more people than are currently receiving Section 8 assistance. Currently only about one in four who are eligible receive Section 8 assistance. SNAP benefits and heating assistance may also be affected by the govt shutdown. Currently SNAP only provides about ½ of the needed assistance while only 1 in 5 who are eligible for heating assistance receive it. The total amount of aid of this type currently received in Lane County, Oregon (population of 375,000) is estimated to be about $135 million dollars per year. If all people in Lane County who are eligible had all of their needs met, that would be more like $367 million dollars per year. Nationwide, if all eligible people had their needs met through these three forms of assistance, that would cost $294 billion dollars per year.


2) The fastest way to keep people from migrating to the US is to improve the conditions in their countries of origin, such as in Latin America, by alleviating the suffering of Latin American countries’ economies and governments under the combined choke-hold of the US Govt foreign policy and the process of being bailed out via IMF loans. For possibly less than the total cost of building Trump’s border wall to full completion and on a much shorter time frame than it would take to build the entire wall, the fundrasing here may be able to offer up to a total of $100 billion dollars per year in aid to foreign governments. Unlike a traditional IMF loan, this aid would not have to be paid back. Or if the govt has the means to repay, no interest would be charged, just principal payments would be made. Funds could be raised by running ads on TV, Youtube, direct mail and even just hiring people to hold signs along busy streets at rush hour. And of course expenses would be reduced by encouraging assisted govts to make principal payments.


One example of the dire need for the CouchHosting.org fundraiser to bail out foreign govts instead of having the IMF do it, is the case of Ecuador. Ecuador is currently trying to weasel out of continuing to grant Julian Assange asylum at it’s embassy in Britain. They are being very principled in the way that they are formally backing out, by reviewing the details of how Assange was granted asylum by the previous president of Ecuador. However, it now becomes clear why the current president is backing out. Ecuador is facing a dire need of a $10 billion dollar IMF loan to make it a bit easier to handle the debt that it owes to China for infrastructure improvements. In addition to the loan payments having an opportunity cost of ushering in cuts to social programs in order to pay for the loan, there are two conditions attached to the loan at the behest of the US. One condition is that Ecuador hand over Julian Assange to the US for prosecution for espionage because of his work as a journalist with Wikileaks exposing US war crimes. The other condition is that Ecuador must drop it’s lawsuit against Chevron for the pollution of it’s rain forest. If CouchHosting.org could just give Ecuador $10 billion dollars, or at least have principal only payment terms, with no other conditions attached, life in Ecuador could be vastly improved in short order, lessening the need for people in Ecuador to migrate to the US.


Disclaimer: I am fully aware that it is prohibited by US law for a US citizen to allege that he or she is representing the foreign policy interests of the US while being soley employed as a private citizen. So therefore I make no representation here that I am acting on behalf of the US govt when dealing with foreign govts. On the flip side, due diligence may reveal that CouchHosting.org and it’s employees if any may be required to register as foreign agents of the govt(s) that they give money/loans to. That line should not be reached until the date when the first funds are distributed to a specific govt.


How will the funds be distributed so as to not give a big tax penalty to the sole proprietorship CouchHosting.org? The IRS allows an itemized deduction for a charitable contribution of any amount up to 60% of adjusted gross income. So the goal will be to make contributions to charities of 60% of the total amount raised. I will then take 10% out as my fee for running the fundraiser and 20% will likely be consumed by the payment of federal and state income taxes, while the remaining 10% will go into the business savings account. If my personal 10% share exceeds $200,000 per year, I will save the rest aside to build the business savings account. The business savings account will be used for business expenses such as advertising and if the account gets to be large enough, various low income housing projects will be constructed.


The giving to charity breakout is as follows:


The first $367 million from the 60% share goes to rental assistance, food banks and heating assistance programs in Lane County, Oregon. Many of these programs, such as St Vincent DePaul and Shelter Care rental assistance programs, accept donations from private donors in addition to any federal or state dollars that they receive.


The next $293.6 billion goes to similar programs all around the country to make sure the poor and working class are bailed out.


Amounts from the 60% share that exceed $294 billion go to 501 c3 nonprofits such as Global Exchange so that they can assist countries such as Ecuador in ways that they see fit.


If the size of the operation justifies it, CouchHosting.org may eventually directly assist foreign govts if it can acquire the appropriate 501 c3 status.


Below is the article clipped from Facebook about the border wall.


Amy Patrick
January 8 at 7:52 PM

Howdy.

To recap: I’m a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program in the nation and over a decade of experience on high-performance projects, and particularly of cleaning up design disasters where the factors weren’t properly accounted for, and I’m an adjunct professor of structural analysis and design at UH-Downtown. I have previously been deposed as an expert witness in matters regarding proper construction of walls and the various factors associated therein, and my testimony has passed Daubert.

Am I a wall expert? I am. I am literally a court-accepted expert on walls.

Structurally and civil engineering-wise, the border wall is not a feasible project. Trump did not hire engineers to design the thing. He solicited bids from contractors, not engineers. This means it’s not been designed by professionals. It’s a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.

What disasters?

Off the top of my head...
1) It will mess with our ability to drain land in flash flooding. Anything impeding the ability of water to get where it needs to go (doesn’t matter if there are holes in the wall or whatever) is going to dramatically increase the risk of flooding.
2) Messes with all kind of stuff ecologically. For all other projects, we have to do an Environmental Site Assessment, which is arduous. They’re either planning to circumvent all this, or they haven’t accounted for it yet, because that’s part of the design process, and this thing hasn’t been designed.
3) The prototypes they came up with are nearly impossible to build or don’t actually do the job. This article explains more:

https://www.engineering.com/BIM/ArticleID/17599/Writing-on-the-Wall-Report-Suggests-Border-Project-Is-Off-Track-and-Over-Budget.aspx

And so on.

The estimates provided for the cost are arrived at unreasonably. You can look for yourself at the two-year-old estimate that you see everyone citing.

http://fronterasdesk.org/sites/default/files/field/docs/2016/07/Bernstein-%20The%20Trump%20Wall.pdf?fbclid=IwAR07YuqpobyNj_J6UfeVcLajJpCL_OaJrUB483ioGW4D8l-R50O5sBeQnU8

It does not account for rework, complexities beyond the prototype design, factors to prevent flood and environmental hazard creation, engineering redesign... It’s going to be higher than $50bn. The contractors will hit the government with near CONSTANT change orders. “Cost overrun” will be the name of the game. It will not be completed in Trump’s lifetime.

I’m a structural forensicist, which means I’m called in when things go wrong. This is a project that WILL go wrong. When projects go wrong, the original estimates are just *obliterated*. And when that happens, good luck getting it fixed, because there aren’t that many forensicists out there to right the ship, particularly not that are willing to work on a border wall project— a large quotient of us are immigrants, and besides, we can’t afford to bid on jobs that are this political. We’re small firms, and we’re already busy, and we don’t gamble our reputations on political footballs. So you’d end up with a revolving door of contractors making a giant, uncoordinated muddle of things, and it’d generally be a mess. Good money after bad. The GAO agrees with me.

And it won’t be effective. I could, right now, purchase a 32 foot extension ladder and weld a cheap custom saddle for the top of the proposed wall so that I can get over it. I don’t know who they talked to about the wall design and its efficacy, but it sure as heck wasn’t anybody with any engineering imagination.

Another thing: we are not far from the day where inexpensive drones will be able to pick up and carry someone. This will happen in the next ten years, and it’s folly to think that the coyotes who ferry people over the border won’t purchase or create them. They’re low enough, quiet enough, and small enough to quickly zip people over any wall we could build undetected with our current monitoring setup.

Let’s have border security, by all means, but let’s be smart about it. This is not smart. It’s not effective. It’s NOT cheap. The returns will be diminishing as technology advances, too. This is a ridiculous idea that will never be successfully executed and, as such, would be a monumental waste of money. ‍♀️

This is set to public. Have a blast sharing it.



Breakout of current federal govt funding:

$11.5 billion per year for project housing

$22 billion per year spent on individual Section 8 voucher contracts to acquire housing in the private market.

8.3 million households are seriously in need of rental assistance (paying more than ½ of their income in rent or living in substandard conditions).

4.7 million households are on Sec 8.

Only 1 in 4 who are eligible receive Sec 8.

Total currently spent on Sec 8: $33.5 billion per year.

$134 billion per year would be spent if everyone eligible was served by Sec 8.

https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/congress-prioritizes-housing-programs-in-2018-funding-bill-rejects-trump

SNAP benefits are $70.9 billion per year in 2016.

Assume that doubling this number would meet the total need: $141.8 billion per year.

Heating assistance is $3.64 billion per year.

1 in 5 who are eligible receive it.

$18.2 billion per year would be spent if all eligible were served.


Total existing federal budget amounts for all three: $108.04 billion per year.

Total if everyone received what they need for all three programs: $294 billion dollars per year.

Divided by 300 million US population is $980 per person per year.

Times population of Lane county ( 375,000 ) is $367 million dollars per year.
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I received my first donation of $1 for this campaign this afternoon while I was flying my sign that said "Better Way To Solve Govt Shutdown And Migrant Crisis CouchHosting.org".
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