Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Does anybody besides me even care?

Do you remember Ronald Reagan's famous quote from his presidential campaign back in 1980?...."Government isn't the solution to our problem.  Government IS the problem."

I have a new updated version for the presidential campaign of 2012...."Mitt Romney (and his peers) aren't the solution to our problem.  Mitt Romney (and his peers) ARE our problem."

IMO, it's the shenanigans of the hedge fund managers, the investment bankers, the financial engineers, the slick derivative / swap  traders, etc, who screwed us blind, raked off billions of dollars for themselves, and left us to deal with the world-wide disaster they created who are ALL our problem.  

Everyone seems to have that one single political "hot button" that determines who they'll vote for.  For some it's gay marriage, immigration reform, abortion, jobs, health care....whatever.  For me it's re-gaining control of the irresponsible, downright dangerous financial services industry.  Right now we're well on our way to another financial train wreck.  The guys who caused the last one are still in control of their respective institutions, high-risk deals are still being made, mega-bonuses are still being paid, champagne corks are still being popped, and white-collar jail cells are still empty.  

Barack Obama SHOULD have done something long before now.  I have no faith that Mitt Romney will turn on his peers now and start looking out for OUR best interest if he should be elected.  What to do?

What's your "hot button"?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"A fast nickel is better than a slow dime"

I recently saw a short 5-minute video presentation by Nick Hanauer, a mega-millionaire capitalist.  He had an interesting perspective that really got me to thinking.  You can see it here if you're interested.  His position is that the rich will benefit more in the long run if we raise taxes on them now and in effect subsidize the middle class.  Huh?

He disputes the idea that raising taxes on the rich will kill job creation.  He says entrepreneurs do create a few new jobs initially, but unless the middle class has enough disposable income to buy what the new companies are selling, the new businesses will stagnate or even fail.  Only when a company has more customers than it can comfortably serve will it expand and hire and thrive.  Why would a company hire new people unless they had enough customers to keep them busy?  The 1% can't buy enough to compensate for the millions of unemployed/underemployed who can't buy much of anything.  It's a simple numbers game.

Then the next day I read a news article that said the Big Three automakers are booming, running their factories at near 100% capacity, and are adding more shifts and hiring new people, just like Mr. Hanauer suggested they would.  I doubt the 1% are buying very many Chevys, Fords, or Chryslers.  (They're more the Mercedes / Lexus / BMW type.)  This is all due to middle class demand.

The middle class and only the middle class have the numbers to be able to consume in the quantities necessary to stimulate the economy and create jobs.  And when the companies they own thrive and become hugely profitable, the 1% will benefit handsomely.  Give up a little today (higher taxes) to get a lot more tomorrow (higher profits).  It's called "priming the pump."

It's just like the business advice my dad gave me decades ago:  "A fast nickel is better than a slow dime."  Think about it.


(For the record, I'm a moderate Independent, distrustful of both political parties.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I want it, I just don't want to pay for it

I don't understand why people are so "anti-tax".  Don't get me wrong, I don't want to pay more than I need to, but the way our system works, if you want something, you have to pay for it.  You want a nice car, you have to pay for it.  A new shirt....get out your checkbook.  If your computer breaks, you have to pay to have it repaired.

In this election season all I hear are Republican candidates (here in Texas at least) say they won't raise gasoline taxes.   Any candidate who says he would raise the gas tax is immediately vilified by the Tea Party, and his chances of winning in November fall to 0. 

Back to my original point:  the same people who are dead set against an increased gas tax are the same ones who complain about potholed streets and our congested roads.  People....where do you think the money comes from to repair potholes and build new roads?  Our state gas tax!  While our increasing population requires more cars, necessitating more roads, causing more wear-and-tear, they're buying fewer gallons of gas (because newer cars get better mileage) and paying less gasoline taxes.  

You want it, you gotta pay for it.  Simple as that.  I don't think these Tea Party-types think things through very well.  They hear "tax" and immediately freak out.  You can't have it both ways.  There is no Street Fairy.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What was THAT all about?

A few weeks ago my Blogger account shorted out....why I have no idea.  I jumped through all the hoops I was asked to, went to Blogger's help page (worthless) and chatted with other Blogger bloggers who were having troubles, all to no avail.  Yesterday just for kicks I tried it again found and everything is working.  Yea!!

It may not be working tomorrow, so I'm just going to enjoy it while I can.  Sort of like life, right?


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Is his world even in the same solar system as mine?

Yesterday I read an interview with Edward Conrad, one of Mitt Romney's partners at Bain Capital and the author of Unintended Consequences:  Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy is Wrong.  He was brought into Bain after it was already up and running and Mitt tutored him.  I can only assume his views are essentially those of his mentor's.  If Mitt is to ever have any chance of becoming President he'd better hope no one ever reads Conrad's interview or his book.

Conrad says, "The financial crisis...was not the result of corrupt bankers selling dodgy financial products.  It was a simple, old-fashioned run on the banks."

What has he been smoking?  He goes on to say, "The banks made some mistakes, but the important thing now is to provide them even stronger government support."  He advocates "...creating a new government program that guarantees to bail out the banks if they ever face another run."  *jaw hitting floor*  As for exotic derivatives (that were the root cause of the Crash of 2008), he doesn't see a problem.  "They were fundamentally sound."  * speechless*

Sure, everyone he ran with got to retire to the Hampton's with their fortunes pretty much intact.  But for every one of his buddies in that position there were tens of thousands who got royally screwed.

Gonna be a tough sell, Mitt.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Catfight in Arkansas

Did you hear about the big stink in Arkansas *cue the banjo music* over who is the rightful owner of a million dollar lottery ticket? It seems a lady bought a ticket, then later scanned it at the store to see if she was a winner.  The scanner said "no" (or she misread it?...I mean this is Arkansas), so she threw the ticket in the trash.  Later another lady was sifting through the garbage and found a bunch of discarded tickets and took them.  She apparently checked them again and found one was worth a million dollars, so she claimed it. 

Enter the first lady again:  She said she paid for the ticket, it was hers, and she wanted her money.  Lawsuit, court, blah, blah....the judge agreed.  The dumpster diver was told to give up her winnings.  Really?

It seems to me when you throw something away you forfeit any rights you had to it.  If this is the new standard of ownership what about all those people who find a painting in their dusty 100-year-old attic or left curbside for anyone to pick up is worth a fortune?  Who owns it?  The same with a dropped winning ticket found at the racetrack?  Who do YOU think should get the winnings?


Things continue to look bleak at work.  I still can't get over how the politicians and the greedy bankers have ruined our economy.  We have several small jobs dangling in front of us, but they just get us by month-to-month.  I'm extremely grateful to have them, don't misunderstand, but I need another real project to work on.  We have our eye on a lucrative commercial job that is in the talking stages, but that will be many months (a year?) before any $$$ changes hands.  A prospective client from last year said he should be ready to build a new home for his family starting in June, but with him things tend to get put off.  We're sending letters to many of our customers from years past asking if it's time for some updating.  We'll see.  


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sometime you gotta just stop and smell the roses

A few minutes ago I noticed Luke was having trouble getting into his toy basket so I tumped* it over so he could inventory his stuff.  Some good things in there....one glove, a squeaky-toy shoe, a couple of socks (dryer orphans), a jump rope....nothing but the best for 'ol Luke.


This looks like it will be a fun week.  We decided to take the "Ugh" out of Monday by going to a movie yesterday evening.  We saw Five Year Engagement and agreed it was an excellent film. On Friday evening we're going to Lone Star Park, our local horse race track.  Free admission, cheap food and drink, and with my expertise at picking horses (I'm up by maybe $10 over my entire life) we should have fun.  Then Saturday morning I'm meeting the guys for our monthly Cars & Coffee event.  Finally, later on Saturday K and I are going to the Cottonwood Arts Festival, one of our favorites.  Anyone care to join us?  :)


*tumped....it's a real word, Southern US slang....I Googled it.