Tag Archives: bail out

One Obama Supporter Asks For A Side Order Of Substance!

29 Jan

I don’t pretend to be an expert on economics or even what President Obama is advocating for in the coming massive bail out package.  I do pretend to be and am actually someone rooting hard for the new president to make good.

When Barack Obama first started talking about an economic rescue package he often referenced the things FDR did all those years ago to try to revive the battered American economy.  I’ve been reading a lot of opinions on what Obama is planning to do and one criticism keeps nagging at me.

Where is the substance?  What will be accomplished with all of the money?  Sure, we’ll spend it and hopefully it will point the economy in a better direction.  But, then what?

What will we have left behind?  I know that even FDR didn’t spend all of the cash on bricks and mortars stuff.  I also realize that this crisis gives the new president an opportunity to take on much more than the economic slump, as bad as it is.

It’s wise of President Obama and his team to think of ways to use this crisis to achieve changes to social programs and entitlements that greatly effect the American economy.

It’s just that I thought the actual investment in something concrete would be much deeper than what I’m hearing.  I may have the numbers a bit wrong but my recollection is that about $90 Billion will go toward repairing our highways and bridges and other infrastructure.

Not bad right?  Don’t be too sure.  Remember that the  recovery package is zooming past $800 Billion as I type and you read (thanks for that by the way).  So, the percentage going toward infrastructure isn’t as impressive when looked at as a percentage. 

Worse yet, let’s talk about Ike.  President Eisenhower, when he went about creating a nation highway system, funded it to the tune of $25 Billion and that was in 1950s dollars which would make it worth say 800 gajillion dollars today.  Ok, I made that gajillion thing up, but you get the point.  Again, that $90 Billion that Obama is offering isn’t so impressive in comparison.  And PS, the total cost on our highway system came to over 110 Billion.  But, aren’t we glad we have it now?

Unlike certain rotund right wing radio blowhards (yes, you Rush Limbaugh), I do want to see the president (any US president) and America win.  So, I’m rooting and hoping that Team Obama knows what they’re doing.

I just hope there’s something left over after the recovery package for future generations to remember it by.

Private Jets Be Damned! What’s A Lousy 25 Billion Anyway!?

3 Dec

Every morning when I wake up it seems that I’m greeted by the news of some other financial or quasi-financial company being bailed out by the federal government.  One morning it’s billions to AIG.  The next it’s billions to Citibank.  And then it’s AIG’s turn again. 

And when I say the federal government is bailing out the AIGs of the world, I really mean the US taxpayer.  Tons of our hard earned dollars are going to rescue corporations that failed due to lack of attention from our federal government coupled with the unchecked greed and incompetence of the upper management at these firms.

Like many of you, the whole thing sickens me.  I can’t escape the nagging feeling that history will report that a lot of the bailout money was misspent.  However, I can’t escape this other feeling that we’ve got to do something.  Like it or not, the failure of some of these huge financial firms would be devastating to the economy (as far as I can tell having never taken an economics or business course – not that those seemed to have helped AIG’s or Citi’s management too much).

What I can’t fathom is why Congress can’t get behind bailing out Detroit.  It was fantastic to make them sweat, but now that that goal is accomplished it’s time to give them what they want.

I totally get that the bailout of Citi and AIG helps not only their fat cat executives but also helps the economy in general.  In part by helping to ensure that the assistants and other non-fat cat types keep their jobs at AIG and Citi.

And really that’s my concern with Detroit.  I could care less about their bumbling executives.  But, how can we let autoworkers go under in this economy?  And what about all the businesses both large and small that depend on the US auto industry?  How can we risk turning all those people out in the streets now?

Sure, some say that foreign manufacturers would put some those people to work if the Big Three went under, but how long will that take?  Do we have that kind of time?

One common concern about all these bailouts is that no help seems to be coming to the common working person.  The government seems to only be in the business of saving big business from itself.

The Detroit rescue feels different to me.  At least a little.  This one seems closer to actually helping Main Street more than Wall Street.

That would be a welcome relief.

Breaking News! Turns Out Economy Is Not Cyclical!! It’s Just Shaq-tastic!

18 Oct

When talking to my many Republican leaning friends and acquaintances over the years, I’ve often heard about all the good Ronald Reagan (may he rest in peace) did for the U.S. economy.  When I inevitably bring up Bill Clinton’s economic record to these same friends, I usually get dismissed very quickly.  It’s typically with something along the lines of “everyone knows the economy is cyclical.”  Then when further pressed, these same Reagan fans will go to statements like “the president has nothing to do with the economy”.

And that’s when they’re in my trap.

I usually bust out something like, “OK, so if the president has nothing to do with the economy than how can you give credit to Reagan for America’s boom in the ’80s?”.  Most of the time, there’s some hemming and hawing, but pretty quickly most Republicans throw Reagan under a bus and chose to defend the position that the economy is cyclical.  Among my Republican pals, this belief is more closely held than even the esteem in which President Reagan is held.

So, for a lot of people, “the economy is cyclical”.  Free markets are the key to everyone’s prosperity goes the thinking.  Suddenly though, a lot of these GOP types are re-thinking.  Re-thinking to the tune of billions and billions of dollars.

President Bush and his cronies as well as the Democrats in government are doing an awful lot to try to right the economic situation.  Are they doing the right things?  Darned if I know.  Like John McCain, the economy isn’t my bag, man.

That said, I think that for those people who believe the economy is simply cyclical this has to be a wake up call.  The reality is that our markets never were and will never be 100% free markets.  Government has a role to play.

It’s like a playoff game in the NBA or NHL or any sport.  You want the refs to let the guys play the game.  You don’t want the championship to be decided on some tippy tap lame as@ foul call.  On the flip side, you don’t want to let the game degenerate where someone like let’s say Shaq can just run over people at will with no risk of a foul being called.  That’s not fair either.

So, it’s a fine line for sports’ refs.  And it’s a finer line for the government.  The government should have a role in the free markets that we Americans hold dear.  The government, like an NBA ref, needs to make sure to let business do what businesses need to do in order to succeed.  But, like not letting Shaq steamroll his way to an NBA championship, the government needs to curb the excesses of the companies that choose to undermine the free markets America provides by cheating their way to success.

The government needs to be involved, which means the president needs to be involved.  It’s even better when he or she actually understands the issues related to the economy.  Ultimately, it does matter who’s president.

Americans have found that out the hard way recently.  Eight years of bad Bush policies along with plenty of blame to go around to the Democrats in Congress, have helped us get into this financial mess our nation is currently in.

Suddenly, President Bush has discovered that he matters when it comes to the economy and it’s not ALL just about cyclical turns in the almighty free markets.  He’s got a job to do and he seems to be trying to do his best at it.

I don’t know whether to be happy or scared…

Cowboys, Giants And More Government Aid Than You Can Shake A Stick At!

15 Oct

It’s been crazy at work, so I , thought I’d just jot down some quick thoughts that have hit me over the head lately…

Being a Cowboys Fan is like being a soap opera fan – Myself, I hate hate hate the ‘Boys.  But even I can see that this week, has been one crazy ride for the Dallas faithful.  Losing to the Cardinals the way they did, only to suffer a bigger loss with Romo going out for a month or more.  Pac gets into a fight.  Jerry Jones chickens out of doing anything about it only to have the NFL banish Pac yet again.  And then, Roy Williams comes gift wrapped courtesy of the Detroit Lions.  Oh, and the Phillips guy is still your coach.  If I was a Cowboys fan I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry…

The Giants Loss Is A Good Thing – I AM a Giants fan (and now you know why I hate hate hate the ‘Boys).  Never like to lose, but I think this loss will serve them and their fans well.  A respected NY area columnist actually wrote before the loss that the Giants were one of a precious few legitimate Super Bowl contenders.  I hope he’s right, but the football guy inside me tells me that there’s a good chance they got on a fantastic role last year and that Eli is not better than his bro just yet (which a lot of locals are claiming…).  Time for Big Blue to stop worrying about defending their crown and just get back to play good team ball.

Manny & The Sox – The Sox got rocked again tonight and now face big odds in their fight to banish the upstart Rays.  That series against the Yankees in ’04 not withstanding, it’s REAL tough to come back from 3-1.  And last time I checked Manny and his Dodgers were in the same hole as his former team.  Why is it that people don’t realize when a breakup will mean bad things for both?  Manny and Sox remind me of countless bands and a few romantic couples who just can’t seem to realize that when they’re together they’re magic and when they’re not, they are something less.

As a big time Sox fan, I want to believe that we got a great younger & cheaper player in Jason Bay who will ultimately prove less of a clubhouse distraction than Manny and allow the Sox to use some of the Manny money in other needed places.  Tonight, my faith is a little shaken, but I’ll still be rooting for a miracle in this series.

Parenting – what a great job.  And what a tough job.  My kids are great.  I love them.  And I don’t think I’ll ever stop worrying about them.  I’m sure many of you feel the same way.  No new news there.

The Bail Outs – As a center left kind of guy, it’s amazing to me how quickly so many free market Republicans have quickly become socialists.  How is it that their unending faith in the power of free markets has crumbled so fast?

I, like John McCain says, don’t know that much about the economy.  But, I do know this…  While it’s probably true that not addressing it would’ve eventually effected a lot of us on “main street”, it’s interesting to see politicians only move fast when the fate of millionaires in on the line.  Maybe that’s cause that’s who is really paying their salaries.  As I said, I’m for the buy out, but I’m distressed that rather than just talking about temporary measures on taxes, the discussion isn’t focusing much (as far as I can tell) on putting back in a few “dreaded” regulations to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  And who out there doesn’t believe there’s some people getting mighty rich off of this?

John McCain – another day and another promise.  To be fair, Obama is going at about the same rate.  Now, McCain is going to guarantee “all savings” for six months once he gets in office.  This is after, he buys up a ton of bad mortgages and god only knows what else.  We can’t afford all this from him or Barack Obama.  Where’s the straight talk?

Bail Out – Part Deux – As a guy feeling the pinch like many of you, I do have sympathy for people about to lose their homes.  That said, while I do think predatory lenders had a lot to do with getting people into houses they couldn’t afford, I can’t quite shake the feeling that when we bail out individuals on their mortgages, we will certainly be bailing out some people who clearly took advantage of the broken system.  I can’t help but think, what about me and millions like me and my wife?  We struggle to pay the mortgage each month, when do we see a rate reduction??

Grammer – mine is bad so late at night.  Deal with it!

Good night to all!

Tidewater J