Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Money to the Banks!

I was reading an AP article, "Treasury secretary says market won't solve problem", and learned that there is $135 billion dollars in bailout money left and that more money may need to be provided to the banks.

When is this going to stop? I am all for working out a plan to save the economy especially if it means that I will get a job. (Yes, I am still unemployed. In April, I will be on my fourth month of being unemployed.) However, I do not want to see us building up more and more debt.

To be quite honest, I do not believe the analysts or the treasury secretary has a clue on how to save the economy. Don't look at me for a solution. I just enjoy poking holes in other people's plans. However, something has to give. Companies are still scared to hire people. I have heard from several people the same story. They have interviewed and are just waiting for the company to move forward on hiring. They won't, because they are scared to hire people with the economy the way it is.

I applied for a job in early January with a company looking for a program manager to manage their vendor channels. That job matched my skills perfectly. I contacted the HR department and finally got an answer. The job is indefinite hold. The whole country is on indefinite hold.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bonuses are One Thing; Jets are Another

A friend of mine, Bruce, posted this on his Facebook wall and I had to go read the article. The AIG bonuses are a little galling to me. Most of the executives have agreed to return them. Good for them. However, buying corporate jets and renovating the hanger to make them more luxurious is another. I find it sickening.

According ABC News, "embattled bank JPMorgan Chase, the recipient of $25 billion in TARP funds, is going ahead with a $138 million plan to buy two new luxury corporate jets and build 'the premier corporate aircraft hangar on the eastern seaboard" to house them.'"

I guess none of this surprises me anymore. Executives believe they are entitled to these toys for their private use. The President's speech weeks ago, he talked about one executive who gave his bonus to his employees. Why can't corporate executives do things like that? That would inspire their employees to work harder and build morale. Instead, corporate executives "enjoy" laying people off and keeping their perks and toys at the expense of those who do the real work of the company on a daily basis.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sad State of Affairs: Jobless to Topless

I was reading an article on the Associated Press web page about more women become strippers or going into the adult entertainment business. Click here for the full article.

This is a very sad state of affairs for our nation. According to the article more women with college degrees who were laid off from white-collar jobs are becoming strippers or sending applications to adult magazines like Hustler.

Instead of finding legitimate work of any kind, these women want more money and are willing to sell themselves for cash. If you ask anyone in the strip clubs or adult entertainment industry about exploitation, they will ask you the same question back, "Who is exploiting whom?"

Take a look at it this way. A guy goes to a strip club with $400 in his pocket and after drinking and dances, he leaves with no money in his pocket. The stripper makes a small amount of the money and the rest goes to the club. Like the old adage goes, "the house always wins."

The biggest problem I see with our nation is that we have not learned our lessons over over the past months. We still remain greedy and we want the money to continue to roll in with little or no effort. Being lazy and greedy makes a dangerous combination. It speaks volumes about our culture and our values.

I am truly saddened.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Good Thing: The 9-12 Project

Most of the time I am fairly critical about things, but today is a little different. While I was surfing the 'net, I ran across a very interesting project that I think would be great for a lot of people. It is called the "9-12 Project". This project was started by Glenn Beck, noted radio talk show host. My wife and I listen to him and watch his program as well.

Back to the project, the purpose of the project is to remind ourselves of how we felt after 9/11. Families and friends came together to support one another. As we watched 9/11 and the aftermath, we came together as a nation to support efforts to help families affected that day. I remember children collecting money for families and for all of the people who were helping. I saw the best of America during that week. People found a common focus and goal.

Looking in history, America has always come to the aid of other. After WWII, America came to the aid of its allies and enemies by enacting the European Recovery Program or what came to be called the Marshall Plan. It was designed to get Europe back on its feet. It helped all of our allies as well as the Germans and Italians. It showed what can be done when nations come together in peace and with a common goal in mind.

I support the "9-12 Project" and what it means. If we are to survive the economic upheaval that we are facing, we need to come together as a nation and as a global community to help one another.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Interesting Thing about Earmarks

I was reading an article by CNN talking about earmarks and how they have been given a bad reputation. The one thing that struck me was the fact that the majority party gets 60% of the earmark money and that the minority gets 40%.

Both parties are feeding at the trough. The only difference is which one gets more than the other. Each time we have a changing of the guard we are told that things will be different and spending will be controlled and things will change. It is the same tired, old rhetoric every single time. I think both parties should simply do a video clips on Youtube and just point us to them each time they take power.

I keep hearing the same things. "Things will be different." "There's a new sheriff in town." "We are going to change things." Don't get me wrong. I'm not singling out Democrats or Republicans. I'm calling out the whole lot of them. Both sides of the aisle have been guilty of it. I have talked with people in barber shops and coffee houses. They all say the same thing. Both parties are to blame.

I remember when I was growing up when Democrats would blame Republicans and Republicans would blame Democrats. Now, everyone I talk with today blames both parties for not doing what is necessary. We have too much free spending of our tax dollars and not enough fiscal responsibility. Government has gotten too big and it is worming its way further and further into our lives.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Congress approves massive $410B spending bill

The $410 billion bill is chock-full of those pet projects and significant increases in food aid for the poor, energy research and other programs. It was supposed to have been completed last fall, but Democrats opted against election-year battles with Republicans and former President George W. Bush.

I guess no matter what party is in power. We will always have pork in the budget. Thanks, guys! 8,000 pet projects and $7.7 billion.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pork Barrel Spending Still Alive and Well in Congress

Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) has been going through the omnibus to pull together a total number of earmarks and dollar amount. TCS found 8,570 disclosed earmarks worth $7.7 billion. When you add the $6.6 billion in disclosed earmarks that were in the three FY09 spending bills that passed in the fall (Defense, DHS, MilCon/VA) you end up with $14.3 billion worth of disclosed earmarks in FY09.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Congress especially those individuals on appropriation committees are making sure that their people back at home are benefiting from all of the government spending so that they can re-elect these people.

Here are some of the programs that are receiving money.

  • $24,000 A+ for Abstinence. Specter is sponsor.
  • $300,000 Montana World Trade Center. Rehberg sponsor.
  • $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa.
  • $2.1 million for the Center for Grape Genetics in New York.
  • $1.7 million for a honeybee factory in Weslaco, Texas.

Do you believe the nerve of Congress? Each claims that new jobs will be created. Can someone tell me why we need to spend $1.7 million on pig odor? Are we working on a deodorant for pigs? To me, we can do without all of this and return some of the money back to the taxpayer or truly use the money to benefit the economy.

President Obama said that earmarking would come to an end in his administration. It was one of those campaign promises as well. He said that Biden would act as "sheriff" to make sure that government money wasn't wasted. Biden, before becoming Vice President, secured $52 million for his state in earmarks. I guess Sheriff Joe is looking the other way on this one or, like Deputy Barney Fife, forgot to put the bullet in his gun. President Obama said that he would sign the spending bill with all the earmarks, because this was old business and needed to handle it. This is hogwash. (No pun intended.)

John McCain has been alerting people via Twitter about all of this pork in the spending bill. Speak up, people! This is your government at work.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Freddie Mac chief executive officer to resign

According to a press release from Freddie Mac, David Moffett, its chief executive officer, would be resigning by no later than March 13. The company expects to name an interim CEO before that time, and said the bard was working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to name a successor.

I wonder what his package will be like. According to the article on Reuters, Freddie Mac will be submitting a request to the Treasury to draw an additional $30 billion to $35 billion under senior preferred stock purchase agreements. I guess Freddie Mac will just use part of that to pay for his severance package.

Currently, the stock is selling at 40 cents per share. The 52-week high was $34.22. I feel bad for the stockholders and all of the taxpayers who will shoulder the burden of this fiasco.

Will this nightmare ever come to an end? According to the oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, he said that the economy will be "in shambles" for the rest of this year. He said this in his annual letter to the shareholders in his company. Mr. Buffet is very honest and conservative in his opinions so I and a lot of other people listen to him. As I had said before, I'm not a finance expert or guru, but a lot of us saw the handwriting on the wall when things were going so great for us all. Unfortunately, we didn't heed the warnings of those who believed that the carnival ride was coming to an end. We continued to spend and finance our way through life with no cares in the world.

The ride is about to come to an abrupt end, ladies and gentlemen. As I had mentioned before, I think the economy will get worse if we do not heed the lessons of the past. Stop using credit cards and start saving. Help people in need. Bring back confidence to the economy. I believe that the next big economic bubble will be resources like water and energy. Look at those industries closely.