Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome to My Periodic Journal of Rants, Raves and Bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me).

Happy weekend, short post today!

Well the ink is hardly dry on the Stimulus Bill and predictably Friday afternoon some analysts and politicians said " This bill is only a down payment on fighting the deficit and much more is going to be needed".

If that is not bad enough the United Nations is lobbying for somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 100 billion from the stimulus to help developing countries who are affected by the down turn.

It is Christmas in the Village ( Washington D.C.) and Halloween (Trick)for the rest of Us.

America we are in Descent, Prepare for Impact !

Friday, February 13, 2009

Welcome to My Periodic Journal of Rants, Raves and Bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me).

Octuplets, Multiplier and other things.

I think the IV Fertility doctor should pay child support for the octuplets, anyone agree? As far as Ms. Shuleman ( the mom) she should be nominated for the Nobel Prize in the area of economics, she bore eight children who will consume over a billion dollars in medical care, support and other services until they are old enough to care for themselves if ever. She is a one woman California stimulus package.

As far as paying for all this, we all will pay! I know you are sitting there all smug and saying I don't live in California so I am not going to pay but O'contrere ( is that correct if not pardon my French) my dear, California is so broke and debt ridden they are going to receive a bail out from the federal government so we all will pay.

Multiplier effect:

The major theory driving this and any bail out is the multiplier effect, Keynesian economic theory states that each $ 1.00 the government spends creates $ 5.45 in
downstream spending. This is a wonderful theory and along with Santa Claus want to make me gush and proclaim we have achieved Utopia and it is here to stay.

But for the life of me I cannot understand how any one spending $ 1.00 can generate
$ 5.45 in additional spending. If the same dollar is spent 5 times then that is $ 5.00 but it is the same dollar at the end of the day.

In actual theory if the the $ 1.00 is printed or borrowed by the government and they then hire contractor A to do work for the government and pay him the dollar, he then pays 30 cents ( 30 % ) federal, state and social security taxes and takes his net pay of 70 cents and spends it on groceries, the grocer then receives 70 cents and pays his taxes of 21 cents and the grocer now spends 49 cents paying his employee, the employee receives 49 cents and payes 16 cents tax and has 33 cents to spend on gasoline, the gas station owner receives 33 cents and pays his tax of 10 cents and has 23 cents to spend, can you see where I am going with this. After a while all the money ends up back with the federal government. I fail to see how that $ 1.00 can generate $ 5.00. Now I know it is more complex than that because you have inventory, supplies, insurance and many other considerations but the complexity does not change the theory and the same $ 1.00 cannot become $ 5.00.

Politics as usual:

U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy D. R.I. replied when asked his opinion on the stimulus bill yesterday " I haven't had time to review the whole bill but I know it will pass". Patrick lighten up on the Ambien and get to the job we are paying you for. The vote in the House of Represenatives is today and yesterday you had not reviewed the 800 page bill that portends to spend $ 800 billion. When are you planning on reading this thing ?

Actually in all fairness to Patrick I do not think any politician has read all of or any of the 800 page bill, and if a select few have they do not and cannot understand it.

Remaining along family lines, the Senate brought Patrick's father Ted Kennedy back from his recuperation in Florida, I have nothing but sympathy for this 75 year old man suffering from brain cancer, but does he have the mental or physical capacity to vote on anything ? My prayers and wishes for the best go out to him ( and believe me I can sympathize with his plight) but there comes a time when people should consider retirement.

Finally Goldman Sachs:

In a quote released yesterday the usually optimistic Goldman Sachs stated the following:

"Historically it takes 5 years for bank stocks to bottom out
so we are about 1/ 2 way there"

" Historically it takes 5 years for housing prices to bottom out
so we are about 1/2 way there"

" The banking system has 2.1 trillion in toxic mortgages to write
down and so far have written down 1.1 trillion so we are about
1/2 way there"

Goldman Sachs feels we have 2 - 3 years left of this downturn to bottom out, let's hope they are as wrong about this as they were about buying and selling all these bad mortgages.

OK, the good news, I can see all my grass as the snow cover is gone for the first time since Christmas Day, I have had it with Global Warming, call Al Gore !
Welcome to My Periodic Journal of Rants, Raves and Bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me).

Today will be a short post after yesterday's long and incessant one, with an additional update if time allows through out the day.

We as a country have survived Depression, Recession, Wars, Famine, Pestilence and Natural Disasters and in every instance have emerged a better, stronger, wiser nation.
There is no reason to think that this economic down turn will be different, hard times come and go and this one will too.

This current situation will be well served if it gets us back to the basics that made this country great, Honesty, Integrity, Hard Work, Faith,Thriftiness and Compassion for our fellow citizens. The best thing anyone can do is to get their personal life in order follow the ideals above and if all of do this the country and the world will be fine.

I know it sounds corny and old fashioned, but let's put our nose to the grindstone, shoulders to the wheel and do our best to get our lives in order. It will help us as individuals, society as a whole and allow us to be beacons of light to the rest of the world who have looked to us for leadership in the past.

This experiment called America cannot and will not fail if we all take care of ourselves, put our lives in order, thus helping ourselves and at the same time we will be helping our country and fellow Americans.

Smarmy -- Yes but I firmly believe in this and if I can get one or more of you to think about it and do something then I have done one small thing for society and one giant thing for you.

Thanks for reading my Blog

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome to My Periodic Journal of Rants, Raves and Bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me).

Today I wanted to blog good news, it is more difficult finding good news than you can imagine. Let me start with a bumper sticker observed by my good friend and wholesale jewelry vendor Szarka from the Turquoise Magpie and Szarkas Designs:

" Of course I trust the government, just ask an Indian
or Whale !"

That pretty much sums it up in plain english. A couple of things to back it up follow:

The stimulus bill is well on it's way to passage. After weeks of wrangling, showmanship and public relations work the bill is out of the senate to the house of represenatives and on it's way back to the senate. Each branch of government says they are fighting tooth and nail to save the taxpayers money. C'mon they are spending approximantely $ 800 billion on a 800 page bill that not one of them has read, furthermore if you think this is the end you'd better think again. Although some what skeptical about the bill and the governments ability to do anything effective and beneficial I am how ever extremely happy for the Salt Marsh Mouse, the reason for my euphoria apparently the Salt Marsh Mouse is indigenous to Nancy Pelosi's district and is endangered so there is $ 30 million in the stimulus bill to save the endangered mouse. Gee maybe Mrs. Pelosi knows some one ( read - spouse, offspring, relative, friend or campaign contributor) who is in the " Saving Salt Marsh Mouse" business.

While billions are being spent around the country in urban settings to eradicate rats, mice and other pests people in Mrs. Pelosi's district are interested in saving some of them.

One onerous part of this legislation is an attempt to over haul health care (government style) . You may remember Tom Daschle who was a heart beat away from being Secretary of Health and Human Services and stepped down at the very last moment not because his views were opposed by the Obama vetting team, not because his views were bad for the country, no because Mr. Daschle did not pay tax on some $ 140000.00 on income and benefits he earned while being a lobbyist for health care companies.

Seems like Mr. Daschle wrote a book in 2008 titled " Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care -Crisis" before being considered for the secretary's post.

Now bear in mind he has no effect other than lobbying now that he had to decline the nomination but his ideaology is aligned with the " National Health Care" gang in power now. Some of the provisions in the stimulus bill relating to health care are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his book.

Here are a few quotes:

" The next President should act quickly before critics mount an opposition".

"Health care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the
conditions that come with age instead of treating them".

" Doctors have to give up autonomy and learn to operate less like solo

" The goal is to slow development and use of new medications and technologies
because they are driving up costs" he goes on to praise Europeans for being
more willing to accept " hopeless diagnoses and forego experimental treatments"
and to chastise Americans for expecting to much from the health - care system.

Remember this was the man who President Obama said was the single best man in the country out of 305 million people to reform and run the health care system.

Well seems like some of his ideas have cropped up in the stimulus bill. The stimulus bill bestows power on the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology who will monitor treatments to make sure doctors are doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective as to reduce costs and " Guide " the doctor's decisions.. Hospitals and doctors that are not deemed meaningful users of the new system will face penalties by the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose " more stringent measures of meaningful use over time"

The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research will slow the development and use of new medication and technologies because they are expensive. Drugs that are found to be less effective and in some cases more expensive will no longer be prescribed. It approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit.

I could go on and on this information is voluminous. If you are disbelieving at this point Google " Stimulus Bill" and read it yourself.

Meanwhile think about the bureaucrat responsible for evacuating people from New Orleans before Hurrican Katrina hit being the one to apply the above formula and then using his opinion to approve or reject chemo therapy for your mother, father, child , spouse or even you.

Who ever is appointed to the Health and Human Services will have to adhere and promulgate these type of mandates. It appears right now it would apply to Medicare and other government run health care programs ,but aren't these the guys who are advocating a national health care system. God Bless us all.

As one commentator put it " Good bye America it was fun while it lasted".

This is just the tip of the iceberg, believe me if you have ever believed anything.
More to come.

I welcome your comments !

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome to My Periodic Journal of Rants, Raves and Bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me).

Second post today, The Senate has passed their version of the bail out and Secretary of the Treasury outlined the stimulus package today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is Down almost 400 points or 5 %, guess businesses & investors don't like it.

President Obama held a town meeting at Ft. Myers, Florida this morning and fielded audience questions. Every one in the audience who spoke asked for money. Some for health care, some for the housing industry, one guy wanted his unemployment check totalling $ 1100.00 per month raised to $ 3000.00 per month which is the same amount of money he made while working. Fat chance of getting him back to work with unemploymeny of $ 3000.00.
One lady a city councillor there wanted money for roads and canals (at least she wasn't selfish).

I am glad I am not the President, I am afraid he has raised so much hope and promised so much there will be a Tsunami of backlash when these goodies are not delivered to all.
There was no mention of helping the people working and trying to survive who are going to have to pay for this stimulus.

Meanwhile congress is adding all kind of wishlist projects into this bill and all are quick to say they are not earmarks, this they say is economic stimulus. What I ask is the difference between stimulus and earmark, they both spend money in a congressmans district, they both increase the budget deficit, they both are really un-necessary they both will be paid for with your future earnings , the only difference is the earmarks are added to an otherwise unrelated bill and stimulus is included in the bill.

With all this euphoric spending by our politicians my only advice is " Hang on to your wallets".
The bright spot, Remember nothing lasts forever not even bad times.

Welcome to My Periodic Journal of Rants, Raves and Bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me).

750 billion, 820 billion, 900 billion ! Does any one in Washington know how much the stimulus is going to cost or where it is going. They are debating a bill that consists of 600+ pages of spending and you can be certain none of them has read the whole bill.

Seems to me I remember trucks of ice rushed to help Katrina victims ending up parked in North Carolina melting, 1500 credit cards issued to FEMA workers to use for the Katrina victims and no records of how that was spent or pallets of cash sent to Iraq to help with rebuilding and no accounting or records of who spent it or where it went. who could forget the credit cards issued to the victims of Katrina being used to buy lap dances at a Houston strip club or large flat screen TV's.

I wonder why no one trusts the government to get the stimulus package right, after all they spent 750 billion in October to bail out banks and insurance companies and now the same banks and insurance companies won't tell Congress what they did with the money and worse the economy is still in a downward free fall.

To instill even more confidence the GSA Government Services Administration, the accounting and watch dog arm of the government could not find 1500 laptop computers issued to their employees.

Yes my friends I am sure more government intervention and more government spending is the answer to our economic situation which was created by individual and government overspending in the first place.
I would say " It is a bit more of the hair of the dog that bit you".

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, I would say we have the best politicians money can buy.

God help us !

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Welcome to My Periodic Journal of Rants, Raves and Bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me).

Todays Rants: Lint --- Just finished the laundry and I think Lint is in the same kingdom as mosquitos, earwigs and ticks. No usefulness what so ever. Why do we have these things? Does anyone know ?

Pizza --- There is nothing that aggravates me more than going to my favorite Pizza Parlor and the clerk waiting on me and the one making the pizza are
sporting a stainless steel bolt through their ear, lip or nose, adorned on the neck and arms with serpent tatoos. I don't know maybe I am becoming my father!

Bail outs --- this is a repeat and will probably repeat again. Does it make any sense for the government to spend money they don't have and should not spend
to bail out people who bought houses, cars and things with money they did not have and should not spend. Is this a vicious cycle and what happens when it ends, could we be worse off.

It feels like spring in the Northeast if only for a short time, I saw my grass this morning for the first time since Christmas.

I think if I don't get off this blog and Twitter I will never make jewelry again.

that is probably it for today !

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Last night the U.S. Senate seemed to come to an agreement on the bailout. All week the buzz has been a trillion dollars, last night they proclaimed in joy " We have trimmed the pork laden bailout bill and saved the taxpayers 220 billion so we are only spending 780 billion " then the horsetraders ride off into the sunset as our budgetary cutting heroes.

Unfortunately the proverbial horse is out of the barn and most Americans think we want and need this insane bill and we will demand it.. Get ready for a largely expanded government and more intrusion in to our lives and finances.

Is this any different than the couple whose take home pay is $ 1000.00 per week unfortunately they spend $ 1200.00 per week and after a year the husband says " Honey we are in deep financial trouble and my new plan is to spend $ 1500.00 per week to get us out of trouble".
That is exactly what these politicians are doing, they do it in the complex way of politics and the collectivety of the masses so you do not feel like it is costing you anything but the result is exactly the same.

To avoid thinking about this absurdity I will make some jewelry today, maybe try a copper and turquoise piece. The challenge is to fashion the raw copper wire and sheet , combine it with turquoise nuggets and produce a desirable visually pleasing piece. After much doodling with pad and pencil, a little surfing the net maybe I can come up with something. There is so much to look at and trying to formulate something different that does not look hokey.

Maybe I will just enjoy the relatively balmy weather ( 40 F. ) and hope the creativity replaces the vacuum that has persisted for a while. Then again maybe I will finally unpack my totes from the December 13th show I did and doing so will afford me a stimulus plan for creating jewelry.

A special hello to all my Snow-bird and permanent resident friends in Florida, I think of you often especially on the below freezing days.

Friday, February 6, 2009

February 6, 2009

Welcome to my periodic journal of Rants, Raves and
bits of Humor ( or how the world is seen and understood by me ).

February 6, 2009 ---
TARP, TA, BB, and BARF ( my personal favorite).
The above are acronyms for Troubled Asset Relief Program, Toxic Assets, Bad Bank and Bad Asset Relief Fund.
I have to wonder if our illustrious politicians are spending Billions, No, Trillions of our and our childrens, our grand childrens and great grand childrens money on these programs to convince poorly run companies, managed by incompetent people doing things against all the laws of economics to continue doing more of the same.
The politicians would have you believe their expensive, wasteful plan has to be adopted soon ( like yesterday)
to restore mormal economic conditions in the country. I respectfully submit we are getting back to normal now. The abnormal was the way we have been living for the last 10 or 15 years in an unsustainable frenzy and fog of prolific spending, consumption and waste.

No money down mortgages, which are given for more than the property value, credit card run-ups, ATM's which draw from your credit cards and all the free spending policies of the past are why we are in such a downward spiral. Washington D.C.'s answer to the problem -- We Have To Spend More-- to provide stimulus
to the economy. Which leads to two questions for you to ponder :

1. What happens when the stimulus money runs out ?

2. What happens when we have to pay back the stimulus money + interest ?

More certainly to come on this.
I welcome your comments.

Herman Falcon