Archive for the Spending Category

Over The Cliff Or At The Foot? (December 31, 2012)

Posted in Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Congress, Consumerism, FISA, National Defense Authorization Act / FY 2012, Pogo Plight, Spending, Taxation on December 31, 2012 by e-commentary.org

. . .

E1          “Everyone describes our current federal budgetary mess as a ‘cliff,’ yet we as a society are at the foot of a great summit.”

E2          “Everything is a matter of perspective.  The mix of taxes and spending cuts proposed as part of the ‘sequestration’ are painful and may even lead to a slow-down in the economy in the short term, yet they are a critical first start.  The cuts looked desirable when the Republicans and Democrats agreed to them in 2011.”

E1          “We will not make the right decision unless we realize that we must step up rather than step off.  The ‘can’ they refer to looks more like a 55 gallon steel drum that is not likely to respond to further kicking.  We need to take the first step rather than continue our kicking and screaming.”

E2          “And then Congress must address the budget ceiling in the next two months.  Congress has already spent the money and is allowed, after the fact, to ratify or reject what they already spent.  Some wingnuts are saying they should not raise the debt ceiling.  What Congress needs to do is focus on future spending so that they do not need to ratify their excessive spending in the future.”

E1          “After receiving a bill for goods already provided and services already performed, no citizen gets to decide whether to ‘pay the freight’ or not.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssays” titled A Taxing Explanation (August 22, 2011) and On Uncertainty, Certainment (July 30, 2012).]

[Congress continues to transgression on our civil liberties with another Christmas gift.  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/28/168220266/congress-extends-fisa-wiretapping-act-to-2017-awaits-obamas-signatureLast year, Congress gave us the NDAA of 2012.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Can I pay my MasterCard bill with my Visa?

Can I not pay my MasterCard and my Visa bill?

December 24 (December 24, 2012)

Posted in Bankruptcy, Banks and Banking System, Bernanke, Consumerism, Federal Reserve, Pogo Plight, Spending, Taxation on December 24, 2012 by e-commentary.org

. . .

TV        “You need a new car, you really smell bad and need to do something about it, you really, really need to sport an expensive watch and you really, really, really need to acquire expensive jewelry for the woman in your life or you are a total loser.”

. . .

LTR

Dear Billy,

I would like a regular 9 to 5 gig, a change of threads, a new straight razor and a short vacation.

Your friend,

Santa

P.S. – I’ve been nice.

P.P.S. – I don’t need a new ride, any cologne or a chronometer.  Ms. C. does not need any jewelry.  She says ‘hello.’  

. . .

[See the FBI documents that reveal secret nationwide monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street effort at http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html.]

[See the research paper by the Congressional Research Service titled “Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945” at http://graphics8.nytimes.com/news/business/0915taxesandeconomy.pdf.]

[See the “e-ssays” titled “Consume, Don’t Invest? (Nov. 9, 2009)” and Boxing Day (December 26, 2011).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Can I pay my Visa bill with my MasterCard?

Today is the 99 year anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve – a semi-quasi-proto-government-like being – not understood by 99.999999999 % of Americans.  To his (and our) credit, Bernanke is sharing the assumptions and strategy more transparently and considering the unemployment level because Congress directed the Federal Reserve to consider the unemployment level in its decision making.  To his (and our) detriment, he is subsidizing Wall Street with vast amounts of free money and saddling ‘Main Street’ with debt and creating unhealthy conditions for the economy in the intermediate term.

Centrist-Conservative Beats Corporatist-Culture Warrior (November 12, 2012)

Posted in Blue States / Red States, China, Elections, Iran, Journalism, Newspapers, O'Bama, Political Parties, Presidency, Press/Media, Romney, Russia, Southern Strategy, Spending on November 12, 2012 by e-commentary.org

. . .

C1        “Or should the headline read ‘Black And Browns Outwit Whites And Green (Paper).’”

C2       “Or ‘Ascetic Triumphs Over Bully.’  The election was a ‘campaign’ conducted in ‘battleground’ states by ‘operatives’ operating in a ‘war room’ who unwittingly are continuing to prosecute the ‘Great American Civil War.’”

C1        “The ‘Republican Southern Strategy’ is the ‘Republican National Strategy’, yet the Republicans were not able to conquer more than the ‘Contemporary Confederacy.’”

C2       “For two score or perhaps two score and four years since Nixon patented the policy, the ‘Southern Strategy’ was the go to play in the Republican playbook but may now need to be revisited.”

C1        “America is divided between the ‘Educated States’ that vote Blue and the ‘Uneducated States’ that vote Red.  States such as Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Virginia, New Hampshire, New York and Minnesota are the ‘Educated States’ that vote Blue.  States such as West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Nevada, Indiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma are the ‘Uneducated States’ that vote Red.  Those who are less educated are motivated by and respond to fear.”

C2       “Nevada is the only exception in that group.  The citizens may not sport as much formal education, but Nevadans are a spunky group of transplants.”

C1        “And O’Bama and Reid also ran a great ground game in Nevada and in all the other battleground states.”

C2       “The residents of the upper Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois and the pivotal Ohio do not sport as many sheep skins, but they exercise horse sense in abundance.”

C1        “Wherever you find oil and gas, you find racism and corruption.  Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota and Alaska.  With the discovery of oil, Alaska transitioned from Minnesota to Mississippi.  Astute pollsters note that these states tend to vote Red.  And then along comes North Dakota that elects to elect Heidi Heitkamp as a Senator.  Dead dinosaurs are destiny.”

C2       “Demographics are destiny.  Demo-graphics versus Republica-graphics.  And the outcome is graphic.  The Last Great White Hope is hopeless.  The rich White boys who want power are facing a reality that even the Red States are becoming Browner and Blacker.”

C1        “A strategic planner who seeks to locate a business that exploits the workers and despoils the land migrates to a Red State.  An enterprise that requires an educated populace searching for a sustainable quality of life migrates to a Blue State.  There are exceptions in pockets like Austin and a thousand other havens and oases, yet the general rule is true.”

C2       “Virginia’s senatorial contest between the Klan and Confederate Party candidate George Allen and the Centrist Party candidate Tim Kaine reveals the schism in many states that are described as Purple.  North Virginia went with Kaine and South Virginia went with Allen in a state where there are now more North Virginians than South Virginians.”

C1        “The educated electorate in North Carolina did not do it this year because it is so desperately small.  Curious that Bank of America’s decision to locate in Charlotte years before the 2008 election may have provided enough additional voters to provide the margin for O’Bama in the state in 2008 but not in 2012.”

C2       “South Florida is populated by transplanted Northerners who voted for O’Bama and North Florida is an appendage of Georgia and voted for Romney, but there are more Northern voters in South Florida than South voters in North Florida.”

C1        “And a few Browns.”

C2       “And a few Browns.  In an election that looked like it would be bought by a few faceless billionaires showering money from above and using Anger Mongering radio, billions of ordinary citizens on the ground really did made the difference for O’Bama.”

C1        “And two candidates shot themselves in the foot and then put the foot in their mouths and proclaimed that rape is akin to a sprained ankle or a trick knee.  New Hampshire was in play until Tuesday night and after the smoke and mirrors cleared on Wednesday morning, the smarter gender is in control in the first all-women delegation.  And the neighboring Bay Staters are banking on Elizabeth Warren.”

C2       “Brown did not do well in Massachusetts.  Tammy Baldwin, an openly gay female Senator-elect from Wisconsin, and Krysten Sinema, an openly bisexual Representative-elect from Arizona of all places, were not the pick of the billionaires.”

C1        “Tammy Duckworth, a wounded veteran from Illinois, finally made it.  Unfortunate that Pete Stark, the lone atheist, lost his seat.” 

C2       “The first Hindu member of Congress, Tulsi Gabbard, and a combat veteran.”

C1        “With Pete Stark gone, someone else must take up the Carbon Tax effort.  God voted under the name ‘Sandy’ as a single issue voter this year.”

C2       “Without showing any photo id.  The place is going to look like America.  Blue States such as Washington and Colorado have declared peace in the war on drugs and legalized the recreational use of marijuana.  Chalk up another win for freedom and liberty.”

C1        “And Washington, Maine and Maryland now allow an individual to decide if he or she wants to get married.”

C2       “Another win for freedom and liberty.  And Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality.”

C1        “Washington state is awfully pushy.  All the talented folks will migrate there.”

C2       “When the Nobel Committee signals that it will reward the conclusion, someone will connect the dots between freedom and liberty in a state and clean and green growth and development.  The Blue States vote for freedom and liberty.”

C1        “In 2004, O’Bama came to national attention aspiring for one United States of America, but only a little more than half of America will ever give him a chance.”

C2       “And now that petty pernicious pol Mitch McConnell is committed to making O’Bama a two-term President.”

C1        “We are the Red States of America and the Blue States of America.  There is no shame in candid self-awareness.” 

C2       “And yet the two countries confront many common concerns.  Iran is still Iran, China is still China, Russia is still Russia, and the fiscal fiasco is straight out of Wile E. Coyote.”

C1        “Europe may implode; the Middle East may explode.  Someone may want to take a look at the numbers that underpin entitlements and unnecessary defense/offense spending.  They still don’t add up.”

C2       “For decades, the Blue States have subsidized the Red States, yet we may see Illinois, California and/or New York, three small Blue countries in America, in need of major subsidies.”

C1        “Someone will say something about immigration.”  

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” titled America Recycles Day, November 15 (November 15, 2010).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Women are people too.

The odds for the election of the first gay Buddhist Brown woman to the White House should be available soon.

George Will:             Romney:         331;    Obama:        217

Michael Barone:      Romney:          315;    Obama:        223

Glenn Beck:               Romney:          321;    Obama:        217

Dick Morris:              Romney:          325

Carl Rove:                   Romney:          279

“I have been assured that everything is in place for a Romney sweep of the Electoral College and the popular vote.  Talk is cheap.  Are you man enough to put your money where your mouth is.  $100 that Romney takes it.”  “I don’t have any assurances.  There is $1000 where my mouth is.  If you are man enough.” 

“I have been assured that everything is in place for a Romney sweep of the Electoral College and the popular vote.  Talk is cheap.  Are you man enough to put your money where your mouth is.  $100 that Romney takes it.”  “I don’t have any assurances.  There is $1000 where my mouth is.  If you are man enough.” 

Our “Fiat Future” (June 13, 2011)

Posted in "Fiat ______", Banks and Banking System, Debt/Deficits, Economics, Gold Standard, Peak Land, Peak Oil, Spending on June 13, 2011 by e-commentary.org

. . .

Y          “So we live in an economy driven by ‘fiat money.’  Should we use the money to buy a Fiat car?  You know it is an acronym for ‘Fix It And Trade’?”

X          “Our fiat currency rolls along, but it is not a convertible vehicle.  I would like to fix it and trade, but we are just trading it.  A ’fiat’ is an order and a directive.  The United States Government orders and directs the citizens to accept ‘fiat money’ or ‘fiat currency’ or ‘fiat dollars’ for ‘for all debts public and private.’  The order and directive are backed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the United States Government.  See, no worries.”

Y          “But I’m worried.  The credit of the United States government on paper is non-existent.  Why take its paper?  Who has even ‘half faith’ in its credit?”

X          “Only fools and citizens.  Only you and me.”

Y          “Why have faith when the empirical evidence is so clear and so clearly to the contrary?”

X          “Think about it this way.  I will accept the dollar if and because you will accept the dollar.”

Y          “Well then I will accept the dollar if and because you will accept the dollar.”

X          “That is the rationale.  It has worked and it works, but it may not work.  I don’t know if I want to accept the dollar.”

Y          “If you want to get rid of them, I will take them off your hands.”

X          “I will use them for the time being if and because you will accept them.  Half of the physical dollars are in circulation outside the United States and serve as the de facto currency in some countries and regions.  At the same time, the banks and financial institutions in America may have one tenth of one percent of the physical dollars necessary to cover the deposits in the banks and financial institutions.  Our fractional-reserve banking system is fractured, but it has not yet fractured.  A run on the banks, for rational reasons or irrational whims, would confirm what no one denies.”

Y          “So is the refusal to raise the debt ceiling a rational or an irrational triggering event?”

X          “An understandable reaction, but an irrational and dangerous response.  In a country awash in electronic dollars, there are no real dollars and not even enough fake dollars.  When the populace resorts to gold, everyone will discover that it is ‘fiat gold’ even if we are not ordered and directed by the government to accept it.”

Y          “The government took gold out of the equation decades ago.  And if you want to get rid of any gold, by the way, I will take it off your hands.”

X          “Others have put their full faith and credit in gold.  And then fail to see the irony in denominating the value of gold in . . . ‘fiat dollars.’”

Y          “So the dollar is not backed by gold, but gold is backed by dollars.”

X          “Seems to be.  However, there is no fiat bread.”

Y          “So when everyone realizes that the government ‘bread’ is stale, we will yearn for real bread.” 

X          “Bread is the real bread.  But we can’t print it.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Bake Bread

Know how to bake bread

He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rules

Consume, Don’t Invest? (Nov. 9, 2009)

Posted in Consumerism, Economics, Society, Spending on November 9, 2009 by e-commentary.org

We have been consuming far too much for far too long.  And now someone is saying that we should start consuming more?

Homes are amassed as investments.  (“We will double our money in three years.”)  Wine, etc. is acquired because it is a good play.  (“These bottles will pay off big time at maturity.”)  Art is not art because it is artistic, it is art because someone will part with more money for it.  (“I hadn’t heard of him either, but it will only go up in value especially when he dies.  . . .   Frankly, I don’t like his stuff either.”)

Seems that one should pick up a home to provide comfortable and affordable living space.  Purchase wine to enjoy.  Collect art to delight, shock, evoke, challenge, inspire, threaten, entertain, etc.

Consume responsibly; invest wisely.

Bumper stickers of the week:

Work, Buy, Consume, Die.         Why?

Home appreciated home.

A home to inhabit, wine to imbibe, art to admire.

The Humongous Gamble (June 1, 2009)

Posted in Debt/Deficits, Economics, Spending on June 1, 2009 by e-commentary.org

Consider this obscenely gross and simplistic survey of recent presidents and the economy.

Reagan – pawned the future of the children.  (“Deficits don’t matter.”)

Bush II –  pawned the future of the grandchildren.  (Encouraged deficits and the Debt to grow unchecked.)

O’Bama – pawning the future of the great grandchildren.

The economy and the budgets limped along during the Bush (“Read my lips”) I administration and grew at a promising but unsustainable and unsustained rate during the Clinton administration.  O’Bama genuinely believes that he can pull off the “Great Hat Trick” and rescue the futures of three generations of children by spending federal money and stimulating economic growth.  There is not enough unused productive capacity.  The numbers simply do not add up no matter how you add them.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Watch Inflation Next

Congress Should Increase Congressional and Judicial Pay; Shareholders Should Reduce CEO/CFO/COO Pay (March 5, 2007)

Posted in Market Solutions, Spending on March 5, 2007 by e-commentary.org

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy recently testified that the salaries of federal judges should be increased to provide some competition with the private sector.  He points to the substantial signing bonuses paid to former Supreme Court judicial law clerks when they go to work with wealthy law firms.  Many young law students plan to retire on the federal bench.  The power and prestige are the most significant draws. However, the pay must be competitive or only the wealth will apply.  Raise their salaries consistent with his request.

Congressional salaries should also be raised.  The public is better off if the hired help is paid by the people rather than by the lobbyists.  Fifty thousand a year is a cheap and prudent investment.

Arguing that Congressional salaries should be increased is never popular.  After passage of a pay raise, every candidate running against an incumbent makes a stink.  To provide political cover, a commission should be established and the findings adopted by voice vote.  Commissions provide cover.

CEOs, CFOs, COOs and their colleagues are paid salaries and bonuses far out of proportion to their contribution to their companies and shareholders.  The contention that the companies must pay big money to attract talent is a chimera because there is no thriving market for the positions.  A small select group simply pays more to their management which provides an excuse for their colleagues/competitors to pay more and thereby to provide an excuse for other companies to pay themselves even more.  When the company makes money, for whatever reason, management issues huge bonuses.  When the company loses money, management continues to draw inflated salaries and/or parachutes out with a bucket of loot. The market is broken beyond redemption.

The government is not the player to challenges the salaries.  Large shareholder groups should simply dictate the pay.  The various state PERSs (Public Employees Retirement Systems) programs in particular should state that they will sell shares and not buy shares unless management sets salaries within a defined range.  All shareholders should vote on all executive compensation at every annual meeting.

Bumper sticker of the week:

We all live downstream