A Bunch of Random Political Thoughts
Posted by craigbaltz on January 11, 2009
As we all anxiously await the inauguration of our new President in a little more than a week, I thought I’d throw out some of my plethora of political commentaries. Feel free to call bullshit on me, as I’m fully aware that when discussing politics or religion I’m as full of crap as anybody else and rarely know what I’m talking about.
When I was in Alaska, with little ability to discuss with intelligent life forms, as the banks started having problems and discussion of the bailout started I emailed a buddy of mine and we both had the same opinion. With my knowledge limited to little snippets of info on the news we both said the bailout was the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. There were no rules attached to the billions of dollars “loaned” to the financial institutions and in one of the few instances where I thank the media for existing, if it wasn’t for the investigations and reports by the media – the banks and CEO’s of these companies would still be snapping up huge bonuses and going on corporate jets for meetings at spas and golf country clubs worldwide. Anyway – my first thought when I heard the suggestion of hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts was “WTF – isn’t this a capitalistic country?” OK – we don’t bail them out, what happens – some banks fold, some condense their operations. It becomes harder to get a loan, but it SHOULD be harder to get a loan. When did it become common thought or expectation in America that somebody who has a history of not paying their debts deserves loans for houses and cars? If I don’t pay my debts I don’t expect anybody to loan me money for a pair of pants, let alone a house. So if we don’t bailout the banks, it just becomes harder for people to get loans, maybe we need to fix our cars for a couple years until things pan out as opposed to buying the 2009 Hummer. If businesses haven’t saved enough money to get through the tough times they DESERVE to go out of business. I look at GM and think what have they been doing with all the money they made for the past 100’ish years? Well the CEO made 24 million dollars in verifiable compensation in 2006-2007. Numerous others were in the $5-$10 million dollar range. Workers are making $30 an hour for line jobs, with some of the best benefit plans anywhere. Well, if the companies executives are cashing in, and “getting mine” and the workforce is overpaid for both their skill level and comparative industry – then what do you expect? They aren’t selling cars because they aren’t providing a product that people want, and they are wasting huge amounts of cash. Well – surprise!!!!! Now times go bad and our governemnt and taxpayers bail them out. Fantastic!!! This whole bailout idea is a joke in my opinion and is a horrible precident for our country. *IF* capitalism works, and is the backbone of our way of life – let it work. In good times and bad. Let’s use that 1 trillion dollars we’ve given to banks and auto makers and encourage new business to open, sparking new employment. Use some to prop up unemployment benefits while things are playing out – but don’t bail out the greed and wastefulness of corporate America. I have to reiterate that this was my opinion from the FIRST day I heard about this, and the months of lack of results of what our gov’t has done – has only strengthened my view. Proud to say that Mike Huckabee and Lou Dobbs are two much more intelligent people who agree with me and did from the start.
State of California:
I haven’t been back in California for long. Not long enough to gain an opinion as to the job Schwarzenegger has done. Ironic that it is the same issue (budget) that could be his downfall as was Gray Davis (his predecessor who’s failure created the opening for the job). I do find it almost laughable that the State of California has announced that they may be issuing IOU’s for tax rebates filed for the 2008 tax year. This is the same state that sent me a bill for $2000 in 2006 while I was living in Alaska, WITH NO PROOF WHATSOEVER for taxes they thought maybe I might owe – and then made me prove I didn’t owe them. Basically I took a vacation while living and working in Alaska and had my Federal tax refund mailed to my parents house in California – because I knew that’s where I was going to be. I guess California in a constant process of revenue generation searches mailing addresses for federal refunds, saw I received mine in California, took the taxable amount total, administered their calculation of their share and sent me a bill. With no W-2 showing I worked in California, no pay stub from anywhere, no use of any California facilities, no drivers license – nothing. No proof at all. The California Tax Franchise Board sent me a bill and then made me prove by a certain date that I didn’t owe it or they were going to pursue judgment against me. So they sent me a bill AND threatened litigation. It took me three clearly worded letters explaining that I never took residence in California, earned one penny, or owed owed penny in taxes in California. After the first two of my letters which they ignored totally, they sent me a final letter saying this is your last chance to prove you don’t owe this money, etc. My response was not polite. Lots of bolded and underlined words explaining that once and for all I don’t owe you a penny and it should be the States responsibility to prove that I do, not mine to prove why I don’t. Finally I got a letter saying the matter was resolved. Anyway…I digress. The State of California are now failing miserable to pass a budget. We are almost out of money and services are threatening to shut down. Budgets are being presented and the Govenator keeps vetoing them. He wants to raise taxes – which in many areas including Fresno where I live – which will drive sales taxes in excess of 10%. That’s just sales tax. Doesn’t include Federal taxes, or state income taxes, or gas taxes, or any of the luxury taxes they collect from hotels, rental cars, alcohol, tobacco, double taxing auto sales, etc. 10+% sales tax. Makes me want to move to Oregon or Florida, or one of the five or six states that have no sales tax.
Illinois Senate Seat (and rambling into Caroline Kennedy):
Are politicians so attracted to power that they will take it any cost? Roland Burris is acting like there is nothing wrong at all with accepting the appointment of Rod Blagejovich (who should almost be found guilty just for looking and sounding stupid). Burris is trying to take his seat and referring to himself as “the junior Senator from Illinois.” I don’t know – maybe it’s just me, I don’t care if I was squeaky clean, and by all account Burris is, but I wouldn’t WANT the seat if it was appointed by somebody who is as dirty, creepy and in all likelihood guilty as Blagojevich. If Burris is deserving let it play out and see what happens. Not to mention I would probably want to be elected.
Which reminds me…Caroline Kennedy a couple of weeks ago when asked what inspired her to enter the political forum was quoted as saying that Obama (OK – I get that) and 9/11 (are you kidding me?) were the two issues that led her to ask NY Gov. David Peterson to consider her Hillary Clinton’s soon to be vacant senate seat. 9/11 inspired you to enter public service? Of course public service is a term that only politicians and the media use. A large majority of them aren’t serving anybody but themselves. Anyway…back to 9/11. Well that’s inspiring, you were motivated by 9/11 and it only took you what 7+ years to act on it? Why because all the rest of the time you would have actually had to run for office and right now you can have it handed to you solely on the basis of your name? Oh yes that must be it.
Obama and campaign promises:
He’s almost here! We’ll finally get to see if it’s all hype or if he can be the great leader we all need. Hopefully his first act won’t be to start reneging on all his campaign promises, closing Guantanimo and getting the troops out of Iraq are two that come to mind. I hold a lot of hope for him and I really hope he doesn’t sell out. My faith in our country might be totally shot if our great attempt at change turns out to be the same as the rest. But I will remain hopeful and give him some space. It is humorous, that nothing could be worse for him. Really what else could happen – a meteor hitting Denver? China decides it’s a good time to attack? I just hope Pelosi and Reid shut up long enough to get something done instead of blaming conservatives for everything bad since the Revolutionary War.