You Get What You Pay For

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Man, the news was so bad tonight, that I just turned it off and went outside in the backyard to scream!  Which really doesn’t do me a whole lot of good, but I just love watching the neighbor’s dog run to the end of his chain and then pow!

This evening I am thinking about that old gag, where the Senator is filibustering and he says to the body, “My esteemed colleague from Alabama wants $22 million for a road, and this Senator wants $65 million for a wind tunnel project, and my brother from Utah, is asking for $85 million to build a dam in his home state.  The first thing y’know, we are going to be talking about some REAL money here.”

The time is right for a set of federal policies designed to provide stabilization, stimulus, recovery, and growth. Without action, there is too great a risk of further collapse and an ever-worsening spiral of job loss and economic decline. In addition to action aimed at stabilizing the extremely shaky auto industry and financial and housing markets, Congress should act quickly to pass measures to stimulate the broad economy and commence the road to recovery.

Which is what they did with quickly moving with Secretary of the Treasury Paulson, and he has changed the playbook three times that I know of, and seems to be flying the Treasury by the seat of his pants.  Meanwhile, Congress sits back and in their usual fashion, does nothing about it.

In broad categories, the $350 billion package outlined here includes approximately:

■$55 billion to spur demand and assist those most in need.
■$70 billion in aid for states and localities.
■$50 billion for tax cut stimulus.
■$175 billion for infrastructure investments in stimulus and recovery, including $100 billion in green job creation.

And that is the “good news” what we are not seeing or being told, is what is going to happen in the future.  When all of these federally slopped hogs come back to the trough next year for even more money.

Today, after investing almost half of the $700 billion appropriated by Congress to buttress the capital reserves of the banking system, the evidence suggests that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have not achieved their goal of easing the cost or availability of capital. Instead, the major banks are cutting back credit, increasing fees and looking for ways to further solidify their balance sheets. In other words, “the people who promised to have your best interests at heart, have already reneged on the deal.”

The lesson for the major commercial banks in the wake of AIG’s collapse was simple: Do everything in your power to rebuild your financial strength and stabilize your credit ratings. Cut back lending, reduce outstanding credit facilities, increase fees, conserve capital, and rebuild your balance sheets. In sum, the lesson for the commercial banks is that if you want to survive — if you don’t want to be the next AIG — you should not do any of the things — such as increase lending — that the Treasury is trying to get you to do.  Now you might think that all of this is new thinking, but it isn’t.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

Thomas Jefferson

Does President-Elect Obama represent the change we need? His mainstream appointments — largely veterans of the Clinton administration — have sparked a clamor from worried supporters. A full 31 of his 42 picks so far, are Ex-Clinton pro’s or in other words, it’s the same old circus.  But in one of the critical challenges facing the country — how to get the country out of what will be the worst downturn since the Great Depression — Obama is calling for dramatic and long overdue change.

While President Bush continues to oppose any major plan for Main Street, Obama has been calling for a substantial recovery program, focused on public investments rather than tax cuts.

And Congress must do all this by NOT giving GM, Ford and Chrysler the $34 billion they are asking for in “loans” (a few days ago they only wanted $25 billion; that’s how stupid they are — they don’t even know how much they really need to make this month’s payroll. If you or I tried to get a loan from the bank this way, not only would we be thrown out on our ear, the bank would place us on some sort of credit rating blacklist).  Like a freshly pulled bathroom drain plug, our way of life seems to be shooting down the pipe, and no one appears to be listening.  What was our sturdiest generation seasoned by World War II, is gradually fading and now that we are in charge, we are failing miserably.  They left us in fairly good shape, and now that we are running the ship of state, everything seems to be out of control.

Let’s call a spade a spade here.

GM’s outstanding stock is worth about $3 billion on the current market, why doesn’t the government just outright purchase the company, throw the current managers out, and hire new people to run the company (that would be change).  This is a bargain, considering the $18 billion they want now, and who knows what they will want in the future?  They are going to default on the note in the end, and we are going to own it outright anyway.  Why not get it for the bargain price, instead of the inflated bloated overpriced pig they are offering for market share now.  I change the channel … no help there either.

Then the media moved onto Foreign Policy.

It’s too early to tell what changes Hillary Clinton will bring to Barack Obama’s foreign policy, but she’s already had an enormous effect on his brand. Her addition to his team has turned “No Drama Obama” into “Mo’ Drama Obama.” Hillary’s appointment isn’t even official, but the Obama/Clinton narrative has already left the realm of politics. Its twists, turns, shadings, and complex emotions are the stuff of literature (When Hillary Met Barack. Sleepless in Chappaqua. You’ve Got Fundraising Email).

Late into the day and I find myself in an old familiar surrounding, the backyard, staring up at the sky and there are never any answers in the sky.  Some of us seek anesthesia of escape in strange forms, some of us seek the validation of everyone-thinks-alike media tailored to one ideological or political mindset.  We separate into our niches, shredding the fabric of our common future.

You get what you pay for … At least “you used to get what you paid for.”

Nowadays, I don’t know what it is we are getting, and it is hard to see the results, when you find yourself “constantly bending over and taking it in the shorts.”  I hope Mr. Obama understands that “if you are not the lead horse, then the view is always going to be the same.”

I am driving a 12 year old truck, that passes every thing but a gas station, and on most days, the best of days, “it might start on a cold Oklahoma morning.”

I sure wish someone would be kind enough to bail me out of it.

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One thought on “You Get What You Pay For

  1. One thing holds true. If you reward bad behavior of children, banks, auto manufacturers or any other entity, you will ALWAYS get more bad behavior. It’s not hard to figure that out. Why can’t our government?
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    You know I have to agree, and what is going on now, isn’t very good. Nothing it seems is working out the way it was “designed to be” and it appears to me (the uneducated consumer) to be one massive give-away. Where is the incentive to do better? It would be best (in my opinion) to let them take the knocks and the hit, and then move on. Like they say in the Marines, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

    FACT: We do not need 85 models of automobiles to drive out of ONE COMPANY that is ludicrous, the auto companies have been building the same old worthless crap for over 30 years and now when it comes time to pay for their collective sins, we bail them out? Now I know that there are people in the Heartland where they build these cars that are not going to like this, but this is my take on it.

    Why do we need 4,000-6,000 airplanes a loft and flying over this country each and every day, it boggles the mind. Why can’t we sit in an airport and wait for the next flight, they used to have waiting rooms in stations for trains, where is the economic sense in this? Where was the huge clamor and out roar in the halls of congress when these companies took the jobs and the tax base out of the country. Both GM $ Ford are known for their across the border manufacturing policies. Why should we “reward this outrageous behavior now” to save some rich, fat cat stockholders?

    I say it is time, high time, that these inefficient wasteful companies either have to get profitable or frankly, fall beside the way. It makes no sense whatsoever to keep feeding them off the cuff, and then have them come back for more and rub our noses in it. I have a truck that is 13 years old, it cost me $11,000 and it gets 21 mpg. The replacement for this truck, now costs $33,000 and it gets 24 mpg … Why would I want to buy something like that? And on top of everything else, pay THREE TIMES AS MUCH FOR IT.

    Nope, I say cut bait or fish … No more handouts.

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