Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Well our new president has addressed Congress and the American people for the first time and I for one was impressed. I voted for him because I believed he would make the hard choices and bring some much needed common sense back into Government. Last night he talked the talk, and hopefully will also walk the walk.

Of course, since there were not a many tax cuts as his opponents wanted, they are sitting back and sulking. What everyone apparently has forgotten, is that without taxes there is no funding for anything. Just because the Mint prints money doesn't mean that it is worth anything if it isn't backed by something. Anyone with a fancy copier/printer can print money but it isn't worth anything and it gets you arrested if you are caught.

Taxes we pay backs the money our government spends. If you cut taxes and don't cut spending, then you have a deficit. Simple economics. However, for far too long our leaders have turned a blind eye to this simple fact. I don't enjoy paying taxes anymore than the next person, but I realize that without our tax dollars, the services that we have come to expect would either disappear or be handled by the private sector at probably higher rates.

Our taxes help support our public school system, our police and fire departments, the roads we drive on and countless other necessary services. Not to mention the most important, our military, without whom there would not be a USA. Corporations as well as individuals utilize these services and should contribute to their upkeep. Every time we give tax breaks to a company to relocate, we undermine our ability to continue providing the necessary infrastructure not only for the new business but for the people and companies already in place.

It is a dog eat dog world and everyone wants an edge on the next guy. But the old saying is what goes around comes around. Today it is our gain and someone elses loss. Tomorrow it is our loss and someone elses gain. Let's hope for a time, when everyone gains because jobs are staying put and not looking for the best deal.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Okay, we have started down the bailout road. We have bailed out the banks, the auto industry and now we are giving the appearance of helping struggling homeowners. The problem with all of this is not that it isn't necessary but that the possibility of fraud and misuse is extremely high. When the first round of bailout money was released at the end of the Bush presidency, concerns were raised about accountability and there was no accountability. Money was spent with no oversight.

When President Obama released the next round of bailout money and talked to auto makers about their bailout, accountability was stressed, if not required. We shall see if actual oversight takes place and if the companies in question will be held accountable for their actions.

Now a plan to aid struggling homeowners has been proposed. On the surface it seems like this should be a welcome idea but it too has its detractors. There have been concerns that this will cause otherwise responsible homeowners to just stop making their mortgage payments just to obtain federal assistance. Another concern, it that it rewards those individuals who bought homes that they knew that they could not afford either through creative mortgage lending or outright fraud.

Human nature being what it is, people can attempt to take advantage of a situation. Those of us who have worked through our mortgage problems and did it without government assistance, naturally feel that we are being punished for being conscientious. In reality that is not true but appearances are what matter. We hate the appearance that someone is getting rewarded for behaving irresponsibly. We want to be rewarded for behaving responsibly, doing what we are supposed to do. We all want a pat on the back and acknowledgment for not failing. It is human nature to view the homeowners assistance as a reward for not behaving responsibly and possibly failing.

Lets look beyond the appearances and give everything a chance to succeed. Time will reveal all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nothing Serious for a Change

A word about turn signals. Yes, I want to talk about turn signals or rather the increasing lack of them. Perhaps the auto makers haven't neglected to put them in the cars, but rather people have forgotten or maybe were never taught the use of that little lever on the left side of the steering wheel.

Well it is quite ingenious. You move it down and it turns on the flashing light on the left side of the car. This means that at some point in time you intend to turn to the left. Hopefully sooner than later. If you push the lever up it turns on the flashing light on the right side of the car. This signals that you intend to turn right.

This is quite an invention. When I learned to drive you had to signal your intentions by placing your left arm out of the window. Down was stop, straight out was left and up was right. What a pain during the cold weather.

This little contraption works both during the daytime and at night. So it is okay to indicate which way you are turning in daylight. This will save some irritation on the part of the drivers behind you, who are trying to determine your intentions so they can either change lanes or stay where they are.

Also don't wait until the last minute to indicate these changes. I was taught you should signal at least 100 yards before turning. But I am not going to measure the time between the start of the signal and the actual turn as long as they are not simultaneously.

I find it very inconsiderate not to use this device. After all, it is not like you are part of the secret service and the president is riding with you so your movements must be secretative. Of course, if you are my deepest apologies.

If people aren't going to use them, shouldn't they be optional equipment???