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Monday, September 06, 2010

 

Thanks for nothing

It is fashionable for local weekly newspapers to invite their local incumbent politicians to write a weekly column, which is yet another advantage of incumbency on top of all the ones we routinely consider. Our local state assemblyman (guess which party) took the opportunity to "thank President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan for extending that helping hand to us at a time we New Yorkers so desperately need it."

Of course, he was talking about the little $1.3 billion gift that the Feds laid on NY to "keep teachers and other public employees" on the payroll. Before getting into the merits of this disbursement, I would point out to the Assemblyman that he is thanking the wrong folks. The people who supplied this largess are the taxpayers of the USA, who now constitute less than half the population I believe, and the lion's share of which is provided by the so-called rich who make six figures or more. As far as I know, the President and his cronies provide nothing (other than the taxes they themselves pay), only redistribute what the IRS collects. So on behalf of the public who actually provided the funds, I grudgingly respond "your welcome." Grudgingly because it's not as if this was our choice.

Let's understand that when we redistribute funds in this way, we are making a decision that it is OK to profit the NEA at the expense of others. These funds will do little or nothing to improve our kids' education, but they will keep a lot of marginal teachers on payroll. They will also discourage our state legislators from making the hard decisions they need to make (urgently) to reduce state expenditures and the state's payroll. So we have a legislator thanking the President for enabling him to avoid a tough decision, while the beneficiaries pocket the funds (without so much as a thanks) and the payors just get dissed entirely; in fact, they are threatened with increased taxes next year.

Is there any wonder why we are voting against incumbents like this in November?
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Democrats are still in denial about the slaughter awaiting them this fall. They are having a little fun with their mantra that the GOP is the "party of No" and you do see letters and column to the effect that the GOP has not put forward a specific program that illustrates how they will do better, other than the Ryan Road map which Dems portray as privatization of social security, a gross oversimplification.

My view is that there is much to be said for the conservative view that there is a lot to say for a party that will "first do no harm," as they say in the medical profession. Repealing and replacing the huge legislative "achievements" of the Obama administration is a worthwhile goal, however difficult to achieve. Frankly, I would be happier with a Congress that took the approach of implementing fiscal discipline, without worrying about whether they were inclined to do anything positive from a legislative point of view.

Actually, this is where the majority of likely voters are. The Dems talking points are not gaining any traction for this reason. We are now at a point where early voting begins in about one month. Early voting is very popular west of the Appalachians, so that's about all the time the Dems have left to salvage this election. The rout is all but assured.

I rate the GOP a 60% favorite to take control of the House, and 40-50% to win the Senate. The Dems' filibuster proof Senate majority will be gone (actually it already would be if it weren't for the New England RINO's) and the GOP will fail to earn a veto proof majority. This means that either the parties will have to find a way to work together or nothing will get done. Either way, we will better off than we have been the last two years.

A lot of people don't realize we will be operating without a budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1. Congressional disfunction is already in place.

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It's that time in sports when baseball is getting to crunch time, football begins for real, and tennis and golf hit their high points with the US Open and the Ryder Cup respectively. It's a great time for fans, but as the madness of NCAA football resumes, keep in mind how in what should be an amateur endeavor, money drives everything, the coaches make millions, the players are shamelessly exploited, and the NCAA, the most corrupt sports governing body this side of the Olympics, doles out the death penalty to college programs for the most trivial of "rules violations." Just sayin'.

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I'm off to D.C. yet again tomorrow, so I'll wrap it up here. On Wednesday, we bought 200 shares of SEI Corp (SEIC) at 17.90, a zero buy. On Friday, we bought 20 shares of Treasury Inflation Protected ETF (TIPS) for the IRA at 107.30. We have enjoyed this nice rally and like being well ahead again for the year.

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Comments:
In my not very humble opinion, one of the country's best columnists is Maureen Dowd of the NY Times. Her humor is piercing and, while she is a liberal Democrat, she takes on and levels both parties with humor.
Here are some of her edited (by me) comments from her column of today's date concerning President Obama.
"One of the independent voters Obama will be trying to charm over the next two years is my sister, Peggy, a formerly ardent Obamican (a Republican who changed spots to vote for Obama).

Disillusioned with her beloved W. over Iraq and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and the disdain for bipartisanship, she gave her affections — and small cash infusions — to Barack Obama in 2008.

Despite being a Washington native, Peggy believed that the dazzling young newcomer could change Washington.

But she has lost a lot of faith now, saying she might vote for Mitt Romney over Obama if Romney is the Republican nominee in 2012. (Sarah Palin shouldn’t count on her vote though. In Peggy’s words, “Are you nuts?”)

Peggy thinks the president has done fine managing W.’s messes in Iraq and Afghanistan. And she lights up at the mention of his vice president, Joe Biden. But she thinks Obama has to get “a backbone” if he wants to lure her back to the fold. “He promised us everything, saying he would turn the country around, and he did nothing the first year,” Peggy says. “He piddled around when he had 60 votes. He could have pushed through the health care bill but spent months haggling on it because he wanted to bring some Republicans on board. He was trying too hard to compromise when he didn’t need the Republicans and they were never going to like him. Any idiot could see that.

“He hasn’t saved the economy, and now he’s admitting he’s made very little progress. You can’t for four years blame the person who used to be president. Obama tries to compromise too much, and he doesn’t look like a strong leader. I don’t watch him anymore. I’m turned off by him. I think he’s an elitist. He went down to the gulf, telling everyone to take a vacation down there, and then he goes to Martha’s Vineyard. He does what he wants but then he tells us to do other things.

“I want him in that White House acting like a president, not out on the campaign trail. Not when the country is going down the toilet.” "

NOTE in my opinion, the Redwaver should not count on a GOP victory this fall as I believe there are many people like Ms. Dowd's sister who are fed up with Obama's lack of direction and promise but they are likely fed up with the GOP's same old rhetoric of just saying NO!

This should be a very interesting election.

As always, Hail Freedonia !!
R.T. Firefly
 
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