Thursday, January 24, 2008

What are we paying for?

More than once, I have claimed that bad things happen when members of our government start getting along.  My position has been that we're better off when the government is at a full stalemate.  Need proof?  Get it from CNN:

Now, don't get me wrong...I really like the idea of paying $1200-$1500 less in taxes.  Unfortunately, our government really needs that money, and I'm pretty sure that by this time next year...all the recently unemployed people are going to wish that their government benefits could last just a little bit longer.

The idea of forestalling a recession via an economic stimulus package is curious, at best.  If we examine how long our interest rates have been at rock bottom, we might get the impression that perhaps this problem has been brewing for quite a while.  In fact, I seem to remember a movement toward "patriotic spending" just after 9/11. 

The problem is that we've been living on funny money.  People cashed out the "equity" in their homes, and spent it.  In the post 9/11 days, housing seemed like a safe investment, so people dumped money into it.  That inflated prices, thus creating phantom equity that people cashed in for real money that they wasted (for the most part).  The major problem is that those same people expected to sell their homes for a profit later on and "upgrade", but of course that can't happen now that prices have adjusted.

So, please explain to me how a one time payment of $1200 per couple is supposed to fix the last 7 years of rampant spending?  That wont even make a single mortgage payment for most of our overextended home owners.  I'm quite certain that I would appreciate that money much more if it were financing my soup kitchen in say, 11 months.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Know What You Want.

Last evening when I arrived home, I fairly oozed into my seat at the dinner table.  Completely exhausted for no seeming reason.  Winters in Michigan can be trying.  Due to the ever present cloud cover, the days seem even shorter than they really are, and it's quite cold.

After dinner, my 16 month old daughter waddled up to me and tugged on my pant leg.  When I looked down, she raised her arms and said "Up".  Never one to disobey a direct order, I complied.  Once she was sitting securely on my hip, she had another demand.  She turned to the room and said "Bye Bye".  It was perfectly clear what she wanted.  She wanted to go for a walk.  It was cold and dark, and I was feeling sorry for I distracted her in hopes that she would forget this walk business.

My plan seemed to be working, until we stopped actively playing.  She disappeared for a few moments, then reappeared with her boots.  She dropped them at my feet and declared "Bye Bye"!  So we took our very cold, dark walk.  About halfway through, she stopped walking, and stared up at the sky.  It was the first time she had really taken notice of the moon, so it turns out that the cold and dark walk was well worth the trouble.

Knowing what you want is the first step to getting what you want.  As luck would have it, I had an opportunity to apply the lesson learned last night.  After interviewing with a potential employer, the employer declined to offer me the position.  There was another opening, though, about which the employer inquired if I had any interest.  In light of my recent lesson, I opted to steer clear of the diversion and remain focused on my goals instead.