rooted, but still growing

Archive for September 2008

The House of Representatives actually rejected the Wall Street bailout. One side of me wants to jump up and fist-punch the air, but the other side is worried about what comes next.

Here’s what I don’t understand. The mortgage companies were reckless in their policies and actions, causing hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes. Because of this, we’re now in a lending crisis because the banks aren’t receiving payments on those risky loans and thus have less money to lend. Why, why, why, then, are the mortgage companies who SCREWED THINGS UP FOR EVERYONE the ones many of our “leaders” want to help? Shouldn’t we punish these people rather than save them?

If the government really wants to help (*snort*), they could provide the people with the money they need to pay off their mortgages. Do it in the form of a fixed, lower-interest loan payable to the government. Giving the money to the mortgage companies does absolutely nothing to help the people who were snookered by those fools in the first place. It only compounds the problem.

Our representatives could also – gasp!- cut taxes. Eliminate wasteful spending and irresponsible earmarks. If people want perks in their local areas, let the money for them come from local funds and tax bases. I’d much rather my tax dollars be used for things that benefit me, my family and my neighbors than people living six states over. I have serious problems with many of the government’s so-called social programs, so why should I pay to help fund them?

Third, downsize, downsize, downsize. When things get too large, they become more difficult to manage. This country is huge. It simply isn’t realistic to think that a central agency (for programs like FEMA, etc.) can handle everything it needs to. Govern at the national level and let the states deal with their own people.

And for God’s sake, why are we still in Iraq? I realized something a few days ago about my views on this war. I could make a better statement about whether or not I support it if I actually knew what our objectives are. Can someone please explain to me what we are (or are supposed to be) doing in Iraq? Republicans and Fox News would have us all believe “we’re winning in Iraq!” while Democrats and the rest of the U.S. media conglomerates tell a tale of death and doom. Ok, so what are we winning/losing at? What are the goals, and what are we doing to meet them?

This isn’t rocket science, Congress. Was it Bill Clinton who said to Keep It Simple, Stupid? We could solve a lot of problems by simply following the procedure for just about every imaginable task: Define the objectives, develop a plan to meet those objectives, measure the results. That will tell you whether the goal was successfully met.

I had to throw that last part in there not only because it’s what I truly believe, but also so no one would think this liberal chick had gone all Republican. I am, however, seriously considering changing my registration to Independent. Right now, none of those idiots are doing it for me.

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The economy is crap. Clay Aiken is gay.

Well, duh.

This is quite an interesting time for our nation as we prepare for a presidential election and weather through tough financial times. Though I don’t know much about Wall Street bail-outs and such, I have been thinking a lot lately about the country’s financial problems, which has left me disgusted and angry. I’m frustrated that our supposed leaders have allowed such mismanagement. I simply can’t think of one single justification for corporate CEOs earning salaries of multiple millions of dollars while they squander away our trust and resources. It’s unacceptable.

But accept it we must. And while we’re talking about acceptance, let’s take some time and point the blame finger back at ourselves. There are a lot of American values, but there’s one that through the years has taken precedence over the others and that’s greed or, better put, excess. Americans are obsessed with being and having “it all.” We live in sprawling homes, own multiple vehicles, use credit cards to purchase unnecessary items. I watch a lot of those home renovation and real estate television shows and am often stunned at what people are willing to do for the sake of “luxury.” One show featured a couple struggling to make their $3,600 monthly mortgage payment. Holy crap! I don’t even know many people who make that much money in month — and what about other expenses like food and utilities? Their house was huge — ridiculously huge for a young couple with a baby. It was obvious they were living beyond their means, and are now paying for it (quite literally) in the midst of the national housing and finance crises.

The costs of everything are going up — not just gas and food. And yet we’re still spending a fortune driving our luxury vehicles and eating out. Every year — or sooner — a new gadget debuts on the market and we run each other over clamoring to the stores. What are we doing to ourselves? What are we teaching our children?

I’m bummed out about all of this, but the only thing I can do is adjust my own spending, and re-think my own American values. There are several things I can do to strengthen my own wallet, from packing my lunch instead of eating out to chipping away at my credit card debt or reducing driving time to save on gasoline. I don’t see a clear solution — or a leader who will provide one — anywhere in the near future. I think we’ll all have to tighten our budgets and hope for the best.

I’ve been under the realization for several days now that it is far beyond time for a new blog post. Much time and thought have been devoted to coming up with something – anything – interesting to say. The trouble is, I just don’t have it. Life is good, things are going well. And as much as it irritates me to not have anything news-worthy to share, I can’t complain about living a quiet, peaceful, non-turbulent life. It’s rather nice.

 

My brother finally started school this week. My god is college expensive – even small schools. You think you’re in the clear once tuition is paid but oh, no. There’s supplies, parking passes, gas money and textbooks. Textbooks! The prices they charge for hard-bound knowledge are criminal. I paid $160 for one book yesterday. One. That he’ll use for nine weeks and probably never crack open again. Tell me that isn’t insane.

 

It was a big week for Steve as well – he started a new job. It’s an hour away from home but it’s a position he’s wanted for awhile now and carries better benefits. I’m really proud of him, and relieved, too, because his hatred for a former boss was starting to wear him down so much that he wasn’t always much fun to be around. I feel so fortunate that in the middle of such a crappy economy he and I have been able to find good jobs and don’t have to face the uncertainty so many others in this country are dealing with right now. This is one time I’m glad we do things as back-asswardly as we do.

 

I’ve been trying to “get into” the upcoming election but find that I just can’t. I’m really just tired of it all, and I have no idea what or whom to vote for. None of the candidates have impressed me, and I’m pretty certain that if they haven’t won me over by this point, they’ve got no chance of doing it between now and November. All I keep hearing are promises that will fast be broken, plans that will never be put into action, and chatter about “change” when perhaps what we so desperately need right now is not change, but accountability to the American people. Better decision-making. Fiscal responsibility. I just don’t know where we’re headed as a country, and it scares me.

 

And the thing is, I haven’t heard any opinions from the people around me that make me feel any better about things. I don’t know a single person who supports John McCain. I worry about the people I know who support Barack Obama … do they truly know what this man’s about, or have they secured seats on the bandwagon? I just don’t know …