Thursday, June 2, 2011

State of the Economy, Oprah, College Grads, 2012 Election, Cartoons

From Denny: Today President Obama's political team demanded $60 million from high roller campaign donors in Chicago, to be delivered before the end of June. Uh, there isn't even anyone to face yet in the Republican camp. A little over reaching, don't you think?

2012 Presidential Campaign

But hey, Mitt Romney jumped up and officially announced he is running for president. In case you have followed so many of his flip-flops of where he stands or doesn't stand - on just about any issue - he is running on the Republican side of the political aisle. Not to be confused with a guy not born in Kenya by the name of Obama. :)

GMail Hacked from China 

More fun today for top government officials as hackers from China got into their gmail accounts. Oh, how thrilled was Google. You would think the American government would have the good sense to take excessive precautions for all government workers' emails, even the personal ones.

Come on; the Chinese so love espionage. They have been masters at it for thousands of years. Today, in this century, they are the world's most persistent hackers, always looking for a way into government computers so they can reverse engineer new technology.

I get phishing emails from them all the time and discard them. Lately, there are plenty of Arab world phishing schemes trying to hack my email. They get deleted and filtered out as well. Doesn't the government have good security ware on those gmail accounts as an added precaution?

For the most recent information on hacking and how to prevent it, check out this blog, Contagio.

American economy

The news is typical of a rocky economy.  Unemployment is officially listed as around 9 percent but the new reality is it is around 16 percent.  That's on the conservative side.  The real numbers are so high no one wants to admit just how bad is bad in this economy.  After all, who wants to get downgraded to junk bond status for a country?

The jobs growth is dismal.  Home prices have plummeted. Pending home sales dove down last month, most likely because people can't get financing.  Banks just are not in the loaning mood, preferring to fee to death their customers and use government monies to plunk down on their profit line each quarter.  Sooner or later that strategy will no longer work.  We may be coming to the end of that idea.

Mississippi River flood

Supposedly, the recession ended two years ago.  Yet here we are still mired in an economy that just can't seem to stand up and dance.  The latest after the BP Oil Spill still has the Gulf Coast reeling is now the flooding of the Mississippi River from the Midwest to the Deep South.  Oh, sweet.

Around here in south Louisiana we have been holding our breath, watching the above flood stage of the River, wondering if the earthen levees will hold.  The $2 billion River economy is shaky and holding too.  Currently,  the River is looking good since we are in a drought.

That drought  is keeping the levees so dry they can afford to soak up some extra water without breaching.  Who knew a drought could be a happy event?  The water is not expected to go down until sometime in late July or August so I'll keep you posted.

Rising gas prices - again 

The latest is that gas prices are going up again.  When will President Obama get serious and rein in Big Oil? What is he doing giving 13 Gulf of Mexico oil leases to BP?  Why does he not tie Big Oil into feeding the American market first and the leftover oil goes elsewhere?  Those oil leases are public land.  Should not the American public get the benefit first - and the best pricing?

Sliding wages, soaring prices killing the economic recovery 

Currently, employers say they are not hiring because they fear higher taxes for next year.  Congress playing games with getting the debt ceiling resolved isn't helping the perception of our economy by the business sector that worries about America's long term finances.

Stop all foreclosures for several years to help stabilize the economy 

If Obama had an ounce of sense he would stop all foreclosures, on businesses as well as residential.  Why?  Because tossing people out into the street is not the answer.  As it is most of those home mortgages are owned by the government.

When people are homeless it sends them cascading into a regular ugly travelogue of issues that takes years, sometimes decades from which to recover.  They end up on food stamps and on long lists for government housing.  Would it not be more cost effective to the government to keep them in their homes, restructuring their mortgages realistically in this depression economy - with an eye toward restructuring again when the economy recovers?

I'm amazed at the short-sightedness of banks and mortgage companies, a lack of willingness to work with the homeowner to keep them in their homes.  The harsh reality is that our economy simply cannot absorb millions of foreclosed properties.  The Baby Boomers are the largest group foreclosing, followed by the smaller group of Gen X'ers.

There is not the population level to purchase that many foreclosures and the inventory will stand for years, unattended and deteriorating.  Then crime moves in to the neighborhood, depressing the values of all the  surrounding homes.

Millions of foreclosures are not the answer in an economic depression.  It just makes for a rockier economy as people are struggling to get back onto their feet financially.  Keep them in their homes at a nominal amount to cover the taxes and interest rates and restructure the loans when their income recovers.  It just makes good sense and helps to promote stability throughout the economy.

Escalating prices destroying the middle class stability

How long does President Obama think the middle class can sustain these constant price increases with sliding wages?  Here in the Gulf Coast we have been trying to absorb escalating prices for over five years now since Hurricane Katrina.

This is getting old with no real leadership from Washington. I really expected better from my Democrats.  Watching a greedy grasping $60 million demand of campaign donors by Team Obama is disgusting when money like that could be used throughout the country for more important issues.  Apparently, I am not alone in my opinion that the country is not getting its needs met.

Check out the cartoonists' opinion:

Bill Day

Rob Rogers

Signe Wilkinson

Lisa Benson

Signe Wilkinson

Rob Rogers

Scott Stantis

Walt Handelsman

Scott Stantis

Jack Ohman

Lisa Benson

Ed Stein

Jeff Stahler

Henry Payne

Nick Anderson

Ed Stein

Afghan War - so expensive it is a tremendous drag on our economy:

Rob Rogers

Nick Anderson

Robert Ariail

Oprah, the bright spot in our lives, leaves network TV, developing her OWN channel:

Jeff Stahler

Drew Sheneman

Chan Lowe

Walt Handelsman

College Grads facing down tremendous college debt and only minimum wage jobs that cannot possibly pay off their debt:

Jeff Stahler

Dan Wasserman


Drew Sheneman

Moderately Confused

When you find the economic news disappointing, then do like I do: Turn on the food channels - learn something new, cook up a storm - and forget-about-it until the next quarter. It's called "creative coping skills." :)

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