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Someone’s Got to Be Embarrassed

It’s like the three hundred pound gorilla crying because the mouse is bullying him.  Listen to the voices of the credit card industry as they complain about the signing of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009.  Most of the complaining takes the form of . . .  if we can’t screw the unsuspecting consumers, we’ll have to stop loaning to people that can’t pay the money back.”

It amazes me that banking industry people are actually saying things like this with a straight face.  I keep looking around to see if they’re joking, but they’re not

That’s right.  You should stop loaning to people that are bad credit risks, people like my son-in-law, the Viceroy.  Thanks to easy credit, he has single handedly destroyed his (and my daughter’s) financial future.  They’ve dug a hole so deep a rocket launch wouldn’t get them out of it.  His only hope is I’ll die and leave him enough money to live happily ever after.  Sadly, it’s starting to dawn on him I’ve got it planned so that my last nickel will be gone five minutes before I am.

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Bailout – Suckers Need Not Apply

The Obama administration has come forth with a plan to rescue the nation’s housing sector.  The multi-faceted program encourages lenders to rewrite first home mortgages for many Americans.  Lower interest rates, lower principal amounts, longer terms, an array of tools are to be used to bring American homeowners and lenders back into the real world.  Obviously, urgent action is in order.  Hopefully, Obama’s plan will bring us safely home.

There is one bit of recurrent theater in the foreground that keeps me wondering.  Everyone from the President on down, Democrats and Republicans alike, feel compelled to point out that there is to be no relief for those who purchased homes with mortgages they could not afford.  The implication is that those nasty thieves were up to no good when they grabbed the easy money and ran with it.

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Flake – A Self-fullfilling Prophecy?

Here I go picking on Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake again.  Frankly, I’ve never met the man.  Based on what I’ve seen and heard, he seems to be a fairly intelligent, level headed young man whose career is ascendant.  He’s been turning heads within the Republican Party and there’s something to be said for that, especially since they’ve come to be known for marching lock-step directly backward in time with blinders firmly affixed.

I’m not sure where Flake was vacationing during the last campaign cycle, but it appears he missed the message American voters sent to congress.  You know – the one about being sick and tired of foolish, petty, self-serving, partisan bickering over contrite crap.  President Obama is making a serious effort to bring the country together, to unite Americans and it appears Republicans remain intent on following the path of the “Great Divider”.

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A Day of Reckoning?

Welcome to 2009! Did you bring your hip-waders and a shovel? My focus as of late has been blotchy at best. I cannot seem to concentrate for longer than a toddler on a sugar rush. Perhaps I’m simply ignorant when faced with the intricate workings of finance and my mind shuts down to save me from myself. Conceivably I could be lacking in my understanding of how our Treasury Department functions. If so, I apologize to you ahead of time and ask that you forgive my shortcomings and ignorance.

For the sake of argument, let’s look at the following scenario. I.M. Taxpayer is employed in the private sector of the economy. Apparently one of the lucky ones. His salary is $96,000 per year and he nets $67,200. What can I say? He is married with three children and his wife is an unpaid volunteer in the home. Each month he has $5,600 he can spend on food, mortgage, et. al. Unfortunately his expenses are eating his lunch and every month he spends $1,000 more than he brings home. What there was of his savings was gone long ago so he finds himself “borrowing” from his Visa Credit Card. However, he doesn’t ever seem to have the money to make the payment on his Visa Card, so he turns to his MasterCard. To pay his MasterCard, he taps into his Discover Card. His American Express Blue card pays his Discover Card.

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Tackle the Taxpayer

It is the last two (2) minutes of the fourth quarter of the second game of a series of two between the Washington Admins and the US Everyguys. Throughout these games the Washington quarterback has tossed balls like he had an illegible playbook he was trying to read from while it was upside down. Balls whizzed over heads, into heads, whacked refs up the sides of their heads, hit the goalposts, zoomed straight into the air, and flew into the crowds mowing over retirees, soon-to-be retirees, working stiffs, parents, grandparents, and concessionaires. He was unstoppable, especially with those big goons watching his back not to mention the mandates and political collateral he basked in like an invisible force field.

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Econ 101 – Michael’s Law

It is said the only thing worse than the forecast of an amateur economist is the forecast of a professional economist.  If that is true, I feel better talking about economics because I’m clearly an amateur.  Despite the best efforts of Dr. Allen Mandelstam, my economics professor at Michigan State, I have yet to be nominated for the Nobel Prize.  In fact, I still have most of my economic policy recommendations rejected by my wife, Lisa.  But I trudge onward into the storm.

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The King is Naked Again

Allan Greenspan stood buck naked before a Congressional committee and acknowledged he “made a mistake”. This life-long Republican took one for the team. One Congressman compared Greenspan with the famed Boston Red Sox first baseman, Bill Buckner, saying he’d “. . . let the ball go through [his] legs.” Buckner’s error cost the Red Sox the championship. Greenspan’s error cost us our economy.

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