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Quit Your Bitchin

President Obama ran for office promising hope and change. He arrived amidst falling debris of a collapsing economy, a world on the verge of disaster, and an America bitterly divided.  He walked into office as a massive government bailout of Wall Street orchestrated by his predecessors was underway.  On countless occasions, he said it would take time, there would be suffering, a need for patience and that the ride to recovery was going to be a bumpy one at best.

Surely, I’m not the only one that heard him say these things. In fact, if he hadn’t made these claims, they would have been self evident. It didn’t take terribly deep thinking to see the size of the hole we were in. It takes a hellava lot more time to rebuild a house of cards than it does to knock it down.  But a lot of Americans either weren’t listening or have frighteningly short memories. A small percentage, people like Glenn Beck, appear to be too thick skulled to comprehend the realities, but most Americans should have some understanding or the reality in which we find ourselves.

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Motown’s asleep at the switch (as usual)

What an image.  A Detroit auto executive standing on a street corner with his tin cup, begging the government for a $25 billion handout of our hard earned tax dollars, tears running down his face as he whines about not being able to continue with the same flawed business model that got him in the doghouse in the first place.  Once again the stalwarts of our economy can’t see beyond the ends of their noses and scream bloody murder when something threatens their ability to continue fleecing the gullible and ignorant American buying public with their great cash grab.

President Obama has taken a small step for mankind, for the nation, for State’s Rights and for future generations.  He has ordered the government to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions.  He hasn’t ordered the automakers to reduce emissions; he has ordered that state’s requests to regulate emissions be reviewed.  And the automakers are squealing like stuck pigs.  Strange is the sound that comes from an animal sired by short term greed and mothered by long term stupidity.

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War – The Economy’s Best Medicine

It was eighty years ago and the economy was humming along to the sound of “irrational exuberance.”  Then a crash was heard around the world.  A President and congress that didn’t fully grasp the nature or the magnitude of the problem tried to treat it with all the wrong medicine.  Hoover tried to balance the budget by drastically cutting government spending.  The economy went in the tank and America fell into the “Great Depression”.  If you missed it, don’t fret.  If things don’t improve, you may get to see the rerun.

Once the wheels came off the economy, it proved to be almost impossible to get it running again.  It was the economic analog to what sailors call being “in the irons”.  A sailboat can sail efficiently “almost” into the wind, but when it gets a little too close to the wind, usually within about twenty degrees of head on into the wind, it is not only impossible to sail any further, it can be a monumental challenge to drop off the wind and begin sailing again.  He’s “in the irons”.

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Petro-Follies and the American Political Machine

Members of Congress spend most of their careers with a finger in the air testing the wind, a wind created by the incessant babbling of members of Congress.  They test the wind because it’s constantly shifting directions.  Those that create it rarely take a strong, consistent, principled public position on anything of substance.  Always barking the party line, trying to use as many words as possible while saying the least, they do all within their power to stay in the spotlight while avoiding controversy.  Jon Kyle (R – Arizona) and Susan Davis (D – California) are examples of sharp, intelligent legislators that artfully dodge controversy by avoiding contentious subjects.  Publically, they agree with everyone but “the enemy”, “the terrorists”, and “those that would do us harm.”  But in truth, they stealthily push the agendas of their supporters and contributors while they refuse to take on our real enemies – ourselves.

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Gas Prices are Down – Now the Good News – Gas Taxes are Headed Up

The chickens are laying again.  Jethro’s playing the harmonica on the front porch.  Billy Bob’s whittling.  “Was that you, Jethro?”

“No way. I’m proud of mine.  I woulda letcha know,” Jethro says as his grin widens.

Life’s back to normal.  Everybody’s all smiles now because gas prices are back below two bucks a gallon.  What energy crisis?  Fire up the dually.  We’re going dancing in town again tonight.

How quickly we forget.  Just a few months back, we were in crisis.  People couldn’t afford to make their mortgage payments because they had to put gas in the Hummer.  If the truth be known, the precipitous drop in gas prices is the worst thing that could possibly be done to our economy and our nation.  It allows us to go back to living like idiots on a moonless night.

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All is Not Lost (yet)

George the Younger has decided to “bail-out” the auto industry with tax payer (read: my) money.  Surely, he isn’t doing this cavalierly.  He undoubtedly has given it the same in-depth thought and analysis used when he bailed out the failing (read: now failed) steel industry at the beginning of his reign, the same intense scrutiny he has used to bring the economy to its current level of destruction.

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Time Machine

Thanks to mountain climbing, I’ve been through dozens of countries across five continents. Many are considered “third world”, but the experiences I’ve had fill my memory with wonder and amazement. You might think visiting third-world countries is like going back into the past. In many cases, it is, but you may also be surprised to find out that as more often than not, it’s like taking a trip into the future.

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