Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another bailout claim! This one's a pip!

That was a surprise. The driving, I mean. As I looked out my window this morning, my driveway was still covered with snow and a little sleet residue. I can’t see the road from my house so I had only that to judge by. Once down the long driveway and onto the road, I was surprised to see how bare they were. The plows had done a great job, at least on the major routes I navigate.

I’ve said before just how great the company that owns the complex where my senior fitness session is held keeps the driveway, parking spaces and walkways clean. They were perfect again this morning, so I’m glad I went to the session. It was another good one and today I ventured onto a different device. It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a bicycle, even a stationary one.

That device showed me one thing; I sure do need a lot more conditioning. I didn’t push it because of my heart condition and I hadn’t had the exercise approved by my physician. I’ll do that right away as I guess I really need that device. My normal routine went without exception.

One thing that wasn’t pleasant. I pass three gas stations on my route and the price of gas is climbing very rapidly again. At one station, the gas yesterday was $1.699. Today it’s $1.779. Overnight. To make matters even more distressing, the two stations I pass in South Portland had been in the $1.54 range last week, up to $1.749 Tuesday, and $1.859 today.

I did hear on the radio yesterday that the price of gas would be back into the two dollar a gallon range by spring. I thought spring was still a couple months away. At the rate of climb this week, it could reach that level by next week.

We knew it was going to happen. Once you give something away to one group, another falls into place for its piece. First, and it was because government itself screwed up, and that includes both Democrats and Republicans, sections of the finance industry needed a bailout. Congress says it was a loan, but I don’t think we should hold our breaths until it gets paid back.

Then the auto industry saw all that free stuff flowing around and wanted its piece. It got it. Again, it was a “loan.” Again, please don’t hold your breath. Other industries joined in the parade. And it didn’t stop with the private sector. State leaders, including our own here in Maine, saw free money as a way for them to balance their books. Not everyone has gotten the requested bailouts yet, but wait until President-elect Barack Obama takes office in a couple weeks.

There were others along the way, and there will be more. In fact, the latest “industry” seeking its share of the free money is, I’m not kidding here, the Porn Industry. Does it need the money? That’s not clear. What is clear is that one of the leaders says the government is bailing out everyone else and the purveyors of porn say they are getting hit by the recession, too. They are asking for a $5 billion bailout.

The Maine Legislature now meeting in Augusta is hoping the new President will bail out the states with a massive grant. That, however, wouldn’t solve the problem that has gotten the state into its huge shortfall deficit causing the present crisis. Once the grant, if it passes Congress and there’s some doubt about that, runs dry, then how will the Legislature solve the recurring crisis. I think that proverbial bullet must be bitten now.

As I’ve asked several times over the last few months, where will it all stop? I was against the stimulus package passed last May and at the time indicated the only accomplishment it would have would be to open the money spigot. We all know now that the stimulus package stimulated nothing and was a failure. Hmm? Or was it? That spigot is now wide open.

Economists are now saying that perhaps it’s time to start rethinking all the spending. The deficit is projected to be $1.2 trillion dollars this year, and that’s before Congress enacts an economic package proposed by President-elect Obama. There’s only one way for Congress to get the money…borrow it. With interest, every American will be in debt by 35-thousand dollars to pay back the debt.

I’ve said it every time I get on this kick. Prosperity cannot be charged. All increasing the deficit or credit will do is get us deeper into the abyss.

At last, someone has told an employee to honor his contract or get out. Boston College football coach Jeff Jagodzinski signed a five year contract with BC. Earlier this week he interviewed with the New York Jets professional team for the vacant coaching job there. BC told the coach that to do so would cost him his job. Reports say Jagodzinski has been looking at various NFL openings. Yesterday he was fired.

The firing could come at a huge cost for BC, though. Reports say the coach didn’t have a “no look” clause in his contract and the firing will force BC to pay off the remaining three years. Perhaps it’s only the principle of loyalty that will win. But then who ever said sports contracts ever had any principle. Don’t confuse that with the other one, principal.


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