The debt ceiling debate

This country has done many wonderful and amazing things during the course of history. We are among the leaders of the world in many technology advances and have among the brightest and best educated people in the world living right here in the good old USA. Unfortunately, it seems like very few of the them are working in the White House or are members of the house or senate.

This debate about the debt ceiling is really an embarrassment for our country. It’s not exactly rocket science! Most families around the country have a budget and try to stick to it. If I have a credit card and max it out, I will do everything possible to make sure I pay it off in the quickest amount of time.  Now suppose my employer cut my pay by say 25 percent. Would I continue to spend the same amount even more in the next year? And even better, ask for a new credit limit on my credit card so I could spend more and charge it on my card. I hope not!  That type of scenario is being played out in Washington and must stop before this country is ruined.  Out of control spending by those folks in Washington is one if not the biggest problem facing the country today. Even more so than a terrorist attack.

We have had a major recession and two wars to fund during the last 10 years.  Many people are out of work or underemployed. Revenue is not coming in like it has in the past so cuts to spending must be made. It is painful for those folks who depend on the government to fund their way of life but that is just the way it has to be.  Times are tough and everyone has to live within their means, even the government.

Trying to come up with some short-term fix to this problem just does not cut it with me or many other people in this country. We need to come up with some long-term solution on how to handle spending and increasing revenue so this does not become a problem again. For starters, having a poor economy, like the one we are experiencing and have been for the past several years, is something that has to be fixed.  With so many people out of work and underemployed, many are depending on the government for assistance. Getting more people back to work and being less reliant on those government checks will go a long way in helping increase tax revenue, while decreasing spending on things such as unemployment insurance, etc. Looking at economic growth should be another emphasis for solving this problem, not trying to figure out how to tax more people.

Until this debt debate gets settled, I don’t see how this economy can grow and recover. There is way too much uncertainty out there. I just hope those folks in Washington can understand how serious this problem is. Spending is way out of control and sooner or later, everyone in this country will be affected by this foolish, reckless behavior.

 

Thoughts on the NFL and NBA strikes

Of the major professional sports, the NBA and NFL are my favorites ones.  I follow them all but seeing my two favorite pro sports involved in a lockout makes me want to scream with rage and anger! The thought of  not having football to watch on Sunday afternoons is a rather chilling one.  Sure there is college football, which is great, but let’s face it,  Sunday afternoons and NFL football are just as a part of the American culture as hot dogs and apple pie.  We love our football.  Many fans live for those precious few hours every weekend when we can cheer for our favorite team.

I find it very difficult to pick sides with both disputes.  I mean how can you feel sorry for a bunch of millionaire players and billionaire owners who cannot agree on how to split the pie. In both cases, however, I tend to slightly side with the players. Why you may ask? Well exactly who makes the leagues as popular as they are? The players of course! The players are the ones the fans come to see and spend their hard-earned income on tickets as well as jerseys, memorabilia and so for. This is especially true for the NBA. These players are just the owners puppets and should be compensated accordingly.  In the NFL, guys are risking their bodies and sometimes lives in a very violent sport so some rich owner can make a profit. And an NFL player’s career typical only lasts about 4 years.

But having said those things, you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.  Player’s salaries have been getting ridiculously higher every year not only for the stars of the league, but for some backup who sits on the bench on collects millions. It all starts with some owner who is foolish enough to shell out some huge contract to a player.  This almost starts a domino effect with the rest of the owners.  In order to compete and make their team competitive, they have to overpay for other players.  Some owners in big markets have the cash to do this but others, especially those in smaller markets, cannot generate enough cash to keep up.  Having strong revenue sharing and a salary cap based on a total revenue percentage is vital to the success of a league.  Without it, the sports leagues will just dwindle to only 5 or 6 teams such as the case with the NBA.  Despite having a banner season, 22 of the 30 teams in the NBA lost money last year. Something has to be done about this problem before about 20 teams just fold up tent!

Nobody wins in a strike and hopefully, parties in both leagues realize this. In the end, it the people like you and I who shell out money to support the leagues.  Keep fighting long enough and we will not attend your games. Then there will be no more money to fight about!!

The Minnesota state government shutdown

As a resident of the state of Minnesota, I am very angry and bit saddened that our elected officials cannot sit down and hammer out a simple concept of balancing the state budget.  It appears that a few members, namely our governor, cannot grasp basic accounting and economic principles. Therefore, thousands of Minnesota workers will be laid off from their jobs and many more will be affected. It is sad that many of those affected are poor people who need government assistance and this shutdown will throw some big hardships in their lives. Nearly everyone is affected in some way or another. Many have had to postpone plans for this 4th of July weekend because the many beautiful state parks have been shut down.

Anyone who follows politics could have easily predicted this to happen in our state. In November 2010, the Republicans gained control of both the house and senate for the first time in years. Voters pretty much followed the national trend in electing officials who were fiscally conservative. But for some unknown reason, voters of this state elected a governor who is known for being a classic tax and spend liberal.  Mix those factors together and you have the classic political fight. Unfortunately their fighting is hurting many thousands of people in this state and it is time to stop this nonsense!!

Times are tough in this economy and many people are not spending like they used too. Therefore, the state tax revenue is not at the same level as it has been in the past. So why not adjust the spending levels too to match the new projected revenues?  The Republicans have proposed a 6 percent increase in spending from the last budget where Mark Dayton, governor of Minnesota,has proposed a 15 percent increase. Where does Dayton expect to get this additional revenue? Of course, lets raise the taxes of the rich, a brilliant idea!!  Let’s just penalize the people who actually are responsible for creating many jobs and tax revenue in this state. Let’s see how long it takes before they pack up and move to another state where the taxes are not as high.  Taxing the rich more will affect everyone sooner or later. Not the best move especially in this poor economy.

I have to wonder if some of these elected officials have ever balanced their own personal budgets. We all have to live within our means and that includes the government. It is unfortunate that Dayton and his crew are going  on a pr blitz around the state, blaming Republicans for the shutdown. Perhaps they should go back to school and this fall and take a class in beginning economics 101. The whole state would be better off if you did. In the meantime, quit forcing this ridiculous kool-aid down the throats of people and work with the other side to get a deal done.