The fiscal cliff talks

There has been much discussion and talk about this so-called fiscal cliff that is staring America in the face. If an agreement is not reached by January 1st, the Bush tax cuts will expire and many spending cuts will kick in. This double whammy scenario will have a very negative impact on our economy and will no doubt lead to another recession. But what is the right solution to this mess and is anybody really confident a deal can be reached?

A lot of debate is going on how to increase revenue and where to cut spending. As the January 1st deadline approaches, these talks will no doubt get very intense. Both sides have totally different views on how to increase revenue and it will be very interesting to see what spending cuts will be made.  Whenever you bring up entitlement reform, people’s emotions tend to run high but it is a necessary evil. Medicare is going bankrupt and with the baby boomer population aging, the last thing we need is for Medicare to run out of money. It would be devastating to this country and put undue hardship on many seniors.

I think a few things need to be added to this debate. For those who still do not get it, the best to increase revenue to the government is through good economic growth and prosperity. And how do we get that growth? We get people working again and earning more money!! With the unemployment rate so high in this country, it is little wonder that the government cannot produce the revenue it needs. They need a strong tax base and with this many people out of work or underemployed, they will fall short every time.  Increasing the tax rate of high wage earners is really a foolish idea. It only has a very small impact on the debt and will certain harm economic growth. Why penalize the job creators and investors of this country? I fail to understand the logic of people including the president who say the rich must pay their fair share.  They certainly pay more than their fair share!! I cannot blame some guy with a lot of cash for being hesitant to start-up a business at this time. These people do not need to have their taxes go up especially in difficult economic times.

Another thing that is often not  mentioned is the impact of Obamacare on our deficit. Already, you are seeing companies cut back workers and reduce people to part-time positions. If this trend continues and the unemployment rate goes up again, then how are we going to generate that lost revenue?  The cost of this massive plan has already tripled and sure to increase even more. Can this country afford this? How are we going to pay for it? I wish those involved in the talks would consider how Obamacare, could affect the deficit and the economy in general for the next ten years.

With the economy struggling as it has, more people are relying on government programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and unemployment insurance.  These programs cannot continue at its current pace. Sooner or later, the money will run out and then what? A good vibrant economy does not have these problems and spending on those programs. A poor economy just adds more spending to all these entitlement programs

I hope both parties can come together with bipartisan cooperation to reach a deal. If not, our country could be in some serious trouble. I just wish the participants in these talks would use some good old economic and business common sense in finding a solution.

 

 

 

Jack Taylor’s overrated 138 point game

The buzz of the sports world during the last few days has certainly been the 138 point game by a division III college player name Jack Taylor. On paper, this appears to be the greatest performance by any single player since Dr. Naismith first invented the game. But is it really? In this man’s opinion, it is far from being so and quite frankly, his performance was somewhat overrated and a travesty of the game.

As someone who has played and watched basketball for many years, I tend to look at all the stats of the game before really judging a player’s performance. In some cases, a player’s worth to the game is not always reflected in the box scores. Some guys are very good at setting screens or taking charges and changing shots, however, those parts of the game do not get noticed by the typical fan. It is always the guy who scores the most points and that is very sad.

Sure Taylor deserves credit for scoring 138 points but look closer at his stats for the game. First of all, he took 102 shots. That is totally insane!! Any offense built around a guy jacking up that many shots in a game is absolutely pathetic!!  Taylor missed more than half of his shots on offense and only made 27 or 71, 3 point shots. It was not exactly like he was red hot and could not miss. He also collected a grand total of zero, yes zero assists! I wonder how many rebounds, charges, blocks he also got. Or how many points he allowed with his defense. You have to wonder why his teammates even bothered to cross half court and play on the offensive end!!

Basketball is a team game of 5 on 5, not 1 on 5. Teams are successful when everyone is involved not only on offense but on defense. Having one guy take nearly all the shots is not a recipe for winning basketball. I have to wonder why Taylor’s coach even allowed this to happen. He ought to be ashamed for allowing this publicity stunt to happen. That is not real basketball.

It is very disturbing to see this kind of garbage get the level of publicity it got. I wonder how many other kids out there will see this and get inspired to score 100 points in a game just so they can get their 15 minutes of fame on Sports Center. It is a totally selfish way of playing in my book. I will take a guy who averages a triple double every game and actually makes his teammates better over some ball hog, shot happy guy  every time. I hope that Taylor will open his vision up in the next game and see that he has 4 other teammates playing with him and maybe pick up a few assists.

 

 

Things I’m most thankful for

I think ever American should take a few moments on Thursday and think of maybe five things that they are most thankful for. We all take many things for granted in our lives.  Sometimes our kids drive us crazy but they are actually a wonderful blessing that you probably take for granted.  We don’t realize how special someone is, like a parent, until they are gone.  I can go on and on but we all need to focus on all the positive things and blessings in our lives instead of always dwelling on the petty, little negative stuff.  Thanksgiving is a great day to do that. I would like to share a few things that I’m most grateful for.

1. My very supportive family.  I know many people who come from broken families where nobody gets along and there is constant bickering. That is far from the case in my family.  I was lucky enough to have a mom and dad who really cared and loved me. My dad is no longer with us but he was a tremendous influence on my life as well as my mom, the most generous woman in the world.  My sisters are outstanding, caring loving people as well and great mothers. I can say the same for all of my cousins and their families. I do not have any children but my nieces and nephews are very special people in my life.

2. My job.   I am grateful to have a good job with many good benefits as well having a chance to work with so many great people. I never dread going to work.  My tasks vary each day and I do not always do the same old thing, day after day.  There are certainly rough days but in the grand scheme of things, I’m very fortunate to have a job that I like.

3. My health.  Everyone who is healthy is guilty of taking their health for granted. I know I certainly do. But imagine what those poor folks who have to go through rounds and rounds of chemo to treat their cancer are thinking? They are just hoping to someday regain their health.  I am grateful that I can run, jump, workout and play sports without any physical limitations. Many people are not that lucky.

4. My country.  Sure there are problems in this country but there is absolutely no better place on earth than right here in the United States. Even the poor have it great here. Imagine living in a country where there is constant violence and lack of freedoms.  We have it way too good here. I think everyone should spend a month in some third world country. Maybe they would have a greater appreciation for this country and the many things it has to offer. I am also very grateful that I can practice my religion in this country without being persecuted and thrown and prison.

Those are just a few things that I am thankful for. Before you sit down and stuff your face with turkey and other good foods, think of a few things that you are very thankful for. It might surprise you how long that list might be.

 

 

My 2012 Turkey of the Year awards

Thanksgiving is a time when we can sit down and reflect on the many blessings that each of us has been given. It is also a time when we can honor those who richly deserve being called a turkey. Maybe it is a friend or relative like that loud mouthed uncle who claims he is just as good an athlete now as he was in high school and promptly goes out and pulls a hammy during the annual, family Thanksgiving touch football game.  But my focus is on those celebrities who, quite frankly, made huge turkeys of themselves since last Thanksgiving and there were many!! My committee had a very difficult time with all the nominations and I want to take my hat off to them for the hard work and extra hours. So without further delay, let me give you my list of finalists for the prestigious award.

1- Ozzie Guillen.  It is one thing to praise a dictator but to do it in an area that is filled with people who escape the dictator is simply foolish. Praising Fidel Castro in Miami is not exactly the best PR move for a team looking to fill their seats.

2- Roseanne Barr.  Her statement wishing cancer on anyone who eats at Chick-fila was totally cruel and is just another example of the wacky behavior for some who support gay rights. They want tolerance but fail to have tolerance to those who disagree with their views. I would not wish cancer on my worst enemy.

3- Bobby Petrino.  When your having an affair with someone, you might want to keep it as secretive as possible and the worst thing possible is to get into an accident with your mistress. Stupid move which cost him his coaching job.

4- Dick Morris.  It is a common practice during election time to have many political pundits give their thoughts and predictions. Morris is a pollster who predicted Mitt Romney would win in a landslide.  Good old Dick forget to factor into his equation, minority president + huge minority turnout = re-election for minority president.  It is not rocket science!!

5- Yahoo News.  We all know the media was very biased during the election but Yahoo News took it to another extreme.  Their subtle, little, headlines during the campaign totally favored the president and made Mitt Romney look bad. It was so totally obvious!! I like Yahoo but their news and reporters are very second-rate.  It is sad considering many folks especially younger voters do not watch the news or read a paper.  They get their news online.

6- Chris Christie.  Funny how it works in politics. You rip the other party’s president to shreds during a speech but when your state, really, really needs federal assistance, you’re the president’s best friend and buddy.

7. The NFL replacement refs.  I realize these guys were totally outmatched these guys really took officiating down many levels. I have seen better calls at high school games and many of them are probably headed back there to learn.

And the big winner is…………….. Yahoo News. Congratulations on doing such a fine job for campaigning on the behalf of Barack Obama and doing your part on getting him elected.

Before I end, I would also like to give mention to those who were given serious consideration but fell short of reaching the finals. Joe Biden, Todd Aikens,  Candy Crowley, Mike Bloomberg and Big Bird. See you guys next year.

Thoughts on the Hostess layoffs

A very sad day for me occurred yesterday when the death of the Hostess Twinkie was announced. Twinkies have been a part of my fine diet for many years, well not really!! Anyways, I hope the Twinkie can come back to life in the near future and be tastier than ever.

The sad part of this announcement is that some 18,000 people will be laid off from their jobs. Especially sad is the timing of these layoffs, just before Christmas.  Imagine if you lost your during this time of the year? Not exactly a great way to start the best 4 weeks of the year.

The disturbing part of this story is that these layoffs could have been prevented if a little compromise would have taken place.  Union leaders asking for unreasonable demands on a company going through bankruptcy and then going on strike when they could not get their way. Is anybody really surprised the layoffs occurred? The company had no choice and the foolish union people should have seen this coming!!

I find it amazing that so many union leaders talk about how they stand up for the workers and want to make sure they get a fair shake.  I totally understand why we have unions. Workers often get shafted by management in many companies but union demands as often just as bad and they need to be called out as well.  Many union bosses just screw the rank and file and are only concerned with lining their own pockets with cash. Or collecting money for a particular political party of their own choice, not the workers they represent.

Unions are becoming more and more of a problem in this country especially government unions.  Many states in this country are having problems financially because of the heavy burden of pensions with state employees.  Sooner or later,  the nice benefits have to stop if they bankrupt a state. Nobody benefits from that scenario and everyone, especially the tax payer gets screwed. Unfortunately, many union leaders do not look at the total picture when negotiating for their workers. The Hostess situation is a prime example of that.

I hope all those bakery union leaders can sleep well at night after knowing what just happened. Their greed and stupidity just sent 18,000 people home without jobs and probably a very difficult Christmas.

The clueless voter

We live in a democratic country and most everyone has the right to vote.  I respect that and think  it is wonderful when a huge number of people show up at the polling place on election day.  However, you have to wonder what is going on in the mind of the voters who walk into those polling places. Have they done their research on the issues and candidates for whom they are voting for? And do they understand the consequences of their choices? I personally believe a disturbing number of people do not.

Since the election took place last Tuesday, I have heard many interviews and opinions on why people voted a certain way. Some people voted for the president solely on his response to Hurricane Sandy. Really? Many folks still feel it is George Bush’s fault that the economy is still in the tank and did not want another Republican in the office.  I heard some people say that the rich people are not paying their fair of taxes. Other people voted more on the lines of social issues especially gay marriage. I heard one young college age voter say that Obama was cool and that was why he was voting for him.

I respect people’s opinions but some of those answers are extremely narrow-minded and show a bunch of ignorance. I realize that gay marriage is important to some people but there are far more important issues facing this country. It is really sad that many people base their vote on one single issue and do not look at the big picture of things. Sure it is great to support a candidate who promises higher taxes for the wealthy and making them pay their fair share but have you looked at the consequences of that policy and the effect on the economy? Or the candidate who promises many entitlements to people without having a way to pay for it.

I especially have issues with many young voters under 25 or 30.  There are some young voters who are sharp and understand things but many do not have a clue.  Many do not understand how the economy or business works and probably think the GDP is some new app to put on their phone.  I was in that group until I started to see how certain policies affect my job and way of life.  It was then that I started to pay more attention to politics and how things work. I think most older people can relate to what I am saying.

I wish more people would actually look into all the issues and put aside their own personal biases and be open-minded. And most of all, do your homework before voting and look at the many sides of an issue. I am a strong believer in looking at what has worked in the past in forming my opinion as well. But all these things take effort and most people do not want to spend time studying the issues. We get what we vote for either good or bad. It is sad when so many misinformed voters go out and vote for things that have such huge consequences on our nation for not only now but in the future.

Thoughts on the election and looking ahead

Certain outcomes happen in events that make you scratch your head. I see it all the time in sports. Some teams, despite having a lousy record, rise up to the occasion and upset a much superior opponent.  After the game is over, people will tend to analyze the game and make their conclusions on why the less superior team won. The same can be said about politics and elections. On Tuesday night, we had the same situation when a team with a less than stellar record won and reclaimed another term in office.

There has been much discussion and spinning after Tuesday about what happened. What lead to President Obama’s victory and Governor Mitt Romney’s demise? There have been many theories ranging from the higher than expected voter turnout among minorities and young people to the hurricane and how it stopped Romney’s momentum.  After thinking about it myself, I came to the conclusion that Romney had just too many barriers to overcome.

One of his biggest hurdles was the very biased media on television and on the internet which really hid the truth about President Obama.  One example was the situation in Libya, which was virtually ignored by the media and received very little coverage. Media both on television and on the internet have a big factor in influencing people. There is no question about it.  Imagine if Obama was a Republican? The press would have run him out of Washington!!

The second barrier that Romney had to overcome was the charisma and celebrity status of Obama.  He is the first black president and has that star power that appeals to people. In our culture, that seems to get votes and it works.  He was assured of having the black vote no matter what type of job he did. I think most minorities were attached to him since he was one of them and that is a huge voting block of people in this country.

The last barrier was the simple fact of the unexpected high voter turnout among minorities and young people.  Obama is more hip and has more MTV appeal than Romney and that helps him with young voters. Minorities are a given vote to any Democratic candidate.  Many are afraid that they might have to give up their freeloading way of life and get a job if a Republican took office. I don’t think that speaks for all poor people but many would rather just sit at home and collect their handout. Talking about how getting a job would probably be a waste of time. Why should they work when they can get free goodies from Obama and not have any work requirements to receive their gifts from the government?

So what do the next four years hold for this country? In my opinion it might be the worst four years since the great depression.  I cannot see things dramatically change from where they were during the last four years. Unemployment will still be very high, due in part because of Obamacare, energy prices will go up, health costs and premiums will go up,  income levels will stay the same or dip again, we will have more regulations and of course, the much talked about fiscal cliff. Is anyone out there optimistic that will get settled. It may well get settled to the tune of higher taxes not only for the rich but everyone else.  And what about the runaway debt? Are we going to go into bankruptcy? I also expect this country to be further polarized by things such as class warfare, taxes and gay marriage. There will definitely be some rough days ahead for us.

If there is a silver lining to any Republican or Conservative out there is this.  The liberal plan of big government will be out there for all to see how it works. When it fails like it has many times, not only here but in other countries, people will wake up and see the light. I can certainly see a scenario in 2016 when people in this country will be sick of this socialism type of government and elect someone different. I think the odds of that happening are pretty strong. In the meantime, I just hope Obama changes his tune, works with Republicans and does not flush this country down the drain.