Archive for category Politics

A Cautionary Tale about Local Government Spending

Today’s Wall Street Journal had a fascinating story in the ‘Money & Investing’ section of the paper about Harrisburg Pennsylvania and their major debt problems, in face the title of the article was “Bottom Falls Out of Debt-Ridden City”. Prior to 2008 cities were considered an excellent place to invest money for modest returns balanced by low risk. With the financial crisis that has changed, enough so that even Warren Buffet is reconsidering his investments in municipalities.

Reading the WSJ

The story is saddening but also an excellent cautionary tale, when times are good improvements go up the list of things for a city to do, and that’s not necessarily wrong. However a city backing $350 million in debt for an incinerator while neglecting basic maintenance to the water pipes just reeks of poor planning. There is a downside to a good economy, and that’s the high risk of financial over-extension. Just like a household, a city must be careful to allocate resources only when the basics are thoroughly taken care of.

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Republicans are the fiscally conservative ones, right? …right!?

Well shit, that’s wrong.  At least the data sure doesn’t seem to think so!  Check out this graph on the national deficit that I found over at The Flamboyant Introvert’s blog:

National Debt Chart showing how big a deficit the past Republican Presidents have run compared to past Democratic Presidents

*to be accurate the graph is incorrectly named, it shouldn’t say “increases” it should say “size of” Of course this chart only goes to 2004 and doesn’t show the second half of George W. Bush’s rampant spending up to the biggest recession since the Great Depression. It also doesn’t show President Obama’s spending of trillions of dollars in an attempt to get us out of that recession. You can support either side but the numbers don’t lie – the Republican Presidents are out-spending their budget by tremendous amounts.  Either they’re just ignoring basic math or the economy isn’t growing from their top-down economics (or something else, I welcome your guesses).  And since top-down (aka trickle-down) economics hasn’t worked even once in the history of the United States I don’t recommend supporting those who preach it.

UPDATE: Looks like I’m not the only one who knows this!  Check out Forbes’ article on it: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2012/10/10/want-a-better-economy-history-says-vote-democrat/

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It’s Time to Get Political

Ok, so I’m getting a lot more political in my 29th year on this planet.  I guess I’m hitting that age where I’m thinking more about my future and the future of my family (of 3 now, we got a dog!).  So I’m thinking, reading and writing more and more about politics. Before I start writing on here I figured I’d give all of my (all two of you) readers a fair warning: I’ll be getting pretty political in the coming months or years.  I’ve resisted this for some time but I’m giving in, so be warned!

I’m concerned because I think the United States is (still) facing the single most dangerous threat to our nation.  No, it’s not the Russians (the Cold War is waaay over), the Chinese or even Zombies.  The biggest threat to our nation is our deplorable fiscal situation we’re in. The fact that the U.S. is 15 TRILLION dollars in debt is a problem, yes.  The fact that we were 5 trillion dollars in debt in 2008 before the economy tanked was a huge problem as well.  And the fact that our Congress can not pass any sort of agreeable budget is an even bigger problem.  The stalemate over the budget was the final factor that lead to a downgrade of US Credit in August 2011 and a lack of investor confidence is the huge threat.

Why isn’t terrorism/poverty/unemployment/global warming/immigration/abortion/zombies a bigger deal?

The U.S. has been the most powerful nation in the world for since around World War 2 – in that span of time that position has allowed the U.S. to do a lot of good for its own people and the people of the world.  Without this position very little is possible when it comes to ALL of these issues.  To make this perfectly clear: if our government can’t support itself, it sure can’t support ANY of the issues above.

So…

Without further ado, let’s set our sights on the country we love and get to discussing the issues!

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