Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Two Cents

When our nation heads to the voting booth this Tuesday, let them not miscalculate the importance of their decisions. Certainly the most anticipated mid-term elections in recent memory, a public outcry reigns supreme. Heavy on their minds are issues such as healthcare, unemployment, taxes, and the spending. Polls indicate a strong disdain for the current position our county is in. Can we be on the brink of a reversal of the misfortune we have been given?

The Tea Partys rise to prominence began with the ever increasing size and scope of government. True, President Bush started the spending. However it was created under a Democratically controlled Congress. But the Obama administration's wasteful squandering of our taxpayer money has hit heights never seen in our nation's history. TARP has become increasingly toxic both figuratively and fiscally. The program has failed on so many fronts it is hard to determine where to begin. Unemployment was to be confined to the 8% range. It is still well beyond that figure. The plan was designed to increase lending to small businesses. Guess what. Another bungle. Inspector general of TARP, Neil Barofsky, concedes that reimbursement to the American taxpayer regarding loans made to auto and financial instituitons is doubtful at best. Amazing how fast incumbent Senate hopefuls are distancing themselves from their previous support of the bill.

Taxes have rocked the boat within the country. Whether it be related to individual, corporate, or investment. The confusion of where rates are and may be, define the opaqueness of the present administration. Our corporate rate of 35% is one of the highest in the world. That steep price tag reduces American competitveness abroad. It decreases foreign capital investment. It affects joblessness. Estate taxes are set to soar next year. Capital gains and taxes on dividends are set to take off as well. This type of behavior is not bullish. Buisnesses and individuals will have less motivation to take risk and create corporations. They will be less likely to invest in equipment, less likely to hire. Not a good environment with an economy trying to mend itself.

Healthcare has stirred a vigourous debate as well. The enormous bill passed back in March, which had NOT one Republican support it, is frowned upon by 60% of US citizens. Something supposedly so transformational lacking bi-partisan support? It was passed so hastily that many politicans admittedly never reading the entire package. Lawsuits in 20 states are now proceeding calling into question the validity of Obamacare. The first time in our history the federal government has required all Americans to purchase something from them. Perilous times indeed.

Recall the phrase that is barely uttered anymore? "When America catches a cold the rest of the world sneezes?". Not so relevant anymore. Not withstanding the Nasdaq's massive 20% move since late August, US indexes trail their international counterparts. The S&P'S 6% YTD rise pales in comparison to Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, India and Hong Kong. Those formerly mentioned have tripled our measly gains. We are increasingly living in an global marketplace and we seem to be falling behind. China just announced that they developed the worlds fastest supercomputer, a feat that was ours since 2002.

People are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the size and power of government. The partial ownership in public companies like General Motors and Citibank confirms Washingtion's thirst for control. Determining the salaries of executives at these corporations further demonstrates the clout they desire. The illegal confiscation of money from Chrysler bondholders and awarding unions who helped get him elected was troubling in myriad of ways. The forced $20 billion BP compensation fund, without due process, was premature in light of this weeks ruling that Haliburton contributed mightily to the spill. Do we now coerce a compensation fund from Haliburton? Our elected officials seem to take Americans short term memory for granted. I remember all the previously mentioned events. I imagine that a lot of our citizens will remind him Tuesday, they remember too.

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