Saturday, October 10, 2009

Let's Give Him the Heisman Trophy Too!

When I first heard that President Obama had "won" the Nobel Peace Prize, my first reaction was "what for?". Although I still haven't figured that out other than he isn't G.W. Bush, I didn't take exception in the least. Let's hope that he is winning in advance for a bunch of stuff that a clairvoiant Nobel committee already knows about. Add Image

Anyway, I came accross a blog that advocates voting Barack Obama for the Heisman Trophy. Apparently, the award's sponsor gets to cast a vote so the fine folks at Nissan are letting the public vote on who gets their vote. I supose that the President couldn't be a worse choice than Gino Torretta was, so I went ahead and wrote the President in! Wouldn't it be great if he won? Maybe he could do that Heisman pose like Desmond Howard. This may very well be the only time that I ever cast a vote for the guy and I would implore you to vote here as well - Citizen Zane

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You Can't Tax Me, I'm Union!

Well, now that the Senate Finance Committee bill has been looked through by the left wing of the house, it seems as though one of the provisions has put their collective panties into a bunch. Apparently, the bill will place a tax on so-called "Cadillac" insurance benefits.

This proposed tax would be on policies that cost more than $21,000 per year for a family or $8,000 per individual. Just to put that into perspective, my family's insurance plan costs about $14,000 per year. I reckon those other plans actually come with a real Cadillac or something.

So what are all of our pious reps so outraged about? Its because a lot of those plans that are up for taxing belong to union members. I have long thought that this health care reform nonsense is nothing more than a big game of musical chairs, where a liberal Congress makes all of us stand up and walk around until the music stops. At that point, Congress provides comfy seats for their friends (unions, trial lawyers, illegal aliens, those who can't afford insurance, other members of Congress), and everybody else lines up to be screwed.

If bills that exempt members of Congress and unions from "reform" and give no regard to tort reform hit the floor for passage, you can cue the calliope and start marching around in a circle. Don't bother looking for a seat either - Citizen Zane

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

President Obama Swinging for Windmills

Exiting Grand Central station this morning, I was greeted with an almost unending parade of police cars and other assorted vehicles with flashing lights moving down 42nd street toward the United Nations building. I’m not surprised by the security. After all, the President of the United States and various other world leaders are gathering today at the Don Quixote festival in honor of climate change.

I have to admit, this climate change thing was much more appealing to me when it was called global warming – especially after the atrocious winter that we enjoyed in the Northeast last year. It kind of gave me some hope. The thing that I can’t quite figure out is that now that it is no longer global warming, is there some kind of target climate that we are trying to hit out there? What if we cut down on greenhouse emissions to the point that we miss out on some really great weather one year or a hurricane that wouldn’t have happened comes crashing into the Gulf Coast? Would we really be able to tell either way? I am hoping that the President’s Climate Czar can dial up some rain for Southern California to combat the wild fires, but am not holding my breath. The knuckleheads in the Obama administration have a better chance of dialing up a good economy on demand than good weather.

The thing that is really laughable about this whole climate summit is that all of these developing countries like China and India are stepping up and proclaiming their commitment to cutting emissions. Yeah, and I’ll believe that windmills will be powering the electric shock therapy equipment at the “re-education” center that I am locked up in some day. I still hold that the best way to cut down on total pollution is to LOWER regulations for manufacturers in the US and slash the red tape involved with running a business over here. Can you imagine the outcry that would come crashing down on any manufacturer here that polluted like its Chinese counterpart? We’d tar and feather the slobs and run them out of town on a rail. The more we manufacture at home, the less we would demand from countries that pollute the sh** out of the environment and inefficiently use the world’s resources. I’ll bet that would do more good for climate change than any stupid cap and trade scheme. We would even have that odd side effect of creating more jobs and wealth in the US instead of shipping it overseas. Hey Mr. President, put that idea in your windmill and smoke it – Citizen Zane

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thank You For Answering My Questions

Being the Concerned Citizen that I am, I sent an e-mail to my dear Representative, Congresswoman Nita Lowey regarding the current health care debate. I stated my position as being opposed to the current legislation being proposed because basically, it is shi**y legislation that no sane person could possibly think is a good idea (though a quick trip through the blogosphere demonstrates that we don't have a large enough supply of lithium on hand). I also explained that I thought that Congress should concentrate on reducing health care costs before trying to jam another 40 million people onto insurance rolls because the already ridiculous national debt would surely balloon further. Finally, I asked my Congresswoman to answer three simple questions for me:

1. If this legislation is so great, will members of Congress and the unions forgo their exempted status, because if it is good enough for us, its good enough for you?

2. Will you address tort reform, which could significantly reduce the costs attributed to defensive medicine, silly jackpot legal awards, and the costs to fight nuisance suits.

3. Will you give me an ironclad guarantee that the legislation will not increase the national debt or cost me more money paying for other people's health care?

As with the other times that I have contacted Congresswoman Lowey, I received back a form letter that is basically a propaganda sheet straight out of Nancy Pelosi's dresser drawer:

Dear Citizen Zane:

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts regarding health care reform. I appreciate having the benefit of your views, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

Over the past several months, Congress and the Administration have been working to reform our nation's health care system. Evidence of the need for reform is clear. Since 2000, personal premiums have more than doubled, now consuming 17% of the median family's income. Forty-seven million uninsured often forgo preventive care and rely on hospital emergency rooms for primary care, increasing costs for all taxpayers including those with insurance. Finally, health care costs account for more than 16 percent of GDP, nearly twice the average of other industrialized nations.

Without reform, these trends will only get worse: by 2019, the cost of a family health insurance plan will increase to an estimated $24,000 per year, approximately 45% of the average household income. The number of uninsured will reach 66 million - including 11 million who will lose employer-sponsored health care - raising costs for all of us. And, health care costs will account for 25% of GDP by 2024. In my judgment, the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.

The House proposal for health care reform would reduce the number of uninsured and provide additional options for millions of Americans to receive affordable coverage through a health insurance Exchange offering plans based on the benefits Members of Congress receive. Private plans and a public plan would be available to those eligible to join the Exchange, which would initially include only uninsured Americans and some small businesses. Over time, eligibility would be expanded to larger businesses to opt-in to the Exchange, but no one would ever be required to join any particular plan within the Exchange.

Insured Americans could keep their current plans, and employer-based coverage is expected to expand with the creation of the Exchange and assistance for small businesses to cover employees. Businesses that cannot afford to provide benefits to employees would be offered tax credits to offset the costs. The plan would help to contain costs for all insured Americans by creating competition and implementing reforms for insurers, providing payments to doctors for quality of care - not quantity, and by eliminating billions of dollars of fraud and waste in our health care system. Patients and doctors would be armed with the best medical evidence and information to guide treatment plans, taking medical decisions away from insurance bureaucrats.

Some have raised concerns over certain aspects of the reform proposals, including a proposed tax increase, the coverage options for families and the cost of reforming the current system. I share these concerns and have advocated an approach that addresses each of them.

To minimize the impact on taxpayers, we must secure more savings from the insurance industry which has experienced a 428% increase in profits in the last nine years while too many American families have faced financial ruin because the same companies wouldn't cover necessary care. I am also working to ensure that this legislation would not unfairly penalize businesses and families in our high cost of living area. You may be interested to know that the levels for income surcharges have been raised to $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for families, which is expected to impact approximately two percent of residents in New York's 18th Congressional District, and any surcharges would apply only to income over those thresholds.

President Obama has insisted - and I agree - that health care reform must be fully paid for so that it will not add to our budget deficit. Reform proposals should be financed primarily through reducing overpayments to insurers, rewarding providers for positive health outcomes rather than excessive tests and procedures, and reducing fraud and waste in our health care system.

In addition to concerns about what the bill contains, many Americans have been bombarded with misinformation about the contents of the House health reform proposal.
o The House bill would not result in rationing of health care; instead it would stop the practice of insurance companies rationing coverage for catastrophic care, treatments for pre-existing conditions, and many common medications and treatments recommended by doctors.
o Our health care system would not be socialized because those who have insurance would keep it, and no one would ever be forced into any specific public or private plan.
o Medicare would be made more solvent by ending billions in overpayments for various services and reimbursing physicians for quality - not quantity - of care.
o Just as current law prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving government benefits, the health reform bill would provide no benefits for illegal immigrants.
o Older Americans would not be denied care based on their age or be required to discuss end of life care with government officials. However, end-of-life counseling with a health care provider would be covered for the first time for Medicare enrollees seeking this service.

The House Committees of jurisdiction have completed the mark-up process of the current health care proposals and are now working to develop a combined final package. I strongly support an open and deliberative process and will work hard to ensure that Congress moves forward with a plan that makes quality care for individuals and their families affordable and accessible, preserves patients' choice of doctors and plans, and reins in long-term health care costs that threaten businesses' and families' financial security.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. If you would like to sign up for my regular e-newsletter or to find more details about health care reform proposals including explanations of common misconceptions, visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help you in any way.

Sincerely, Nita Lowey Member of Congress

Well, at least I don't have to worry about the bill increasing the national debt because my valiant Congresswoman and the president insist that savings from screwing over the insurance industry and cutting fraud and waste! I'll also stop worrying about retirement because I will assume that social security will cover me. I know that everything that Nita Lowey tells me is not worth a lick of pooh. I suppose that there are some really gullible fools out there who actually believe this nonsense, but they were already predispositioned to lick the inside of the liberal toilet bowl and declare the contents 'delicious'. What I can't figure out is why don't we get on that cCheck Spellingutting fraud and waste thing first and see what we can come up with. As for my other questions, well, Miz Lowey didn't think that they deserved a sniff in her form letter. I guess that I know where she stands on those issues. And this is how I know that the liberals are really not interested in real reform. Why would what any non-partisan person with the IQ of a venus fly trap not think that those were good ideas? The clever thing is how they are casting the Republicans as the gang not interested in real reform (which may be true too) and keeping the brain dead drunk with the Kool-Aid - Citizen Zane

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ding-Dong Demos Dip Double Digits?

Well, this is certainly a headline that I can get behind. I suppose my own personal conservative fiscal tendencies tend to make me cringe when the Democrats start planning the myriad of ways to spend my tax dollars out to 140 years beyond where I have earned the paycheck to be taxed, so I will sleep better when they are no longer in total control of both houses and the presidency. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the opposition is going to give us any better representation.

I would honestly like to see both parties with significant losses in the 2010 elections. The last thing that we need are more Representatives who are beholden to the party that got them elected and obligated to vote down party lines instead of for their constituents. My rep is so far up Nancy Pelosi's arse that she farts every time Nancy eats chili. I can predict her vote on any issue by listening to Nancy, regardless of what the people she represents want. I'm sure that there are similar drones from both major parties who mindlessly wander around the halls of Congress taking orders from party big-wigs, dangerously tacking dubious spending projects onto every bill and grandstanding for or against this thing are that when the cameras are rolling.

Ask yourself: Do the men and women of Congress:
Care more about the USA or their own political party?
Care more about the Citizens of the United States or about their own re-elections?
Pay more attention to lobbyists with goodies or letters from their constituents?

Hmmmm, seems pretty obvious to me. Now ask yourself:
Do I always line up with one party or the other, rationalizing away valid points made by the opposition while finding some reason to support the side that I cheer for?
Can I find a zillion reasons why the other side is responsible for the mess we are in and rationalize away my side's contributions to the disaster?

The truth is: Both parties have lost touch with the wishes of the people. They bicker and strut about, dividing us this way or that while passing just enough horrendous legislation that we don't need to keep their own palms greased. All the while we stupidly continue to vote for that same party that we have voted for the past upteen years because we have convinced ourselves that they are morally/fiscally/socially taking the high ground on all the issues and the other side is a bunch of nuts. We deserve the horrible representation that we receive and the mess that we are in because we goshdang ask for it year after year. You lazy asses out there - get to the polls and start voting these incompetent fools out of office until they put the people first - Citizen Zane

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More Stumulating for the Party

I have long worried that the stimulus bill was more about stimulating the Democratic Party than the national economy. So despite the President's promises for transparency and for keeping politics out of the use of the stimulus funds (and despite the valiant efforts of watch poodle Joe Biden of "nobody messes with Joe" fame), here is further evidence that party counts.

Not only does it not surprise me that the cash is flowing into the greedy paws of powerful Democratic politicians, but it is even less of a surprise that this particular $15 million is apparently be wasted. I mean $15 million for a checkpoint frequented by three people a day - albeit dangerous Canadians - is government waste at its finest. What are they going to do, gold plate the toilet seats? I mean for three people a day, we can have a little shack with a guard who looks like the Maytag repair man, a cot for him to nap on between wayward travelers, a TV (with cable), and refrigerator stocked with nutritious snacks for what, like $75,000 a year. I'll tell you what President Obama, for a measly $7.5 million, I'd be happy to administer this check point for the next 20 years. What a bargain - I would save the taxpayers $7.5 million! Now go and put the money to use in Laredo Texas where it is needed. I know that Texas is Republican territory, but if you insist on wasting our tax money, at least waste it to good use - Citizen Zane

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Retirees in Trouble? Lucky them!

I happened upon this article that explains that with no rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) this year, social security recipients will not get their usual cost of living raise this year. Because medical care costs are not included in the CPI - what government genius thought that up? - rising costs for their health care will effectively make any of our seniors on SS a little poorer this year.

Do you know what I say????? Boo Hoo HOO! Pretty calous? Damn straight. Here's why: because Citizen Zane has been paying 7.65% of every pay check this year to fund Social Security and Medicare and my dear employer has been matching those contributions. Assuming that I make $100,000 (because that one and those zeros make for an easy calculation) this year, my employer and I will have shelled out $15,300 to pay for seniors. When my wife was still gainfully employed, we were paying her share too, and for what? How much Social Security and Medicare will I be blessed with? I am still a good 25 years away from collecting and we have to survive all of the baby boomers who are holding out their greasy palms for their share and are in line before me. In other words - I AM NOT GOING TO GET JACK SH*T WHEN I AM OLD! That's because that account in my name that Bill Clinton promised would be there has absolutely NOTHING in it. Congress already looted it and used it for some stupid pork barrel project or a war in the Middle East.

So if you are lucky enough to be collecting anything at all right now, count your blessings. When the baby boomers start retiring, we are going to be buried under the social security and medicare obligations owed to them that we don't have savings for. Here's what's going to happen...everybody who isn't collecting SS or medicare will vote to reduce the benefits for the people who are. Either that or the system and the governemnt will simply collapse from the accumulated debt. And the baby boomers have nobody to blame but themselves. Everybody in the free world has known that the system is going broke since as long as I can remember. Problem is, nobody did anything about it. If you think that Congress today is going to worry about your problems 10 years from now, you are a fool. Go check your face in the mirror, point to the reflection, and say thou fool!

I remember when President Bush Jr. was talking about privatizing SS, and there were a bunch of ding dongs out on the street corners with signs telling him to keep his filthy hands off of their benefits. HAHAHAHAAHAHA!!! The joke is certainly on them. There was nothing there for him to sully his paws on. I think that our only hope is to let a bunch of new immigrants who will work and fund the next round of retirees into the country. Let's hope that our immigration policies in the near future will be smarter than our retirement plans are right now - Citizen Zane

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Will Reality Eventually Set In?

I wasn't surprised to see this headline, but it turned my stomach nonetheless.

Yep, the White House is predicting a $9 Trillion (with a capital T) deficit over the next 10 years. That's in addition to all of the other money that we owe and doesn't include all of those nasty unfunded deficits for Social Security and Medicare that we have conveniently swept under the rug. Big deal you say? We've always had a big debt and we seem to have come out of it ok this far. Well, dear reader, there comes a point where we've finally bitten off more than we can chew.

Here is the problem: we have to continue borrowing from other sources to fund these deficits. So far, big exporters to the United States - China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia among others - are lending us back the dollars that we have paid them for their sundry goods. Its an interesting dynamic. They fund Uncle Sam, who pays federal employees, defense contractors, farmers, welfare moms, and this list stretches out from here to Nancy Pelosi's private jet. These folks buy gas, electronics, clothes, cars, etc., and hand the cash back to the guys who lent it to us to start with and the circle continues. Pretty neat system, eh? Yeah, neat until China decides that enough is enough and quits lending to us and crashes our economy. Of course, they probably could never do it because it would crash their main export market, but they could always threaten to and use it as leverage against us in other matters. Why do you think the government is propping up all of those mortgage backed securities out there. Yup, cuz lots of them are held by the Chinese and they also hold a huge chunk of our national debt too so its wise not to piss 'em off too badly.

So what are we supposed to do with all of this debt that we can never pay back? The answer is....monetize it!!! Yep, those printing presses at Treasury are going to be working overtime to print up more paper money to pay that debt off. When this happens, the value of the dollar will plummet against the world's currencies and we will effectively be The United States of Banana Republic. All of our creditors will take it in the a$$ because their loans to us will devalue to nickels on the dollar. I thought about the US being too big to fail. In a sense, if we crash, we bring everyone down with us. Its like a big game of chicken where we have them by the short hairs and they have us in the ol' genital cuff. But the more I thought about it, I realized that the situation is far more dangerous than that. Those guys know that monetization is the only end game possible if we don't get our house in order and they are going to start parking all of those dollars somewhere where they are backed by hard assets - not flimsy paper.

Remember a few years ago when the Japanese were making headlines buying up trophy real estate and golf courses in the US? The dern fools overpaid for everything and their investments went belly up in a lot of cases and they were left with nothing more than Michael Crichton's "Rising Sun" novel and subsequent movie (with Tia Carrere - rrrowr!) for their trouble. Take it from me, the Chinese are not so foolhardy with their cash. And neither will be the Japanese next time around. They will buy on the cheap. What will they buy with all of their cash? Property? Yes. Equity stakes in US companies? Absolutely. Defense contractors, technology companies, and research labs? Yup. Oil and other natural resources? For certain. Heaven forbid...lawyers...lobbyists...congressmen...and...dare we say players??? Yeah, the imagination runs wild. Those dirty imperialists!

So when Congress and the President casually talk about these crazy deficits blowing up like they are nothing too important, and continue to flood us with stupid legislation and pork barrel projects, I can only shake my head and wonder when this house of cards will come tumbling down. All those free goodies and neat social programs that we are borrowing money to pay for. Those will be up in smoke. Our tax bills will be up too - just without the smoke. Is it too late to vote them all out and put some sensible people in charge? I don't know.

Geez, I just reread this rambling and I have become a certified nutcase. Oooooh, I need some insurance reform to cover all of the psychiatric care that is in my future - Citizen Zane

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Read My Lips....

Remember when George H.W. Bush provided us with those immortal lines that came back to bite him in the butt at the next election? Well, President Obama has likewise promised the middle class that they would not pay one more dime of taxes. That being said, I wasn't surprised in the least when White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod came out and admitted that the President may not be able to keep that promise.

Shortly after I saw this, I heard a similar announcement from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stating that tax increases were not completely of the table. Of course the President came rushing out to deny that there will be any tax increases for those making less than $250K per year, but reality tells us otherwise. The bloating of the national debt under President Obama and the left-leaning Congress is going to make for a lot of ammunition for the Republicans next fall and the Chinese, Japanese, and Saudis have got to be chewing the fingernails down as our national debt threatens to eat away the value of the treasuries that they hold.

I'm guessing that the idea of a tax increase for all of us was floated out there for two purposes: 1) to check the reaction of the public to get a reading on how we will react when the tax increase comes; and 2) to start to get us all used to the idea that taxes are going to go up soon. Despite all of the campaign promises that the President made regarding taxes, he and Congress are going to have to face the reality that they need money to fund all of their ridiculous spending. They will certainly soak the rich to some degree, but the rich can only be taxed so far before they are tapped out. We are already taxing our corporations heavily, so don't expect much more from them either. Let's see....who does that leave....hmmmm...who could it be? Is it going to be you and me? Count on it.

The tax increases are coming. The only mystery that remains is whether or not the mainstream press will hold Obama accountable for his campaign promises like they did Bush the Elder. My guess is that everyone and his dog will rush to the President's side, sadly shake their heads, and say, "That mess that Lil' Bush left us gives us no choice but to ask for a tax increase". The stupid among us will nod their heads in agreement and blindly mark that "Democrat" box on their ballots next fall - Citizen Zane

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pitchforks and Torches Show Green Shoots

I really had to smile when I came across this article describing the trouble that current members of Congress are having at their once sedate "town hall" gatherings:

It seems as though the local villagers are showing up with their pitchforks and torches and brandishing them at their noble, self-sacrificing Representatives who come to discuss the issues. Apparently, the targets are likely to be members of the Democratic Party who are following lock-step with President Obama's agenda. Iowa Rep Bruce Braley puts out his own theory for the town halls gone wild as, “I think it’s just the fact that we are dealing with some of the most important public policy issues in a generation...I think in general what is going on is we are tackling issues that have been ignored for a long time, and I think that is disruptive to a lot of people...We are trying, one by one, to deal with a set of issues that can’t be ignored, and I think that’s unsettling to a lot of people.”

I give Representative Braley half credit for being half right. Congress is tackling some of the most important public policy issues. The half that he forgets is that they are making an absolute sh**ty mess of the whole thing. While the vast majority of the American electorate runs around as confused as Patrick Star on those Sponge Bob cartoons that my little boy loves, enough people are actually figuring out that we are not exactly getting good representation and that the slide that we have been on for the past 10 years or so is getting steeper by the minute. Blame it on whatever you like Mr. Braley, but the real culprit is the Internet. I can follow the regular goings on of the nitwits in Congress and read quick analysis, both pro and con, of the nonsense that is tucked into legislation (at least when the leadership of the Democratic Party finally allows it to go public after it has passed by their majority vote before any of them bothers to read it).

The other problem seems to be that our so-called Representatives are nothing of the sort. Do you really think that the majority of sane Americans were for cap and trade? Would the average American who is paying attention want your version of health care "reform"? No wonder your constituents are angry! If you are a citizen of the United States and you are not appalled by the job being done by Congress then its time to turn off the Sponge Bob and introduce yourself to the wonders of the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the politics section of your favorite internet portal. Well, be careful if that portal is frequented by Elliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, Mark Sanford, and Bill Clinton, it may not be informative enough to stimulate you above the waistline - Citizen Zane

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mission Impossible

Boy, I thought that my job had some tough moments. I came across this gem about Treasury Secretary Timothy Giethner's latest assignment. It seems that the President has sent Mr. Geithner out on a world tour to convince the world that U.S. Treasuries were still a good investment.

I suppose that I could probably walk into the office of my counterpart in China or Saudi Arabia and deliver this message if it were my job, but I would be shocked if I could pull it off with a straight face. It seems that the Secretary pretty much stuck to the same script: "The Obama administration was committed to guarding the value of the dollar and, once the economy improves, shrinking the deficit." Only a first class fool would take the Secretary's word on this subject seriously. You couldn't sell me on that snake oil. In fact, the article stated that a group of Chinese students at Peking University laughed when the Secretary told them that investments in U.S. Treasuries were a safe investment. The article states that his quick answer when asked was the reason for the laughter, but come on, those students aren't as stupid as President Obama hopes that the public here will continue to be.

Here is the problem, according to the Congressional Budget Office, this year's budget deficit is estimated to be $1.84 TRILLION dollars and that the smallest deficit the Obama administration will incur under its current spending plans is $633 BILLION, pushing our already insane national debt up to $9 TRILLION plus. I was sick with President Bush's deficits, but this is unconscionable. Before the President took office, I was actually hopeful that he would do something to bring spending under control. I guess that I missed on that one a bit, didn't I?

So why is all of this deficit such a bad thing? Because as anyone who has maxed out their credit cards knows, the bigger your debt load to income, the less likely that someone will loan you money. Eventually, we are going to reach the point where our debt is so big, that other countries will quit lending money to us. Here is a more eloquent explanation that I could make:

The way that our current Congress is spending, I don't think that insovency is very far out in the future. With cap and trade, health care "reform", and whatever bailouts and stimulus that the administration will waste another trillion or two on, we can bet our last dollar (soon to be worth 19 cents) that interest rates and inflation are to follow. Tim Geithner's world tour is not going to save us on this one. The only hope that I have is that the U.S. is too big to fail, or something comes along to stop this madness. If something is to be done, it will have to come from the taxpayers. We have to send a message to this Congress by voting their reckless a**es out of office - Citizen Zane.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Whoa....Slow Down Cowboy!

I came across this article that explains that some Democrats in the House are not exactly enamored with the current health care "reform" bill.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a little sanity from the left side of the aisle. Despite the fact that the President and his supporters are referring to the proposed changes in health care as "reform", they are not even coming close to doing any actual reform that I can see. How can adding several million people on to the government's health care plan and having a bunch of other people pay for it be considered reform? Thinking back to my Social Studies class during my junior year of high school, we called that Socialism, not reform. I suppose that "reform" makes it sound like we are going to get something really great to the uniformed and the clinically stupid.

The problem with the current bill under construction was clearly pointed out by the Congressional Budget Office - it does nothing to slow the growth in health spending. I've heard various estimates on what the shortfall would be that the taxpayers would have to pick up after we sock it to the wealthy. Let me tell you a secret. Despite Nancy Pelosi's claim that there will be substantial savings built into the plan, THIS BILL IS GOING TO BANKRUPT US!!! Was that subtle enough?

If the government wanted to truly reform health care, it would be focusing on the various cost drivers that are causing year-to-year costs to spiral like they have. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to bringing those costs under control. Anyone who tells you that eliminating the private insurers who are trying to turn a profit and replacing them with a benevolent government agency is going to reduce the costs of health care is either too stupid to fog a mirror, lying through their teeth, or feels obligated to believe it because the Democrats are always right (go back and test that fog a mirror thing on yourself ding dong). Congress doesn't want to make hard decisions and work through thorny problems. They want a quick bill that spreads some cash to the greasy palms of their friends and strengthens their supporters desire to reelect them. That's why at the end of the day, we will all get stuck with sh**ty health care and another mountain of taxes and debt.

I WANT health care reform. The President is absolutely darn tootin' correct that health care costs and our nations delivery system are insane. However, being in such a rush to get any old stupid a** legislation passed and trumpeting it as reform is even more insane than our current situation. Slow down, Cowboy. Let's all take our time and make sure that before we jump over this cliff that there is a pile of soft mattresses down there to catch us. Take an honest look at what is driving the costs and address them first. Then come back to us with a plan to add a few more million into the insurance pool. I realize that the President wants something rammed through the House right away that nobody looks at before his approval rating dips again, but only a fool would rush in to something of this scope and complexity without being sure. Oh jeez...I just remembered who is on the Hill. Kind of feels like the time I thought that marrying that girl six years older than me with two kids, a drug problem, and a credit score of 350 would be a good idea because she looked good in a short skirt and sling-back heels and everyone would congratulate me because my wife was hot. Vegas was only a 4 1/2 hour drive away at the time....Citizen Zane.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Congresswoman Responds!

I sent an e-mail to my beloved Representative, Nita Lowey, detailing out why I thought that cap and trade was a ridiculous bill. To her credit, she responded with a form letter (that means that she read my e-mail, right?). Here is the contents for your reading pleasure:

Dear Citizen Zane:

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts on global warming and climate change legislation. I appreciate having the benefit of your views and welcome the opportunity to respond.

I believe it is critical that we take real steps to reduce global warming. The science is conclusive -- human activity is contributing to a change in the world's climatic patterns. In fact, more than 1,500 scientists, including 102 Nobel Prize winners and 60 U.S. National Medal of Science winners, agree there is a discernible and negative human influence on the global climate. In addition, over 2,500 leading economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners, have stated that climate change "carries with it significant environmental, economic, social, and geopolitical risks" and that "preventive steps are justified." If greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at the current rate, temperature zones, rainfall patterns, and agricultural belts would all be detrimentally affected and, under certain scenarios, the sea level would even rise.

That is why I supported H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, when it was brought before the House of Representatives on June 26th, 2009. This legislation will increase the availability and use of clean, renewable energy sources, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to eliminating 57 million cars from our roads.

I agree that preserving our planet should not hinder our economic recovery. In fact, this legislation will create millions of new, green jobs. It will also increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil by more than 5 million barrels per day.

As utilities upgrade their technology to fully utilize alternative energy sources, this legislation also protects consumers from energy price increases. According to recent analyses from the Congressional Budget Office and the Environmental Protection Agency, the legislation would cost each household less than 50 cents per day in 2020, while the household savings generated from greater efficiency standards is expected to total over $4000, far exceeding any potential increase in costs.

Rest assured that as this legislation continues to move through the Senate, I will push for the highest levels of consumer protection, keeping our shared concerns in mind.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. If you would like more information on this or other issues, or to sign up for my regular e-newsletter, visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help you in any way.

Nita Lowey
Member of Congress

Holy Cow - the science is "CONCLUSIVE", we are causing climate change! We better pass this bill right away, especially because it will create "millions of new jobs" in green energy and not "hinder our economic recovery". Who does she think that this e-mail was sent to, somebody stupid???? Nope, it was sent to Citizen Zane who knows that Congresswoman Nita Lowey is full of Sh*t! This is why we need to vote all of these irresponsible fools out of office. They don't care about the truth and they certainly don't care about us. I will be voting against Nita Lowey in 2010. I'm so fed up, I may even run against her out of spite. I may even garner 10 votes or more if anyone is paying attention. That may be a longer shot than me actually winning the dang seat - Citizen Zane

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cap and Tax, er Trade Our Jobs Overseas

Due to the heroics of Nancy Pelosi, and against the futile protests made by Citizen Zane to his local Representative, the House rammed a Cap and Trade bill through last Friday under the guise of stopping climate change and promoting green energy. I will point out right here that Nancy's personal carbon footprint from tooling to and from California every week in a private jet makes her look like a complete hypocrite, but that is for her to rationalize.

"Ooh, we are going to stop global warming and decrease our dependence on foreign oil - sounds like a can't miss prospect." I can just hear the terminally uniformed and otherwise stupid gushing as they gulp down another Diet Coke at 10:00 am. It really amazes me that even some members of Congress think that this bill is in any way a good idea.

Here's the basic premise of the bill. Entities are limited in the amount of carbon emissions that they can spew based on some government derived formula. If you are spewing out less carbon than your quota, you can sell "credits" to polluters who can't make standards and have to buy the right to pollute above quota. Over time, the quotas get stricter and stricter, so in theory, our polluters need to adjust to living without fossil fuel emissions, and then presto - global warming is amazingly stopped! Yeah Al Gore!!!

Sounds neat in theory, but like all bone-headed attempts by liberals to create utopia, it costs lots of money and will probably do more harm than good. Actually, I will go down on record saying that the benefits of this nonsense will be somewhere in negative numbers. Here's why:

Who do you think that the biggest emitters of carbon are? Yup, public utilities. If your local electric company is in the market to buy carbon credits, guess who gets to pay for them? Will it be some fat cat CEO??? Will it be the coal producer? Hmmmm, or will it be YOU? Doesn't take a genius to figure that out now, does it?

Even worse news: Manufacturers will now be subject to cap and trade, making it more expensive to produce goods here in America. That gives them two choices: 1) pass the costs on to consumers; or 2) ship the jobs overseas. Well, its always possible that China is already undercutting any business caught in cap and trade, but this will certainly not help us stay competitive. And guess what? Those third world countries that will get our manufacturing jobs are NOT subject to much environmental regulation. They use resources less efficiently and spew a lot more crap into the environment than producers in the USA could ever think of getting away with. Yup, cap and trade will end up increasing carbon into the atmosphere. Hell, that extra carbon may actually contribute to a .0001 degree increase in global temperature. That's what I need here in New York during winter. Yeah, more cap and trade, please! A reader provided this gem about the "benefits" of cap and trade in Europe

I suppose that the idea is to promote "green" energy and to create jobs in that industry. I thought that was where a lot of the stimulus money was supposed to go!!! Weren't we going to flush a bunch of $$$ down the toilet to develop "green" energy with some of that stupidity??? If green energy is a viable source, and we develop it with stimulus money to where it is practical to use, then why do we need cap and trade to force us to use it. If green energy is available at a cost near fossil fuels, we will all jump for it, will we not?

Funny thing is, I have still not heard one single good argument for this bill. The sponsors gamely tout their desire to promote green energy and protect the environment, but those vague general promises have no substance whatsoever. Is it me or is it Congress? One of us must be stupid. Well, that and the general electorate who have no clue about what our Representatives are doing - Citizen Zane

Saturday, June 20, 2009

National Health Care - The Straw That Breaks the Camel's Back

I have to admit, I became physically ill when the "stimulus" bill passed Congress because I knew that we were basically going to flush hundreds of billions of dollars down the toilet in the name of rescuing the economy. I didn't think that anything could ever top that monstrosity as the biggest mistake this side of the Iraq War, but now I have read that the House of Representatives has just topped the stimulus bill and the war combined in one fell swoop. WARNING: The picture attached to this article includes the horrific mug of Nancy Pelosi - view with caution.

I for one would be thrilled if we could actually have health care reform. Again, I describe health care reform as insuring more people while lowering costs and NOT increasing the national debt. What the clowns in the House are pushing as "reform" will certainly insure more people, but the cost will be the final straw that breaks Treasury's back.

What I can't figure out is why Congress and the President think that it is such a good idea to rush any old plan through? If Citizen Zane were to reform health care, I would first put together a committee of industry stakeholders representing insurers, drug companies, doctors, patients, taxpayers, employers, and (oops gagged for a second) the trial lawyers. Oh yeah, toss a few Congress folks in there too. How about a nice mix of three Democrats and three Republicans. I'm sure that I'm missing somebody in there, but Committee would be smart enough to add them. Then I would look at models from other countries and see what works, and how all of the stakeholders could compromise on different points and actually come up with a plan that makes the most sense. Then we have to figure out how to pay for it.

What we are going to get is a bunch of STUPID pie-in-the sky ideas from the far left that are going to cost trillions and provide shi**y care for everyone. I like how the Dems are casting the Republicans as the Party of No. Guess why they say "NO" to everything? Because you are so far out on the edge of fantasy land with your legislation that they would be irresponsible not to. Want a better plan? Don't lock the Republicans out because 1/4 of what they say may actually make sense and improve the dipstick plan that you are going to hammer down our throats.

Here is the other outrageously large problem that Congress is conveniently ignoring. Health care is expensive because there are a lot of cost drivers that make it expensive to provide. Let's put together a quick and dirty list, shall we?
  • Malpractice insurance and the need for doctors to perform unnecessary procedures to CYA
  • The cost of drugs: R&D and clinical trials cost $$$$$ and drug companies are going to cut it off if they don't make a return on their investments.
  • Illegal immigrants and the indigent leaching off of the system without paying in.
  • The cost in time and money to become a doctor (my buddy is $250K in debt and still in residency - think he wants to be a govt. employee??).
  • Equipment, labs, supplies, etc.
  • Profit for insurance administration

I'm sure that this list is the tip of the iceberg too. The problem I have is that Congress has to address ideas for cutting into those massive costs before signing up 40 million new people to add to them. I have heard that a public option will drive down costs by eliminating the profit the insurance providers and administrators earn. This makes me laugh out loud! The government is going to be that efficient? The government employees will be the usual barely-care winners we get at the DMV who are surly, slow, and don't care if they get anything done. Oh yeah, full pension and health benefits too please! Trust me, the private sector and their profit will cost us a lot less. Add that on top of the brilliant method used by the government to select those who will benefit from the nationalization of health care (click below for further outrage and inconvenient truth).

Another major problem: Who is going to pay for this boondoggle? So far, Congress hasn't figured that out. Guess what? I have. If you are on this list, consider yourself fairly warned:

  • Currently insured
  • Taxpayer
  • Employer

Chances are, there won't be enough blood to suck from the above noted list and the remainder will be tossed onto the mountain of national debt. The final effect will be to either break the unfortunate listed above or the Treasury. Yep, when we add another trillion or two on top of the mess that is already projected to be spent in deficit, only fools will continue to loan us money. At that point, the treasury will add a few printing presses and the dollar will fall like a piano out a six-story window. Mmmmm, back to Jimmy Carter inflation and interest rates. Go back and look at the Pelosi photo again. It is only slightly less horrifying than the results of her handiwork - Citizen Zane

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Barbara Boxer - Queen for the Day!

I happened upon this clip of Barbara Boxer in action scolding a Brigadier General for calling her "ma'am" instead of Senator.

Full Disclosure: Citizen Zane was a resident of the State of California when Barbara Boxer was elected in the Senate in 1992 and thinks that she is a complete sack of #%*!

My personal feelings for above noted sack of #%*! aside, this clip is just another demonstration of how our noble Representatives have lost touch with the people that they supposedly serve. When your self-exaltation grows to the level where you interrupt a man who has undoubtedly been shot at in your defense to show that you are more powerful than he is just to make a silly point, you go beyond even sack of #%*! status. Congrats SENATOR Boxer, you are number one! WOOOOOOO! You are the Supreme Sack of S*%! All bow before her!

Can you imagine our founding fathers being this petty and self important? How can we not vote these arrogant fools out of office? The best possible title for Supreme Sack of S*%! is Former Senator Sack of S*%! I'm embarrassed for my former state - Citizen Zane

Monday, June 8, 2009

Your Bill for Health Care Reform Will Be Arriving Soon

As Congress and the President fire up continued talks on health care "reform", the problem of paying for providing the uninsured with health insurance is starting to be addressed. You will never guess who Congress has in mind to pay for it all...

Yep, its going to be the currently insured - at minimum. Just in case you didn't know this, if your employer is offering health insurance, he or she kicks in a good chunk of change every month to pay for that insurance. At a company I worked for a few years ago, it was public knowledge what the Company paid on your behalf for insurance. In my case, it was about $1,200 per month. Assuming health care costs have not gone up and I still worked there, that would mean that the Zane Family is receiving the benefit of $14,400 per year for health insurance. Right now, that benefit is received tax free. Under the proposal now being considered by Congress, that would mean that I would have to pay taxes on some portion of that income to cover somebody else's insurance. Assuming that my marginal tax bracket is 25%, I could be asked to kick in up to an additional $3,600 for other people's insurance.

Want to hear something scary? The President himself told Senators that he would back this outrage, even though he specifically campained against it when running against John McCain. In fact, he hammered McCain on this very point. The article even includes a video clip of the President taking McCain to task about taxing these benefits. How do you spell hypocrite? O-B-A-M-A.

The article blesses us with a photo of illustrious Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who seems to favor taxing insurance benefits. His rationale? Taxing those benefits would be "fairer and more equitable for everyone". HUH??? How is sucking my hard-earned money up and using it to pay somebody else's health insurance fairer and more equitable to me? He did say "everyone" did he not? Obviously, when the liberally stupid mention fairness and equity, they really mean paying off the people who put them in power by transferring the wealth of others. Fair and equitable my A**! If you live in Montana and don't vote Maxie out of office, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. Get off your lazy butt and go to the polls and send him packing.

Want to know what your additional tax bill will be? Assume that your employer spends about $1,000/month on your insurance. Also, assuming you are married and the government taxes the entire benefit, your bill will be as follows (Citizen Zane can find tax tables online!):

$1,200 if your taxable income is less than $15,650
$1,800 if your taxable income is between $15,650 and $63,700
$3,000 if your taxable income is between $63,700 and $128,500
$3,360 if your taxable income is between $128,500 and $195,850

I am guessing that there will be some portion of the benefit that is exempt, especially for the lower income groups, and that the above calculations would be on the high side. But, with this wacky Congress, you never can tell. Remember how fired up we all were about soaking the rich to pay for everything???? You can now look your insured a** in the mirror and spot the rich guy who will be paying - Citizen Zane

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vote John Murtha Out Now!

I have to admit it. I absolutely HATE John Murtha. There, I said it. That may save me from 12 hours of therapy at $120/hr in the future. I hadn't heard of this noble Representitive from Pennsylvania until I found out about his rediculous airport which is a black hole for taxpayer dollars. I included that boondogle in an earlier post

Then today, I come accross this beauty:

Okay, the headline is a bit more scandalous than the actual content of the article (the guys involved were convicted several years ago and served their time). However, it turns out that they are still shady characters who have "allegedly" defrauded the government in their vast dealings with our tax dollars. Dollars, I might add, that were funneled to their enterprise as earmarks by that distinguished gentleman, John Murtha. Will I be shocked if I hear that Murtha received campaign donations from these guys or his relatives are somehow involved with these dealings? Nope, I will be shocked if that isn't the case. Obviously, Mr. Murtha is a spender/waster guy who sucks up our tax dollars and funnels them to his district to be wasted or to line the pockets of his supporters. Can we afford to keep creeps like him in office? Hey Pennslyvania, grow a pair and kick his a** out of Congress! - Citizen Zane

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mortgage Contract Not Worth the Paper its Printed On?

I came across this article that describes the heroics of members of Congress to help their constituents in trouble with their mortgages:

While I do applaud these Representatives for wanting to help their constituents - and I really liked what Maryland Rep Elijah Cummings was doing to bring lenders and mortgage holders together - I was quite dismayed to see that some members of Congress were trying to pass a law that would force banks to accept losses on existing mortgages to keep people in their homes. Thank goodness a bill that would allow Congress to pretty much tear up existing mortgage contracts and allow judges to force banks to take less money for people in bankruptcy. Smiling Dick Durbin of Illinois came up with that gem, which surprise, surprise, is supported by my old friend Maxine Waters.

Why do I think that it is a bad idea to allow judges to lower payments for people so that they can stay in their homes and stick it to the evil, greedy, faceless banks? Because a mortgage is a contract. When you sign that paper saying that you will pay back the money you are borrowing or the bank can take your home, well then you better make the payments or look for a new place to live. Cold hearted? Possibly. But to allow contracts to be arbitrarily broken is horrible business. Guess what I would do if I were a bank in the mortgage business and Congress had the power to stick me with the loss on any given mortgage? Yep, I'd raise the cost of getting a mortgage for everybody to cover the added losses for those who go bankrupt. That means that to keep the irresponsible nitwits who borrowed more than they could pay back in their houses that they can't afford, the rest of us have to pony up more hard-earned cash for our homes. Sounds like a typical liberal make all of us miserable to be equal policy to me.

You can ask me what I think about the Federal government's new plan to insure mortgages in an attempt to stem the foreclosure avalanche, but you probably already know what my answer would be. Haven't Fannie and Freddie lost enough of our money already? Its a sticky mess out there because banks can't really afford to take the losses that reworking really ugly mortgages would cause and Congress is under pressure to do something to help out. Do you know what my plan is? Let the banks work it out with the homeowners without government intervention. The banks will figure out which customers can afford to stay in their homes and what losses are acceptable to take on reworking those peoples' mortgages. Everyone else, your house goes back to the bank and on to the market. I know that this strategy will push the housing market lower, but it will not cost the taxpayers (people who didn't have mortgages that they couldn't pay back) anything more. Yep, everybody be responsible for yourselves for a change. The longer we keep trying to prop up this housing mess, the longer its going to take for the economy itself to recover.
I look into my crystal ball and see Congress giving in to the pressure, and allocating billions of our tax dollars to bail the homeowners out and artificially prop the market up for the short-term, causing an even bigger mess in the long-term. This is primarily because most members of Congress are too gutless to do the right thing, especially when the heat will come because they calously allowed people to lose their homes. No mention will be made of those people getting in over their heads on their own. Meanwhile, all of us who didn't get ourselves into trouble by buying houses that we couldn't afford are going to end up paying for our neighbors' stupidity. Hmmm, maybe they weren't so stupid after all - Citizen Zane

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Will Miracles Ever Cease? The Fed Agrees With Me.

Have you ever heard the saying closing the barn door after the horse is already gone? Fed Chief Ben Bernake has come out and stated, "Unless we come out and demonstrate a strong committment to fiscal sustainability in the longer term, we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth".

Gee, do you think? I believe that the loose money policies that the Fed has exhibited over the past 10 years have been major contributors to inflating the housing market and promoting sub-prime mortgages. That's why when I hear socialist knuckleheads cast all of the blame on capitalism for our current mess, I roll my eyes. The Fed playing with the money supply and the interest rates, along with a rash of silly government policies to promote and purchase bad loans are not capitalism, but that's another story. The crazy thing here is that I actually agree with the Fed for a change. Even stranger, German Chancellor Angela Merkle weighs in on the same side of the argument (at least that's what the article notes).

The problem is that the more the government borrows, the higher the interest rate that lenders are going to require from us to keep our debt floating. That is because as our debt mounts, the prospect that the US will default or print more money to pay off the debt goes up. That's why nobody is lending to California anymore. When those rates start going up, it costs even more money to make the payments. I can't see how the government gets out of this mess without one of two things happening: 1) Congress reigns in spending; or 2) The Treasury prints up fresh money to pay the debt with. Just typing number 1 made me laugh out loud. Those fools don't have the courage to do what's right. That's why ALL OF THEM nee to be voted out. Option 2 is on the horizon. When that happens, look for the dollars in your hand to be monopoly money and for inflation to run rampant - Citizen Zane

Thursday, May 28, 2009

No Faith in the Great Healer

As I started eating my healthy, home-cooked lunch today at my desk (Hooray, Mrs Citizen Zane!), I took a look at Yahoo and came upon this article where President Obama is starting to claim some credit for the economy looking like its finally hit rock bottom and headed toward recovery.

Whew, the Great Man has pulled us back from the brink! Good for Him. Actually, I think that the President is in an enviable position right now. If anything happens to go right in the world, he can grab all of the credit. Anything that turns out poorly...well, that was a President Bush mistake. Imagine having that situation at your job? If you were an investment banker, you could lose a billion dollars on sub-prime mortgage backed securities and still get an 8 figure bonus while pointing to the guy who held your position the year before. Hmmm, I've heard that story actually.... I imagine about 25 years from now, some Democrat president of the future will still be blaming Bush for not reforming a bankrupt Social Security system or something along those lines. Hopefully, Dick Cheney is still ticking so we can get some comedy relief out of his inevitable response.

Anyway, forgive my skepticism about the economy being "rescued" by the government, but I just don't see how all of this out of control spending is going to lead to a lasting economic recovery. I am a regular reader of Bill Fleckenstein on, who I have found to be remarkably insightful about the markets and macroeconomic environment. Recently, he posted some material from Jeremy Grantham, where the author predicts a VL shaped recovery, "in which the stimulus causes a fairly quick but superficial recovery, followed by a second decline, followed in turn by a long, drawn-out period of sub-normal growth."

Why subnormal growth? Because government stimulus doesn't magically appear out of nowhere and enrich us all. It comes from taking wealth from citizens and companies and using it to pay for government projects and programs. Maybe I should take that back...the current plan seems to be to print more money...but I regress. Anyway, what happens is that the real producers and innovators are pushed aside by the government, which picks its champions based on political agenda, not on merit. When the government takes a bigger bite out of my boss's earnings, he has less opportunity to hire another worker to generate even larger income. He may go to the bank for a loan, but the government needs to borrow and is sucking up money that would otherwise be available to lend. Is this making sense? I stumbled across this article that articulates much better than I...

The bottom line is that all of this government stimulus does not produce steady economic growth because it is not sustainable. Creating a bunch of new government jobs will juice things for as long as the stimulus keeps those jobs going - and then it will be gone. I like the idea of the government stimulating the economy with long-term investment projects in PRODUCTIVE activities that will generate benefits later, such as the power grid, bridges, roads, etc (sounds like somebody's campaign promises). The current administrations plan to invest in energy is also excellent in principle, but I fear that we will get carried away in the search for green alternatives that have dubious prospects and ignore nuclear and fossil fuels which we know work. Let's be honest here and not liberal dreamers, we still need those fuels to carry us for the foreseeable future.

If I thought that the stimulus money was actually going toward legitimate investment projects to be filled by open bids from private firms, this blog would not exist. Unfortunately, I am pretty dang sure that only a small percentage of our money will be well spent. The vast majority will be slop for the hogs who keep the Democrats in power. The resulting debt of course will be shouldered by you, me, our children, their children, and anyone with the audacity of hope for self-made success - Citizen Zane

Monday, May 25, 2009

Money Trouble? Its Your Own Fault

I saw this headline for an article by Liz Pulliam Weston, a writer for MSN Money and just had to read it.

In the article, the author pretty much comes out and tells people to quit whining about this or that causing your financial problems and to take responsibility for them. She notes that on the MSN message board that she often sees people writing "I should be living better than this," as they complain that the high cost of living is at fault for their woes. Finally, she provides a list of decisions that people make that directly affect their financial situation. Ask yourself - did you:

- Spend more than you made?
- Fail to have a rainy day fund?
- Try to get by with too little insurance?
- Fail to pay attention to the terms of the loan you were getting?
- Figure "something will work out" rather than having a plan?
- Procrastinate dealing with an issue until it became a big problem?

I would just love to shove this list up the a** of every person in Congress and every stinking state legislator in every state that is having financial problems, because I know the answer to every one of those questions. "Figure something will work out rather than having a plan" ought be the name of that ridiculous stimulus bill if it was an honest attempt by Congress to get the economy on track rather than a payoff to those who vote Democrat. And "Procrastinate dealing with an issue until it became a big problem" is the hallmark of government greatness in action.

Here we have the national debt piling up to absurd numbers, states begging for bailouts, and the dollar ready to become worth less than the paper that its printed on, but is government making sound financial decisions? Nope, they hear every lazy-assed person out there whining that "I should be living better than this!" and they feel like they have to right all of the wrongs that these poor saps have been forced to endure at the hands of the evil rich. THAT IS WHY WE ARE BANKRUPT!! And guess what? All of those nincompoops who borrowed more money than they could pay back - THIS FINANCIAL DISASTER THAT WE ARE FACING IS YOUR FAULT TOO!! Yep, all those mortgaged-back securities that are dragging down our banks...those were people borrowing more than they could pay back. Hey everybody - Quit your F***ing whining and get to work. Earn your own keep, live within your means, and stop asking me for a handout.

Speaking of living within your means. I keep reading about the government is going to protect us all from the evil clutches of the credit card companies and is calling the new law "credit card reform". Whenever I hear the word "reform", I immediately know that the government is playing musical chairs with winners and losers in whatever is being reformed. The new winners? People who can't live within their means or are too irresponsible to pay their bills on time. The losers? The financial services industry and the people who pay their cards off in full every month who are going to be charged more fees or get less rewards.

Now I agree that some of the practices in the industry were a bit harsh on consumers, but nobody held a gun to cardholders' heads and asked them to borrow money on the terms of their lending agreements (see "fail to pay attention to terms of the loan you were getting") and then forced them to carry a balance. I need some government "reform" that doesn't cost me more money. I also apologize to all of those who have balances on their credit cards for reasons of job losses or health problems that truly are not their faults - and not for overspending. To everybody else and their Santa Clause impersonating Representatives - get your house in order through hard work, sacrifice, and smart decision making. I've left you a list courtesy of Ms. Weston - Citizen Zane

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Throw it On the Pile

Yep, the mountain of debt caused by government idiocy just keeps getting bigger. This time its the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC).

I like how they named this agency "Corp." so it looks like its being run by responsible folks rather than by the government. The PBGC was set up to guarantee pensions for retired employees of companies who have promised to take care of retirees, but somehow fell out of business and are unable to pay. I don't know the mechanics of the whole thing, but I suppose the pension plans pay some sort of insurance premium to help cover the ones in the group that go belly up. Leave it to the government actuaries and oversight committees to have miscalculated the premiums needed - the fund is swelling up to some $22 Billion in shortfalls. The article mentions that the "Company's" acting director, a certain Vince Snowbarger, reassures people receiving cash currently that the fund has plenty of money for current payments. Wooooo, thank goodness for that! We can leave the unfunded portion to our spoiled children and grandchildren. Way to go Vince!

Hard Medicine from Citizen Zane:
I hate to say this, but we have one of two choices: 1) We take a piece out of everyone whose pensions are guaranteed under the PBGC to fund this problem and current pension holders get by on less; or 2) The rest of us who are funding our own pensions have to pay the difference. Neither of these prospects is going to make many people happy, but it is a hard decision that has to be made (hence, Congress is pushing it off to the future when they don't have to take the heat for it). I propose that the people getting the pensions take the hit. But Citizen Zane, those people don't deserve to lose their pensions, many will say. I say tough - I don't deserve to pay for their retirement since I am paying for my own and funding someone else's Social Security payments too.

And this leads us to crux of the problem. Defined benefit pension plans (the kind where you are promised certain payouts and health care for life) have become obsolete. Think I'm wrong? Here are the following examples: The airlines, the auto makers, and the employees of every state in the Union. Pension costs are dragging these venerable institutions into the pit of no return. Back in the days when we manufactured our own goods and actually exported a lot of them, and lots more people smoked and died earlier, maybe we could afford these outdated plans. Now, we have to save and invest as we go. Its time for government to realize that their modus operendi is bankrupting all of us and adjust with the times. The problem is, it would take real courage and commitment for somebody to step forward and tell the truth and take the heat for it all. Who in Congress has shown any courage since Davy Crockett climbed the walls of the Alamo? Somebody let me know - I'm sure that its happened somewhere.

Anyway, back to the PBGC. Well fair reader...who do you think is going to end up picking up the tab for this nonsense? Hmmmm.....let's see......could it be......might it be.....YOU??? Damn straight! That's right folks - while your own personal 401(k) shrinks 30% and your social security goes up in smoke. Those lucky folks already collecting social security are getting pensions paid by this very fund that YOU will have to pay for too!

I suppose that Congress is jumping all over this injustice. Some right-minded Representative has got to be standing up and pulling the fire alarm. Right? Do ya think????? Remember that part about courage and commitment? I'd settle for some plain, old-fashioned representation - Citizen Zane

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Could Walking on Water be Far Behind?

I started to read the attached article on President Obama's plan to implement new fuel and emission standards for automobiles - which I don't necessarily think is a bad idea, having lived in Los Angeles and been party to the smog that accumulates in the inland valleys. The thing that made my jaw drop were the words "Carol Browner, the White House energy and climate director"

Holy Smokes - we have a climate director???? Guys, I hate to break this to you, but you can't control an economy and you sure as heck can't control the climate. The crazy thing about the current administration - and it could be that they are actually believing all of their press clippings - is that they honestly think that they can. Just as we are flushing a good trillion down the toilet to "save" the economy, I fear that we are going start flushing billions into the hole in the name of preventing global warming. Global warming? Obviously those knuckleheads didn't spend the last winter in New York. Hell, it was 45 degrees yesterday morning when I left for work and its almost Memorial Day! I WANT warmer temperatures!!!!

But Dear Citizen Zane, what about the polar ice caps that are melting? Our green house gasses are ruining the planet! Yeah, and we used to have an ice age when the polar ice cap extended down half of North America. Was that because prehistoric man all turned their air conditioners up too high? Then drove their Flintsone-mobiles around too much and melted the damn thing back down? Come on people, climate changes because climate changes. Any one who thinks that they can control the climate is even more delusional than someone who thinks that they can control an economy the size and scope of ours.

So when I hear the words "cap and trade", I think of a bunch of well-meaning folks who are going to put the clamps down on what's left of our manufacturing base and squeeze the life out that too. Not only is this going to be horrible policy from a pure waste of time and money, but its going to be a real job killer. You can invent a bunch of government jobs that push paper to move Federal money from one pocket to the next, but when you lose your manufacturing base completely, then you are really not producing anything. Those are real job losses! And here is the problem with having a bunch of well-intentioned liberals running amok with our money and setting policy. They crowd out the real producers and innovators who would bring the economy back and choke them with red tape and regulation so that the government, those brilliant elite among us who know much better than we do how to spend our money and live our lives, can really be in charge! I suppose as soon as they gum the economy up, they can always throw out another stimulus package to prolong the agony through the second term of the Great One. Holy S***! I just proved myself wrong - you can control the economy!

Citizen Zane's solution: We should skip cap and trade - in fact, we should lower our emission standards, cut the red tape, and kiss the collective a** of anyone who manufactures in our great land. Think about it liberals...for every factory that produces here, that's one or more less factories in the third world where there are NO EMISSION STANDARDS really polluting and inefficiently using the world's resources. Want to cut green house gasses? Build it in the US and not in China. Wow, that may actually lead to some real weath-creating jobs too! Some of them may even be union and people will pay more taxes for you to waste - a liberal dream come true. Set your Fantasy-Land policies to make it easier to make it here than import it. Which country do you think will waste less energy and spew the least amount of crap into the environment in the manufacturing process?

Oh, I kind of flew off topic there. I like the idea with the cars though - Citizen Zane

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Health Care Reform or Musical Chairs?

A regular reader (making him or her one of the more intelligent people on the Internet) passed on this link which is remarkably balanced considering its source.

It seems that our grand elected officials are going to go out and reform health care to provide universal coverage for all. It's a truly noble idea - which means that it has to be coming from the liberal leaning side of the isle. And, as with all noble ideas from the left, its going to cost a fortune and we aren't going to worry about paying for it.

I, for one, would actually really like to see universal coverage. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to do some consulting work in an area where I thought that I could maybe carve out a nice little niche for myself and start my own thing. Realizing that if I left my company at the time, that my family would be without health coverage, I asked a friend who is a building contractor about what he was doing for health care. "Paying out of my a**!" he grumbled back. I got the lowdown on the coverage and its cost and that pretty much put an end to my attempt to go solo. Maybe if there were universal coverage....well, I'd probably be in the soup line, but that is another story.

I listened to President Obama give a speech today on the issue, while my co-workers debated back and forth about what we could do to fix the system, and just about all of us had different ideas, but the person who made the most sense said, "If we could just take the politicians out of it and get a team of industry stakeholders together to hammer out a workable plan...." No, that makes too much sense. One Kool-aid drinking liberal came up with, "The rich should have to pay for all of us," which is simply brilliant except that the rich are already the ones funding the health insurance that most of us have along with $4 trillion worth of other government spending. Rich as they are, they only have so much money.

The problem with the government getting mixed up in this mess is: 1) Its the government and we are facing another Social Security/Medicare disaster; and 2) The private sector - the people who actually profit by improving the system will be crowded out of the market and things will get worse. Its going to be like a giant game of musical chairs. The music will start and all of the stakeholders in the industry, including the insurance companies, drug makers, the doctors, the patients, the tax payers, employers, the illegal aliens, the lawyers who sue everyone else, etc. will walk around in a big circle and then the music will stop and only some of those people will get a chair and life will be rosy and everyone else will get seriously hosed. Here's guessing that Nancy and Harry will save a seat for everyone who votes for the Democrats. Great, you say, if you are a Democrat. Well, not exactly. Cause anyone who understands rudimentary economics knows that when the government picks winners and losers, we get these little things called 'externalities', or the negative side effects that pop up as a result.

Do we hose the drug companies and make them slash their prices? Well, who is going to pay for the research, development, and clinical trials needed to bring a drug to market. Do we slash the doctors' incomes? Well, who is going to go $250K in debt for education and training for 10 years to make as much as a school teacher? Do we burden all employers with mandatory coverage? Well, how many small businesses do we drive out of the marketplace. Make any sense? Personally, I'd like to kick the lawyers out, but we do need defenders for malpractice, and well, the trial lawyers support the Demos to the hilt, so they ain't going nowhere. Hmmmmm....who can we stick it to? Guess what, my friends, when the music stops, the only sure bets in the bunch are the currently insured and the taxpayers. If you fall into one of those two groups, look down at the little red laser dot jiggling around on your chest. That's Congress taking aim at you. Take it to the bank - Citizen Zane

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Insolvency Just Around the Corner

If this article doesn't scare the pants off of you, then you are either beyond apathy, have no prospects for ever accumulating a nickel in wealth, are just plain Stupid - with a capital S, or weren't wearing any pants to start with. Note: you may qualify for more than one above.

This folks, is government gone horribly amok for too long. Read this line from the article to get an idea of just what kind of trouble we are in:

"According to the Federal Reserve flow-of-funds figures for year-end 2007, our collective net worth as consumers was $62.7 trillion. By the end of 2008, the same figure had fallen to $51.5 trillion. Another year of growth for Social Security and Medicare liabilities would bring total unfunded government promises to about $46 trillion. That's nearly 90% of our net worth."

To the truly stupid out there, that means that the government is going to need to take 90% of everything that everybody has in the nation to keep its promises on those two programs alone. So do you think that you are going to enjoy these retirement benefits when you are an old codger? Let's just say that dog food consumption is going to go through the roof in the next 25 or so years and not because there will be more dogs.

I remember when President Bush tried to do something to reform Social Security back a few years ago and the public and congressional outcry was overwhelming to the point that old Alfred E. had to back off. Oddly, the outcry against the Iraqi war didn't seem to be so forceful, even after it turned into a disaster. Instead, we kept hearing the same old rhetoric from our elected officials that Social Security was "safe". Yeah, like they care. If I remember correctly, they have their own retirement plan and are exempt from Social Security. This is the same government that is putting Bernie Madoff away for running a similar ponzi scam, but on a much more limited basis. He is small fry. The fact is, Congress does not have the political will to make the hard choices that we need to make because they fear that the short-sighted stupid among us will throw them out of office. Instead, they hand out more goodies and take in more money and get re-elected because people are too stupid to throw them out of office. It is time that we demand those self-serving fools represent us or get the hell out of Washington. VOTE THEM ALL OUT!

Right now, as Citizen Zane types away, your government is making plans to expand their programs to "benefit" us all. They are even BORROWING more money to get those plans rolling? Based on their track record with Social Security and Medicare, how can so many people actually think that all of this spending is a good idea? - Citizen Zane