Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thoughts for a New Year

When I was a kid in kindergarten, I used to think I'd die in the year 2000. Don't ask me why I thought that. Guess it was just a wrinkle in my childlike reasoning because here it is 2009 and I'm still kicking.

Sinking into discouragement at the outset of this new year would be easy. Who would blame us for our dark thoughts? Discouraging news is everywhere. Yes, we have the promise of hope from a new President, but even that has its downside. The new broom has to work with the same old dust and cobwebs. Can he sweep them clean? Forgive my doubts that a strong, young, determined broom can clean the Beltway's focus on "rescuing" already wealthy bankers and cohorts from the mess they've made for someone else to scrub. I'm not alone in thinking that even millionaires and billionaires who mismanaged the funds of investors should not be on house arrest, living in luxury or waiting for a tiny slap on the wrist for their misdeeds. To clean up and paraphrase Al Pacino's famous line: They belong in freaking JAIL.

I'm no economist, but my thought is if our politicians want to grant billions and trillions of dollars to anyone in hopes of jump starting our economy, that largesse should go to the citizens and taxpayers. Give every citizen of legal age $100,000, or even $10,000 and we'll spend it on things we've needed or wanted but are afraid to buy right now. Give us enough and we'll pay off our credit cards or our homes and start fresh. We'll shop til we drop. Yeah, I know I'm stupid for even having such a thought. Such a "bail out" might lift some people out of poverty and our politicians certainly would not want THAT. However, the Congress, Senate, and American people have seen no results from the first gift to our big banks so perhaps it's time to change focus.

Like most Americans, I don't expect my government to give me anything. I set my budget and live within it. If a few extra bucks accumulate, I might splurge and buy that new toaster I've been needing. If not, I'll do without. Too bad our elected politicians don't spend taxpayer money with the same thought in mind. They expect us to sacrifice, but are not willing to give up anything from their own benefits. They'll keep their health care and pension fund for life while citizens are losing theirs. Something is wrong with that picture. No politician should have entitlements for life, especially if they do nothing to earn such benefits.

Still, I am in charge of my own destiny. I am the one who determines how my life proceeds, so I'll continue what works for me and mine. Meanwhile, I'll entertain a small modicum of hope that our new broom will actually make inroads into the glutted mess our government has become.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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