By Joe Boyles
Editor’s note: “Stray Vectors” is the author’s byline for random thoughts on the passing scene.
A school district in Pennsylvania has decided that it can save landscaping costs by bringing in sheep to “cut” the grass. Bad idea! I was involved in such a project in Utah more than 30 years ago. Between dead sheep and “stuff,” it was a huge mess.
For the first time, the powerful American Association for Retired People (AARP) has concluded that changes to Social Security benefits are inevitable and they will support some type of reform. This could be big.
The Obamamites want to raise fuel economy standards, roughly doubling it over the next 14 years. Is this a bridge too far? What will we sacrifice in terms of safety and reliability? Transmission experts tell me we have opened ourselves up to a lot of extra costly maintenance with weight-saving aluminum trannies. Will the next generation transmissions be made of paper mache?
The Legislature and our new Governor worked hard to plug a multi-billion dollar hole in the state budget. In tough economic times when revenues naturally decline, it is easy to blame the bad times for budget deficits, but the real culprit is overspending during boom times. That creates unrealistic expectations that cannot be supported during inevitable economic downturns.
The latest Trustee’s report shows that Medicare will go bankrupt in 2024 and Social Security in 2036. Expect both those dates to move forward unless the idiots we send to Washington get off their duff and address the problem. Harry Reid may say there’s no problem, but he’s whistling past the graveyard.
One of the things I’m critical of is professional politicians that have zero experience in the private sector economy. A lot of Democrats fall into this category … but not all. Colorado Governor (and former Denver mayor) John Hickenlooper is a professional geologist and entrepreneur who is well known in the brew pub business. From personal experience, he really knows what’s happening on mainstreet.
Unemployment hovering at 9 percent is a huge problem. The way to reduce this negative indicator is to get the economy growing again at a robust 4-5 percent annually. How? Reduce regulations that are stifling the private sector. Take the brakes off oil and gas exploration making energy cheaper. Reduce the tax liability of corporations. Gut Obamacare. Fast track trade agreements. That’s a Readers Digest version for economic growth. If you want to reduce unemployment, then grow the private sector economy.
The Obama Administration’s decision to suspend the CLASS (long-term assisted living) is another chink in the weakening armor of Obamacare. This entitlement disaster was never about cost-cutting like the liberals proclaimed. Instead, it was all about extending health insurance coverage to another 30 million. If we don’t kill this thing quickly, it will eat us financially!
I really, really dislike verbal crutches such as the word “like.” For example: It’s like really cool that he like understands me. Language such as that makes my head explode. Here’s another one: “you know what I’m saying.” Every time someone says that to me, I want to scream “Yes, I know what you’re saying because I can hear and I can think.”
Crony Capitalism is when a private company cozies up to government in order to achieve a competitive advantage. An example might be a loan to get a business venture off the ground. Ordinarily, the business would be unqualified for the loan, but because of political favoritism, they’re given “a leg up” on the competition.
Occupy Wall Street protesters have a litany of complaints, but they generally pin our moribund economy on corporations and fat-cat investors. Interestingly, they don’t hold accountable the politicians whose disastrous decisions in the 1990s led to the unintended consequences that indirectly resulted in the 2008 economic crash. Don’t get me wrong, Wall Street deserves plenty of blame, but they were merely reacting to political signals on housing and bank deregulation sent by the ruling class.
The President is getting pummeled from the right over his decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of the year, but I think we should collect our breath and quietly observe what happens. We’ve invested more than 8 years time and massive resources into this country and in the process, given them a decent shot at a better tomorrow. Let’s see what they make of it. Same thing with Libya. Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions.