Archive for economy

Caroline Kennedy finally submits to an interview

Posted in Barack Obama, Caroline Kennedy, economy, news, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , on December 27, 2008 by bloggingmom67

OK, Caroline Kennedy finally sat down for a full-fledged interview with a journalist for the first time since she announced 11 days ago that she’s interested in being appointed to the remainder of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton’s seat in New York. (Clinton got the nod to be Barack Obama’s secretary of state.)  It’s about time, if you ask me, and I’m not too impressed with what she said.

According to The Associated Press, Kennedy, in explaining why she wants the seat, cited the legacy of her father — President John F. Kennedy — and noted that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and supporting Obama for the presidency encouraged her to seek public service. OK, that’s all well and good, but, Kennedy, what qualifies you for the job — and what will you do for our cash-strapped, recession-ravaged, on-the-brink of disaster state if you get it? That’s what I want to know.

The AP story reveals that Kennedy failed to vote in a number of elections since registering in New York City in 1988. In fact, she didn’t vote in the 1994 election when Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was up for re-election for the seat she hopes to take over, that story says. Not a selling point in my mind, but probably not a deal-breaker either if she gave us some content. We need some content from you, Kennedy. What do you stand for? How will you help our state? Why should you be selected over many viable potential candidates, including my favorite, Andrew Cuomo, whom I believe has done amazing things as New York attorney general. (Only thing that scares me about Cuomo is that I thought the same about Eliot Spitzer’s success as attorney general, and then he became governor and the whole high-priced call girl scandal hit the fan. I hope my faith in Cuomo isn’t as misplaced as it was in Spitzer.)

In the AP story, Kennedy explains that she has ignored the press until now because she isn’t campaigning for office and she wanted to “respect the process.” Please. How could you think the right thing to do is to slam a car door on a reporter’s face after refusing to answer even one question, as you did in Syracuse? How could you think it was the right thing to do to answer “to my car” when a reporter asked where you are heading next? How could you think it was the right thing to do to visit only the Democratic leaders in Syracuse and not any community organizers?

Yes, you’re not campaigning now. But if you get this appointment, you will be campaigning two years later. And you’d be representing us. You’ll be representing me.

When your name surfaced, some worried that you’d be considered just because of your name. That wasn’t fair. But then you acted like you didn’t have to explain why you want this job and why you’re qualified. In essence, you acted just like a person who should be considered just because of her name. I’m sorry. I’m still not impressed.

bitchy mommy

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Dear New York state: Why spend $21,000 on a rug during a recession?

Posted in 1, economy, news, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2008 by bloggingmom67

Here’s yet another example of stupid governmental decisions that piss me off. Someone in state government made the ill-advised decision to purchase a $21,000 custom-stitched, antique Turkish carpet for the Executive Mansion?

Now, granted, the rug was purchased in July, before all of us fully got that our economy was going down the toilet. But at that point, Gov. David Paterson was already making a round of cuts to the current budget — taking away money that was already promised.

Sure things got worse and worse and worse. (I’d like to hope the purchase wouldn’t be made now, but I can’t say I’m confident of that.)

Also, I’m sure the governor himself knew nothing of the purchase — or at least I hope not. But the thing with being in charge, you get blamed whether it’s your fault or not. (You also get credit for what your underlings do well, so it all evens out.)

Why does this rug thing bug me so much? Because, like the big three automakers swooping in a corporate jets asking for a handout from taxpayers, it belies the message we keep getting from politicians and corporate leaders. Sorry, we can’t fun programs for early education or schools because we don’t have the cash. Hey, we need money to keep our business afloat but we’re not willing to drop our standard of living one bit in the meantime. (Yes, I realize the big three changed their tune eventually but only after being publicly flogged.)

But we can go buy a rug that’s more expensive than me, you or most people we know would ever be able to spend. (And, yes, I get that in the state’s massive budget $21,000 is like a couple hundred bucks in mine.)

Since the economy got bumpy, my husband and I have really cut our spending. (I know that adds to the economic malaise, but we’re worried we might not have secure jobs.) We’ve stopped eating out, except very infrequently. I’ve cut back on buying coffee; I fired the cleaning lady and started dyeing my own hair. These are all small “nickel-and-dime” type of savings.

But the thing is: True savings comes from these nickel-and-dime savings. Sure, I could save lots of money if I stopped paying my biggest bill — my mortgage, but I’d also be out on the street. So the only way most people can really trim their own costs is by doing a lot of little things that add up. Somehow government doesn’t seem to get this, or at least it seems that way. Instead, they try to cut big chunks out of the budget, but that doesn’t work. The state still needs to function even as it trims costs.

Here’s my message for the state (and federal) government: Take a cue from the Kit Kittredge movie, a film based on an American Girl doll character that is set during the Great Depression: Use it up; wear it out; do without. That’s what I’m trying to do.

bitchy mommy

Auto industry execs ride corporate jets to ask for bailout

Posted in 1, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2008 by bloggingmom67

OK, I may be nitpicking here, but, if you’re headed to Washington, D.C., to ask the government to bail out your ailing industry with taxpayers’ money, you might want to consider not flying in on your corporate jets.

I’m talking about the auto industry CEOs who flew to the nation’s capital this week, begging for help for their businesses, which they basically allowed to flounder. ABC News reports that they arrived in their corporate jets to essentially beg for a handout.

That ABC report says the jet ride cost one of the CEOs, GM’s Rick Wagoner, an estimated $20,000 roundtrip. What?

First, I have no idea if that estimate is true or not. I’ve never been in a corporate jet, and I probably never will be. I didn’t know that it cost so much for one roundtrip. But then I thought about it. You have pay fuel (I know how much it costs to fill my minivan; a jet must be a another matter completely). Then you need to pay staff, flight attendants, pilots, etc. You’ll need food and drinks and who knows what else.

Now I made this point to a friend recently, and she balked. They own jets, she says. Probably was cheaper to fly on them then to buy a last-minute airline ticket. Not so, according to the ABC News report, which found that Wagoner could have flown for $288 coach and $837 first class. Even if he had his entourage with him and even if those rates are low estimates, he still could have made if for less than $20,000 roundtrip. (Or, as another friend quipped: “Why didn’t he drive; he is car maker after all.”)

Why does all this matter? Because this rich dude wants some of my money to bail out his company, which is doing poorly — a problem that is essentially his high-priced self’s fault. And he can’t even try to convey that he gets that his company will have to tighten its belt in light of it’s failure? I don’t expect him to show up in rags, pleading for a money. But I wouldn’t mind.

The way I see it, the auto industry is failing in large part because foreign companies make better cars. Detroit, the solution is — improve your product, and people will buy it. Now I realize that the recent economic problems have increased the auto industry’s woes. I get that. And I can see that if we don’t bail out the auto industry the ensuing layoffs would be very bad for the nation as a whole. Sure.

But as Richard Gere says in “Pretty Woman” as he takes his callgirl/girlfriend (Julia Roberts) shopping on Rodeo Drive: “We need more sucking up here.”

The auto industry by its arrogance gives an impression of a spoiled child, who feels it deserves a big handout and a big thank you. Detroit, you don’t. I don’t agree with Mitt Romney, who says we should just let you hang, so you’ll change your ways. But I’m tempted. Especially, if you show no sign that you might realize that your extravagant wastefulness and corporate greed might be part of your problem.

As Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee in a CNN report, “It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious.”

He added, “couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.”

Yeah. The analogy I used with my friend was: I’d be a bit leery of giving money to a homeless guy who drove up in a limo. The point is the same. Why should I — and I mean I, the money is part mine – give you money if you’re just going to squander it again?

Bitchy Mommy

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