Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds You

This post was written on April 16th and I thought deserved to be posted despite it's antiquities.

Yesterday, tax day was met with "Tea Parties" across the U.S. to protest paying taxes, and government spending in general. The Governor of Utah was booed for accepting stimulus funds, and Texas Governor Rick Perry hinted at seceding from the Union. News stories abounded about the parties, and ironically the idea apparently stemmed in part from CNBC's commentator Rick Santelli urging angry taxpayers to host tea parties. Isn't this the same CNBC who was recently in big trouble as being a "faux" news source? Jim Cramer, CNBC's money guru, was recently hammered by Jon Stewart and others for his comments about the strength of the stock market. I wonder how many of those people who took the day off from work (or presumably didn't have work yesterday) make more than $250,000. For all of those individuals who fall into that category I say please feel free to protest away. But I would hedge a bet that the majority of those individuals make far less than that figure and have no real idea about what they're protesting. Some state the President's budget currently in front of Congress, others talk about the bailout and yet others cite the blooming deficit as reasons to be out on the street and angry.

But if that's really the case, maybe some of these protesters should consider what this government/country would look like without the budget/bailout/deficit. First, the budget addresses several of the shortfalls that are occurring everywhere at the state and local levels. Without the stimulus package 2,000 more teachers would have lost their jobs at LAUSD. Countless other government services people rely on such as unemployment insurance, MediCaid, children's health care programs would go unfunded. Who would pick up the slack? Certainly not private industry and non-profits are under an even bigger burden to generate revenue.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blame Baseball

I'm sorry about my lack of posting recently, but the start of Baseball combined with a nice jaunt to Colorado turned me into a news-less, uninteresting blogger. I apologize and will redouble efforts.

So let's start with the most important thing of course, the fact that there are a mere 170 games left in this year's regular season of baseball. And the Dodgers might actually do pretty well this year, although I'm not promising 100 games like a fellow fan I know. For the first time in a long time, the Dodgers' lineup has great hitting potential and defense skills. The pitching staff has it's holes, but as long as the bullpen isn't overworked by the starters I think it will be A-OK. The main thing will be manufacturing runs, avoid leaving tons of players on base and staying healthy. This is particularly important for those players who have experienced recent health issues, namely Furcal and Wolf. As much as I miss Nomar and Jeff Kent it's refreshing not to have 40+ year-olds playing key infield roles. And this just might be the year that Andre Ethier plays as well as he looks in a uniform. After a promising home opener win (11-1) against the dreaded Giants (rumored to have the best pitching in our division) I can look forward with confidence for finally being a team who is serious throughout the season and not just post-All Star break and after 6 mid-season trades.

The other thing that is particularly special about today is the fact that's its TAX DAY! This has always been one of my favorite days of the year, as I love doing my taxes, plus it's great to see the operation that goes down at post offices today. For those of you who haven't filed, as long as you don't owe anything you're in the clear. And for those of you who do owe, well then hop to it! Owing the government and paying penalties is about as bad of a combo as there is. Plus Obama is urging everyone to not stress and just make a "good-faith effort". I wonder if that means just thinking good thoughts about your tax return or if there's actual action that needs to be involved.

Finally, a quick plug for my two favorite bloggers who both just released new books. Check them out if you're at all interested in a) crazy mother/daughter relationships or b) the best baseball team in history. Maybe I should consider writing a book, or maybe I better stick to just posting more regularly.