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Wednesday: We didn’t just fall off the turnip truck

Yesterday, The Onion put out another one of those “soon-to-be-classic” headlines: Nation Ready to be Lied to About Economy Again.  I find myself identifying with this guy who was quoted in the article:

“I don’t need to be constantly reminded that the lack of regulations on Wall Street compounded with failing institutions like AIG basically plunged the world economy into a global recession,” said 32-year-old office manager Alexis Harrington. “What I want is for someone to tell me with a straight face that the GDP is through the roof so that I can feel better and instantly forget what all these terms even mean.”

“For the first time in my life I know who the secretary of the treasury is,” Harrington continued. “And I don’t like it.”

Yes, indeedy, I know more about money than I ever wanted to and if I had any inkling that I would have to wade through this muck in my hipwaders I would have been swilling grain spiked beer every night with the rest of the business majors back in my college days.

Never fear!  According to Dana Milbank, our PBO is on the case.  Everything is all cool and groovy.  We don’t need to worry:

Yesterday’s news was good — almost supernaturally so.

The economy? Recovering.

The markets? Rallying.

Swine flu? Abating.

Drought? Ending.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared his confidence that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are well secured. The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee declared his confidence that a massive health-care overhaul will be accomplished this year. Warren Buffett declared his confidence that the economy is “out of the quicksand.” And the Supreme Court was confident enough about the state of the nation to turn its attention to Janet Jackson’s breasts.

Call it good policy, as Democrats do, or beginner’s luck, as the last remaining Republicans do, but you can practically hear the nation collectively exhaling.

Well, I know I feel better except for:

  • The ex has been laid off making me the only working parent
  • The BFF and I are waiting to see if the research industry still has any interest in employing American scientists.  His company is merging and plans to lay off thousands; mine has a new CEO who has decided to slash research by 50%.  We should know this summer whether we still have jobs.
  • My brother was so afraid of being laid off he joined the army full time and moved 1500 miles away.
  • Another relative has been told by the major health insurer that she works for that it is dropping spouses from their own health insurance policies.  It will now cost an extra $500/month to cover him.  No, she isn’t getting a raise to cover it.
  • My favorite aunt, whose deceased husband used to work for a GM subsidiary, is waiting to see if her retirement benefits are going to be slashed.  She’s not exactly wealthy in the first place and this could really do her in.
  • Another aunt’s family furniture business has had to layoff long time, loyal employees because no one is buying sofas.  The business is really hurting.

So far, the only person *not* suffering is my mom, the Armageddon specialist, who is sitting on a big-old wad of cash and two pensions my dad left her. We are all planning to move in with her.

What does the Obama administration take us for?  Are we supposed to look around at all this misery and lowered standard of living and blame ourselves for what is happening?  All these people brought this on themselves?  They are responsible for losing jobs and insurance and pensions?  These are just the people *I* know personally in my own family.  Multiply this over and over again.  Believing in sweet little lies is not an option anymore.

There is one bright spot in this scenario, however.  It is a cautionary tale involving Jon Corzine.  Let’s put aside the fact that he sold us out at the convention, for which we have video evidence that I will happily play over and over again for any Hillary primary voter in NJ.  No, there are other reasons to fry Corzine’s ass.  He is the Obama prototype.  He vowed to do something about our insane and regressive property tax system when he took office.  And it’s not like there weren’t plenty of options.  Pennsylvania, which is right next door, isn’t forcing seniors out of their homes by yearly tax increases.  They have a combination of taxes that pay for stuff.  But no, Corzine didn’t want to hike income taxes on big business or on the uber wealthy in Bergen county.  He didn’t have the courage to impose an occupation tax.  And the only sales tax he implemented was one on iTunes purchases.  Theoretically, my taxes decreased by something like 20% since he took office.  But my property taxes, the only ones that count, go up anyway.  I am back to the same mortgage payments I had before I refinanced several years ago.  Go figure.

And all of this happened while he had a Democratic majority in the statehouse.  What was stopping all of them from getting together and making some tough decisions that rebalanced the tax burden from the poor to the rich?  Meanwhile, the economy is falling apart and there are a ton of finance people employed on Wall Street who commute to work from their homes in NJ.  They are losing their jobs.  Then there are the multitude of research people who for some reason the former CEO of Goldman Sachs governor continues to overlook.  NJ is home to major pharmaceutical and biotech research and Corzine has the gall to send out a campaign fundraising appeal letter to us happily announcing that Jack Welch has praised him for a job well done in NJ.  Our schools are underfunded, the pension system is a mess, our taxes too high and we’re supposed to feel good that cut-throat, uber salesman, social darwinist extraordinaire Jack Welch is high-fiving the governor.

Well, it’s all coming back to bite Corzine in the ass.  The NYTimes reports today that he is trailing one of his Republican challengers, former US Attorney Chris Christie.  In a latest Quinnipiac poll, Corzine is polling even with the *other* Republican in the race who is a typical GOP nutcase.  Think about that for a sec: New Jerseyans would *almost* prefer a flat taxing, pro-lifer to Corzine right now.  Never fear, Corzine’s team is planning to mess around with the Republican primary so the weakest primary candidate gets nominated.  Well, it’s not like his team has no experience with manipulating primary results.  Have you seen this video?  It’s our governor giving a big middle finger to every Hillary primary voter in NJ last year.  I mean, she only won this state by 10 points and didn’t manage to get even one single delegate.  Yes, I intend to keep bringing it up until everyone gets it.  No, I won’t get over it. I am mad as Hell that Corzine cavalierly disenfranchised me and millions of other New Jersey voters.  We didn’t give him permission to do that.

So, let this be a lesson to sunny, optimistic Barack Obama.  He has every opportunity in the world now to fix the economy for the working class, which would include all of us who do NOT work on Wall Street.  He’s got solid majorities in the House and Senate.  If he chooses to take a hands off approach on bills that would lower the principle on primary mortgages for example, or protect pensions or help Americans afford healthcare, he’s in for a rude awakening in 4 years when the rest of the country, like NJ, decides they’re sick of the happy talk from politicians with connections to the banking industry.

We might be slow but we’re not stupid.


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60 Responses

  1. OMG! I’m an eensy bit thinner today! Those grueling workouts are working!

    • {{Riverdaughter}} I’m very happy for you! You have been an inspiration to me on this issue.

    • That’s terrific, RD. I’m sorry about your ex losing his job. That’s bad. It’s a good thing your mom is still doing all right. My parents may have to take me in before this is over.

    • I’m jealous. I keep thinking about doing something about the blogging pounds I put on last year, frantically typing beyond my scheduled exercise hour. Now, inertia has set in, and I just can’t find the willpower.

    • Have y’all done a Conflucians say yet on dieting?

      That just might be an inspiration to some of us…. 😉

  2. Don’t you now find James Carville’s words lately a bit telling….about the repubs lost a whole generation of young people, yeah, those that voted for obama this time round, but just by this article you have written, it seems the young will have to go depend on the older
    folks, it’s rather ironic isnt it?

    • As long as they all live in their parents basements or dorm rooms paid for mom and dad, everything is just rosy.

  3. Excellent post. Obama will shortly have everything that he needs to do everything that he promised. We’ll see. If he fails to produce, it could become interesting. One of my friends who is a major player in the state Dem. Party is privately fretting about the party’s chances of holding in 2010. As a Florida voter, I share your wrath at not being counted bigtime. Times two, actually.

    • As a MA voter I’m still angry too. Hillary won MA by 15%!

    • Don’t get me started on the TX two-step boondoggle which granted Obama a majority of delegates after Hillary won a majority of the votes. Oh, and the Democrats have no plans to scrap their lovely two-stepping process – worked out just fine for Barry, dirty tricks and all.

    • But he’s already bailed on things he promised: FISA, Freedom of Choice Act. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, lobbyists, Iraq, yada yada.

  4. Well, we thought long and hard and put it to all the folks and went with a seven hour day to avoid laying anyone off and it didn’t affect anyone’s health insurance benefits. But it keeps getting tougher and I noticed I have more gray hairs these days.

  5. The rich are different. Corzine.’s ex wife’s East Hampton house is for rent this summer….for 900,000….that’s just the summer’s rent .

    Sorry about your job worry. We have been in that wondering state for 6 months. But most are in the may get axed boat whether we are aware of it or not .

    What Milbank’s article says to me is the rich have decided to easy up for the moment on the road to making the US into Somalia….and that’s passes for recovery. Whoopee.

  6. Imagine how we feel in Pennsylvania since our delegates never even made it to the microphone. My vote was tossed in the dumpster out back with all of the wilted arugula.

  7. Krugman quoting the NYTimes editorial:

    The Obama administration sat by last week as 12 Senate Democrats joined 39 Senate Republicans to block a vote on an amendment that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify troubled mortgages.

    Senator Obama campaigned on the provision. And President Obama made its passage part of his antiforeclosure plan. It would have been a very useful prod to get lenders to rework bad loans rather than leaving the modification to a judge.

    But when the time came to stand up to the banking lobbies and cajole yes votes from reluctant senators — the White House didn’t. When the measure failed, there wasn’t even a statement of regret.

    I wonder if Congress will turn over in 2010? It’s a sad day in hell when you find yourself rooting for the loonies –even the tiniest bit — just because you are SO EFFING MAD.

    • I feel the DC Dems will be rooting for some over turn…just for the excuse factor. If they had every seat , they would find an excuse. At the moment, Barry can get folks to do what he wants….He and his owners didn’t want that amendment . It really is that simple.

      Barry is so like W in that the only time he doesn’t need his handlers to animate him, is when he perceives a slight to his august person. Other wise he needs a script even more that W . Who at least could resite the buzz words drilled into him without so many ” ah ah….ah…ah…..ah …ahs”

    • It’s like there are no more good guys out there. WTF happened?

      • I think WTF happened is we all wised up to the corruption that is nearly saturating both political parties.

        There are few heroes out there, and I’ll bet those hopefully-not-imaginary few are laying low until the tide shifts a bit.

        Now we’ve finally got it all, a Dem president, a Dem majority coming soon, a no-excuses situation, and it is dismal! The stunning lack of courage and leadership displayed by the Dems over the past eight years has born fruit, and its name is Obama. We will know for sure that they truly don’t care about the middle class as they continue to break promises they could easily keep.

        Remember, most of them are not like us. They come mainly from wealthy and political families. They rent 900,000 dollar summer homes if they don’t already own one themselves. They wear 600 dollar shoes and spend that much for lunch in exclusive restaurants. Why are Bill and Hillary so villified? Because they came from the same places we do, and they love the people of this country.

        I hate to be so “us vs. them,” but there are real differences between the middle and upper classes, and pretending doesn’t make them go away.

    • lol. He has done almost NOTHING for housing. An $8K tax cut for first time homebuyers. 20% of Americans are underwater now–I’m one of them, and the water is rising all the time. Hillary recognized that housing had to be addressed first, but that would focus on the lowly folk, and BO has been too busy stroking his banking friends.

  8. That’s timing RD.!

    In my little fancy corner of NJ, our taxes are already 2% of our house value. And the budget this year was scheduled to be raised 36%, but (Aren’t we lucky!) the State of NJ limits yearly real estate increases at 16%.

    That was announced last week and that was the last straw for me. I am selling my NJ house. Serious!

    I am waiting for the listing agent and her paperwork this afternoon. My biggest regret is that I probably won’t be registered in NJ long enough to vote against Corzine. I’ll console myself by reregistering in PA and vote against that A$%%le of Specter.

    • New Orleans has my house valued using values pre-Katrina and pre-housing bust. I doubt I could sell it for what they have it appraised at but hey, they say i have to wait another 5 years until they do it again! Meanwhile, it’s basically now twice the homestead exemption which means I went from paying almost nothing to a lot. As you can imagine, the state sure isn’t bumping up my stipend by that.

      • It could be worse:

        In 1894 the Pullman Company cut wages by 30% but didn’t lower the rents in their company-owned housing. When the workers went on strike the company brought in federal marshals and army troops to break the strike. 13 strikers were killed and 57 were wounded

  9. CURL: Stimulus oversight left up to taxpayers

    So just who’s tracking that $787 billion in taxpayer money that President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress are doling out? You are. Or you’re supposed to be, anyway.

    “We are, in essence, deputizing the entire American citizenry to help with the oversight of this program,” said Rep. Brad Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology’s subcommittee on investigations and oversight.

    And perhaps that’s just as well, given the turnout of the panel tasked with keeping track of thousands of millions of dollars. Just three of the 10 members bothered to show up for the subcommittee’s second meeting, dramatically titled “Follow the Money Part II.”

    http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/06/stimulus-oversight-left-up-to-taxpayers/

    Meanwhile, 20% of homeowners are underwater, Citi needs another $5-10 billion, BofA needs another $34 billion, but Bernake keeps talking about the economic recovery that is starting. Huh?

    • Unflippingbelievable…

    • I’ll bet it’s actually worse than that. If the sample is of all homeowners, then a percentage of them have no mortgage. It would be interesting to see what a sampling of all homeowners with mortgages would net.

  10. Oh, and here’s a real winner that will make your blood boil:

    I completely disagree with this premise—that BO is like HC—but his continued hypocrisy is blatant nonetheless. Who was it who would “do anything to win?”

    President Obama is morphing into old rival Hillary Clinton

    A year ago today, Barack Obama won the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, leading the late Tim Russert to famously declare, “We now know who the Democratic nominee will be, and nobody is going to dispute it.”

    Russert was right, but Hillary Clinton, nevertheless, kept campaigning for several more weeks, fueled by her supporters’ convictions that her proposals were better than Obama’s.

    After barely 100 days in office, it now appears Obama agrees: Since taking office, he has dropped virtually every position that distinguished him from Clinton.

    Clinton lost the battle for the Democratic nomination, but a year later, it appears her campaign has won the war of ideas within the Democratic Party.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22136.html

    • Fif are you saying that this is something to be celebrated? To me it is more of the same. A man taking credit for a woman’s ideas. What is remembered is the most important thing. Even if the ideas were Hillary’s, if they go down n history as Obama’s, she will never receive all of the accolades that she deserves.

      • Absa-friggin-lutely NOT afrocity! You know me better than that! My point is that:

        a. He is nothing like Hillary with his pander-to-every audience tendencies, so that his “version” of her ideas are compromised and dliuted.

        b. He’s folded on many key issues that she would have fought tooth and nail for–the working class, Choice, housing, UHC, etc.

        It’s the opposite–the article is an insult. It exposes, again, what a liar and phony he was (is) during the primary season, and it is false because he doesn’t actually practice her principles. He’s always just selling some image, and behind everyone’s backs he is paying off his contributors.

    • It seems there’s been a lot of revisionist history about the Indiana primary. Hillary won, admittedly by a small margin, but she did win. However I have seen several times recently claims that Obama won in Indiana . As a Hoosier, who voted for Hillary, I want to set the record straight.

      • Hillary didn’t really win in Indiana. The mayor of Gary didn’t finish stuffing the ballot boxes.

        • For Obama, that is.

          • They tried to steal it from Hill in IN and someone ( Bill? ) cut them off at the pass. Another IN county, wouldn’t send in its votes until the county with Gary did…. Therefore Gary etc. didn’t know the right number of votes to steal & stuff for Barry and got caught short.

            Also on CNN , another mayor from that country kept saying about the tally, ” it’s a button you push….what is taking five hours ??” Finally the Gary mayor had no answer. But someone in that other county knew enough to hold the votes back to force thier hand.

            I also remember the Hillary’s campaign was stunned because the best Evan Bayh could do about getting info in his own freaking state was to look at the NY Times blog….pathetic. You can bet Bill was working phones and didn’t Hill come out to give her speech for the 11:00 PM news anyway? Only the Clintons have the savvy and the guts to get as far as she did with the entire upper crust, Dem and GOP working against them. Amazing

  11. & lastly, did you hear who Obie was brunching with today:

    COURTING COBURN? The president is scheduled to meet with Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn this morning. The White House hasn’t announced the agenda, but Coburn’s on Judiciary.

    First, Hatch, now Coburn. Wait, didn’t I hear something about a Dem Supermajority?

  12. Which makes me ask the same question I have been asking for months. How after the way Hillary was treated can she just forget the fact that they trashed her horribly? Don’t tell me …that’s politics. If that what we have become…God help us!!!

    • We don’t know Betty. I have not lived Hillary’s life–it’s her decision, and she has a perspective that I cannot pretend to know. It’s easy to judge from a distance. My limited p.o.v., and from what I’ve heard her say in various settings, is that she has spent her entire life fighting for the same goals and principles, and she will continue to do that in whatever capacity she can. Without leverage, she would accomplish little. Remember, millions of people have grabbed her by the arm, and pleaded with her to help with health care, veteran’s benefits, housing, small business, etc. She lives with their voices, and keeps fighting to do what she can IMHO. She doesn’t need to be doing this, or need more power of fame–she could be sitting on a beach drinking Pina Coladas and reading great books.

  13. Hi….

    Well RD, this gov wants to cut all the funding for firefighters, police, schools and so forth. The Term. And he plans to endorse a Dem! Wow. Except, today — there is another fire! Isn’t he brilliant.

    Yesterday I took a look at the Globe — because that pub was responsible for what happened to me. I planned on writing something scathing yesterday but…

    At the rate all this is going, so far, nobody has any faith in anything. Not business and not Gov.

    We need real politicians? Not celebs. Really.
    We needed government to intervene on what happened in the newspaper industry.

    My industry was similar to yours. Buyouts/layoffs and so forth.
    The whole country is like that — the Gov has done this. By allowing what they have. And reporters were silent or gagged as it happened.

  14. I am posting this article on as many blogs as I can, so forgive me if you have seen it elsewhere. It is an article by Joan Swirsky dated 5/3/09, entitled “The President Who Hates His Country”.

    (wingnut propaganda link deleted)

    • That’s a hard-hitting article. Apparently, there are quite a few folks calling treason on B0.

      I couldn’t access the articles on Swirsky’s website, but the titles suggest she’s a Hillary-hater also.

  15. Can you release my reply to afrocity at 11:03?

  16. Sorry–you guys are so quick. As soon as I ask to be let out of moderation, it’s already done.

    • As I mentioned to Fuzzy earlier, WordPress has been acting weird lately. Sometimes a comment doesn’t appear right away, so try waiting a few seconds and then hit refresh.

      (unless it says “awaiting moderation” in which case we have to make Comrade Spammy release you)

  17. oh..that comrade spammy..nasty dude..lol

  18. Excellent summary of such a disturbing trend in our country. I’ve wondered for over 8 years now how the polls and news can be so vastly different from what I know to be true among all the people I know.

    Considering how many more tens of millions he had to spend in the campaigns, how hard it was to tell the true outcome of the caucuses and votes, and how hard it was to trust that the general election was void of rigged voting machines/valid voters, I can’t succumb to the idea this is such a popular, beloved POTUS. All the policies and reports on the economy, etc. are every bit as difficult to swallow.

    Anyone know what has happened to Maddoff’s property? His wife ever get indicted? Always amazing how the non-stop stories actually stop before they are concluded.

  19. Now we just need the unemployment number to start falling and everything will be good.
    -Jack

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