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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Current State of Affairs

Every morning when I wake up I turn the channel to Morning Joe - although I find Joe himself to be a pompous, arrogant, and sarcastic man, who believes his years in Congress have made him a Czar on all subjects which causes bad cases of diarrhea of the mouth, the other members of the show and the guests are pretty well tolerable. Besides it's the only news program in the morning that has primarily political and economic commentary and is not set on a news cycle loop like Morning News with Robin Meade- if you have to get ready for more than 25 minutes while listening to her, you've heard the exact stories in order about 3 times. And the Today Show and GMA contain too many puff pieces for my liking- but I digress. While I get myself together and feed and dress my son, I listen to the state of the countries affairs and listen to the pundits place their two cents on the topics. This morning the major event that compelled me to write was the Auto Maker bailouts. Last week the automakers (after arriving in individual private jets) were told to leave and come back with an actual plan of action versus the "just give us the money approach" they initially tried. So they returned, this time by motor vehicle, and detailed a plan that would require they receive a total of about $34 billion. As I listened to this number I was immediately taken aback by my reaction- "That's all" Leading me to believe that I have become somewhat desensitized by the astronomical amounts of money that have been quoted recently.

Being a person who grew up in Detroit and who knows how important and vital to the city and the region the automakers are ( I mean everyone I knew had a least one relative, if not more who worked for an auto company) I am torn by what to do with this current situation. With the banks, I was intently against the bailouts as I believed whole heatedly that this infusion of cash would do nothing to change much in our economy, the recession would still be here- or come, for those that have been in a time warp lately and say it just arrived this week- and the housing crisis would still remain, which means foreclosures would still be running rampant. Jobs would still be lost everyday and no new ones would be created. Basically the bank bailouts would bailout the people who ultimately caused the problem in the first place and secure their golden parachutes- but I digress again. When it comes to the auto industry and knowing how intricately the Big 3 are weaved into the fabric of the city, part of me cannot help but to feel for my hometown and immediately react with "SAVE THEM NOW". On the other hand the practical side of me has to remember that the Big 3 have their issues and have not done a lot to save themselves. I have to remember back when I was a kid and my father used to say that American cars are crap and aren't worth the money. Which is an opinion shared by many. They also have way too many options and car brands that have been acquired, non of which seem to cater to the current consumers needs. They are swamped with large SUV inventory and not enough fuel efficient and economy based cars, something the foreign car makers have capitalized on. They also carry way too much loyalty to their previous employees when it comes to health insurance and retirement benefits. (An issue that could be easily rectified if everyone had access to affordable health care, outside of an employer based program- but that's another issue all together, and something our President will be able to take care of soon). So, with all those negatives against them why would we save them, when they obviously haven't done anything to save themselves thus far. So, let them go- and America will have to find another item to produce (like clean energy, perhaps?) to embark on and usher in a new era.

This entire financial crisis has me just uneasy. Although my life has pretty much remained the same, and neither my husbands work or mine is in jeopardy, I can't help but to wonder what's next? These bailout figures keep getting larger and larger, to the point where I can't even fathom the amounts and where the money will come from. It's almost like the world has turned into one big monopoly game and we are all running around with fake money, constantly raising the stakes.

And who I feel sorry for the most is our President Elect, because he has just inherited an enormous mess of a situation, which threatens to undermine some of the major ideas and programs that drove me to vote for him- like health care, education, and governmental spending reform. I know the term socialism is a dirty word in this country, but with the current state of affairs we are in today, we could stand to adopt some of those principals for the next few years until we are in much better shape. I heard a great idea today, which oozed of socialism, but sounded great to me. The oil companies should take some of their record profits they've earned while everything else went to shit- and bailout the auto industry, since the Big 3 are the ones who produced the majority of the gas guzzling machines that the companies got rich from. That way my grand kids won't be placed in further debt and live a life that's similar to the depression era. And I'm also going to say it- we NEED to raise taxes. If that would mean that everyone in America could have health insurance, and our educational system could be improved to competitive standards, in addition to not being a credit based country indebted to China and reliant on foreign oil from the Middle East then I am all for it. Joe Biden was right, it is patriotic to pay your taxes and if they have to go up for the betterment of our country then so be it, EVERYONE should be willing to contribute. If a soldier is willing to give his life to protect our freedom, then those of us at home should be doing all we can to ensure that those soldiers some home to the BEST AMERICA possible.

But that's just me!

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