Government should be counter-cyclic to the Main Street marketplace

Ohio Statehouse
Ohio Statehouse
I was listening to NPR on WMUB this morning about the freshman Ohio senators starting their terms and how hard their jobs will be dealing with the State having a $1.9 billion budget deficit, GM, Delphi, DHL and other large companies pulling out of Ohio and various other things.

Many of the in-coming senators went on and on about how they need to cut government waste and hunker down and spend smarter, blah, blah, blah.

And then it occurs to me: Shouldn’t government be counter-cyclic to the marketplace? When things are going well, the free market tends to create goods and services it needs without help from the government. When the economy is doing well, shouldn’t government be pulling back on services, conserving revenues for a down economy?

When the economy is not doing well, that is when we need government help. That is when the government should ramp up the spending, not pull back. Government waste during fat years is a lifeline to average folks and small business during famine years.

As an owner of a small business, I only heard that the various Ohio Revenue departments are going to start going after every single penny it feels it is entitled to. It will asses property values higher, it will send out random letters declaring I owe this penalty or that missed tax payment, whether real or not. It will extract and extort money from the down and hurting at a greater rate than normal. All in pursuit of “responsible budget balancing.”

And they will further spiral the economic crisis downward and wonder why the budget will never balance. When the Ohio Statehouse policies put people out of business, tax revenues dry up and no matter how threatening the letters are, you can’t get money from people you put out of business and kick out of their homes.

I know it is really hard for elected officials to act responsibly during the fat, happy party years but when we out here on Main Street are doing well, Columbus and DC should be saving for a rainy day, not joining in the party and buying the booze for the drunken puppies.

Am I wrong?

Averaging averages

Spend a weekend watching the news on TV. I did and here is what I conclude.

  • News anchors are really, really stupid and shallow people.
  • No news we like means we’ll just make up news
  • There can only be 3-5 news stories on TV at any one time, REGARDLESS of how many news channels you have in your cable package. Really???
  • Pundits spend their time commenting on comments that were made by people who commented on comments that other people may or may not have said or commented on what somebody else said … isn’t that like averaging averages???

And who the hell needs pundits, anyway. Most of them really have no clue what they are really talking about. They just like being on TV and being called on night or day for their “expertise” because it makes them feel important. For example, Ted Kennedy has a couple of seizures. Who does CNN trot out to fill them in? Dr. Sanjay Gupta. What??? He spends most of his time speculating on what kind of seizure Kennedy might have had and could have had and the prognosis of stuff that may not be true and the long-term effects of stuff that may have happened. Dr. Gupta is an expert at ANYTHING remotely medical. Wow! He must be the smartest man alive!

*HOWWWWWWWLLLL* Is there just not that much news elsewhere??

Read, think, don’t draw conclusions from headlines alone. I’m just a dog and even I know that a headline is just a “hook” to get you into the story, not the story itself. And whatever you do, if you don’t know what you are talking about, keep your mouth shut and your ears open. God made those organs at a 2:1 ratio for a damn good reason.

And don’t be arguing with God. He is the original pundit and the only one who really knows what he is talking about. 🙂 CNN should call him (or her, I don’t really know) on slow news days.

Appeasing the under-educated white guy


Since Hillary’s win in North Carolina last Tuesday, the “news cycle” has been all about how Barack Obama is going to get the “under-educated, white man” vote. After watching news story after news story on this, a very large question suddenly dawned on me:

When did this country get to the point where the under-educated, white working class decides who gets to be the president of The United States of America in an information-based world-market economy, where the competitive advantage is determined by who has the smartest and most clever on board?

Wow! But the REAL question us dogs are barking about is:

How did we get to the point where the richest country in the world — with the greatest opportunity for individual achievement — produce such a large majority of under-educated people?

Could it be that the public education system is failing us? Could it be the we have become so arrogant and confident in our “place” in the world that we simply quit trying to become better? Could it be that our parents, in their quest to “give us a better life than they had” simply handed us what we needed for two generations instead of making us work for it? Could it be that we value economic contribution more than we value human contribution like art, creativity, knowledge, wisdom, music, love, etc as an end rather than a means? Could be a lot of things. Could be a lot of a lot of things.

I watched an episode of 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock last night where he and his wife tried to live on minimum wage for 30 days. In the richest country in the world, what did them in was a “medical emergency” that cost them $1,200.00 and change. They worked hard, they saved.. but they worked minimum wage jobs. Only their time and labor was valued; their health was something that they could have, if they could afford it. In the richest country in the world. That should anger people everywhere, educated or not. But, it doesn’t seem to. We’re all just living each day, hoping to not get sick or injured.

I suspect that for a lot of under-educated folk in this country, that is their fate. While there are probably many reasons that “white guys in North Carolina” may be under-educated, the argument I’ve been getting around the block is that there is nothing wrong with not having a college degree. There is nothing wrong with wanting to work a blue-collar job.

Except there is EVERYTHING wrong with having a MAJORITY of a population NOT being educated in the richest country in the world, in the middle of a world economy that is fueled by a knowledge workforce. If you want to become a plumber, that is fine, but don’t do it without an education. And don’t allow the media to define “under-educated” as “stupid and provincial”, but that is a whole other argument. Please forgive me if I don’t address that; I can only sniff one topic at a time. I’m a dog.

So, I think we are witnessing the first step in the decline of a great nation, whether we want to or not. There is still time to reverse this trend and make education a top priority; not just for those who can afford it, but by anyone who wants it. Because, if we don’t do that soon, we will soon have a majority of under-educated citizens falling prey to short-term solutions that eventually resolve nothing except our own demise.

We must resolve to become competitive and invest in our human infrastructure. Education for those who want it, regardless of the ability to pay and health care just because we are human beings. That is not socialism as uber-conservatives would like you to believe; that is just plain ol’ common-sense capitalism. Invest in what will make you more. And smart people are now the new machinery and factories.

Party? What party?

I was settling in and almost asleep when some idiot on CNN was railing on and on about how this Clinton/Obama race is tearing the party apart, that it is bad for the Democrats, that they need to heal together to win the election in November. And, then as I hit that level of rage between annoyance at being kept awake and the dread of some human idiot won’t ever shut up, I got an epiphany!

Here is what CNN, MSNBC, Fox and all the other media is missing that the American people know:

The job of President of the United States of America is held by one PERSON, not by a PARTY. Nobody cares about the Democratic Party any more. Americans want the best PERSON to win the election, even if the two people running against each other for the job are members of the same party!

If anything comes of this, I hope it is the death of the two-party system. Against any of the two Hillary or Barack, McCain looks like a really, really old guy who can’t remember his name. But, Barack vs Hillary, that is a clash of Titans! THAT is a race to watch and people just don’t really want this one to end.

I sure hope the loser of the Democratic primary runs as an independent. Either way, Hillary or Barack would win this thing, whether as an independent or a Democrat. Choke on that, Howard Dean!

Ok, Colbert is on now… that’s a much quieter (boring) show and I’m curling up and taking a snooze.

Now you can listen to the podcast in Rufus’ own voice.. really!!

Anna Nichole Smith Confusion

I am confused. Is ANS a national hero? Has she solved world peace or bombed a sovereign nation? Has she cured cancer? What has this woman done except posed in Playboy, married a billionaire, made a reality show on E! and flashed everyone in Australia? Given the INCREDIBLE amount of coverage on ALL the networks, broadcast, cable and Internet, you would think that we have just lost one of the best and the brightest our society has to offer.

How are we supposed to now mark her death? Do we lower the flag to half-staff? What if we just attached a large bra to a flagpole and lowered that to half-staff?

You humans are really a funny species. Thousands die in Darfur every month. The same with Iraq. Thousands of Americans die each year from the effects of poverty in the richest county in the world and what do you use your public trust of the media for? A debate over a bubble-headed, bleach-blonde, artificially-enhanced, silicon-injected piece of eye candy. Wow. So glad I’m a dog and TV is just plain boring to me.

Gotta take a nap so that I am ready for my afternoon walk now.