Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thoughts about the feds and finances...

This year we've heard about the unprecedented amount of federal spending being done through our leadership in the Congress and administration, including the $787 billion “stimulus bill”, the $33 billion SCHIP bill, the $410 billion budget omnibus bill, and the ~$700 billion bank rescue bill, to say nothing of the planned $3.6 trillion budget for 2010. In long-term forecasts of the financial situation, the White House had estimated the additional public debt to be added over the next decade, 2010-2019, to be roughly $7 trillion. But just a couple of days ago, the White House reported that they had underestimated this amount and have raised their estimates to an increase of $9 trillion in public debt over that same period.

My reaction to this enormous amount of debt piling up is... STOP! Please, please, please stop spending. Recently the economy has been as bad as it's ever been since the 1930s. The national unemployment rate is 9.4%, and, while the people who haven't lost their jobs so far probably have a decent chance of keeping them, nearly everyone is cutting back on expenses, reducing debt, and trying to increase savings – except, it seems, the federal government.

In the past I've trusted my government to do a good job. I've expected that someone in Washington is looking out for me and making good decisions on how to spend tax dollars that I've paid the IRS out of money I have earned. Frankly, I don't feel that way any more. It seems that Congressmen (and women), in general, make decisions and cast votes based not upon benefits to society as a whole or on the public good, but based upon what will get them re-elected. They're focused almost solely on that – keeping their job – and so it inhibits their ability to make sound (though potentially unpopular) decisions, especially when it comes to finances.

So what do we do about this mess? First of all, term limits for Congress need to be imposed as soon as possible. Personally I think twelve years for both the House and Senate would be a reasonable length of tenure, which would be six terms for a House member and two terms for a Senator. This would eventually RID the legislative body of self-serving individuals and bring in statesmen with fresh ideas who care more about making wise decisions that will benefit the country at large. Seriously... who's with me??

Secondly, we need to find someone in charge of the federal budget who can make tough decisions about cutting costs and figure out how to pay down the enormous national public debt. Obviously the people who are in Washington right now have no clue about how to do it. So who do we get to do it? The answer, to me, is simple. We find a group of articulate single- and stay-at-home moms who have several kids each. These women will have already learned how to run a household within their means and still provide what their families need to live and function well; they will have worked hard to pay down debt or avoid it altogether. So we assign each of these ladies to a portion of the federal bureaucracy and have them build a budget from scratch based upon whatever information they need to develop it. They have already learned how to make hard decisions and so it should be no problem (and possibly quite enjoyable) to tell bureaucrats where to cut expenses – and you know they won't take any lip from anybody! Rest assured, too, that there won't be any more $7600 coffee makers or $436 hammers!

So, now to get this implemented. Any ideas??


Friday, August 21, 2009

The pantry had an overhaul

This is what I worked on today... cleaning out my big pantry. I have another pantry about half this size where I keep the kids food and a few small appliances like my mixers, bread machine, etc... I will save that one for another day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Catherine with the hose pipe.

Our darling little girl is just so sweet!

The buzz

He loves it... can you tell?