Monday, January 25, 2010

MY State of the Union

By Alan Caruba

Each one of us has their own “state of the union” so far as the economy is concerned. Much of the workforce receives a paycheck, but many of those jobs have ceased to exist. Other jobs involve contract services. A reported 10% of the workforce is unemployed and the likelihood is that the actual percentage is much higher.

Small business, one of the largest components of the economy, is hurting because consumers are cutting back on spending. It is no surprise either that the banking community, under direct attack by the President, is reluctant to stick its neck out. The result is an understandable reluctance to extend credit and loans, and a loss of investor confidence.

On Wednesday, the President will give his first State of the Union (SOTU) speech, but if it looks and sounds familiar, it is because it will be the third time in the past year he has addressed a joint session of Congress. That has to be some kind of record, but he has set records for more than 400 speeches in the past year.

When the President reads yet another speech written for him by other people, keep in mind that he has surrounded himself with a cabinet and advisors composed primarily of lawyers like himself. Most have no experience in private enterprise. They have not managed a business, nor met a payroll. Less than ten percent of them have experience in the business sector. And these are the people charged with solving the current financial crisis!

I do not need to wait until Wednesday to hear President Obama’s State of the Union speech. I already know he cannot be trusted to respond honestly and candidly about any issue. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) gained fame by calling out “You Lie!” in an earlier speech and he was right. He did, however, apologize for the breach of etiquette, but I am pretty sure other Republicans in the chamber will feel the same impulse.

After fifty years of earning a good living as a public relations counselor and a provider of editorial skills, the market for my skills has contracted in response to the economy. That’s my SOTU. I am confident that, when the economy improves, there will be individuals, corporations, trade associations and others who will rev up their efforts to influence consumers and issues, but until then, while the President lives off the fat of the land, I am pretty much living off my “fat.”

A recent issue of U.S News & World Report devoted an entire issue to my generation and those closely gaining on it. It concluded that many either do not want to retire, nor can afford to. I have a cousin, also in his 70s, who’s in his Wall Street office every day. According to the magazine, both of us have a good chance of making it to age 100!

Many investments intended to provide a retirement nest egg have been reduced in value, interest on savings is miniscule, and the rising cost of living has left those in their seventies and older often unable to opt out of the work force if they are fortunate to be employed or considering re-employment if a job can be found. We make excellent workers because we come equipped with a good work ethic and attitudes.

Meanwhile, a legion of Baby Boomers is beginning to join our ranks, lining up for their Social Security and other benefits.

Tampering with Medicare this year, a huge distraction from the task of encouraging job growth, was possibly the dumbest thing the White House and Democrat Congress could have done. There will be a senior citizen payback at the ballot box in November.

I have a younger member of my family who, like thousands of Americans these days, owns a home whose value is less than his mortgage. Like all homes, it is a money pit. And worse for him, it is in New Jersey, a state with the highest property and other taxes in the nation. At the height of the housing bubble, I sold the home in which I had lived for more than sixty years and moved to a luxury apartment complex. I miss my former home, but it didn’t come with a pool, a fitness center, and a charming concierge staff.

Having been born during the Great Depression of the 1930s, I have now lived long enough to be in a new Depression. The irony is that both had their roots in government policies and, in both cases, were prolonged by government hostility to corporations, banks, and other generators of income and growth.

The present administration is maniacally opposed to Wall Street. They oppose the engines of energy in America, oil, coal, and natural gas. They waste billions on so-called “renewable” energy or “biofuels”, all of which are incapable of producing sufficient energy for even a moderate-sized city or town. Biofuels just drive up the cost of crops like corn for no sensible reason.

Those “shovel-ready” construction projects have not yet materialized while the nation’s infrastructure continues to be neglected. Not one single new nuclear plant or refinery has been built since the 1970s.

Over the years, the auto industry has been destroyed by increasing congressional interference in the form of mileage mandates, by requirements for ethanol use, and, internally, by the auto unions that demanded and received huge medical and retirement plans that ate profits. Two of the largest American auto manufacturers are essentially owned by the taxpayers due to massive, multi-billion bailouts, and controlled by the unions that destroyed them.

So my SOTU is to find a market for my editorial and other skills. I don’t give a rat’s patoot what the President will say Wednesday evening. He’s not the solution. He is the problem.


Necromancer said...

Go here and see the crap what's her face is spewing.
Pelosi Claims Jobs ‘Permeated’ Congressional Actions in Year of 10 Percent Unemployment

Alan Caruba said...

Please! I just had dinner. Even mentioning Crazy Nancy's name makes me nautious.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

When I turned sixty, I was instantly deemed incapable of flying the folks around safely. First class physical revoked. When I turned seventy, my less than liquid nest egg got poached - hard.
My son the cop may have to take care of his parents, unless of course his city of employment goes bankrupt. My other son has been out of work for almost a year - now the daughter-in-law is leaving him. Fortunately the liquid parts of my savings are still here and we're dividing them up by the actuarial tables to see if…
We're actually well off, my Dad taught me how to save. Thanks Pop!

Alan Caruba said...

Dave, the day may not be far off when arbitrary rules like the one that ended your flying career will be made more flexible. It is obvious that many people sixty and up are quite capable of maintaining their professions.

And there will be less younger people to replace them...unless we start importing them from other nations...something going on in medical and other professions these days.

Carolyn said...

Hi Mr. Caruba- I hope you don't mind, but I have more than a few things to say- I'll apologize up front :-)
My SOTU report is that every time the teleprompter opens his mouth, my family, and millions of hard working folks are hit hard. I wish he'd just stay in the White House and not come out until his term is up!
My husband only wants a job. Something that will pay what bills we have with a little left over for emergencies like we used to have. We are sorry for having to be on unemployment for so long, knowing that others are paying for it through higher taxes etc.
Out of my circle of friends and acquaintences, no kidding, but 7 out of 15 of them are unemployed and 2 are under employed. You can do the math on this one.
We are fortunate in that we have an acre out in the boonies, so we grow some veggies and trade with friends for other food stuffs. Our neighbor raises hogs, we have some chickens, so we have some egs and bacon. Our house is old, falling apart, has been repaired after 3 hurricanes and a wild fire. Our house is small and did I mention old? But it is paid for. We had to replace a lot of things we lost in teh fire a few years back, but paid cash for good quality USED items. I saved money out of every check my husband brought home for a rainy day (which did come through 3 hurricanes, the fire and a car accident) but the point it, we had it to pay. We lived in our means, in fact, somewhat under our means, so we could get by.
Now, in the wonderful state of Florida, we can not afford such simple things as fishing licenses (uless we were on welfare that is- then the fee would be waivered!) Our local things are going up, but so many out of work. My folks remember a little of the depression, they lived and still do in Canada, and it wasn't much different up there. The difference back then, is that there were not the licensing fees for things back then the way there is now.
I am pro capitalist, and pro small government, hate knowing we are having to have folks such as yourself pay for us if we have to take from the state or feds, which we are doing our hardest to stay off. With the socialists in Washington pushing people onto the public dole, it is getting harder.
What bit of savings I had is almost gone. No job prospects, and yes, I am still homeschooling through it all. My budget for this school year has been less than 300 dollars- and that covers the 3 r's, sciences, history, geography and everything else you can imagine, much of it is at 6th grade level, for a 3rd grade student. I'd love to see the gov'ment schools educate kids for that cost per student.
I know I'm dreaming, but that is only a part of my own SOTU address. Needless to say, I have no desire or plan to watch the teleprompter speak tomorrow.
God Bless, and thank you for letting me rant!

Wes Driggers said...

I plan to watch the SOTU show. It will be a pleasure watching Obama dig a deeper hole for himself and his progressive cohorts. He can't help it. He is clueless and his arrogance knows no bounds.

We should be thanking him for awaking a sleeping giant. If it were not for him, Pelosi and Reid and their sheep followers most Americans would still be asleep. I can't wait till November, I think I'll plan a big party on election night so we can all watch as the returns come in and the morons are all replaced. Fireworks would be nice as well. It will be kind of like a November independence day celebration.

Alan Caruba said...

Carolyn, I wish YOU were in the White House!

Carolyn said...

You made me blush Mr. Caruba, but I thank you. It's interesting though, some others have said the same. I can't imagine it- but stranger things have happened. LOL. Thank you for making me smile. God Bless!