I can say that thankfully, I have a job right now. I know there are a ton of you out there that don’t. If you’re in the State of California and you were in the real estate or title industry the most you could hope to receive in benefits is $1800 a month. And you’ll be taxed on that at the end of the year. Because you have been able to live so fat on that. Unless you’re ultra conservative in your finances and have lived in the same place for 20 years without refinancing, that $1800 won’t even cover your house payment here in California. As a matter of fact, that $1800 will barely get you a one bedroom apartment in some parts of this State. God forbid you need to put gas in your car. I spent $79.52 for a tank yesterday at $4.53 per gallon. Eight years ago (because I keep these sorts of figures) I paid $27.77 for a tank of gas, but I made $400 more per month. Eight years ago my house payment was $1237.00, today it’s around $2400 because they’re still screwing around with the impounds…and they still don’t have it right. And I made $400 more a month back then. Granted I’ve stepped up mightily from a one bedroom condo in Oakland, but the market nearly tripled, and has now crashed back to 2000 numbers. All on Bush’s watch. One of the largest components of the US economy is the real estate market. For all intents in purposes, it has driven the economy for the last 15 years. Yet the Bush administration ignored the problems that unscrupulous individuals and companies were creating. I guess you could argue that thieves are good for the economy as they move money through the economy, keeping it healthy, but on the other hand, separating old people from their retirement income will only put a burden on the government. The economy is a delicate balancing act. When something gets out of kilter, it can throw the whole thing off. In California we have always paid through the nose for housing. We do not pay exorbitant energy bills. Prior to Enron, our energy costs were actually pretty low out here. Back East they’d be paying $300-400 a month while we were paying $50-200 depending on use and size of the house. Then Enron came in and screwed the State of California with a phony energy crisis. Anyone who was here then knows how it threw your budgets off and changed things here. All so some Bush cronies could steal from us AND joke about it. And now we are to believe that there is good reason for the energy crisis with gasoline prices? I don’t buy it. I think it’s more Bush cronies trying to steal the last little bit they can from the California economy before it’s over and they have to go home. They’re stealing it now in crude oil futures, the same exact way they stole it with Enron.
So we get stupid emails telling us to boycott gas on this day or the other. It’s not that hard to do. I don’t drive unless I absolutely have to. If I leave the house, it’s probably on the bike or foot unless I’m going to work. I used to go through a tank in about 10 days. I’m up to 21 days on a tank right now. Furthermore, I don’t spend money unless I absolutely have to. (I know some of you have no choice right now) What will stop these bastards? When we stop spending money. That’s it. When we stop buying stuff because we think we have to have it. When we whittle our budgets down to the absolute minimum of what we need, when we stop our rampant consumerism, which drives the capitalist thieves, then and only then will the price come down. We all are spoon fed such slop marketing that we think we need all this shit that we just don’t need. Who really needs a soda pop? Who has shit in their house that they have only touched once since it came into the house? Who has shit in their house that they haven’t touched in a year? Everyone, that’s who. And why? Because it was bright and shiny in a store somewhere? Because some slick salesperson talked you into it? Did you pay cash or credit? Credit? Even better, now not only did it cost the original price, (and was probably made in China) but now a financial mega corporation is going to take more of your money because it’s on a credit card. Some major stock holders, who are probably a hedge fund will profit from that and at the end of the day a few guys will make all the money on everyone that bought that cheap piece of crap. And we’ve all been separated from our hard earned money. At some point, we have the power to stop this, when will we?
Since I’m on full bore rant right now, let’s talk about taxes. Nobody seems to want to pay taxes. Reagan came into office saying he was going to cut taxes (it’s debatable if he really did at the end of the day). What he didn’t do is invest in the infrastructure of this country. The first real investment in infrastructure in the modern times was done during the alphabet agencies of the New Deal. Great projects were undertaken and great projects were built. It’s arguable if not for WWII, FDR would not have gotten the country out of the Depression with the New Deal, but we got out, so that’s really the final answer. Play “what if” all you want, it worked. The WPA built roads, schools, public buildings, schools, sewage systems and a lot of what is now the infrastructure of this country. After WWII, Eisenhower made another huge investment in the infrastructure with the Interstate system, which is why so many of our highways have that 1950’s look to them. Thirty years later Reagan SHOULD have invested again in our infrastructure, but instead, he told us we didn’t need to pay taxes. Not only did he ignore the infrastructure, he didn’t allow for any future improvements. I’ll use an HOA for an analogy. I sat on the board at my condo’s HOA. The roof of the project was a 20 year roof. We had to estimate the cost of replacement and amortize that over 15 years so that when the time came to replace the roof, the money was in the bank. Reagan didn’t bother to do that. Thirty years later a crumbling bridge falls into the river and I believe you can lay those deaths right at the doorstep of the politicians who kept their power by not doing their duty to society by preserving our infrastructure. Thirty years later, when yet another investment in the infrastructure should have occurred, we elect a guy because we think he would be a good guy to sit down and have a beer with. We elect a total moron. Worse yet the guy’s an alcoholic and doesn’t even drink! Yet that’s how the middle of this country thinks. Now we’ve got another tax cut and no investment in the infrastructure. So when buildings crumble and bridges collapse and people are killed, it will be the lawyers fault for bringing suits, when it should be the politicians fault for not doing their jobs.
I don’t mind paying taxes. I would rather give the government money to fix the potholes than pay $800 to have my axle fixed. I would rather pay some taxes and have enough cops on the streets than get a $300 rebate. (don’t even get me going on what horseshit that was) I would like our veterans to get the health care they need in a timely fashion. What I don’t want to do is have my tax dollars wasted on thieves like Blackwater and Halliburton and that stupid bitch in Oakland or these ass clowns. Don’t want to pay taxes? Good then hoof it to work on something besides our city streets and when someone robs you, don’t call a cop.
Yesterday I lifted and then came back to the gym in the afternoon and swam 30 minutes. People that don’t understand simple courtesies annoy the crap out of me. Yeah, it’s hot, but you bob around in the three unroped lanes on the right, not in the swimming lanes you jackasses. The workout called for a 90 percent lift which was 215. I got half of it, the half where it comes down. Didn’t do so well on the part where you push it back up. Luckily, I was smart enough to have a spot. I’m off for a quick ride this morning. This is a set course I do, last time I did it in 1:07. We’ll see what this morning brings. I may swim this afternoon too, it helps open up my shoulders.
I hope your restless spirit has found some peace, if not here, on the other side.