The Third Rail

A familiar term to subway riders and to politicians, as it refers to that great untouchable program, Social Security. There have been a number  of references to said program over the course of the health care debate. ( Obama says campaign against it if you wish cause you will lose, Fidel Castro call it  a “miracle” and World Health Organization is thrilled. All we need now is an endorsement from Iran and we will be set)

Anyway, maybe it’ s a good time  a peek at Franklin Roosevelt’s  creation. It began in 1935 as a way to help lift the elderly out of poverty and by the way, present at the signing was Rep John Dingell of Michigan whose son John, a member of Congress for over 50 years was at the signing of the healthcare bill. The current Rep Dingell made an interesting comment about the healthcare bill being  a way to”control the people.” When asked about the comment he said it referred to dealing with insurance companies that have so much control. Keep veering back towards healthcare do we not?

Anyway, Roosevelt’s  creation was  slightly modified in 1939 and then went virtually unchanged until significant expansion brought about in 1950 under Harry Truman. It has kept on growing since, and may be close to “getting too big for its britches.” There have been several attempts to sound the alarm about benefits exceeding contributions, even some  calls for privatization. even an increase in the contribution base from $60,600 in 1994 to $106,000 in 2009( 57% in you like numbers) has not helped enough. It seems that we are now paying out more than is coming in. Now, a s one who has been paying in for several decades and is approaching the time to receive rather than give;’I will admit to some concerns.

What to do? How about an increase in the contribution level  in the next 5 years to say $150,000? Or, cut benefits or invest in the market or make sure Congress  pays its fair share or ?????


March 25, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Lost Jobs

There are many areas of the country  that are struggling with high rates of unemployment, particularly I guess, California and Michigan. Perhaps we can speak of the land of Arnold another day but for today, our focus is the former home of the American automobile industry. Michigan has taken some really big hits economically. In the last 10 years, the state has lost  870,000 jobs;some 632,000 since Gov. Jennifer(Jenny the cheerleader she is called by friend and foe) Granholm took office in 2003. The state is projected to lose another 370,000 by the end of next year. But,all is not grim. She hascreated 163,000 jobs since taking office and lo and behold, with Br’er Biden by her side announced that by 2020, some 40,000 “green” jobs will be created. Even if you are a little like me, the total of those two figures doesn’t add up to much. Remember, that is 40,000 by 2020 and who will even remember that in a few years.

The next little bit, ah, I just don’t know. Electrolux had a plant in  Greenville, about 2-3 hours from Detroit. They announced it would be closing and moving to Mexico. The Governor worked for months to persuade them to stay and they declined. She went to the plant near its  end and shared a box lunch with employees, staying until the last one left. She went home and told her husband,”What could I do to help those people?”. Well she showed she  cared in tried and true Democrat fashion. Even telling this story, she cannot keep from crying. Now, that is all well and good, but I just know about the emotional  part. Does it make those losing their jobs feel better, that maybe she has empathy? Doubtful.

Here in North Carolina, on a smaller scale we too have had an industry disappear, albeit with one lower paying jobs. That industry would be textiles. Efforts continue to replace those jobs with limited success. I fervently hope that oor Governor Bev Perdue does not follow Granholm’s example.

Didn’t Obama consider Granholm for a Cabinet post? Maybe she can be a new czar, of  something. Surely, all the czar positions are not filled.

October 6, 2009 Posted by | economy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feeling Global Warming?

Have you ever wished for a do over or a say over? Maybe you said something  and as soon as the words went forth, you reached out to try and  grab them? Well, I wonder if Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D, MI feels just a little like that? The Michigan senator was recently appointed to the Senate Energy Committee and perhaps to celebrate that event she made some  interesting observations to the Detroit News. as reported by Henry Payne of the Detroit News she said, ” Climate change is very real ( well, duh, it changes every day and sometimes multiple times) , Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I am flying.The storms are more volatile.We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes.” There is a lot of interesting stuff in there. But let us hone in on just one sentence- “I feel it when I am flying.” Now, admittedly, I don’t fly a lot so I cannot speak as any kind of expert. But Mrs THT just returned from a round trip flight to Atlanta and did not report feeling any global warming. A bit of turbulence perhaps, but no global warming reported.

It would be easy and  kinda fun to laugh at a statement like this and if I made it at work tomorrow, I would get some laughs or perhaps some strange looks. But, come on now, this lady is a  United States senator and is in  a  position to influence legislation that could have a dramatic effect on energy costs, legislation, etc. And she feels global warming. Somebody, say it  ain’t so.

Do you think if someone gave her the quote about if you don’t like the weather now, wait a minute  and it will change, she would even tie that in to global warming, uh, climate change?  I saw some climate change over the weekend when it rained buckets. Does that count?  Our Senators from North Carolina don’t seem to say really cool stuff like this. Should I be happy or unhappy? Just wondering. And, just one more. Is the weather a Democrat or a Republican?

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Weather | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments