Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sea of Change?

January ushers in a new era in politics both on the state and national levels.  Locally, Lynda Schlegal-Culver (R-108th) and Kurt Masser (R-107th) take over for retiring Merle Phillips and Robert Belfanti.  Both Belfanti and Phillips served their districts for 30 years. This is the first elected office for Culver and Masser moves to the state level after serving as Northumberland County commissioner for 7 years.

The Commonwealth faces some pretty stiff challenges when Tom Corbett is sworn in as governor on January 18th.  The gorilla in the room is the 4 billion dollar budget gap.  New elected state speaker tip his hand a bit in a speech that included the mention of selling off the LCB and "education costs ie the teacher union."

Corbett who campaigned on no new taxes, cutting spending and balancing the budget faces reality come January 19th.  When it comes to gas industry, this doesn't add up at all?  Corbett's top contributors were from the gas coalition.

Turning over to the federal government, PA's 10th and 11th district have freshmen congressmen in Tom Marino and Lou Barletta both from the GOP.

The first order of business for the new GOP House Majority will be a vote on the repeal of the Healthcare Act of 2010.  The GOP want to trim down 100 billion from spending and start by cutting 35 million from the congressional budget by the way is .004% of the budget.

The GOP have been very good at memory loss over the campaign trail.  While they talk about saving the world for the children and grandchildren by cutting spending in Social Security and Medicare, they tend to forget there were two wars going on for the past 8 years.  2011 will mark (yes it has been) 10 YEARS in Afghanistan and March will mark the 8th year for the war in Iraq. 

Most of the payments for these wars were off budget items but were accrued to the national debt. They were their own spending bills.

It seems like every generation is called upon to "visit hell".  Their families are asked to sacrifice and upon return resume a normal life.  For our investment in war on two fronts, what is our return? 

They latest fiasco of governance on the horizon is a possible shut down and default on debt obligations.  Could you say financial murder-suicide?

Cribbing from Dr. Robert Reich, GM now makes more cars in China than the US.  Two-thirds of GM sales now come from outside the US.  GM boasted when it became public again that half of their cars made around the world will be made with labor of $15 per hour or less.

In 2010, while most of the US were hurting, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ came in with over 10 percent returns.  This was good for  401k's provided you had a job to contribute to one.

I do have one prediction for 2011.  Investment in bootstraps should be high.

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