Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bushie's 2009 Budget and the Stimulus

The story is that Bushie will apparently propose a budget of more than $3 trillion with a projected federal budget deficit of $400 billion for 2009 and again for 2010. The last year under Clinton, the government spent under $1.8 trillion and had a budget SURPLUS of $236 billion.

So, Bushie was the first president in history to propose a $2 trillion budget and he just blew through that and is now going to propose a $3 trillion budget.

Congress is working out a "Stimulus" package which essentially will amount to the government sending checks to millions of Americans. Horrible idea because all it does is add another $150-$180 billion in borrowed money to the national debt and it does not encourage fiscal discipline. Essentially, the government wants to send checks so people will spend the money to try to jump start the economy. The problem is that people are so heavily in debt that they don't have money to do anything.

Because our government is running a deficit, we will have to borrow the money from the Chinese so that we can buy more of their crap.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Danny Boy/Vinny Interview Transcript

I have just gotten an exclusive copy of the transcript of an interview conducted by the Redskins' head honcho as he searches for his new coach.

Danny Boy: Good morning Steve. May I call you "Mooch"?

Mooch: Sure, Dan.

DB: That's MR. SNYDER!

M: Sorry, it won't happen again.

DB: Mooch, as you know we are trying to build on the foundation that I have built with Vinny over the last couple of years with the help of Joe Gibbs. Things are great, but I feel it is time to make a few slight changes.

Vinny: Yeah! (Tee Hee Hee)

DB: I felt it was in the best interest of the organization to fire Gregg and Al and get a fresh start. The offense wasn't really where it should have been. I know we had a rookie QB and a ton of injuries, but it was not good enough. On defense, Gregg and I just differed on philosophy. I know his players love him and that the D has been great for us for 3 out of the last 4 years, but he told me to get Adam Archuleta and that really made me mad.

Bottom line, there is nothing to worry about with respect to continuity because I'm still in charge and Vinny has been promoted. Really, it has been our leadership that has moved this franchise forward and has it poised to make a Super Bowl run.

Vinny: Yeah! (Tee Hee Hee)

M: Have the players been kept informed of what is going on?

DB: It doesn't matter. We think a lot of them are too expensive anyway so we'll be making some changes in personnel. Also, we are $23 million over the cap so we need some new fresh faces anyway.

M: If I were hired, would I have input on the coaching staff and on players? How would that all work?

DB: Don't worry about it. I have hired all of your coaches for you. Vinny and I will run the draft and we'll ask you if we have any questions. All I need to know from you is one thing - do you think I know more football than you?

M: Uh, yes? (hesitantly)

DB: Good, good, good. You are now my top candidate.

Vinny: Yeah! (Tee Hee Hee)

Redskin Coaching Debacle

Danny Boy apparently met with Pete Carroll over the weekend, but the discussion did not go anywhere when Pete told him he needed to have full control of all football decisions.

It seems likely that Fassel is the new coach. It just does not make any sense that they have hired coordinators without getting input from a head coach. Danny Boy is probably just waiting for the fan reaction to calm down after the Super Bowl and then make a splashy annoucement.

Mooch still may be in the running. I think he would be willing to get out the knee pads and give Danny Boy what he wants, but who knows? I'm not really sure Danny Boy and Vinny know what they are doing and who they want.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Redskins Coaching Mess

Well, it looks like Fassel is now on the back burner. They couldn't sign Zorn as OC and Rex Ryan didn't want to make the lateral move. So, without an all new coaching staff in place the Redskins are left to ponder candidates.

It's really not terrible from the standpoint that they are following a drawn out process. Danny Boy should take his time and find the coach that he wants. Last year, Norv Turner didn't get hired by the Chargers until mid-February and it turned out OK for them.

However, the process is horrible and the way he has destroyed the team unity from last year is sad. He has not communicated with the assistants at all and had Joe Gibbs call them today to let them know what is going on. Danny Boy is hiding in his office with Vinny, while he lets his coaches twist in the wind.

This is just another example of why I think the Redskins are a horrible organization and why they cannot - and will not - win consistently.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Economy Thoughts

It looks like the rate cut stemmed the losses on Wall Street. Yesterday's 128 point loss was nowhere near as bad as I expected. However, I think as the week plays out we will see continuing losses that will still result in major losses for Wall Street.

The rate cut is an effort to make money cheaper to borrow, but it won't really work to solve the fundamental problems in the economy that are tied to the heavy debt load of individuals and the horribly irresponsible deficits and debt accumulation of the U.S. government under Bushie.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Danny Snyder Freak Show

That is what they should rename the Redskins. The guy is nuts. He is going to hire Jim Fassel and bring in Rex Ryan as the new defensive coordinator.

He may not do it, but it certainly appears that he is hanging out the entire coaching staff out to dry. He hasn't spoken to Double G or the other coaches, but it looks like he and Vinny are blowing each other and making their decisions.

So much for continuity and consistency.

If this happens, the fanbase will further be alienated. Looking over the comments on La Canfora's blog it looks like the s**t is hitting the fan.

Vinny Promoted - Double G is Out

Vinny Cerrato got the big promotion he so deserves. His new title is Executive VP of Football Operations. Now he and Danny Boy are even more in control of the front office.

This promotion also all but ensures that Double G will not be the next Redskin head coach. Apparently Vinny and Double G don't get along. He was clearly not the first choice for Danny Boy anyway.

Jim Fassel looks like he is the Man.

Redskins' Next Coach

It seemed a foregone conclusion that Double G would be the coach. But it seems pretty clear that Danny Boy doesn't want him as coach. The problem is likely tied to the fact that Double G and Danny Boy cannot just pal around. Danny Boy wants to be able to speak with the coach about personnel and other football issues and I don't see Double G as wanting to do that.

The latest rumor is that Jim Fassel is strongly in the mix. Fassel is more likely to listen to Danny Boy and become a syncophant, so that puts him right up at the top of the list.

Fassel's record with the Giants - 7 years, 3 playoff appearances, 1 NFC title, 60-55-1 overall record (including 2-3 in the playoffs)

Disaster on the Market (Again)

The major markets opened sharply lower, which was expected. The global markets are dropping and the Dow opened down by about 450 points and the NASDAQ opened down over 100 points.

Before the markets opened, the Fed cut rates by .75 of a percentage point. Huge surprise cut in an effort to try to stem the losses, but it is a really, really bad sign in my opinion. It looks like a panic move. We are looking at rising inflation and now cutting rates to try to spur spending and increase liquidity - this will further hurt inflation.

All of the problems will have an impact on foreign investment. We rely on foreigners to invest in U.S. treasury notes in order to fund Bushie's deficits and the war in Iraq. That will dry up and why in the world will foreigners invest when the dollar is crashing and rates are lower relative to other countries?

There will be a "dead cat" bounce this morning as some investors buy in, but at about 2:00 today folks will realize how bad it is and will start selling. At 3:00 the margin calls will start coming in and the last hour of trading we'll see a 200 point drop. The Dow will close down 550 points. I hope it's not true, but that is my prediction.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How Deep A Recession Are We Looking At?

Good piece in the Wall Street Journal about the risks and likelihood of a deep recession.

The worldwide markets are roiling over the likely recession in the U.S. and although there was no trading on Wall Street today, futures trading was taking place. Given the heavy volume on futures trading, if there had been trading on Wall Street, it would have resulted in a 550 point loss on the Dow.

The really scary part is that we are not near the bottom and it is hard to see where the bottom is.

None of this should be a surprise given Bushie's economic policies.

Rex vs. Eli

It is remarkable how similar these two guys are in terms of their stats in their Super Bowl years:

2006 Rex: 23 TDs, 20 Ints, 3193 yards, 73.9 QB rating, 54.6% completion percentage, 7 fumbles, 5 lost. He had 7 games with QB ratings over 100 and 5 games with sub-50 ratings. Check out the game log summary.

2007 Eli: 23 TDs, 20 Ints, 3336 yards, 73.9 QB rating, 56.1% comletion percentage, 13 fumbles, 7 lost. He had 3 games with QB ratings over 100 and 3 games with sub-50 ratings. Check out the game log summary.

You need a guy who can make plays at the QB position to win. I think both Rex and Eli are guys who can do that. They both need to work on their consistency, but that comes with experience.

Just for comparison, here are JC's 2007 stats: 12 TDs, 11 Ints, 2700 yards, 77.6 QB rating, 60% completion percentage, 13 fumbles, 8 lost. He had 2 games with QB ratings over 100 and none under 50. Here are the game log summaries.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Solution to Economic Problems

There is no quick fix. But here are a couple of thoughts.

1. Let the firms that are going to fail, fail. No government protection except in the case of firms like Boeing, where there is no other American competitor.

2. No cash rebates from the government. We cannot afford individual bailouts that will require us to borrow more money. If you were too ignorant to understand the terms of your loan and you are going to lose your house - too bad. Firms that provided sub-prime loans to folks with questionable credit histories should now just be SOL.

3. Do not cut taxes for the wealthy - in fact raise taxes on the wealthy and re-institute a tax on capital gains. The government needs to take in money without borrowing from foreign investors. My family and I are in the top 2 percent tax bracket and I have no problem trying to help the U.S. get out of its fiscal mess if there is a plan to do it other than Bushie's plan which is essentially: just give people more money to spend.

4. End the disasterous war in Iraq. It is costing us more than $100 billion/year and we are getting nothing for it.

5. Boost government subsidies and tax credits for firms that will build wind farms and more efficient transmission lines across America's plains. This will do 2 things. First, it will help us reduce our dependence on oil. Second, it would put thousands of people back to work. Sheet metal workers, electricians, engineers, truckers, manufacturers would all be involved in building up our internal infrastructure.

6. Provide targeted tax cuts for middle and lower income families. There needs to be some wealth re-distribution in order to build a healthier economy.

7. Cut government spending on a variety of programs. We need to eliminate the deficit in order to bring confidence to the markets. Stop all of the faith-based programs, cut down on military hardware, freeze some budgets and push some government workers into retirement without replacing their slots.

Thoughts on Economic Stimulus

Look, we are probably in a recession already. It is not surprising (certainly I am not surprised) given Bushie's economic policies. Essentially, we are reaping what we allowed our president to sow.

Now Bushie wants to cut taxes in order to try to jump start the economy.

In his announcement about his stimulus package, he stated: "Letting Americans keep more of their money should increase consumer spending."

Bad, bad idea on two fronts. First, it would require even greater borrowing from foreign investors to cover the shortfall. So we will pay for it later. Second, the problem for Americans is that we are up to our ears in debt. Leaving more money for folks to spend will just further increase personal debt.

The best thing for the country is to let the economy shake out the bad debt. Sure it will be painful, but there is no free lunch. People who bought houses that they cannot afford, banks who extended questionable loans, etc. should just have to pay the price for their greed.

That is just on a personal level for individual Americans and firms. Unfortunately, we all will have to pay for Bushie's debt for decades to come.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More Bad Economic News

Inflation rose at a 17-year high pace of 4.1 percent for last year. Consumers have felt it in their pocketbook.

So Americans are paying more for stuff, earning less, and are on the hook for more government debt than has ever been accumulated under any president in the history of the country - Bushinomics at work!

Things are so bad right now that Citigroup and Merrill Lynch are being bailed out of their financial turmoil by - not the U.S. government - the governments of Japan, Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. So these countries now have significant stakes in two of America's premier financial institutions.

China is smart, they are waiting and will swoop in and buy even bigger stakes for far less in about a year when things are even worse.

U.S. Debt Owed to Foreigners

It is absolutely pathetic what Bushie has done to our country. He has exploded the annual budget deficits and our National Debt, and has signed trade deals that have contributed to the worst current account (which includes trade) deficit in American history.

In order to fund these deficits, the U.S. has had to borrow heavily from foreign governments and foreign central banks. The money we get to finance the Debt and deficits is raised through the sale of U.S. Treasury Securities (i.e., government bonds and government notes).

Currently, foreigners hold nearly $2.4 trillion in U.S. government debt (i.e. Treasury Securities). We owe them this money!

Back in 2000 (when George W. Bush took office), foreigners held $1.1 trillion in U.S. government debt.

Of particular note, in 2000 China held $71.4 billion in U.S. Treasury Securities and OPEC (which includes Iran) held $43.6 billion. Today, China now holds $387 billion and OPEC now holds $128 billion of our debt.

I have my opinion about the risks and benefits of giving foreigners more control of our debt and thus more control of our economic independence. You can look at the numbers and decide for yourself if you think it is wise.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Couple of Random NFL Thoughts

Looks like Norv Turner can coach after all. All of the critics should give him some credit. He called a great offensive game yesterday and the Chargers beat the defending Super Bowl champs. I am sure the NFL and CBS are upset because they would have liked to have seen the rematch between the Patriots and Colts.

Romo is going to be the goat again this year. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is about getting away for a couple of days in Mexico. But, people will get on him because he played a poor game. The reality is that the Cowboys had not played well since they beat the Packers in late November.

The Bears had a disappointing year. I hope they re-sign Rex and would like to see Briggs re-sign. Berrian isn't all that great and of the three of them, I would not mind seeing him go. Devin Hester and Mark Bradley can more than make up the slack. The key in the off-season is to get some depth on their O and D lines. I am still a fan of Cedric Benson and think he suffered from playing behind a horrible offensive line, but they need another running back for depth. The Bears are $20 million under the cap, so they should be fine. I fully expect them to come back strong next year. With the exception of the Cowboy game, all of their losses were close. Three or four new guys will make all the difference.

Double G is going to be the next Redskins coach. The team is going to part ways with some key guys as they try to deal with their cap mess. It will be a long year in Washington and I would not be surprised if next year Danny Boy works to get Bill Cowher on the sidelines.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

U.S. National Debt

Bushie's economic policy has added more to the National Debt than any other administration in the history of this nation. That is a fact and anyone who refuses to accept that simply does not want to face reality.

Most Americans simply do not know what the facts are about our economy. For anyone who is interested in facts and is willing to look at actual numbers, here are the National Debt figures provided by the U.S. Treasury Department.

1/11/08 - $9.20 trillion (current as of this post)
9/30/07 - $9.01 trillion
1/4/07 - $8.67 trillion (when the Dems took over Congress)
9/30/06 - $8.51 trillion
9/30/05 - $7.93 trillion
9/30/04 - $7.38 trillion
9/30/03 - $6.78 trillion
9/30/02 - $6.23 trillion
9/28/01 - $5.81 trillion
1/20/01 - $5.73 trillion (when Bushie took office)
9/28/00 - $5.67 trillion
1/21/93 - $4.17 trillion (when Clinton took office)
9/30/92 - $4.06 trillion

Look it up for yourself at the U.S. Treasury Dept.

Unless you believe the U.S. Treasury Dept is lying, you can see the dramatic increase under George W. Bush.

Under Clinton, the National Debt rose from $4.17 trillion to $5.73 trillion. Thus, it rose by a total of $1.56 trillion. This represents a 37.4% increase over Clinton's eight years in office [($5.73 - $4.17)/$4.17].

Under Bush, the National Debt has risen from $5.73 trillion to $9.20 trillion, for a total of $3.47 trillion. This represents a 60/6% increase over the six years of Bush and his Republican Congress [($9.20 - $5.73)/$5.73].

Keep in mind that Bushie still has one more year, but at least since the Dems re-took Congress, the rate of debt accumulation has greatly slowed down. This is just a simple, plain fact.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gold at $900/ounce

With the U.S. dollar cratering and the economic meltdown that is just really getting started, investors have pushed gold to $900/ounce.

On December 3, 2006, I posted about the economic collapse and recommended moving money to gold. At the time gold sold for $650/ounce.

Another Bloodbath on Wall Street

The Dow is down more than 100 points as of 11:00 am.

The trade deficit is widening, oil prices are skyrocketing, housing prices are crashing, and mortgage defaults are rising.

This has resulted in an all-time low consumer confidence figure

All of that deficit spending Bushie and the Republican Congress shoved down our throats is coming home to roost.

Prepare for recession folks. We may already be in one.

U.S. Trade Deficit Widened

With oil at record highs, it was not surprising to see that the U.S. trade deficit widened to $63.1 billion for November. For 2007, the total trade deficit is above $700 billion. That means that America's wealth is being sapped as $700 billion more than we received from other countries left this country.

"Thank you" Bushie!

Quoting from the linked article:

Critics of President Bush's trade policies, however, say the declining deficits will still leave the imbalance at a painfully high level, which they contend reflects unfair trade practices of other nations that have contributed to the loss of more than 3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 2000. Trade is expected to be a key issue in this year's presidential campaign, with many Democrats charging that the Bush administration has not fought hard enough to protect American workers and keep companies from shipping jobs overseas.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Remarkable Results in New Hampshire

Wow! Hillary shocked the political world by beating a heavily favored Barack Obama. It looked like he was a lock to win, but that is why they hold the election.

McCain won for the Republicans - not much of a story there.

I think the turnout results were great for the Dems. They had 22 percent more voters than the Republicans. This is a state that has the following political affiliations for its electorate:

Democrats - 26%
Republicans - 30%
Independents - 44%

It means two things likely happened. First, Dems are more energized about their candidates. Second, it is likely that more independents moved toward the Dems.

In terms of the votes, Hillary beat McCain by 12% (56% to 44%); Obama beat McCain by 8% (54% to 46%). So, everything looks good for Dems in November.

National Debt

As I have discussed on other posts there is a difference between the deficit and the national debt. Bushie has exploded both. Here is a chart that shows what has happened over the last 50 years. When Republicans talk about fiscal discipline, I just laugh.

Bushie came into office with the national debut under $6 trillion. Today it is over $9 trillion. He came into office with the the $240 billion budget surplus left by Clinton, and has turned it into $300 billion plus deficits for as far as the eye can see.

Another amazing accomplishment from Bushie. Future generations of Americans will be paying for Bushie's blunders for a long, long time.

Another Disasterous Day on Wall Street

The long-term economic outlook for the U.S. economy is not very good. We saw another disaster on Wall Street today as stocks dropped by more than 200.

There are a couple of long-term problems that will continue to remain a drag for months and even years. First, housing prices will continue to fall or at least remain flat for at least the next 18-36 months. In recent years, Americans were comfortable refinancing their homes and taking money out to buy "stuff." But now that housing prices are flat and even dropping there is no money to take out. On top of that many Americans won't be able to keep up with their mortgage payments once their ARMs expire and will find that their house is no longer worth the amount they owe. We'll see a lot of people just walk away. This is going to take years to shake out.

Second, the Federal government under Bushie has racked up huge federal budget deficits. Last year the deficit was $163 billion, but this year the first quarter figure was $27 billion higher than last year's first quarter. We are going to have a deficit of about $240 billion this year. This does not include the costs for Iraq, which Bushie has refused to put into the regular budget process. So really last year's deficit was about $280 billion and the deficit for this year will be close to $400 billion. Remember when Clinton left office and he left Bushie with a $240 billion budget SURPLUS!

Heavy Voting In New Hampshire

There are media reports that voting is very heavy in New Hampshire - to the point that some precincts are requesting more ballots. If that is true (we'll find out tonight), my guess is that it means that a lot of new voters are coming out. That bodes well for Barack Obama and Ron Paul.

New Hampshire Thoughts

Today the first primary in the nation takes place. New Hampshire makes its decision on the Dem and Republican nominees. It looks like it will be Obama and either McCain or Romney. Here are the three things to really watch:

1. What the voter turnout is and the numbers for Dems and Republicans. In Iowa, twice as many Dem voters came out to caucus as Republican voters. Hillary, who finished third in Iowa, had twice as many votes as Mike Huckabee. That shows the Democratic electorate is energized and if it happens again in New Hampshire it will be a very, very bad sign for Republicans.

2. Related to #1, how many independents vote for Dems. New Hampshire allows independents to vote for either Dems or Republicans in their primaries (not both). If independents break heavily for Dems it will again be a very, very bad sign for Republicans.

3. Whether John Edwards can finish second over Hillary. That will keep his candicacy viable.

4. Whether Ron Paul can finish third or higher. He represents the traditional small government, liberatarian wing of the Republican Party and I think he may surprise folks in New Hampshire.

Should be interesting.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Obama Charging Ahead in New Hampshire

The latest poll has him 10 points of Hillary in New Hampshire. He was about 10 points behind in New Hampshire before Iowa. It is an incredible turnaround. When he wins New Hampshire tomorrow it will pretty much be over. He will be the Democratic nominee for President.

I heard someone say that winning campaigns become truly special when they become movements that are greater than the candidates. I really see that happening with Obama. He is the vehicle for change that many in this country so desperately want. With his great political skills, I think he is the right candidate in the right place at just the right time

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Barack Obama is Change

If there is one thing that this country really wants it is CHANGE! The Bushies have taken over the government and been enabled by their Republican counterparts. On the other side of the aisle, the Dems have shown little backbone, leadership, or even desire for change which has allowed the corruption of American government at the hands of Bushie and his cronies to take place.

I love Barack Obama as a candidate. He is a great communicator with a great mind. He seems to have an energy and an aura that draws people to him. The thing I like about him is that he is energizing new voters to come to the polls. If we are truly going to have change in government, then we need someone who is not just fighting establishment candidates for all of the traditional voters. We need people who can energize Americans from all walks of life to pay attention to politics and vote for change.

I like that Obama and Huckabee won in Iowa. They are truly anti-establishment candidates who are wildcards. They are overcoming better financed candidates who are propped up by the powers-that be including the established political machine of America (of which both Republicans and Dems are a part of) and the corporate-owned media. In Obama's case, I did not think that America was ready to elect a black president, but after seeing him win Iowa and his tremendous victory speech among a sea of white faces, I think he can do it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Next President of the U.S. (Probably)

Recession Risk Rising

The unemployment rate rose to 5% and the economy only produced 18,000 jobs last month.

We are reaping the "benefits" of the Bush economic plan that has seen Americans and the federal government drown in debt.

By the time the 2008 election takes place, the Republicans are going to be destroyed for supporting their ridiculously bad President. I can see the Dems united and the Republicans battling to resolve their sectarian squabbles.

Presidential Politics

Huge wins last night for Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee. If Obama wins in New Hampshire - and I think it is likely - Michigan and Nevada will be absolutely critical for Hillary. If Hillary doesn't win 2 of the next states (New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada), South Carolina will make Obama's momentum insurmountable and he will be the Democratic presidential nominee.

John Edwards is done. He had to win Iowa to have any chance and he didn't.

The big winner for the Republicans is clearly Huckabee. He destroyed Romney. The evangelicals will fall behind him, but fiscal conservatives won't. If Romney doesn't recover in New Hampshire he is done. It looks to me that New Hampshire will get behind McCain. Romney may be able to recover in Michigan, but he will have a tough slog if he loses New Hampshire.

Among the other Republicans, Rudy is finished if he doesn't win or finish second in New Hampshire. Fred Thompson has run a lazy campaign and is out. He tied for third with McCain in Iowa (McCain didn't even campaign or spend money in Iowa). A suprisingly strong result for Ron Paul. I think he may shock in New Hampshire and finish third, or even second. If that happens, Thompson will be out (it is just a matter of time).

The next month will be very interesting, but listening to Barack Obama's victory speech last night, I can now see him as president. That is an incredible story.

One last thing, Dems and Independents came out 2-1 in favor of Democratic candidates over the Republican candidates. Iowa is a swing state that went to Bush in 2004. If this type of turnout holds up in other states, it will clearly indicate that the Republican Party is in horrible shape. The other problem for the Republicans is that they don't have a clear nominee who will be able to build a broad coalition. The social conservatives are for Huckabee, the fiscal conservatives are for Romney/McCain, the hawks are for Rudy/McCain, and the independent minded limited government folks are for Paul. Whoever the Republican nominee is, there will be dissatisfaction among the ranks. That does not appear to be true for Dems.