My commute today was much longer than usual--horrendous traffic amid a modest rain. Today a law firm I know down in Louisiana sent us a huge and tasty king cake for Mardi Gras. The folks at my office enjoyed it very much. I don't know who got the little figurine. I have 4 new CD's to listen to on upcoming car rides. I loaded up 45 photos at moo.com and ordered a booklet of 90 stickers. Each sticker is fairly small--stamp-ish size. My plan is to affix them to blank postcards to make cool mail-ables.
Borders books sent me an e-mail advising that a store was beginning its closing sale. The ad promised discounts of 20 to 40 percent off list price, assuming, I suppose that they imagine that anyone pays list price for a book already. In my view people are too clever by half, which makes them 1 1/2x clever, which is too too.
I am going to focus on ways to de-stress a bit. I am usually good at that. I find a quiet walk in the outdoors works wonders, particularly if I have a sense of wildlife nearby. The price of gas sounds like it is about to take a swan flight up into the Heavens, as no world situation is so serious as to deny oil producers and the corporations who buy from them the opportunity to trade on worrisome times with a not-subtle-at-all gouge.
I also am bemused by the current rhetoric from both sides in our current political climate. I see the problem as in part generational. The nation created a 'baby boom' which it could not economically sustain at the level of prosperity in which this generation was born. This group, in turn, continually cut its own taxes,
increased its own entitlements, and now is promptly imposing the burden on the next generations. I am surprised we do not see a little more action to rationalize tax and spending policy, instead of the current lemming-like pendulum which swings between relieving baby boomers of taxes and increasing spending on their behalf.
I am a simple man, really, about these things. If you bargain with workers to have a pension, then you must actuarially fund this. If this requires increased taxation, then you increase taxation slightly while trying to maximize economic growth for revenue. If you wish to incarcerate a record percentage of the population, then you must figure out a way to fund this unprecedented approach to societal norms. If you want a strong consumer economy, then you ensure that purchasing conditions are favorable to consumers--not merely favorable to those more likely to stockpile than to spend. You don't "encourage homeownership" by giving credit to people who can't repay. If every time the price of gas jumps 50 cents a gallon, the economy freeze-dries, then it's time to figure a way, slowly, but with purpose, out of the gasoline morass.
A simple Marshall plan to rebuild our economy might work along the Pickens line--dramatically expanded natural gas consumption for a few decades, accompanied by extensive alternative fuels research. Even something as simple as accelerating the mpg requirements would help in a meaningful way. I am pretty certain that cutting taxes resulting in increased tuition and decreased secondary school quality is not the way to improve our economy.
In other news, I am looking forward to Saturday.