Should Tennessee Take Bailout Money?

That’s what Blue Collar Muse is asking.  Here’s my take..

If bailouts are bad, they are bad. If people think they are good, they are ok still bad.

But here’s the thing….if Tennessee (or any other state) were to refuse the bailout money, does that mean those dollars wouldn’t be invested spent in another state? Someone is going to be standing there with their hand out.

Wouldn’t we be better off to take the money and then, ahem, “invest” it for an interest in future revenues of another state? For instance, why not buy 1% of Georgia’s state income tax for the next 10 years, or a piece of California’s lottery action, a some of Florida’s sales tax?

I’m just thinking out loud here.  I’m sure what I’m proposing is either illegal or would be deemed so pretty quickly by an executive order–can’t have the States exercising this kind of power and making these types of decisions, right?

I know I’m wrong here…tell me why.

Blog Commenters UNITE!

The announcement of this new left-leaning blog made me wonder something…

When left-leaning blogs and websites show advertising, what happens to the money?  I mean, a blog is nothing without its readers, just like a company is nothing without its workforce, right?

Is the money left over after operational costs are paid dispersed evenly amongst the people who comment and the site owners/publishers?  Do they only accept enough advertising revenue to pay the bills for hosting?

Does it seem right that the owner of such a site would profit off the work of the people who leave comments there and provide content and community? And really, it shouldn’t matter how good your comments are or how often you comment, right?

I guess the principle dictate that whoever has been commenting the longest (seniority) should get the most money, even if they don’t leave comments that often any more.

I think people who comment on blogs should unionize.

At least it would get me to stop blogging.  The only thing my commenters are ever going to get here is berated. 😀

2009 Internet Goals

I read this post the other day on Daily Blog Tips on 2009 Internet goals.  It’s a group writing project they’re sponsoring.  I haven’t participated in one of these in quite a while, but this one is pretty poignant.  Goal setting is usually something that I do in my head, but of course it’s a good idea to write these things down so that we can go back later and check them, right?  Right.

I think I came pretty far in 2008, and I hit most of the goals that I’d loosly set for myself, but there’s a pretty good chance I’ve just forgotten about the ones I didn’t hit, so I think writing them down is the way to go.

1)  Get at least two friends to start blogging.  This means you!!!  Even if you keep your blog private (that’s easy to do) or accessible only to your friends and family, it’s just too easy to have a nice site these days.  I have a whole different post coming about managing your online reputation.  Having your own site is the first step.  Grab a domain name for a few bucks a year, and talk to me about hosting.  I’m running a friend special right now.  😉

2)  Get over 100 subscribers to this blog (finally).  I’ve been hovering at around 85 for quite a while now.  I’m not really sure how to make it over the hump, but I have a year to figure out, right?  I think one of the problems may be that I bounce around a lot of different topics and get pretty streaky on things.  But that’s the way my mind works, and this is supposed to reflect what I’m thinking, right?  Oh wait, there is one thing I can do…BEG!!!  Please subscribe if you haven’t yet.  If you aren’t sure what I mean by “subscribe”, here’s a quick tutorial.

3)  Launch three new sites.  I actually know what two of these sites will be centered around–more on that next year.  That leaves me with the task of coming up with one other idea.  This shouldn’t be too tough to do–I’ve got a million ideas I haven’t even thought yet.  But then, there’s the implementation–there’s the rub.

4)  Money.  Financial goals are always fun.  With all of my efforts combine, I’d like to make it to $600/month by the end of 2009.  Right now I’m at about $225 per month, and it’s increasing at a pretty steady rate.  I think this goal can be attained by June or July, but I think it’s prudent to give myself some wiggle room just in case I don’t get a bailout.

5)  Empower a bunch of people.  This one is tough to measure, but I know a bunch when I see a bunch, and I hope some of the projects I’m working on will help a bunch express themselves and share information.

6)  Complete two WordPress plugins.  I’m almost finished with one sizeable plugin, and there’s another I’d like to write as well.  They both tie in with goal #5.  I think they will go a long way in making things easier for people to accomplish some tasks with their WordPress blogs.

7)  Get two links from A-list bloggers.  I’m not as concerned with which of my site(s) get these links as I am that I get them.  And I’m not picky about who these A-listers are.  Why would I be?  I think this is definitely doable–I got one last year.  Then again, that was in January and I didn’t get another one all year.

Stupid Lending Coming Full Circle

I have to credit a buddy of mine in Chicago for bringing this one to my attention.

You’ve probably heard about the workers in Chicago staging a sit in at the Republic Windows and Doors plant. Their beef is that the company is not paying the workers enough notice before closing, which is a violation of their contract. That sucks for them, but somehow the government places blame with…

Bank of America?

Earlier Monday, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several alderman and Cook County officials offered their support for the workers’ protest and threatened to suspend business with Bank of America if a resolution was not reached.

How is it Bank of America’s fault that this company can’t run profitably?  Are they actually trying to coerce Bank of America to lend out money to a company that can’t repay it?

Uh, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t most of this financial mess started when government forced financial institutions to lend money to people who couldn’t afford to pay it back?

Green, Get the Money, Dolla Dolla Bill Yo

 

It looks a lot like the Target Logo
It looks a lot like the Target Logo

Are you still waiting on your next check from the gov’ment?  Has it been almost a year already?  A lot of good that did, huh?

Instead of waiting on the people who cause most problems to solve them, you’d be better off heading over to KTownLowDown for some great tips on coupon clipping and maximizing at places like Target and Walgreens. It must be hard to keep a guy like SVD in groceries, but his wife seems to have a good system going. This trip to Walgreens alone makes the whole post worth reading:

She grabbed a toothbrush, two cans of chicken broth, and the pudding for a dessert she was going to make…and went to the checkout. The gal rang the items up, The Wife gave the gal at the register her coupons. the Wife paid $0.57 and the gal at the register gave her a Walgreens coupon worth $5 dollars. Somehow we got stuff we needed and Walgreens paid us to get it.

I need to find someone to pay me to shop, preferably for big ticket items like triathlon bikes, digital cameras, and homes.

Planning For “Change” Financially

The Only Real Change I Expect   

The Only Real Change I Expect

I am not a financial advisor, lawyer, or accountant.  You should consult with someone with this type of expertise before making financial decisions, but it’s never to early to start thinking about how you should plan financially to survive/improve/thrive with the changes that may occur in the next year or two.  I’m sure people with a lot more smarts than me will have some ideas, but here are some things I’m thinking.  Feel free to add your own.

Get rid of your consumer debt.  Financing things that are going down in value (cars, boats, Whopper value meals) is never a good idea, but is especially bad when when you need to have financial flexibility.  Pay off your cars and credit cards ASAP.  Even if things work out famously, being debt free is liberating.  You’re going to need the extra cash to pay higher prices for goods and services.  You may think only corporations and rich people are going to pay more, but the reality is that the people who buy stuff from them are the ones who will pay.

Open foreign accounts.  Definitely consult your accountant and lawyer on this one. I’m just a guy who looked it up on a web site.  According to the IRS a person must report a foreign account via FBAR if:

1.  The person has financial interest in, signature authority or other authority over one or more accounts in a foreign country, and    
2.  The value of the account exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

Invest in assetts that will be more difficult to seize.  Cash and equities can be taken pretty easily.  Of course, according to Kelo, land may not be that safe either.  As long as it’s taken for the common good, right?  Still, if things get really bad at least you can grow a garden.

Defer your income if possible, for as long as possible.  Tough to do unless you own a business.  But if you do own a business you are probably in the most danger of being hit.  If you can put earnings/income off long enough, we may return to a more sensible philosophy.

Save a little extra cash now.  Tax increases will probably be retroactive to the beginning of the year they are increased.  That means if your taxes go up you’ll have to pay extra taxes on money you were taxed on at the original rate.  You’re going to need the cash for that.

Act now to help elect a fiscally responsible representative in your district for Congress in 2010.

Again, I don’t have any financial expertise…just some things going through my mind and things I’ve heard others talking about.  Remember–I’m just an idiot with a keyboard.

$700B Well Spent

I’m not one to take a one day sampling of the stock market and make a “see-I-told-you-so” snap reaction.  It’s pretty unreasonable to think what happened in Congress on Friday would have much of an impact today–the assumption of the passage of the bailout was already priced into the market.  But the reaction to today’s drop is fast and furious, so I thought I’d join in with some snark.

Dow dips below 10,000Maybe the market realized over the weekend that its new business partner is the US Federal Government?

Should the Fed cut interest rates?–That sounds like a good idea…let’s rig the system so that we can borrow our way out of this.  Why didn’t someone think of that before?

Global markets affected by the credit crisis–Duh.  Easy fix–just set up some sort of central banking system.  Better yet, let’s set up several.

The biggest irony of all–we continue to look to the people who cause problems to solve them and wonder why things don’t get better.  My favorite phrase is being thrown around by fear mongers is “uncertain economic times”.  When have we ever lived in certain economic times?

China To Halt US Lending?

From Reuters:

Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

As a half-full guy, I’m going to read this as “US Will Stop Borrowing Money From China” and be happy. Ok, I’m not really a half-full guy. I’m more of a “you’re an idiot for using such a big glass if that’s all the water you’re going to put in it” guy.  But still.

The real question is this…what’s Congress/Bush/Obama/McCain going to do about that?

I crack me up sometimes.

HT Newscoma

Let’s Play Bank!

Now we all get to play bank. Well, it’s more like playing PayDay Lender, since the feds decided in their infinite wisdom yesterday to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a taxpayer, you now own pieces of bad mortgages all across the country.

When you spread the pain out over so many people it doesn’t hurt so bad, right? More socialism, more burden for tax payers, and (maybe worst of all) now the federal government has the lion’s share of the mortgage market.

Of course, this (it’s not a) bailout is only temporary. Right.

It’s a Great Deal For a Month At Least

Amazon is offering a free trial of Amazon Prime, which lets you take advantage of FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING.  This is an awesome deal if you are planning on buying anything this month–especially something big and expensive.

After the free trial, it’s $79 a monthyear, which is still a good deal if you buy a lot of stuff even a few things a year from the big A.  If it’s not something you’d use enough to justify the cost, just make sure you opt out of the program at the end of the month and you are in good shape.  I usually get the Super Saver shipping, which means I have to wait a week to get my stuff…not this month!