This one could likely have just gone into the Political category as it will (other than this intro) start out Politically, but as I type this, I'm intending it to be a bit more rambling and random, thus (for now) I'm sticking with the Life Journals category...
Anyway, on the political front, I'm somewhat puzzled at the idea that the barely, if that, competent Martin O'Malley is seeming to pull well ahead of Bob Ehrlich in the Maryland Governor's race. Then again, I'm not sure I'm all that puzzled as I've seen/heard a batch of O'Malley's attack advertisements and heard/seen literally *zero* ads for Ehrlich, and certainly haven't heard anything that counters the attack ads that O'Malley has used.
The gist of things is this:
O'Malley attack ad: 4 years ago we fired Bob Ehrlich.... now he wants his job again...
Which should be easily countered with something along the lines of:
Ehrlich: 4 years ago voters in Maryland choose a different path... Now that path is becoming clearer as taxes are being raised, or have been raised, spendind has gone up nearly uncontrollably, and the states finances are in worse shape than when I took over and cleaned up the mess that was left by the last Democrat governor of the state.
Of course that would lead to more negative ads and attacks by O'Malley, some of which might be losely based in facts, but, again fairly easily countered and turned right back on his sorry self if the Ehrlich camp has any competetent advisers working for them.
For example, O'Malley's attack ads have also claimed that Ehrlich raised taxes more than anyone in history, or something along those lines, except if someone visited FactCheck or somewhere similar they'd fine those claims are false. Ehrlich raised fees, but did everything possible to avoid raising taxes. Now O'Malley's team has gotten creative in equating FEES with TAXES. "Everyone knows fees are taxes." Oh, really? God help us when the O'Malley team gets done raising whatever revenue they do from wherever the heck they can, as they will surely need a new name for all of the places they'll have to get that revenue from. God also help the poor counties and localities that formerly got money from the state but haven't been able to do so since O'Malley has been in office. If asked, most of those county executives -- including the Democrats in Montgomery and Prince Georges County -- would have to admit they were much better off under Ehrlich's administration than under O'Malley's as the handouts basically ended when O'Malley took over.
The fact of the matter is that the economy stinks, is basically stagnant, and it really doesn't matter who holds the governor's office in Maryland as long as the Democrats have a strangle hold on the state legislature (which they do) in Maryland. Ehrlich was a great counter balance to the Democrats, but of course the Democrats swept him from office 4 years ago due to being fed up with George W. Bush on the national level.
Here we sit 4 years later and where many people are fed up with Obama on the national level, Ehrlich has to fight past that Democrat majority and he is facing a heckuva battle and is apparently losing ground because O'Malley's attacks have been working. Given how soon the general election is, Ehrlich needs to get moving and start tearing away at O'Malley or he'll have handed O'Malley the office for 4 more years.
Ok, enough with the politics on the State level, but perhaps a little more on the national level as I get back to a more general rant...
It's the economy stupid. Yup, it is and remains so, and yet... well, some areas seem to look past the issue and some voters seem too stupid to realize the source of their problems. Obama's policies seem to be completely ineffective and yet voters in Maryland and DC will cluelessly ignore those problems except on much smaller local levels and will continue to put Democrats in office because those areas are Democrat strongholds. While the Tea party movement makes some headway in some areas, there's no chance of any real change in Maryland or DC. A few other areas may be in a similar state, but not knowing those areas well enough to comment on them, I'll stop here.
The economy is still very much a problem though. Obama and the Congress are about to face off over NASA's direction for the next several years. On the one hand Obama wants to change the direction that NASA is taking, but in doing so he is about to layoff or fire several thousand workers that work on the current manned space flight program. I'm sure he hopes that his plans to turn more of the human space flight program over to commercial entities means that those personnel get hired by private industry, but private industry has shown zero interest in moving into that market. Some things have to be done by the Federal Government because they are too expensive and/or too important, or perhaps a combination of the two, and can't be handled by organizations with profit motives. Manned space flight is such an area. Certainly not the only area, but definitely one.
Some "friends" of the space program have rightfully complained that the government could find billion$ for auto makers, but can't find a few billion to spend on NASA. I'm one such individual. Manned space flight is too important, regardless of how undervalued it is for some individuals. The federal government must be involved. And the thought of cutting spending and jobs in that area seems to be completely wrong given how poor the economy is doing. The last thing we as a country need is to turn lose several thousand more workers. High tech workers. Well paid workers that were paying taxes, have mortgages and other debts, and have families that depend upon them. Keeping those workers gainfully and productively employed should be the priority. What money does go into the space program and help pay those salaries comes back into the federal coffers much more quickly than in other areas, but that is not stopping Obama so far. Hopefully the congress wins in this area, but again that remains to be seen.
Whew. With that all out of my head, I'm back to rant and rave a bit more on the economy. Why isn't it moving again? Is it all Obama's (or his administration's) fault? Is it the fault of congress? Or is it just because the market and the economy is still undergoing the inevitable correction that was so badly needed after the tech bubble and housing bubble and later the sub-prime mortgage crisis hit?
Businesses still aren't hiring. Workers with jobs are still holding back on their spending as they remain cautious and try to eliminate their own personal debts. Eventually workers will push back on managers as they tire of being worked at maximum capacity all the time. Eventually companies will hire more employees as they start forecasting more business for their companies. But how far off is that eventuality? Can something be done to encourage more hiring that will be effective.
Certainly the idea of getting more people back to work is a good thing. Each of those employees that goes back to work pays taxes at all levels. That revenue can then go towards paying down the government's debts and/or towards offering tax breaks to employers that will keep the incentives that might be needed more revenue neutral. But will congress offer up more tax breaks or will they cry that there is not enough money available to do so?
The Bush tax cuts remain in a holding pattern. Failing to extend those cuts for many people could mean people face tax bills that they weren't expecting, or at least it could mean more taxes taken from paychecks that in turn cuts back spending by the people that see their checks get smaller.
All I can really say is that something must be done. WE -- the country/citizens of the USA -- need leadership. BOLD LEADERSHIP. We need someone to be championing the American worker, and the American tax-payer. Honestly we need an Uncle Ronny type to come back and get us out of our malaise, but unfortunately we don't have it now and we aren't likely to see it with the current administration no matter how much Obama tries to cheerlead. (He's still too busy blaming Republicans for being do-nothing's, or road-blockers, all while his own party continues its own mis-steps, and also while he himself mis-steps in decisions such as what he's trying to do with NASA, or what he's trying to do with Afghanistan, etc.)
I seem to recall an older Rock song: We need a hero! Why yes, yes we do.
Well, as I read back through this article, and think about the points I've made, it becomes clear this should be in the Politics category, so that's where it'll be as I hit the submit button.