President Obama says the economy is strong. The stock market is up, energy production is booming, and the unemployment rate keeps dropping.
But when you ask people how they feel, you get mixed answers. It depends on where they live. The President lives in Washington, DC where unemployment is about zero. But folks in the rest of the country, except in Texas, North Dakota and other oil/gas boom states, are still waiting for jobs and wages to show up. One survey reported that 3 of every 5 people say they are worse off than 6 years ago. Business Week says that Texas added 1.1 million jobs since 2008, while the other 49 states lost 350,000. We all know that Texas is big, but that is HUGE.
Old folks will remember that the Great Depression that began in October 1929 did not end as a result of President Roosevelt’s policies. No, the economy was still in the dumps in 1941 when Japan dragged us into World War II. The war didn’t end the economic misery; it just replaced it with a worse misery.
It’s not only the poor and middle class who are complaining about economic conditions. Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, was complaining about a $600,000 mortgage on his Washington home. Here’s a man who makes $250,000 every time he gives a speech, and he’s frustrated he can’t get a lower interest rate on a 30-year home loan. First, why would a 60-year old have a 30-year mortgage? Why not give three speeches next week to Wall Street cronies and pay it off?
It turns out he is like a lot of other rich people; he wants a tax deduction. I have said for years the tax code needs to be overhauled, including elimination of deductions for home mortgages, especially for anyone over 60, and for second homes. And eliminate the deduction for state income taxes; that simply favors the governments in states like New York, Illinois and California where taxes are high.
I’ve got other ideas on pumping life into the economy in case anyone in Congress asks. But I know they won’t. They’re all back in their home states trying to get reelected November 4.
Columbus Day is October 12. About all we get out of it is a day off and sales on mattresses and old model cars. Some of these car companies have a huge challenge to get all their 2014 models sold before they have to recall ‘em.
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Christopher Columbus was about the first of the foreigners to start comin’ over. He beat the immigration law… Somebody would have found America though, even if he hadn’t, for you couldn’t hardly get around without running into it…. Being an Indian, I don’t mind telling you personally I am sorry he ever found it. The discovery has been of no material benefit to us, outside of losing all the land. And I am proud to say that I have never yet seen a Statue in Oklahoma to him.” WA #190, Aug. 1, 1926