Friday, October 30, 2009

Smart Shopping, Economy Grows 3.5%, Health Care needs our help, Jeb Bush on Capitalism, Birthers, and Budget Numbers

Quick Hits for October 30, 2009

* I have long been an advocate of smart shopping to decrease your daily costs. I encourage bringing your own coffee in the morning to save the $5 from Starbucks for that Mocha. I encourage bringing your own lunch for $2-3 instead of paying $5-15 dollars for lunch. And there are a lot of other things. However, Kathy Spencer takes my shopping (I save about 50% on my grocery bill doing the same things) to a whole new level through her efforts of using coupons, advertisements, and stockpiling coupons while buying in bulk. I learned my tricks off of which I recommend to my friends to learn how to shop. One thing we lost from our grandparents is the focus on saving money and buying cheaply or smartly. It is something that will hopefully come back into popularity as a result of this recession.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted Republicans for filibustering President Obama's nominees for cabinet positions like Surgeon General claiming that Republicans have filibustered more nominees in four months than Democrats filibustered in the first four years under President Bush. That may point to the need for Democrats to filibuster more than they do, but it also points to the hypocrisy of Republicans shouting "up or down vote" on everything when there was a threat of a filibuster.

Maybe that should be a reminder on key policy issues like Health Care Reform, where we remind them that they said policies and people should get up or down votes. One such petition making the rounds demands an up or down vote on health care that has been given attention by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC can be signed here. Harry Reid has his own petition to share with other Senators to give him leverage here. Let your voice be heard.

* Note to Jeb Bush: Pure capitalism has long since been gone, probably for close to 80 to 100 years, if not longer. Bush's comments were probably an attempt to gain attention in the news cycle when he proclaimed that President Obama was attacking capitalism, but maybe he should remember his own brother's policies such as protectionism of steel industries, eliminating competitive government contracts for his friends, and more. However, we should remember that no major industry in America has become a major industry without help from the government in some way or another. America has long been a mixed economy, not a capitalist one. Maybe Jeb might want to spend some time understanding economics before making more comments that make him sound foolish.

* House Democrats have unveiled a new $894 billion health care plan over the next 10 years which will be attacked by Republicans as "almost costing a trillion dollars" and be blown out of proportion. To keep it in proportion, realize that the current defense budget is over $6.5 trillion over the next 10 years. If they lowered the defense budget to $5.6 trillion over the next 10 years, health care with public option included would be totally paid for. Maybe it is time we start talking about policies in the same timeframes so that people don't get confused.

* U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter ruled against "birthers" who proclaimed that President Obama was not an American and thus, could not be President. He isn't the first judge to do so, but he is the first one to say that the constitution only has one way to remove a sitting President and the courts are not that way. While the "birthers" proclaim to know the constitution well enough to attempt to split hairs and proclaim government documents as fakes, apparently they aren't able to read the constitution on how to remove a sitting President.

* The third quarter numbers are in and the recession is officially over because it broke a string of four quarters of negative growth, though the road ahead may still be filled with roadblocks. The growth for the quarter was at 3.5%, ahead of expectations of economists. However, the growth was largely created by the economic stimulus package through projects like cash for clunkers. Without the stimulus bill, it is thought the GDP would have been even or in negative growth.

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