This and That

So many things on my mind today.

Cash for Clunkers: — While I understand and appreciate the benefits of this programme (reduced pollution, decreased gas consumption, stimulating car sales) it is reminiscent of the Mortgage Bail-outs. Let me explain. I qualified for my mortgage. They demanded so much information I felt like I did with my colonoscopy- but I qualified for a mortgage that even now, unemployed, I am still able to maintain (at least ’til the end of this year- but that’s another story). While I do believe that not doing a bailout of many of these bad mortgages would have lowered my home’s value even farther, tightened up mortgage funds, punished some innocent (or at least, naive) home-owners… it clearly rewards far too many people who knowingly did morally-questionable (if not outright fraudulent) deals. I hold my nose and say “do what has to be done“.

For years I’ve been saying that people who purchase SUVs or cars that get poor gas mileage should be paying license/ registration fees two or three times higher; due to the additional pollution. Now we (the taxpayers) are subsidizing people who didn’t care about the environment- the proverbial carrot without any stick. My sales job (covering 30 counties in Ohio) prevented using an electric car, motorcycle, or public transit. But at least I selected a Malibu Maxx (basically, a station wagon). It costs less to purchase and insure than an SUV and it gets over 35 mpg on the highway, and even stuck in the city it stays above 20 mpg. Not that I’m a saint- just did what I could to meet job requirements with some thought about Earth.

Yes I saved money on the purchase price, insurance and fuel compared to all the other Account Managers who bought an SUV. But now they get to trade in that gas-hog and get up to $4,500 in addition to the savings on fuel, insurance, etc. My car is now over four years old, has over 115,000 miles on it, and is starting to creak like I do first thing in the morning. But between unemployment and its high fuel rating, I am not going to be able to do my part to stimulate the auto industry. So I’m feeling a bit like a sucker in this as well as the mortgage.

Healthcare Reform — I was born and raised in Canada (third generation cross-border family) so I have almost 30 years of actual, real-life experience with that system. I have friends who live (or have lived) in England, so I have heard stories (good and bad) about their system. The long and the short of it is, neither system is perfect, but neither one is horrible. Much of the garbage being spouted about those two systems has crossed over the line from “difference of opinion” passed right by “distortion” to outright “fear-mongering”. Yes there are people in Canada who travel abroad for some medical treatments; and there are people in the USA who travel to Mexico or south-east Asia for treatment.

The reality is that the current system will crash under it’s own weight as the last of us “Baby Boomers” enter retirement, although that has been delayed for many of us due to the economic disaster known as Bush II (but again I digress). Tinkering and tweaking won’t do- an overhaul is required. Our President has already stated that the USA won’t blindly adopt any other country’s system in its entirety- but a new system is inevitable. Either we design a good one now, or we end up with what gets thrown together in a crisis.

The Obama Administration’s Support of My Rights — As an openly gay man, I was proud to support Obama not because he isn’t a member of that other, religious-bigot-controlled, national party* – but because he stated his support for my rights as part of his Campaign of Hope. And yes I realize his administration is dealing with the aftermath of the afore-mentioned “economic disaster known as Bush II“. But every day he delays we lose the services of another skilled member of the military or the life of a troubled teen who fell for the cr@p of those religious bigots or another loving, caring person is denied access in a hospital to say “Good-bye” to the person they’ve loved, lived with, and been a ‘spouse in all but name’ for more years than the average heterosexual marriage (estimates vary from 7 to 9 years).

* I wish I could find a political party that truly represented me; fiscally moderate-to-conservative (but not big-business-bailout neocon). And socially liberal to libertarian; prepared to step in when necessary but not necessarily step in.

Well, that’s enough rambling for one night… time to go watch “Psych“.

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