December 31, 2010

Bush & the 2% Raise

Am enjoying George Bush's memoir but find the parts about Iraq and Afghanistan overly familiar and thus a bit of a slog. Am wondering if, in all those history books he consumed, he ever came across the story of the British empire and the overreach thereof. If the story of Britain was too much colonialism, perhaps the story of America is too much safety consciousness? Bush writes with regard to Afghanistan, "Our government was not prepared for nation building." Not a supreme surprise. That said, I understand why we went to war in Iraq & Afghanistan. There was a compelling case to be made even if hindsight makes me long for the days of Clinton sending expensive missiles into empty desert tents. The irony is that we actually thought that that was expensive!

Another line in the bio just read: "In early 2003, Alan Greenspan told me that the uncertainty [about whether to go to war with Iraq] was hurting the economy." Aren't we all getting a mite tired of having the economy hanging over our heads? Of course now it looks funny since the world of hurt that the economy was going to suffer in '08 made any potential '03 "hurt" look like a piker. Still, it is tiring to be ever the servant of, rather than master of the economy. And we see this most blatantly in our huge bank bailouts and the "too big to fail" firms. Kowtowing to Wall Street is getting a bit long in the tooth, especially given that the gains on Wall Street don't seem to be replicated in the employment market.
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Am looking forward to the new tax law that is going to provide a 2% raise in '11 even though it's stupid and will be paid on the backs of our grandchildren. As a co-worker put it, "they're not taking from us some of the money they're not going to give us" (i.e. Social Security). Ben suggests we stick it in our retirement account but I say it should go to beer. I'm guessing this is going to be a "real 2%" raise instead of the pseudo 2% raises which, after taxes, are reduced to about 1.2%. (Actually the 2% raise may cover the soon-to-be $4 a gallon gas.)

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